Canon EOS 5D Mark II – First Shots

I'd posted the other day about heading out with my Labrador to head to the canals for a swim (for him). I brought my 5D Mark II along with my EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS to see how the new body would perform. A surprise appearance by a Great Egret gave me a chance to check out the AF performance. Now it was flying from left to right (rather than the more difficult – towards me) and I'd already set to center point for the autofocus – AI Servo – but even the first shot was tack sharp.

As always – click to enlarge the photos (with full EXIF).

Enjoy and thanks for reading!

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5D Mark II and 1D Mark II N…

Gee – where to begin.

Since I last posted about equipment, I've sold my 50D, the grip, and my two EF-S lenses and that covered the cost of getting a 5D Mark II.  I had been planning on waiting a bit, but a friend of mine who had picked one up but a week later got her hands on two 1Ds Mark III bodies to use – suddenly found her new gripped 5D Mark II sitting on a shelf. An attempt to sell on ebay yielded a "US" buyer who wanted it shipped to Russia – riiiiiight… then she was on a few projects. Just as I was sure I was going to be good and wait a month to get my 5D2 after a few other things I'm selling (a few bikes and other various stuff that has been gathering in my garage), she pings me w/ an offer I couldn't refuse.

So – the 5D2 arrived the day before I was going to take the new (to me) 1D Mark II N out to the Superdrome to see how it performed for the first time during some night races.

So – my conundrum… shoot w/ the 1 or the 5?

Shootin' the Pooch… aka DIW and BIF

Part of the decision was made for me when I took my black lab to the neighborhood canals for a swim and took the 5D2 along to document the occasion. As we neared the canal – a snowy egret took off and repositioned itself just down from where it was – this gave me a chance to try catching an un-planned BIF (bird if flight) shot. My 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS was on the 5D2 and I got off 8 or so shots and wasn't sure how well I'd done.

Soon the DIW (dog in water) opp was distracting me – the pup (well – he's 13 now) was too busy having fun chasing a bumper in the water as I fired off rounds and realized that I've been a bit spoiled with the 1D's 45 AF points… While the 9 had seemed plenty when I was shooting the 400D, 30D, 40D and 50D, the 1D opened my eyes to what true "great" AF performance and selectability is… I (like my friend Liz who sold me the 5D Mk II) think I've been spoiled…

Back at the house later, I was pleasantly surprised at how well the 5D2 had done with the egret. Having read about how the AF on the 5D2 was based on other 9 point AF systems from Canon - I wasn't sure what to expect. I had set it on Program, had done a quick white balance with my ExpoDisc as I walked over, and was able to track the bird with the center point fairly well. The fact that the bird was staying about the same distance from me helped; the images were tack sharp and the amount of detail – even on an all white bird - *without* highlight tone priority on blew me away.  But come to think of it – even the first shot was tack sharp. The photos of the dog came out great as well… Again – a bit spoiled by the AF point selection, I found I was able to find a good AF point and just keep zoomed back just a touch so I'd be able to crop down the pic just slightly to get the framing I wanted w/ the specific part of my pooch in focus… Again – the image quality of the camera and the detail I could see when pixel peeping was amazing.  This is the up-side of 21.1 MP images… the down side was soon apparent at the track that night.

At the Superdrome

That night I got to the Superdrome in Frisco, TX to find a huge turnout for the first race on the new surface. The facility had just undergone a $100,000 face lift for the track and other parts of the facility. The few weeks of open riding on this buttery smooth and fast surface brought out quite the crowd.

My plan was to mount the 17-40 f/4 on the 5D2 and have the 70-200 f/2.8L IS on the 1D2n. I ended up putting the 24-105 f/4L IS on the 5D2 for a bit as well.

I was soon in my routine of shooting the warm up, some shots in the pits (nicely packed w/ bikes and racers), and once the racing got started, the racing itself. Moving around on the apron for different angles, I also moved outside the rail to shoot some of the action so that the ligting would be a bit better for available light work.

I bring a 580EXII flash for the fill work, and will even push a longer exposure w/ wider aperture with the flash to get some motion blur with a clear image in the mix… You can see the images from that night here. I'll see about getting some of the BIF and DIW up when I have some more time.

The Down Side to 21.1 MP

So, it seemed intuitive that the large MP rating of the 5D2 would bring some immediate issues with the resulting file sizes – but there was another I'd not really counted on, but had an easy work around for.

I had been keeping an 8GB CF card in the 1D2n – which yields around 1100 or so images before I have to swap cards. I usually would take my main camera and put the 8GB UDMA card in it – then use a 4GB UDMA card to tide me over while I dumped the images from the 8GB into my Vosonic image storage device.  Then I'd just swap back after the download was complete.

I still figured I'd use the 1D2n the most (and I did) but didn't realize how quickly you can burn through 125 or so photos to fill a 4GB card… Not to worry – another card held me over while I moved files from the 4GB down to the vosonic.

The unexpected size issue arose when I'd finished working through the files overall – I sync my cameras so they have the same time on them, and I end up dumping all the photos into one folder when processing them in Lightroom (2.3 64bit). When I did the export to push to my sales site – it was easy to see which were from the 5D2 (the 10+ MB jpgs) and which were from the 1D2n (3-4 MB jpgs).  I started to upload and realized how long it was going to take… D'oh!

A quick cancel update command – back into LR to restrict max width to 4000 pix – re-export, and the files were soon posting quick as a wink.

I'll post more as I have some more time – till then…

Thanks for reading!