Alright, I’ll admit it. I pre-ordered a Canon 5D Mark II and was one of the first in my hometown of Portland to receive this new beast of a camera. The absolutely impressive native file size and incredible rendering of colors and textures made me an instant fan. Plus video!!! Hooray!!
Sadly, here’s the thing. The video is marginal at best. It’s compressed like crazy. HD? Not even close. It’s perfect if you don’t want to do anything other than produce moving images for the web. Still lenses breath, so racking focus with your marvelously expensive Canon lenses is going to make the image wonky. The most irritating thing about the video is the lack of control over iso and f-stop. Regardless, it’s fun and the fact that you can snap a RAW file while shooting video is a great feature. And for the price, really, what should I have expected?
I’ve been using it for several assignments, but I’ve also been carrying my other trusty 5D along, just in case. I like having two cameras anyway, despite the extra weight and attention it usually draws from sidewalk camera enthusiasts. Monday, the Mark II camera bit the dust. I was shooting an assignment and the camera suddenly starts randomly giving me an “error 70” message and asking me to remove the battery. Plus it starts to underexpose images, which sucks when you’re trying to shoot anything that involves a decisive moment. After several calls and some useless advise from my hometown camera store which sold me the product, I decided to contact Canon directly, as I am a member of their CPS program. After explaining the problem on the phone to the tech at Canon, he flatly replied, “Oh. It’s most likely an internal component problem. You’ll need to send it in for repair.” So I put that camera on hold and finished off the thankfully short assignment on the 5D. I am suspicious that this is a first generation camera and that this “internal component” may not be an isolated incident. The tone of the tech at Canon seemed to indicate that this wasn’t his first call regarding the problem. But he didn’t elaborate, and I, sadly, didn’t have time to grill him. So beware all first generation Canon 5D Mark II users: test the camera like mad before your warranty expires.