Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera with Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM super-telephoto lens
I am not a photography equipment “Weenie” preferring instead to dwell on the artistic side of the photographic equation. Oh but I do admire great camera gear when I see it (and use it). Over the years I’ve used some amazingly good cameras. For years and years it was the Germans who led the way with: Leica, Contax and Rolleiflex. Then the Japanese hit the market with the revolutionary new Nikon F SLR. Back in my film days I used Leica, Rolleiflex and Nikon; now they have all been retired in favor of digital.
Canon EOS 1Dx
When I turned professional (meaning I made money with my photography) in 2009, I made the decision to enter into the digital age. It was a scary proposition for this old dinosaur, but it was a necessary move if I was to be competitive, a player and not just an observer. I also made the decision to leave Nikon for Canon; I felt that Canon had the better systems at the time. Now I have so much invested in Canon equipment I couldn’t make the switch back even if I wanted to. Canon and Nikon remain the big guns in professional photography, but Sony appears to moving up.
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
I talk a lot about lenses in this blog, because lenses are the eyes of photography (the camera bodies themselves are the brains). Given a choice it’s better to have good eyes than a good brain (though both are essential). The modern day digital sensors are now so good that it is difficult for lenses to keep up with them, therefore if one can afford it pro-level lenses are almost mandatory for commercially viable photography. I now shoot exclusively with Canon L-lenses, the L-series is Canon’s professional line of lenses (for the most part they are spectacular).
Canon EOS 5D Mark II
I also choose to use a full-frame sensor camera body (the CMOS sensor = 35mm) for a number of reasons. First and foremost is the resolution full-frame offers, second is its low light performance which is exceptional and finally the focal length (FL) of the lens is not distorted by a smaller sensor’s crop factor (a 400mm FL = 400mm, and not 400mm x 1.6x = 560mm). This is especially important when using wide-angle lenses.
Canon EOS 1Dx: $5,300 USD
Canon EOS 5D Mark III: $2,800 USD
Canon EOS 5D Mark II: Paid about $2,5000 USD in 2009
Now that I have retired from the corporate life, I have to carefully weigh my financial decisions. Are my purchases a “need” or a “want.” I would love to have Canon’s flagship, top-of-the-line professional camera: the EOS 1Dx. Next in line would be the EOS 5D Mark III. I currently shoot with my 6-year old EOS 5D Mark II. The 1Dx and Mark III have superior autofocus (AF) systems, and can shoot many more frames per second (FPS), but I just can’t justify replacing my Mark II for those upgrades, even though they would make my life much easier. Needs versus wants. A tough pill to swallow.
Stephen F. Dennstedt
Photographer, Writer and World Traveler