Would YOU buy a 5D classic still or spend more for a 7d / 60D or other ?

Started Apr 25, 2012 | Discussions thread
Michael Thomas Mitchell
Veteran MemberPosts: 9,391
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Special qualtiy
In reply to miked58, Apr 25, 2012

When people start talking about "special qualities", caution is advised. Unfortunately, the original 5D was frequently associated with such vagueness. The use of such terms generally indicates a romance between photographer and camera based on no exact or tangible characteristic. The irony is, however, that photographers -- particularly in these forums -- are frequently absolutely giddy over measurable exactness!

I think the case of the 5D is this: it was Canon's first "affordable" full frame camera. It had lots of pixels for its time, and offered very nice image quality. No other manufacturer had anything like it. No surprise, then, that it was a VERY popular camera.

But for all its uniqueness, it had neither the fastest framerate nor exactly the best AF system. Thus, the image quality became its main focus. It probably began with just one person saying something like "IQ is magical compared to my 20D" before others starting repeating -- and believing -- the same thing. Was IQ good? Of course! Magical? About as much so as the Easter bunny. Which is to say, if you believe in fairytales then the lack of anything measurably "magical" about the 5D probably won't make a difference to you anyway.

It may sound as if I'm bashing this camera, but I'm certainly not! To the contrary, I have used one on many occasions and still long to eventually own one. But my motivations are based on somewhat more tangible reasons, including:

1 - A good used body still represents an affordable full frame option.

2 - It's a good "photographer's camera", released before video became all the rage. Not a lot of bells and whistles to get in the way of just a good, basic photographic experience.

3 - The interface is very similar to other older bodies I own, including the 1DII, 1DsII, 10D and 20D.

4 - It's the right amount of pixels for me. I neither want nor need the nearly 2x pixels offered by the Mark II and III versions.

5 - I never found the AF to be as deficient as others said. To the contrary, even the AF system on the 10D performs brilliantly for me and what I do. (I have found it amusing to read the praises of the Mark III's AF system only to see sample photos of sleeping cats!) If I were photographing birds or action sports, I might not think so, but that's what the 1D series is for, anyway. Different tools for different jobs.

I don't want to ruin it for you, but this body is 7 years old now, and if you buy it expecting to open up a file and see anything magic, you might be disappointed. If, however, you want an affordable full-frame body with good image quality and a middle-of-the-road AF system that's easy to operate and free of more modern amenities, then you might enjoy picking up a decent used one at a fair price.

Best of luck

miked58 wrote:

I have a 50D and 600D but was interested in trying FF. I have read threads that talk about a special quality the 5Dc images show. My main lens on it would be the 35L.

There are a few 5ds showing up locally at US $800 - $1000 or about the same price of a 60D

Any advice or opinions most appreciated.

ps - I am a slow shooter - only people and landscapes. I would possibly sell one of the other two cameras AND could also look at a used 5D2 if I sold in advance of purchase.

Also to be honest my search of images with the magic 5D look have not shown up anything spectacular - if you have seen a sample I would love to see it too.

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