Over the years, I have photographed with a lot of different cameras and brands. I am not a brand loyalist. A camera is a tool (despite that it’s a little like a car, too, where there are definitely some ’65 Mustangs and some ’88 Geos—I’d much rather be driving the Mustang). My current set up includes:
• Canon 5D (classic) (P.S. Why do people call it this? Tech shaming me to buy newer and better as if this is some sort of antique?)
• Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM
• Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM
My back-up is a remnant of my Nikon gear when I decided to switch over to Canon about 4 or so years ago. All of this is for sale, by the way, in case you’re interested in it.
• Nikon D90 DSLR
• AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G
• AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED
The Canon 5D and the 50mm f/1.4 stays on my camera about 90% these days. The 135mm f/2 was my main portrait lens for paid sessions but nowadays for just a carry-around, it’s way too big to lug around and usually far too long for casual stuff. It is the reason my wife and I switched to Canon, though. After a lot of research, we couldn’t find a Nikon equivalent we liked as much and there were no reasonably priced full-frame cameras, either. We opted for the Canon set-up we have now which I don’t regret at all. I love the image quality of the 5D and the quality of both the 50mm and the 135mm—far better than my Nikon glass, the Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D and 85mm f/1.8D.
These days, I will admit I find the Canon 5D lacking. When we were doing almost nothing but daylight portraits, the faults of the 5D were easily looked over. I know there’s plenty of people still shooting with this camera since its release in 2005. The fact that ten years later it can still take professional-grade photos comparable to current generation cameras proves its worth. That said, sensors have improved, auto-focus has improved, and camera capabilities are much better. In some ways, the 5D reminds me of shooting with film—it’s a great manual camera. I don’t really trust most of the auto features other than center-point focusing. That slows me down a lot when I shoot—which is fine for portrait and still-life work. These days, I’d love to be able to move a little faster when I shoot. And a little lighter.
I’m not ready to give up on Canon, but for a portable camera, there are just too many better options out there. With the latest announcement of them continuing the Canon M-series mirrorless cameras, they haven’t shown that I’ll be shooting with my current lenses on a mirrorless camera anytime soon which means new lenses no matter what brand I use. Expecting an affordable full-frame mirrorless or pocketable camera is not going to happen for a while. Right now, the Sony A7 is one of the only options but as it is, I’m not sold on it yet. At the high-end of what I want to spend, it leaves little room for more lenses and I really don’t like Sony’s current lineup. On the other hand, both Fuji and Olympus have great body options in both APS-C and micro four-thirds (m4/3) respectively. Their lens lineups are great and much more fleshed out. So many options these days!
If you made it through any of this, you’re at least partially a gear head. See you on the blog.