Those who follow my Twitter and Flickr photostream probably already know that I got a new camera – the Canon EOS 5D Mark II (Amazon link, B&H link). Before last Friday I had been shooting with a 20D, my first dSLR. I’ve had the 20D pretty much since it was released, and I was really happy with it. I never felt the need to upgrade to a newer 1.6 crop factor bodies, I really wanted to go full frame so I had been waiting for the 5D2 probably for more than 2 years. When Amazon got it in stock I JUMPED on it.
My 2 main lenses work a lot better at full frame, the 70-200/2.8L becomes a lot more useful without the crop factor, now I actually shoot in my studio with it pretty often. The 24-70/2.8L becomes a wide angle lens at the short end. The color rendition of the sensor is amazing, Adobe camera profiles in Adobe Camera Raw or Lightroom 2 further bring out the colors in the images. I’ve also started to work in the ProPhoto RGB space for even larger gamut.
Noise performance in high ISO is impressive, with ISO expansion turned on it goes from ISO 50 to ISO 25600. I shot in a pitch dark lounge in ISO 12800 and the results look fine after a little bit of NR and B&W conversion in post-processing. I would say, loosely, the ISO 12800 is the ISO 3200 on my 20D.
Pretty much everything works better on the 5D2, going from the 20D is quite an upgrade for me. One thing I would really like to have is a better AF points pattern, but I guess Canon only put that on the 1D and 1Ds series bodies. The 9-point AF pattern on the 5D doesn’t really make much sense to me, especially if you’re shooting portraits and working with relatively shallow depth of field. I always avoid the “focus-and-recompose” technique, as that easily put things out of focus, it’s simple geometry. The camera has enough resolution to crop, but I generally avoid cropping whenever I can. The AF-on button is very useful, I set it up to do AF-stop, so I can use the shutter half-pressed to focus, and then I can press and hold the AF-On button to prevent the camera from focusing again. The 20D didn’t have such feature so I had to move the switch on the lens to MF.
The video capability of the camera is interesting, I am slowly learning how to use Final Cut Pro to edit and process videos. Shooting videos also require manual focus tracking, which is not something I used to do.
I’ve had the camera for 5 days and I’ve done a couple of casual shoots with it already, I’m at over 1200 frames. I’m doing 3 days of catalog shoots next week with it. I also picked up an extra AlienBees B400 and an octobox from Craigslist. I’ll probably have a lot more to write about the camera a week later. Here are some selected shots I’ve done with it so far…
Quick test shot after I unpacked the camera, lit by available light from ceiling only, ISO 1600, with 24-70/2.8L:
That night Sherry modeled for me in my studio to test it out, I shot this with a single AlienBees B800 with a softbox on her right, with a silver reflector from her top left for fill and hair, 70-200/2.8L:
Sherry got me an RS-4 R-Strap, and it got here yesterday, so this afternoon I went for a photowalk to test out the strap, I attached it to the D-Ring of my Manfrotto QR plate, which was screwed into the tripod ring of my 70-200/2.8L, after 4 hours of walking my shoulder felt just fine, but then I am pretty used to carrying heavy photography setup. Some images from the photowalk:
I also shot some video footage and attempted to put it together in Final Cut Pro: