As I have never had my camera cleaned for one reason or another, I decided that it was time to just go ahead and get it done. I went to the Canon Service Center in Shinjuku as I already knew where it was and I had heard good things about the service. The staff were very friendly and some spoke English as well as Japanese (as I speak Japanese fairly well this was not a big feature for me but it could be very useful to those who don’t speak Japanese). When I asked the staff about cleaning, they informed me that it was ¥1050 to have the low pass filter on the CMOS cleaned. That sounded pretty reasonable to me so I pushed my luck and asked them to take a look ate the mirror box, focus screen and focus overlay. They happily said they would do their best and noted it on the service request form. Barring any unforeseen difficulties, they informed me that it would take about an hour to get it cleaned. I wandered off to check out Shinjuku for an hour while my camera got the spa treatment.
As I had no phone call informing me of issues that needed more time, I headed back to the service center to get my camera on the hour. They informed me that the sensory cleaning went well, and that they had done some other cleaning for me as well. I looked through the viewfinder into the ceiling lights and white ceiling and wow! Not only had they cleaned my low pass filter, they had completely cleaned the viewfinder, focus screen and done a really good job on the focus overlay. In addition to that they had cleaned both the display and the settings screen on the exterior. I could not detect more than two tiny dust specs anywhere in the viewfinder compared to the large amount of visible dust that has been there for over 2 years, and even the two remaining dust specs are not in the focus area. I happily paid the fee and walked away with a camera that feels new. Clean at last!
Now the obvious question here is: Why did I wait for 2.5 years to clean my camera when it was around $10, made it like-new, and only took an hour? The truth is I have not really been in Japan much in the last two years, nor did I live in a large enough city in Canada to have an official Canon Service Center handy. If you are going to visit Japan, even as a tourist, and you do have a spare camera/body, I would really recommend getting your camera cleaned while you visit. It is well worth the hour.
The Canon Service Centers in Japan are listed here, albeit it only in Japanese. If you can’t read Japanese, please feel free to ask me to check for a centre near you in the comments.
First of all, let me say that I love my 5D Mark II and have since the first day I got it. I was fortunate to be able to pre-order one here in Japan and get my hands on the first batch out of the factory (which I have been to on one occasion.) It is the successor to my 5D which is still working nicely, and at this point has seen less action than its successor. Being a 21.1 MP full-frame digital CMOS camera using the Digic 4 system the images are as accurate in more light conditions than most other cameras, and when paired with a good lens produce amazing detail. For the types of photography I enjoy the most (casual snaps, portraits, natural/low light, and scenery) it is hard to beat the 5D Mark II with its full frame 35mm equivalent sensor and durable design. Other than some dust on the focus overlay that I am pretty sure snuck in a few months after purchasing it while using a non-L lens and has yet to be cleaned out it is still in perfect working order and condition.
In an unusual move for a camera maker Canon has been consistently updating the firmware for the 5D Mark II, even going so far as to add features (more options for HD video recording) and keep it pretty much in line with more recent additions like the 7D. Although I do not shoot as much video as I would like too, I have used the upgraded features and found them to make the shooting experience even nicer. Having pretty much manual control over the video settings including aperture and speed is a pretty nice feature for creative shooting. It is not surprising that it has been long regarded as one of the best choices for photo and video students alike.
Not everything if perfect and rosy, though. There are two things that hold the 5D Mark II back from being the ultimate non-full size prosumer available, and they are fairly big things for some people. The focus system is rather antiquated and has not really improved since the original 5D. To be honest, I preferred the focus system on my EOS 3 film camera to my current 5D Mark II. I also find that the metering system in combination with the exposure compensation custom settings can cause some bad results in quite a few situations. Luckily, the latter can be worked through by dialing down the custom functions and actually paying attention to what I shoot.
Overall, two-and-half years in and many miles later, I still believe that the Canon EOS 5D Mark II is the best prosumer camera out there, and would recommend it to anyone with the desire to shoot in full-frame and the means to buy it!
I have posted the full specs below just for those who like to check out such things:
Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Specifications (taken from the Canon website) Type
Digital, single-lens reflex, AF/AE camera
CF Card Type I and II, UDMA-compliant CF cards, via external media (USBv.2.0 hard drive, via optional Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E4A)
36.0mm x 24.0mm (35mm Full-frame)
Canon EF lenses
Canon EF mount
High-sensitivity, high-resolution, large single-plate CMOS sensor
Effective pixels: Approx. 21.1 megapixels
Total pixels: Approx. 22.0 megapixels
3:2 (Horizontal: Vertical)
Color Filter System
RGB primary color filters
Low Pass Filter
Fixed position in front of the CMOS sensor
Dust Deletion Feature
(1) Automatic sensor cleaning
(2) Manual cleaning of sensor
(3) Dust Delete Data appended to the captured image
Design rule for Camera File System 2.0
Still: JPEG, RAW (14-bit, Canon original), sRAW1, sRAW2, RAW+JPEG
(1) Large/Fine: Approx. 6.1MB (5616 x 3744 pixels)
(2) Large/Nomal: Approx. 3.0MB (5616 x 3744 pixels)
(3) Medium/Fine: Approx. 3.6MB (4080 x 2720 pixels)
(4) Medium/Normal: Approx. 1.9MB (4080 x 2720 pixels)
(5) Small/Fine: Approx. 2.1MB (2784 x 1856 pixels)
(6) Small/Normal: Approx. 1.0MB (2784 x 1856 pixels)
(7) RAW: Approx. 25.8MB (5616 x 3744 pixels)
(8) sRAW 1: Approx. 14.8MB (3861 x 2574 pixels)
(9) sRAW 2: Approx. 10.8MB (2784 x 1856 pixels)
Exact file sizes depend on the subject, ISO speed, Picture Style, etc.
