Canon came out swinging in this round

Let me start with a disclaimer: Having been in the world of digital photography for a few years now, I have met some great photographers. I have also met some fanatics. These are people that treat their camera brand like a religion and no one is going to tell them they are wrong. It reminds me of the Mac vs. PC days back in the 80’s and 90’s. Although I’m a Nikon shooter, it’s not my religion. I can certainly appreciate when one manufacturer does something cool vs. another. I’m not paid by Nikon, it’s just the camera brand I picked at the time based on the models that were out at the time. Once you buy a camera body and start buying lenses, it’s very hard (financially) to just up and switch because another manufacturer comes out with something that is tempting. So if this is your religion, that’s great for you, but I really don’t care. I’m just reporting on what interests me. So spare me with the comments on how one is so much better than the other (I am glad that you feel so passionately about it). Now that I got that out of the way, let me go on with my post:

Canon’s New EOS 5D Mark II SLR Kicks Butt

Yes, I said it! I’m a Nikon shooter, but I can certainly appreciate when I see a camera that has outstanding specs and that’s exactly what I woke up to this morning. The 5D Mark II had been rumored and leaked for months now. I’ve been watching the rumors as many of my friends are Canon shooters (yes I associate with both Nikon and Canon users, call me crazy). However, when I saw the specs this morning, all I could say was WOW! What caught my eye was: 21.1 megapixels, Full Frame, Full HD 1920 x 1080 video (Woah), 3 in LCD with Live View, 3.9 fps burst for unlimited JPEGs or up to 14 RAW images when using a UDMA CS card all for only $2,699 (body only price)! Based on the specs and price point, this camera is going sell WELL!


My take on DSLRs shooting video

One of my blog readers asked if I would perhaps do a post on the Nikon D90? I thought about it at the time and I didn’t really feel comfortable doing a review of a camera that I didn’t have or plan to get. However, now that both Nikon (with the D90) and Canon (with the 5D Mark II) have released models that shoot video, I thought I would at least weigh in on this topic. I haven’t actually used either model yet, so this is only my opinion/feeling at this point. I think that having an DSLR that can shoot video is an interesting concept. It will certainly appeal to the “dads” and “moms” out there. Think about it, you’re at the little league game and you can capture your kid as either high res great quality digital stills or as a video, when they slide into home base. I also think it’s going to open up a whole new world for seeing “different” kinds of video because now you have a camera shooting video using the dozens of different lenses available to DSLR cameras. What I’m not sure of is how well this will appeal to professional photographers. Most professional photographers that I talk to, never show any interest in doing video. So I’m not sure if they will care about having a DSLR that can shoot video. However, on the other hand most professional videographers I know DO SHOOT STILLS more and more now. So these cameras will definitely appeal to them.

Usually when you have a multi-function device, it tends to be really good at one thing and suck at the rest, or worse, it’s not really good at any one thing. I think these new cameras are probably going to be much stronger at taking stills than they will be at taking video. So therefore it won’t be the “only” camera that a video professional could carry. I think it will be good for occasional video use. There are all kinds of things that we don’t think about when it comes to video. The first thing that comes to mind is, “what kind of microphone do these cameras have?” Sound is the most important aspect to good video. People will forgive you for having crappy video with great sound, but they will not forgive you for having great video  with crappy sound!

Here’s a Sample Video my buddy Bruce found on the web, that was shot with the 5D. Video shot at 600 iso with 70-200 lens:


So the bottom line is that I think it’s an interesting idea that will appeal to the hobbyists out there. I don’t think the pros will latch on just yet or at least not to this first round of cameras, for their video needs. It’s going to be interesting to watch though!


My purchase plans?

I’m set! I’m very happy with my Nikon D700 and D300. I’m getting all that I want out of them and more. So I have no plans for any of the above at this time. I’m just sharing my thoughts on what I see out there. Sorry to disappoint the fanatics (actually I’m not sorry – dude, you need to get over it. Use that energy on taking better pictures) 🙂

29 Replies to “Canon came out swinging in this round”

  1. Hello. My name is Carl and I am a Nikon fanatic. That said, I have to admit those EOS specs sure raised my eyebrows… and that price! WOW! I guess I have to tip my hat to “the other guys.”

    Terry, love the blog! Keep reporting what interests you because oddly enough, it always interests me.

    Looking forward to seeing you in Boston!


  2. So does 21.1 megapixels = 21.1 gigawatts (back to the future movies)

    I think all of the cameras that came out this year have strong and weak points. But what I don’t understand is in camera manufacturing. They make the Nikon D300 for about $500 – $650 and the D3 for $850 – $1000, why do they charge $2000 and up for these cameras.

