Tag Archives: full-frame

Hiking The Trail And Leaving No Trace

Hiking The Trail

One of today’s newly-published articles in the National Parks Traveler is titled “Leave No Trace This Summer As You Explore The Outdoors.” This article reminded me of this image that I had just reworked, so I thought I’d post it along with the advice to leave no trace and pack in what you pack out. Is it possible to really leave no trace? Well, go read the article in the Traveler to find out.

This image was taken 10 years ago, during the very first photo workshop I’d ever taken, using one of my very first full-frame cameras (Canon 5D). The workshop took place in Glacier National Park, Montana and – while a bit strenuous in terms of hiking for my tastes and physical capabilities – was a worthwhile event that led me to continue joining up in other photo tours and workshops (yes, there is a slight difference between the two and I actually wrote an article about it in the National Parks Traveler back in 2014).

This image is looking back on part of the trail from St. Mary Falls leading onward to Virginia Falls.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under 24-105mm, 5D, Canon, Canon Lens, Equipment, Glacier National Park MT, Montana, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Travel, Travel and Photography

Full-Frame Goodness; A Comparison of the Canon EOS 5D Mark III and Canon EOS 1DX

5256_Cameras Together

5348_Cameras #1

5326_Cameras Back

I love full-frame cameras.  I own a Canon 5D Mk II, and before that, I had the Canon 5D.   Almost all of the prints I make are enlargements up to and beyond 16×24.  At times I also do a fair amount of cropping.  I like the extra clarity a full-framer can provide for such purposes.

In addition to landscapes and portraits, though, I photograph stuff that moves (dancers, birds, stage performers out at the Texas Renaissance Festival and other wildlife of the 2-legged and 4-legged kind).  My 5D Mk II is a wonderful camera, but it’s quite slow.  Also – in addition to this whole speed thing – I realized I needed something tough and reliable under unpredictable circumstances.  You see, if things work according to plan (fingers crossed, knock on wood) I will be traveling to Alaska’s Katmai Peninsula in July 2013.  I really wanted something that could withstand the elements.   Oh, ok, plus I really really wanted the 1DX – sort of like a guy wanting a Tesla Roadster.

For these reasons, I bit the bullet and purchased the 5D Mk III and the 1DXto get the latest digital improvements as well as satisfy that need for speed and solid construction. Yeah baby, It’s gonna be Ramen noodles every night for dinner for quite awhile….

Since I have both of these awesome cameras, I thought I would do a little comparison of the two, hence this post. Bear in mind, please, that while I consider myself a fine photographer, I am not an expert nor am I a technical person.  I don’t really pixel-peep too much either – I just want my images to look great, no matter what the pixel count. I write this post simply as a photographer using both cameras.  Everything you read here is my own personal opinion.  Adorama or B&H Photo has the in-depth, technical descriptive stuff, so I won’t go into that kind of detail here.  Instead, I will tell you about my practical experience with each camera.

Out of the box:

Canon 5D Mk III:

5271_5dMkIII Front

5263_5D Mk III Back

The 5D Mark III with L-bracket and 50mm f1.2L  lens

  • It’s a little heavier than the Mk II; feels more “substantial”.
  • I like the feel of the plastic covering – its more “grippy”, which is a good thing since I have small, arthritic hands.
  • The On/Off switch is now on the top left of the camera, just below the Mode Dial.
  • The buttons and menu layout are somewhat different and I got a little lost trying to find my favorite settings; this because there are quite a few more “bells and whistles” on the menu (like the in-camera HDR which I haven’t tried yet but plan on experimenting with when I travel to Arches NP in February 2013).
  • The battery for this camera is the same as the battery for the 5D Mk II, which is nice, since I have a number of extra batteries and now, an extra charger, too.
  • This camera can accommodate two memory cards at the same time: a CF card and a SD card. Why Canon decided on using the SD card option rather than another CF slot is anybody’s guess. I had to go out and buy a number of SDs because of this. Of course, you really don’t need to use both card slots if you don’t want – I like it, though, because that means a little less time taken to switch out a full card with an empty card during moments when time is of the essence. With two cards, I can just keep right on shooting during key moments.
  • It’s much faster than the 5D Mark II (Yeah!)

