COBA: 5D Mark II with Jim Rose, Political Photography Part II: Jared Polis, and What Would You Invent?

Today was a real treat, we were visited by Canon Senior Professional Market Specialist for Field Market Support Jim Rose with the much anticipated Canon EOS 5D Mark II.

Canon EOS 5D Mark II

Let’s answer the big question on everyone’s mind:

This is the best camera Canon has every built. Jim Rose

I got the opportunity to play with the 5D Mark II and photograph with it. Long story short: it is very much worth the wait. It may seem arrogant and perhaps even premature to say, but I do believe the new 5D Mark II will reestablish Canon as the market leader. This couldn’t have come at a better time after the focus issues with the 1D Mark III and 1Ds Mark III has caused a lot of headache and bad blood between Canon and Canon loyalists, but the 5D Mark II brings some light to what has been a very dark tunnel of despair.

On paper, the 5D Mark II sounds very impressive: 21.1 MP, UDMA support, 1080p HD video, ISO up to 25,600, a 3 inch LCD with 922,000 pixel resolution for about the same price as the 5D Mark I when it was first introduced. In my hands, it is very well constructed and feels quite solid, but not quite the same build quality and durability as the 1D/1Ds series bodies as others have mentioned.

Jim Rose was discussing how low noise is at ISO 6400 and when the staff photographers at San Francisco Chronicle (they have two on order BTW) saw the images at ISO 6400, their jaws dropped. Jim was discussing how even George Lepp (of the famous Lepp Institute of Digital Imaging) was very impressed and said that ISO 6400 on the 5D Mark II is very usable. That’s a very nice seal of approval. At ISO 12,800 things start getting a bit noisy, but not terribly bad. By ISO 25,600, things are quite noticeable noisy, but if this is the only way to get a shot, it is still usable. According to Jim (not Canon’s official stance), ISO 3200 on the 5D Mark II is comparable to ISO 800 on the 5D. I was allowed to fire off some shots on my memory card with the 5D Mark II and the images are very nice with very low noise. Unfortunately, despite being a production camera and not a prototype, I am not able to publicly post the pictures at the time (they are posted but password protected but I’ll remove the password after the 5D Mark II starts shipping).

The 1080p HD video feature of the 5D Mark II is very, very nice. You can record up to 12 minutes of video and take stills while recording. How that works is while you are recording, you just press the shutter button as you would if you were taking a picture and it will pause the recording, take the picture (or pictures) and then resume recording. You lose half a second of video for each photo taken during recording. So if you are recording a video and three minutes into recording, you snap a picture, half a second later the recording will resume resulting in a single file, and not split video files with the thirty second skip where the photograph was taken. Very cool! Also Canon recommends that you prefocus before you start recording although you can auto focus while recording (by pressing the AF-On button), it is very slow because it uses the Live View contrast detection auto focus. Another thing to note is that you can only record videos in Aperture priority mode. You select the aperture, the camera will select a shutter speed and auto set the ISO to maintain a constant consistent shutter speed. You can also dial exposure two stops up or down. You also need a UDMA card to take full advantage of the HD video recording.

The back LCD is stunning and breath taking. At 3.0 inches with 922,000 pixel resolution, checking for sharpness has become so much easier. The images displayed on the LCD are very stunning. Also the viewfinder has been redesigned and is definitely brighter than my Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II viewfinder.

Jim has been with Canon for more than eight years, since the start of megapixels (i.e. Canon D30) and this is the first camera that he is really excited about and believes that it is “going to re-energize Canon”. Jim also speculated on the 1D/1Ds line as it was asked about it’s future considering that Nikon has moved in full frame, which I won’t post as it is all speculation. Jim also mentioned the 5D Mark II should sell very, very well considering how many people want the ultimate in megapixels but couldn’t afford or justify the cost of the Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III. This is certainly a good thing because I think the Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III, while is a spectacular SLR, it is not worth $8,000. It’s worth $5,000 and that is where they are selling used for now (and in some cases even less). Once the new Nikon D3x is released and priced around $5,000, I’m sure Canon will no longer be able to justify pricing the 1Ds at $8,000.

So is it worth it? Yes. Am I getting one? No. I’m waiting for the the new Canon EOS 1Ds Mark IV. I love the ruggedness, durability, and auto focus. Adam Tow is thinking of downgrading from his Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II and Canon EOS 1D Mark II to two Canon EOS 5D Mark II because of the size and the HD video options.