    I bought the Nikon D300 and it is great. But make it accessible for others that want to shoot nice photos with a DSLR in the $800 – $1000 range.

  3. The old saying says that a rising tide lifts all boats. I love the competition between Nikon and Canon. Even though I’ve chosen Nikon and will likely stay there due to my investment in lenses, this new Canon is a great step for everyone. We all benefit.

  4. Professionals who shoot Canon live longer : P

    Same goes for those who use Mac… and have iPhones !!

    Thanks for the great post… and I totally agree with you about this whole “religion” thing.
    The camera itself is only a tool, it’s up to those behind it to make the magic happen : )

    Sarah K

  5. Well, I’m neutral with brands (having Canon and Nikon cameras in my bag), but I don’t see nothing “revolutionary” about this new 5DmkII.

    All you see is 21mpix and 1080p video mode, how about FPS?, Af points/speed/accuracy?, sealing,….

    The thing is, there is no flash, there are basic af points (some say that these are the same or very similar to old 5d) , low fps, no weather sealing, but they have given it Video mode. For this high end product (my opinion) this is just not acceptable.

    There are many things, that could be improved over the old version, but I think that all came to money. Update what will sells the most units and that’s it. It’s a shame for all those users who waited for more improved product like this.

    And now Nikon has a wonderful opportunity to screw Canon even more.

    my $0.02

  6. Nikon shooter here… I think it’s great having someone lower the price with all of those sweet specs. Nikon, let’s see what you’ve got for us… But at a lower price… for once, please

  7. Terry – have you had any luck getting your D700 files to show thumbnails on your Mac? I had hoped the new update would fix it but no luck there.

    I use Lightroom 2, so problem working on the files, but it’s nice to to get the thumbnails when using Finder or use Preview for a quick peek.

  8. Hi Terry
    i absolutely agree with you about the fanatics…
    i am a Canon shooter, however, last weekend my friend asked me if i could help me him take photos at a wedding and he is a Nikon shooter. So we had two different cameras and two different lenses (wide angle on Canon, Zoom on Nikon). and depends on what we were going to shoot… we would swap cameras, i was having more fun doing that and concentrating on taking good photos.. i didn’t even care about who’s taking the good photo, it was just fun..

    thank you for your post


  9. Thanks Terry for a great post. I agree with you that both Nikon and Canon have released great cameras recently. In the end, both sides of the fence get great bodies.

    Always a pleasure reading your posts.

  10. The most interesting part of your review is the first paragraph 🙂 I don’t understand it when brand loyalty is taken to the level it sometimes is. My investment is with Canon but I was really happy to see Nikon come out with such superb cameras in the last year.

    The one thing big question on my mind now is how to sensibly use an external mic with the 5DII, so one can still have the mobility to walk around. Maybe someone will make an attachment so it can be plugged into the flash shoe 😉

  11. I totally agree with you Terry. I think the new 5D is impressive especially at the price, of course we haven’t seen images yet but I am sure they will great. Maybe this will encourage Nikon to push the D700 price a little further in my direction 🙂

  12. Hey Terry,

    I agree with you totally on the Nikon Vs Canon camps. The rabid foaming at the mouth that you get from both sides is a little rediculous. A camera is a tool. It is how you use that tool that counts. If ___ (insert great professional’s name) were to pick up the other company’s camera, it would probably take them all of five or ten minutes to start producing out of the park images.

    That being said and disclosing that I shoot Canon and I am a little bit disappointed by the 5D Mark II announcement for a number of reasons. First, I am going to make this statement from my perception; Canon listens to Canon and Nikon listens to its customers. Canon designs what’s best for Canon and Nikon tries to make their customers jobs easier.

    I say this because when I look at the little features on Nikon cameras I don’t see these things in Canon’s design concepts. Things like the ability to select the number of FPS burst that you shoot in Continuous Low and the ability to shoot up to nine, count ’em, nine! frame brackets. Has Nikon maybe realized that people like playing with HDR? And I am absolutely in love with the Leveling Screen on the Nikons. “We have a sensor to tell the orientation of the camera, why don’t we think outside of the box and turn it into a bubble level as well?”

    While Canon produces a great product as well, maybe technologically superior when it comes to sensor design and most always cutting edge, some of their decisions just leave me scratching my head and thinking that they really take the arrogant approach that they know better than the people that use their tools.

    – If the 5D Mark II is all that it looks like it will be at 21MPS and ISO from 100-6400 that actually produce usable, clean images, then that’s great. But would an 18MP camera with even better noise performance and the ability to shoot at 5 to 6FPS been no more spectacular?

