Hello Canon 5D Mark II

I finally made the leap and bought a Canon 5D Mark II DSLR camera. The body alone costs $2,500 and the price isn't going to budge for a long time. The thought of buying this camera haunted me nightly for months and months. I resolved to by the camera when I was in Japan but the earthquake sent me packing and I didn't have time to buy it. It was cheaper there too. I finally decided to order it while I was staying at Yoon's house at the US embassy housing compound in Seoul because lots of merchants ship to APO/military addresses. after 3 weeks I still didn't have the camera and something was wrong. The camera was lost somewhere in the mail and still is. To make a long story short, I didn't take their "we don't even have tracking information for shipments to APO addresses" policy for an answer and battled with them for weeks until i finally got the camera shipped to me in Barcelona for $2,000. Saving $500 is cool but I still lost out on photographing my first month in Barcelona with it. This is way too much camera for me but hopefully I'll grow into it. My reasons for getting this camera are:

1. If there ever was a time to have the best camera in my life it would be now while i'm living in different countries doing awesome stuff all the time
2. I need video capability
3. I need awesome low light capability
4. I need full frame to capture all the amazing interiors amongst many things

Caveats: You probably won't be able to tell that I have a new camera by looking at the pictures on this blog because you won't be able to see the full resolution. But I will be able to capture more nightshots and wider shots so there will be more of those on the blog so you will indirectly see the benefits of this new camera.

they sent it to me 2 day global priority or something. I missed receiving this before i made a trip to Madrid by 1 hour. but wait, no i didn't, because there was crap with UPS i had to deal with i found out later. Like sending a passport copy and other info because i'm technically importing this American product and I'm the importer. They paid the duties and everything though, which is probably a lot.

this post is probably just for photo dorks. but if you read this blog a lot this might interest you because from here on out hopefully at least 75% of the photos on this blog will come from this camera.

21.1 megapixels
photos are 5616 x 3744 pixels
ISO 100-6400 (expandable super high but useless)
High Def 3 inch monitor with Approx. 920,000 pixels (VGA)
1920 x 1080 Full HD video
Weather resistant body
superior in low light settings
crystal clear view finder
3 user customizable shooting modes
the cons are negligible

has no built in flash (rarely need it though)
autofocus points are so close to the center point they are kind of useless
video mode doesn't continuously autofocus and audio is unacceptable
they still haven't designed the canon bodies so you can playback the shot you just took while shooting one handed
eats up tons of space on your computer due to the larger photo/video sizes
can't shoot 60 fps like the 7D, only up to 30 fps making slow motion harder
It's safety is more on your mind when you're out and about because its a bigger liability.
You will naturally spend many more hours editing photos.
memory card door feels weak especially when shooting one handed and all the pressure is on it.

outfitted with my 20-35mm f/2.8 L lens. it looks the same as my old camera. If you own this camera or are interested in this camera you will find yourself looking for a flash of the "Mark II' symbol on the lower part of the camera when someone walks by with a canon camera. maybe its a superiority complex, or a tip of the hat when you see they do have it, or interest in a person that has the need for a $2500 camera. I probably have all of these but hope that its mainly because I just wanted a tool that could take better photos. And as they always say on the intertubes, a better camera doesn't make a better photographer, which is true. Hopefully I will grow into this one.

40D always on the left, 5D mark II always on the right. the 5D mark II is slightly bigger and weight slightly more. Not enough to matter or notice.

important thing here is the viewfinder in the 40D is not so clear. looking through the 5D's is like night and day. the monitor on the 5D is like HD vs. standard television, it can't compare. Now I can actually evaluate my photos in full resolution on the monitor.

here the 40D juts out at the top because has a flash but the 5D doesn't. on the interwebs people always say you never need a flash with the 5D so stop complaining. well sometimes you do because its not a vision camera. and sometimes you need to get pics of your friends doing stupid things in the night and not pefectly lit photos so it would be nice to have a flash.

