Really need advice re: 5d Mark ii

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by anewman143, Jun 29, 2011.

  1. anewman143 macrumors regular

    anewman143

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2008
    #1
    OK - here's the situation. Really enjoying my xSi and my "L" glass. Truly impressed by what a difference moving up to the L glass made.

    I've got a patient who is a photographer and we were talking cameras of course...she mentioned recently moving up to a 5d Mark ii and how impressed she was at the difference from her prior crop-frame camera, especially for low light work. She does weddings and prefers no flash and is able to shoot at ISO 3200 and 6400 without noticable degradation in performance.

    So - of course now I'm drooling over a 5d...I am NOT a professional photographer and despite my 24-105 f4 L and 70-200 f4 L (as well as several primes) I often find low light shooting a challenge. Rather than buying more lenses (in the 2.8 range)...I'm considering the 5d Mark ii.

    So - is it just equipment envy? Do those of you out there who have moved up to a full-frame sensor really see the difference that my patient does?

    Inquiring minds want to know! The video option is not a big deal to me either way, so it's more of a sensor/sensitivity issue that I'm considering...

    I'm perfectly willing to accept that I'm just a gadget-happy 45 year old boy at heart who wants a new toy...but I shoot a lot (and more so outdoors) so perhaps a "pro" body would be a good idea for that reason as well...

    So - whaddya think??

    Adam
     
  2. fcortese macrumors demi-god

    fcortese

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    Apr 3, 2010
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    Big Sky country
    #2
    I had a t1i but moved up the the 5dII in March. I had been waiting for the 5d Mark III but then the double disaster hit Japan and I figured I'd have to wait another year (present rumblings point to a mid to late 2012 release of the III). I have enjoyed the 5dII so far, but really can not comment on the low light-high ISO capabilities. I suggest renting the camera for a week or so and giving it a test run in those situations. Some reviews on B&H point to some hot pixels and black spots with the 5Dii in low light situations.
     
  3. anewman143 thread starter macrumors regular

    anewman143

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    Jan 18, 2008
    #3
    Renting is a great idea...but I currently work in rural southwest Virginia...no real camera stores anywhere close to rent from...RATS!
     
  4. jackerin macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 29, 2008
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    Finland
    #4
    I say go for it. If I would have the expendable income I'd do it too, and I'm not shooting profesionally.
     
  5. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    Feb 24, 2008
    Location:
    Over there------->
    #5
    I've had my 5D Mark II for about a year and half now. I also have a 7D, and prior to those two, I owned an XSi. I have shot extensively with all of these cameras, and I do a lot of low-light work. Short answer: yes, there is a remarkable difference in the high-ISO capabilities of the 5D Mark II. It bests the 7D by a stop or two (it really starts pulling away at about ISO 1600), and the 7D is about a stop better than the XSi in general.

    You haven't said what you're shooting in low light, however. Sometimes the best solution is a very fast lens, which you do not own (yours are only f/4), especially if you don't need a large depth of field. If you're trying to shoot people moving in low light, you'll have a lot more fun with a fast lens than you will with resorting to high ISO.

    If, on the other hand, you're shooting nightscapes or some such thing where you do want a large depth of field, then you'll be better off investing in a good tripod.
     
  6. OreoCookie, Jun 29, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2011

    OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    Apr 14, 2001
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    Sendai, Japan
    #6
    I don't think you need to move to a 5D Mark II to get excellent low-light capabilities, the new breed of sensors works very well up to ISO 3,200 and I can get usable shots even at ISO 6,400. Perhaps the results would be better with a full frame sensor body, but then I'd need to plunk down another 1~2 grand for new primes. With a bright f/1.4 prime at ISO 3,200, I can shoot in most indoor situations at night.

    Ditto for IQ: if you keep away from extreme ISO levels and already own good glass, don't expect any miraculous jumps in IQ in most situations.

    In addition, you should keep in mind that the 5D Mark II's AF system is dated and the 50D, 60D and 7D, for instance, have a much more modern AF system. This may be important if you shoot a lot of action.

    In any case, I don't have the impression you need a 5D Mark II. But I think you want a 5D, because you like toys (which is a legitimate reason if you have that kind of money laying around) ;) From a rational position, you could upgrade your body or buy additional glass. I have a Sigma 30 mm f/1.4 which is very useful in low light.

