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  


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