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The Legendary 5D Mark I: Still a Great Choice for Photographers


The Legendary 5D Mark I: Still a Great Choice for Photographers

Thirteen years ago, Canon brought out the 5D Mark I, the first full-frame camera that wasn’t weather-sealed and the size and weight of a small car. Photographer Pablo Strong explains why it’s still his first choice for street portraits, bravely comparing it to a 5D Mark IV.

I was fortunate to own the first iteration of the 5D. Bizarrely, I was pretty much forced into buying one in Rome, when halfway through three weeks of dirtbagging around Italy with two friends in a 1976 Citroen 2CV, the shutter on my 1D failed and at 5:30 pm on a Saturday, I was faced with the choice of either buying a 5D using my friend’s credit card or not taking any photos during the remaining ten days of the adventure. It was a big investment, and jumping from a crop sensor with a high frame rate to a full frame with a slow frame rate was a huge change, but one that I quickly came to love.

I truly miss my 5D, in the same way that I still miss my even older EOS 5. The extra width on my 16-35mm lens reminded me of one of the things I missed about shooting film, and the combination of the “consumer” mode dial with the “pro” shutter/aperture dials made it a joy to use. And Strong is right: I’d recommend this body to anyone new to photography who wants to learn about shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. With the controls right under your finger and thumbs, changes are more accessible (one dial does this, the other dial does the other), and shooting in good light means that, even thirteen years on, the image quality is comparable.

If you’ve still got one lying in a cupboard somewhere, maybe dig it out, give it a clean, chuck on a 50mm f/1.8, and go and enjoy some street portraiture.

The 1976 Citroen 2CV, the Alps, and what happens when your shutter fails when standing right next to the Colosseum in Rome.

Video of £300 vs £5000 Camera Setup! (Canon 5D Mk I vs Mk IV)


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