Thursday, February 27, 2014

First Shots From Repaired 5D

 I managed to do a few city-scapes in Moncton yesterday with my newly acquired EOS 5D Classic, which needed a minor repair. It performed perfectly - enjoy the shots!

EOS 5D, EF 28-105 USM, DxO Raw File Process

EOS 5D, EF 28-105 USM, DxO Raw File Process

EOS 5D, EF 28-105 USM, DxO Raw File Process
In spite of being big, old and heavy, it's just hard to beat the original EOS 5D for image quality, noise immunity, and ease of use. Has digital image quality surpassed this since 2005, when this camera was first introduced? I don't think so. Other things have improved, such as Auto Focus performance (that's important - the original 5D doesn't do very well trying to focus itself in low light, and occasionally does frustrate me), and faster burst shooting or "continuous drive" (the original 5D does 3 frames per second, while most newer cameras will do 8 fps - this is important to some people, but it doesn't matter to my style of photography). Other things such as bigger and brighter rear screens, with live-view shooting may or may not matter so much, and I realize that people have been talking about this for over 5 years, and so, the 5D Classic's rear screen is terrible by even yesterday's standards, but I can certainly live with that. I simply use it to display the histogram, and the over-exposure indicator, both of which can be done with newer cameras, and in this mode, the old 5D is almost as good.

Now, what about that all important question of "how many MegaPixels"? The 5D Classic "only" has 12.8, and even most new pocket cameras have 16 or more. Well, my first digital camera ever was a Pentax Optio 230, which stood for 2 MegaPixels, and a 3.0 optical zoom lens - I bought this in 2002. I used to make 8X11 prints from those real small JPEG files, and they looked just great. So, doing the math, the surface area of an 8X11 sheet is 88 square inches, meaning a 12 MP camera would print just as well on a sheet 6 times that size, which is 528 square inches - a sheet with 19" X 28" inch dimensions. This means, if you're concerned about print quality for prints bigger than 19" X 28", maybe the 5D Classic would not be sufficient, and you should consider a newer camera.

What about noise? Well, I've owned two of Canon's new DSLR's - the horrible 7D and the much better Rebel T3i, both with 18 MP 24mm sized sensors. Both had extended ISO of 128,000, while the 5D "only" has extended 3200. But because the original 5D spreads it's 12.8 MP over a 35mm sensor, and the other cameras mentioned "pack" their 18 MP over 24mm, I can extend the 5D noise floor by 2 EV (stops) - in other words, under-expose by -2 stops, then recover the exposure on the Raw File using software with a bit of noise reduction. I've proven many times how well this works, and I did this again in the two "night" shots above. I'm convinced this works much better than the newer cameras which pack too many pixels in to o small a space. I know I'm repeating myself here, but hopefully, I'm getting some new readers who need to hear this message afresh.

In conclusion, I must say how nice it feels to own two of these great old obsolescence proof cameras!

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