Canon 5D (classic / original / mk I)

iolair

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The original 5D goes for what looks on a nice price on eBay - 400 - 500 pounds, with a fair few to choose from.

Is it still worth considering as a full-frame camera? My bodies are the Canon 40D and 50D, so the resolution is similar, but how about the autofocus system? Is the low-light performance still a big improvement over the crop bodies, or is the technology too outdated on the original 5D now?

Is the viewfinder on the 5D that much better than the crop bodies? I recently took a look through an old 35mm film camera I've not touched in years, and was was impressed how much bigger the viewfinder felt than with my crop Canons, presumably any full-frame has this benefit? That must make working with manual focus a fair bit easier?

There's no way I can justify the spend on the 5D Mk II, III or 6D ... but the original 5D - that could be feasible if it offers things my 40D and 50D don't.

(Obviously the downside - I couldn't use my 10-22mm or 60mm macro EF-S lenses on the 5D - but the rest of my lenses - 28mm, 50mm, 80-210mm, 85mm, 135mm are EF, and I wouldn't be ditching the crop bodies anyway - it's reassuring to have two cameras to shoot on and one spare, so the lenses wouldn't be neglected)
 

Gavjenks

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If you are a huge manual focusing addict, you can swap out focusing screens probably. Can't confirm that 100% for the 5D original, but I see screens for sale for it, so probably you can. Also, in some cases, you can make your own screen even brighter than commercial ones if you are adventurous. 3 micron aluminum oxide does wonders that most commercial ground glass these days does not match...

ISO performance is not going to be too great. Probably slightly better than modern crop frames (2/3 stop maybe?), however, you have to keep in mind that it only goes up to 1600 natively. So even if it's slightly better up to 1600, it's going to crash after that (can push to 3200, but likely won't be as good as native 7D etc. 3200), and 6400+ isn't even a software option (maybe magic lantern? Does that work on 5D?)

It's pretty dang slow too at 3 FPS.
 

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If you are a huge manual focusing addict, you can swap out focusing screens probably. Can't confirm that 100% for the 5D original, but I see screens for sale for it, so probably you can. Also, in some cases, you can make your own screen even brighter than commercial ones if you are adventurous. 3 micron aluminum oxide does wonders that most commercial ground glass these days does not match...

ISO performance is not going to be too great. Probably slightly better than modern crop frames (2/3 stop maybe?), however, you have to keep in mind that it only goes up to 1600 natively. So even if it's slightly better up to 1600, it's going to crash after that (can push to 3200, but likely won't be as good as native 7D etc. 3200), and 6400+ isn't even a software option (maybe magic lantern? Does that work on 5D?)

It's pretty dang slow too at 3 FPS.

I will have to show you some of what you call crash shots at iso3200
 

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Here goes my first post! =) Sorry if it's a lot more than you're asking for! lol

Note: I've never shot a 40D or 50D, but you should be able to compare to my experiences from T2i to 5D!

I picked up a 5D classic less than 6 months ago, and I can definitely say that it is STILL a great camera. So good, in fact, that I picked up a second one about two months ago. Two spectacular FF bodies (with some investment in lenses) for cheaper than one 5D2 or 6D.
My first camera was a T2i, and I can say without a single doubt that the 5Dc outperforms the T2i in all of the most important categories for stills. My T2i has literally been shelved since I got the first 5Dc (That says a lot, considering that I have some crazy good EF-S glass), and it only comes out when I need to do some multi-camera video work.

There's some sort of magic to the files created by the 5D classic. Seriously, I could not believe how crisp, sharp, rich, etc. the files coming out of the sensor in the 5D were, especially in comparison to anything I had shot on crop sensors before. The 12 megapixels are more than enough when you're nailing the focus, and for the sensor size, they give this great sense of depth and tonality (especially skin). The RAW files produced are only about 12MB each, so they are easy to manage and retain scary-good IQ.