Canon 1DX:

5275_1DX Front

5266_1DX Back

The 1DX with L-bracket and 85mm f1.2 lens

  • It’s Big!  Much larger and heavier than the 5D Mk III.  Surprisingly, neither the size nor weight bother my small hands; of course, I wanted the 1DX so badly that nothing about this camera would have caused me discomfort.
  • When I pulled the 1DX out of the box, I definitely had the instruction manual open beside me since I was in relatively new territory here.   Buttons are in different places, the menu is different, etc.
  • The On/Off switch is essentially in the same area as the switch on the 5D Mk II.
  • The memory card compartment opens in a totally different way from the Mk II or Mk III.   You have to turn that little latch you see below the On/Off switch, in order to flip open the CF card compartment door.

5286_1DX Card Slot

  • The vertical grip has its own set of buttons and dials (awesome!)
  • The spare battery is large and expensive.   Below is a comparison shot of the 1DX battery next to the 5D Mk III battery, both of which are next to a 77mm filter I threw in for scale.

5311_batteries

  • A spare charger is the price of a non-L lens (and no, I did not purchase a spare charger…..yet).
  • This camera accepts 2 CF cards.  Again, you only have to use one of the two slots, if you wish.
  • It’s WAAAAAYYYYYY faster than the 5D Mk II and the 5D Mk III (Double Yeah!!)

Neither cameras have on-camera flash (not professional, you know) – I personally think it would be helpful for fill-flash use, but whatever.

*************************************************************************

I used these cameras for a family photo shoot, and the family graciously consented (and signed model releases) for me to use their photos in this post.  For this family photo session, I made sure the same settings were selected for both cameras, and I used three lenses:

I switched lenses between the two cameras (when I remembered to do so), in order to have comparison shots.  Naturally, there was still some change of position or movement, but not as much as there would have been with, say, photos of the Gypsy Dance Theatre performers at the Texas Renaissance Festival. Winking smile

**************************************************************************

Ok, as everybody should know by now, it’s not always all about the pixels. Manufacturers have come a long way since my first 2MP point-and-shoot back in 1999.  Nowadays, a high-end camera is going to have great resolution, regardless of the pixel count, and fewer pixels mean they are larger  and thus allow more light to enter onto the image.  You will notice that the 1DX images tend to look a little lighter than the 5D Mk III images, even with the same settings on both cameras; I suspect the larger pixel size on the 1DX is the reason for this.

The 1DX has 18 MP (3MP less than the 5D Mk II) and the 5D Mk III has 22 MP (1MP more than the 5D Mk II). I was really, really pleased (read: ecstatic) with the resolution, clarity, light and depth from the resulting images taken by both cameras (no, I did not take any photos with the 5D Mk II at this session so I don’t have any comparison images between the three…..but….all of the photos you see here of the cameras were taken with my 5D Mk II and 40mm pancakelens, and I didn’t use any sharpening whatsoever for those images, so you can see just how good the 5D Mk II is).

Here are unedited, straight-from-the-camera images and their 100% crops for the 5D Mk III

_U9A1983

_U9A1983_100PCT

Lens used:  24-70mm f2.8L II

_U9A2048

U9A2048_100PCT

Lens used:  85mm f1.2L II

_U9A2067

_U9A2067_100PCT

Lens used:  24-70mm f2.8L II

_U9A2076

_U9A2076_100PCT

Lens used:  24-70mm f2.8L II

_U9A2080

_U9A2080_100PCT

Lens used: 24-70mm f2.8L II

_U9A2109

_U9A2109_100PCT

Lens used:  24-70mm f2.8L II

_U9A2113

_U9A2113_100PCT

Lens used:  24-70mm f2.8L II

_U9A2152

_U9A2152_100PCT

Lens used:  50mm f1.2L

Here are unedited, straight-from-the-camera images and their 100% crops for the 1DX

