Is canon 5D Mark II suitable for low light photography

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by sreegraphy, Jul 29, 2009.

  1. I am planning to go for canon 5D mark II. Would it be a better choice to rely on.. The key area I am focusing on is to make photographs for weddings and going thru many forums and reviews by users I find 5D mark II has slow AF in low light... Pl suggest me with your comments. Thanx
     
  2. If you learn how to auto focus properly even an old 10D is quick in low light.
    * Move AF activation off the shutter release (a custom function).
    * Use the center AF point.
    * Place the center point over an area of contrast and activate AF. Once locked, recompose and shoot.
    ** Shooting fast primes helps.
    This is absolutely faster than manually selecting a point, and absolutely more sure than letting the camera choose points. Whenever I read complaints about AF in low light I just laugh. Used properly I haven't had a slow AF lock or AF misfocus in low light with any of the xxD series going all the way back to the 10D, which has a very old AF module by today's standards. Even with f/4 lenses. Used properly any AF module on any modern camera is quite good in low light.
     
  3. It has a hard time in dim lighting on low-contrast targets when using the outer AF points. I find ordinary indoor lighting perfectly adequate for the center AF point on most subjects. I use the AF assist of the ST2E remote flash when shooting in darkness or near darkness to illuminate the subject with red target lines. Then it locks on instantly.
    Image quality is amazingly good, even at ISO 3200 and, in a pinch, ISO 6400.
     
  4. YES.
    One again it all depends on h elens you put in front of the camera.
    I shoot very often @ ISO 3200, but that's @ F1,2 to F2. It sounds different if you go high ISO to compensate for a F5.6 lens.
    Check this link for images taken @ ISO 3200 and also HD video @ F2,8
    http://nomadphotography.com.au/blog/2009/07/miss-top-model-haley-on-nomad-tv/
     
  5. I wanted to add that the same basic technique used on an old 35mm A2E also results in fast AF even in very low light.
     
  6. Yes if you know how to get the best from AF. I suspect fast lenses help but as all the one I use regularly are F2.8 or faster I have very little experience of slow lenses.
     
  7. Daniel, can you explain the significance of moving AF activation off the shutter release?
     
  8. It separates the AF from the metering if you are shooting in Av for example.
    Cheers, Bob
     
  9. Elliot - in addition to Bob's comment, to me it's easier to activate off the rear button. You don't have to try and hold down the shutter half way while recomposing. If you happen to be shooting with settings that yield good DoF, you also don't have to keep focusing if your subject distance has not changed. (I mention the DoF because it can be razor thin with, say, an f/1.2 lens, so thin that even slight body movement forward or backward on your part could require a refocus.)
    The most frustrating thing is to have the AF points land on low contrast areas, and have a camera guessing with each shot. Nearly as annoying is having to focus/recompose with every frame if the subject distance has not changed.
     
  10. I've used Daniel's old skool "lock AF on points of contrast" since 1990 and have never failed to achieve AF. Before that I did it manually with the prism spilt on my FM series cameras. And modern cameras like the 5DII are way better than my old EOS 10S, 5 and Elans. So with a little technique and common sense nailing AF in hand holdable light is as easy as falling off a friggen log.
    Personally I don't like CF 4 and using the * button or AF-on button instead of the shutter. I prefer using the * to lock exposure as I often metering off objects other than my subject.
    But back to the 5DII. It has the best low light AF and high ISO of any camera I've owned these past 19 years, and I've owned many. No problem shooting outside at night, in dim churches, bars and casinos, etc. Incidentally, most wedding shooters use fill flash so the AF assist of a Speedlite will even let your focus in total darkness on a white wall if you need to...
     
  11. I think Jeff Ascough gave some insights on this (he uses 5D2s) here: http://www.photo.net/wedding-photography-forum/00Tz2P
     
  12. I too use the central focus point only at times...but I would warn that using the method of 'focus and recompose' can lead to some unusual results if your camera is set to use evaluative metering.
    I still use this method of focusing, but I'm a lot more careful about when I do use it.
    I too highly recommend moving the AF function away from the shutter release...
     
  13. I can't add too much, but the difference between a f4 and f2.8 for AF is huge to me. From what I've read, the AF is always done at the largest aperture available, regardless of what you are using for exposure. I got the Mk II for low light event photography and it really made a big difference in the results.
     
  14. To me that question is humorous. In my opinion, the 5D II is the BEST Canon low light camera by far.
    If it isn't good for low light, no Canon camera is.
     
  15. To me that question is humorous. In my opinion, the 5D II is the BEST Canon low light camera by far. If it isn't good for low light, no Canon camera is.​
    I have to agree with this statement. Best low light camera I have ever used. Not only low light focusing, but low light shooting in general with such a high low noise ISO.
    Plus the BEST thing Canon added for low light focusing is manual focusing using Live View. Even with the best of eyes, in low light you can't visaullly confirm a good focus of anything over a couple feet away with any camera. However, with Live View you can zoom in 10 to 100 % and be able to get razor sharp manual focusing. My night photos have seen a huge jump since using this technique.
     