Comparing the AF between my T2i and 5Dc, I'd say the 5Dc might have a slight edge in AF performance. It could be that I'm using lenses with better AF in general? I use the 85mm 1.8 with USM frequently, and it focuses fast. I can't complain and it does action well from my experience. I've also tried a few other USM, HSM, and USD (specifically the new Tamron 24-70) lenses, and they all work well enough for me to never complain. I shoot a lot of nightclub events with the 5Dc and the pretty new 40mm 2.8 STM, and I can say that the combo has been really good in terms of AF in the low light (not the fastest ever, but very good and accurate) and has no problems keeping up when I use an assist beam from my flash. Keep in mind I only use the middle point with all of these lenses, however. I think you would have to be doing some extreme stuff to stump the 5Dc's middle point, and of the 7000 or so clicks I've taken in the last few months, it's rare to find missed focus that was the camera's fault--actually, not sure if you can yet! It's super reliable in that center point.

The viewfinder in the 5Dc is several leagues beyond that of the T2i. I was actually super shocked when I went back to my T2i after shooting the 5Dc exclusively for a few months to learn it inside and out. When I went back, I felt claustrophobic! I didn't know how I was composing with such a small viewfinder, let alone manually focusing old M42 lenses with it!
On the 5D, manually focusing via viewfinder is noticeably easier to do, but I understand that it's not truly great until you swap out the focusing screen, which I won't be doing until my next paycheck lol. If you have live view, 10X focusing is easier and more accurate when your target is easy to track and you have some sort of stabilization, so that's probably the only thing I really miss from my T2i, but it's really easy to live without lol.

The ISO capabilities are more than enough on the 5D, and it's super clean up through 1000/1250, very useable at 1600, and good enough at H 3200 if you really need it. This is another department where the 5D stomps out my T2i. I lived in fear of anything above 400 ISO, especially since the T2i only makes full-stop jumps in ISO unless if you have Magic Lantern installed. With ML on my T2i, I would stop at 640 ISO (ML lets you get the intermediate ISO's, which was huge for me on my T2i!) and only use 800-1250 if absolutely necessary, and 1600 for emergencies, 3200 if I needed the shot if my life depended on it, and 6400+ never. I'm exaggerating a little, but I honestly have no fear of using 1250 or 1600 on the 5D when I need it, whereas my images were falling apart at that point on the T2i. The only downside to 5D ISO is the fact that you can't use auto-ISO like you can with the T2i, but I never did anyway. Not sure how how the ISO performance stacks up compared to the 40D, 50D, 60D, or 7D, but for me personally, shooting above 1250 isn't really a priority, as I've learned how to stay below that for about 4 years now! I'd probably be spoiled in ISO if I shot on a 5D3 or 1DX, and even now I try not to get addicted to high ISO when I shoot on my OM-D lol.

The 3 FPS isn't so impressive with the 5Dc, so it's probably not the best option for fast-paced sports when you are shooting professionally. Honestly, it's good enough for me and my shooting style, but if I were paying all of my bills and rent with photography, I would invest in more FPS elsewhere. In your case, the 50D should be more than enough when you really need it. So far, I've really only shot in single mode, and I've had no problems just timing everything and nailing the photo.

And now for the biggest letdown of the 5D classic: THE SCREEN ON THE BACK SUCKS! Truth be told, it's the first thing you will notice, and the biggest turn-off when you use the camera for the first few weeks. I thought it was disgusting since I was used to a relatively nice and sharp one on my T2i. The 5Dc's screen is pretty small, very low res, and it has a green cast over the blacks for some reason. I don't know how this compares to the 40D or 50D screens, but chances are that the 5D's will suck in comparison. lol I felt as though the 5D sucked when I saw the images from the back, and I was scared that I had wasted money on the camera instead of a decent lens. When I pulled up the frames on my laptop after a day of shooting and disappointment, I was completely blown away. I wanted to cry out of joy. That's how big of a difference it was from crappy back screen to computer lol. At the moment, I'm used to the screen and do not mind it at all anymore, looking at it only for exposure and composition for the first few frames of a shoot.


