Thursday, March 1, 2012

Why I don't care...

OK, I'll admit it. I am a Canon fan boy. Well wait. Let me rephrase. I have been a Canon user for the last 7 years, ever since I went digital. I would not call myself a real 'fan boy' but to me, Canon produces the finest digital cameras out there for what I do at least. I love doing landscapes.

Ever since I start using the Canon 5DmkII (I have the cam now for just over a year), my photography has made leaps forwards. It definitely wasn't because I got a better camera. I think it was more of a mental thing. Shelling out $2,500 was expensive (I could have bought the 7D for half of that).
But I made the promise to myself to participate into the photo world with a lot more seriousness and dedication, to – let us say – make the investment pay off.

For the last few weeks and months really, the internet has been abuzz by rumours about the 5DmkIII. Speculations about 41 megapixels, better ISO performance and more frames per second. You name it.


Looking at the specs (see below), personally, I feel this is not a ground breaking camera anymore. In my opinion the MKIII is more like a 5DmkII V2.0, a refreshment. Nothing more. Almost like how car manufacturers 'update' their models for the beginning of a model year.

Personally I wished the camera gurus stopped trying to invent the wheel over and over again. I don't care about Full HD video, I don't care about shooting 6 frames/sec, I don't care about 61 focus points, HDR, SD card slots, the ability to do blends of multiple in camera exposures.

What I do care about is maybe better high ISO performance (although the mkII is VERY good). Or better image quality. Or waterproofing the camera. Or even better, let it make coffee! That would be the invention of the century!

But I'm glad to see Canon did not step into the Megapixel trap Nikon set out for them with their D800. Looking at the 22.3 Megapixel count, I can only conclude that Canon gave more importance to better ISO performance than sacrificing some to get to a 36 Megapixel sensor with poor high ISO performance.

I wish in the next few years Canon has the guts to produce a basic professional camera, geared towards landscape photographers. A body with a great sensor, waterproof, shock- and dust proof. No frills. No video. No 10 frames/sec. But maybe one with really good low ISO performance. Like a sensor with ISO ranging from 6 to 25,600... A better and larger viewfinder that covers 100% (or even more) of the frame. A camera that let's you be a photographer again and not a computer wizz.

Also I would love to see Canon add a DOF scale to their zoom lenses again. I miss these things A LOT. Leica figured it out! I would not even be disappointed if they just copy the system. It is genious!

Also their are way to much buttons on these camera's these days. Frankly all these options and buttons scare beginning photographers away. Because face it, even for myself, I probably use only half of the 5DmkII capabilities.

By the way, what happened to simplicity in design I often wonder? The Leica S2 is a beautiful example of a simple camera layout. It's not perfect, far from probably, but the menu structure and the buttons on that camera ar not confusing either. It's definitely not an overwhelming camera (but it is very heavy!).

Simple is better! Trust me.

Canon's 5DmkIII Rumoured specs

Unsurpassed Image Quality
22.3 Megapixel Full Frame CMOS sensor
DiG!C 5+ Image Processor
ISO 100-25600 (expandable to L:50 H1:51200, H2: 102400
Full HD Movie (ISO 100-12800 (H:25600)
High Performance Operation61-point high-density reticular AF (up to 41 crosstype points)
6.0 fps for high continuous shooting
Intelligent viewfinder with approx. 100% coverage
3.2-type, approx.1.04m dot (3:2 wide) Clear View LCD II
iFCL metering with 63-zone dual-layer sensor
Shutter durability of 150,000 cycles
High end featuresSilent & low vibration modes
Dual card slots (CF & SD)
High Dynamic Range (HDR) Mode
Multiple Exposures
Comparative Playback function
Improved durability & water and dust resistance
SPECIFICATIONSAvailable Colours – Black
Megapixels – 22MP
Sensor Size – 36 x 24mm
ISO/Sensitivity – 100 – 25600
Autofocus Points – 61 points
Lens Mount – Canon
LCD Size – 3.2″
Liveview – Yes
Viewfinder – Optical TTL
Min Shutter Speed – 30 sec
Max Shutter Speed – 1/8000 sec
Continuous Shooting Speed – 6 fps
Self Timer – 10 sec, 2 sec
Metering – Centre-weighted, Spot, Evaluative, Partial
Video Resolution – Full HD 1080
Memory Type – Compact Flash
Connectivity – USB 2, HDMI, Mic Input, Wireless (optional)
Battery – LP-E6
Battery Type – Lithium-ion
Charger – Includes Li-Ion Charger
File Formats – AVI, RAW, H.264, MOV, MPEG-4
Dimensions – 152 x 116 x 76mm
Box Contents – Battery Pack LP-E6 .. Battery Charger LC-E6 .. AV Cable AVC-DC400ST .. Interface Cable IFC-200U .. Eyecup Eg .. Wide Strap EWEOS5DMKIII .. CR1616 Lithium Battery+


