Janice Issitt                    Life and Style

travel, interiors, photography, home, crafts, personal style

30 Sep 2016

Canon 5D MK IV camera chat

I'm not a gadget freak, or a follower of the latest models and updates, I generally try to keep up to date as much as it concerns what I do but techno babble bores me senseless, so here's my rough guide to my new camera for those out there who need to cut through the bullshit and just take cool arty photos. (Also it has a 600 page booklet ... hello !!!)

It started with me thinking about getting a new lens for the Canon 5D MKII, to wondering if I should get a second hand Mark III body, to then discovering that there is now a Mark IV model, which just came out in August.  The other half said, well why don't you watch some reviews comparing the models on youtube ... oh my word, now there's a whole other topic to talk about.  

Apparently to be a camera reviewer on youtube you need to wear a baseball cap, and blurt out as much technical babble in a short amount of time as possible. The assumption being that you already know what all the abbreviations mean and this is what rocks your world.  I seriously think that photographers are split in two camps, those who revel in the new technical specs and those who just want to reproduce the beautiful images they see in their mind. These are two quite different beasts, and without appearing sexist, I do think that gender has a lot to do with it.  

Don't get me wrong, all the women photographers I know definitely know how to use their cameras, and get pretty excited when they buy new tripods and lenses as I do.  But generally we don't tend to rant on about f-stops and AF (auto focus) points, we just like to cut to the chase and say how the technical improvements affect us in our work. When talking pictures we are more likely to discuss how we make a composition and work with natural light, and how different locations lend themselves to different styles of photo.

I think the main thing that swung me into wanting this new camera is that it has a large screen on the back, this can be switched onto live mode so you can see what you would normally see through the viewfinder before taking the photo.  This is hugely helpful when you are setting up the right position for the tri-pod.  Then the very best thing of all, you can touch the screen to focus and take a photo, thus altering the points of focus quickly and accurately.

My eyesight has got pretty bad over the last ten years, it was perfect all my life and after 45 it just started to go, age related. I find it really frustrating trying to get sharp pictures but no longer have the stress wondering, as this camera can be relied on to get it perfect.  Also it has wifi, so you can also view what's going on in the camera, on your laptop and even take photos from the laptop remotely. This is something I will do in future when working with a team, so my stylist can see what the final photo will look like.

These 5D's work so well in low light and this new model has improved that even further. It's got more pixels blah blah, but all we want to know is how it handles the light in dark moody still life etc. The answer to that is incredibly.

Before even looking at the booklet I just popped the battery in and after finding where the new position is for the on/off, just started.  I sussed out where the button for the live screen is and it took a few minutes for it to sink in that the screen is now touch sensitive, it was like a revelation. I kept reducing the light and it just coped brilliantly, in fact it didn't go dark enough for me, but I need to mess about with the aperture and speed for this rather than using auto.

Day two, I have decided to start making videos and one of the things raved about by the baseball cap wearing geeks, was the quality of the videos shot on this camera. Not only is the quality incredible but the ease in which you can switch onto video mode. So I made some footage of a singer I'm working with and tested it out on a few simple clips. I made a few basic mistakes by shooting portrait and not landscape (so I had to flip the footage in editing), and I tried hand held filming which for this was simply not right.

To switch over to video mode you just move the 'live view' switch round and use the touch screen to focus.  It did an amazing thing, it has face recognition, so when the singer moved around it followed his face to keep it in focus, my word, is there anything this Mark IV can't do.

I bought the camera with a lens, a 24-70 as I didn't have one of these, as an interiors photographer you often need to go slightly wide angle, but have to be careful not to warp perspective too much. A 70 is lovely for portrait so this lens covers both my needs.

Day three we took the new 5D out for a walk and just shot some random footage outdoors so I could try it in a few different situations, I still need to get used to the auto focus through the viewfinder as it is a different system and can be adapted in different situations, thats a whole section of booklet I need to read. 

This weekend I'm going to make a fun short video with my friends as a test, I also need to practise how to edit, a skill I will be working on over Christmas. We are then off to Paris for more filming and photos and I have another singer lined up to shoot a video with too, so I had better get my act together.

Just one warning though, if you are updating to a new camera chances are you will need to update some of your other stuff too. Pain in the arse but my perfectly good laptop is too old to take the software needed to edit videos from this camera, so I now need a new laptop and the latest versions of i-movie and Final Cut Pro to edit the footage. I'm going to try both and see what I think of them. I've used i-movie before but it may be a bit too basic for my needs now.

If my weekend project works out I will be posting it here and on instagram.  In the future I want to make more little films, and maybe some tutorials too about crafts and diy. I hope my regular readers will find these entertaining.

Next week I will have some cool photos of Paris and some places to recommend, until then, au revoir. 
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