Why I Bought A 4 Year Old Camera

Why I Bought A 4 Year Old Camera

Recently I was chatting in a photo forum and mentioned that I am loving my new Canon 5D MK2. Someone noticed and said, "do you mean the MK3?" When I told them no, I recently bought a new MK2 I got flamed with questions of, "WHY?!?!" Well let me explain...

You see, I had been shooting on a Nikon D300 since November of 2008, and it had served me well. At the time of my purchase I was shooting a lot of things that involved movement and on-camera flash (I was shooting a lot of "underground" hardcore punk rock shows). The D300 coupled with an SB900 served me perfectly. As time went on though I broke away from shooting these kinds of shows, and broke away from using on camera flash. Slowly but surely I found myself shooting more stuff in natural light, or with off camera flash. I dreamed of purchasing a D700 for a while, but as time went on and life ran its course, my financial situation never permitted the upgrade.

Fast forward 4 years and now I primarily shoot portraiture and fashion editorials. I was no longer utilizing the 52 point AF system of the D300, and in fact I had reverted back to primarily using my center AF point as I did when I shot film on a Nikon N90s. I often found myself shooting wide and cropping in, which at 12mp wasn't always the best idea. It was time to look for more. I knew I wanted to make the jump to full frame, but I had some options to weigh. On the Nikon side my options were the D600 or the D800 (I had no desire to drop the kind of money I would need on a D4). The D800 had me salivating, but the thought of having to buy way more hard drive space and ram to handle those file sizes is what turned me off. The D600 had it's own set backs, and at the time the sensor dust issue was a giant turn off for me. On the Canon side there was the 5D MK3, MK2, and the 6D. The MK3 was awesome, but at $3500 at the time, it was a little out of my price point (I was trying to keep this purchase below $2500 if at all possible). The 6D was nice, but as with all new technology, I didn't trust it yet. Also the 1/180 flash sync speed of the 6D was appalling to me. That left me with the MK2.

The MK2 has an inferior AF system compared to the MK3, but when I am just using it with the center AF point and for pretty still subjects, it is beyond perfect. The MK2 doesn't have as good of low light performance as the MK3, but comparing ISO 2000 of my old D300 vs the MK2, there is no contest. The MK2 doesn't have a burst rate like the D300 or the MK3 but I am not shooting action, and thus I have no need for this. Finally, the file size of the MK2 files is almost double that of the D300 files, but not so extreme that I was looking at massive upgrades for my computer. At the time of my purchase too, the MK2 could be had for $1500. It was a no brainer for me.

At the end of the day, I don't even think that the camera makes the photo, but rather the photographer does. With that being said though, the upgraded features of the MK2 over my D300 definitely make taking photos much easier for me, and make my job a lot easier in many situations. Technology is going to constantly evolve, and at what point do we say, "ok, this is good enough," for me, that was with the MK2.

My name is Anthony Tripoli, and I proudly bought a 4 year old camera.

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I'm thinking of buying a 6 year old Mamiya DM22 ... so hey :) 

You and me both! Actually the Leaf Aptus 22 (same back). Here's to hoping for a nice sized tax return!

Adil Boukind's picture

And I recently bought a 20 years old camera. I love my M6 <3

Don Kittle's picture

You'll love it, Von Wong.  The skin tones are spectacular!  Great dynamic range in the shots too.  I think the D800 is a little better for DR but not quite as nice in skin tone gradients (tends to bloom a little compared to the DM22).

Timuçin HIZAL's picture

Respect RB67. i think too...

Denny Mack's picture

Wow. Who gives a crap?

Ah Denny...you come across as a complete wanker.
Well done mate.

Rob Ruttan's picture

 Apparently Denny gave enough of a crap to spend time writing a comment, mistakenly assuming that the rest of us give a crap that he doesn't give a crap.


I thought there was quite a bit of agreement that the new mkIII was a bit crap. so you know, why wouldn't you get a decent camera like a mkII at a lower price?

and seriously, it's the photographer that matters, not the gear

I'm not aware of any sentiment that the 5D3 is crap.  Massively overpriced @ $3500, yes.  Failed to move the ball forward in terms of sensor dynamic range, yes.  But otherwise it's a better camera in all respects than the highly regarded 5D2.  AF is amazing.  Noise performance at higher ISO's is awesome.  Many tweaks that make shooting easier: +/-5 stops EC, electronic level, 6fps, improved ergonomics.  I own both bodies and I would never choose the 5D2 over the 5D3 (which is not to disparage the author's choice of a 5D2).

Geoff Lister's picture

The mark III is far from crap, I bought one and will buy another soon to replace my trusty old 5Dii that's been around the world and back with me. I know a guy who opted to go for lighter bodies and get the Mark III instead of the 1D X. He shoots for Reuters and gets everything he wants (400 2.8, 600, etc), and he opted for 5D III's. Why? They met his needs. And they meet mine too. 