  1. HERE HERE.... I agree, increase the ISO capabilities and NOT the bells and whistles!!

  2. We'll second that! Thanks for posting this, because it reinforces the notion that great photography comes from a great PHOTOGRAPHER before it does from a great camera.

    **** Ok, that was me speaking in our "corporate voice," but now I wanted to add a brief addendum in my "personal" voice, which is below. ****

    THANK YOU! You just made me feel a lot better about not jumping on the 5DmkIII bandwagon. I don't know if it is a psychological thing, but the first "serious" camera I had was the very base-level Rebel XS, and I still love that one and use it from time to time. But, I'm a little embarrassed to admit, sometimes I feel a little guilty about not being overcome with emotion when a new model is released.

    Best regards,
    Rob Vela

    1. You grabbed the steer by the horns there Rob. Of course good photography starts with vision, not by the size of the camera.
      But I will admit it. Even I am sometimes guilty of 'measuring up' the competition by what equipment they use. Actually the VERY FIRST TIME I went out to photograph with the brand new mkII some guy came up to me to congratulate me with the 'big camera'. I smiled. Those people often mean well.

      Like yourself my first DSLR was a Rebel. An 8 Megapixel XT. I used that same camera until I upgraded to the 5DmkII.

  3. Well put Olivier. So many people seem to think they need the latest camera computer software or whatever to make better photos. My first lesson in photography was to use only a manual camera with one standard 50mm lens, to prove you can make great images with just the minimum of gear.

  4. I'm going to go ahead and disagree with you ;)

    In the world of semi/pro photographers, people tend to specialise. You specialise in Landscapes.

    For everyone else who doesn't specialise (there are a lot more of us than there are specialists), and who want to buy a good camera that will cater to known and unknown future requirements/directions, the bells and whistles are a necessary evil.

    I like shooting landscapes, just as I like shooting tennis at my local club (and 6+ fps is super useful for that), just as I like shooting street when I'm visiting the city (and my interchangeable thumb dials are handy for that), and shooting macros in spring.
    I'm not pro, or even semi, I'm just a regular amateur curious photographer, and the bells and whistles mean that my camera, while not purpose built for a particular style, works really well across all types of shooting that I do, or may do in the future.

    PS on the "not playing the megapickle game", Canon started it with the 5D ii @ 22Mpx vs 12 in the D700. It looks like Nikon finished it with the D800 though :P

    1. I hear what you are saying. And I'm glad somebody is disagreeing. This way we can start a little discussion of what is important in a camera body.

      Think of it in this way for a second.

      Apparently you are OK with spending a ton of cash to buy a luxurious and fast sports car (that you will have to drive every day though) just to be able to – maybe not right way, but just to make sure you can – drive very fast for a couple of times a year.
      To me. That sounds like a total waste of money. Not only are you going to waste money on gas but also on maintenance and insurance.
      You would be better off buying an older vehicle and modify it for the track. So you can keep your every day driver rolling in one piece.

