Canon 5D Mark II Real life Experience Review

Wow, the Canon 5D Mark II (kit with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM) is an unbelievable camera and I strongly encourage everyone to take a look at this camera. According to dxomark, http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/eng/DxOMark-Sensor the 5D2 is rank 4th among some very expensive cameras. Based on it score, I believe the 5D2 is a much better deal.

Now to be honest with you all, I don’t consider myself a professional photographer, but rather it just a hobby of mine. I have read many of the reviews and many of the comparisons between other cameras and I have to say my 3 weeks of experience with this camera certainly lines well with the reviews. I have no real way to compare the 5D2 with any of the more interesting camera such as the Canon 50D, 1D3, or the Nikon D3. There are plenty of other reviews available that covers this angle of the 5D2 story. I have not seen much real life reviews of the camera, so I figure I take this opportunity to write a review based on real life conditions. To put things in the proper context, I am upgrading from the Canon EOS Rebel XT. I had considered upgrading to the 40D, but I felt that it was not enough bang for me to upgrade. The Canon 5D Mark II offered the bang I was looking to achieve and I truly believe it was worth every penny. Continue reading Canon 5D Mark II Real life Experience Review

Nikon D3x On The Verge Of Release?

I happen to see this post on Engadget about Nikon outing itself with the new D3x. There’s nothing too shocking from the specs, 24.5 megapixel CMOS sensor in the same body. Sounds like the newly released Sony sensor that they are using in their Sony Alpha A900 will also be in the D3x. Here are some quick specs:

  • 24.5 megapixel in a 35.9 x 24 mm CMOS sensor
  • 16-bit EXPEED system
  • 5.0 frames-per-second in it’s full size mode, and 7 frames-per-second in a cropped 10 megapixel mode (I guess they want to encourage people who need the extra 2 frames-per-second to purchase the D3)
  • ISO 50-6400, which I’m guessing means that, like the Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III (highest ISO is 3200), this dSLR is not intended for low light situations as with the D3 is. There doesn’t seem to be any mention of any higher ISO range such as 12,800 or 25,600.
  • Same 3 inch 922,000 LCD
  • Live View
  • 12ms startup time with a 41ms shutter lag
  • Dual Compact Flash slots capable of 35MB/second write times

For pictures of the Nikon Pro magazine and how the D3x stacks up against the Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III, click in to read more. Continue reading Nikon D3x On The Verge Of Release?

How To Install Canon E1 Hand Strap

This is for those who are curious as to how to install the Canon E1 hand strap onto their Canon EOS 1D, 1D Mark II, 1D Mark IIn, 1Ds, 1Ds Mark II, 1D Mark III, 1Ds Mark III, 5D with BG-E4 grip, 20D/30D/40D/50D with battery grip.

e1_hand_strap

The Latest Addition To My Photography Gear: The Amazing 1Ds Mark II

For a $4,000 difference between the 1D, the 1Ds' lettering is gold plated.
For a $4,000 difference between the 1D, the 1Ds emblems are gold plated

Sooo, if you’ve been following me on Twitter, you may have noticed my mention of a “new toy”. Well, the wait’s over, my new toy is a camera. Not any camera, but Canon’s top-top of the line, the much sought after and highly desired Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II. Up until August 2007, it had been the highest megapixel camera for a full frame (or even cropped sensors) 35mm digital sensor. Introduced in September 2004, it took the photography world by storm offering the most megapixel at the time in a full frame sensor. The Canon EOS 1Ds (mark I) was the first dSLR to feature a full frame sensor with the Kodak DCN-14n following suite.

All this for only eight thousand dollars ($8,000). So, yea. Quite out of reach even for many professionals photographers. Continue reading The Latest Addition To My Photography Gear: The Amazing 1Ds Mark II

Canon Field Workshop

I originally had learned about this Canon sponsored workshop from the past COBA meeting when Jim Rose had came to our class to speak about Canon Professional Services (CPS). The class, led primarily by nature/landscape photographer Jennifer Wu, is about tips and tricks for taking great nature and landscape photos.

The class was quite informative with quite a bit of hands-on tuition from Jennifer. We met at Keeble & Shuchat Photography at 11:00 AM and had a one hour introduction by Jennifer including some information from Jim Rose. Afterward, the group of fifteen broke up and had lunch at Mollie Stone nearby. The plan was meet at Pescadero (Half Moon Bay) at 3:00 PM.