The 5D Mark II is a "Full Frame" camera. see how much bigger the mirror and sensor is on the 5D mark II vs. the 40D? that translates into a lot more photo being captured in the frame. most DSLR cameras that people own have "APS" sensors unless you spend $2500 and get a camera with a "Full Frame" sensor like the 5D mark II. In short, most less expensive DSLR cameras crop the image at a rate of 1.6 so that means if your shooting at 50mm x 1.6 = 80mm. that means you're actually shooting at 80mm, which is why if I wanted to take your portrait I would have to get on the bus, go to another town, and turn around and take the photo to get all of you in the shot my old camera. Now with the 5D mark II's full frame capabilities I can capture interior rooms and other stuff in close quarters!

this example grabbed from kenrockwell.com shows how much more you get with full frame cameras. P.S. full frame is the same size as traditional 35 mm film.

2 examples with my widest lens at the widest setting. the 5D captures waaaay more.

same with widest lens but at narrowest setting. even the narrowest setting with the 5D still captures a little more than the widest setting on my old camera.

now with my fixed 35 mm lens i can capture almost the same as my old camera with my widest lens. this is great news because the wide angle lens weighs a lot and this lens weighs nothing.

sharpness example with the 5D mark II using a 35mm f/2.0 prime lens at f/8, 400 iso, 1/800 second. i'm not even showing 40D examples because that camera has a sharpness problem. All of these test photos are from the raw files, no editing, straight out of the camera. All are 100% crops.

sharpness example using 20-35mm f/2.8L shot at a 28mm focal length, iso 400, f/8, 1/640 second.

next are high ISO examples. all of these test between my 2 cameras are like comparing apples to oranges though because the resolution is so much higher on the new camera and its full frame vs. APS crop frame. 40D at 3200 ISO

5D Mark II at 3200 ISO

40D at 1600 ISO

5D mark II at 1600 ISO

I also got a new strap "system". It's a closed loop system so that means you can reach down and instantly pull the camera up to take a photo. No more fumbling around with taking the camera off from around your neck every single time to take a photo. Seriously I don't know how you can live without one. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this kind of strap system. You can leave it around your neck and shoulder, bayonet style which is the most secure way to prevent theft and camera damage, and never have to take it off to shoot. The Black Rapid R-strap is what i went with, but i don't like how all their straps look super serious and make you look like a photographer out on assignment so I bought a narrow leather belt from the men's section of H&M in Barcelona (summer 2011). Someday i want to find a belt/strap or have something custom made to match the quality and color of the awesome leather strap that Norman and Naoki bought me for my birthday. I also looked at the luma loop but didn't like the quick release function that would make it easy for thieves. Also looked at the sun sniper strap too. The cons about this strap system is that the camera can't sit exactly behind your back but sits behind your hip. sometimes this makes your "footprint" wider. As with a normal strap, if you bend over the camera will swing forward and smash into something if you're not careful but all straps have the problem. Overall these seem like problems that you have with normal straps and the benefits of being able to grab and shoot instantly while wearing the camera in the most secure way means that you'll be taking more photos and being less lazy because you have to take your camera off every time.

this german video shows a woman's version of the strap in action but you should get the idea.

FastenR-3 screws into the tripod mount on the bottom of the camera then hooks to ConnectR-2 which you loop the strap through. I think they were both like $13 each.

it all slides alone the closed loop strap. so your camera hangs upside down, but that's no problem. On the interwebs people have concerns about the safety of using the tripod mount. I feel there is no way this will come unscrewed or rip out, if feels very secure. the textured rubber washer makes the seal tight.

leather belt from the men's section of H&M in Barcelona (summer 2011). Was like 10 euros or something. crappy quality, but i still like it way better than a serious neoprene black strap.

