Well the Day I’ve Been awaiting… patiently, has arrived!
On Monday Evening I received a call from Calumet saying they had in a Canon EOS 5D MKII with my name on it. I needed time to juggle monies between bank accounts to spend it, and was dealing with a busted water heater at the time anyhow.
It’s Bigger, It’s Better… It’s All Mine!
So after the plumbing guys came and left today, I took a long late lunch to pick up my prized new camera body. Took my 40D with, which had my Canon 70-200mm 2.8 L IS USM lens attached. I wanted to see what the difference would be from the view finder with something I was used to. This was an easier lens to tote around into the store than my 500mm! This will really be my first chance to functionally shoot with a Full-Frame Sensored camera, let alone own one. So I’m pretty excited for a number of reasons.
I got to the Oak Brook Calumet Photographic location watching the outdoor temperatures drop along the way. It was now a balmy 7˚F with a light breeze. I was surprised the store wasn’t too busy. Wendy spotted me before I made it to the counter, and went and grabbed the box. Now was the magic moment. Up until this point I have only seen images and video of this camera. This was the first time I actually had my hands on one, and it was Mine! Quickly swapping the 70-200 from the 40D to the 5D MKII I began checking out simple functions and views. Calumet has their own brand of what they call Pro Series Memory Cards and their ProSpec UDMA 8GB Compact Flash Card is $79 right now, so I asked for one of those to use, I’d buy it and give it a work out. These new UDMA cards are suppose to write much faster, and with shooting RAW in Burst mode I could use all the write speed I could get. Shot off a few images about the store as Wendy began processing my order. I’ll keep those for my test records, since I don’t want to post of images from folks there without asking them.
Wendy did mention that there was already a Firmware Update released. I mentioned that yes I knew, as a matter of fact I had already downloaded it in anticipation of having this camera before the Big Trip to Yellowstone NP… in just 17-days now, but who’s counting! Later on in the evening I would discover this particular camera body had already been updated to the latest firmware release.
When I got back home, I had to check in with some work stuff first, and follow up on some stuff I’m working on. Eventually I did get back to the camera, and began to shoot some more test shots. Diesel and Buddy, our dogs make some good subjects, so I volunteered them… Shot a few outside the house too, but it was getting darker especially for some of the Snow test shots I wanted to do.
One thing that noticeably missing to me is the extended Battery Grip. Usually I have purchased the grip when I’ve bought the camera. This time there was such a jump in price and since I’m basically paying cash that was a bit much at this time. (Yes… I actually saved & scrimped to put away the cash up front for this. I don’t think I have put any of my gear on credit.) Average prices seems to be in the $270-299 range. Quite a jump from the battery grip on the 40D, which I paid $189. When you get used to the body weight and size with the grip on, it’s hard to adjust to the body without the grip there. Besides, I love the extra power of having 2 batteries extending my shoot time. Even when shooting in extremely cold weather like the conditions we shot at the Mississippi last weekend.
Sample Test Images
So These are just a few Quickie Test Images I’ve shot within the first Few Hours after arriving back home with this camera. No Tripods, No extensive setup, I just looked for a few things which I could check details, textures, lighting. Between now and Sunday I hope to have time to play and experiment more. Especially since I am doing a Valentine’s Day Themed shoot with a number of models. Should make for some sweet opportunities to stretch out the legs of this new camera’s capabilities.
- ISO setting… While I do tend to check out my setting, and change things as conditions change, I actually Did Not check to see where The ISO setting was when I started shooting things. Turns out, and these shots shown here and every thing I shot that first day was set at ISO 50. Digitally I don’t think I have shot as low as 50 before. I so used to shooting at ISO 400, unless I’m shooting in a highly extreme condition either low light or lots of Sunlight. I have shoot full outdoor events at ISO 100 when that sun is quite bright and little clouds. I have done studio shoot at ISO 100 as well when we have high-speed controlled lighting situations. There have been times at Yellowstone early in the morning or evening when I’ve shot at ISO 800. But like I said, under most normal conditions I’m shooting at ISO 400.
