October 2009 and Canon EOS 5d Mark II

Click to Enlarge - Moon over Greystone-on-the-Cheat (SMCTZ 1:4.5/85~210mm)

10/4 - 10/30/09

4X4 ICON 2000 - 2008 The DVD! - Click here for details!

4X4 ICON 2000 - 2008 The DVD!

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 Mavica 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.

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.

Click to Enlarge Canon EOS 5d Mark II

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



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.


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.





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)

More October Images...






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