Yes, I finally did it. With my wife’s buy-in I finally took the step up from my Canon 40D and purchased the 5D Mark II with the 24 – 105mm f/4L lens. If you’re not familiar with the Canon line of cameras, you’ve already left the room. If you’re a fellow avid amateur Canonista you’re probably well aware of the fabled 5DmkII. It’s very well known by portrait, nature, landscape, and wedding photogs. It was also one of the first digital SLRs with HD video and has been used to film TV commercials and independent films.
Why was I so interested in this camera? I wanted a full-frame camera with good low-light capability. While I had been quite happy with my 40D for several years, the sensor was outdated. There are Canon Rebels roaming out there with 3200 ISO compared to the 40D’s 1600 ISO. The 5DMkII has 6400 ISO and can be extended to 25,600 (although I’m guessing there is significant noise at that setting).
(In case you’re wondering, yes, the photos in this blog were some of my preliminary attempts with the 5DmkII).
Why did I want a full-frame sensor? I wanted to be able to get true wide angle and I wanted the capability to make larger prints (you can print up to about 16″ x 24″ from the 5DmkII, while anything beyond about 13 x 19 from the 40D is risky without interpolation software like Genuine Fractals, now known as Perfect Resize 7 from onOne Software).
Other considerations? I was quite pleased to find that the 5DmkII seemed about the same size and weight as the 40D. The shape of the prismatic mirror housing (that’s either what they call it or something I just made up) is slightly different than the 40D, but otherwise they are quite similar. The external texture of the 5DmkII has a different tactile aesthetic (its what the engineers call “more grippy”)– I consider that a plus, probably because the camera costs more than the 40D so the texture must be better.
I know, you product line savvy Canonistas are wondering “what kinda moron buys the 5DmkII one week prior to the announcement of the 5DmkIII? Surely the Mark III will be the better camera and the price of the Mark II will drop at that time anyway.” First of all, the answer is “this kinda moron.” Yeah, I knew the Mark III was coming out, but it’s about $700 more for the body alone than I paid for the Mark II with the 24 – 105mm f/4L lens (a great, versatile, sharp, lens). Plus, I’ve heard through my reliable underground sources (bartenders, waitresses, random street people) that production of the Mark II will not cease with the advent of the Mark III.
Am I happy with the purchase? No…thrilled would be more accurate! It’s all I had hoped for and more. Although I’ve only had it for a couple of weeks, I’m really impressed with the its capabilities and functionality. Let’s face it, if you can’t make a great photograph with the 5D Mark II paired with the 24 – 105 lens maybe you should consider taking up scrap-booking instead.