Canon EOS 5D Mark II exits stage left, leaves a stamp on digital filmmaking history

canon 5d mark ii discontinued eos

According to unconfirmed reports, Canon has just retired its full-frame EOS 5D Mark II DSLR camera, allowing its newer, more powerful sibling, the 5D Mark III, to continue the legacy. For most of us, the news of this pricey pro camera’s exit will pass without much fanfare. But if you are a big fan of recent films like “The Avengers,” “Captain America,” “Act of Valor,” “Iron Man 2,” and “ParaNorman,” as well as television shows like “Saturday Night Live” and “House,” then you may be unaware of the contributions this camera has made to filmmaking.

While it wasn’t the first DSLR with the ability to record 1080p video, the 5D Mark II can be credited as the first game-changing DSLR camera to be successfully incorporated into all aspects of digital video production, everything from films to commercials to TV shows. While expensive for the regular consumer, the 5D Mark II was considered cheap by filmmaking standards, yet it captured excellent 1080p video quality and had great low-light capability.

Alex Buono, director of photography for “SNL,” used the 5D Mark II to capture the opening credits, which involved shooting in New York City after dark. The camera filmed the season finale of “House,” where director Greg Yaitanes said the camera provided the shallow depth of field and “richer look,” adding that he “feels it’s the future” in film production.

It’s the flexibility due to its size, availability of lenses, and price point that made the 5D Mark II an attractive tool.

canon 5d mark ii discontinued act of valor
The EOS 5D Mark II was used to capture scenes in tough terrain on the set of the film “Act of Valor.” “Because (it) is so light weight, we were able to defy conventional motion picture camera physics and capture a high-quality cinematic image, which ultimately looked incredible on a 100-foot theatrical screen,” said co-director Scott Waugh.

“I’m always looking to get the camera into impossible to reach places because those kinds of shots make action sequences much more exciting,” said Jonathan Taylor, who used the 5D Mark II to capture some of the stunts in “Captain America.” “Most 35mm motion-picture cameras and even the leading digital cinematography cameras are just too big to get into interesting positions.”

It was also the success of the 5D Mark II in film production that led Canon to not only incorporate more movie-production capabilities into its other cameras, but also to create a new category of cameras and lenses designed specifically for filmmaking, called Cinema EOS. While the 5D Mark II may be making its final bow, its mark left on the history of digital filmmaking has been sealed forever.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Halfbikes, VR for all your senses, and more

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!

Light on price but rich on features, these are the best cameras for students

Need pro-level features on a budget? The best cameras for students mix advanced features with a more palatable price point. From $2K entry level full frame cameras to $600 budget picks, here are five of the best cameras for students.
Movies & TV

Marvel releases more footage from Avengers: Endgame in latest TV ad

The events of Avengers: Infinity War changed the Marvel Cinematic Universe in some big ways and left fans wondering how its heroes can possibly recover. Here's everything we know about Avengers: Endgame, the sequel to Infinity War.

The Canon EOS Rebel T6 DSLR camera gets a steep price cut at Walmart

Modern smartphones can snap pretty impressive pics, but if you want pro-quality photos, you need a dedicated digital camera. The Canon EOS Rebel T6 is one of the best entry-level DSLR cameras on the market, and it’s on sale right now for…
Product Review

Equal parts tool and toy, the Lensbaby Edge 35 bucks photographic tradition

The Lensbaby Edge 35, part of the Composer Pro optic swap system, creates tilt-shift-like blur without the tilt-shift price. Made for photographers who want find tradition boring, it opens up new ways to work with blur.

The best budget-friendly GoPro alternatives that won’t leave you broke

Cold weather is here, and a good action camera is the perfect way to record all your adventures. You don't need to shell out the big bucks for a GoPro: Check out these great GoPro alternatives, including some 4K cameras, that won’t leave…

The Black Eye Pro Cinema Wide G4 is a knockout lens for any smartphone

Where cheaper wide-angle accessory lenses add distortion, and costlier models don't always justify their higher prices, the Black Eye Pro Cinema Wide G4 offers a valuable balance of modest price and high quality optics.

Etch-A-Snap camera puts a modern spin on one of your favorite childhood toys

Can't draw on an Etch A Sketch? Snap a photo with the Etch-A-Snap and the camera will draw out the scene for you. The weirdly cool camera designed by Martin Fitzpatrick replaces the usual LCD screen with an old-school Etch A Sketch.

Family feud: Huawei P30 Pro vs. P20 Pro vs. Mate 20 Pro camera shootout

The Huawei P30 Pro's camera has an amazing zoom mode and low light capabilities. But take these away, and how does it compare when facing its sibling phones, the P20 Pro and Mate 20 Pro, taking regular photos?

Nikon Z 7 vs. Sony A7R III: High-res mirrorless cameras compared

The Nikon Z 7 and Sony A7R III both have over 40 megapixels, but which one comes out on top? With similar image quality, the answer comes down to speed, autofocus, battery life, and design.

Panasonic Lumix S1R vs. Nikon Z 7: When megapixels matter, which do you choose?

The 47-megapixels Lumix S1R and 46-megapixel Nikon Z 7 are the two highest-resolution, full-frame mirrorless cameras on the market. The S1R features a high-resolution mode that can take 187MP images, but the Nikon is lighter and cheaper.

Sweet 16: Wacom’s Cintiq 16 pen display makes retouching photos a breeze

Wacom’s Cintiq pen displays are usually reserved for the pros (or wealthy enthusiasts), but the new Cintiq 16 brings screen and stylus editing to an approachable price. Does it cut too much to get there?

Selfies are now banned at China’s gigantic Aperture Spherical Telescope

You can't take a selfie with the world's largest single-dish radio telescope anymore, as the Chinese government has banned everything from smartphones to digital cameras in the surrounding 5-kilometer area.

After controversial video, China bans ‘Leica’ on social media

A video that referenced Tiananmen Square got the name of the camera company Leica banned from the social media platform Weibo. Leica says the video wasn't an officially sanctioned promotion.