Digital Camera - Canon EOS 5d Mark II

Canon EOS 5d Mark II with Battery Grip

10/21/09 -

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Connection to Car Video Monitor...

A New Camera...

I have used a Sony Mavica as my primary digital camera for quite some time.  I chose this camera for it's image quality.  I sacrificed the ability to interchange lenses in favor of saving money, and because the lenses I have did not provide compatibility with digital SLRs at the time.

In November 2008 I purchased a used SONY Mavica MVCCD500 online to upgrade to a larger image resolution and because the viewing screen on mine had developed some lines across it that did not affect the pictures but made shooting a little difficult.

Over the next several months I got more involved with making images for the sake of photography and began to find the limitations of the Mavica.  Thinking I could revert to my film cameras and vast array of lenses, I started shooting film.  My trip to the Cranberry Wilderness with Mike was one such outing.  Earlier this month I took the boys and our film cameras to Cooper's Rock, just up the street from our house.

Click to Enlarge - Cooper Rock - (SMCFT 1:4.0/17mm)

What I found in these two outings was that I had forgotten what working with film actually meant.  After the trip to the Cranberry Wilderness, I spent an entire weekend scanning negatives and getting the images adjusted for use on this web site.  The amount of time it took was untenable.  And there were other problems.  The exposure management of the film cameras was a little difficult.  There is no way to evaluate the success of a shot in the field so it is when the film comes back that one learns if the great image made in the field is really that great.  Quite a number of images I made were un-great...

Then there's the cost of film, processing, and the time it takes to get the film back.  To add insult to injury, the processing options are not very good, which has led me to less than satisfactory processing of my film.  The long story short, was I wasn't going to be able to achieve, with the time and services available, the quality of imagery that I had hoped, and the cost of shooting film was going to be a problem, both in terms of time and money.

That left me to reach the same conclusion I had made any number of times I thought of shooting with interchangeable lenses - I was going to have to get a digital SLR and find a way to attach my lenses.  I had already decided I would buy a Canon because there is a wide variety of successful lens mount adapters that make it possible to attach my lenses to a Canon digital SLR and achieve infinity focus.  The first camera they made that appeared to be an option was prohibitively expensive (~$8000) so I kept waiting.  The next one they came out with was more affordable but would be a budget crusher (~$2500), so I continued to wait.

I should interject here the main criteria for me was that the digital camera have a 24mm x 36mm sensor.  The reason for this is because my lenses are made to cover a 24mm x 36mm image frame.  A different sized sensor would result in changing the effective focal length of the lenses.  From a practical standpoint that means that my ultra-wide angle lenses would not yield ultra-wide angle shots.  My normal lenses would produce short-telephoto shots, and my long telephotos would become extreme telephotos.

I was hoping Pentax would eventually get on the full frame sensor band wagon and produce a camera more in my price range.  As of this writing they have not done so and do not appear to have plans in that direction.

Finally I grew tired of waiting.  But all this waiting did have it's merit.  The lens adapter mount "industry", if it could be called that, had made some advancements.  When I first started looking, the adapters simply bridged the gap between the screw mount lenses I have and the bayonet mount of the camera.  They adapters were nothing more than flanges.  And worse, many were imprecise resulting in cases where infinity focus was not available.

Infinity focus is important because one needs to be able to take pictures of subjects in the distance as well as close-up.  If the adapter does not give infinity focus, the photography using it will be limited to close-working distances.  This is not a full solution and impractical for my needs.

I re-engaged my lens mount adapter search and found that the new products had brought a new feature to the game - chips mounted to "fool" the digital camera into "thinking" that there is a compatible lens mounted, enabling assisted focus.  What this means is that while the camera cannot auto-focus legacy lenses like mine, with these adapters, it can give a signal when the image is correctly focused.  For me this is a huge benefit, as I am very particular about having my images in good sharp focus.

