Saturday, March 3, 2012

Canon Announces New 5D Mark III ... My Reaction

Canon's long anticipated roll out of the latest incarnation of its full-frame DSLR, the 5D Mark III, has generated the predictable flurry (actually, a blizzard) of comments in forums, chat rooms, tweets and blogs.  But after reading the camera's spec's, for the life of me I can't understand the excitement.  Even Canon, in its official announcement, admits this new model is more a refinement of its predecessor than an evolutionary jump in features and capabilities. And the Mark III is priced  $1500 more than the Mark II.  I predict what's left of the inventory of Mark II cameras will now fly off the shelves into the hands of photographers who have been waiting to consider the Mark III before making the plunge into a full frame Canon body.  And many of those who now own a Mark II will exhale a yawn of relief and declare the enhancements don't justify investing in an upgrade.  This should render the market for used 5D Mark II's all the more competitive.  My conclusion: There hasn't been a better time to own a 5D II body. If you have money begging to be spent, invest in the best lens you can afford.  A well-treated lens will outlive its owner.
Update ... Sunday, March 4
Yesterday, I stumbled upon an article in Gizmodo Australia that essentially says the same thing about the 5D, except in a snappy, journalistic style. The author, Andrew Liszewski, says something I wasn't aware of, that Canon will continue making the Mark II even after this roll-out of the Mark III. "...Canon obviously feels the 5D Mark II still has plenty of life left to keep it in the line-up." Liszewski expands upon this in a related article.  Looks like there's price drop in our future.
A couple of bloggers I regularly follow have posted remarks this past week that reinforce a decision to postpone, if not completely forget about, upgrading to the Mark III this year, or to any new camera body for that matter.

On March 1, Darwin Wiggett confessed that it has taken him 25 years to move "on from an obsession with gear to an obsession with creating."  He gives 6 reasons to take your hand off your wallet and seek relief from GAS (gear acquisition syndrome).  To summarize:
  • It's not the gear that matters, it's how you use it.
  • Only upgrade if current equipment is limiting your ability to translate your vision into pictures
  • Don't be fooled by the mega pixel war
  • A decent tripod and head, and high quality lenses, are more important than a top end camera
  • Wait at least 6-9 months before buying the latest camera body because there are always bugs and firmware issues that need fixing.
  • Using gear you own is the only way to become a better photographer
On the same day, Guy Tal wrote that "when ... budding photographer[s] ... mastered the trivial technicalities of operating their equipment, and the tools to process and present their work, they should dedicate themselves wholly to the lifelong study and refinement of their awareness and composition skills."  Equipment and the technical aspects of its operation are trivial.  What separates the masterful photographic artist from everyone else isn't the equipment in the bag but the awareness and visual/design skill the artist has nurtured over a lifetime.

Personally, I'm at a point in my creative life that I'd rather "blow" a couple of thousand dollars on my own education and development by attending a workshop led by people who can help me stretch my limits and challenge me to improve my art.  I'll leave the next upgrade to my hardware on the store's shelf for now.

But I can't wait for Canon to come out with a full-frame mirrorless camera!

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