OVERALL, I'd say make the jump, you won't regret it. Get the best condition 5D classic you possibly can, get it serviced if you really need to, and it will likely stick with you for a long time, especially since you've got some really good glass to use with it right off the bat! The camera is super reliable and produces beautiful images after you get past the little quirks. Even against the more modern cameras it will hold its own, and you might not need to upgrade again for a while unless if you really need video, high fps, extreme ISOs, or elite autofocus.
 

jaomul

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I will have to show you some of what you call crash shots at iso3200

I have to agree here. The higher ISO on the 5d is quite good. It can't be pushed into the 6400 + as mentioned but the shots I have taken at iso 3200 are very good for that iso
 

gsgary

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ISO3200 no noise removal, both shots with 300mmF2.8L

EmptyName%2071-XL.jpg


ISO3200

Image00015-XL.jpg
 

Derrel

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I still own a 5D classic. For its era, it was one of the top-performers, sensor wise. About on par with the Nikon D3 and D700. BIG pixels, so it did well in lower light. The biggest issues with the 5D-C are 1) the in-camera LED's in millions of them SUCK....in bright outdoor lighting, in the spring, summer, and fall, the LEDs thru the finder are invisible. As in utterly,totally UN-READABLE. And no, I am not kidding. You will be shooting mostly blind in bright locations, unable to see the weak, dim, green LED display information that relays meter + or -. I think this LED brightness issue was true of the bodies made the first two years or more; later ones "might" be better, I do not know.

And the LCD screen on the back is small, and crappy. By today's standards, it is a simply abysmal screen. Very,very weak, low-rez LCD.

The last thing: the 5D C has a narrow dynamic range compared to newer cameras; it can NOT bridge wide DR scenes very well, and the amount of highlight recovery possible from the 5D-C is not as good as with newer cameras. Still, the 5D-C can make some pretty nice files!!! I shot mine for almost five years straight.However, I DO think the 5D looks better than the 7D's images. The 7D sensor never has impressed me.Ever.

The AF system works fine with fast-aperture, pro-quality lenses like the 70-200/2.8 L, 135/2-L, and 85/1.8 EF and 50/1.4 EF; with the 24-105 f/4 L, my 5D-C was often confused in action shots, even in daylight, often missing what should be simple one-shot AF acquisitions on ACTION subjects with the 24-105, which is an f/4 lens. The AF module in the 5D-C is best described as "consumer", because, well, it WAS lifted directly from a consumer d-slr, the 30D. I think this camera NEEDS f/2.8 or faster lens speed for best autofocusing. That is my experience. The AF module compared to my Nikon D2x absolutely sucks, but the D2x might have been the best-focusing camera Nikon has ever made, withg a very unusual, highly capable wide-area, 11-point/9 cross-type AF system that covered the frames even better than the D3x does with its 51 AF points.

For a studio camera, the 5D-C is still nice. It adapts well to other brands of lenses. The viewfinder image is large and clear, but it is still a $389-class, EOS Elan 7 body...but I think they are well worth the current price here in the west coast USA of $450-$550 used. At least if yuo have a use for a camera that has some strengths and some weaknesses.
 

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I still own a 5D classic. For its era, it was one of the top-performers, sensor wise. About on par with the Nikon D3 and D700. BIG pixels, so it did well in lower light. The biggest issues with the 5D-C are 1) the in-camera LED's in millions of them SUCK....in bright outdoor lighting, in the spring, summer, and fall, the LEDs thru the finder are invisible. As in utterly,totally UN-READABLE. And no, I am not kidding. You will be shooting mostly blind in bright locations, unable to see the weak, dim, green LED display information that relays meter + or -. I think this LED brightness issue was true of the bodies made the first two years or more; later ones "might" be better, I do not know.

And the LCD screen on the back is small, and crappy. By today's standards, it is a simply abysmal screen. Very,very weak, low-rez LCD.

The last thing: the 5D C has a narrow dynamic range compared to newer cameras; it can NOT bridge wide DR scenes very well, and the amount of highlight recovery possible from the 5D-C is not as good as with newer cameras. Still, the 5D-C can make some pretty nice files!!! I shot mine for almost five years straight.However, I DO think the 5D looks better than the 7D's images. The 7D sensor never has impressed me.Ever.

The AF system works fine with fast-aperture, pro-quality lenses like the 70-200/2.8 L, 135/2-L, and 85/1.8 EF and 50/1.4 EF; with the 24-105 f/4 L, my 5D-C was often confused in action shots, even in daylight, often missing what should be simple one-shot AF acquisitions on ACTION subjects with the 24-105, which is an f/4 lens. The AF module in the 5D-C is best described as "consumer", because, well, it WAS lifted directly from a consumer d-slr, the 30D. I think this camera NEEDS f/2.8 or faster lens speed for best autofocusing. That is my experience. The AF module compared to my Nikon D2x absolutely sucks, but the D2x might have been the best-focusing camera Nikon has ever made, withg a very unusual, highly capable wide-area, 11-point/9 cross-type AF system that covered the frames even better than the D3x does with its 51 AF points.

