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Wednesday, 26 March 2008

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I think there's something of a demand for a 1V replacement. Pro level in features without the grip. I'll go down to 3fps for that size, and if it means I can never access the high speeds even with a grip/motor drive, then so be it.

The eos 3 really isn't that much different from a 1V, so I think when you hear clamoring for a 3D, its more about getting a 5D with the 1 series interface/autofocus.

That's my take.

Hi Mike,

I've been a Canon 5d user for nearly a year now and, regardless of what transpires in the market, I'm not sure I'll switch. The 5d is just perfect for my needs. The camera feels great in the hand, it works really well with the Canon 24-105 L lens (the full size sensor means that it zooms from wide angle to telephoto) and the resolution is perfect - good enough for 18x12 prints, the largest size I can print at home, while not so large that I have to buy a terabyte disk every month. The noise levels are low and shots are usable at ISO 1600.

Any new camera will throw off the balance somewhat. The size of the sensor will rise to 16-20 megapixels, draining cpu and disk resources. The camera will get more complex, with sensor cleaning and live view. The price will go up.

None of these additional tweaks will help me take better pictures. I think I'll save my money and use it to buy books and seminars on photo taking so that I can hone my craft.

We may be entering a stage of the market where new product innovations provide diminishing returns. The 5d was quite a landmark and will be difficult to top.

Cheers,
Huw

This is a class of camera with a tremendous potential. I would surely love to see advancements in miniaturization and in low light capabilities instead of pixel count. Each of these would extend the camera's appropriateness into new areas, dramatically increase it's usability for lack of a better word. I am presently pushing my D-80 2 or 3 stops beyond it's max iso of 3200 with good results, and I am also one of many disappointed "Amazon pre-orderers of the DP-1" today. Be nice to have 1 camera take the place of 2.

I've huge fondness for the 5D - it's light, portable and offers great image quality. That said, it's starting to show its age now - sluggish, noticeable shutter lag and lacking in some expected features now.

I'm not so sure the Nikon competitor will have the D3X sensor though - I'd rather see the D3 sensor in there for manageable file size. For me, 12-14MP is about the sweet spot for a FF sensor, so I hope Canon resist the lure of the mega-pixel arms race with the 5D successor.

Should be an interesting year - if Nikon can get a body out at £1800 or so with the sort of image quality we see in the D3, and in a D300 class body they'll be selling them all day long.

I must join the chorus of 5D supporters. Having owned one for nearly 2.5 years I think I'd have to claim it to be my favorite camera (although not nearly my most costly). If Canon never "updated" it I'd be perfectly happy. I want for nothing when my 5D is in-hand.

Sony's new "Alpha" line of digital slr cameras may be fine for some. But, frankly, I would not invest a dollar in their commitment to the serious photography market.

"I must join the chorus of 5D supporters. Having owned one for nearly 2.5 years I think I'd have to claim it to be my favorite camera"

Ditto.

"If Canon never "updated" it I'd be perfectly happy. I want for nothing when my 5D is in-hand."

Ditto.

"Sony's new "Alpha" line of digital slr cameras may be fine for some. But, frankly, I would not invest a dollar in their commitment to the serious photography market."

Ditto! I would not give my money to Sony - and not just because I don't see it as viable in the long-term...

But Ken, you usually have something constructive to say !

"fine for some... would not invest a dollar in their commitment to the serious photography market." ?

That's pretty dismissive of a company who, on the contrary, appear to be making a solid and (for consumer electronics) long-term investment in the market. Or did I misunderstand ? If so, it would be more in your usual character of posting to string some arguments together to support the idea that Sony isn't showing signs of shaping up to take a serious place in the serious market.

Of course, that doesn't take anything away from Canon or the 5D; long may they prosper, and long may you enjoy them. Me, I've gambled my GBP on the A100 (with pretensions to only one serious aspect of photography, ie. self-improvement.) So yes, I'll admit to an emotional commitment to Sony's long-term success, because I'd like to be able to buy decent lenses and bodies in XX years time.

