15 Dec

My 5D Mark II

Posted by Jenna, Under Photography

My parents don’t like to talk about the ways they spend their money. When they buy a new car they don’t like to talk about it. They go on vacation and only discuss the memories with close friends. I remember when we we were going to Europe as a family right after my high school graduation. They sat my sister and I down and talked about how important it was not to go about bragging about our trip, either before or after it happened.  I must have taken those words to heart because I’ve been a bit reluctant to tell you about the latest big purchase for Jenna Cole. I didn’t realize how well I’d been keeping the secret until my sister wrote me on Facebook:

You got a 5D and didn’t even say anything about it last time I talked to you. Mom had to tell me.

Whoops!

Yes it’s true, I am now the proud (very, very, very proud) owner of the camera I’ve long been coveting, the Canon 5D Mark II. I just wrote about a variety of Canon cameras at EADL so if you’re looking for some technical specs on this camera I’d recommend you head over there. My personal reasons for wanting and buying this camera, and why I bought it now instead of later vary:

1. Color issues with RAW files on 50D

I shoot RAW because I love the versatility during editing that this format provides, but whenever RAW files were imported into my editing software using my old camera body, the Canon 50D, I would watch them go from beautiful to blah when my editing programs interpreted the data. For those familiar with Lightroom, as the file was loading I would see a preview that I was incredibly happy with, but once the preview was done loading the colors dulled and a red film seemed to have been applied to my photos. It created hours of extra work for me while I attempted to correct skin tones that didn’t look that way in the first place, and I admit I broke down in tears about it more than once. That Husband could see it as well, and did a little bit of research to see if anyone else was struggling with the same problem. My understanding now is that Canon creates each camera and attempts to create a sensor that handles data in the exact same way, but the process is so fine tuned that specifications between cameras are never exactly the same (meaning, one 50D will be just a bit different than another 50D), and programs like Adobe have to do their best to try to correctly interpret the data from all of those different cameras.

After using Kelli Nicole’s 5D Mark II for a shoot I saw a noticeable difference in how Lightroom interpreted the data from my RAW files so I had high hopes that buying a new camera would help me with this problem.

2. Improved low light performance

I like to avoid using flash as long as possible at my weddings, but with my 50D I felt like bringing my ISO up to 800 was pushing the limits when it came to the amount of grain (and I think digital grain is ugly and looks nothing like the lovely look of film grain), but with the 5D Mark II I can take those numbers much higher.

3. Video for the baby

Admittedly the most frivolous reason, but I already plan on having my camera in hand much of the time even after the baby comes, and this purchase will eliminate the need for a different piece of equipment to make home movies after the baby is born (no home movies are made right now because TH hates being recorded). I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I actually applied for the Film program at BYU and that I’ve been editing video for several years now. We plan on living away from both our parents for a really long time so videos of baby smiling, crawling, and laughing will be sent around the world and treasured for sure.

4. I wanted to buy it by the time baby came and we decided it made sense to buy it now rather than later.

Between now and then I have three weddings, and I decided if I was going to buy a new camera in a few months I might as well get it before those events. I get the camera even sooner and my clients get better images because of it. Win-win, wouldn’t you say?

Lucky me, I have a husband who works hard and saves money at what I consider to be an incredible pace (usually when I want to do or spend more I don’t think it’s that incredible, I think it’s kind of frustrating), so we made the joint decision to dip further into our savings and invest in this camera. It’s one reason why you might hear me say things like “That Husband let me get the 5D Mark II (language I know so many of you love to hear coming from me), because if I were on my own I never would have been able to make a purchase like this, this soon, without putting it on a credit card or taking out a business loan and paying it off. Starting a wedding photography business is an incredibly expensive venture and so we’ve set a goal to not go over a certain number in debt to the “family budget”. Within the next few years I hope to be profitable enough to pay everything off completely and start purchasing business investments based on my own profits, not That Husband’s. :)

Want to see a few examples of images created with this lovely new camera of mine? I needed a subject for some blog posts I have planned (including this one) so I called up a friend of mine with great fashion sense and a particularly cute daughter, and asked if she would be willing to let me come by and photograph her daughter one evening.