For a studio camera, the 5D-C is still nice. It adapts well to other brands of lenses. The viewfinder image is large and clear, but it is still a $389-class, EOS Elan 7 body...but I think they are well worth the current price here in the west coast USA of $450-$550 used. At least if yuo have a use for a camera that has some strengths and some weaknesses.


I have never had trouble being able to set the meter in the viewfinder
 

o hey tyler

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I still own a 5D classic. For its era, it was one of the top-performers, sensor wise. About on par with the Nikon D3 and D700. BIG pixels, so it did well in lower light. The biggest issues with the 5D-C are 1) the in-camera LED's in millions of them SUCK....in bright outdoor lighting, in the spring, summer, and fall, the LEDs thru the finder are invisible. As in utterly,totally UN-READABLE. And no, I am not kidding. You will be shooting mostly blind in bright locations, unable to see the weak, dim, green LED display information that relays meter + or -. I think this LED brightness issue was true of the bodies made the first two years or more; later ones "might" be better, I do not know.

And the LCD screen on the back is small, and crappy. By today's standards, it is a simply abysmal screen. Very,very weak, low-rez LCD.

The last thing: the 5D C has a narrow dynamic range compared to newer cameras; it can NOT bridge wide DR scenes very well, and the amount of highlight recovery possible from the 5D-C is not as good as with newer cameras. Still, the 5D-C can make some pretty nice files!!! I shot mine for almost five years straight.However, I DO think the 5D looks better than the 7D's images. The 7D sensor never has impressed me.Ever.

The AF system works fine with fast-aperture, pro-quality lenses like the 70-200/2.8 L, 135/2-L, and 85/1.8 EF and 50/1.4 EF; with the 24-105 f/4 L, my 5D-C was often confused in action shots, even in daylight, often missing what should be simple one-shot AF acquisitions on ACTION subjects with the 24-105, which is an f/4 lens. The AF module in the 5D-C is best described as "consumer", because, well, it WAS lifted directly from a consumer d-slr, the 30D. I think this camera NEEDS f/2.8 or faster lens speed for best autofocusing. That is my experience. The AF module compared to my Nikon D2x absolutely sucks, but the D2x might have been the best-focusing camera Nikon has ever made, withg a very unusual, highly capable wide-area, 11-point/9 cross-type AF system that covered the frames even better than the D3x does with its 51 AF points.

For a studio camera, the 5D-C is still nice. It adapts well to other brands of lenses. The viewfinder image is large and clear, but it is still a $389-class, EOS Elan 7 body...but I think they are well worth the current price here in the west coast USA of $450-$550 used. At least if yuo have a use for a camera that has some strengths and some weaknesses.


I have never had trouble being able to set the meter in the viewfinder

Me neither.
 

Derrel

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Yeah, the viewfinder LED brightness issue is kind of weird. I have a fairly early production 5D Classic. A number of the first reviewers and regular users mentioned that the in-finder LEDs were too dim to be seen in bright light. As in hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people reported the issue. As I mentioned, I 'think' this issue might have been resolved in later production models, but I am not sure. The last time I shot my 5D was at the Oregon coast about 13,14 months ago, and the entire time, I was shooting blind in Av mode because the match-diode in Manual mode was invisible. As in fu**ing "invisible".. I borrowed Rotanimod's 60D and looked thru the finder, and could actually SEE bright,m vibrant, green LED witrh full meter display. Meanwhile, all day long in May, the meter in my 5D Classic was useless as teats on a boar.

As is mentioned here: 5D Dim Viewfinder

Q: "On another Forum, a lot of folks are complaining about the 5D viewfinder LCD/LED? information being very dim - to the point of almost being unable to read the exposure meter. Anyone here having a similar problem."

A: cgeisler replied: The 5D info display panel is nearly impossible to see in bright light. If you do not wear glasses it is somewhat better. The display is both smaller in size and dimmer then my previous 20D or my 1D2. The viewfinder itself is not dim, just the info display. If you want big and bright info take a look through the finder of a Nikon D200.

