Canon 5D Mark II

Good morning, you.

This weekend I had the ‘pleasure’ of getting my hands on what seems to be the most popular camera in the known universe.

Why?

Now it is plain to see that I am a Nikon man. Always have been. I believe their entry-level cameras are vastly superior to that of Canon, but I always maintained that when you moved up the spectrum to the pro-level cameras, Canon caught up.

So I was keen to finally get my hands on the 5D Mark II. It seems that everyone uses this damn thing, and now I’m just not sure why.

Before I go any further in to this little rant, I will freely admit that the image it takes are truly excellent. I have no problems with them at all. It is just being able to get these photos that baffles me. Why does it have to be so difficult?

Turning the camera on should be the easiest and most simple action ever. I also maintain that it should be able to be done with one hand. Now I have relatively big hands, but I cannot do it due to the placement of the switch. Fair enough, not sure a big deal I guess.

Switching settings should also be one of those natural, easy, fluid motions. But how can it be when the dials aren’t where your fingers are? The top mounted finger dial is ok, but it is cumbersome to use. Nikon use the front and back scroll wheel, which sits perfectly under your thumb and index finger.

Changing the focusing so that I could select the AF point got me very frustrated. I could do it on the rear LCD, or on the top panel, but not when looking through the viewfinder. Is it possible to do this? I don’t know, or care anymore. I resorted to manually focusing most of my shots because of this. Oh and on the same lines, 9 AF points? Really? I know that Nikon use 51 in their similar level cameras, which is possibly too many, but 9 just is not enough for this level of camera.

I was also quite disappointed with the viewfinder. It seemed perfectly fine, but for a full frame camera I wanted more to be honest, something brighter, and more pleasing to use.

The first big gripe I had when I got hold of this camera though, was it’s built quality. Most of it was hard and strong and chunky and fine. But the memory card door. Cheap, cheap cheap plastic that felt worse than the one on my old Nikon D50. Surely for this sort of money we should be getting more than that.

Oh and while I remember, protecting the images. It took me a long time to figure out how, mainly because I didn’t think something like that would be buried in the menu. Surely it is something we need straight away, but no.

Sorry Canon fans. But this camera is truly bad. I was hoping to really like it, because it seems ever popular for some reason. Like I said, images are excellent, and maybe that is why. Or maybe it is the megapixel one-up-manship that has taken hold of everyone.

Now it is possible that i am being too harsh. I’m sure if i were a Canon user i’d have taken this camera and simply loved it. But even when i gave the 5D to a non-camera user, along with a Nikon D300s, the instant favourite was the Nikon. This was simply because it was easier to use. However, after a few hours with it i was able to coax out the photos i wanted. And these are brilliant quality.

Anyway, enough of me. I actually took some good photos with this camera, and shall be posting something up about them soon enough.

I will also do a short write up and review about the lens i used with the 5D – the Tamron 70-200mm f2.8.

T.

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G3.

Good afternoon, you.

This weekend I had the chance to play with the new Panasonic G3. This is Panasonics latest micro four-thirds/interchangeable lens/compact system/baby SLR/mirror-less, ummm, thing.

Essentially it is a high end compact camera with interchangeable lenses and a bigger sensor. OK? Good.

These cameras have always been a pet hate of mine. Sure, they are small. But not really. They appeal to the masses because they are pretty much small DSLRs, but when you attach the 100-300mm lens to the G3 it is huge. So what’s the point?

Another factor I guess is the cost. Im sure many beginners like these little things because they are perhaps cheaper than the DSLR alternative. But surely when the cameras cost between £500-£800, and additional lenses cost around £500, they are no cheaper at all. In fact I’d argue that for like for like lenses they are more expensive than a beginner DSLR.

Now I’m not trying to jump on the band-wagon of the bigger the camera the better the pictures. But if you want something small, get a superzoom or high-end compact. If you are serious about taking pictures and will start to spend millions of pounds on lenses, get a DSLR. There will be more lenses and accessories available anyway, and you won’t grow out of it very quickly. You also won’t feel slightly annoyed when someone with a bigger camera comes wondering past. Camera envy is a real problem at the moment, so don’t become victim to it.

Anyway, enough of my little rant. The G3. What did I think. Generally quite a good little camera. The images taken with it turned out really well, and the different lenses were quite impressive. The many features of these modern little things made it enjoyable to use – especially the tiltable LCD.

I tested out 4 different lenses with this camera, and each had their merits.

– The 14mm pancake was brilliant purely because of its size. It actually brought this camera in to the compact size and helped to justify the camera.

 

 

-The kit 14-42mm was good, what you’d expect really. However, considering most people will leave this on their camera forever, I think a little more range on it would have been good.

 

 

 

– The 100-300mm was good. Nice long zoom, and built in image stabiliser helped. However it turned the camera from compact to a chunky piece of kit.

 

 

– The star of the show though – the 8mm fisheye. I have always had a dislike of fisheye lenses, purely because they are one-trick ponies with a hefty price tag. Despite this, the glass element on the front is just amazing, and the angle of view is constantly baffling. Here is a quick shot from sitting in the drivers seat of a van, incredible.

So all in all quite impressed, and I actually do really like the G3. I just can’t understand why these cameras exist, or why someone would exchange their hard earned money for them. But hey, I have the same thoughts on Canon gear.

T.