Why I switched to Canon EOS R system from my Canon 5dMKIV’s which I absolutely adored.
I would like to take you through the first part of the evolution – where the obsession with Canon started and why I switched to Canon EOS R system. In part 2 I will go into more detail about the lenses which are the true heroes of the story.
I first used a Canon camera during my national service. I was posted to Paratus, the SADF magazine, where I was given a Canon AE-1 Program, some black and white film and told to cover a story.
Of course, I didn’t tell them I had never developed a film or printed my own prints before.
Fast forward about 13 years, I had just started my design and web development company, Black Rooster, and needed photography done. So instead of paying someone else, I thought I would just do it myself. By then the digital revolution was upon us and I bought a Canon 10D digital camera.
As the new models came out, I upgraded to the 20D’s before the magic 5D arrived on the scene.
I still have the 10D and a 5D on my shelf and from time to time break them out and shoot with them just to remind myself of how far the equipment has come and how lucky I am.
I absolutely loved my 5D MK IV setup. At weddings and events, I always shot with 2 cameras, one with the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM and the other with the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM. I had everything dialled in so that I knew exactly what I was going to get and trusted them completely.
The only thing I was not 100% pleased with was shooting wedding couple shoots wide open and as wide as my 24-70 would go.
I wanted to zoom in and see eyelashes even though I wanted to shoot at f2.8 with the couple small in the frame and not in the centre.
Roger and Jan from Canon were forever getting calls from me and they very competently and painstakingly explained the science behind why this was indeed not possible. MTF graphs were shown, alternative lenses proposed, but the outcome was always the same.
It’s a science thing – bending light through the lens, onto the sensor, unless you are stopped down there will always be an issue.
Keep the couple in the center if wide open or stop down was the advice from all and sundry – both of which I did not want to do.
I am sure there were a few other people who had this problem, I am not sure if it also led to sleepless nights and freaking out at weddings about it for them, or if they just accepted and move on.
As with everything I do, I could not let it go.
When Daphne and Elizabeth, the receptionist at Canon, recognized my voice and started the conversation by saying, Hello Quintin, is this about the sharpness wide open, remember, it is a science thing..” I realized I had to accept the science.
The fact is my expectations were just too high for what could be delivered.
And then I was given an EOS R to try.
I seem to remember giving it back the next day or so – it was just not a real camera.
The buttons were in weird places, the electronic viewfinder, damn mirrorless cameras…
A few weeks later Roger handed me another one with the 85mm 1.2 and said do me a favour, shoot wide open and let me know what you think.
At 1.2 it was sharper than a mother-in-law’s tongue – and I mean edge to edge – there was just no loss in sharpness anywhere.
It was at an evening event where the client asked me not to use any flash. Later that evening they switched off the main lights…
There was nothing else I could do but shoot at ISO5000 and f1.2. That was the day I became a convert.
OI course f1.2 is stupidly shallow depth of field, but combined with the eye-tracking AF, I was hitting 9/10 shots 100% in focus on the eye.
That was a game-changer for me. And even if I was not using the eye-tracking AF, but simply using a single focus point it was super-fast and more importantly, super accurate.
I put my 2 5dmkiv’s up for sale and ordered 2 EOS R’s.
Granted, it is probably still not possible to see eyelashes wide open at 24mm, but the image is sharp AF!
In the next post, I will go discuss the RF lenses and their giant leap in performance from the EF lenses.