A: gochugogi replied:"As for the exposure data backlight in the VF, I agree, it's a little on the dim side."

or on dPreview:

"My 5D sometimes has the unreadable VF LEDs on bright sunlit days as well as the unrelated sudden flash of brightness."

and anotgher user: "I have this problem too; putting my eye right up to the rubber eyepiece (blocking ambient light) does not fix the problem on my camera. If the ilumination level is ambient-driven, you would think that a light leak would cause it to go bright, not dim...Sent my 5D to Canon and, despite very specific written instructions and a diagram, they attempted to adjust the focus spots instead. I've been informed they are officially unaware of this problem, and have no fix, even though about 50% of the 5D owners I've spoken with have the problem.
I too feel it's a nuisance, and don't want an otherwise perfect camera disassembled, so I'll live with it."

So, yeah, this issue is pretty well-known, despite what the fanboy types might have to say. As I wrote, MY camera's in-viewfinder LED system is useless as teats on a boar in bright light.
 

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Sorry I didn't mean to imply that ISO 3200 would just be utterly terrible. I meant that its ADVANTAGE over the crop sensors should crash at 3200.

Could be totally wrong about that, just speculating. Decent shots from the 5D at 3200 don't really say much, though, because you can also get decent shots with denoising from a RAW in a crop sensor. If anybody has a Canon crop frame and a 5D original sitting around, it would be really useful to see a comparison shot using the same lighting and scene of both at 3200. If somebody is willing to do that, then be sure to shoot a jpeg in both SOOC, as well as a RAW, then just apply the exact same denoising paramaters in your RAW converter of choice.
 

jaomul

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Sorry I didn't mean to imply that ISO 3200 would just be utterly terrible. I meant that its ADVANTAGE over the crop sensors should crash at 3200.

Could be totally wrong about that, just speculating. Decent shots from the 5D at 3200 don't really say much, though, because you can also get decent shots with denoising from a RAW in a crop sensor. If anybody has a Canon crop frame and a 5D original sitting around, it would be really useful to see a comparison shot using the same lighting and scene of both at 3200. If somebody is willing to do that, then be sure to shoot a jpeg in both SOOC, as well as a RAW, then just apply the exact same denoising paramaters in your RAW converter of choice.

While newer crop cameras may be better at higher ISOs etc and your call for comparing raws/jpegs sooc is all valid ways to compare how good image quality is measured, I am not sure you ever used a 5d from your comments. I could be wrong and no offence intended, but the 5d displays noise different from the newer crop canon cameras I have used , and though it may still be "noisy" compared to modern cameras, the noise for me at least does not impose as much as a lot of newer cameras. The image quality is quite good even still. I would argue that H Iso of 3200 on a 5d looks as good if not better than ISO 3200 on a 7d (I have owned both).

I would also say that at the price a 5d goes for it is a great value image maker. I think the 5d is the only fullframe 12mp sensor that canon made (I could be wrong), so it therefore cant really be compared to another model the way you compare image quality from say a 7d and a 550d/t2i
 

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I just bought a used 5D classic in fabulous shape from my local camera store as my first venture into full frame DSLR's. Coming from a T3i, I found the performance of the 5D to be great. Paired with the right lens, I find the 5D to excel in low light compared to my T3i, and I don't find 3 FPS to be all that slow. Plenty fast for me to shoot action shots of friends rowing. Personally I don't need a body that shoots 6 or 8 FPS. The newer sensors are definitely better, and the ISO capabilities of the newer bodies are nicer, but the 5D classic is certainly no slouch. The thing I liked the most about the 5D as opposed to my T3i was the build construction and quality of the 5D body. I do find the screen small and I fondly remember the screen in the T3i when using it, but I don't find the LED's hard to see at all. Great value for a full frame in my opinion.
 

Steve5D

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I earn a pretty fair living with a 5D.

I always chuckle when someone talks about a camera being "outdated" because new cameras have been introduced. The camera still does what it was designed to do, and it does it very, very well.

My checking account will attest to that...
 

pixmedic

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I earn a pretty fair living with a 5D.

I always chuckle when someone talks about a camera being "outdated" because new cameras have been introduced. The camera still does what it was designed to do, and it does it very, very well.

My checking account will attest to that...

Wait... What?!?

I always heard you cant be a "pro" (as defined by charging for your work) unless you had the absolute latest and greatest gear...:confused:
 

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