Friday, January 30, 2009

Gear Bag Friday: Canon 5D Auction and One More Camera In The Bag

Good Morning Everybody,
Things are hopping around here today. We've got to get the ads and website wrapped for the Digital WakeUp Call tour kicking off March 30, 2009 in Jacksonville, FL. And, we are doing a little website housekeeping. It's about time as I have been very delinquent updating my websites. We are yanking the old site that shows the Digital WakeUp Call 2 DVD set, so if your interested in purchasing this set of DVDs then only for the next few days will they remain available. That is at least for a while until the new site is up and functioning. Here is the link.

Auction Time:
Also, I'm terrible at getting rid of equipment I don't use so most of the time it just sits around for example my Canon 5D, the predecessor to the 5DMk II. I've used it once in the last 18 months and it had little use on it then. I thought I would give this a try. If any of our DigitalProTalk readers are interested in my 5D, drop Jennifer an email at with your bid by next Friday, February 6th. If the high bid is reasonable, I'm happy to part with the camera. Do me one favor though - if you plan to bid, please don't read today's Gear Bag Friday ;~)

One More Camera In The Bag
OK, you knew it was coming. I've been yakking about it for the last few months - yep, it's the Canon 5D Mark II. It's my favorite piece of gear in the bag. I love the images. I love the ergonomics. I love the video capabilities. But that's just a few of the reasons this piece of camera equipment quickly became a favorite.

Here are a eight more.
1 -- ISO, ISO, ISO - yep, speed freaks like me love the new higher ISOs. Nikon had it, we Canon shooters wanted it. And now we have it - hey Nikon guys, no rubbing our noses in our long wait for the camera please. Anyway, I love the high use-able ISO's. I shot an entire reception event at ISO 3200 a few weeks ago and the images look amazing.

I love the noise reduction built into the camera when shooting JPEGs. NIK's DFine 2.0 has to work a little harder when I bring the RAW image into Photoshop from Lightroom. Both Noise Ninja and NIK's DFine 2.0 do a better job of noise reduction than Lightroom - that's why the trip to Photoshop.

2 -- I love the larger crisper viewfinder and it's ability to give me a decent indication of the correct exposure. I didn't mention this last week when I talked about the 40D, but one thing that made me a very "happy camper" with the 40D was the accuracy of the viewfinder in helping me determining correct exposure - just like the 5D Mk II.

Let me explain. The Canon 20D did a pretty good job at that - when you looked at the viewfinder, the image, density, looked reasonably close to what I saw on my computer monitor. The 30D and the original 5D was inaccurate, really awful in that department and there was no way to fiddle with the cameras to fix it.

Still today, when my assistant uses my 30D, I check the viewfinder and the images look good till I download them and check again. Then they are about 3/4 stop underexposed. Granted, the histogram reflects the under-exposure on the camera, but in the heat of the shoot, I'd like a quicker feedback device to tell me I'm in the ball park. The 40D and now the 5D Mk II viewfinders fixed the problem - the images look very close to the same feedback I received when viewing on my monitor.

There was a comment on last week's post about the 40D's viewfinder failing in that department - sorry, I have never had the problem.

3 -- I like it's focusing ability, yep, I said focus. I hated - wait, maybe that was too strong - I was always disappointed in the focusing capabilities of the old 5D at the wedding reception. So much so that I finally decided to NEVER use it for reception coverage. I just kept missing shots waiting for the camera to find it's focus.

The new 5D Mk II fixed that too. It's still a little slower that the 40D, but only a little and I can live with the subtle difference in focus speed.

4 -- Motor speed - the fist 5D was just a tad slow in the motor speed department at 3 FPS. Be sure to shut off "Silent running" or what ever it's called (Silent Shooting) and you kick the speed up to 3.9 FPS. Hey, I know it's not that much, but my shooting routine just feels a bit more comfortable at the slightly higher speed.

5 -- 3, count them, 3 Custom user definable settings just like on the 40D. I love it - 3 cameras in one at the turn of the knob. This is a super handy feature of the 40D, 50D, and 5D Mk II - check it out - it really adds to ease of operation on the wedding day.

6 -- Resolution - 21.1 mega-pixels. Ummm... Canon 1Ds Mark III - $8000 or 5D Mk II $2700 - what a tough choice. OK, no nasty emails for the Canon 1Ds Mark III shooters, please. I'm just trying to save a buck. For me, buy a lens or maybe 3 with the savings.

7 -- sRAW setting. OK, I've wrestled with this one ever since I burned through 56 gigs at a Bar Mitzvah a few weeks ago. Heck, I almost blew a tire coming home with the weight of all those RAW files in the case:~) But, I think I found the solution - sRAW. At that setting the 5D Mk II gives me a file size about 30% smaller than the full RAW with an image size approximating those from the 40D (3888x2592). More on this in a future post.

One little problem - Apple's Aperture and a few other RAW processing programs won't open them yet. Lightroom does just fine.
8 -- Love my 12-24mm Sigma lens on that full frame camera body. It's about as wide as you can go.

9 -- And what don't I like about the 5D Mk II? No pop up flash - what can I say, I still like that little guy every now and then. But with all the other 5D goodies, I guess I can live with it missing.

REMINDER: Please remember to visit the Thirst Relief Auction place your winning bid. You have until Sunday, February 1st at midnight EST. You'll find several truly wonderful items from leading photographers across the country as well as I've donated a space, $895. value, in my week-long Master Class. [link] All of the proceeds from the auction go to help women, children, and families to have clean drinking water. Right now, one in five children die from a drinking related illness or disease. Something this simple can easily be avoided and treated. So far, the Thirst Relief has saved over 100,000 people. Please help us again this year. Go here to learn more:

Everybody have a great weekend and I'll see ya' on Monday. See ya' then, -David


  1. In the above, feel free to substitute the words "rear display" or "LCD monitor" wherever you see the word "viewfinder." I knew what David meant, but the actual optical viewfinder is another selling point of full-frame cameras, and this usage may confuse some.

  2. You love the 21MP (#6) but use sRAW because of file size (#7)?

    I'm a Canon shooter and have waited for the 5D2 for a long time but starting to feel the D700 is better. ISO, FPS, AF speed, File Sizes, Bracketing, Pop up flash, Control wireless flash from that popup flash, etc.

    Such a task to switch.

  3. Saw that ebay will ship David Ziser for free. Such a deal. Wouldn't you love to end up in Cleveland!

  4. Great post David. I just purchased two 5D Mark II's last week and the only two words I can think of are ABSOLUTELY AWESOME!

  5. Sorry about the underexposing.

  6. I dont miss the flash .... I just crank up the ISO