    – Why couldn’t Canon have upped the ante like Nikon has and migrated its pro level autofocus system from the 1D’s to the 5D or even the 50D for that matter?

    – Canon adds an infrared shutter release to the 5d Mark II, which I think they have on the Rebels but leaves it off of the 50D?????

    – Canon makes the battery for the 5D Mark II proprietary to the entire EOS line, So now if you are a 5D Mark II primary shooter with an XXD as a backup camera, it means two different battery types, two different chargers, etc. If you are going to make the change, change the 50D as well and use it in all of your designs moving forward. You had that problem as a 1D shooter, but at least the before the line was limited to two types of batteries. Now if you include the new Rebels, the EOS line has four different types of batteries.

    – If you believe the article on the European Yahoo! site where they interviewed a Canon engineer who said that they were held back from making this an even better camera because they had to meet the marketing department’s demands for MP count, then what does that say to Canon’s consumers?

    I shoot Canon because the 20D was best in class for what I could afford when I converted from Film to Digital and I will stay with Canon because of the investment in lenses, but I really, really wish that they would do a case study of Nikon’s design philosophy when it comes to their customers. Maybe the difference is that Canon is a Multinational electronics conglomorate and Nikon is still mainly just a Camera and Optics company?

  13. I agree – multi-function devices in general are good with one thing and not so much with the other tangential ones. However, after seeing some of the video samples from the 5D Mark II, I must admit that I was impressed. I posted links to the video over on my blog, so if you want to see the quality, stop over there. There’s one that shows the low light performance, and I must admit that the video was remarkably clear and free of grain.

  14. Must be ancient
    Why is 21 megapixels better than 15 megapixels if you only enlarge to 13×9?
    Isn’t ISO minimal noise at 6400 sufficient? I shoot in darkened evening but not when pitch black.
    For me cameras are for photographs – the art of photography etc. not for videos. If you want good graphics on a computer you usually have a dedicated graphics card. Wouldn’t you have a video camera? Also, just another electronic problem waiting to happen (I’m from all mechanical film cameras time)
    Also for wildlife or sports don’t you want more than 4 fps? The Mark III could capture wings in motion that the 40D couldn’t touch (was really unhappy with Mark III AF performance tho). The D700 is full frame but is either 6 or 8 fps (with battery pack).
    I shoot both NIKON and CANON but like I said I think I must be really old.

  15. I see a some uses video:

    1. Storyboards. Since the video is HD, you can use any frame to work.
    2. To test lighting.
    3. To document your work, a behind scenes.
    4. As a good exploration excercise of composition, color, light.

    I think creative people can imagine a lot more, a few days ago I saw a video made with a 5D (the old one):

    By the way, I shoot with a Canon 5D.

  16. you can choose between 5 MP, 10 MP and 21 MP and thats great. And just look or and you’ll see why. And video is very wellcome and it’s looks very very good, hope also is usefull, I have so many canon lenses … 15 FE to 400/2.8 L tuo use with those

  17. I agree with you. The 5D Mark II is a worthy upgrade for the old 5D. The large resolution on a full frame body for just 2.699 $ is amazing.
    What’s annoying is that European customers pay 2.499 Euros which is about 3.500 $.

    I am sure Canon will sell a lot of those cameras.

  18. I shoot Canon but slowly I started looking into the other camp. With the new 5d I may stick around for a while. I shoot stock and 21.1 MP will be nice to have. I am excited about the video possibility, mainly because of the expansion of the stock video market.

  19. I think the video feature is great !
    I’m a photographer and sometimes a videographer. I like video when it looks like 35mm and that’s what I get when I put an adapter like the Redrock M2 in front of my HVX-200. These adapters simulate the depht of field of 35mm.
    With the video feature of the new 5D, it’s what you get ! Video with 35mm d.o.f, and that’s awesome ! I think you will soon see people doing short films with a canon 5d Mark II. I’ll give it a try 😉

  20. Audio Specifications:

    Full audio support: built-in mic and speaker, mic-in socket, audio-out over AV (although not HDMI)

    video: Movie recording in live view (1080p H.264 up to 12 minutes, VGA H.264 up to 24 mins per clip)

    And about weather sealing:

    Water resistance: 10 mm rain in 3 minutes.

  21. Wow, I was checking out the video clip you posted. That’s pretty sharp clip. Of course, there was extra lighting involved, but it still looks great. I’m thinking this feature would be really nice for say wedding photography where I could capture portions of the wedding on video and then continue shooting stills. Later, i could use the video as part of the photo slide show. I can’t wait to get my hands on the 5D.

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