5D Mark II Banding Problem – Why has the lord forsaken us?

It looks like the global economic crisis has struck again here at Canon. First it brought us the black dots from hell, and now it appears we’re having a banding problem with the sensor in the 5D Mark II. In addition to the black dots emails, I am now also getting a steady stream of emails from users regarding this issue with sample images. At high ISO, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this, but it appears this also happens as low as ISO 100 and ISO 200 from the samples I’ve seen.

100% crops from 3 images showing the banding/pattern issue

100% crops from 3 images showing the banding/pattern issue

This issue is currently being discussed on DPReview and Photo.net with plenty of samples posted there. From what I’ve seen so far, it appears this issue might be related to the color blotches problem other users are reporting, which seem to be visible in darker parts of pictures taken with the 5D Mark II. I haven’t been able to check this problem myself because I’ve been busy..uh… evaluating…. a Nikon D3x for the last few days (more on this later). But I want to let everyone know that I’ve been forwarding all the data to Japan, and have also been CC-ing Maeda with every email. I’ve been promised another official response in the “very near future” so let’s wait and see.

Any hope that I had left for the 5D Mark II is now completely gone. We’re fucked here at Canon, and we’ll be fucked for most of 2009 from what I see. I do wonder how it is that Nikon is able to produce such clean, sharp and smooth looking images with the 24MP sensor in the D3x. The 100% crops look incredible. And there’s none of that banding and blotchy color noise we have, not even in the shadows! How on earth are they doing it?? No wonder they’re asking $8000 for a D3x.

And like Fake Ken Rockwell has reported, I do have a D3 and recently got my D3x as well, but it’s not what you think. I actually have those cameras for …um… competitive analysis and comparisons. As you may know, it’s important to be aware of what the competition is doing, so that we may formulate an adequate response in the future. This is why you might have seen me taking pictures of Ying and Anna with a D3 when we’re out having fun. But that’s just me evaluating the competition in my own time. That’s how dedicated I am to my work here at Canon. I even fund all of this myself.

Anyway, even though the 5D Mark II seems to be having issues (as a result of the global economic crisis, of course), demand still appears to be high and many people are still waiting to receive their copy. Thomas Hawk posted a chatlog where he discusses this problem with someone from Wolf Camera. I guess you should have ordered from Amazon or Adorama, right Thomas? By the way, we’ve been absolutely enjoying your pictures here at Canon, do keep up the good work.

Ok that’s it for now. If anyone needs me, I’ll be in my office…err… evaluating… the D3x and reporting to Maeda on my findings.

20 thoughts on “5D Mark II Banding Problem – Why has the lord forsaken us?

  1. Just a few points to make here, Chuck. Let’s not forget that Nikon was not without its own share of banding issues. Don’t we remember the D200 banding problems? (I bought my D200 AFTER Nikon fixed it). But it is troubling to see a Canon sensor (of all sensors) seeing black dots AND banding.. screw-me-sideways-and-call-me-Sally… As I mentioned in previous posts, I was really interested (and still am) in seeing this 5DMkII in person. But admittedly, this is starting to really make Canon look worse than ever..(the sensor king is dead… long live the king….)

    As for the D3x, yes, perhaps the samples are turning out to be very nice indeed.. but I still don’t think it is worthy of 8 friggin’ K U.S That’s still waayy too much money. I’m personally waiting for the fabled D700x, which should compliment the D3x much like the D700 is for the D3 (with a comparible price ratio).

    Regarding you ‘funding’ the D3 / D3x research yourself… do you mean you buy these things? Or are they rented? Finally, what do you HONESTLY think about them? (Canon employee-ism aside).

    As always, keep it real, Chuck 🙂

  2. I got my 5d2, had it a few days, and even though I haven’t been able to test it properly for all those illness ppl are going on about, on those indoor shots iv shot at high ISO on Christmas tree lights and the lot, I have noticed very very small black pixels on the right of highlights, but very few and far between and barely noticeable and will definitely not affect my A3-sized prints, but definitely no banding problem.

