Review coming this winter on the Canon EOS 5D.

We have a Canon EOS 5D, and are testing this full-frame digital camera. Initial tests are Orlando , Athens ( Greece ), Lisbon ( Portugal ), and Guatemala ( Central America ).

We will be posting our evaluation of the Canon 24-105mm zoom lens, 100mm Canon macro lens, and comparing them with a full frame Kodak SLR/c, a Kodak SLR/n, and a Nikon D100.

Later in the summer we will add a comparison with the Nikon D200.

Anyone considering buying this camera should realize that FLAAR does not receive money from Canon cameras. We are not paid by any photo dealer to promote this camera. We do not receive kickbacks in the form of commissions.

Plus we have ample experience with medium-format digital cameras, so we can competently comment on the utter nonsense in popular US trade magazines that the Canon 35mm are as good as a medium format digital camera.

Sorry, no way. We have evaluated the Leaf, Imacon/Hasselblad, and MegaVision so far. They are light years ahead of any Canon camera.

If you prefer slick commercial pseudo-reviews, that just tell you supposedly how great a camera is (as they send you to buy it somewhere), FLAAR is not the website you should read.

But if you are about to spend your hard-earned money on any digital camera, and want the blunt facts on digital cameras, FLAAR is independent. To cover the operating expenses of our non-profit institute at Bowling Green State University , naturally we have sponsors (FLAAR has a staff of 12, and they do appreciate a salary every month). But we don't suck up to sponsors, or the camera brands they sell.

If you are buying Canon EOS cameras due to all the favorable PR in all the trade magazines, you might want to make the effort to obtain this independent FLAAR Report first. We do not receive kickbacks from the manufacturer, nor from any camera dealers.


Comparing Canon EOS 5D with Nikon D200

Later this summer we will evaluate the Nikon D200 and Nikon D50. We had the Nikon D100 and the Kodak SLR/n on the same field trips as the Canon EOS 5D. Frankly they both performed just as well as the much more costly Canon EOS 5D. The Kodak SLR/c performed even better, especially with scenes out in the bright sunlight of Greece and Guatemala .

So far we have taken the Canon EOS 5D to Orlando , Athens , the island of Hydra in the south Aegean Sea , Lisbon , and London . Next week we leave for Amsterdam , Thessaloniki , and the north Aegean island of Lemnos . Last week we were in Guatemala testing the Canon EOS 5D.

So far, distinctly under-impressed. Not a bad camera, but not one that improves our photos much over an elderly Nikon D100. The Canon EOS 5D is about the same picture quality as a Kodak SLR/n, though the physical Canon viewer is dramatically better. The SLR/n LCD screen is the worst one ever manufactured.

For price comparisons I would suggest the Nikon D200.

We already have several PDFs on the Canon EOS 5D; these are all available to everyone who takes the FLAAR course on Digital Photography, available via the Internet.

Printing your digital photos

Since we do not have any of the recent Canon printers such as the imagePROGRAF W6400 or W8400, and definitely not any of the new Canon printers, iPF 5000, iPF 6000, iPF8000 or iPF 9000, we tend to print with an Epson 4800, 7800, 9800 or the HP 130, all of which we do have.

Of course these comments were before the HP surprise launch of their impressive HP Designjet Z2100 and Z3100 simultaneously at SGIA and Photokina. FLAAR will be at both trade shows, even though SGIA is in Las Vegas the same week that Photokina is in Cologne , Germany .

Every several years there is either a new Canon iPF printer or a new Epson or a new HP water-based printer. It is hard to keep track of the advances in inks and color management features. FLAAR is keeping track by visiting printshops around the world that have these various brands. Each brand has its good points and a few issues and an occasional deficiency.             

If you are looking for a place that is not a box-pusher (meaning you want a place that provides service after the sale), then one place we know for many years is Parrot Digigraphic. Their telephone is 978.670.7766.

Canon EOS 5D portrait Canon EOS-5D portrait, digital photography

These are informal portraits taken with the Canon EOS 5D. Angie kindly volunteered as a model for the day. The main problem with the Canon EOS 5D is the lack of a one-button gray balance. The Phase One P 30 has a one-button gray balance. The Leaf Valeo had an easy gray balance.

But the Nikon D100 has a stupid number of levels and steps required to even find where and how to do accomplish a custom gray balance. A camera that claims to be professional should have a one-click gray balance. You should never have to burrow deep into a menu just to do a custom gray balance. The Nikon gets a minus rating. The Canon also is neither intuitive nor easy to accomplish a custom gray balance. It gets about a zero rating for custom gray balance ease-of-use.

And, once you do a custom balance, it is not always convincingly neutral. In distinction, the Phase One P 30 is a professional system that gets you a neutral balance. Same with the BetterLight Super 6K-HS that we are also evaluating. With the BetterLight you can balance on three different grays simultaneously.

 

Phase One p25 sample, Heliconia digital photography Phase One P25 sample digital photography
Phase One P25 sample, digital photography Phase One P25, digital photography sample

Here are samples from four days of photography of over 73 heliconia flowers (relatives of the banana and bird of paradise). The first and second photo were taken with the Canon MP-E 65mm macro lens. The thirth and fourth images with a 100mm Canon macro lens.

Most of the other photos were taken with a Phase One P25 medium format back. We prefer the crisp detail of medium format and the easier software (Capture One from Phase One). FLAAR will be issuing three reports on the Phase One P25, a report on the Canon EOS 5D, and a special report on the MP-E 65mm macro lens. Each of these cameras has many great features, and a few weak points. What surprised us most about the Canon is that it lacks the most important feature that a busy professional photographer needs. Until the Canon offers this crucial feature, we do not rate this camera as acceptable for most professional use (especially out on location). The Canon EOS 5D is okay for general photography, but a professional photographer needs certain features (which are lacking).

 

Most recently updated Sept 25, 2006.
First posted April 19, 2006 . updated May 12, 2006 , August 15, 2006.

 

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