  16. I second Ed, I laughed when I first read this. I don't know what else you can ask for when it comes to low light performance. If this camera is not suitable what is?
     
  17. Back to Elliots statement of "Daniel, can you explain the significance of moving AF activation off the shutter release?"
    I'm with Elliot, moving that function will do absolutley nothing to improve AF performance. It can improve comfort if its your preference. But the OP's question was about AF performance in Low Light and moving the focus button to rear focus will do ABSOLUTLEY nothing to improve this. Its exactley the same. Use a speedlight or ST2E and focus is near instant. Other than that, fast lenses help the best allowing more light to reach the AF sensor to speed in AF confirmation/accuracy.
    To Ed Rogers/ Minute Photos's statement
    To me that question is humorous. In my opinion, the 5D II is the BEST Canon low light camera by far. If it isn't good for low light, no Canon camera is.​
    Absolutely NOT. Its is nowhere near the speed and accuracy of Canons 1 Series cameras in low light. I know cause I own and use a 1D3 everyday.
    Its is very very good in ISO performance, but it even still isnt beter than the 1D3 in RAW Non NR files. Side by side at 3200 6400 without any NR in raw files, the 1D3 is slightly cleaner. The 5D2 applies heavy NR by default. That said, the files hold up to the NR very well and produces very nice images at these ISO levels, and is the greatest thing at "that" price level. But to say its the best Canon can offer is laughable and easily states you havent used a 1 Series(Mark III's). The AF system in the 5D2 is a joke on the level the camera sits at. The 40D/50D has a better AF system. Canon better do something quick, cause Nikon is offering just about everything they have either at Pro level AF or near. At least the 40D/50D has cross types at all 9 points, the 5D2 only has one. The 40/50D has a diagonal cross type at center which further improves that over the 5D2. Its very accurate, I know cause the 40D is my back up camera.
    I'm not trying to say the 5D2 is a bad camera. Just that it is an over statement to say its the best in low light, cause its NOT....especially in AF. That AF system is prehistoric and rediculous that Canon would put that in after waiting as long as everyone did for an udated 5D. Yes some do very well with it. But its way behind and at $2600 for a body, its asking to much. Resolution isnt everrything(unless you make 20x30 prints for a living).
     
  18. Sorry David, I disagree. The 1DIII does not beat the 5DII in ISO performance, and the 1DsIII struggles to keep up. NR does not enter into it. I only shoot RAW.
    The original 5D almost meets the 1DIII in ISO performance. The 5DII creams it.
    AF yes, but anyone shooting in the dark should be manually focusing anyway. Although, I shot last weekend in a bar with the exposure at ISO 3200, f/1.2, 1/60th and AF worked fine. That's pretty dark. Most people are using flash way before it gets that dark, and AF is not an issue then.
    By the way, I have used the 1 series, and for low light work I'd take the 5DII any day. Those of you that rely on AF can keep your toys, but the 5DII is as Canon says the best for high ISO performance.
     
  19. I'm with Elliot, moving that function will do absolutley nothing to improve AF performance. It can improve comfort if its your preference. But the OP's question was about AF performance in Low Light and moving the focus button to rear focus will do ABSOLUTLEY nothing to improve this. Its exactley the same.
    You missed the whole point, which was that how the photographer uses AF makes all the difference in the world. Leaving AF on the shutter release means that every time you fire a shot, the camera will attempt to refocus. In low light with the point over a low contrast target this means every shot will leave the lens hunting and the photographer cursing "low light AF performance."
    Get AF off the shutter release and use the rear button. Put the AF point over an area of contrast. You'll get a fast focus lock. Now you can fire at will without the lens hunting. Just be sure to refocus if subject distance changes.
    You can put the point over contrast and hold the shutter half way down, but doing that repeatedly gets pretty old and annoying.
     
  20. Ed, you are wrong. Ther 1D3 was considerably better than the old 5D. The 1DsIII is a different story. I refered to it only in AF performance.
    I have used both the 5D2 and my 1D3 side by side and you are wrong and Canon is telling people what they want to hear. "As we have it set up, the files are very clean." But view that file in real raw without any NR and its not the case. Its not bad, but the 1D3 is marginally better. About 1/2 stop better.
    Yes, the ISO performance appears to be better from the 5D2 when opening the RAW file....only at first. What people do not understand is, the 5D2 applies NR to RAW files by default and when opened in programs like DPP for instance, it appears cleaner, until you see where DPP applied the camera set NR to the file as it was displayed. When I turned that feature off, and viewed at 100% I quickly saw where the 5D2 was indeed noisier than the 1D3.
    It does look good when viewed as a picture at normal viewing display and NR applied. I know what I saw in the file and that was more noise. I was amazed until I saw the real file. Its not so hard to believe. The 5D2 pixel density is higher. At 6.4 vs 7.2(1D3) thats a good bit tigher pixel density. Given those numbers and relativley same sensor tech, the numbers tell the story. Which is why they should quit pumping in the pixels.
     
  21. LOL -- These questions always turn into a 1 series vs non-pro body arguments
    I have no problem using a 5D mark I in low light. Focusing is fine with the center point.

