First Impressions

by | Jan 24, 2013 | Recommendations, Tips & Tricks | 8 comments

It actually snowed last night! What a great excuse to get outside and play around with the new camera! And how refreshing it was to be out in the “field” again.

The 5D Mark II is very similar to my old 40D in appearance but has some nice improvements. The screen resolution is unbelievably better, it’s much easier to access Live View (which allows you to use the back screen instead of the viewfinder to take pictures), and it’s nice that the Menu, Info, Play and Delete buttons are aligned along the left side of the screen instead of below it. It’s easier for the thumb to access quickly. The fact that it’s almost waterproof made it nice that I didn’t have to worry so much about the periodic flurries of snow that descended from the windblown treetops.

All the exterior improvements are small in comparison to the interior differences between the 5DII and 40D, but they were harder to appreciate today. While I was shooting, I wasn’t in any situation where the ISO quality could be tested and I’m not much of a videographer yet. However, I must say that I was impressed with the feel that the full frame sensor gives. I can’t explain it really, there’s just something different about it. My old 17-55mm lens on the 40D’s 1.6 cropped sensor was actually 27-88mm. The new 24-105mm lens on the 5DII is . . . well, actually 24-105mm. I’ll just have to be patient ‘til I can afford a true wide angle lens, not to forget an extension for my 70-200mm (which you could say was actually 112-320mm on the 40D, if you follow the same logic). I can’t imagine what 17mm would be like on a full frame camera!

Anyway, enough geekiness. I wanted to post these two pictures I took today of the road that goes up behind our house. The only difference is that in the first picture I stood far back from the road and zoomed in as far as I could, whereas in the second picture I jumped up close to the road and shot as wide as I could. I thought it was unique that the same subject could look so totally different depending on the focal length the photographer chooses to use. Try it out! It’s great fun and a good concept to keep in mind if you want to learn to shoot outside of your comfort zone.

5549_Buffalo Calf Rd-Salem-WV_Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 105 mm, 1-100 sec at f - 16, ISO 4005551_Buffalo Calf Rd-Salem-WV_Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 24 mm, 1-100 sec at f - 16, ISO 400


  1. Stefani Longo

    I’m a little confused when it comes to lenses….I have one that doesn’t zoom up very much, and I know I need a new one. Any advice?

    • James Staddon

      Hey Stefani, what kind of camera do you use? What kind of subjects do you like to shoot? Are you willing to pay $1000 for a new lens or not? These are all factors that go into choosing the best lens for your needs.

  2. Kent Mearig

    A tip for switching to “full frame”: be ready to be much more deliberate about maintaining adequate depth of field. Make good use of that “live view” to check every part of the image where you need a critical level of focus. The interaction between lens and sensor on camera with a “cropped” sensor is much more forgiving, so you’ll have to remind yourself not to assume f/11, f/13, or even f/16 will provide the depth of field you need.

    On the other hand, diffraction is noticeable with every aperture past f/11, so a constant battle ensues. Focus stacking is an option. Have fun with the new camera. Don’t forget to see God’s glory through the lens.

    • James Staddon

      Wow. Thanks, Kent, for the advice. Great tips and reminder. How do you do focus stacking?

      • Kent Mearig

        “Focus stacking” is a post processing technique. Similar to blending multiple exposures for greater dynamic range, you blend multiple images that have the focal plane at different depths in the scene. There are software programs capable of automating the process, but I have only had success blending by hand.

        You’re very welcome for the advice. Switching to the 5dmkii is hugely rewarding/fun, but it sure can challenge your photography skills sometimes.

        • James Staddon

          I’ll have to try it out! I agree doing it by hand would probably yield the best, most accurate results.

  3. Stefani Longo

    Since we talked at Indy, I purchased a used 20d. I shoot mostly wildlife and people (little siblings). I am very willing to save……

    • James Staddon

      That’s great, Stefani. My first SLR was a 20D and I loved it! I recommend the D-series cameras over the Rebel-series cameras any day, even for beginners.

      I used a wide angle zoom lens (like the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS) because I like to shoot landscapes, though most landscape photographers will use a wider lens than that (like 14mm).

      I also use a telephoto zoom lens (the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4.0 IS) because I like the effect of having a very shallow depth of field (which is more easily achieved when you’re zoomed in close).

      Shooting with these two lenses, it gives me a very wide range of focal lengths, virtually from 17mm to 200mm. If you want to get this extreme range all in one lens though(and are not that concerned with quality), you might want to get the Canon EF-S 18-200mm lens. Just look it up on 18mm is good enough for landscapes, 80mm is good for portraits, and 200mm is good enough for wildlife.


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