As you may or may not know, I shoot with a Canon 50D. That’s right, a crop sensor camera. I’m not going to write about the drawbacks/benefits of shooting in this manor as that really is up to the individual photographer to decide. What I am going to talk to you about it my experience with a Canon 5D MkIII. A camera that I rented a few weeks back.
Now I am no stranger to shooting on a full frame camera, my first camera was in fact a Canon AE-1 Program and last time I checked, that was full frame. However I don’t think I ever truly appreciated the difference between full frame and crop. I guess we can put that down to experience or lack of.
I am also no stranger to shooting on the 5D MkIII, I got hired to shoot at a gallery where I was given a 5D MkIII and a 24-105 f/4 L USM lens to shoot with. However, even then, the difference was hard to judge.
It wasn’t until I was left alone with the rental camera, it wasn’t until I started using my lenses on it that I really noticed the difference. My most used lens since I got into digital photography is the Canon 50mm f/1.4 USM. It is a focal length that I know like the back of my hand. It is a focal length that I know what the picture is going to look like before I even take it. I did a Project50 with this lens which is where you take a photo a day for 50 days with a 50mm lens – 50 days – 50 photos – 50mm
However the focal length is a lie. on my camera (Canon 50D) it is not equivalent to 50mm. Due to the crop factor it is actually 80mm – which is pretty much a telephoto focal length – or a nice portrait length.
So you can imagine the difference I saw when used it on a full frame body.
Suddenly a 50mm became a wide angle lens! OK admittedly it isn’t but it makes the lens a lot more usable as a walk about lens which is really nice. Still not 100% sold on whether or no it is a good portrait lens on full frame or not.
But for walking around a grabbing a few coffees, it does seem to be ideal.
Speaking of which, we popped over to this little coffee place in Balham called Trinity Stores – a local cafe which serves up great coffee…
…and even nicer food! This hansom bastard above was a Chicken, Bacon and Avocado club sandwich! Poor sod didn’t stand a chance against my appetite!
I liked this place and I liked the fact that glass fronted building makes it feel like there is no barrier separating the inside with the outside. If you are ever South of the Thames, you should pay them a visit!
SO back to the camera…what else did I like about it?
Well at the wedding it I recently shot (blog post to follow) it proved to be a valuable asset. The low light performance is ridiculous! I mean it’s stupid! My camera is really only usable up to ISO640 but I had no problem shooting at ISO6400 at the wedding. Also when noise does become visible, it is completely different to noise on a crop sensor. It looks a lot more like film grain rather digital artifacting. This is one of the reasons why I don’t shoot at high ISO’s on my 50D is the noise just ruins the way the image looks. On 5DMkIII the noise (when present) was much more pleasing to look at. It almost added to the feel of the image.
So I should get saving a sell my 50D right? Wrong! When I get my 5D MkIII (and I will) I will definitely keep my 50D. There is no way I could get rid of it. Not because I am sentimental about it, far from it. It’s just that it is still an amazing camera. Sure it may only have 9 focus points but they are all cross type. It has a pretty decent frame rate…6.3fps last time I checked. It has no problem grabbing focus either. Also the 1.6 crop factor is actually quite a benefit for me when I am out on track. It gets me that little bit closer to the action.
If I am honest, I am utterly sold on the idea of getting one. I love this camera, I love the extra width and shallower DoF you get. The noise is just so nice when it does appear and the camera is so simple to use. I hated giving it back after my rental period was up…but I will be buying one in the future. (I am also taking donations).
Oh and if you were wondering where I rented the camera from, it was they guys down at Lens Locker be sure to give them a shout if you want to hire a camera or a lens or both! Just be sure to let them know I sent you 😉