Coupled with a 50mm lens, it’s a great option for street shooting. It feels like shooting with a film camera in some respects. I’ve grown quite fond of mine again recently, and I’ve been shooting with it more and more lately.
“Like shooting with a film camera” – I get that, too, especially because all it does it shoot straight-up stills.
Funny thing happened in that, I found myself inspired by the change of pace. The original 5D has such a beautiful sensor, it’s like changing film. While I miss flexibility in ISO and dynamic range the photos I get from the 5D are moody, colorful, contrasty, they really have a life of their own, in fact, as some of you already know, the camera defined my style 10+ years ago when I started to shoot with it.
Carey took a look back to when he first put down his 5D. His feeling then matches my own now: “This is a still photo camera. There is no shame in that.”
No shame, indeed. In fact, I see it as a point of pride. When you want to take pictures, you pick up a picture-taking machine.
For many people, it really is exciting. They have $3,500 burning a whole in their pocket, or they need it for professional work.
But for us low-end shooters, we don’t need latest and greatest. In fact, a new Canon 5D means that the previous models, Marks I-III, will be on sale here soon. You can buy an affordable used or refurbished model.
I’m not shy about it: I use a 10 year old 5D for most photo stuff. There are others (six megapixels? C’mon!) who are even more ambitious in their anachronism.
So you can use this New Camera Day as an opportunity to jump on something new, jump on something old – or maybe wait a bit, until it goes on sale.
That’s why I ended up grabbing a Canon 5D (mark I, natch) a few months ago off of fredmiranda.com. Many would agree that it’s a classic camera: sturdy, innovative at release, and capable of producing beautiful photos.
It’s also my first foray into the world of full-frame digital photography. My Canon Rebel T1i has done me well these past four years, but I’m prepping myself for a Canon 6D purchase this summer. Before I take that plunge, I wanted to test out a full frame camera, so I went shopping for a 5D.
It has not disappointed. It’s built like a tank, it produces sharp, beautiful photo files, and it’s not that much bigger or heavier than my T1i. And the reach! Those EF lenses are at their best when they showcase their maximum focal length.
What doesn’t it do? It doesn’t do movies. Or HDR (thank goodness). Or double exposures. Or even Auto ISO. The Canon 5D is closer to a photographer’s camera – purely focused on photography – that just about anything released these days. All you can do is make photos with it.
Grab a CF card (still available) and a card reader, and Lightroom has access to everything the 5D produces. In that way, it’s as relevant today as it was when it was released almost a decade ago.
No, the ISO isn’t as bump-able as today’s Mark III version. And the file size is smaller. But I share my photos mainly online, with a few 8×10″ prints here and there, and for those reasons the classic 5D is good enough. And I’m not alone – some of my favorite photographers working today still use the 5D (with one lens!).
I also saved a bunch of money on a full-frame camera.
Eventually the thing will wear out. The 100k shutter lifespan is quickly approaching. Even when it does die, I imagine I’ll have taken lots of photos with it. It will serve me well in, what, a few years? Maybe more?
It’s a low-end approach to photography: buy a classic camera that’s in good shape, save some money, and enjoy the benefits of Good Enough.