It’s not about the photo gear, it’s about photographer
It’s not about the photo gear, it’s about photographer
…Yeah right. I mean it is, but I think that 90% of great photographers have great gear.
In photography as its name says it’s all about light (drawing with light would be translation from Greek) and our knowledge how to restrain this wild horse. And truth is that for photo you don’t need super expensive equipment, you can actually make a camera from a shoe box. But…all these people that are saying you don’t need this or that, they usually have net worth equipment as a decent new car or even more.
Don’t get me wrong, you can take an amazing photo with any kind of camera but if you don’t want to take a risk, if you don’t want to have a lot of photos ready for trash, run away from rain, wait for focus confirmation or you just don’t want to waste time than you need to get yourself some nice and unfortunately expensive equipment.
Although I was always dreaming and drooling over 1DX I never gave it any serious consideration about buying It because price off course. But the time came for some update in camera department and I decided to replace my 4 years old Canon 5D MK II with brand new 5D MK IV that was just officially announced. Amazing camera, no argue there, but the price…o lord the price was high. I was expecting the price around 3100 US$ but the final price here in Croatia was 4600 US$. And know what? After a lot of thinking and a lot of combination in my head I decided…I’m going to buy 1DX MK II 🙂
WTF are you talking about you might wander but it’s pretty simple. If you take a look at my portfolio page yo will see that I’m not specialized, I shoot literally everything. There is some still stuff like interiors, exteriors, nature, but there are also a lot of dynamic photos like sports, kids, concerts etc. So I was looking for a working horse to cover all may needs and I found it in a 1DX MK II.
Here’ how I made up my mind.
First must-have was full frame sensor. After I sold my old 7D MK I and bought 5D MK II I never even thought about going back to crop sensor, maybe only in a combination 7D MK II for sport and 5D for everything else.
It would be nice to see more than 20 megapixels on 1DX MK II because it is nice if you can crop and still have decent size after it. There are some other things where more MP is useful but it is how it is. BTW Sony showed us that more MP wouldn’t affect frame rate.
Second on the list was fast, precise and reliable focus. I want to focus without problems in dark, under bad lighting, fast moving subjects – everywhere and everything.
After that I want usable high ISO with low noise and without much color distortion. In a real life that means I want clear shot with at least 1/1000s, f/2.8 at venues with bad lighting (something like Maksimir stadium in previous post).
Frames per second (FPS) was the next thing and in that department 5D MK IV started to lose the battle in my head. 7 VS 14 FPS was a huge weight on scale for 1DX MK II. For sport this is absolute must have. Don’t get me wrong, as I said you can shoot with anything, I’ve been standing on many rally’s with a film camera, waiting for that one shot, but also I was there with faster cameras and it would be stupid to say speed doesn’t matter. It does.
While shooting many sports matches with my slow 5D I have missed a lot of great shots just because my camera shutter was to slow or the focus was dancing around. So thank you but I would like to avoid this in future.
For your speed pleasure Canon put dual card slot in their flagship and one slot is made for super-fast CFast card which gives you 170 photos in burst – in RAW. If you shoot JPGs than only limitation is card size. How sick is that?! And that sweet option you cannot find in 5D MK IV.
But.. There’s always but somewhere. Prices of those cards are a bit spicy. Like four times more expensive than the regular (120 MB/s) CF card. And don’t forget to add new card reader for it. At this moment I couldn’t find reader with both CFast and CF slot so you’ll have two readers if you shoot on both cards. This is especially great when you’re on the field or on the road. There are 16 in 1 card readers but no 2 in 1 for this combo.
Furthermore I need a camera that’s not going to die at first sign of rain and similar distracting elements. 5D is not a toy but I was always uncomfortable if it was raining and I was without protection (almost every time). 1D has a bit stronger Weather Resistance so there is no pain in stomach when the clouds gets dark.
Dynamic Range is supposed to be amazing on 5D MK IV, but I’m sure that 1D will do just fine. A lot of people say that Nikon/Sony is still the leader on that field but I don’t see any big advantage on my company’s Nikon D810 . Maybe it’s just me.
On my old 5D in 4 years of shooting everything I had around 100.000 shutter count with default shutter so I believe that shutter mechanism of 400.000 should be sufficient for next 4-5 years.
Making movies is something I’m not so interested in but sure, I’ll try to shoot something. I’m especially interested in a slow motion stuff since this beauty can record 4K up to 60p or 120 in Full HD (for this you’ll need CFast card). On the other side 5D MK IV records at 30p 4K / 60p Full HD so this is another plus on 1D side.
Canon made a big hype about Dual Pixel RAW technology that is missing in 1DX MK II but I don’t find results so spectacular or a game changer so I won’t cry over it.
The price is very high for both cameras and price difference between 1D and 5D is also very high but if I invested a lot of money and bought a camera that doesn’t cover all of my needs that would be a bad decision for me at the end so I took a deep breath and ordered 1DX MK II.