This strap from Leather Factory Roberu in Japan is of the highest quality and looks awesome. I wish there was a way i could use it with the R-strap stuff. I guess I will use it when i have to go to super formal function. Its expensive and super nice so it's sad :(
and finally here is an HD video sample. You can see it in high quality if you click through to the Vimeo website, they show a crappy version when you view it from another website. The problem with this camera is that its high quality pro equipment now and doesn't look awesome unless you are using a steady cam attachment or tripod or other pro video equipment because of camera shake. Also the audio is not really acceptable so you need an external mic. You can hear every button you press and even hear the focus ring turning. that said they shoot movies, tv shows and other award winning stuff with the award winning video capabilities of this camera, so it is sought after by videographers as well. I'm putting my videos on Vimeo now because they have the best compression quality so you can see higher quality vids.

Spain's youth have taken to the plazas in protest over government corruption, the unemployment rate, the financial crisis and almost everything else it seems. I don't have a full understanding of the situation but to me, an American who doesn't understand what most people are saying in Spanish, it seems as if the whole thing has turned into a hippie parade and hangout party. Is seems as if the legitimacy/effectiveness of the protest is long gone. Shot in Plaza Cataluya in Barcelona, the Bob Dylan song was actually playing at the time furthering the hippie comparison.

In conclusion this camera is awesome and everyone on the intertubes agrees. I've been shooting with it for about a month now and love it and don't regret it. I've gotta get it insured for theft ASAP. Salih's got stolen and i'm sure its like losing a child.

Next I need to buy an Intervalometer (for timelapse videos), a flash, a tripod head and tripod legs, and i'm thinking about the 16-35mm f/2.8 L lens someday.......

Posted byJason Raish at 4:38 PM 0 comments  

2,000 Animals and the dangerous and thrilling life of an illustrator

24"x36" illustrations for use as posters, print ads, inserts, and maybe more, we'll see. Done through Leo Burnett in Toronto for Procter & Gamble for their product, Bounce Dryer Bar. I believe these only printed in Canada so far. This the most massive advertising project I might ever work on in terms of sheer work. There are at least 2000 cats, rabbits, and dogs here.

Napoleon cat a la David, mime cat, japanese lucky cat, many more

Back-story: Part of this was completed while I was living in Tokyo, Japan during the earthquake/nuclear disaster. The street swayed back and forth like I was standing on a waterbed. The buildings were flopping back and forth like they were made out of jello. Breakable things were falling and breaking in peoples houses. I had to run back upstairs after the huge quake and continue working, side-stepping all the broken dishes and glasses, I had no time to clean up hazardous glass. I ran to the bathroom (what we deemed to be the safest place in our tiny tokyo apartment) with my laptop many times that day when a big aftershock started in order to keep working. Constant aftershocks prompted me to disassemble all tall and heavy things in my room because they might violently collapse in an aftershock and kill me. Things like bookshelves are the number one danger in your house. This project literally could have killed me. The exciting life of an illustrator right?

Eventually after the radiation scare got bigger and all the foreigners I knew were leaving Japan i decided there is something going on here and maybe i should get out too. So on came the triumvirate of stress of moving my whole life out of a country, the biggest ad project i'll ever work on, and the stress of aftershocks and radiation. Also the fact that our building was so old (like from the 50s, for japan that's old) that it was slated to be destroyed at the end of the month was super un-comforting. Sure it took 1 historic quake, but could it take all the aftershocks? I had no time for any of this, i had over 2,000 animals to draw, get approved, color, and more, in 10 days! My visa was going to be up soon so i had to totally move out of Japan which made time insanely tight and I had to make up for the time lost doing all the things you have to do when you move to your 3rd country in 3 years.

What followed was a week of 16 hr working days and 5 hrs of sleep a night, while holed up at my friends house in Seoul, South Korea on the US army base Embassy housing. It was a life saving decision in many ways. His house was stocked with American food like burritos and cheese and soda. There are no earthquakes in Korea. He had a new 21 inch imac which is way bigger and way more powerful than my macbook. Would I have been able to even do these huge 24"x36" posters on my 15 inch macbookpro that is 3 years old? Maybe, but i have my doubts because it took 8 minutes each time to save even on his new imac. Its a gamble to not save, and a gamble to save. If you save every 10 minutes like you should you lose half an hour every hour just saving! Those are long 8 minutes, pacing back and forth, ferociously nibbling on food and coffee using those 8 minutes to eat for the first time all day. and we all know what happens if you don't save.

