Canon 5D Mark II vs XT
The Canon EOS 5D Mark II and the Canon EOS Rebel XT (labelled Canon 350D in some countries) are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2008 and February 2005. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on a full frame (5D Mark II) and an APS-C (XT) sensor. The 5D Mark II has a resolution of 21 megapixels, whereas the XT provides 8 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 5D Mark II and the Canon EOS Rebel XT? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon 5D Mark II and the Canon XT. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The XT can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the 5D Mark II is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon XT is considerably smaller (31 percent) than the Canon 5D Mark II. Moreover, the XT is substantially lighter (36 percent) than the 5D Mark II. It is worth mentioning in this context that the 5D Mark II is splash and dust resistant, while the XT does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. A larger imaging sensor (as in the 5D Mark II) will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, while more compact options are available for the smaller-sensor camera (XT). You can compare the optics available in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Canon 5D Mark II||152 mm||114 mm||75 mm||850 g||850||Y||Sep 2008||3,499|
|2.||Canon XT||127 mm||94 mm||64 mm||540 g||400||n||Feb 2005||899|
|3.||Canon 77D||131 mm||100 mm||76 mm||540 g||600||n||Feb 2017||899|
|4.||Canon 1D X Mark II||158 mm||168 mm||83 mm||1530 g||1210||Y||Feb 2016||5,999|
|5.||Canon 5D Mark IV||151 mm||116 mm||76 mm||890 g||900||Y||Aug 2016||3,499|
|6.||Canon 5DS||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|7.||Canon 5DS R||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|8.||Canon T6i||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||555 g||440||n||Feb 2015||749|
|9.||Canon T6s||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||565 g||440||n||Feb 2015||649|
|10.||Canon 5D Mark III||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||950 g||950||Y||Mar 2012||3,499|
|11.||Canon 6D||145 mm||111 mm||71 mm||770 g||1090||Y||Sep 2012||2,099|
|12.||Canon 1D X||158 mm||168 mm||83 mm||1551 g||1120||Y||Oct 2011||6,799|
|13.||Canon 7D||148 mm||111 mm||74 mm||860 g||800||Y||Sep 2009||1,699|
|14.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||150 mm||160 mm||80 mm||1385 g||1800||Y||Aug 2007||7,999|
|15.||Canon XTi||127 mm||84 mm||65 mm||556 g||370||n||Aug 2006||799|
|16.||Canon 5D||152 mm||113 mm||75 mm||895 g||400||Y||Aug 2005||3,299|
|17.||Canon Rebel||142 mm||99 mm||72 mm||649 g||400||n||Aug 2003||899|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The XT was launched at a markedly lower price (by 74 percent) than the 5D Mark II, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 5D Mark II features a full frame sensor and the Canon XT an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the XT is 62 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 1.6. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
In terms of chip-set technology, the 5D Mark II uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 4) than the XT (DIGIC II), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
With 21MP, the 5D Mark II offers a higher resolution than the XT (8MP), but the 5D Mark II nevertheless has the same individual pixel size (pixel pitch of 6.41μm) as the XT due to its larger sensor. It is noteworthy in this context that the 5D Mark II is a mch more recent model (by 3 years and 7 months) than the XT, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
The resolution advantage of the Canon 5D Mark II implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the 5D Mark II for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 28.1 x 18.7 inches or 71.3 x 47.5 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 22.5 x 15 inches or 57.1 x 38 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.7 x 12.5 inches or 47.5 x 31.7 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon XT are 17.3 x 11.5 inches or 43.9 x 29.3 cm for good quality, 13.8 x 9.2 inches or 35.1 x 23.4 cm for very good quality, and 11.5 x 7.7 inches or 29.3 x 19.5 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon EOS 5D Mark II has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 50-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS Rebel XT are ISO 100 to ISO 1600 (no boost).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under review, the 5D Mark II provides substantially higher image quality than the XT, with an overall score that is 19 points higher. This advantage is based on 1.9 bits higher color depth, 1.1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.5 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|1.||Canon 5D Mark II||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||1080/30p||23.7||11.9||1815||79|
|4.||Canon 1D X Mark II||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||4K/60p||24.1||13.5||3207||88|
|5.||Canon 5D Mark IV||Full Frame||30.1||6720||4480||4K/30p||24.8||13.6||2995||91|
|6.||Canon 5DS||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.7||12.4||2381||87|
|7.||Canon 5DS R||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.6||12.4||2308||86|
|10.||Canon 5D Mark III||Full Frame||22.1||5760||3840||1080/30p||24.0||11.7||2293||81|
|11.||Canon 6D||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||23.8||12.1||2340||82|
|12.||Canon 1D X||Full Frame||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||23.8||11.8||2786||82|
|14.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||none||24.0||12.0||1663||80|
|16.||Canon 5D||Full Frame||12.7||4368||2912||none||22.9||11.1||1368||71|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The 5D Mark II indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the XT does not. The highest resolution format that the 5D Mark II can use is 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 5D Mark II and the XT are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinder in the 5D Mark II offers a wider field of view (98%) than the one in the XT (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the 5D Mark II has a higher magnification (0.71x vs 0.49x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon 5D Mark II and Canon XT in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Canon 5D Mark II||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.9||n||n|
|2.||Canon XT||optical||n||1.8 / 115||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|3.||Canon 77D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n|
|4.||Canon 1D X Mark II||optical||Y||3.2 / 1620||fixed||Y||1/8000s||16.0||n||n|
|5.||Canon 5D Mark IV||optical||Y||3.2 / 1620||fixed||Y||1/8000s||7.0||n||n|
|6.||Canon 5DS||optical||Y||3.2 / 1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
|7.||Canon 5DS R||optical||Y||3.2 / 1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
|8.||Canon T6i||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|9.||Canon T6s||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|10.||Canon 5D Mark III||optical||Y||3.2 / 1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0||n||n|
|11.||Canon 6D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.5||n||n|
|12.||Canon 1D X||optical||Y||3.2 / 1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||14.0||n||n|
|13.||Canon 7D||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.0||Y||n|
|14.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||optical||Y||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