    I don't want to badmouth the 5D Mark II, it's a very capable camera and I envy people who can afford such a camera. If I had the money I had bought myself a full frame body yesteryear, but most people live on a budget and getting a full frame body plus suitable lenses is expensive :(
     
  7. duncanapple, Jun 29, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2011

    duncanapple macrumors 6502

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    Jun 12, 2008
    #7
    If you have the money, go for it. I upgraded from an XS to the 5DII. The very first picture I took with it, I noticed the person in the picture seemed to pop off the page a lot more. The larger sensor has a cool effect on depth of field, something that wasn't mentioned above. The camera is a bit more durable than the rebel series, and it utilizes the full width of your EF lenses. With the large amount of megapixels of the 5D, you can pretty much crop/zoom to make up the shortfall in "reach" you give up from the XSi. (note crop frame sensors don't really zoom any further but that's a separate topic!)

    Bottom line is this camera is a low light beast. When your not after using the flash, or just need the versatility it can't be beat. I am not a pro either, but I still think I am getting my moneys worth. It takes great pictures, and I (as I assume any DSLR user) put a lot of value in good photos of my trips, family, etc.

    With the L primes this camera really opens up. My 5DII and 35 1.4L were the only two pieces of gear I had for a long time. I recently added the 135 2.0L and a flash, but still stick to the 35mm for 90% of my pics.

    The only caveat to all this is what has been said above. Larger aperture lenses are going to help a lot more than the high iso abilities of this camera in low light. Just my opinion, but you really need 2.8 or larger glass before the 5D should come into play. Though you mentioned having primes so you may be all set in that department.

    Good luck!
     
  8. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #8
    You can rent online- the usual places- but availability during the prime wedding season may be bad:

    http://www.rentglass.com/itemdetail.aspx?showitem=404
    http://www.lensrentals.com/rent/canon/cameras/canon-eos-5d-mark-ii

    Lensrentals appear to have the camera in stock- 4 days for $151.50 + $30 shipping and $18 insurance.

    However, it'd be much cheaper to just go shooting with your patient and swap cameras for a bit.

    Paul
     
  9. anewman143 thread starter macrumors regular

    anewman143

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2008
    #9
    Thanks to everyone so far for replying...all good advice I believe. I think that I am definitely somewhere between "want" and "need". I do believe that the new body would be VERY nice, and also believe that even faster "L" glass would be a boost too!

    Damn....I hate wanting stuff that I'm not sure that I can afford! :)

    Adam
     
  10. Lagmonster macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2007
    #10
    ^^ This is key. While the 5DII can pretty much see in the dark, you might need the 2.8 70-200 or something else fast depending on what you are shooting.
     
  11. ashman70 macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 20, 2010
    #11
    If you can financially afford it and justify it then go for it. I did a similar thing in the Nikon world when I upgraded to a D700, I had $3500 in gear and one day I said to myself 'I'm not a working pro, why do I have so much money invested in this gear?' I sold the lot and downgraded to a perfectly capable crop body, I have no regrets although sometimes I miss the lovely detailed images the FX body produced with pro glass.
     
  12. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #12
    That for me is key here: if you struggle to afford it, I wouldn't do it. Take the money you can realistically spend on a body and put it away. Start saving up for the next big thing and all the while, think about how to spend it best. If you end up saving enough for a 5D Mark III (or whatever you happen to fancy at the time) plus the nice lens that you always wanted, you'll be better of IMO.
     
  13. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

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    Jun 9, 2009
    #13
    It comes as little surprise that you have trouble shooting low light with f/4 lenses (although you mention you own some primes- they still give you trouble?). I would say the first thing to do would be to pick up a faster lens, or (gasp!) even try your hand at learning some flash techniques.

    At this point in the game, the 5DMk2 is a bit long in the tooth (not that it is an obsolete camera, but it's clear to everyone that the 5DMk3 is coming sooner rather than later, despite what has happened in Japan recently)- so I'd suggest you simply hold off and get that when it comes out, because I get the feeling that even if you buy a 5DMK2 today, you'll be asking "My patient came in with the 5DMk3 and it does XYZ better than my 5DMk2. Should I upgrade?" shortly after the new model is released.

    Ruahrc
     
  14. El Cabong macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2008
    #14
    It's most definitely a case of gear lust.

    You could sell your current camera and some lenses to ease the burden of getting a 5Dii now, but you'll likely face the same dilemma in 6-10 months, when the 5Diii is available (or whenever that happens to be). Having the latest and greatest also won't guarantee better results. Low light shooting isn't difficult "despite" having L lenses; it's difficult because you're trying to use f/4 lenses to shoot in low light.

    I would save my money, for now.
     
  15. designguy79 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Location:
    Michigan
    #15
    Good info, I agree 100%.

    OP: Did you know that a f/2.8 lens allows *twice* as much light in vs. f/4?
     