- Image counter [Shots remaining] In years past this was not as big an issue since 1-2-4GB Compact Flash cards didn’t exceed a three digit image count. As an example, on my 40D with a 4GB card I can get ~297 Raw images, and ~947 JPEG images (Fine). With an 8GB CF Card, I get ~596 Raw and well close to 2,000 JPEG images. And on a 12GB CF I get roughly ~943 Raw and over 2,700 JPEG’s. I was hopping that given the image sizes this produced, and the video, they would do as they have with the 1D-series cameras and provide us with a 4-digit counter. They did Not! Why is this an issue? maybe I’m just being anal about this, but I like to see those images clicking off knowing I’m getting shots recorded, without having to go back to the LCD screen & preview what I’ve just shot. When I am out shooting Autocross action I shoot JPEG for obvious reasons. (You try shooting a whole day of 7,000+ images and convert those from RAW… You’ll be at it all week!) On average using two cameras, I shoot anywhere from 10-20 images per car as they make a run, sometimes more. and the cars are running back-to-back with little if any time between cars. So I don’t have time to be constantly checking the review screen after every car to know I recorded shots. To me, seeing that counter run down is an easy quick assurance that things are going well. Don’t get me wrong, there are moments when I have a lull in the action, and I do check to make sure the shots are looking fine, but that’s more to make sure that I am shooting with the right settings for the conditions and I’m producing good usable images.
- Batteries! No One seem to have Batteries in stock? What happened there Canon? Everyone I call either has batteries on back order, or can’t get them. So You put out a fine camera, you offer a battery grip (which I couldn’t get if I wanted either, it’s backordered!) and we can’t get extra batteries for single replacement use OR to populate the Grip with So now I have this Great camera, but can only use it for about 800 shots (estimated battery life)
- Memory Card Extremes -The ProSpec CF card temperature specs Vs the SanDisk. So far to date I have been a big big fan of the SanDisk memory cards. Reliability, Reliability, Reliability. They have a fantastic track record, if there is an issue with the card, their service is as good. But one of the biggest reasons go back to when I was originally planning the trip to Antarctica. I wanted to only buy cards that would survive that environment, as well as some of the cold weather we have shot out along the Mississippi and Rock rivers with our Midwest winters. Heck, Last time I was in Alaska it was -40˙F when I arrived, and had only `warmed up to` -23˙F by the time I left 2-months later. So I have been buying the SanDisk Extreme III (I do one 1-2 Extreme IV’s as well) as they are rated to operate from -13˙F – 185˙F. Not that I plan to be anywhere close to the high end, I know I will easily work within the low end environments. Oddly after I looked it up since it’s not within the packaging anywhere, the Calumet ProSpec UDMA CF Cards are also rated for that same temp range. So I see how this fairs over time, since that $79 for an 8GB UDMA card is pretty nice as far as I’m concerned.
- Batteries…. Did I mention I can’t find batteries in Stock Anywhere???
Now I don’t have the budget nor accessories gear pool to use that Vincent Laforet had access to during his shooting of Reverie. But I am going to attempt to do a little HD video documentation of our Winter Photography workshop out in Yellowstone which we leave for at the end of the month. If you have Not seen his video, go check it out at the above link, or even his blog. It will be interesting to see what Wildlife HD video looks like shot using the 500mm lens. I have shot a few <1-minute clips, with the camera mounted to a tripod but nothing worthy of sharing yet… still testing this out. Canon posted a few sample videos as well, I’ll have to find that link and post it here. The one of the bird I thought was rather intriguing since I do shoot so much wildlife. I’ll have to check out some auto racing video when Autocross season starts up in April.
I had already read some miscellaneous blogs and articles about the quality of the video. But one things that struck me was so many folks think there won’t be problems when trying to shoot HD quality video and hand holding the camera.
Well, I need to get off to bed, and ready for work. Man I need longer days to check out this camera some more and be completely comfortable with it’s knobs and feature locations so I don’t look like a bumbling idiot. Especially given the average temperatures at Yellowstone during this time of year. Not to mention the negative temp Highs they are predicting for the Midwest later this week! Now where did I leave that manual?
All Images Copyrighted © 2009 michael T. sedwick