Sunday, July 13, 2014

Dawning of a New Camera Age (Aquarius?) for Yours Truly

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After seven years and just shy of 200,00 shutter actuations, my Canon 5D1 recently took a dump. Not an overly serious or catastrophic dump, but one requiring shipping my much-loved camera off to Canon for repair.

I was shooting some personal project pics with my friend, Diana, a few weeks ago when the lights went out. Well, the lights didn't actually go out but, in terms of looking through my camera's viewfinder, they might as well have. All was dark inside the innards of my classic 5D's viewfinder. 

When my camera broke, I was shooting (for the first time) with a Lensbaby Muse. My first thought was that it, the Lensbaby, had gone South and not my camera. I thought that because, when I  purchased the Lensbaby from an eBay seller, the seller had an accident while packing the lens for shipping and he broke the Lensbaby.

To make a long story painlessly short, the Lensbaby had accidentally fallen to the floor and broke apart. Consequently, the seller refunded my money but sent me the lens anyway. My son-in-law, Kyle, clever guy that he is, managed to disassemble the Lensbaby, apply a drop or two of superglue to two internal parts, and piece the lens back together. As a result, my Lensbaby was returned to a functional condition.

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Back to my recent ill-fated shoot: I removed the Lensbaby from my camera, thinking it was the culprit, only to have my 5D1's mirror fall out. Bummer!  I quickly realized the Lensbaby was still operational but my camera was not.

Fast forward to more recently...

Between the time my Canon 5D1 was K.O.'d due to its age and frequent use and my shoot this past Friday, I acquired a 5D MkII and, finally, I had an opportunity to shoot with it. (Beyond a few snaps to insure it was working properly, it being a used camera and all.) It wasn't going to be one of my usual-and-customary "pretty girl" shoots, although my friend and model, Diana, definitely is a girl and certainly qualifies as pretty. Instead, it was to be a story-driven shoot, just as it was on the two previous occasions I've shot with Diana. (I know, I know, Jimmy shooting a clothed model. Hey! Stranger things have happened.)

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Our theme for this time out -- our third time shooting together -- was going to include a flower-power-driven hippie motif. From a camera perspective, i.e., beyond the creative aspects of the shoot, I wanted to A) try out my new 5D2 with a model and a story, and B) continue my somewhat low-fi approach to the pics. (Which I've utilized the two times I've previously shot with Diana.) Diana also brought along a wardrobe change for a second theme, a "desert dancer" ballerina theme, and I snapped some of those pics as well.

I decided to shoot with two lenses only: a Canon 85mm f/1.8 prime and a Canon 50mm f/1.8 "nifty-fifty" prime. I also planned to use my Tiffen Pro Mist filters. (I have three of them: a Pro Mist 1, 2, and 3, each being progressively more, uhh... misty.)

My transition from my Canon 5D1 to the 5D2 was smooth and effortless. The menus on the 5D2 are very different from the 5D1 and some of the controls on the outside of the 5D2 are slightly different but none of those differences posed any problems for me. I'd already spent some time with the 5D2's user's manual prior to the shoot so it wasn't like I was figuring things out while I was shooting. Well, to a certain extent I suppose I was but being a long-time Canon shooter, doing so posed little to no problem.

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I must say my initial reaction to the camera is quite positive. It sounds different than my 5D1 when I snap the shutter and I found myself very aware of that difference. Other than that, though, all seemed very similar to shooting with my 5D1.  My 5D1, by the way, will become my backup-camera when it's returned from the Canon repair facility.

I'm confident I'm going to be quite happy with my new (to me) Canon 5D MkII. I had no intention of buying another camera body, even after my 5D1 broke, but a friend made me an offer I couldn't refuse for his 5D2. Being somewhat weak-willed when it comes to photography gear, you know, like so many other photographers are, I agreed with him that it was an incredibly generous offer and purchased the camera. Yep. For better or worse, I'm now a Canon 5D2 shooter for the foreseeable future.   I still plan to get myself a Fuji XT-1 or X-Pro 2 (when the latter is released) but, for now, I'm a happy camper camera-wise.


Lorenzo said...

Your 5D1 has lasted a LOT!, it will enjoy its semi-retirement. I also have a 5D2 and really enjoy it, I have no use for zillions of focussing points, I tend not to shoot in the dark so my ISO zone is 50-400, and I try to plan what I am shooting so I don't need a furious trigger rate. I only hope it lasts as long as your 5D1.

jimmyd said...

Lorenzo: I'm low ISO guy myself. I rarely have a need to shoot high ISO pics. I shoot ISO 100 and 200 for the vast majority of what I shoot so the 5D2's (and other cameras') high ISO capabilities aren't much in the way of selling points for me. I also use center point focusing and single shot for most if not all of my work.