On August 22 this year, the original Canon EOS 5D will turn 10 years old. Leading up to the official 10-year anniversary date, Canon has kicked off a bit of an anniversary celebration of the Canon 5D line.
At the time it was announced, Canon slotted the original 5D 12.8MP full frame camera in between its prosumer EOS 20D model (at 8.2MP) and the high-end professional EOS 1Ds Mark II (16.7MP).
The Canon 5D turned out to not only define a new product line for Canon but it created entirely new DSLR category in which it has intensely competed with Nikon over the past decade. The 5D was the first affordable full frame DSLR on the market. At $3,299 retail, it was substantially below the (out-of-reach for many) price point of the professional 1Ds Mark II full frame camera $7,999.
You can still find the original Canon 5D models in good working order for around $500 or less.
Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Following the original model, Canon announced the 5D Mark II three years later. At 21.1MP, it offered a substantial increase in resolution. However, Canon also inserted a new feature into the camera that allowed users to record video.
By many accounts, Canon simply intended the video recording capability of the 5D Mark II to be a complementary feature for photojournalists to use so they could record short video clips in the field. Vincent Laforet convinced Canon to let him take a prototype 5D Mark II out for a spin one weekend and then created the short film Reverie.[vimeo https://vimeo.com/7151244 w=700]
That weekend effort kickstarted the entire HDSLR revolution, which, in turn, pushed Canon and other companies to compete to make more affordable cinema cameras with Super 35 and full frame sensors. There was a huge market impact from the 5D Mark II and there are still a ton of these cameras in regular use seven years later. It is quite possibly the most significant DSLR product ever made.
Used Canon 5D Mark II’s are available in abundance for around $1000 or less.
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Fast forward four years later and Canon released the 5D Mark III in March 2012. It was a hit from the start – with basically everything improved over the 5D Mark II. It offered better noise control and low-light performance with an expanded sensitivity range up to ISO 102,400. The video capture features were substantially better than the 5D Mark II – with better audio monitoring, better codecs and clean HDMI output available.
The 5D Mark III carried on the tradition of workhorse for the working pro photographer and serves as a solid HDSLR shooter for the budget-oriented video professional. Three years later, it remains a current product in Canon’s line-up.
Canon EOS 5Ds and 5Ds R
Enter the 5Ds and 5Ds R, Canon’s new 50.6MP cameras. They are still a few weeks from public availability but have already stirred up a new megapixel race and will certain push competitors Sony and Nikon in this ultra-high resolution realm as we all struggle to find lenses worthy of these cameras.
The EOS 5D has been a fantastic product line for Canon. With much of the camera market is on shaky ground thanks the rise of camera phones as consumers pull away from dedicated cameras, the Canon 5D is probably the one camera line that you can bet on being around in another ten years.
Have you owned any of the Canon 5D models? What did you think about these cameras when they were introduced or as you shot with them?