What's under the hood
Far more is new inside the 5D. In addition to improved image processing, noise reduction, white-balance controls, and expanded ISO range, there are new picture-style controls that let you modify a variety of preset shooting modes. Mechanically, the shutter mechanism has been beefed up to handle up to 100,000 shots, more than the 20D, but half the life expectancy of an EOS 1D-series shutter. Maximum shutter speed is still 1/8000 sec, but the 5D features an improved 35-zone SPC metering system and a real spotmeter with 3.5% coverage (compared to the 20D's 9% partial). The 5D's 3-fps burst rate is slightly slower than the 20D's 4.5 fps, but Canon claims it can capture up to 60 JPEGs at a time using a high-speed CF card instead of the 20D's 30 images. The AF system is also better. In addition to the nine selectable AF zones, there are six invisible zones that function in the Predictive AI Servo AF mode, and added sensitivity when using lenses with f/2.8 or brighter apertures.
Playback and PictBridge functions show major improvements as well. The large 2.5-inch LCD lets you view sharper thumbnail photos, and the Jump button can leap past 100 images at a time (great when searching through an 8GB card). The new PictBridge controls even let you output a film-like contact sheet (with film sprockets around each file) to the latest Canon Pixma printers. The 5D ships with Canon's powerful Digital Photo Professional 2.0 RAW converter, plus EOS Capture 1.5 and PhotoStitch 3.1.
Will the EOS 5D attract pros? It's missing some features found on the EOS 1D series, such as an eyepiece shutter, vertical shutter release, supertough build with water-resistant seals, mega-capacity battery, 8.5fps burst rate, and high viewfinder magnification. But for the price, how can even the most finicky pro resist the 5D for a lighter-weight backup body? Also, putting aside the new features and photographic firepower, it's great that Canon gave the EOS 5D a simple name, instead of a tongue-twisting moniker like the EOS 20Ds Mark II.
Imaging: 12.8MP (effective) CMOS sensor captures 12.72MP images (4368x2912 pixels) with 12 bits/color in RAW mode. Storage: CF Type I/II cards including Microdrives. Stores RAW, JPEG, and RAW + JPEG. Burst rate: At 3 fps, up to 60 JPEG, 17 RAW, or 12 RAW+JPEG. AF system: Nine selectable and visible AF zones (plus six invisible AF zones). One-Shot AF, Predictive AI Servo AF, and AI Focus AF (autoselects One-shot or Predictive AF modes). Sensitive down to EV -0.5 (at ISO 100). Shutter Speeds: 1/8000 to 30 sec. (1Ú3-stop increments). Metering: TTL metering with 35-zone SPC. Evaluative metering (link to all AF points), partial metering (approx. 8% of viewfinder), spotmetering (approx. 3.5% of viewfinder), and center-weighted average metering. EV 1-20 (at ISO 100). ISO range: 100-1600 (in 1/3-stop increments), custom expansion to ISO 50 and 3200. Flash: supports E-TTL II autoflash with EX-series Speedlite. X-sync at 1/200 sec. Viewfinder: Eye-level, fixed pentaprism with estimated 96% accuracy and 0.71X magnification. LCD: 2.5 in. TFT with approx. 230,000-pixel resolution. Output: Hi-Speed USB 2.0 and video. Battery: Ships with rechargeable Lithium ion BP-511A. CIPA battery life rating: Approx. 800. Size/weight: 6.0 x 4.4 x 3.0 in., 1.9 lb with battery. For info: www.canon.com; 800-652-2666