In the store
I’m going to skip this buying part because people outside Croatia will think that I’m lying. I will just say that it was a rough ride, it was more expensive than in Harrods in London, I didn’t get the card and reader as promised and once more I prove to myself that I should skip Croatian stores whenever it is possible.
After I ripped of taped plastic bag that was covering package I saw a big black box with discrete photo of the camera. While opening it I didn’t feel that special feeling you get when you open up an Apple product so I speed it up just to grad a camera.
Oh boy it was bigger and heavier than my old 5D without grip and after you put on some lens… well I was predicting the Quasimodo look very soon.
Then I take look at charger for two batteries and huge battery and wondering how in the hell should I put this thing inside. There was no handle, doors or whatever to put the battery. But the thing is simple, you just need to pull out the rubbery protective thing and insert the battery which has small lock on it and that’s it.
Inserting memory card was also a bit different than before. I couldn’t do it the old fashion way because there is a small lock switch on the back of the camera. But off course I tried to open the side door like on older cameras but I was smart enough to quit before I break it.
Finally I turned on the camera and press the Menu button and I saw too much stuff there so I quit for the day. I’ll go through it when I have more time.
So I just put the shutter speed on high and press and the shutter. Frrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr… my poor baby girl just opened her mouth in wonder, and daddy with a stupid smile on his face said That’s it.
Now it was time to fill the battery and get it ready for the matches I was shooting in following days.
The handball game day came and off course I didn’t read the f.. manual (RTFM for friends) so I did it as hundred times before. AI Servo, place the focus point on top, set the Manual mode, check if I’m shooting RAW, high shutter speed and in the end press and play. Yeah, that’s definitely it. Sure it would be nice to calibrate lens a bit for a perfect result but for now it will do.
Finally I could shoot the game without talking to god to send me one sharp photo with ball in frame. Now I can make set of nice images with every action my lens can zoom.
Next day it was hockey time. Even faster sport with lighting not so good as in venue where handball was playing. Again, not a single problem for 1DX MK II.
Focus was locked once you press the button, you could put really short exposure time since high ISO is not a problem anymore.
When I say high ISO I’m talking about usable ISO 8000 in room with only one bulb. You can always try to play with those crazy high values but for me this is as high as I need.
I also tried to record some video, finally with follow focus ability and touch screen (for focusing only) and it looks great, especially 4K on my 5K screen. I will do some more testing in future and write a post about it but for now I’ll focus on photography.
Sure there are some cons and some minor stuff I would like to see differently on this camera so here they are.
LP-E19 battery will be sufficient for around 1200 shots (factory value). For camera with so much shooting power this is just not juicy enough. Sure, I can live with that but I’m not a heavy pro user. I’ll fully charge battery before the shooting and after it I’ll go home so I think I can live with that. But for the real photographers on the field day without two batteries (and a charger) in bag is not an option. Another fun fact is that Nikon D5 can take 3780 shots with single battery so Canon think about it real hard.
You should also know that if battery capacity drops under 50% you are also loosing FPS and that is not so sexy.
Since this battery is obviously not top of the class I wouldn’t mind that Canon surprised us with two batteries in the box considering the price of the camera. But it didn’t so you have to pay 170 US$ for another one if you don’t want to look at that battery icon bar on display all the time.
Another thing I would like to see on Canon’s flagship without paying extra 600 US$ for the external module is WiFi. Shooting video with preview on iPad or tethering without cables would be very nice.
Everybody likes grip. They pay extra money just to get that extra space and put another battery inside. But not me. It’s distraction for me. I have smaller hands so I don’t need extra space to hold the camera. Also extra weight is not necessary and when I do portrait shot I just rotate the camera. And when I’m carrying camera around my neck it is so much more comfortable without grip jumping on my belly. Also I learned that camera with the grip couldn’t fit in my Manfrotto MiniBee-120 PL. OK it can but I had to turn the things upside down just to be able to close it. And with that rotation I lost functionality I had before. Everything would be great if this grip is detachable but instead it is one with the body and there’s nothing I can do about it. Worst thing is that I had to turn it off because every time camera was hanging around my neck and after I get it up to shoot couple of times I found out that the wheel on grip was turning, I suppose on my jacket or whatever and messing with my exposure so I just killed it.
If you are Sigma lens owner you can face some problems with your photos. I have only Sigma 35mm f/1.4 so I will talk about it. This camera+lens combination is giving some weird circles all over your photos. First I saw it on my camera display and thought it’s some viewing on-screen option but after I transferred files to computer the problem was also on my big screen. But only on JPGs, RAW is not affected by this problem. Then I had flashback in my head remembering I was reading about this problem before. So I stepped into Dr. Google’s office and found a solution. In the camera menu you should turn off automatic vignette correction. As simple as that. No more weird circles.
Now it’s been five months since our first date and we are still in love, enjoying our sport matches, spending Christmas time in London, walking in Zagreb, taking photos of my baby girl…
So guys, dreams can really come true. Don’t ever quit dreaming and listen to yourself because you are the only one who knows what’s best for you.