I shoot sports, news and weddings, the new autofocus was huge for me and the video quality is a big jump and better than Nikon's (especially for editing, much more detail and grade retained). I'm not about to switch my lenses, especially as Nikon's big glass is nearly double the price of Canon's and shittier (comparing past generations). The D800 doesn't have the frame rate I want. All depends on who you are. For a fashion shooter that Nikon prime set and the D800 are looking pretty good. Portrait people might be saying the same thing. If I had a big budget, Nikon's buybacks for big organizations is really tempting. But I'm pretty happy with my stuff right now, as you say, it's the photographer that really matters.


are you braindead or just a moron?

The 5D MK II is a legend! As far as I'm concerned you can use it for another 10 years and still make a living making great images. I recently ran into a guy on the beach who was bragging about upgrading from a MK II to a MK III, saying that he got it for the built in HDR mode.... I almost died. I would personally rather buy two more MK II's than one MK III. Too many pixel peepers out there who don't have a clue about making good images waste their time measurebating and reading MTF and ISO charts. I still sell some stock photos taken long ago with a Nikon D1H.

Mark Jones's picture

So rather than buy a bigger hard drive, you'd rather buy all new glass?

Going from a crop sensor to full frame... im betting he had to any way. You can find great Canon L glass used for very low price.

 I sound like he switched platforms altogether.  I am not sure when he purchased this MkII but the D700 is about the same price now so why not just stay on the Nikon platform?  I didn't understand why he mentioned not wanting to purchase a bigger hard drive when that is the cheapest thing in this whole equation...to each his own the 5d mkii is still a bad ass camera, yes there are other other options that could have been smarter or better but he will enjoy his time with this camera and get some great images.

 I'd like to know where you shop, or what your definition of "very low" is, then.
And the switch was from Nikon to Canon, so yeah -  all new glass too. I just bought a nice 8gig ram, 2 TB drive computer for $800, ~and~ a 3 TB NAS for $140 more. So the author's logic plumb escapes me, since even now a 5DII is about 2 grand + glass on top of that.

You don't know how much he shoots, either. Buying more hard drives may be more of a hassle than buying new gear, especially if most of that new gear is subsidized by the cost of selling off his old gear. He also said that 12MPs wasn't enough for the type of shooting he was doing.

He switched systems, and is now happy, why is everyone acting so hurt about a decision that he made for HIMSELF? It's like you didn't even read the article.

True enough about not knowing how much he shoots. But it's hard for me to understand how buying an external drive is much of a hassle. I go to the store, buy a drive for $140, plug it into my router, run a short setup program and good to go. My NAS will store about 15,000 RAWs in the 20Mb range. When it gets full, I'll get another, and it'll probably store 2x as much for the same price. Moore's law affects DSLR's and computer storage as well.
And I did read the article, I'm just questioning the author's wisdom in totally changing brands, rather than changing his style of shooting, or making some other tweak. I'm not hurt about it in the least.

Knox College's picture

I bought a 5D mk 1 recently and I love it and now use it more than my 7D. So 4 years is nothing, try 8.

Ive just got a 5d mk1 to compliment my 7d too. what lens you using on it mate?

John Williams Photos's picture

Mostly my 50mm f/1.4 its beautiful 

 I agree I had a 7d then I bought a 5D then a 5d mkII both are solid cameras they have their shortcoming but over all a solid camera

Dan Lubbers's picture

I'm still rocking a 5D mark 1 as well. I have it covered in black tape, cause I'm tired of people asking me why I shoot with a mark 1. I will be upgrading in the near future, but too many people buy product they don't know and will never know how to use just because it costs more and they can say, well I shoot a Mark III or 1DX. 

Funny video about this phenomenon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEwUnENlc9M


When will people stop thinking it's about gear...

Sometimes it is the gear... As you progress the gear can hold you back. A better camera may not help  make better pictures but it will make your job easier. 

 I shoot live music in local clubs. I used to do it with film, and got really good at making do with a 1/30th or even 1/15th wide open. Then I got a Rebel Xt about a year ago to learn digital. Even that thing blew my film cam away, but I quickly realized I couldn't get the shots I knew I should be getting, so I upped to the 7D. Gear ~was~ holding me back. But concert shooting is some of the most challenging photography there is and most people really don't need the very top of the line, they just think they do. Hell, I compared pics I shot with a $30 point n shoot to another guy's pics off a $5000 setup - guess what? ;)

Joshua Tousey's picture

I call bull crap!! Gear is important. go buy a kit camera from Walmart, costco and try to shoot a Concert in a dark bar. lets see how nice your images look?? better cameras have better iso for low light better AF sensor. and better glass crisper and quicker focuses as well as better stops for more light not to mention the quality of the actual glass. come on people think before you open your mouth. a kit camera will be alright in studio. but take it away from your flashes and lets see how professional your images look. 

 Well, gear is important. Sometimes. I shoot bands in bars too, so I know. But most people don't, and they don't need high ISO. But the basic point is always - pro gear doesn't make you a pro by itself. If you know how to use that high priced gear, then yeah. I know a lot of guys with more money than photo skills.