Camera: 5D Mark II
Lens: 50 mm
ISO: 250
Aperture: 1.8
Shutter Speed: 1/400

SOOC

Camera: 5D Mark II
Lens: 50 mm
ISO: 320
Aperture: 1.6
Shutter Speed: 1/320

The same shot, edited.

One of the reasons I wanted (and love) the 5D Mark II is because it is full frame. I took the shot above with my 5Dmkii, set the camera down, picked up the 50D and took the shot below. She didn’t move, I didn’t move. The only reason why she appears much closer in the shot below is the difference between the cropped sensor in the 50D and the full frame of the 5Dmkii.

Camera: 50D
Lens: 50 mm
ISO: 320
Aperture: 1.6
Shutter Speed: 1/400

Remember the color issues I talked about with my 50D?

Here is a SOOC shot taken with the 50D.

Camera: 50D
Lens: 50 mm
ISO: 320
Aperture: 1.6
Shutter Speed: 1/400

And a SOOC shot taken with the 5Dmkii. Can you see the difference in color between the photo above and the photo below? That redness used to make me bang my head on the keyboard and cry in frustration. No more! No more!

Camera: 5Dmkii
Lens: 50 mm
ISO: 320
Aperture: 1.6
Shutter Speed: 1/320

The same shot from the 50D, edited this time. It’s possible to fix that redness, but it creates extra work.

And the edited version of the 5Dmkii shot.

I love my new camera, but I can’t emphasize enough that putting down $2500 for a great camera isn’t going to guarantee you that you get great images. The operator behind the lens is just as important as the equipment itself. The images below look really similar, I think because I was shooting on manual (so I had complete control over what my images look like) and because the images were taken in the shade right before sunset so the light was soft. My darling little model helped a bit as well. :)

Camera: 50D
Lens: 50 mm
ISO: 320
Aperture: 1.6
Shutter Speed: 1/500


Camera: 5D Mark II
Lens: 50 mm
ISO: 250
Aperture: 1.8
Shutter Speed: 1/500


Camera: 50D
Lens: 50 mm
ISO: 320
Aperture: 1.8
Shutter Speed: 1/640


Camera: 5D Mark II
Lens: 50 mm
ISO: 250
Aperture: 1.8
Shutter Speed: 1/400

I don’t think I need to say it again, I love this camera. It has its faults, but I knew what they were (well, some of them) going into this and my shooting/editing experience is drastically different now. Christmas is going to give me the chance to really test the video capabilities and see what I can come up with. This is my first Christmas home as a photographer and hardcore blogger, I hope my family is ready for this!

18 Comments


  1. I totally agree with your statements about the 5D not miraculously making everyone a better photographer. I’ve heard so many people say, “Well, I could take pictures like that if I had that camera, too!” It’s almost a little offensive, ya know? The work I (and you) put into our images goes so far beyond the camera. Just like any other artist, we use tools to help us create our vision, and the work improves as does the quality of the tools. But if the vision and talent isn’t there… the quality of the work won’t get better, no matter how much money you pour into the tools.
    I also really respect your desire to keep debt low. I’m incredibly proud of the fact that we’ve incurred ZERO debt starting McGowan Images over the last two years. It meant we started things slower than I would have liked (I’m a jumper!), but it’s so satisfying to know that every piece of equipment and software and web presence was completely bought and paid for by work I’m proud of.
    Congrats, Jenna! Can’t wait to see your first full shoot with the 5DMKII!

    Jenna Reply:

    http://www.whattheduck.net/strip/95

    1
  2. This is unrelated, but I just wanted to tell you how happy I am that you’ve been blogging so consistently! After your 365 days were up, I was worried you were going to drop the daily blogging but you haven’t and I’m glad :) Thanks for sharing your life with us!