  16. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #16
    I don't own a 5D2 (I have a 7D waiting for a 5D3) but I'm always willing to jump in and help a fellow gear head justify a purchase. :p :D

    I think high ISO is under-rated. One way to look at it... if the 5D2 is two or three stops better in low light than your XSi, that's like converting all your f4 lenses into f2 or f1.4 glass. :eek: Price that out and see how much it costs. :D

    I'm only half joking. Of course high ISO doesn't buy you razor thin depth of field, but it can be an equally valuable tool in low light shooting and even more so when that razor thin DOF is actually unwanted.
     
  17. TheDrift- macrumors 6502a

    TheDrift-

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2010
    #17
    I would throw in the ability to crop your photos, you can take a small part of an image and the resolution is still good enough to get a decent photo out of

    ....of course it doesnt been getting it in camera right first time.......but sometimes in post you see the picture you wish you had taken....the resolution of the 5d mkii can give you that option.
     
  18. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    Apr 14, 2001
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    Sendai, Japan
    #18
    The difference between a camera like the 60D and 5D Mark II is ~17 % (~3 megapixels) of additional resolution. Since the size of the image scales with the area, that's about 8 % of additional latitude. In practical terms, this is not a big deal.
     
  19. anewman143 thread starter macrumors regular

    anewman143

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    Jan 18, 2008
    #19
    All great responses and debate folks. My issue with going to a faster lens is the downside already noted for a 2.8 lens...very thin DOF. While this can certainly be a plus in some situations, not sure it would be for me.

    And a single 2.8 L lens could set me back as much as the new body...

    Sigh...now I just have to figure out how to broach the subject with my wife...that will be WAY harder than deciding on a new body or lens...
     
  20. fcortese macrumors demi-god

    fcortese

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    Big Sky country
    #20
    LMAO. I feel your pain and know what you mean!:D
     
  21. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

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    Jun 9, 2009
    #21
    One problem is that while an f2.8 lens is faster than your current f/4 stuff, it likely will still not be fast enough, at only 1 stop faster. If you really want lenses suitable for low light shooting, you need to be looking in the 1.8-1.4 (1.2?) range. An f1.4 lens is 3 stops faster than your f/4, a meaningful increase in light gathering capability.

    You can extend this argument to comparing bodies. I don't have any hard numbers, but it is probably reasonable to assume that the 5dmkii is at best 1-1.5 stops better than the XSi. Which means, you'd be getting about the same effect as moving from an f/4 to an f/2.8 lens.

    If you need low light and DOF- the only real way to accomplish this is to get a flash. Again, most people shun flash because they think of that "deer in the headlights" look which is the result of poorly executed flash. Just go look at places like strobist or Joe McNally to see that natural and good results can easily come from flash photography- if you just put a little effort into it.

    Ruahrc
     
  22. TheDrift- macrumors 6502a

    TheDrift-

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    Mar 8, 2010
    #22
    I would have thought...and I'm no expert so I'm quite prepared to be wrong lol :)

    In pure megapixels yes, if the senors were the same size I'd agree there would be a small difference.... but have you taken into account the different sensor sizes??

    ....As you say the image scales with area...but the FF has a bigger area to start with so it would have to scale less?

    EG: Sensor size
    Full frame 36.0x24.0mm
    APS-C 22.3x14.9mm

    So lets say you scale the image up to a 6 x4 print, (using 1 inch to 25.4mm)

    So a 6 x 4 would be 152.4 mm by 101.6 mm

    The full frame gets there in just over 4.2 x enlargement
    The APS-c Takes nearly a 7 x enlargement to reach the same size

    This is way more than just an 8% difference,

    My experience is that my 5dmk2 is way more 'cropable' the my APS-C camera.....maybe someone else could shed more light??????
     
  23. OreoCookie, Jun 30, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2011

    OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #23
    Your calculation doesn't make sense: when you print, the size is determined by the resolution of the printer (say, 300 dpi) and the height and width of the image in terms of pixels. Sensor size does not enter in this calculation. So a 12 MP image from a Nikon D700 with full frame sensor will give you the same print size as a Nikon D300s (with a 1.5x crop sensor).

    A larger sensor has different characteristics than a smaller sensor: larger sensor potentially better noise behavior and larger dynamic range, etc. I say potentially since you need to compare sensors of the same generation, then they do outperform crop sensors given there is good glass in front of it. On the other hand, crop sensors have reached a level of performance where you can use them at very high ISO previously thought to be impossible. But none of that enters the calculation of print sizes.
     
  24. Ish macrumors 68010

    Ish

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    Nov 30, 2004
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    UK
    #24
    Maybe there's something your wife would like but doesn't know how to broach the subject with you. :) You could both get something special!
     
  25. Grey Beard macrumors 65816

    Grey Beard

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    The Antipodes.
    #25
    Ish's idea is good though it seems like it'd cost twice the price. As it was suggested earlier to rent the camera, you could maybe buy the camera and rent your wife:D
    KGB
     

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