    Im very happy with my purchase. The sharpness, clarity, dynamic range of the low ISO images is apparent, and the prime reason why I bought this cam together with the fact its my first full frame sensor and wonna make the most of my L-lenses 🙂

    Congrats on ur site btw, very informative and humorous keep it up 🙂

    • I have read your comments.

      Last April 2009, I found out that the Horizontal Banding on JPG and RAW is noticeable on ISO H1 and H2, in a dark situation and on Indoor with normal lighting this banding can also be found.

      Kindly, let me know your email address so I can forward the test and result we made with Canon Philippines Tech Representative.

      Best regards.

  3. Lani Kai Says:

    Well, at least the 5D Mark II can shoot 14-bit faster than the D3x’s 1.8fps, right?

    LOL, I would rather get that 1.8 fps which can produce excellent photos rather than fast yet problematic (banding and blackdots). OMG where the hell is your brain?

  4. Mr. Marlboro,

    Please keep this coming. This is what keep Mr. Fake Chuke alive. That is the reason why he shoots the 5DII ever since it comes out and shoots only with the D3 and D3x, LOL. But very unfortunately, people everywhere are just buying the 5DII as soon as stock is replenished despite these problematic issues. I agree that where the hell are these Canon fans brains, despite Mr. Fake Chuke’s painstaking effort to warn people of the issues. I guess he is hoping that the Nikon fans will do likewise with the D3x. In the meantime, he is probably figuring out how to put the D3x’s 52 AF points to use with the 1.8 fps so that he can tell the Canon Tech people how to copy this great technology.

    Mr. Fake

  5. boomstick:

    I buy my Nikon gear myself. I can’t expect Canon to do it for me, especially not since I am .. uh.. analysing… the gear in my own time. The D3 and D3x are good tools. But nothing we can’t come up with ourselves in the future. In the mean time though, I’ll be happy to keep doing my competitive analysis on the D3 and D3x.


    I saw that. She even called the Nikon a beast! The nerve of them! Expect an official comment from Canon on this issue in the very near future.

  6. Yeah, I recently discovered this happening to me too.. iso 100 – 200.. unbelievable.. I hope this is fixable with firmware, rather than Canon telling us that if you don’t like the banding problem, then you need to upgrade to the 1DsMkIII…. hence the reason it costs so damn much!

    ….back to the 5D bodies.. I’m glad I didn’t sell them off..


  7. I remember the banding issues with the 20d and it was fixed with firmware so there is always hope. Now about that 5d MK II supply problem, do you think a firmware issue will fix that?

  8. We love being bullshit beta testers for bullshit Canon.
    What a ripp off.
    Fucking banding, black dots and what have you.
    You owe me big time Canon.

  9. Pingback: Karel Donk » Blog Archive » Canon EOS 5D Mark II: Barely worth it!

  10. if only digic will ever be 16 bit….

    canon fanboys didn’t notice that d3x is 16bit processing (like all high-end recent nikons), not 14bit like all canons. if you need 14bit thru 16bit cpu then you don’t need 5fps.

    but then again… fanboys are just fanboys, not people with brain

  11. Dear all,

    I got my 5D Mark II last February. Last month, I discovered a vertical line on the dark portion of pictures when ISO is set to H1 and H2.

    I informed Canon Philippines, I was told that their Hongkong office that this problem is normal for ISO H1 and H2, which I am still waiting.

    For sample of pictures, please send me an e-mail to exadidas@gmail.com.

    If you have the same problem with your 5D Mark II, kindly share with us.

    Best regards.


  12. 5D Mark II Horizontal Banding on ISO 12,800 (H1) and 25,600 (H2)

    I accidentally discovered last April 2009 that my unit has this Horizontal Banding, even the unit in Canon Philippines and my friend newly bought 5DM2 has this problem.

    Canon Phils representative made a rigid testing using their camera and my camera. If you are interested to see the testings and results please send me an e-mail (exadidas@gmail.com).

    My firware was already changed to 1.10, SO THIS IS REALLY NEW PROBLEM.



  13. Pingback: I’m being followed by Nikon USA « Fake Chuck Westfall

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