Aside from sports photography, I’ve been dipping my toe a bit into portrait and fashion photography. 2017 is going to be the year I dive into lots of new assumes.
I’ve never shot with a full frame camera before a week ago, but the Canon 5D Mark IV is the first full frame DSLR I’ve seen that has the full range of specs I want from a camera – touch screen, WiFi, etc. I rented it for a week from Borrow Lenses, and here are my impressions.
This model’s operation is extraordinary. Everything is easy to understand (important since the rental didn’t come with a manual or the time to read one). Connecting it to my phone was a matter of only seconds to do, and the connection was very stable. The dedicated buttons for picture review, rating, etc. on the back were very easy to operate, the joystick button was, true to its name, a joy – much nicer to use than the D-Pad on my 70D. Combined with the abilities of the touch screen, it made rating photos during two sporting events (football and volleyball) a breeze, allowing me to cull my photos in the field without missing a play.
Ouch. I went through nearly two batteries at full power during 1.5 football games (varsity and freshman games). That’s nearly twice as fast as my 70D. I wouldn’t think of taking this camera out without at least four batteries to back me up, and I only have three (including the one from the rental). Battery drain was unacceptably high.
I was most excited to see the tremendous quality difference a full frame sensor would make over my crop sensor. I mean really excited. Perhaps my expectations were too high. When zoomed in, I could see minute distinctions between the 5D and 70D in noise reduction – and it is true that more of my shots with the 5D were in sharp focus than the 70D. It’s not clear to me whether this was from some magical technology in the camera, or just better shooting on my part. I carried both the 5D and 70D with me to both sporting events, interchanged lenses between them – and I honestly can’t see a hugely significant difference.
Well, there is one difference. There is enormous lens vignetting on the 5D that is not present with the same lens on the 70D. It was correctable with Lightroom so not a killer (easy enough to create an import default preset to manage it) but the level of vignetting using professional quality lenses was striking.
The other difference I was particularly looking for was stop improvement. I’d always been led to believe that a full frame sensor will gain between 1-2 stops over a crop sensor. Such was not the case between these two bodies. Using identical ISO, shutter speed and aperture, there was virtually no visible difference in the image exposure of the same general scene.
I have better uses for the price of a 5D. Studio equipment, new lenses – almost anything would produce higher quality images for me than this camera body. While the operation of it was intuitive and fast, image quality offered little improvement and in some ways suffered against the image quality of the 70D. The battery drain was really not insignificant in reaching a conclusion either. It was shockingly bad. I really wanted to have to struggle with my conscience about spending the money on this camera, but there is no debate in my mind. I’m better off with what I have.
I had a chance to do a portrait session with a modeling student and jumped at the chance. Very talented and very pretty, Courtney was great to work with and taught me a lot of much needed info about posing. This is all natural lighting, was too breezy to set up a light umbrella without an assistant to hold it steady. Basically, she makes her own glow anyway.s
My first photo essay on a decaying small town. I lived here for a year more than 50 years ago: Greeley, Iowa.
Greeley was founded a little over 100 years ago. There is a small central park with an open air gazebo, a lovely flower bed, and a small book share facility. All that really remains of Main Street in Greeley is 3 or 4 run down buildings on one side of the road. Kind of indicative of the rest of the town, really. Although there remain some lovely houses with wrap-around porches, most of the buildings seem to be mobile homes or in deep disrepair.
Greeley is now more road than town, it seems. A place to slow down, but there are no gas pumps, not the slightest hint of groceries. Some electronic maps will tell you there is a place to eat in town, but it has been long abandoned. State Road 38 is being resurfaced through Greeley, but the sign itself is as misshapen as much of the rest of the town.
The largest business in Greeley is a feed store and grain elevator. The wind turbines have altered the skyline, such as it ever was, a hint of modernization – good or bad – in a town otherwise seemingly stuck in 1940.
In many ways, Greeley seems very much to have given up on itself. Even the flagpoles in what passes for the city park have no flags flying, even on Independence Day weekend. The former city Maintenance Shop is perhaps the best metaphor existing for the current state of Greeley. It has itself failed to be maintained so thoroughly that it is collapsing on itself. There are apparently no city buildings suitable for habitation, so state and federal flyers mandated for public display are posted in an open air display case bound to the chain link fence around the water tower with baling wire.
Once upon a time the steeple on the Catholic Church was the highest point in town. The turbines have claimed that distinction now. The Greeley cemetery is nearly full, yet it’s difficult to imagine how long it will take to fill the remaining plots, with so few people left in the area.
I don’t often do candid portraits, but the light coming into the dugout was amazing for this player.
Proof that you don’t need a “big” subject to take a great photograph.