It took me a considerable amount of time to determine, to the best of my ability, which products of this type were going to work.  The web sites and discussion groups had information that in many cases was out of date, not well researched, and in many cases, unreliable or inaccurate.  Sifting through this to make a purchase decision was tough, especially because the products are fairly expensive (~$100 for a single adapter).  I decided I would roll the dice on the product that in my research had come out the best.

I purchased and in two days received the Haoda M-42 to Canon EOS electronic mount adapter with autofocus confirmation.


Haoda M-42 to Canon EOS electronic mount adapter with autofocus confirmation.

 Haoda M-42 to Canon EOS electronic mount adapter with autofocus confirmation.

Haoda M-42 to Canon EOS electronic mount adapter with autofocus confirmation.

Haoda M-42 to Canon EOS electronic mount adapter with autofocus confirmation.

I am happy to report that the product works perfectly on almost every last Super-Multi-Coated Takumar lens (and the matching Super-Takumar that came before) ever made.  There are three lenses (Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 1:3.5/24mm, Super-Takumar 1:3.5/28mm (early version with 58mm filter), Super-Takumar 1:2.0/35mm (early version with 67mm filter) ) that do interfere with the Canon 5D Mk II mirror.  But since the kit lens covers the same focal lengths and I have other 28mm and 35mm lenses that do work, I do not consider it a problem. 

It should be noted that the two K-mount lenses I have use a different mount that does not provide assisted focus.  Additionally, most K-mount lenses (without irreversible modifications) will not work with the Canon 5D Mark II because they aperture control protrudes deeply and would interfere with the camera mirror.  I got lucky with the two special K-Mount lenses I own because both are manual lenses and do not have the aperture control device.

I have mounted and get assisted focus with the following lenses:

The links above take you to each lens and have images that were shot with the lens - in many cases, mounted on the Canon 5D Mark II!

The product is exactly what I want.  With that item accounted for, It was time to turn my attention to the camera itself.  During my "procrastination" phase, Canon released the 5D Mark II with improved features over the 5D.  Of interest to me is the full frame sensor, the high-speed compact flash memory compatibility, dual battery option, and HD Video.  The camera still costs a big chunk of change, but I had gotten to the point where having all those lenses (and then some), I was anxious to get back to "systems photography" like I am accustomed.  So I put together my list and went shopping:

  • Canon EOS 5D Mark II 21.1MP Full Frame CMOS Digital SLR Camera

  • Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens (comes with camera at a slightly reduced price)

  • Canon BG-E6 Battery Grip for Canon 5D Mark II Digital SLR  (provides ability to use second battery on-board)

  • Canon LP-E6 Battery Pack for Canon 5D Mark II Digital SLR (second battery for use in battery grip)

  • Eveready AA Lithium Batteries (spare "throw-away" batteries "just in case")

  • Lexar Professional Series UDMA 16 GB 300x CompactFlash Memory Card (high-speed card required for HD-Video)

  • SanDisk Ultra 4GB Compact Flash Memory Card 30mb/s (spare high-speed card "just in case")


Click for Large, Readable image - Canon EOS System (Small)


Camera and Lens


The camera provides the full frame sensor and lens compatibility I was seeking.  The 24~105mm lens provides a good range of focal lengths and the system compatibility with the camera, enabling rapid, integrated shooting.  It doesn't make much sense to get a camera body like this and be relegated only to manual, screw-mount lenses.  I view the screw-mount lenses I have as extensions to this system, providing me a stop-gap range of focal lengths, some of which are rarely used and not likely to be purchased as Canon Lenses (the fish-eye and super-telephotos fall into this category).  As I recover from this purchase I can evaluate and act on the need for other Canon lenses.  I am considering the Canon EF 70~200mm 1:2.8L IS USM.