Most of us commuted with each other as a precaution because parking can be some what difficult on a weekend. Jim Rose (Senior Professional Market Specialist for Field Market Support), David Carlson (newly promoted National Manager for the Canon Field Market Support), and Adam I-can’t-spell-his-last name (Canon’s Liaison Rep to stores like Keeble & Shuchat) from Canon brought out thirty something Canon L lenses for us to use and try. I had an excellent opportunity to try many lenses including Canon’s new $12,000 800mm f/5.6L IS USM lens, 500mm f/4L IS USM, 400mm f/4 DO IS USM, 300mm f/2.8L IS USM, and a bunch of other telephoto lenses. Jim also brought a pre-production Canon EOS 50D with the new Canon EF 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens. They both garnered good comments. I think the 50D will do well. I had also an opportunity to use Adam’s personal work camera, the 1D Mark 3, which was great. The entire event lasted for some five hours. The weather wasn’t great, but I’m sure a lot of people still got some great shots. Me, being the “people” photographer, spent most of my time shooting people. The cost for this very informative class was $49.

Canon EOS 5D Mark II Finally Released

Long, long overdue, Canon has announced it’s follow up successor to the aging Canon EOS 5D with the new Canon EOS 5D Mark II. It’s certainly exciting considering that Nikon has been one (two, three) upping Canon consistently the past year or so. What are the specs? Continue reading Canon EOS 5D Mark II Finally Released

Canon L Series Lenses

This was a free two hour class offered by Canon and Keeble & Shuchat with Jennifer Wu about Canon’s L lenses by Jim Rose and nature photography tips from Jennifer. I originally heard about this from Jim when he came to COBA to discuss about CPS membership. As an added treat, Canon brought twenty four L lenses, including the Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM and the Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM, and five bodies (three 1D Mark IIIs, one 1Ds Mark III, one Canon XSi, and a Canon EOS 5D) for everyone to try. Also Jim brought a pre-production Canon EOS 50D with the new Canon EF 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS zoom lens. Continue reading Canon L Series Lenses

Say Hello To The New Canon EOS 50D

After months of agonizing wait, hoping that Canon hasn’t lost it’s way, they have now announced a new SLR body: the Canon EOS 50D, the 40D’s replacement. It looks very similar to the Canon EOS 40D except they really went all out this time and made it a camera that *hopefully* will finally start competing strongly against Nikon again. Continue reading Say Hello To The New Canon EOS 50D

Canon EOS 1D Review

Joe Schmo: Hey that’s a very professional looking camera there!
Me: Thank you, yes it is.
Joe Schmo: How many megapixels is it?
Me: 4.
Joe Schmo: Wow 40?!
Me: No, 4 megapixels total.
Joe Schmo: That doesn’t sound very professional at all. My little point and shoot has 12 megapixels! I think you overpaid for that thing. Continue reading Canon EOS 1D Review

Canon EOS 5D Digital SLR

Introduction

2006-09-17 - Canon 5D - 005The Canon EOS 5D is pretty much about as professional of an digital SLR as you can get. It is one of the few full-frame sensor digital SLRs on the market. It feels very well built and handles like a charm. Plus a CMOS sensor of 12.8 megapixels definitely make for a lot of pixel details, so on paper it sounds quite promising, so how does it shape up in the field and in reality?

First, I must say I’m a bit biased against full-frame SLRs. I know there are a number of people who relish the fact that there are now a couple SLRs (both Canon) that are full-frame sensors similar to the ones found on film cameras. So what are the advantages of a full-frame sensor?

Advantages

  1. The focal length of the lens attached to a full-frame slr, such as the Canon EOS 5D, is precise versus the same lens being attached on a smaller sensor that results in a crop factor. So if I was to attach a 24mm focal length lens on a full-frame slr, it is precisely 24mm. But if I was to take that same 24mm focal length lens and attach it to, say an Canon EOS Rebel XTi/400D, the 24mm focal length becomes ~38.4mm because of the 1.6x crop factor.
  2. Bigger sensor will resolve higher quality because there is more surface area to gather more light. And in relation to how closely or loosely packed the pixels are on a given sensor, there will be less noise on a full-frame slr versus a non full-frame slr given the same amount of megapixels.
  3. Lower noise. This relates to #2, with a bigger sensor that can gather more light because of its larger surface area, less amplification is needed to boost signal thereby producing lower pixel noise.