I'm waiting with interest.

Y

Rudi, Ken,

I don't want to get ad hominem here, and it may be that Mike will hold this comment back, but if you'll take in good humour a wry British observation....

... a chorus is a gang of people singing someone else's lines off the same hymn sheet, without thinking for themselves...

I'm man enough to read with interest but no shouts nor tears your explanations and developed arguments why Sony aren't shaping up to do what I suggested in my last post: and therefore that I'm going to have to find another brand as my photography develops.

Y

I will join the chorus of very happy 5D users. I've had mine a little over a year and a half, and have nothing but good things to say about the camera. The 70-200 f4 IS lens is also stellar, and something else only Canon has at this point and time. I've found it hard to take a bad picture with this combination. Not needing to use a tripod and still getting very high image quality at those focal lengths has changed the way I work the past year or so.

Perhaps it's because I've come from using Bronica and Hasselblad cameras the past few years, but the 5D has never felt slow or even remotely incapable to me. It's been exactly what I needed when it came to a digital slr, something I can rely on to get images I'm happy to exhibit that didn't cost me four arms and three legs.

Depending on the price of this Sony, I will definitely consider it. The only thing I would like to improve on the 5D is resolution, and doubling the pixel count would help with the fine details that I see in my medium format scans that I can't seem to get from my 5D.

I've been a happy 5d user for almost two years. I also have the 24-105 on it most of the time. Some thoughts on useful things in the next model...Environmental seals. It worries me in the rain. Ability to set custom white balance and mirror lockup without going into menu system. Built in dust "shaker." Reasonable and incremental resolution update. I might add the new one and use the 5d for backup, but I won't be parting with the 5d for a long time. This camera meets lots of needs.

Canon will still dictate to the market. They can up date/improve the 5D to a 5D+ or whatever and also up the price. At the same time thay can rebadge the existing 5d as 5D Lite and cut the b*****s out of the price. I bet Sony would love to know where Canon are going before they price their new flagship.
I wonder am I the only one for whom the lust for a full frame sensor has waned with the continuous improvements to the smaller sensor cameras.

I just got mine from Amazon - for $2750 with the 24-105mm lens It seems like a good deal, cosidering the lens alone costs more then a grand. I think 5D is going to stay a landmark, unless the new full frame models come out priced under $2000. I am sure I will want the new "6d" when it comes out, but it's going to be too expensive.

I have been pondering the move to digital for a long time and I am not willing to settle and the 5D has always had my eye.

I have been shooting with a 5D since its introduction - almost 3 years ago. It is a great camera, great sensor, great size/weight. I do not like the heavy Series 1 and feel the next series 20/30/40D are too small/light for the application. The 5D is just right.

I expect Canon to release a 5D replacement in the Fall and I'm sure it will have more pixels (really not needed). The sensor will be better though, cleaner. The current 5D will continue to be the great camera that it is today. I may skip the next iteration.

All I have to say is that I agree 100% with this post. I bought my first digital SLR just two months ago. The reason I bought it just now and not beforehand is because I have been waiting for Nikon to come out with a full frame camera that is not gigantic in size. I would have bought a Canon five D. if I was not so heavily invested in Nikon glass.

I would love to see this market segment develop. I believe it would be good for everyone. I would definitely buy a Nikon camera in this category.

In the meantime, I'm starting to learn the difference between slide film and digital capture. My D200 is certainly a good enough camera for now, but I would love my 14 mm lens to act like it should.

PS this is a great website

@ Yanchik: "That's pretty dismissive of a company who, on the contrary, appear to be making a solid and (for consumer electronics) long-term investment in the market. Or did I misunderstand ? If so, it would be more in your usual character of posting to string some arguments together to support the idea that Sony isn't showing signs of shaping up to take a serious place in the serious market."
-------------------

Indeed, you have a keen point. I was curt with my one-line side-swiper. Here's my rather windy reply, which probably belongs in the Sony article.