_H5T3370

_H5T3370_100PCT

Lens used: 24-70mm f2.8L II

_H5T3411

_H5T3411_100PCT

Lens used:  24-70mm f2.8L II

_H5T3431

_H5T3431_PCT

Lens used:  85mm f1.2L II

_H5T3437

_H5T3437_100PCT

Lens used:  85mm f1.2L II

_H5T3439

_H5T3439_100PCT

Lens used:  85mm f1.2L II

_H5T3467

_H5T3467_100PCT

Lens used: 85mm f1.2L II

_H5T3482

_H5T3482_100PCT

Lens used: 85mm f1.2L II

_H5T3516

_H5T3516_100PCT

Lens used: 85mm f1.2L II  I used the tripod for this image

As I look at the 100% crops of the images, I notice some of them look a little soft.  So when editing them, I did use a very little bit of Unsharp Mask ( but that’s because I am of the opinion that every image benefits from just a little bit of sharpening, anyway).   Based upon what I have seen from other raw images I have taken with these camewras (ex. images from the TX Renfaire), I attribute this bit of softness to camera shake (i.e. me)  –  I only used the tripods for one set of photos (the last photos listed for each camera, where the model is standing beside that gray & black painting – which she painted herself) and hand-held the cameras for rest of the time. Why, when I had the tripods there?  Dunno,  I just did.

H5T3329_Mommy-Baby-Camera

So there’s the probable camera shake, plus none of the lenses I used had IS.

Here are some of the final, edited images from the 5D Mk III

U9A1983_Valerie and Emmeline

U9A2067-3_Val & Crochet Umbrella VIGNETTE

H5T3475_Walking Away VIGNETTE

U9A2107-3_Family Photo CROP

U9A2113_Mommy-baby-HeartUmbrella

Here are some of the final, edited images from the 1DX

H5T3370_Mommy and Daughter

H5T3431-4_Val & Crochet Parasol VIGNETTE

H5T3439_Lovely Ladies VERTICAL VIGNETTE

H5T3511_Hands

H5T3516_Val & Painting VIGNETTE

I made liberal use of the Vignette sliders in the Photoshop Lens Correction filter because it just really worked well (IMO) with many of these images.

My Conclusions:

I LOVE bothof these cameras.

I love the 5D Mk III’s increase in resolution, clarity, sturdy feel, and amazing output.  I love the 1DX for basically everything.  Period.  But I especially love the 1DX for its speed.  I’ve managed to capture pics I could never have gotten with the 5D Mk II.

That being said, I still also love my 5D Mk II.  It takes awesome full-frame images.   It’s just not as fast as I truly need.  If you own a 5D Mk II and are contemplating the purchase of the Mk III or 1DX, I urge you to hold onto your Mk II a little longer – at least as a backup to your newer camera model.  If you are thinking of purchasing a full-frame camera (especially if you’ve never owned one before), the price has come down alotfor this model since it first came out about 3-4 years ago.

Also, before plunking down the equivalent of all the gold in Fort Knox (well, it was for me, anyway), think things through:  Are you like me and need a faster camera?  Can you affordeither one of these cameras?  Cameras are like smartphones, you know:  a newer, better, more upgraded one is always just around the corner.  You might be better served investing in an L-lens, instead, which retains its value no matter how many camera iterations come onto the market.

Because I haven’t possessed either camera for very long, I’m still just scratching the surface of all the photographic goodness these two models have to offer. I still have my 5D Mk II, btw, with a Canon 40mm pancake lens affixed to it that I carry around in a messenger-style camera bag (which doubles as my purse) for those just-in-case moments.

