Shooting with the 5D Mark II in Zion National Park

Richard Charpentier Canon Cameras, Digital Cameras, Photography Leave a Comment

Bet you’re saying, “Didn’t he wrap up the Zion trip information yesterday?  What gives?”

I did wrap up my whole account of the Zion trip.  That’s true.  But today I wanted to talk about shooting in the park with my newest camera, the 5D Mark II.  Since the oil on the sensor incident I’m finally getting to work with the camera, and I’m liking it.  Well, mostly liking it.  There were a few minor issues that jumped out at me, and I’ll mention those as well.

Our trip started on June 27th.  Wednesday to Sunday.  5 full days where the 5D was used daily.  And I only have 1 battery for the camera.  Of course I brought the charger, but I didn’t need to recharge the camera at all.  More than 750 photos on a single charge and the battery still shows charge!  Pretty good.

I’ve created 3 different custom presets for HDR with my new Canon.  2 outdoor HDR presets and one indoor HDR preset.  I bounced between my outdoor settings often, and they worked well.  I did take one additional approach for many photos.  Total MANUAL for my photos.  I’m trending toward going manual every shoot now.  That’s all thanks to Josh, a.k.a. “Mr. Manual.”

Sorry Josh, had to throw a tease out there.  You need it anyhow……Drop that D700 yet?

I’ve started flipping over to manual for many of my shooting situations now.  If I need to do an HDR it’s pretty simple.  Hit the menu button, get into bracketing and voila!  All set.  A few extra steps beyond my custom functions, but worth it for a little more control.

The 5D Mark II is very familiar to me since I’ve been shooting Canon for years now.  Other than a few buttons being moved around it feels like my previous cameras.  No huge changes.

I have to say, the biggest issue I’ve had with the Mark II has to do with weight.  The Mark II and the 17-40mm wide angle feels almost twice as heavy as my 40D and it’s 10-22mm.  Seriously hard if you want to quickly do a handheld HDR.  You’ve got to have the monopod at minimum, and still, the weight is noticable.  Putting the 24-70mm L Series 2.8 makes the camera a tank.  Heavy is an understatement compared to my prior Canon DSLRs.  There’s where I ran into issues.

It’s pretty clear to me, the tripod is an absolute necessity now.  I’m only carrying 3 lenses for the camera (17-40, 24-70, and the 70-200).  They’re all heavier and combined with a heavier body only the tripod provides total stability.  There’s my big gripe, and it’s not too big of a gripe.  Just means a little more weight with the tripod always coming along instead of the monopod.  I’ll keep the monopod for the 40D.  Still works well there.  Maybe I need to do some strength training for the camera…….  🙂

The Mark II’s heavier duty construction, combined with my well sealed L series lenses really performed in Zion.  Water dripped all over me at the Emerald Pools.  Same can be said at Weeping Rock.  Then wind and rain at the Virgin Narrows.  Not to mention dust everywhere.  Nothing got into the camera, and I felt confident that it would be fine in a harsher environment.  It was.

Bottom line…..the 5D Mark II did a great job in Zion.  Carrying it, my lenses, snacks, and water made for a very heavy pack, but the images I took away made it worthwhile.

A full review of the Mark II will be posted here soon, so do check back!  🙂

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