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Friday, 12 December 2008


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Four degrees in December? Geesh, you'll be taking your penguin out for a walk before too long...
Could you please post the exposure data for the "unscared of the dark" photo?
Please... pretty please...

Four degrees - I presume you are not addressing the Europeans this time :-)

For Europeans: -15.5 C. C stands for chilly!

Mike J.

f/2.5 at 1/25th, ISO 2500.

I'm going to print it today.

Mike J.

you wait until it's four degrees to break out the winter coats! You guys are hardy in Wisconsin.

You still had Fahrenheits? We were overdrawn here. But boy was that sunrise pretty.

Those are very poetic numbers for such a nice picture.

Thanks Mike - I was "weighting" for this! (Someone had to say it...) As a Canon fanboy I was probably leaning toward the 5D Mark II anyway, but nice to know it's been well-received for when I do decide to upgrade or add it to my camera bag.

Interesting: I felt the same "well-balancing" issue with the Pentax K20D and 31 1.8 ltd. This combo feels somehow better than with the lighter FA 35 2.0.

But then, when I take the Canonet again I must say lighter is better in the end. Maybe the K20d with 35/2 is light but not balanced. The Canonet is light AND balanced.

Thanks for giving weight and cold in European measures also. You have to be aware: your site is an international succes. :)

And to be on topic: I'm curious of your opinion about how the smaller 35mm works on the 5d mark II

4 degrees? So? I thought you folks all stirred your coffee with your thumbs...


Why on earth would you want to switch it off?

The 35/1.4L is by far my favorite lens on my 5D.

Yup, Here in Maine it's time to put the shorts away. Summer's finally over.

Whats a gram?

JohnL a UK European :-)

Mike -

With regard to turning on the 5DII - I have noticed that never turning the camera off does not seem to cause the battery to drain any faster. I always leave my 5D or 5DII turned on and just touch the shutter button to wake it up.



4 degrees, you lucky bastard! -5 here in Fairbanks, which we consider a warming trend.

Hey just don't ever turn off the 5Dii. I have a dozen 30Ds I loan to students, and I tell them the batteries are essentially free, and they do last forever in "sleep" mode, so just charge them every night or two and leave the button "ON!"

Have you tried the 85mm/1.2 with the 5Dii yet? Also an appealing feeling, and a nice match to the 35/1.4 with that camera.

And, oh yeah, the 5Dii eats the dark for lunch, too!


Mike...+4F...You Missed Your Chance:

1. To see how the 5DII works in the cold;

2. To see how the 5DII handles with gloves; and

3. To see if you could get your tongue stuck to the 5DII tripod-mount socket.


Cheers! Jay

Just for grins, here are some other camera weights with comparable FOV lenses:

Canon 1Ds with EF 35/2- 4 lbs 1.4 oz (1858g)
Nikon D300 with AIS Nikkor 28/2.8- 2 lbs 11 oz (1220g)
Pentax K10d with Pentax M 28/2.8- 2 lbs 2.5 oz (985g)
Leica M8 with CV 25/4- 1 lb 11.5 oz (783g)

All except for the Canon EF are manual focus. The AIS Nikkor and Pentax M lenses are probably heavier than their modern AF equivalents because the older lenses are mostly of metal construction.

Europeans? It's a rather warm and humid 22.8 here today at 32 deg 47' South by 151 35' East. Interesting write ups on these cameras.

Why not substitute "Rest of the World" for "Europeans" when referring to metric measurements?

Phil in Australia. ;-)

Different choice of focal length but I weighed what was to hand here...

Sony A100, Minolta 28mm f 2.8(42mm equiv.)- 819g

Minolta X-300s (35mm film SLR made this century!) Rokkor 45mm f2.0 + strap 652g

Minolta Autocord (6x6 TLR, fixed 75mm lens) 990g

My printer only does A4 so these lightweights will suffice for now.

Cheers, Robin

One thing with Canon I never understand, the half position on the on switch, that eliminates the wheel. I just can't figure out when that would be handy.

Incredible shot of the house...I heard Thomas Kincaid wants to buy it off you.