First I must emphasize that the make and model of camera used is a distant issue of curiousity to me when I look at photographs. Whether Salgado used a Leica, a Holga, or a cardboard single-use Fuji to capture his Africa images neither bolsters nor diminishes the work in my eyes. I truly mean it when I suggest that occasional / amateur photographers select a camera -any camera- that feels best in their hands and then devote their photographic time towards learning its quirks and features inside-out. There is nothing that can improves one's photography more certainly than mastery of one's tools. As soon as the camera gets out of the way you can begin honing your photography. But not before.

So what's my beef with Sony? Nothing, actually. Sony has certainly been one of the most reliable and durable brands that I've ever owned. I can only recall relinquishing a malfunctioning Sony product once. This track record meant that Sony used to get my first-look for every electronic gizmo.

But, more to the point, that track record is now mostly a matter of nostalgia rather than status quo. I only have one Sony product in my home today. (A very dated, but perfect-for-its-location, combination tv and vhs player/recorder.) Sometime during the 90's Sony began languishing as a consequence of a bouquet of external forces and internal commotion. Sony's products began to follow, rather than lead, their categories. They also lost much of their reputation for reliable engineering, as Sony chased evaporating margins at the expense of manufacturing quality. Regardless of the specific chronology the result was that Sony lost its pinnacle position in the consumer electronics market, a position it has virtually no chance of ever regaining.

Which (finally) brings me to Sony's relatively new dslr line. This line of cameras seems, like nearly everything else Sony makes today, driven by short-term opportunity (dumpster-diving Minolta's discarded camera business) rather than by long-term strategy. Sony is primarily an electronics manufacturer and entertainment company. They think and plan along the lines of those business segments. Those are very different lines than Canon, Nikon, and even the former Minolta which grew as optical (lens) companies looking for application markets in the mid-20th century. Yes, yes, I realize that today's digital camera business is principally a consumer electronics business. But that's a nuts-and-bolts view. The best photographic instruments will always come out of companies whose strategies are born from a deep knowledge and appreciation of photography. Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Leica, Mamiya, Hasselblad, etc. are all such companies. Yes, many have other business lines, too. But their cameras are products of long photographic industry heritages, not consumer electronics strategies.

Frankly, I have no reason to believe that Sony's line of dslr cameras will prove to be poor performers or unreliable. The early reviews have been quite positive, although it's unclear how much of this quality to-date is due to, rather than despite, Sony. I wish them well as there's always room for another high-quality camera manufacturer in the world. But they have a long way to go to earn real chops in the photography world. Perhaps I'm just a bit pessimistic but I have no expections that Sony will making still cameras in ten years. I just don't see much stamina at Sony any more. The company will take a few big dollar hits and introduce new senior management looking for quick wins. The camera biz will be jettisoned as a result.

Me? Well as of the end of February I'm probably geared-up for the rest of my photo life. I need nothing and want nothing. All of my energies are devoted to my photography, rathern than my cameras. It feels wonderful.

The concern with Sony, Yanchick, has more to do with skepticism over the company's direction than anything else (as far as I can tell). Sony is large and cameras are not a core portion of their business. If they struggle a bit in the camera biz, it wouldn't be that difficult for them to cut their losses and drop DSLRs. They may also not be willing to devote the R&D to it that their more camera-oriented competitors will.

Not that this is a guarantee of anything. Kodak is dropping its film business, after all, and Sony could certainly prove its critics wrong.

On another note, can one of you 5D owners tell me how big it is compared to its smaller siblings in the 30D/40D line? Not that I'm in the market for a camera now.

I think that, in time, the Canon 5D could come to be seen as a 'classic' camera, if that's possible for something digital.

How often do you see it still used as a benchmark for image quality, even in camera reviews today, many years (in digital terms) after its first release?