With the WFT-E4A attached, image recording to the CF card and to the USB external media connected to the WFT-E4A will be possible as follows:
(2) Automatic switching of recording media
(3) Separate recordings according to image-recording quality
(4) Recording images having the same size
Enabled with WFT-E4A attached
Consecutive numbering, auto reset, manual reset.
Possible to create new folders and select folders in the CF card
RAW + JPEG Simultaneous Recording
Provided (RAW/sRAW+JPEG also possible)
Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten Light, White Fluorescent Light, Flash, Custom, Color Temperature setting
Auto White Balance
Auto white balance with the image sensor
Color Temperature Compensation
White balance correction: ±9 stops in full-stop increments
White balance bracketing: ±3 stops in full-stop increments
Blue/amber direction or magenta/green direction possible
Color Temperature Information Transmission
Vertical/Horizontal approx. 98%
Approx. 0.71x (-1m-1 with 50mm lens at infinity)
Approx. 21mm (from eyepiece lens center)
Dioptric Adjustment Correction
-3.0 to +1.0m-1 (diopter)
Interchangeable (Eg-D: Grid lines, Eg-S [point of Focus], Eg-A standard focusing screen provided
Quick-return half mirror (transmission: reflection ratio of 40:60, no mirror cutoffwith EF600mm f/4L IS USM or shorter lenses)
AF information (AF points, focus confirmation light), Exposure information(shutter speed, aperture, ISO speed, AE lock, exposure level, spot meteringcircle), Flash information (flash ready, flash exposure compensation, High-speedsync, FE lock), Image information (Highlight tone priority, monochromeshooting, maximum burst, white balance correction, CF card information),battery information
Depth Of Field Preview
Enabled with depth-of-field preview button
TTL-CT-SIR AF-dedicated CMOS sensor
9 AF Points (1 Cross Type) + 6 AF Assist Points
AF Working Range
EV -0.5-18 (at 73°F/23°C, ISO 100)
Auto, One-Shot AF, Predictive AI Servo AF, AI Focus AF, Manual focusing (MF)
AF Point Selection
Automatic selection, manual selection
Selected AF Point Display
Superimposed in viewfinder and indicated on LCD panel
AF Assist Beam
When an external EOS-dedicated Speedlite is attached to the camera, the AF-assist beam from the Speedlite will be emitted when necessary.
35-zone TTL full-aperture metering
Evaluative metering (linkable to any AF point)
Partial metering (approx. 8% of viewfinder at center)
Spot metering (approx. 3.5% of viewfinder at center)
Center-weighted average metering
EV 1-20 (at 73°F/23°C with EF50mm f/1.4 USM lens, ISO 100)
ISO Speed Range
ISO 100-6400 (in 1/3-stop or 1-stop increments)
ISO 100-3200 set automatically
Extension settable (with C.Fn.I-3-1): ISO 50 (L), 12800 (H1), 25600 (H2)
High Tone Priority settable: ISO 200-6400
Manual: ±2 stops in 1/3- or 1/2-stop increments (can be combined with AEB)
Auto: Applied in One-Shot AF mode with evaluative metering when focus isachieved
Manual: By AE lock button
Vertical-travel, mechanical, Electronically-controlled, focal-plane shutter 1/8000 to 1/60 sec., X-sync at 1/200 sec.
1/8000 to 30 sec., bulb (Total shutter speed range. Available range varies by shooting mode) Soft-touch electromagnetic release 10-sec. or 2-sec. delay Remote control with N3-type terminal. (Wireless remote controller RC-1/RC-5 can also be used.)
Vertical-travel, mechanical, Electronically-controlled, focal-plane shutter
1/8000 to 1/60 sec., X-sync at 1/200 sec.
1/8000 to 30 sec., bulb (Total shutter speed range. Available range varies by shooting mode)
Single image, Single image + Image-recording quality/shooting information,histogram, 4- or 9-image index, magnified view (approx. 1.5x-10x), rotatedimage (auto/manual), image jump (by 10/100 images, index screen, byshooting date, by folder), slide show (all images/selected by date/folder)