Disadvantages

  1. Cost is considerably higher. More raw materials are needed to produce a larger sensor and a larger body is necessary to house a larger sensor.
  2. The weaknesses in cheaper and poorly produced lenses are much more apparent and blaring.
  3. Similar issues with the full-frame film sensors: vignetting and softness in the corners.

So what are my thoughts after using the Canon EOS 5D for two weeks so far (which I must warn is no where near enough time to get an accurate feel)?

Weight and Dimension

2006-09-17 - Canon 5D - 007The Canon EOS 5D is definitely not a light digital SLR. It weighs 810g (892g with the battery), which is about 1.78 pounds. It is quite large in your hands, not quite as large as the Canon EOS 1D line, but definitely bigger than the Canon EOS 20D/30D and hugely bigger than the Canon EOS Digital Rebel line. The exact dimensions are 6.0 x 4.4 x 3.0 inches. Because of the huge grip, it is comfortable to hold and use.

Construction

Much like its younger brothers, the Canon EOS 20D/30D, the entire body is made up of magnesium alloy right down to the EF mount. It is not weather sealed, unlike its bigger brother, the 1D line.

In the tradition of professional level SLR, there is no built on pop-up flash (partly due to the huge viewfinder), so an external flash unit would have to be used. The buttons are slightly different than the Canon EOS 20D/30D. The four buttons (Menu, Info, Jump, and Preview) that are left of the 2.5″ LCD is slightly raised higher than on the Canon EOS 30D. The On/Off switch is also more pronounced. The two buttons on the back upper right hand side is also different than the 30D. The Auto Exposure Lock/Zoom Out button is larger than the Zoom in button whereas on the 30D, it is the reverse being that the Auto Exposure Lock/Zoom Out button is larger and the other is smaller. And the final major difference is the jog dial doesn’t have the Picture Style selection that the 30D has.

Field Test

It’s definitely wild to be able to have a wide angle lens really be a wide angle lens. My walk around lens, the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM is amazingly wide allowing me to capture more than I was able to capture before. The catch-22 to having no a full-frame sensor is that while my lenses are all now wider like it should be, I don’t have the same focal crop I had before. At times I am finding the 70mm focal length on my walk around lens to be lacking that extra little field of view I used to have with my Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi/400D. I find myself switching lenses back and forth more often with my Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM.

2006-09-17 - Canon 5D - 001I also do find that both my lenses are better counter-balanced on the Canon EOS 5D because of its weight than when the two lenses were mounted on my XTi. I don’t find my trigger finger and hand to be as sore because I’m not having to support all the lens weight through the smaller grip. I do find myself garnering more attention these days because everything looks so big now. Before the lens was intimidating for people, but with the 5D now, everyone is just surprised by the sheer size.

Having the extra megapixelage is quite nice. It allows for some amazing crops that I could never have achieved with my Nikon D100. While the Canon EOS 5D only has a 2.8 megapixel advantage over the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi/400D, the differences in the pictures is quite evident. This also further proves that megapixels do not mean everything. I would have personally preferred a faster burst rate (3 frames-per-second), but it has the highest buffer of all the other Canon dSLRs, except for the Canon 1D Mark III, with 60 JPEGs. The XTi could only manage 27 JPEGs at best before slowing down to 1 frame-per-second. The 3fps is quite adequate for most and many occasions, but having an additional 2fps would be great for sports photography.

The ISO noise suppression on the 5D is amazing. When I have to use ISO 800, there is less noise in the pictures than my Canon EOS Rebel XTi/400D at the same ISO level. ISO 800 on the Canon EOS 5D looks equivalent to the XTi/400D’s ISO 400.

Final Thoughts

The Canon EOS 5D is very, very nice, but I wouldn’t buy it. It is three times as much as my XTi/400D and double the price of the Canon EOS 30D, but doesn’t offer enough over the 30D and the XTi/400D to be worth it. But then again the 5D is a very specific niche dslr. It has a full-frame CMOS sensor at about a third the cost of the Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II with a few less megapixels also. I would rather spend the extra $200 and purchase the Canon EOS 1D Mark IIn or Mark III over the 5D. But if you need full-frame and top notch ISO noise control, then the Canon EOS 5D is your choice. Full-frame is nice, especially when you need wide angle, but I personally need more reach than I need wide and the 1.3x crop factor of the 1D is a good compromise between full-frame and 1.6x crop factor.

[rating:4]