18 June 2009

5D mk II - first thoughts

So I've finally upgraded from a 20D to a 5D mkII. It's quite the jump. :) And also involved upgrading to all new glass for 2/3 of my favorite lenses, since they were EF-S. I've got about 50 clicks on it so far, almost 50/50 split between before/after thumbing through the manual. :) I wanted to capture some thoughts here on my impression of the differences, first the bad.

1. The shutter release. ick. I really don't like it. The 20D has a nice tactile feel and a difference in resistance when you pass the 1/2 depressed mark, and there is an audible click/pop sound. The 5D2 has no tactile response that I can tell, and no audible response. Overall it feels like shooting with thick wool gloves over that finger.

2. Weight. A lot of this is the glass, there's just more of it. But even the body alone is substantially heavier than it looks. I use a hand strap, not a neckstrap for my camera, and have hiked around for hours with the 20D in hand. Not sure I'll be doing that with the 5D2 so much. IIRC the 20D's inner frame was titanium... is the 5D2's steel?

3. CF door. Everything on the 5D2 feels solid, rugged, virtually indestructible. Except the CF door. It's pretty light and flimsy... I fear a quick CF change in the field could lead to it breaking.

4. information overload. There's a lot of complexity in the dozens of different ways to get information out of the camera. I stumbled into screens that looked awesome.. like the back panel showing the full data of the top display with all the settings. I have no idea how, and I can't find anything in the manual to help me get back there.

And now the good:

1. the rear LCD. OMGWTFBBQ?! is that how far we've come with LCD screens in that short of a time? WOW. it's beautiful.

2. operation noise. It's a lot quieter than the 20D... especially the mirror action. I just wish there was a volume control for the blasted focus bleep. I might have to go back to my olde solution of a small square of gaffer's tape over the speaker. Except that it's used for video playback too. Hmm. Guess I go with no beep and learn to rely on the green light in the VF.

3. I thought I would hate live view. And it's quite likely I will. But the ability to do a 10x zoom on it and focus manually.... that has some serious potential. I used to always zoom the lens in, focus, then zoom out to recompose. The problem is that the zooming out has negatively influenced the focus in the past. I don't know if these new lenses will have that issue or not, but that provides a chance to skip it entirely.

4. information overload. There's a lot of complexity to master, and the 5D2 seems to give much more access to the raw data to work from. I just need to learn how to process it in my head.

oh, and some other observations...

1. damn I need more and faster CF. (ordered)

2. I shoulda moved up to L glass a long time ago. :)

3. damn I'm going to need more raid array. (bah... firs step is DNGs, second step is blowing away some olde crap on my current raid array... I reckon half of it is candidate for a move to /dev/null)



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