Why I bought the Original 2005 Canon 5D

23Mar13

Canon 5D Shim

Shim Removal

I started my DSLR adventure back in 2007 with a Nikon D40, and shortly after I found myself drawn to the old manual focus, non-cpu lenses, because they were relatively cheap. On the Nikon D40, this meant no metering, either. I developed a great sense for what the light value would be in a given situation, and perfected the art of manual focus on a tiny dim viewfinder (I had nothing to compare it to, though). I even shot sports with it, although not necessarily on assignment. Because of this, I’m not the type of person that desires or even needs a top of the line AF system. I’m fine with basic metering systems, too, they’re better than what I had, which was nothing. In fact, I’d love to have a Leica M8. The price eludes me from the Leica cameras, but there is something similar, especially given the lenses I intend on using.

Enter the Canon EOS 5D. The “Classic,” a nickname given to it from the community to differentiate between it and the Mark II and Mark III. Its AF system is known to be pretty bad. The screen is a relatively low quality one by today’s standards at 2.5 inches and 230k dots. The viewfinder only shows 96% of the actual frame. It doesn’t have weather sealing, either. Despite these setbacks, it has almost everything I want in a camera: 1/8000 max shutter speed, metering with non-CPU lenses, magnesium alloy construction, top LCD, dedicated buttons that allow fast access to camera settings, and most importantly, the 36 x 24mm full frame sensor. And it doesn’t look that bad either. In fact, I think it has aged a lot better than the Nikon D70s that was released around the same time.

The awful AF system doesn’t matter, as I’ll be using manual focus lenses on it. The screen matters little, it will actually help me get out of the habit of looking at every photograph after I click the shutter button. I can also swap out the focusing screen for a more precise one to help me manually focus.

So that’s why I bought the Canon 5D. It’s a relatively simple camera by today’s standards, and it’s only 20% of its original cost now. For those that don’t need video or live view or a start of the art AF system, I think the Classic is a fantastic choice. If I need fast AF and faster continuous shooting, or video, I have my Nikon D7000.

As for the photos featured in this post, I got my 5D finally, but it was front focusing. I was dealing with it for the day by just focusing slightly past what was sharp in the viewfinder. When I got home, I decided to see what I could do to fix it. All I had to do was take out one of the two shims, and now it’s more or less spot on.

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