I bought mine about a year ago, at the point when its retail price (including cashback offers) had fallen to half its original value. I use it mainly for landscape work, although I've had very pleasing results with informal portraits taken with the 24-105mm zoom.

As has been alluded to by others, it appeals to people who value image quality over speed, and aren't fooled by mere megapixel counts. Give me bucket-sized photosites any day :-)

As a 5D owner, I'd be happy to keep it until it wears out. An added bonus is that my copy of RawShooter Premium - a 'defunct' product - works very well with it, as does Capture One LE.

Honestly after a horrible experience with Canon's "Service" staff, I'd be ready to jump ship shortly. I was amazed at how horrible it was.

I'd like to see how the repair and customer service reputations of each camera manufacturer compare. I can't imagine anyone is worse than Canon. It means a lot to me that if something happens with my camera (the only digital camera I own) that I'll be dealt with fairly and with respect. Are any manufacturers better than any other in this regard? Canon had my flash unit for 3 weeks and for a while wouldn't even acknowledge they had it until I forwarded them the UPS confirmation that they'd signed for it.

That destroyed any brand loyalty I had right there. If something comes along that's better, and maybe, cheaper, I'd jump ship in a second.

I really loved my 1DMKII but soon after getting and using the 5D I haven't once gone back to the larger pro model. The 5D is so good that the 5DMKII (or whatever) will have to have a serious IQ improvement to entice me.

I too have been happy with the 5D. What I want isn't a faster frame rate, shorter shutter lag, bigger better LCD, image stabilization, more AF points, or a dust buster. All I want is a smaller, lighter body.

Amin

A Prognostication: when the 5D upgrade appears, the heavens will light up with the
stellar brilliance of its design, execution and image quality. Canon has been upgrading its dlsr model lineup from the outside in, pointing towards the 5D, now for a time with some amazingly good stuff and this trend, this body of work, will reach crescendo with the 5D upgrade.
I cannot wait and I will buy one.
And then, of course, it will start all over.
I have truly enjoyed watching,in utter amazement, the arrival and maturation of digital photography.

I've owned a 5D nearly since its release. My first digital was a D60, but i sold it pretty quickly. I vowed not to buy another digital until i could have a full frame sensor in a compact body. The 5D was a pretty nice solution.

But, i've never liked the way the camera felt or looked. I've used Canons since i could afford my first 'serious' camera, but i've always been envious of other brands for their camera body design/construction, namely Nikon and Contax. But, i 'compromised' with Canon because of the lenses. The 5D is fine with the battery grip attached, but without it, it just feels like too much plastic. And i DESPISE the idiot dial....

Ken Tanaka makes interesting points above. He says he's never been interested in the camera used by photographers he respects. I always HAVE been. I just like cameras. I don't think it diminishes my interest in the images and the work, though. Ken also notes that it's important to just find a camera that feels good and then to just get on with it. I wish i could do that. Perhaps i'm just overly 'sensitive,' when it comes to the gear i use. I've used just about every medium format camera. In 35mm, i've tried Leica M and R, Contax, Nikon, Canon, Konica.... And, i'm still looking for something that makes me happy, and inspires me to use it. I know, on an intellectual level that a camera "is just a tool." On the other hand, i feel i work better when i'm happy with the tools i'm using. It's not so different, psychologically, from a pair of pants or shoes. Lots of fellows can just pull on a pair of Dockers and some $50 loafers, and 'get on with it.' I couldn't get out of the house like that.

So, the Sony A900 is a very interesting 'concept.' The resolution is all i should ever need. It uses Zeiss and Minolta lenses. The body is not so bad to look at. But, the key feature for me may be the in-body image stabilization. Yeah, i've read the Canon rationale for preferring to put IS in the lens. But, i only shoot primes (35, 50, 85mm), and i don't foresee IS coming to any of those pieces. And, even if it does, it means i'd have to re-buy. Uncool. The Sony COULD be my ultimate solution. If it fulfills promise, it could get me to sell my Hasselblad and/or Rolleiflex.

