First Images with the Canon 5D MK II

First Images with the Canon 5D MK II

I received my toys yesterday after waiting for many weeks. They were hand delivered to me here in Malaysia. I can tell you right now, I love the 5D MK II. After the first day of shooting I feel like the exposures with the MK II are more accurate and the general feel is just…well, better. The LCD screen is really amazing, the colors leap off the screen at you. I never thought I would use the Live View, but already I found it very handy. See the images of the Chinese lanterns. I shot these with the camera a arms length above my head. I haven’t found how to auto focus with Live View yet, maybe you can’t, I don’t know. The Digic 4 processor is amazing. Images shot at 1000 ISO are sharp and clear, very little noise. Even at 3200, what little noise there is, was easily handled in Lightroom processing. I’ll write more as time progresses.

Just as sweet is the Canon 85mm 1.2 II USM lens. In a word; WOW! The bokeh is like butter. It drops off so quick. But a 1.2 lens is a dangerous machine. You have to really learn its personality. This lens can drop the depth of field off so quick you can ruin a great portrait. Look at my first cigar smoking man in the gallery linked below, you can see the issue clear. But over all, this peace of glass (and there is a lot of it) is a dream to shoot. Be sure to check out the EXIF data on each image in the gallery. More to come…

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12 Comments

  1. Aleksei Saunders

    Matt,

    You should be able to press the AF button on the back to autofocus Live View. If you have Quick AF selected in the menu it will drop the mirror back down to focus and then take the picture. If you have Contrast AF selected in the menu then it will attempt to focus on whatever is in a small rectangle shown in live view.
    You can move this little rectangle around using the multi-selector to change focus point and zoom in and out with the appropriate buttons next to the AF button.

    Good Fun!

    Reply
  2. Aleksei Saunders

    Matt,

    You should be able to press the AF button on the back to autofocus Live View. If you have Quick AF selected in the menu it will drop the mirror back down to focus and then take the picture. If you have Contrast AF selected in the menu then it will attempt to focus on whatever is in a small rectangle shown in live view.
    You can move this little rectangle around using the multi-selector to change focus point and zoom in and out with the appropriate buttons next to the AF button.

    Good Fun!

    Reply
  3. Jack Kurtz

    Matt,

    I share your enthusiasm for the 5D Mk2. It’s an improvement over the original in every way. Funny thing is, I originally got mine for the video. That’s the one function I haven’t used (yet, waiting to get a mic).

    I didn’t have the black dot issue with my bodies (2!). I use Live View a lot. I use it by autofocusing normally, sliding the switch on the lens to manual focus then taking the photo (basically focus hold) but I’ve only done that with wide angles. You nailed it on the lantern photo.

    thanks,
    jack

    Reply
  4. Jack Kurtz

    Matt,

    I share your enthusiasm for the 5D Mk2. It’s an improvement over the original in every way. Funny thing is, I originally got mine for the video. That’s the one function I haven’t used (yet, waiting to get a mic).

    I didn’t have the black dot issue with my bodies (2!). I use Live View a lot. I use it by autofocusing normally, sliding the switch on the lens to manual focus then taking the photo (basically focus hold) but I’ve only done that with wide angles. You nailed it on the lantern photo.

    thanks,
    jack

    Reply
  5. Matt

    Aleksei – I will give this a try tomorrow (12 midnight here now). Thanks for the advice.

    Jack – Yeah, I really am looking forward to using the video. Live View; something I never thought I would use, but who knew! I love it.

    Reply
  6. Ashley

    I can only imagine how sweet the bokeh is on the Canon 85mm 1.2 II USM lens – and how much of a dream it is to shoot with!! Even though this is on a much, much smaller scale than what you have, I recently got a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II for my camera and the difference is amazing. My mom has the f/1.4, and it’s even better, so I can only imagine how amazing this lens is!! Especially with the 5D Mk2! I loved the new pics, by the way – the lantern shot was great.

    Have fun with it,
    Ashley

    Reply
  7. Dave

    Interesting post. I’m a 5D user and I hadn’t considered the benefit of live view – till now. Food for thought!

