First Canon 5D Mk II shots approved!


posted on 6th of january, 2010


This Christmas I decided to treat myself to a present - a new Canon 5D Mk II with 24-105mm f4 L IS lens! Ordered from Amazon via free 2-day shipping and received as advertised.

The very next day I took a trip to Yosemite National Park to test it out. Something about Yosemite, first... I've lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for over 13 years, yet I've only visited Yosemite once - it was 8-9 years ago and I don't remember much. That is a shame because the place is magical! Especially in the winter, when you have snow-capped trees and mountain peaks, frozen boulders in the Merced river, remnant fall leaf colors, and everchanging clouds and fog.


I did not get a chance to hike to any remote places (most of them were closed anyway) and I had to miss the sunset on both days. Yet, just driving along the main road loop and pulling over whenever something caught the eye provided more than enough beautiful photo material.

I am pretty happy with the results I got form the new camera and lens. They were very responsive and, coming from the 40D, I had no issues figuring out how to use any of the functions. As far as the camera is concerned, I expected a couple of improvements over the 40D: much better ISO performance, video capabilities, and high-quality 21MP. The ISO performance is indeed impressive, although I found some images taken at lower ISO's (200-400) to have much more noise than expected. Nothing that can't be cleaned up, but I was hoping to be able to avoid doing that work. This wasn't consistent with all images, so I have to figure out the pattern. It's not because of bad exposure, because I'm talking about noise in the unaltered image, before any contrast or saturation manipulations. The 21MP is very nice to have, especially since the minimal noise can easily be hidden by downsizing the image to a still large 10-12MP. The downside of that is file size - RAW is about 25MB, TIF is 100+MB. Yuck. I only took one or two videos - they look pretty good, but I haven't played with editing them. That's another can of worms that I'm not sure I want to open right now... :) The annoying "features" of this camera are the 3.5fps, which is very slow, and the lack of a popup flash, but what can you do.



The 24-105mm was my first L lens and I was expecting a lot. It does a good job, given that it's used on a full frame 21MP camera. Still, I'm not sure yet whether it gives better results than my 17-55 f2.8 IS on the 40D. The corners are a bit softer than the center, but that's expected. The surprising thing was that there was significant chromatic aberration, or at least it looked significant on a 21MP image. The good news is, usually it can be cleaned quite easily. Overall, the range is great, the focus is fast, and the images look great!

I finally got the first batch of images reviewed and approved! The collection is here, for your viewing pleasure. I strongly recommend a visit to Yosemite to everyone living in or visiting California. I'll definitely make an effort this year to go there once in each of the seasons!

Comments (19)

Posted by Elimitchell on January 29, 2010
These are gorgeous photos!
Posted by Onime on January 12, 2010
great pictures!!
Posted by Tacrafts on January 11, 2010
I have been shooting with a 5D2 since Febuary, and the 24-105L for about 4 years. Whilst I love it as a camera, thats all it is a camera, albeit a very good. I moved to it from a 5D, so I got the improvement I was expecting but not earth shatteringly improved. one of the things I like most about the 21mp is the ability to crop heavily and still have a 10mp image. I still have my 40D, which is my carry everywhere camera [with its 17-40L] and I find the 5d2 a more relaxed camera to used with is slower frame rate, 3.9 may not be fast but fast enough for most stuff. To me the 5D2 is a studio/landscape camera, not an action camera. If you want faster AF and frame rate then the 7D is the beast for you, [or a 1D iv].

I would recommend the 5D2 to anyone looking for a new camera, unless they were into shooting action or needed wide angle lenses to be really wide angle lenses.
Posted by Nadger on January 10, 2010
Hi, Nadger.

Yes, I would recommend the 5D! I'm nitpicking a bit in my post - it's definitely a better camera than the Rebels or the 40D, especially for stock. One thing you might consider is getting the 24-70mm f2.8 L lens instead of the 24-105mm - it's supposed to give better results and f2.8 is priceless (I have the 17-55mm f2.8 for my 40D). Unfortunately, it doesn't have IS, which is a deal breaker for me. If you do mostly static stuff where you can use a tripod, then it won't matter. But then, for those shots you'd likely want to use primes anyway. Your choice. :) I'd also say you should try to test a 5D and a 7D yourself and see what you like better.

I really like the start of your portfolio! Go shoot many more... :)

Thanks, Nickolay. The debate of 5D versus 7D is a tricky one. I really like the sound of some of the features of the 7D but can't decide whether IQ is going to be as good as the 5D....(More)
Posted by Nstanev on January 10, 2010
Hi, Nadger.

Yes, I would recommend the 5D! I'm nitpicking a bit in my post - it's definitely a better camera than the Rebels or the 40D, especially for stock. One thing you might consider is getting the 24-70mm f2.8 L lens instead of the 24-105mm - it's supposed to give better results and f2.8 is priceless (I have the 17-55mm f2.8 for my 40D). Unfortunately, it doesn't have IS, which is a deal breaker for me. If you do mostly static stuff where you can use a tripod, then it won't matter. But then, for those shots you'd likely want to use primes anyway. Your choice. :) I'd also say you should try to test a 5D and a 7D yourself and see what you like better.

I really like the start of your portfolio! Go shoot many more... :)
Posted by Nadger on January 10, 2010
Very interesting stuff. Given your experience with the 5D, Nickolay, would you recommend it? I'm thinking of upgrading to a MKII from my 400d. Do you think it would be worth it? I'm looking for something that's going to give me best quality for stock (ignoring medium format, which I can't afford!) Nice shots, by the way
Posted by Meryll on January 08, 2010
I like your photo of El Capitan.
Posted by Nstanev on January 07, 2010
Thanks to everyone for your positive comments! To those of you who haven't been to Yosemite yet - I hope you get to visit soon. :)
Posted by Weir2010 on January 07, 2010
Good camera, great pics!
Posted by Bluwarrior on January 07, 2010
Yeah Nickolay is great to drive along and take photos,specially with such a inspirational landscape. Beautiful pictures! Can understand your concern about noise... Myself I would like to find a camera that give me pictures without need of any cleaning of it! At least at low i.s.o. Thanks for ur post and share of images. Cheers!
Posted by Yuritz on January 07, 2010
all great shots!
Posted by Justmeyo on January 07, 2010
Nice photos!Wish you luck with sales!
Posted by Fultonsphoto on January 07, 2010
Nice camera and good results. I would love to visit Yosemite, its one of those places on my to see before I die list :0)
Posted by smartview27 on January 07, 2010
congrats! great photos
Posted by Keki on January 07, 2010
fantastic camera - quite a dream one - amd you managed to capture beautifuly!! well done! :)
Posted by Frantab01 on January 07, 2010
great pics - missed a trip to Yosemite unfortunately it was closed when i was there due to very bad weather - it's def somewhere on my list of future travels :)
Posted by Melonstone on January 07, 2010
Very nice Nick, especially the church - you lucky bugger!
Posted by Nstanev on January 06, 2010
Thanks, Luis! :)
Posted by Luissantos84 on January 06, 2010
hi there! great photos :)



Comments (19)

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Photo credits: Nickolay Stanev.
 
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