Photography

Subject:
Canon EOS D5 Mark II *PIC*

Steve Strickland
I am using a Canon EOS D5 Mark II for both stills and video. This is a high end camera used by professionals that has received the highest possible consumer ratings. The camera is expensive at about $2500 for the body (lenses extra). Some popular television shows are now being shot with this camera plus an increasing number of advertisements for tv and magazines. It's a serious piece of gear and a major investment.

It is a DSLR, or Digital Single Lens Reflex camera. It shoots in full HD video mode and does a very admirable job when using the proper high speed memory cards. I get 12 minutes of HD video on a single card. I've never had a dropped frame.

Top quality prime lenses are recommended and the lenses should come in a matched set to avoid color shifts when changing lenses.

The camera can be set for any mode you wish to shoot in. Full auto, aperature mode, shutter mode and manual mode are all available. The camera can save your settings. I found full auto mode delivering better images than I could get in manual mode. For shooting small items I use aperature mode to control depth of field.

The camera includes advanced calibration for color spectrum, gamma curve and saturation. It is designed to work with calibration cards. I have found this feature unnecessary. It gives great color at its default settings. I am able to use daylight compact flourescent bulbs for lighting at a tiny fraction of the cost of a professional lighting system and get great color.

It supports anti-vibration technology lenses. This works quite well for old shakers like me.

I use a tripod for most of my product shots. Mine is a Manfroto video tripod and it's amazing. You have to match the tripod head to the weight of the camera. I find the medium head to work extremely well with a normal range of lenses. Pan and tilt are creamy smooth.

The camera also supports remote focus and shutter systems. including tripod handle controls.

It has a pretty nice digital video screen built in. It's large and bright.

However, I don't like the focusing system. When working in manual focus I just could not get good focus with the basic camera setup. There are some third party screen magnifiers available to deal with this. The camera also has HDMI ports that allow you to use a computer monitor or television screen, a much better solution to the magnifiers.

I find the auto-focus to work very well. The preview shows the points in the shot where the auto focus is targeting so you can eliminate the problems most auto-focus systems suffer of focusing on the guard rail and not on the Grand Canyon.

Downloading images and videos to your computer is a snap. The software is built into the camera. Just plug it in and a download screen pops up on both my Mac and PC. Super simple.

I use large high speed memory cards suitable for HD video. These are very fast and easy to change out with the camera mounted on a tripod. I have no idea how many stills one of these will hold, it's a lot more than I'll ever shoot in a single session!

The batteries come in a pack. The provided batteries last for maybe an hour or two when shooting video. I got the longer lasting batteries that will last for 6 hours of continuous video. I have no idea how long it will last shooting stills.

The batteries cannot be changed with the camera on the tripod. The solution to this is to get a battery grip which also holds 2 battery packs doubling your continuous shooting time. Pretty useless for shooting stills and I don't need it for video either.

The camera has a lot of functions and features. It took me 3 or 4 days to learn to use the basics. The manual is well done but could use a few minor improvements. Some of the videos on YouTube are better.

When buying one don't be tempted by the lowest prices. Most of those stores are frauds. You can look up their consumer ratings and read all about the thousands and thousands of horror ripoff stories. You can find some good dealers in the second pricing tier with enough research. I ended up buying from B&H Photo after 2 weeks of looking and was happy with them. If you're real lucky you can buy a reconditioned one direct from Canon but these sell as fast as they post them up.

The Canon EOS D5 Mark II camera is superb in almost all respects and is best of the DSLR class. It takes fantastic stills and videos. My only criticisms are the manual focusing and changing batteries on a tripod. My camera, tripod, 2 prime lenses, extra batteries and memory cards cost me $5,500 so this is not a cheap amateur solution.

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