Please excuse my ignorance, I’m still chugging along with film, but do other DSLRs have to be turned off? I’ve always hated the idea of an on/off switch on a camera, especially when it is nowhere near where you place your hands to actually take a picture. Of course, with many (film) cameras the shutter lock button acts as a de facto on/off button but without the implication that leaving it unlocked will drain your batteries. Nikon’s use of the film wind-on leaver was simple and effective, but DSLRs don’t have those!

Yashica Mat 124 weighs in at 1082 grams, medium format and all. But despite it being a little heavier than my K10D and 35/2 it feels a lot lighter when handling it for some reason. Perhaps because the TLR format makes you use both hands at all times, perhaps because all the weight is centered and certainly because it's so compact you don't get much inertia to fight with.

"... When did cameras get so friggin' bloated and why does no one except Mike J. seem to care?"

Er, well, after carrying large format film cameras into the field most of my life (read: upwards of 50pounds of materials to move), the "bloated" DSLRs feel like toys.

I get your point, though. The G10 is a wondrous tool. Light. Metal. Decent image quality. Etc. Still, when you "need" a serious camera, you need a serious camera.

For Europeans... and Africans, Asians, Latin Americans, Australians... i.e. everybody else. :-)

Mike Jones: My experience with a number of Canon DSLR models from the D60 on is that I've never turned any of them off unless changing mem cards or batteries. They all have effective sleep modes that reduce power consumption to near zero. I've had an M8 for a year with the same result. Never turned it off except to upgrade S/W, etc. Push the button and they come to life! Ain't modern electronics wonderful?

I second Paul McEvoy's comment about the half position on the "on/off" switch. Why would one want to put the switch at the halfway position? Can someone give an explanation?

Oh, and when is the US going to switch to the metric system. I cannot stand feet, inches, Fahrenheit, pounds....
Don't get me started "Letter" size paper either....


As an addendum to my previous post: I'm convinced that all the OFF position does in DSLRs is to inhibit the shutter button. Power consumption is likely unchanged between "sleep" and "off". (I've been in electronics all my professional life.) (He says, as an aside...)

I think needing to turn the camera off is a thing of the past for DSLRs. My 30D, which is a couple years old now (and another Canon product), stays on all the time. As long as I haven't killed the batteries, it comes on when I touch the shutter.

By the way, the cold is one thing that will leach away battery power. I have the battery grip, and I almost never remember to charge them. The only time I've run down the batteries was in the cold.

So, did the 5DII eat your D700 for breakfast or did it save it for lunch?

"One thing with Canon I never understand, the half position on the on switch, that eliminates the wheel. I just can't figure out when that would be handy."

The wheel on the back has a nasty habit of moving (and thereby changing your exposure setting) when the back of the camera moves against your body. The "half-off" position turns off the wheel to prevent this. This is yet another of Canon's operational quirks one gets used to.

By the way, my pointing out this and other quirks doesn't mean I don't like Canon cameras. I've been using them almost exclusively for the past ten years or so. That's why I'm so familiar with them. It's also why someone like Mike, who will only be using his for a few days, may not notice them or care about them. Frankly, I think it's unrealistic to expect anyone to become thoroughly familiar with any camera that comes with a 10mm thick manual in a matter of days.

For Paul McEvoy:

The half-switch is very useful, and sometimes essential. When you're using the rear adjustment dial (wheel) to make, for example, exposure compensation adjustments in Tv or Av mode, for example, you can set the exp. comp. you want with the dial, and then turn it off with the switch in the "half-position". The camera will keep your exp. comp setting, and because the wheel has been switched "off", you can't accidentally bump the wheel and change the setting by accident. This is really useful to prevent setting +/- 2 stops exp. compensation by accident. And believe me, if you shoot, as in my case, pro motorsports, literally in the field as much as I am, and carrying as much gear as much as I do (I am typically trackside with a 500/4, 300/2.8, 70-200/2.8, monopod, and 17-40/4), it is pretty easy to accidentally bump the wheel and change the setting when jumping over a K-rail or a pit wall. Being able to switch off the wheel is a life and image-saver.