|15.||Canon XTi||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|16.||Canon 5D||optical||Y||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0||n||n|
|17.||Canon Rebel||optical||n||1.8 / 118||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n|
One feature that is present on the 5D Mark II, but is missing on the XT is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the 5D Mark II and the XT write their files to Compact Flash cards.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Canon EOS Rebel XT and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon 5D Mark II||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Canon XT||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon 77D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon 1D X Mark II||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Canon 5D Mark IV||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||Y||-|
|6.||Canon 5DS||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Canon 5DS R||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Canon T6i||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|9.||Canon T6s||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|10.||Canon 5D Mark III||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Canon 6D||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|12.||Canon 1D X||Y||mono / -||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Canon 7D||Y||mono / -||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||Y||mono / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Canon XTi||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Canon 5D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Canon Rebel||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 5D Mark II (unlike the XT) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the 5D Mark II and the XT have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The XT was replaced by the Canon Xti, while the 5D Mark II was followed by the Canon 5D Mark III. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon website.
So how do things add up? Is the Canon 5D Mark II better than the Canon XT or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS 5D Mark II:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (21 vs 8MP) with a 62% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (19 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.9 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1.1 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.5 stops ISO advantage).
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 4 vs DIGIC II).
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/30p movies.
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (98% vs 95%).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.71x vs 0.49x).
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 1.8") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 115k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3.9 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (850 versus 400) on a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- More modern: Reflects 3 years and 7 months of technical progress since the XT launch.
Advantages of the Canon EOS Rebel XT:
- More compact: Is smaller (127x94mm vs 152x114mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 310g or 36 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (74 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in February 2005).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 5D Mark II is the clear winner of the match-up (18 : 5 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 5D Mark II and the Canon XT place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the 5D Mark II or the XT perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Canon 5D Mark II||4/5||91/100||..||79/100||4/5||..||Sep 2008||3,499|
|2.||Canon XT||..||80/100||..||+ +||o||..||Feb 2005||899|
|3.||Canon 77D||4.5/5||..||4/5||82/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||899|
|4.||Canon 1D X Mark II||..||..||4.5/5||89/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||5,999|
|5.||Canon 5D Mark IV||4.5/5||+ +||4/5||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2016||3,499|
|6.||Canon 5DS||..||+||..||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|7.||Canon 5DS R||5/5||+||..||83/100||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|8.||Canon T6i||5/5||..||..||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||749|
|9.||Canon T6s||5/5||+||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||649|
|10.||Canon 5D Mark III||..||+ +||..||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2012||3,499|
|11.||Canon 6D||5/5||+ +||..||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099|
|12.||Canon 1D X||5/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2011||6,799|
|13.||Canon 7D||5/5||+ +||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2009||1,699|
|14.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||..||..||..||+ +||4.5/5||..||Aug 2007||7,999|
|15.||Canon XTi||..||+ +||..||+ +||o||4/5||Aug 2006||799|
|16.||Canon 5D||..||88/100||..||+ +||o||..||Aug 2005||3,299|
|17.||Canon Rebel||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Aug 2003||899|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Canon 5D Mark II vs Canon XT
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Canon 5D Mark II||Canon XT|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Canon EF mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2008||February 2005|
|Launch Price||USD 3,499||USD 899|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 5D Mark II||Canon XT|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||36.0 x 24.0 mm||22.2 x 14.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||864 mm2||328.56 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.3 mm||26.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||21 Megapixels||8 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5616 x 3744 pixels||3456 x 2304 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||6.41 μm||6.41 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.43 MP/cm2||2.42 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 6,400 ISO||100 - 1,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 25,600 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 4||DIGIC II|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||79||60|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||23.7||21.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.9||10.8|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1815||637|
|Screen Specs||Canon 5D Mark II||Canon XT|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||98%||95%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||1.8inch|
|LCD Resolution||920k dots||115k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 5D Mark II||Canon XT|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||3.9 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||150 000 actuations||50 000 actuations|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||CF cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 5D Mark II||Canon XT|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||no HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon 5D Mark II||Canon XT|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||850 shots per charge||400 shots per charge|
152 x 114 x 75 mm
(6.0 x 4.5 x 3.0 in)
127 x 94 x 64 mm
(5.0 x 3.7 x 2.5 in)
|Camera Weight||850 g (30.0 oz)||540 g (19.0 oz)|
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