Other little tidbits: there are seventy eight Explorers of Light and Printmasters, of which Vincent LaForet, Joe Buissink and George Lepp are members. Jim Rose does in fact read

I also forgot to mention:

Adobe CS3 DOES NOT support Canon EOS 5D Mark II RAW files. It also appears that there will NOT be an update for CS3 to fix this and you have to either buy CS4 or convert the Canon RAW to DNG.

The shutter on the 5D Mark II is very, very quiet. I was quite shocked, it sounded almost 25% quieter than my 1Ds Mark II.

Political Photography Part II: Jared Polis

Adam and his wife, Rae, went to Colorado to photograph the last week of his high school friend’s campaign for Congressional seat in Colorado District 2 before the elections. Jared Polis is an internet entrepreneur having started Blue Mountain, ProFlowers, and Fuser which he sold all off during the height of the dot com boom making millions. Jared is also founder of the New America Charter Schools. Jared has been campaigning for a year and half for this two year term. Adam spent a week following Jared around as he campaigned at Park-N-Rides, Honk and Waves, Meetings, Halloween and Farmer’s Market, Canvassing, and finally Election Day.

Adam packed his Canon EOS 1D Mark II and Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II with the following other items: Canon EF 28-70mm f/2.8L USM, Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM, Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM, Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L USM, Canon 1.4x Extender, Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM, Canon Speedlite 550EX, and a Gary Fong Lightsphere. He found he was primarily using the 28-70mm on his 1Ds Mark II and 135mm on his 1D Mark II.

Adam’s daily workflow:

  1. Shoot in the morning
  2. Select, rate, process in Apple Aperture 2 and upload photos to SmugMug
  3. Recharge batteries
  4. Shoot in the evening
  5. Repeat steps 2 and 3

Reason Adam does the post processing in the afternoon rather than the evening is he figured he wouldn’t do it in the evening.

Jared Polis won the Congressional District 2 seat with 60% of the vote. To see Adam’s pictures, you can visit his SmugMug here.


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COBA Meeting: Political Photography, Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Photokina Wrapup

The latest Camera Owners of the Bay Area (COBA) took place Wednesday, October 8 at the usual place in Stanford University at Condura Hall 100. The topic of discussion were Photokina Wrap Up, Political Photography with guest speaker Mona T. Brooks, and the Canon EOS 5D Mark II. Jim Rose (Canon Senior Professional Market Specialist for Field Market Support) was slated to appear with a pre-production copy of the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, but turns out that there are very, very few pre-productions available and Jim wasn’t one of the lucky ones to have one. Continue reading COBA Meeting: Political Photography, Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Photokina Wrapup

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 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

CPS Loan Program FAQ

This is a verbatim reprint of a 2 sheet FAQ passed out by Jim Rose at the August 13 COBA meeting titled CPS Loan Program Frequently Asked Procedural Questions.

Q. What is the purpose of the Canon Professional Services Program and can anybody become a member?

A. Canon U.S.A., Inc. offers benefits program designed for professional photographers. CPS offer members the opportunity to borrow equipment on a short term basis for evaluation prior to purchase. Additionally, expedited CPS Pro Rush Service provides a 3-5 day turnaround time for members in good standing with a valid CPS Number. Membership is renewable every two years.

Q. What constitutes a professional photographer?

A. professional photographer is defined as someone who derives at least 51% of his or her annual income from photography.

Q. I qualify as a professional photographer. How do I become a CPS member?

A. Email or call for a CPS Membership Introduction Package. Fill out and sign the CPS Membership Application and Member Information form. Return both along with all required credentials. Credentials are required by CPS to substantiate your professional status so they we may offer priority service for professionals whose livelihood depends on their Canon equipment. Every application is considered on a case by case basis. Please allow two to four weeks for processing. Once your application is approved, you will recieve a “Welcome Packet” contained a certified CPS Membership Card with your CPS Number, as well as, supplemental CPS information.

Q. How do I borrow equipment from CPS?

A. You may request a loan by emailing or calling CPS in New York at least two weeks in advance. All loans are issued on a first-come, first-served basis, usually 14 days including shipping time. Please realize that often the demand for loan equipment is greater than supply. Canon’s intention is to accommodate as many photographers as possible. Therefore, it may be necessary to limit the amount of equipment, duration and frequency of loans requested. CPS staff members will determine when a specific item is available and will communicate the loan date period prior to shipment. There is usually a two to four week waiting list. In the unfortunate event that your equipment is lost, stolen or will be delayed in the Service Center, CPS will attempt to provide emergency back-up equipment on a short-term loan basis. The CPS program is not to be used for the permanent replacement of personal photographic equipment.