I'm not sure what to think, at this point, about Sony's prospects long-term. Yes, it's entirely possible they'll be out of the game in ten years time. But, in ten years, i doubt the photo equipment environment will bear any resemblance to the current state of affairs. I'm not so concerned about that. I do worry about more short-term matters. I'd be very unhappy if Sony followed Contax - release a very high profile, professional camera (Contax 645AF), and then exit relatively quickly thereafter. And, Contax HAD history.

But, as often as i change systems (the EOS is the only system i've maintained while everything else changed), i could relatively comfortably go from a 5D to an A900 and then back again in the span of a few years. But, i wish Canon would make it easier for me to stay. The reported specs of the 5DII, though, are not so inspiring.

Well I'm new to the 5D and am blown away by the the detailed, clear, clean images it takes. I still have an Oly 510 around and just performed a personal shootout. Canon 24-105 vs Oly 14-54 Not a fair test I know but the 5d is miles ahead in clarity and detail. The 510 looked muddy in comparison. If you can afford something better or are waiting for the new replacement that's fine but I opted for the lower prices (clearance?) and couldn't be happier. Some folks say the 5d is now dated but compared to what?

I'd be unlikely to want to replace my 5D with the newer model because the 5D suits me so remarkably well. I frankly can't imagine what improvements Canon could make that would impel me to upgrade - but i'd sure love to find out.

I have the 5D - I really love it (though I must admit to being swayed recently with the thought of switching to the Nikon D300). It's a wonderful body for doing available light documentary work ala the Leica M. It's small and light, has a BIG viewfinder, it has a relatively quiet shutter, it has no extra bells and whistles - it truly is a camera you pick up, set aperture, set shutter speed, set ISO, focus and start shooting. No messing with layers and layer of menus.

The full frame sensor allows me
- to shoot with a 28mm f2, a 35mm f2/1.4, a 50 f1.8 that costs less than 100 bucks, a 50 f1.4 or 50 f1.2.
- to shoot pple with a 85mm without being in the next zip code
- to turn my 70-200 into a wonderful indoor zoom that it once was.

I don't have to wait for anyone to come out with a set of primes, especially FAST and WIDE primes with a focal length of 35mm and below. It's all there in the system for use today.

What I want to see in a 5D follow up would be a more rugged body with weather seals ala the D300. Also a faster shutter lag and shorter mirror blackout. (though truth be told, I didn't miss shots with what is available now). Better AF would be a bonus too!

Just swallowed hard and bought the 5D two months ago - I'd been using a 10D. Someone up there said Hassleblad - yes! the big mirror goes slam! like the hassy. Ka-chunk! and the lenses - basically after 5 years I've got my 35mm camera back. Its a Harley of a camera - not a lot of room for huge improvement. A market of its own, indeed.... If they release an upgrade tomorrow, well, to quote Dick Cheney, "So?"...

The 5D is currently $2200 at B&H. Do you think the new 5d class cameras are going to be in that price range?

It is not just the 5d's impressive performance that attracts pros, it is the system as a whole. I often wonder why anyone buys any other make than Canon or Nikon because no other manufacturer has such a range of lenses, flashes, wireless facilities etc - the list just goes on and on.
Pros don't just need good camera performance they need a photographic system that can tackle just about any assignment and to my knowledge there are only the big 2 as serious contenders.
That's not to detract from the 5d's ground breaking performance which still rates as awesome.

Ken,

Thanks for taking the time - I thought you'd have something worthwhile to say !

Well, the A100 is doing what my old X300 did for my first eighteen years photography - just gettin' out the way and letting me take pictures. That's all it needs to do.

Y

I own 5D and I am VERY happy with it. If canon can make as good camera as it, but with even better ISO/noise ratio I could consider a update. I have all the megapixels I need.