This is a new product that you put in the dryer with your clothes to make them softer and pet hair won't stick to them. The Agency's concept was to have a bone/carrot/bird next to the product box with the animals trying to get the bone/carrot/bird, but they can't because they are being repeled by the product, whose tagline is, "helps repel pet hair". All the animals had to be unique and doing something interesting to either get to the carrot/bone/bird or training/planning on how to get to it or being repeled/scared/angry at the product. I didn't want it to be too cartoony and I wanted it to be in my style somehow and the agency agreed. In the end drawing 2000 anthropromorthic animals will kill your style and your wrist so things ended up being more cartoony that I would have liked. I usually use photo reference for most things but there was no time to find reference for 2000 different faces, and poses that are impossible for animals to do physically so i slowly learned how to draw each species and then eventually was able to draw them quickly and decently from my head. It took a huge amount of time to think of the ideas and write them down in words on paper, and then a long time to sketch them out, and then get them approved for final drawings. Eventually they let me just do final drawings and most final drawings got approved. Notable drawings that i had to erase were animals with swords/knives/bombs and an infantry of rabbits about to charge to the center. that stung. But for the most part everything got approved. It would have been a disaster if i had to keep erasing random rejected poses because all these animals are custom fit together like tetris pieces. coloring took forever too. you get delerious after coloring these 16 hrs a day. Also having the power of photoshop to keep changing colors after working til 8 am can make you crazy too. I did the rounded type and the straight type and their standard box and their taller package. I gave them flat color finals. Finally after a few months I can show you the final Illustrations that they tweaked. They added shading to the animals so it looks like the box is radiating light. They added some kind of texture with a photoshop brush and tweaked some colors here and there. They went with the staight type and standard box. There are probably other changes that i could find if i studied these for hours. Overall I am Ok with what the agency did with these and think they might have made them better. They didn't ask me to do these changes but if they did I could have done them better, and then immediately died. Good thing they left themselves a lot of buffer time because i'm sure it took a long time to do the tweaks that they did, regardless of how you feel about the tweaks. I'm concered that when these are seen at 24"x36" the photoshop brush texture they added will be glaringly obvious. Now that it's all over I can't believe that I created these. Too bad I cant put larger jpegs on the web so you can examine all the animals. The largest flickr.com will allow is 1024 pixels. you can see these bigger on my blog: www.jasonraish.blogspot.com

buff muscle rabbit and girlfriend, skinny dorky rabbit and dorky girlfriend testing muscles, karate chop, lots more.

b!tch slap rabbit, rabbit on IV, whip rabbit, rabbit toss, much more.

these are the flat color versions i sent before they agency added their shading. If i had done it, it would have looked better but taken a really long time and cost me my life.

a parting shot of all 3 side by side. I'm ok with not drawing rabbits, cats, or dogs for a while.

taking down the big hulking bookshelf that did not have earthquake brackets installed like i always meant to do. My nerves were shot after so many aftershocks and looking up at this wondering if the earth was going to violently slam it down on me so i had to take this down.

one of my roommates sleep under his desk at night for days.

stores cleared out of bread and milk and stuff after the quake

the airport was like a refugee zone. all the foreigners were trying to get out. That line goes on forever. it took 2 hours on that line to check in and everyone was super p!ssed and scared and stressed and flights got bumped and double bumped. I hadn't slept in 2 days because my airline ticket got messed up by the Tokyo travel company that was surely experiencing the craziest time in their history so i stayed up all night working expecting to sleep on the plane only to find that I can't fly until the next day. I finally made it to Korea, got the project done after a lot of blood, sweat, and dementia, and have a good story to tell now.

Posted byJason Raish at 9:01 PM 0 comments