From a 20D to a 5D Mark III – Part 2 with samples!

Started Aug 29, 2012 | Discussions thread
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drpundit
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From a 20D to a 5D Mark III – Part 2 with samples!
Aug 29, 2012

As I had pointed out last week, I recently upgraded from a Canon EOS 20D (20D) to an EOS 5D Mark III (5D). While the original thread contains my initial thoughts, what follows are some additional impressions (and samples!) after using the new camera quite extensively over the last week––including at a wedding in my family.

Positive (low-light performance, focus system, colors):

1. The 5D works really well in low light. I was constantly sitting in ISO 1600–3200 in low light situations, and this allowed me to shoot (to my satisfaction) entirely hand-held and without flash.

2. The viewfinder is really bright and large, and this I feel has improved my ability to compose shots. To those who are going to knock this as "not a big deal," please refrain from doing so until you experience it for yourselves.

3. Though the focus system is not perfect, it is quick and accurate and significantly improved compared to the 20D.

4. The colors straight out of the camera seem gorgeous to me. I haven't needed to do any post-processing (other than scaling down the images to 25% on each dimension to suit the web) on the samples you'll find below.

Mixed (tradeoffs and complexity):

1. The super-shallow depth of field on the 5D at high aperture openings can look great, but it also tends to make shots appear out of focus when they technically aren't.

2. The sophisticated focus system gets cumbersome to set when scenes change rapidly. By the time I change the AF mode and pick an appropriate point/region to focus on, I end up losing moments. This was never a problem with the 9 focus points on the 20D (even if they were hit or miss). Consequently, I've needed to limit the number of available options in the menu to be able to cycle through them quicker––which to me seems to be defeating the purpose somewhat.

3. I've stumbled across some strange user errors just because of the number of gizmos and buttons on the 5D. e.g., On more than one occasion, I inadvertently set incorrect exposure compensation because of how easy this was to do. This sort of thing happened less frequently on the 20D because of fewer buttons to push.

Negative (weight and file size):

1. The 5D is super-heavy for me when paired with the EF 70–200 f/2.8L. This has forced me to return once more to my beloved EF 24–70 mm f/2.8L. Slightly reduced reach be damned.

2. The weight of the 5D makes it noticeably more difficult to shoot hand-held in low light while avoiding camera shake. I guess this means I should start working out again.

3. The 5D's output file sizes are huge . At about 33 MB a pop, I need to figure out a new storage system soon. My days of walking around with a decade worth of photos on my little MacBook are quickly fading. My only hope is that these new files look stupendous when printed.

And with that, enough talk. Here are a few images from a recent trip to India. I will post a link to a more complete gallery once I've uploaded it somewhere.

Enjoy!

 drpundit's gear list:drpundit's gear list
Canon EOS 20D Canon EOS 5D Mark III Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM +1 more
Canon EOS 20D Canon EOS 5D Canon EOS 5D Mark III
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