So I’ve had a few people notice that I’ve got access to a 5D Mark II on a frequent basis now and wanted to know my impressions on it. Since it’s been one of the things that I’ve been particularly busy with the last two weeks, so I figure I’ll say a few things about it. It probably wont be anything that anybody much better hasn’t said somewhere much more important than here as the camera has been in much more awesome hands than mine for several months now. Also I’ll probably throw a bit of technical mumbo jumbo that I don’t understand in there from place to place too so be warned now. Or if you just like looking at pictures that’s cool too as I’ll be sure to post some extra ones this time. Nonetheless, here we go.

(Canon 5D Mark II, 250ISO, Canon 16-35mmF2.8L@16mm. 1/30th@F4. Single Canon 580EX Speedlight set to 1/4th power fired by pocket wizard to camera Left held by Suzanne the Koorsen Marketing coordinator. NO light modifier, except for the built in bounce card.)

Quite Frankly the camera is awesome. Yup, I said it. The Canon 5D Mark II is awesome; but it’s not an end all be all by any means of the imagination. The shot above is for a special section the newspaper is working on. It is the owner of Kooresen Fire and Safety here in Indianapolis in their firefighting museum. In terms of detail, with 21.1 million pixels the camera does a pretty solid job.

That’s a 100% crop of the first image in the blog. As you can tell at 250ISO the image is as clean as you would imagine from any modern digital camera. Notice how cropped in that is too, this camera has some serious resolution. The D3x has marginally more resolution, but at 22ish megapixels you don’t notice the 2 more that the D3x has. AKA D3x 2 more megapixels…whoopdy freakin doo. The D3x costs more than twice as much as the 5D Mark II does also.

(Canon 5D Mark II, 320ISO, Canon 16-35mmF2.8L@24mm. 1/50thF7.1. Canon 580EX Speedlight to camera right set to 1/2 power fired by pocket wizard through a 60″ Translucent umbrella. Single Canon 580EX Speedlight set to 1/8th power fired by pocket wizard shot into the wall in the booth with the two students in the background.)

The Autofocus has problems in the dark, but the Autofocus is also the exact same module out of the original 5D making it like a bazillion years old. (ok more like 5 but who knows how to count? Seriously?) It does ok, especially with F2.8L glass when using the center Autofocus point in the viewfinder, but I don’t trust anything but the center point. The Radiology shot above was about as dark as I’d trust the Autofocus in on anything that wasn’t moving while using the autofocus assist. Ambient light in that room was 3200iso, F2.8 1/30th. Turns out you can’t take X-Rays in bright places? I don’t know thats just one of those things that I just didn’t ask. I wanted more of an ambiance shot of the Radiology students, and I think my normal two speedlights provided that just fine. While we are on the topic of darkness though, the High ISO on the camera is pretty solid for the resolution. I’d say the D3 is about 1 to 1.5 stops better at High ISO image artifacting, but the 5D Mark II is twice the resolution. At 50% the 5D Mark II files look just as clean which is outstanding.

(Canon 5D Mark II, 4000ISO, Canon 16-35mmF2.8L@16mm, 1/40th@2.8)

That’s Tom. He’s a shooter in town that often helps me out with various projects here and there. I bet I could count the number of instances on one hand the photos where Tom ISN’T throwing the bird. Unfortunately I don’t know where one of those 4 photos might be, so he gets to show finger extension on the blog to demonstrate High ISO. The images are manageably clean, ESPECIALLY for being 21.1 million pixels. You need to click on the lower photo to see it close up to understand the noise. Funny part is that the way I shoot things, I probably won’t go much over 400 except for video. Video which is phenomenal out of this camera by the way. Anybody who has read this knows that I’ve gushed about the video on this camera. NIKON YOU NEED VIDEO LIKE COMES OUT OF THIS CAMERA. THANKS. Not that anybody who reads this can make any difference in that, but I feel better for saying it.

(Canon 5D Mark II, ISO 400, Canon 16-35mmF2.8L@32mm. 1/50th@F5 Single 580EX Speedlight set to 1/8th power shot on camera shot into a low white florescent light fixture above the receptionists desk.)

Overall Impressions is that I dig the resolution this baby puts out; in stills and in video. Awesome tool for when shooting the types of things that I end up shooting at the newspaper. Yea the Autofocus is a bit slow, but I don’t shoot sports for the paper. When I do shoot sports it’s on the side or for me which is why I own my own D3. Great Camera, but not an end all be all. I’ve played with the new 7D and the Autofocus is knock out. I only wish it was in the 5D Mark II. I haven’t played with a 1D Mark IV yet, but I’m sure I’ll have one in my grubby mitts for a little bit soon enough.

(Canon 5D Mark II, 100ISO, Canon 16-35mmF2.8L@16mm, 1/200@F8. Single 580EX Speedlight set to full power to camera right fired by pocketwizard through a Lumiquest Softbox III.)

I guess that long story short, is that the camera handles like a camera. Use a couple lights, set it to take a photo and shaZam! You’ve taken a picture. The photo above is a Metromix promo. We wanted Photos of Adrianne on several Metromix boxes around Indy in landmarkish locations. That’s one of the things we came up with. Joe McNally equates pressing the camera to your face, and firing the shutter like breathing, and really it’s a great analogy. Last week I shot two months for the Roller Derby calendar. Saturday I shot the Tankersly’s Family photos and today was a Roller Derby Scrimmage. We had set up to shoot another Calendar month, but it didn’t quite work out. At the rate I’m going shooting photos may as well be like breathing; after all it seems like I can’t go a day without doing it. Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. Maybe someday I’ll just figure out what I’m doing. More Soon.