Q. How often may I borrow a particular item?

A. We have a limit on the number of times you can borrow the same piece of equipment. Canon feels that if you have had the opportunity to try the equipment on two separate occasions, you should be able to make a decision as to whether or not it is suitable for your needs. This is primarily a Try Before You Buy program. Do Not rely on our equipment to be available on a specific date for your assignment. Our computerized “member history” monitors your loans. We do, however, permit you to try other items in our inventory.

Q. Can I borrow equipment to cover my assignments?

A. Equipment loans are on a first-come, first-served basis and are subject to availability. CPS Staff will determine the loan period of the item you are requesting. In the event that loan period coincides with your assignment, CPS suggests that you back yourself up with your own equipment. Although we do all we can to keep out equipment functioning properly, it is borrowed and used extensively. C.P.S. and Canon U.S.A., Inc. will not be responsible for lost images or revenue due to the malfunction of borrowed equipment.

Q. Who is responsible for the borrowed equipment and accessories?

A. According to the Loan Agreement, the CPS Member is responsible for all cameras, lenses and accessories borrowed including, but not limited to caps, straps, hoods, cases, covers, batteries, cables, etc… . CPS equipment sent to you includes all appropriate accessories. Damage to/or loss of any item while in your possession will be charged back to you. Insurance on borrowed equipment is the CPS Member’s responsibility! In addition, the CPS Member is solely responsible for covering the cost of the return shipment to Canon CPS Headquarters in Lake Success, New York. The FedEx Two-Day Economy shipment to you is covered by Canon.

Q. Can I call CPS to request a loan at any time during the year?

A. CPS tries to maintain a pool of available loan equipment that is sufficient to cover your emergency needs. However, there are several times during the year when major events are taking place and certain loan equipment might be unavailable. Please understand that you may not be able to get the loan equipment you want during this time period although we make every effort to accommodate you.

Q. When on location at an event, may I borrow Canon CPS cameras and lenses?

A. CPS is present at many events throughout the year with professional equipment avaialble for loan. Please be aware, though, that the loan program is designed to let CPS Members test various products prior to purchase. CPS will provide loaner cameras adn lenses during preliminaries. On the actual event day, however, we will only supply additional lenses to supplement your exisiting equipment and emergency backup cameras to cover your repairs.

Q. Should I contact CPS with my change of address?

A. For your own protection, we require you send change of address to CPS by email, in writing, or by fax. Include your signature and CPS Number. This eliminates the possibility of someone else calling with your name and giving us their address for shipping purposes.

Q. Is it possible to buy used Canon photo equipment from the CPS program?

A. No, Canon does not sell directly to the end user whether the equipment is brand new or used. Although, Canon occasionally offers rebate programs, CPS can not offer additional discounts.

Q. How do I renew my CPS membership?

A. Prior to the expiration of your one year membership term, you will automatically be sent a renewal Membership Application and full instructions. Return all requested materials as soon as possible to substantiate your continuing professional status. When your application is approved, you will be sent a new “Welcome Packet” including a new CPS Membership Card and supplemental CPS information. Your membership will then continue without interruption. If you do not receive one, contact

Q. If I need technical information or advice regarding use of my Canon equipment who should I call?

A. Canon has Regional Offices across the U.S. The Canon Professional Markets Representative from your local region will be able to assist you. Although our Canon Reps travel frequently, please email your Rep first and leave a detailed message. They will respond as soon as possible. If you need immediate assistance, you may contact the Technology Information Department in New York.

To Obtain A CPS Membership Introduction Package

Email:, or call 516-328-4283, or fax 516-327-2166, or write to

Consumer Imaging Group
Canon U.S.A. Inc.
Lake Success, New York 11042

To Request A CPS Equipment Loan

Email:, or call 516-328-4837, or fax 516-327-2166.

CPS, ShutterBudd, and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 Discussions

Last night we were treated to a few guest speakers, all with interesting topics to discuss. It was quite an informative meeting. The topics discussed were Art Shows by ShutterBudd, a discussion on using Adobe Lightroom 2 as a workflow, and Canon Professional Services (CPS). Continue reading CPS, ShutterBudd, and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 Discussions