Canon EOS 5d Mark II with Battery Grip

Canon EOS 5d Mark II - Click to Enlarge

Canon EF 24~105 1:4.0 L IS USM

Canon EF 70~200 2.8L IS USM

Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II Ultra Wide Tilt-Shift Lens





Circular Polarizer

The lens has a 77mm filter mount.  If there is only one filter to have, it must be the polarizing filter.  In 77mm size, the circular polarizer (required for this camera) is as expensive as some entry level digital cameras...  I was fortunate to have a 77mm polarizer in my collection of gear so dodged this bullet, though I am afraid I will end up buying another to benefit from a better anti-reflective coating...

Battery Grip

Canon EOS 5d Mark II Battery Grip BG-E6

Canon EOS 5d Mark II with Battery Grip BG-E6

I have always gone out with at least two batteries.  I have often used both batteries and found myself charging one in order to be able to shoot.  Consequently, I decided to start out with the Battery Grip because it holds two batteries and comes with a battery clip so that regular double-A batteries (AA) may be used as a back-up alternative to the rechargeable batteries made for the camera.

Wireless Remote ("Cable Release")

In the old days one used a cable release to trigger the camera when using slow shutter speeds on a tripod or to include oneself in the image.  This camera has no provision for a cable release but does support a wireless remote that serves the same purpose.  Surprisingly, they're not very expensive, though there are a number to choose from.  For me the best choice was the one that allows immediate firing or a two second delay.  This one comes with a clip that threads onto the camera strap so the remote may be stored within easy reach.

Canon Wireless Remote Control RC1

HDMI Cable

It's a little surprising that the camera does not come with the HDMI cable.  The first time I connected to a wide-screen TV monitor, the pictures were "OK", but I was disappointed by the quality.  I concluded if the camera could transmit 1080i for movies, it probably did the same for stills, and the manual more or less says it does.  So I looked around and found the Canon cable for about $30.  That seemed expensive so I went to Best Buy.  When will I ever learn.  I have repeated this cycle of online shopping, Best Buy (for instant gratification) and then ordering online.  This time Best Buy was out of the mini-to-standard HDMI cable but was happy to offer me an $80 adapter and a$100 cable.  The Canon cable started to look a bargain, and in the end I saved even more money buying a quality third-party unit.

Video Cable

The car has a small video monitor, about 7 inches.  I decided it might be nice to preview shots on this monitor when I am out and about.  Due to the location of the plugs for the monitor, it's best to leave it plugged in.  I purchased a second mini-to-video cable, again observing the incredible premium that Best Buy wants to charge - $40 versus the $15 online for the Canon part.  Note to self - stop going to Best Buy!

Canon STV-250 Stereo Video Cable for Camcorders


The camera does not have a built in flash.  I retrieved one of my Vivitar 283 units. 

Vivitar 283Vivitar 283

I wanted better lighting from it than direct or basic bounce so outfitted it with a Sto-Fen Omni-Bounce (OM-B) that slips onto the end of the flash head and provides a softer, wider light source from the on-camera flash.

Sto-Fen Omni-Bounce (OM-B)Sto-Fen Omni-Bounce (OM-B)


Canon LP EP6 BatteryCanon LP EP6 Battery

Energizer Lithium AA Batteries

I purchased an extra Canon rechargeable battery and AA Lithium batteries as a secondary back-up.  Reviews of the camera claim up to 1500 images on a pair of Canon batteries, I suspect I will be charging batteries "on location" a lot less often...


Lexar Pro UDMA 16GB Compact Flash CardSanDisk Ultra 4GB Compact Flash Card


I'm not sure if I should be surprised or not the camera does not come with Compact Flash Memory.  If I think of the memory cards as a the modern-day equivalent to film, I guess it makes sense to let the consumer to choose their own memory card.  It also artificially reduces the cost of the camera to leave it out of the package.  In any case, I purchased a 16GB UDMA card to avail myself of the full performance this camera is capable of providing.  As a cost-saving move, I purchased a second, smaller card to have as a back-up/overflow option.


