2013 Review of Canon 5D classic

December 06, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

I love my 5D classic. 

Back in 2005 when I had the mighty 20D as my primary camera, the announcement of full frame 5D at "affordable" price was a major news. Nikon users were left drooling and were told they could never have a FF camera as official nikon policy was to stick with DX back then, and even the 20D had a better noise performance and resolution than its equivalent Nikon - the 6MP D70s, which i also also owned before moving to canon due to unfortunate failure of by brand new D70s.

The 12MP full frame sensor at the time was as good as the 1ds MkII - which was the world's best camera. 
As a uni student, I could only dream about 5D, and the Canon 1DsMkII was even beyond the reach of my dreams.

Years later in 2012, I got a chance to buy a 5D classic in mint condition for under $700. My dreams finally came true. ( I already owned a 5DMkII and a new 60D, but wanted an affordable Full frame second camera).

I kept my primary lens on the 5DMkII- usually a Tamron 24-70mm F2.8 VC ( which i used for 80% of the time )and kept my Canon 70-200mm F4 L IS on the 5D classic ( was used about 20% of the time) and I didn't have to change lenses when i needed some extra reach. I also found that the 5D Classic paired exceptionally well with my Sigmalux  and now this is the combination that gets a lot of use indoors and for BW candid shots.
The 5D worked so well for me that the 60D did not get any further use- hence got sold.

The images that come from this camera is pleasing. The skin tone is spot on and flattering, and colours look natural to my eyes.

I personally find its colour to be a bit more realistic and pleasing than 5DMkII and MkIII. At ISO100 to 400, the images are clean, but at ISO 800, there is some noise, but its not distracting in any way. The noise starts becoming more noticeable at ISO 1600 and thats where the magic happens.

Canon 5D with Sigma 50mm f1.4 at ISO 1600Canon 5D with Sigma 50mm f1.4 at ISO 1600Canon 5D with Sigma 50mm f1.4 at ISO 1600

I usually use ISO 1600 indoors and use the sigma 50mm f1.4 lens at F2, use the camera in Manual and Aperture priority on some occasions, and use central weighted metering to shoot RAW.
During processing, I prefer changing anything above ISO 1600 to BW in lightroom and the results are as good as any camera can produce. It may not be the cleanest, fastest or most comfortable camera to work with, but its filled with no unnecessary features and does exactly what its supposed to do- take beautiful pictures.

Canon 5D with 70-200mm F4 L IS lensCanon 5D with 70-200mm F4 L IS lensCanon 5D with 70-200mm F4 L IS lens
 

Its 2013 and pundits are predicting mirrorless are getting so good that the days of the DSLR are numbered ( and they are not talking about a camera introduced on 2005! ) and I went back in time to get a 5D.

Canon 5D with 70-200mm F4 L IS lensCanon 5D with 70-200mm F4 L IS lensCanon 5D with 70-200mm F4 L IS lens

Well, its a matter of taste and also economics, I really like the look of slightly grainy BW images and rich rendering of a full frame sensor.  Its not about now noise, or dynamic range or fast AF or 10 frames per seconds. I am perfectly comfortable shooting at a max. ISO of 1600-2000 and I use center point AF and my camera is in single frame all the time. 
and I am very happy to get a full frame camera in mint condition at $600 to $700.
If I need to shoot at ISO 6400 for any reason, the 5DMkII comes out.

Update 2014: I decided to switch back to Nikon and have now sold all my canon equipments after 8 years with Canon. I now use D600 bodies along with Nikon 24-70mm F2.8 and 70-200mm F2.8 VRII lenses as my primary cameras and lenses. Still there is nothing wrong with old 5D's,they work just fine as long as one stays within its limitations. The D600's produce amazing details and there is tons of dynamic range- way more than any canons I have ever used- especially on the shadows. But still- canon 5D classic is my fav. when it comes to colour- especially skin tones. They look just right while Nikons are bit on the green side and require a bit more work to get skin tones right for my taste.

 

 


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