"Frankly, I think it's unrealistic to expect anyone to become thoroughly familiar with any camera that comes with a 10mm thick manual in a matter of days."


Mike J.

I always turn my camera off. Then again, I have a Pentax ;-)
Both Pentax and Nikon have the On-Off switch as part of the Shutter Button... where it should be (IMO). I can turn the camera "ON" by my index finger in the process of bringing it to my eye.
However, I'm sure there is a good reason Canon and Sony put them where they do.

Hi Mike, sorry to be a bit off topic, but did you get a EF 50mm f1.4 lens to play with on your trial run with the 5D mark II? I think you'll like how the bokeh on that one is with the full frame digital sensor.

Not only do ileave my 5d on, I have the switch gaffer taped in the on position. I find that otherwise when the camera is in my hand hanging down at my side, the switch gets bumped to off or worse, command dial off, all the time. As I walk around I adjust exposure by feel, without looking at the camera, so it will be ready when I see something to photograph boy is it frustrating to find after that moment has passed that your exposure adjustment didn't register.

Btw, it bothers me that the direction and function of the dials isn't fully customizable on the 5d. It isn't something I should *have* to get used to (and it stays confusing over four years off use so far, 20d+5d).

James Duncan Davidson wrote about the difference of the "on/off switching behaviour" between Canon und Nikon users a while ago:

"As a Canon user, I’ve never powered down any my cameras on a regular basis. Yet, every time a Nikon shooter has handled my gear, it comes back with the power off."


He lists two possible conclusions. I tend to favor the second one: Nikon cameras make you want to switch them on and off, it's a rub of the finger. Nothing that prevents you from taking a picture with one hand, no fumbling with two hands necessary. Ok, that doesn't explain why you get back switched off Canons - but I experienced that myself with my father.

With my Canon I did it like Stuart: just forgot about the switch. At least I tried. From time to time the switch would inadverdently change its position from "on with wheel activated" to just "on". Then I would turn the wheel while looking through the finder, got no response and until I realized the cause... argh.

Now I'm using a Nikon camera and switch it off almost every time I put it away. And switching it back on is part of the "process" of lifting it of the resting place: hand grabs, switch moves, camera waits for orders ;-)

@Paul McEvoy: The half-position is vaguely useful when walking around with the camera on its strap and in an AE mode, then you aren't constantly changing the exposure compensation every time you bump the rear wheel.

A better solution is the Sony/Minolta solution where you can set the control wheels to be disabled when the meter is off.

"One thing with Canon I never understand, the half position on the on switch, that eliminates the wheel. I just can't figure out when that would be handy."

It keeps you from changing the exposure 3 stops with your nose or cheekbone. This only happens when you are photographing some once in a lifetime event that distracts you from paying attention to all of the digital readouts in the finder.

+1 for leave the camera on... unless it's going into the bag. Last thing I want is for the shutter to be accidentally pressed and have it continuously running the IS and trying to meter the lens cap. Otherwise if it's hanging around (neck or house, whichever) Set to 1min shutdown and forget about it. Half-press of the shutter and it powers up in milliseconds.

As for charging every few days? I admit I'm not a mad shooter most days, but my 30D with battery grip (two aftermarket 2000mah batteries) lasted just under 4000 shots over an air show weekend... and in the end I changed them out not because they died but as insurance because I didn't want them to die during the final display. This is shooting with IS on and frequent chimping and deleting the "worst of the burst". I have three batteries total and end up charging them on average once a month, or just before I go on a trip of more than a week or so (again, for insurance).

I seldom switched my older Canon dSLRs on and off. But with my new 50D I make a point of switching it off then back on when changing the lens, when going into or coming out of the bag and occasionally just doing it. All to trigger the sensor cleaning cycle. While I didn't have that much trouble with a dirty sensor on other cameras, when I did I found it quite annoying. I'm sure that shaking the AA filter can't always prevent sensor crud but so far it seems to be an improvement and one that I'm more than happy to take advantage of.

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