5339_Cameras_Final

I hope this little post was informative and helpful.  I’ll be publishing more comparison posts using these cameras with various lenses, so stay tuned!

20 Comments

Filed under Camera Comparisons, Equipment, Photography

Looking Forward

Looking forward to my April (2012) vacation, that is.  Hopefully nothing unforeseen will occur to prevent this trip.  My first vacation of the year, and by then, I am going to need some time off or else I might end up going postal at work (just kidding, really I am, but by then I really will need a break from the 4AM – 4PM daily grind).

Anyway, this is not a lesson-type post or a detailed travelogue-type post, but rather a just-because-I-want-to-post-some-photos post.  So, here are a few photos taken between 2005 and 2010 showing you some of the places I plan on heading this April, if all goes according to plan:  Seattle, Skagit Valley to see the tulip fields, Mt. Rainier, and my sister and brother-in-law’s home to celebrate both my birthday and my bro-in-law’s.

On a side note, a number of these photos were taken with my then-trusty Nikon D70 (my very first digital SLR).  I loved that camera!  And, although I am now a pleased and proud Canon full-frame owner, I will readily tell people that I think Nikon made the best first digital SLRs.  Canon sucked in the beginning.  In addition to my D70, I bought the Canon digital Rebel (6mp), which was touted as the first reasonably-priced digital SLR (and it was, compared to Nikon’s digital SLRs).  However, in a side-by-side comparison, the D70 bested the Canon, both in camera body and kit lens.  So I ended up selling the Canon and bought a Nikon lens.  Although that was just 5 years ago, I have gone through a series of digital cameras, including the Nikon D40, Nikon D40X, Canon 5D, and my current Canon 5D Mark II bodies.

And yes, for those of you thinking it, I’m digging through archives yet again.  I’ve shown most of my more recent photos and haven’t gotten out very much for any new photography (although Feb 10-12, I will drive down to Port Aransas to visit some friends and do a little bird photography).  I think my archived photos are awfully nice, and there’s nothing like going back through the Raw files for a fresh re-edit.

Sea-Tac Aiport – one of my favorite airports (admittedly, I haven’t been through too very many airports, but still, I like this one).  This is a part of the huge long, wide, floor-to-ceiling window in the main portion of the terminal, where all the food/shopping is located.  Note the little airplane flying away.

Puget Sound, a Washington State ferry, and the Olympic Mountains

Washington state ferry “Tacoma” heading toward Bainbridge Island

View from the Seattle waterfront looking out toward Bainbridge Island

Harbor Island, Elliott Bay, and the Public Market at sunset – photo taken from the patio of the Inn At The Market

Inside Pike Place Market

When I lived in Seattle, I shopped at the fruit and veggie stalls in Pike Place Market alot – I loved cooking with chanterelles

There is nothing like fresh salmon – I won’t order it in Texas, though, because they just don’t know how to  cook it like they do in Seattle (IMO)

Ristras in the Market

I used to buy fresh flowers from the Market quite often, because I worked downtown and it was easy to stop off, buy a bouquet, and take it with me on the bus home

Seattle has all sorts of public art

The funky structures at Gasworks Park, on the north shore of Lake Union  (which is where I took that top photo looking toward the Seattle skyline)

Skagit Valley tulips early on an April morning

Heading toward the Sunrise entrance to Mt. Rainier National Park

On the path to The Mountain

The view near Emmons Vista

Looking back down from whence I came – to the distance on the left is Mt. Adams, and on the right is Mt. St. Helens.  Far down below is the Paradise Inn.

Up, up, up the path

Lone viewer looking over Nisqually Glacier

A room with a view

Waterfall and river of ice

Mt. Rainier and Nisqually Glacier (at the Paradise area of the park)

Sunrise at Paradise (sunrise in Paradise)

Becky and The Mountain

4 Comments

Filed under Mt. Rainier National Park, Photography, Seattle, Travel, Vacation