      Maybe they should invent a camera that can do 36 megapixel at 1fr/sec. But can do 20fr/sec at 10 megapixel... That has a lens on there that does everything from 6mm-500mm. With incredible ISO performance... Would people buy that? Totally! It's about marketing. If you market something really good, people would jump all over it.
      It is a consumer thing really. Everyone wants the latest and greatest gear. People don't even care that they have all these function on it. They keep it on auto 90% of the time anyway. Camera's are like any accessory. Sometimes they are almost becoming a statement of wealth.

      And I agree that Canon started this megapixel war in the first place. That is why I call the 5DmkIII NOT a ground breaking camera.

      I am happy I have my mkII though. Will I buy the mkIII. No.
      If Canon would make a medium/large format digital camera with tilt and shift capabilities on the body I would seriously consider purchasing it yes.

    2. I dunno if I understand what is what in your sports car analogy - is the 5D3 meant to be the sports car? Or your hypothetical stripped down purpose built for landscape camera the sports car?

      Also, it seems you DO want the bells and whistles after all (tilt/shift) :P

      For mine, all I'd like to see is better dynamic range in the digital sensors, something that even comes close to film would be nice.

    3. What I meant was that 'your hypothetically all-in one' camera is the sports car.
      Tilt/shift capabilities I would not call those bells & whistles. Those things where almost always available on the camera's from back in the days. With the invention of the SLR those things went away. But for the stuff I do, it can become a necessity (IMO).

      My weekend track car (right now) is an all manual, 30 year old Mamiya RB67 ProSD with film in. No light metering, no live preview, no auto focus no nothing automatic. That's what I meant. I feel like a photographer again where I make decisions and not the camera.

  5. Well said Olivier - I totally agree!

    Each time I hear this argument I am reminded of my time in High School and University when I played a lot of golf. You would see guys on the course and on the driving range with a $2000+ set of clubs. The ball would go 100 feet at a time, often in the wrong direction. "I don't understand it - these clubs are expensive" I was once told. This is the same mentality that we see in photography I think (and no doubt in many other disciplines) - the idea that the equipment will take away the necessity to learn the skill required. Equipment can help, but ultimately it is the user that determines the outcome. I learned this when my my $400 set of Spaldings and I made the College golf team, and again later when my good quality DSLR failed to make up for my early lack of skills!

    I am not currently in the market for a full frame, but I think I'd lean towards the Mark II at this point if I were. I agree with you and am glad that Canon didn't drink the high megapixel koolaid. For some people super large files might be necessary, but I really would not want to have to deal with ~45mg RAW files when I have enough space issues with the 20-24mb files from my 7D. I am curious what comes out with the 7D Mark II (if thats what it is) as Canon seems to always shift their priorities with their various tiers.

    1. Yes Michael! I have a hard time as it is finding room for these 5DmkII files. Everything comes at a price. But $3500 for the body or $4200 for the kit is crazy money IMO. It's an advancement. Not a new camera.

      On the other hand I am hoping they would get rid of this video function. They have their own video line now. If you want to do video, buy one of those video camera's. Heck that's what it used to be right?

    2. While I have played occasionally with the video feature (in my 7D) I would happily take a price cut in my next camera if it were not there. I do not see this happening though - especially in the crop sensor cameras. They might have their own video line - but that stuff is expensive. Canon likely wants to appeal to the consumer that can't afford one of those cameras but still wants to be able to shoot Billy's birthday party along side the other still photos they take. I suspect the feature is here to stay for a while.

  6. Great Post... Tweeted and Facebooked! :-D
    Now the comment: the gear serves a purpose. Are the tools of our trade. I've nothing against buying the latest camera and lenses as long it serves a well defined purpose. Otherwise it's just a waste of money (and time to learn to use it well).
    So, I still shoot with my T2i. Only wished it had a more durable body, better high iso performance, etc. So one should change the tools of the trade if they don't serve it well, but it doesn't mean that the jump should be to Latest. The Better is enought!
    I always keep this on the back of my mind: our limitations are the way to be more creative :-)
    Good Photos to everyone!