I have a "gadget bag" or three at the house, not to mention more substantial camera luggage.  But after a few days of toting around the cliché camera bag (read "man-purse") that offered limited storage for the camera, and above listed items, I concluded I needed a backpack.  To carry a lens or two, and have some room for small personal items, I needed something bigger.  I asked a few friends what they used.  This led me to some very expensive LowePro backpacks that certainly appear to be worth the price of admission, but were hard to justify.  Then while reviewing a purchase on Amazon, I encountered the Canon Deluxe Photo Backpack 200EG for a price that seemed too good to be true.

Canon Deluxe Photo Backpack 200EG for Canon EOS SLR Cameras (Black with Green Accent)

The good thing about Amazon is that if you get something and it doesn't fill the bill, it's very easy to return for a full refund.  So I ordered and in two days received the pack.  It's certainly not going to enable me to carry an arsenal of lenses, but I am able to get everything from the gadget bag, plus a couple lenses into it, with some wiggle room.  It solves the problem of the effeminate gadget bag I was using, and translates to a carry method I am much more comfortable with, leaving my hands free to shoot, and the bag securely on my back where it can't swing down at an inopportune moment.

Canon Deluxe Photo Backpack 200EG for Canon EOS SLR Cameras (Black with Green Accent)Canon Deluxe Photo Backpack 200EG for Canon EOS SLR Cameras (Black with Green Accent)

I blacked out the "Canon" logos to make it less obvious what the contents might be...

Canon blacked out







At the end of the day, this is supposed to be all about making images.  Sure, I have a fondness for cameras, but I really do own them to make images.  In the spirit of sharing what this camera can do, with the kit lens as well as my screw-mount lenses, here are some images I made - some right out of the box sitting in my kitchen...

Olive Oil and her Tools

Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 1:4.0/200mm (above)

Kitchen (SMCFT 1:4.0/17mm)

Super-Multi-Coated Fish Eye Takumar 1:4.0/17mm (above)


Ornamental Grass Seed (SMCMT 1:4.0/100mm)

Super-Multi-Coated Macro Takumar 1:4.0/100mm (above)


Tom  (SMCMT 1:4.0/100mm)

Super-Multi-Coated Macro Takumar 1:4.0/100mm (above)


Greystone-on-the-Cheat Recreation Area

Canon EF 24~105mm 1:4.0 L IS USM (circular polarizer) (above)


Greystone-on-the-Cheat Fairway

Canon EF 24~105mm 1:4.0 L IS USM (circular polarizer) (above)


Greystone-on-the-Cheat Fairway

Canon EF 24~105mm 1:4.0 L IS USM (circular polarizer) (above)


Cheat Neck

Super-Multi-Coated Takumar Zoom 1:4.5/85~210mm (above) - see 100% crop below


Cheat Neck Detail

Super-Multi-Coated Takumar Zoom 1:4.5/85~210mm (above)


Moon over Greystone-on-the-Cheat Detail

Super-Multi-Coated Takumar Zoom 1:4.5/85~210mm (above) - see 100% crop below


Moon over Greystone-on-the-Cheat

Super-Multi-Coated Takumar Zoom 1:4.5/85~210mm (above)


Moonrise over Greystone-on-the-Cheat

Canon EF 24~105mm 1:4.0 L IS USM (circular polarizer) (above)


Sunset to Halloween Eve

Canon EF 24~105mm 1:4.0 L IS USM (circular polarizer) (above)








Pictures on this site were made with the following cameras:
Camera Make/Model
October 2009 - Present -
Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Canon EOS 5d Mark II with Battery Grip BG-E6

November 2008 - September 2009  -
SONY Mavica MVCCD500

May 2003 - November 2008 -
SONY Mavica MVCCD400

March 2001 - May 2003 - 
JVC JVC GR AXM 700 with digital still feature
Asahi Pentax Spotmatic
Asahi Pentax Spotmatic (Black)
Asahi Pentax Spotmatic II
Honeywell Pentax Spotmatic II
Asahi Pentax Spotmatic F
Spotmatic F and Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 50mm f/1.4
Asahi Pentax ESII
Pentax ES II



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