Don't count Sony out. They are THE major player in Pro Video and are looking to be the same in still photography.

As to the 5D, it's an excellent body for its time, but nothing special today. For me, it's simply not enough camera for the cost, being really a 30D with a FF sensor. Excellent sensor though. I'm interested in seeing what the 5D replacement is, as it will to a great extent determine if Canon continues to lag in innovation or if they have a chance at regaining their dominant position during this product cycle (the Mark III's certainly are not up to it and Canon offers nothing to comepete with the D300). Right now all the innovation in the camera world seems to be happening in Nikon, Sony and Pentax's court.

I can understand the septicism about Sony as they are 'new' to the market but to me the way you react is more something related to communication and marketing than anything related to photography. If Sony cameras were Pentax-badged would you feel competly different about it ?

You that proved not to be dedicated to photo-brandisme should be more objective about Sony. I think what make a brand inetresting or not is not the name but the people of this compagny. Maybe the people at 'Sony photo' are high end techies in photography, for years, and photo enthousiast, and maybe they know well the photography history, some of those people surely comes from Canon/Nikon/Sony etc.

I think till now Sony made no big mistake in this market and it feels like they want to be serious about it. They just need time.

As a K10 owner, i'm more sceptical about the future of Pentax for exemple. I think in the new digital age you have a size problem : compagnies need to be big enough to invest in digital researches (that cost a lost) to have some hope that this researches cost will be covered by the camera sells where they apply the technology.
Despite all the Pentax brillant history, it's not clear if Pentax want to be a major and serious player in the photographic area, as its been in the 60's. Recent cameras and lens are not good enough to be sure they're really dedicated at it or even tryin to be. And its not competly sure they can like this for decades.

At least Sony have enough money to invest in this business and become a major play in the next 10 years.

PS. The only thing is i still think was a mistake is to use the Sony's brand as it is. I think it would have been better to have a double name like they have for phones, aka SonyEricssson. I Think SonyMinolta would have sound perfectly right.

PS2 i'm sure i have red Delgado was (still) using Pentax medium format for his landscape photography… ?!

Expanded dynamic range would be nice, perhaps in the form of the highlight expansion from the 40D. I might care less if I shoot color, but in B&W it is the major issue for digital. Since I also try to use primes, in camera stablization is attractive. (I am waiting for the next one, I rented a 5D to see how it fit my needs. I am staying with 4x5 for now.)

The 5D is a great camera, but there are a number of things that need to be addressed in the next iteration.

Most importantly, the camera needs weather seals. I've already had to send my camera in for repairs twice because of water ingress. As have many of my colleagues.

The viewfinder could also be greatly improved. Try the EOS 3, and you'll see what I mean.

They also need to address the shutter lag/mirror blackout time. I don't need 8 or 10 frames per second, but 5 would be nice. As would a larger buffer.

Basically, Canon need to produce a camera with the capabilities of the 1D, but in a package the size of the 5D.

So long as it costs the same or less than a 1D, that's fine by me.

I love the 5D. Shooting in RAW you can get exactly what you want without fussing too much over the niddly details.

What I'd want in an update is:
1) Dust busting
2) In-body IS
3) Usable 12800 ISO
4) Bigger viewfinder
5) Better temp tolerance and humidity sealing

I don't need more pixels, but would be OK with getting a few IF the above are taken care of. I won't be in the market for a replacement in a year or two so no rush. :)

I'm a little disapponted that you would allude to the pixel count of the APS-C and how the are now on par with the full frame cameras. It helps promote the mentality that pixel count is of higher importance than things like ISO and noise performance. It is that mentality that drives 12 megapixel P&S cameras to market that have rotten ISO and noise performance. The 5D is in a class by itself because of the picture quality. Not one of those higher pixel count APS-C DSLRs can even come close to the low noise performance of the 5D. If the new kids bring the same IQ to the game we will then really have something to talk about...

