Funnest camera I've used

Started May 14, 2020 | User reviews thread
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NixonS Regular Member • Posts: 428
Funnest camera I've used
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Let me preface by saying I'm not too experienced with DSLRs, but I have used a few cameras over my lifetime. As a kid I used small Canon/Sony point & shoots, and in my teenage years I used a Sony Xperia Z (the very first!), an iPhone 5, a Galaxy S7 and in my adult life a Galaxy S9.

It wasn't until last year when I decided to splurge my first paycheck on a Canon EOS 800D (T7i in NA) with a standard kit lens and a 50mm f/1.8. I enjoyed taking photos with those two lenses so much that I decided to waste more money and got a 24mm f/2.8 and a 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM. Unsurprisingly, my family thinks I'm crazy lol. But to me it didn't matter. I liked taking photos, and I liked getting different shots with different combinations.

Just a few months ago, I got a 2nd hand Canon EOS 5D and a 40mm f/2.8. I've used for over two months now and I'm completely infatuated with this old dinosaur. It's been a bit over two months but it feels like I've been shooting with it for a year. I actually like it a bit more than my 800D! A camera with a modern APSC sensor with better dynamic range, editing flexibility, auto ISO in all modes and a host of other features.

This is a review for the person looking at buying a 15 year old camera, and what to expect. At the time of its release, the original 5D was a very popular camera for enthusiasts and professionals, and photographers making a name for themselves. It was the first lightweight full-frame that Canon made at that time.

Using it today, it still handles very well. It's heavier than most rebels, giving it a sturdy feeling in the hands. It's magnesium alloy frame is reassuringly tank like in a way a solid brick is. The grip wraps around my fingers well. I don't want to make it sound like the ergonomics will suit everyone's tastes, but for me fits my hands nicely. My only complaint is that the memory card door slides a little bit in use. Not sure if that's an issue with all 5D's, or just mine.

The buttons and dials feel durable and are all in the right spots for the way I shoot. This is probably the best camera to learn manual mode on as the main dial on the top controls the shutter, and the quick control dial at the back is in command of the aperture. There's no weird multi-button combinations you need to hold down, making it very painless to control the 3 settings of the exposure triangle.

The viewfinder is a pentaprism. It's bright, large and quite clear. Making manual focus less of an exercise in frustration. There is no liveview, but I don't consider that an issue due to the times. Now we enjoy clear and bright screens.

I think now's a good time to mention that many things about the 5D seem antiquated, through no fault of its own. I'm using an earlier model, and the back screen is quite awful. It's difficult to gauge focus even when zooming in, and if you use the playback button every photo looks like it has a yellow-greenish tint that is quite undesirable. It also has a very low resolution.

There's no auto ISO. What seems strange is that there is a full green auto mode that has auto ISO, but not in P, A, S or M modes. It makes me wonder if it was a limitation that they weren't able to overcome back then due to technological restraints?

Other points worth mentioning: there's no video mode which was typical for the time, only nine autofocus points (albeit still very quick!), no ability to set custom ISO or shutter speed parameters, no timelapse features and you'll notice that the menus are very easy to use and learn because there's none of these more modern settings and features.

However, you forget that this old camera from 2005 misses all those things when you take a look at the photos. Now, these are all CR2 files edited to taste in Lightroom, so please excuse any crappy colours you might see. However, the photos have a certain magic that I can't describe. Many say the colours SOOC are some of the best they've ever seen, for me the true magic occurs when I edit the images and find that they require very little editing to get a 'look' that I like.

A cameras 'look' is very subjective. And I hear many photographers say they don't get it or scoff when they hear people go on about 'colour-science', and to be perfectly honest I didn't get what people meant by that either. My 800D had decent JPEGs, and the RAW files could be edited to look very gorgeous. But I can't get the same results that I can with the 5D. The way I see it, the 5D makes a great argument for itself.

I even find photos taken at ISO 1600 or 3200 to still look very beautiful. Some people say the noise is like grain, but I've never used film so I can't testify to that same effect. But I agree that it renders noise nicely. It doesn't look offensive, although the camera lacks any sort of NR, so you'll notice a lot of red, green and blue speckles at higher ISOs when you look at the JPEGs. Easily fixed in post.

All of what I said makes the Canon 5D the funnest and most enjoyable camera I've used. There are very few things that get in the way of taking photographs. It's easy to use, simple and it produces fantastic results. Highly recommend it. Especially for beginners or people looking to get a relatively inexpensive full-frame DSLR that still has a certain something about it that they won't find anywhere else.

Taking a walk during these tough times

Rainy green days

My friend

Outside my house

 NixonS's gear list:NixonS's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Canon EOS 70D Canon EOS Rebel T7i Canon EOS R6 Canon EF 85mm F1.8 USM +6 more
Canon EOS 5D
13 megapixels • 2.5 screen • Full frame sensor
Announced: Aug 22, 2005
NixonS's score
4.5
Average community score
4.5
bad for good for
Kids / pets
excellent
Action / sports
okay
Landscapes / scenery
excellent
Portraits
excellent
Low light (without flash)
great
Flash photography (social)
unrated
Studio / still life
excellent
= community average
Canon EOS 5D Canon EOS Rebel T7i / EOS 800D / Kiss X9i Nikon Coolpix S9
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