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Understanding The Photo Fix!

That Burning Desire to Get the Latest "Thing" No Matter What…

The Photo Fix

I recently battled with myself as to whether I should buy the new Canon EOS 5D Mark III or not. On paper it looked amazing and exactly what I needed, or was it just the photo fix?

It had some great updates and additions that I could most certainly use. However, things I could almost certainly (and have up to now) lived without on a DSLR at least.

I even have most of the features I wanted in the Mark III on my other cameras that I own. Particularly with regards to video…and then some.

On my Sony Handycam, I already have time lapse, slow motion, stop motion, multiple frame rates, dual mic inputs. The Sony PMW EX1 also has 3 sensors, solid state dual card slots, peaking etc. Some things the Mark III doesn’t have).

So, I checked a few image quality tests, including this interesting one over at "The Digital Picture".

This shows there is a huge difference in quality between the 5D Mark II and the Mark III even at 100%. Even if you look at the Kodak Colour Control Patches a couple of scrolls down. Are the high ISO pictures better on the Mark III or has the new low pass filter simply blurred the pixels?

For me the Mark II wins hands down with regards to sharpness on this occasion. I have heard the same from videographers like Philip Bloom who talk about greater softness in video mode on the 5D Mark III too.

Do people really care?

Let’s face it, a bride or client has never said "Oh wow, I love the way you shot that at ISO 25,600 and presented it to me straight out of camera".

Or:

"You have nailed that focus on my right eye, it must be the 61 point autofocus in your new DSLR".

I was quite disappointed with the above comparison. Other reviewers also said that you can correct this softness by sharpening in post was a cop out as far as I am concerned. Now I may eat my words when I see the real time comparisons start to emerge, but I still absolutely love the sharpness and clarity of the 5D Mark II. So much so I bought another one last week instead of the "doubly-priced" EOS 5D Mark III.

Despite all my whinging above, when the new 5D Mark II arrived I noticed something strange and quite mystifying…

Even though I had EXACTLY the same camera sitting right next to me, I still excitedly opened the box. I  put in a fresh battery and played with the camera for a couple of hours. Then I went through the menu system and set everything up to suit my shooting style.

It felt as though I had bought a new camera that I had never used before.

I then realised that this was "the photo fix"

The excitement of buying something new and expensive is almost like an unconscious justification of spending so much on something I already owned. This wasn't even an upgrade but simply a second camera purchase for weddings.

I honestly believe that this is what fuels the consumerism we see all around it these days. The "I gotta have that thing" attitude.

This year, I am weaning myself off all that and using what I have to make money and good images. I am concentrating on improving my photography and editing skills as well as my video techniques. My office looks like the B & H Photo Video store (well, not quite) with a PC bulging with software. Admittedly most of it gets used and I know I have enough gear to produce the goods in any situation, location or time of day.

I'm free!

I feel like I have been liberated from this decision that has been haunting me for weeks. Can I finally now get on with my life. Did I make the right decision? Time will tell but I do know it is time to forget all the hype and get back to enjoying my photography. Not worrying about all the new toys being released (until the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is announced : ) is strange.

  • I got into photography more than 30 years ago for the art
  • The joy of getting just one in 36 shots nailed
  • Dizzying smells of the chemicals in my darkroom
  • The pleasure of walking endless miles searching for that one elusive landscape shot
  • For the sheer joy of experimenting with basic kit and a whole heap of ideas

Even the disappointment after waiting for two weeks for my photos to arrive only to find they were all cr*p was a surreal pleasure!

I’m going out to play now…to get my true photo fix!

If you think someone you know always craves that "fix", please share this with them.

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