Good post, MIke, once again. But your article has premise that appears to be implicit, if not overtly articululated, that more megapixels is directly correlated with image quality. And that's not necessarily true. What makes great cameras like the 5D assume a place of being a "laboratory reference standard" for image quality is that it hit the sweet spot between sensor size, resolution and noise performance. And I think Colin Work's featured post is exactly right, it's the size of the photosites (and imaging engine processing and noise handling capabilities) that give certain cameras a very special "quality" to the image. For me, the 5D has a magical, almost-impossible-to put-into-words image quality that is very special indeed. I can almost always spot an image that was taken with a 5D from the special look of it's files. Whether or not the new cameras that will appear in the 5D's market segment will be as good remains to be seen; including the 5D replacement from Canon. It's not a given that having greater sensor resolution is going to do that. It's all about that "sweet spot", and the 5D hit that sweet spot just about perfectly. I'm going to bide my time for a bit, and see how things turn out, but it could be that that sweet spot that the 5D hit is going to harder to hit once again than many manufacturers realize.

Stephen Scharf: "What makes great cameras like the 5D assume a place of being a "laboratory reference standard" for image quality is that it hit the sweet spot between sensor size, resolution and noise performance."

I feel the same way about the Nikon D3, and interestingly enough, it's a full-frame sensor with almost the same pixel count as the 5D.

The one place that ultra-high MP cameras like the new 1Ds3 excel is with adequately lit, highly detailed subjects, like landscapes or realistic portraits. They are like large format film cameras in a way -- they have a variety of shortcomings, but when you get them in their performance sweet-spot, nothing can compare.

I'm also skeptical about Sony. They are big in video, but that goes way back, to their creative days. In the past couple of decades, they seem more driven by transitory fashion. To challenge Nikon and Canon, they not only have to come up with one good camera, they have to come up with a whole system, and then they have to persist for thirty years or so. They've certainly got the money, but I'm not sure they have the culture, especially with a product of limited sales potential.

The new 25mp camera only served to make me more skeptical; unless they've come up with some unprecedented sensor technology, it seems to me exactly the kind of solution you'd expect from a fashion-driven company. Bunch of suits sitting around a conference table, and somebody jumps up and and sez, "I got it! More megapixels! We'll tell those geeks to put in more megapixels!"

That won't work too well if the only time you can take noise-free photos is between noon and 1 p.m. on a sunny days...

JC

Paul Mc Cann said: "I wonder am I the only one for whom the lust for a full frame sensor has waned with the continuous improvements to the smaller sensor cameras."

Been a while, and nobody else has chimed in, so maybe it's just you and me.

I was always more a telephoto user than a wideangle user, so the small-sensor DSLR bodies have suited me very well (Fuji S2 and now Nikon D200). One carefully-targeted lens investment (Tokina 12-24mm f/4, $600 from a local dealer) has got me back to within a hair of the widest I ever had available on a film camera. And all my not-really-long-enough fast teles just got better for my uses.

I'm thinking of the full-frame cameras as filling the low end of the medium-format niche these days; I never could bring myself to spend the money on a real medium-format system (I've owned a Yashicamat 124G, a Fuji GS645, and a Norita Graflex that was given to me).

@ Yanchik

I feel the same as Ken Tanaka about Sony, and he pretty much posted my thoughts on it. To summarize, the best way I can express how I feel about Sony and their place in the pro photography market is this:

I wouldn't buy into a Sony DSLR system for the same reasons that I wouldn't buy into a Samsung DSLR system!

Re; Colin Work

Like Colin, I owned the D30 and loved it. The D30 was a milestone in DSLR development, and I resisted the upgrade urge until the 10D came along. The 10D brought too many improvements over the D30 for me to ignore, but like Colin, I was never impressed with the 10D in the same way that I was with the D30 - the files needed a lot of "massaging" to look their best.

