Canon's latest DSLR, The EOS 5D is, according to Canon, set to create a new DSLR category aimed squarely at the photojournalist, on to wedding and reportage photographers. Looking briefly over the specification and having an introductory play at its recent launch, it looks as though Canon is indeed building a new niche for itself. The camera sports a full frame sensor and enough resolution to create very high resolution images and balance the speed of the camera and the sped of capture with a burst rate up to a claimed 60fps for its JPEG Large capture setting.

Startup takes around 0.2-seconds and the fact the camera can use all of the company's EF auto focus lenses without any magnification factor being needed as focal lengths remain the same due to the sensor being the same size as a frame of 35mm film.

The New AF system looks very neat with a comparatively modest 9-AF points complimented by six "invisible" AF points that "help the system track moving subjects". However, being invisible, are they really there? Yes says Canon. When we get our mitts on this camera to test it properly, we'll find out.

In the mean time, other cool gear includes a large 2.5in colour screen and a nice, ergonomic control layout that will be very familiar to Canon users and simple to grasp for those picking it up for the first time. The camera also boats the same on-chip noise reduction circuitry and as found on the EOS-1Ds Mk II, this new camera's bigger brother. It is used to suppress random noise in an image and helps to illuminate "fixed-pattern" noise.

The new Picture Style pre sets look very similar to most subject program (or scene) modes that are "designed to help simplify in camera control over image quality" by helping produce JPEG files out of the camera nearer to those the photographer is expecting.

This, particularly when combined with Canon's pretty reliable DIGIC II image engine (in theory at least) reduces the amount of post processing that might be needed as well as optimizing the shots for set scene styles. These include a Standard setting (vivid photos), a Portrait selection that optimises colour and saturation, weakens sharpening for better skin rendition. There's a Landscape setting, a Neutral setting provides images designed for post processing. Faithful is just that in terms of colour matching to a scene shot at 5200K colour temperature and Monochrome, yep, for black and white photos but with a range of built in colour filter effects including yellow, orange, red and green. There are also three custom settings to create your own preferred set up if required/desired. Oh yeah, and you get another 21 customs functions to further tailor the camera to your needs.

The new colour screen is both large and contains 230 thousand pixels that should make it very sharp. File formats supported include the aforementioned JPEG (Exif 2.21) and JPEG+RAW simultaneous capture.

First Impressions

What we have here is a very highly specified machine indeed, but given its professional bent, there are a couple of surprising omissions. There's no water or dust resistance and there's no sound memo feature. While the latter is a minor omission, the former may be off putting, particularly for any professional that regularly shoots outdoors. However, given the projected pricing of the new camera of around £2540 it is still very temping, we'll just have to wait until the review sample arrives to see just how well it performs in earnest rather than the hands on look we got while at the launch.