    Really enjoyed your images, and I agree – lovely bokeh. Having the Exif information available is really very useful in being able to see the differeing apertures you used with the 85mm 1.2 lens.

    I noticed that you used a variety of f stops – all quite large though, and it shows what can be achieved with this lens. I was intrigued as to how you determined where to place your point of focus. I’m assuming you use the eye that is nearest to you?

    Looking forward to hearing more about how you get on with the new camera and lens.

    Dave

    Reply
  8. Mario

    Matt,

    I’ve been reading reviews and reading your blog. I wanted the 85mm 1.2L–the glass orb, but it is out of my price range and I heard it’s AF was slow. What do you think?

    So I switched my research to the 135mm F2L and read nothing but good–tack sharp, fast AF, etc. Of course 135mm may be too much telephoto for portraits. Since you’re shooting excellent portraits like Michael Jordan used to dunk basketballs, I thought I’d get your opinion.

    I’ve recently been eyeing the 85mm 1.8 (non-L) b/c it’s definitely in my price range. Did you ever shoot with that? Any thoughts? I thought that maybe because it’s a prime lens I could get away with not having an L lens, but my zoom lenses will all be L from now on 🙂 I currently have the 24-70mm F2.8L and the 70-200 F/4L–both are sweet! I also have the 99 dollar 50mm 1.8 which is alright (nice bokeh) but will eventually be a nice hacky sack.

    Your thoughts are greatly appreciated..

    Mario

    Reply
  9. Mario

    Matt,

    I’ve been reading reviews and reading your blog. I wanted the 85mm 1.2L–the glass orb, but it is out of my price range and I heard it’s AF was slow. What do you think?

    So I switched my research to the 135mm F2L and read nothing but good–tack sharp, fast AF, etc. Of course 135mm may be too much telephoto for portraits. Since you’re shooting excellent portraits like Michael Jordan used to dunk basketballs, I thought I’d get your opinion.

    I’ve recently been eyeing the 85mm 1.8 (non-L) b/c it’s definitely in my price range. Did you ever shoot with that? Any thoughts? I thought that maybe because it’s a prime lens I could get away with not having an L lens, but my zoom lenses will all be L from now on 🙂 I currently have the 24-70mm F2.8L and the 70-200 F/4L–both are sweet! I also have the 99 dollar 50mm 1.8 which is alright (nice bokeh) but will eventually be a nice hacky sack.

    Your thoughts are greatly appreciated..

    Mario

    Reply
  10. Matt Brandon

    Sorry Mario, I have been away and with out email or internet. I have also been dealing with a personal friends crisis. Even though you are an old friend you must be a new reader to the blog as I have raved abut the 1.8 for years. It was my favorite lens in my kit up till the 1.2. This lens is sharp as a razor, great colors and a really nice bokeh. Many have reviewed this lens by saying the 1.2 is not worth the value because the 1.8 is so good. Now, after shooting the 1.2 for just over two weeks, I can’t go that far, but I understand what the reviewers are saying. It is a killer lens, and if you don’t have the bucks for the 1.2 then this should be in your kit…buy it!

    Reply
  11. Mario

    Thanks a lot, Matt! I obviously need to read your blog more then 🙂 Now that my University studies are through and I’ll be living in Turkey, I’ll have more time to press on as a photographer–which clearly involves reading blogs like yours and David duChemin’s.

    I am going to buy the Canon 85mm f/1.8 after I get paid for tonight’s photo shoot.

    Reply
  12. David duChemin

    Mario, I’m late to the conversation and it sounds like you’ve already made up your mind, but I want to throw in my 2-cents on the 135/2.0L – which is easily one of the nicest pieces of glass I’ve used. I sold mine once I got the 70-200/2.8L IS and then the 85/1.2L – between those lenses the 135 was redundant (and i needed to sell it to justify the 85/1.2) but it’s truly, truly amazing. I don’t recall if you shoot full frame or not. If you do, the 135 is the upper end of traditional portrait lenses and you’ll be stepping backwards alot. But on a APS-C sensor you’ll be out of the ballpark. Still, the behavior of the lens is the same for both, just a different crop. So if you’re still on the fence, see if you can rent it for a week – it’s incredible.

    Reply

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