This morning I've been out gathering data. Most people would call this "shooting," but I'm feeling the weight of responsibility on my shoulders: I'm supposed to be out testing the Canon 5D Mark II. People are waiting. Drumming their fingers. Holding their tongues and their pent-up opinionations (well...).
Fortunately we had a beautiful dawn, clear and cold, and the latest snow is still pretty new. Here's the entrance of South High School just a few minutes after I dropped my son off this morning. That might actually be his friend Alex loitering on the second story. Looks like Alex, anyway. Alex gets there early—his Dad's a FedEx driver.
I'm struggling against "early closure" where the 5D Mark II is concerned. Remember how I was talking a few weeks ago about how reviewers sometimes find out "all they need to know" pretty early on, but just aren't willing to cop to it in public because they haven't done the work to prove it? Well, having shot the Sony A900, Nikon D3, Nikon D700, and Canon 5D Mark II in quick succession, I'm feeling like I've zeroed in pretty quickly on where they all fit relative to each other. I'm aware, though, that I haven't done enough shooting with the 5D Mark II yet, though, so I'm going to spend more time with it.
If I can keep my hands off the Nikon, that is. The camera that eats dark for dinner.
The First Baptist Church, like a lot of buildings hereabouts, is made of Lannon stone quarried only a few miles from the church. I keep meaning to go take some pictures of the quarry.
The comments to the first Canon 5D Mark II post, two posts below this one, left me feeling a little nervous...I was surprised that so much debate was ignited, considering I hadn't actually said anything. I know that our comments section is sedate and reasonable compared to the hubbub out on the wild'n'woolly internet—all the same, scaredy-cat that I am, I felt like a mob was gathering outside the window and, like a cold draft on the back of my neck, I imagined I felt the crowd's mood turning ominous. So even though I don't want to say much yet, I feel like I have an obligation to say something, if only to forestall the shouting and cursing and rending of garments.
So let me just say this. I don't find a thing to complain about with regard to the build-quality of the 5D Mark II body. You have to realize, however, that I consider lightness in a camera to be an asset, not a liability. When I wrote a long review on this site of the Zeiss Ikon ZI, for instance, I counted that camera's lower price and lighter weight as plusses compared to the relevant Leica comp cameras; but I was well aware that some people felt otherwise. Some people felt strongly otherwise. So, the Canon body is lighter than the Nikon's—that's good, if you ask me. I count it as a feature. I rank lightness higher than heaviness. Others might feel differently.
To me, the Canon is just a little more comfortable, just a little nicer to hold.
Just as nice to look through, too. The viewfinders are nearly identical. The Canon's is a little cooler, the Nikon's a little warmer (that might be the respective lenses, too, or the lenses might contribute). The Nikon seems to have a bit better eye relief, although the Canon isn't bad. (There. Some facts. Ahh.)
I was also quite interested to learn from my friend Gordon—also in those comments—about the peculiarity in Canon's configuration of control dials. But (man, am I painting myself as a bad reviewer?) I'm afraid I don't care about that, either. You see, I just assume—I mean I take it as a given—that all cameras have idiosyncrasies when it comes to control and layout configurations, and I take it as a given that anyone who buys a certain camera will familiarize him- or herself with that camera thoroughly, practice with it, and learn how to use it, and become expert with it, and then whatever the camera's control layout happens to be will become second nature to that photographer in due course. Of course, if I have a strong preference, I will let you know about that. But the underlying assumption there is that it's going to be an individual thing. I had friends who stayed mad for years when Leica changed the direction the shutter-speed dial turned, though, so I know that often people have strong opinions about how they like the camera's controls to be arranged—and, sure enough, we heard (in the comments) from one person who said he could never get used to Canon's dials and from another who called it "a complete non-issue." Now, you might say that a reviewer has a duty to point out the difference so that people are alerted to it, but then, on cameras that have a zillion controls and 4,680 configurations, exactly where would you stop doing this? Would you have to mention every control that's different from every other camera? It'd be like cataloguing the nine billion names of God.
Oh, and even though I'm going to hold back talking about image quality for now, one more little point: I was sitting in my easy chair the night the Canon got here, puzzling out the controls, and I happened to idly snap a shot at a very high ISO of my bookcase, in very low, very tepid light. The picture, of course, looked much better than the real scene, and I when I enlarged the image I was able to read all but the smallest print on the spines of the books. I can't do that in life—with my eyes, I mean. So this camera, like the Sony and the Nikon before it, sees better than I do, too.
Amazement mode still switched on. Appreciation mode, too.