One of the many advantages of owning the highest-resolution 35mm-format digital camera in the world today (the 21.1 megapixel Canon 1Ds Mark III) is that I have a lot of detail to work with. This is a 100% magnification of a corporate headshot I took yesterday with no sharpening or any other edits. Just straight from the raw camera file. And another interesting tidbit about this photo is that I did not use a tripod. The image stabilization built into the Canon 70-200 f2.8 L lens I used provided sufficient stability. Here is the actual (also unretouched) photograph.
Monthly Archives: April 2008
Al Gore came to address the attendees at the RSA Conference last week, and as part of his appearance, he was asked to do a “meet and greet” for some of the VIP types at the show. And of course yours truly was asked to record these handshakes for posterity.
It seemed untoward me to ask for a photo with Mr. Gore, so I told Sara to stand by the camera and I’d make like I was metering him for the photos. Hmm…a perfect ƒ5 at 1/50 and ISO 640.
It serves me right that I took such an awful photograph. But it was really a thrill to meet Al. He’s whip smart, very funny in a self-effacing manner, and polite in that genuine Southern way. A real Tennessee gentleman.
My good friend Rick is in a quandary. He is looking to buy a high-end digital camera, but is confused as to whether to go with a “pro” body (like what I shoot with), or a “prosumer” body. So I wrote up this little treatise to help him understand some of the tradeoffs. And I thought maybe somebody else might benefit from my thoughts.
Canon Mark III body — Of course this is what I own, so I am biased. But a couple of the truly required things for me are really of little value to me. They’re around the durability, all-weatherness, and redundancy stuff. And the cost of a full-frame sensor is exorbitant. I will say, though, that the image quality is demonstrably better than the Mark II bodies, and the one-stop advantage in ISO is very valuable. But realize that you’re paying a steep premium for the “Pro” features, and some will work at cross-purposes to your requirements (like the size and weight issue).
Canon 5D — I’ve actually never shot anything of substance with the 5D, but there were those who felt that (before the release of the Mark III bodies) that the 5D made the best files of any Canon. Of course, that’s subjective on some level. But the full-frame sensor for less than the 1.3 crop of the Mark II and III (non-’s’) model is a HUGE thing if I was was you. I shoot a lot of stuff at full-wide zoom, and have started doing more with my 8mm circular fisheye. These are greatly enhanced with the full-frame bodies. And the small form factor is a big advantage…when you don’t have your camera because it was too much of a schlep, it’s hard to get any pictures.
Canon 5D Mark II — I wish I knew something about this, because it’d only solidify the case for the 5D-style body. Assuming it’s going to be better than the 5D, it seems to be a no-brainer. But I have no idea whatsoever when or what it’s going to be.
Nikon D3 — Lots of peeps are raving about this one. On paper it’s a slam dunk because it combines a few of the compromises of the 1DM3/1DsM3 split into one great body (full-frame, smaller file size, higher ISO, etc…). However, I’ve never shot with any modern Nikon gear, so I can’t really venture an opinion. But there are a number of well-known wedding peeps who’ve jumped ship recently. But man, that is one uber-expensive proposition. And completely unappealing for me.
The bottom line: as a “pro” (tee hee), I wouldn’t change a thing if I had the option at the moment. However, schlepping my kit to Paris on holiday a few weeks ago was a real drag; I wished I’d had a 5D, a 24-105, 50/1.4 and 16-35 instead of what I took. It would have weighed 1/2 as much.
Your intrepid reporter/event photographer will go to great lengths (or heights) to get a unique perspective. This helpful show worker took me for a thrilling ride on a scissor lift from which I was able to get some really interesting views of the show floor here at Moscone Center. I’m the official photographer for the RSA Conference 2008 this week. It’s a gathering of more intellectual horsepower than I’ve been around in a long, long time.
Here is an example of what I actually did up there…