This is an old review and I would have loved if I had seen it and grasped it when I moved from an APC Canon (30D) to a fullframe D5 Mark II Camera, as the Auto Focus of the D5 Mark II is poor, really poor. Especially now I’ve changed the Mark II for a Mark III.
I’ve already said, but it bears repeating, that the AF cluster is probably the biggest adjustment a shooter switching from one of Canon’s APS-C-sized digital SLRs will have to make. I think a lot more such people will and ought to make this move, but I think the caution is important. You’ll have to adjust the way you shoot. It really is quite something to have a camera’s AF system covering most of your frame. Even though I generally shoot with the center point, when shooting candids I will sometimes lean on Mulit-point AF systems to just make the best guess for me. Guesses were pretty reliable with the APS-C designs, but with a full-frame sensor, you not only have more to consider in the frame overall, the existing sensors, especially the center point, cover a far smaller percentage of the subject per point.
Add that the 5D Mark II’s extremely high resolution full-frame sensor demands more from these lenses than ever before, and you start to see why getting focus right is so critical. The very narrow depth of field offered when shooting a closeup portrait indoors means that getting the eye instead of the eyebrow in focus will make or break a picture. I’m very grateful for the 5D Mark II’s AF Microadjustment feature, because I was able to dial in several lenses before a recent shoot to ensure that my shots were indeed spot on, because I had a bad experience with the original 5D at times, especially when shooting portraits.
Spot-on. I was pleasantly surprised that though the depth of field in this shot was very narrow, it’s right on his eye.
My first shot with the 5D Mark II illustrates the point nicely. It’s not particularly noteworthy as a photograph, but I like it all the same. Click (twice) to see the full-size version, and you’ll see that my son’s eye is the only sharp point of focus on his face, as well as the halo of his hair right within the same plane. It’s a good illustration of the problem one has when shooting wide open with any prime lens, as well as the main reason one chooses to shoot with a prime lens. The color balance is very cold on this image, but that was accurate for the light, so it’s hard to fault the camera.