it’s a whole new world

Lil bro and big bro

Last Thursday on my way home from work I stopped by one of our local camera stores, and 10 minutes later walked out with a brand new Canon 5D MkII. I hadn’t really planned on buying one on this particular day, but when I got there the salesman said something along the lines of “I think we have a couple in the back allocated for floor sales“. Jeez louise, who was I to look that type of gift horse in the mouth? Now this wasn’t just a spur-of-the-moment purchase. I’ve been wanting to upgrade from my trusty Canon 300D for about the last year, for a lot of different reasons.

It was about two years ago that I picked up the 300D and started using it as a serious photographic tool. We had bought it a couple of years before that and had really only used it for taking snapshots. I’m not sure what prompted me to pick it up and begin using it as an artistic tool, but it reignited an artistic side that I haven’t explored in decades. I’m still developing my “eye” for photography, but I’m also beginning to become more comfortable with both my technical skills, and my artistic sense.

I’ve put a lot of thought into what direction I want my photography to take. Two of the main criteria that I’ve had for my upgrade were going to a full-frame camera, and getting the best possible high ISO performance. Looking over the photos that I’ve taken that I take the most personal satisfaction from, they tend to be either wide angle images, or images taken under low, ambient light conditions, or both.

When I first started considering an upgrade about a year ago, those criteria meant a Canon 5D. It was the only full-frame camera anywhere close to my price range. Being a patient person, before making the investment in a new camera, I decided to bide my time by further developing my artistic eye and really cultivating photography as a serious artistic hobby. 

I had started investing in quality glass earlier this summer. The best upgrade for an entry level DSLR is usually upgrading from the kit lens to better quality glass. Lenses also tend to keep their value for a lot longer than camera bodies do. So between a couple of lenses and external flash, I had an accumulating investment in Canon gear.

I’m not emotionally attached to Canon, and certainly don’t treat camera brands as a religious choice. So when Nikon started firing on all cylinders earlier this year with the Nikon D300, followed soon after by the full-frame D700, it made me sit back and seriously reevaluate what direction to go in. The camera I bought for my upgrade would probably determine my camera platform for the foreseeable future. I was still early enough in my hobby that it wouldn’t be impossible to switch brands, but the cost and pain of switching would be there and needed to be considered.

Then Canon announced the replacement to the 5D and my life got even more complicated. In many ways the Nikon D700 sounded like the ideal camera for me. Full frame, flawless performance, best-in-class high ISO performance. But only 12 megapixels and the cost of switching brands. The Canon 5D MkII on the other hand had what would likely be the equivalent high ISO performance to the D700, along with 21 freakin’ megapixels and no cost of switching brands. The main downside (at least based on the specs) would be the autofocus system. And did I really need, or want 21 megapixels?

Well, getting back to what is developing into my preferred style of photography, wide angle, low ambient lighting, more often than not with the camera on a tripod… well maybe I do need 21 megapixels at 6400 ISO (or higher). I certainly don’t tend to shoot fast moving sports, so having a state-of-the-art autofocus system is less critical than it would be for other shooters.

The first early reviews that started coming out on the Canon 5D MkII made the final decision easy. The perfect camera doesn’t exist. Every piece of technology is the product of design decisions and compromises, balancing possible technology, target markets, timelines, risks and countless other considerations. So when I got the opportunity to pick up a 5D MkII last week, I jumped at the chance.

wide angle monster

Wide angle monster

It’s a whole new world for me, and this is going to be fun.

uhhh, sweetheart?

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~ by Dave on 12/15/08.

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