The next upgrade worth doing was the 5D, and like the D30, but to a much greater extent, the 5D was another milestone in DSLR evolution - a real classic! To this day, it is my main camera body (I also own the 1D Mark II N), and when the 5D successor appears I will sell the 1D, not the 5D! While the 1D has its place, I consider the 5D to be the better all-round camera, and the files coming out of the two - there is just no comparison!

Will the 5D replacement be better, but slightly "disappointing", like the D30 successors were? We'll have to wait and see, but I'll be hanging onto my 5D anyway, for the best of both worlds. :-)

Another 5D user since its arrival, and joining the chorus. The "marriage" is fast approaching it digital equivalent of "7 year itch" that needs to be scratched...and soon.

Welcome Sony A900! This camera would win me over for the single reason that it takes that B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L Zeiss 24-70mm zoom. My most used lens on 5D is 24-105L, and while I'm pleased with it, I'm not stunned by it. As the Wizard of ID would put it: "I'm whelmed, and I know exactly how I feel".

Canon will surely enough upgrade the 5D soon, but unless the upgrade has some stunning "leadership" qualities that 5D had when it was first introduced, I already know how I'm going to scratch my itch.

The rebate checks for my 5D kit/printer came today. After selling off the printer my total cost for the body and 24-105 was $2350. That's a pretty good deal.

In the last two months the 5D has done nothing but amaze me. 1600 is as good as 400 on my Pentax K10D. The AF is always right on. I don't shoot sports or long telephoto, so as a street/documentary camera it's perfect. Plenty of FPS and buffer for my needs. Full frame gives me a look that I could never get with APS-C or 4/3's.

We had a major snowstorm a few weeks back and I went out that day to make images, never worrying about the blowing snow or when I fell into the snow bank burying the camera. I left the 5D at home that day and took my "ancient and obsolete" Olympus E-1 with the 14-54. I would love the level of confidence in the next-gen of the 5D.

@ _#_

"Welcome Sony A900! This camera would win me over for the single reason that it takes that B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L Zeiss 24-70mm zoom. My most used lens on 5D is 24-105L, and while I'm pleased with it, I'm not stunned by it."

Easily fixed - just get the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 L! Seriously - I have one, my dad has the 24-105L, and while his lens is nice, my 24-70L is significantly better. We both shoot with the 5D (he has his own, I ain't sharing mine :-) ). You can go from "whelmed" to "impressed" without having to switch systems. :-)

Coming back from Burning Man 2007. Two Canon bodies, 5D and Elan 7II: tons of dust inside, some got into under the LCDs, 20+ wet cleaning later dust still falling to the 5D sensor. Three Nikon bodies: few brushes after the D2x and D200 was like new (the D2x was sold for $2600 since there was no trace of the abuse), even they were literately buried in the sand while the Canons stayed in the bag...

"I wouldn't buy into a Sony DSLR system for the same reasons that I wouldn't buy into a Samsung DSLR system!"

I have to flag that remark. Since Samsung's SLR's and lenses are largely Pentax, and fit the Pentax system, I don't think Ken's abandonment-risk objection translates (unless you think Pentax won't be around for long, either.).

Another intangible worth considering is that Samsung is its home country's only producer of SLR's (AFAIK), while Sony is one among several.

@ robert e:

I wouldn't buy a Panasonic either, even though it may be a rebadged Leica (or vice-cersa), so my Samsung and Sony comparison still stands. Sony is largely Minolta (and I respected Minolta products in the past), but I will not buy a Sony DSLR for that same reason.

Canon"s 5D is a brilliant camera. I agree with all of you, but I have a nagging problem, DUST on my sensor ! I live and work in India. I need a camera with dust-removal, don't care much for higher fps or mpixel, clean images, bigger buffer and better image processors with higher bit A/D converter.
Nikon has launched the D700, hope that Canon wakes up to the competition.

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