    JessicaMayBe Reply:

    Same here!!! So glad you’re still blogging a lot!

    2
  3. Love these pictures! She is adorable and I love her coat and headband. Good luck with the video! It takes a little getting used to, but it’s fun. I’m lucky that C likes doing videos, they always crack me up afterward!

    3
  4. Wow, what a difference! All of the pictures look great & your friends daughter is adorable!

    4
  5. oh no… I am scared for Christmas now.

    5
  6. I want one of these so bad but I don’t have $$ to spend on it right now. One day I hope! Will just have to make do with my 40D!

    That little girl is too cute!

    6
  7. Ohhh Jenna, so funny. I think it’s more that you and your hubby made a mutual decision to invest in your photography career, not that he “let” you get a camera. You like to egg people on.

    Otherwise, loooovvveee the camera. Drooling over the camera. I’m buying a T1 in late January and I can’t wait to play with it.

    Jenna Reply:

    I do like egging people on. But only because some make it so easy!

    7
  8. Congratulations! I have to say that I am a tad jealous of all the wonderful gear you have accrued in such a short period of time. You are really, really lucky.

    I am currently renting gear for big events because I just don’t have the income (and my partner doesn’t either) to buy all this up front. That being said, in Australia renting for business purposes is 100% tax deductible so I will get a healthy return to reinvest in July.

    I don’t see why people would have an issue with you saying he ‘let’ you buy the camera. The fact of the matter is that he’s bankrolling this venture at this point, so it is totally fair for it to be something that requires his permission. Or do all the femefascists think that marrying a man means that one can simply expect or take his money without discussion or question? I don’t think so.

    8
  9. What an adorable little girl and what great portraits of her! Glad you’re enjoying your new camera.

    Also, like your parents, I often feel wary about disclosing luxuries or material purchases. But over the years, I’ve learned that sharing isn’t necessarily the same thing as bragging. Yes, going on about the five star hotel is obnoxious. But sharing stories about the cultural experiences is simply inspiring. And if something meaningful like the joy of traveling breeds envy in others, I think that could be a good thing.

    9
  10. DANG! That is a color difference. And I want one now. Badly. Darn you!

    10
  11. I wasn’t really expecting to see a difference between your cameras but there really is one – and even after all that work you do editing. I admit though, I don’t really understand the difference in the “crop” from one camera to the next – so they are shot from the same distance with the same settings, but your old camera doesn’t take as much as the picture in?

    Also – congrats on staying debt free when starting a business – you’re a rare bird and I know it’ll pay off way more in the end.

    Jenna Reply:

    Yep, it’s like placing a black rectangle around the outside of the frame that prevents the 50mm from truly acting like a 50mm lens. It’s more like an 80mm, which is going to give you a shot that feels much, much closer. I never would have understood it until I started shooting with both kinds of cameras.

    11
  12. “Or do all the femefascists think that marrying a man means that one can simply expect or take his money without discussion or question? I don’t think so.”

    Try and not name-call, dahling. It is not grade three here.

    And I said mutual decision, not that she went out and took his money.

    Hannah Reply:

    I wasn’t referring to you. I am not even sure how you could extrapolate that I was from what I said.

    12
  13. So I’m curious, at the end of your post you stated that you knew some of it’s faults, what are they for you? Focusing? AF points? I am struggling hardcore right now trying to decide if I want to upgrade from my 50D like you to the Mark 2 or switch to Nikon and purchased the D800… I am literally agonizing lol

    13


      I'm a farm-raised almost-crunchy stroller-pushing picture-taking lifestyle-blog-writing gastronomy-obsessed divine-seeking thrift-store-combing cheese-inhaling pavement-pounding laughter-sprinkling lover of individuality and taking chances.
  • Archives


That Wife
All rights reserved © 2008-2014

I am a HowJoyful Design by Joy Kelley