Lacking dark skies

Getting into the 5D Mark II – Finally some first impressions

Richard Charpentier Canon Cameras, Digital Cameras, Notes from Rich 1 Comment

Wondering when this post would show up?  Yeah, me too.  It’s about time.  Clearly I’ve been slacking!

First off, not covering everything on the Mark II all at once.  I’m still working through it, and as I learn more I’ll share more.

Normally when figuring out a new camera I’ve got fantastic guides to follow along with, like “The Digital Field Guide” series.  Not this time!  That won’t be out on the 5D for a few more moths.  So, combined with the manual that came with the camera and my previous guides I’m cobbling together my own series of info on it!  Heck, maybe I should write a guidebook on the camera!  🙂


The backside of my canon 5D Mark II. Yup, gotta clean my screen!

First off, lets talk about the body itself, the changes I’ve experienced on the configuration, and the physical features of the camera.  Good place to start, right?  The body has been an adjustment for me, as I’ve been working with my 40D for a while.  Not a huge adjustment as I still used my 30D as well.  What’s that mean?

While a good deal remains the same on each Canon in the lineup, slight changes occur.  My 30D had the Menu, Info, Shooting style and play buttons along the left side of the view screen.  My 40D had them all below the screen.  Receiving the 5D I immediately noticed the buttons were back on the left again, just like my 30D.  I’d gotten so used to the 40 that it’s taken a little bit of adjustment.  No complaints!  Just the first thing I noticed.

The large selector thumb wheel is where it always has been.  Same can be said for the smaller control wheel near the shutter button.  Ah, nice to have most things stay the same!  I’m a big fan of the thumb wheel, and making adjustments when shooting is pretty easy!


The Mode Select dial is different to me!

I’m not a photographer who’s going from the original 5D to the Mark II.  I’m moving up from a 30 & 40D, so there are a few changes that really jumped out at me.  For instance, the mode selector dial has changed a great deal for me.

On the 30 and 40D you had the preset modes and the more manual modes.  The green box of fully automatic remains the same, but the rest of the presets are gone.  What were those presets?  Portrait, Landscape, Nightshot, No Flash, Macro, and High Speed.  None of those presets come on the Mark II, and I think that’s a good thing.  I haven’t used those since I bought my first DSLR, the Canon 10D!  So, not complaining about the changes on the mode select.

What is on the dial that I did use has also changed.  You’ve got fully auto (the green box), Creative Auto (where you can do things like all the old presets via the menu screen), Program mode (don’t use it personally), Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, Manual, BULB, and a few custom settings you can create.

Did you see that I bolded Bulb?  Yeah, it’s extremely cool!  Oh, and to Josh, who is looking at this shot right now…..yes, I did leave it on Aperture Priority last night, not manual…..  let the picking begin!  🙂

One mode was taken away from me here.  A-Dep, or auto depth of field.  It was my “lazy” button, and now I don’t get to be so darned lazy.  Of course, I still use aperture priority, and my good friend Josh considers that a lazy button too.  I’m doing a lot more manual work now, and that’s two part.  One part, I use it.  The other part, Josh teases me into a corner about it!  Rigourous film guys who went to art school……. 🙂  Seriously though, Josh is right about using manual more, and I’m there as well.

Some day I’ll do a long post about Mr. Manual, Josh G.  I think he deserves an entire post.

So, shooting modes have changed jumping up into the “Pro Series” DSLR for me.  Not huge or horrible changes, and it isn’t taking me time to adjust to that.

Onto the rest of the camera……


The LCD option selector

Near the shutter button on the top of the camera is one more LCD.  It’s been consistent from the 10D through the 40D for me.  No changes at all.  Several mode buttons are next to the LCD, and you can alter more camera settings there.  What settings are available?

This is where you can select your White Balance, Drive Modes, ISO, Flash, and Metering Mode.  Everything on this screen is the same as prior models, so nothing to get worked up over here at all.  If you’ve owned previous Canons this won’t surprise you.

Well, there’s my quick rundown on the body of the Canon.  Yes, there’s a few more buttons on the front, and I’ll cover it at a later time.  Hey, this isn’t a Digital Field Guide or something, it’s just my little old blog.  If you think I should do a field guide on the 5D let me know.  That would be a fun book to write, and I can get more detailed for the right price!  🙂

Overall, what do I think so far?

As far as my overall first impressions……

I’m enjoying shooting with the 5D.  The 21 Megapixels blows my mind.  I’m not a “more megapixels” is better type of a guy, but wow can I crop in massively on pictures.  Pictures like crazed warring lizards.….you can really crop in on those.

The body is heavier than my 40D, so that’s been an adjustment.  It’s wider as well.  And offloading huge files to my 3+ year old Macbook Pro….yeah, that’s slowed down just a tad.  The image quality is really there though, so it seems to be worth the wait.

In coming posts I’ll do some image comaprison between the 40D and the 5D and see what you think as well.  I’ll also talk about more of the camera’s features and give you more insight on shooting with it as my personal experience grows…….

Comments 1

  1. Nice “compare and contrast”. Wow – some real wholesale changes to the Mode Dial! I would assume that the new “B” on the Dial is the new Bulb Mode… duh. Can’t wait to hear more about that new little nugget.

    One side note. Can I make a public request / plea to Canon – please do away with the Print Button. I have never – in my give or take five years with Canon – printed directly from my camera. I guess it’s one thing to have this button on my old PowerShot SD600, but really, on a 5D (or a 30D for that matter).

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