    You ever notice lens have a MF function. Yeah, good old reliable manual focus.
    Makes low light focusing easy on any camera body.
     
  22. You said it Paul. BTW, what happens in wedding formals that requires lightning quick focusing anyway? Its been a long time since I shot a wedding but I just cannot recall one time when fast focusing was critical during formals. Now, during the reception? That's another ball of wax.
     
  23. Yes Paul, I use it from time to time. Sometimes its a must. But the OP was asking about lowlight "AF" performance, not "MF" performance. Sometimes we dont have time to MF and this is why we buy expensive equipment.
    My response was to correct someone from being misinformed about a camera. The 5D2 is astounding at high ISO given the MP vs sensor size. But...
    I am uploading 2 files that were taken on the same day, same place, same lens and same unknowing subject.
    I opened the files in DPP(raw files) and the 5D2 appeared much cleaner, then I noticed the NR sliders in default position as per camera default, turned that off. Now both files were viewed at 100%, default everything except NR was off and a 100% crop was taken at the exact same pixel demensions so no disadvantages there. See for yourself. The 5D2 is slightly noisier than the 1D3. Not much, as I said, maybe a 1/2 stop, but was trying to correct the statement that the 5D2 "creams" it. Just not the case. Does well, but not as well as alot of people think.
     
  24. Yes Paul, I use it from time to time. Sometimes its a must. But the OP was asking about lowlight "AF" performance, not "MF" performance. Sometimes we dont have time to MF and this is why we buy expensive equipment.
    My response was to correct someone from being misinformed about a camera. The 5D2 is astounding at high ISO given the MP vs sensor size. But...
    I am uploading 2 files that were taken on the same day, same place, same lens and same unknowing subject.
    I opened the files in DPP(raw files) and the 5D2 appeared much cleaner, then I noticed the NR sliders in default position as per camera default, turned that off. Now both files were viewed at 100%, default everything except NR was off and a 100% crop was taken at the exact same pixel demensions so no disadvantages there. See for yourself. The 5D2 is slightly noisier than the 1D3. Not much, as I said, maybe a 1/2 stop, but was trying to correct the statement that the 5D2 "creams" it. Just not the case. Does well, but not as well as alot of people think.
     
  25. Sorry, the files now.
    00U5Iz-160071584.jpg
     
  26. Now the 5D2
    00U5J9-160073584.jpg
     
  27. Very good. Now downsize the 5DII image to match the resolution of the 1DIII image and compare them again. You will now see an image that is half as noisy with the same detail as the 1DIII, in fact MORE detail than the 1DIII, because the effects of the Bayer interpolation have been taken out by down sampling.
    There really is no argument here. The 1 series is for redundancy, better sealing, better speed, and better (and more) AF points. It's a rugged tool designed for industrial use.
    But what you can't say is that it is the best image quality of the Canon line. At least until the Mark IVs come out.
     
  28. Thanks David for the samples. It is strange that the noise actually looks different. Like film grain from diferent kinds of film. I thought the 5D2 was the only camera which go go to 25000 ISO, but you are correct. I have very little experience with the 1D series camera's. I think the 5D2 is as close as I need to get to a real pro camera. the 5D2 is expensive, but persnally I think with the addition of the HD video is is worth it. Espeacially if it holds its value like the 5D.
     
  29. Its a rhetorical question, surely. And anyway, as wedding shots are so precious because you can't go back and do them again, every photographer I know tweaks their focus manually at weddings anyway, because they are shooting at very low f stops and the resulting shallow depth of field can be tricky to handle.
    And anyway, why would you not use flash? Its a wedding after all, not night street photography. You're not going to be creeping around getting candids...the client won't pay for those. They want a set of memorabilia to show their kids and grandkids.
    The latest flash units are so versatile you can just use them to brighten the shadows or use bounce to brighten the whole scene. So who needs iso3200?
     
  30. No need to resize the images. They were both at 100% pixel level just as the sensor produces them and the same size crop was taken so that neither crop had its pixels packed tighter or looser. Its a 100% crop of exactley how much noise the sensor produces.
    Doing it this way doesnt magnify any noise, what you see is what you get. If you view an image at 50%, the image appears to be less noisy. The fact is, the 5D doesnt produce an image of 3888x2592. So downsizing it makes no sense. You change the game then.
    You can also review the DP Review and they state the same thing. The camera applies heavy NR. Look at there samples turned with NR off and its alot noisier.
    Minute, it is diffeent. They pull out more Chromiance noise. Not much, but very little. It makes it more tolerable to view. The luminance noise isnt as bad as Chromiance. Thats why the D3 looks so good. Lots less Chromiance noise and the D3 tens to over expose slightly which helps subdue noise. You are right, its close enough. Its a great performer, but I couldnt stand by while a statement was made that it was leaps and bounds better in ISO performance and I know its nowhere near as good in AF as 1D3....just isnt so. Though not in the same class, understandable, but you can say its the best if it isnt.
    The sensor produces a slightly noisier image. Thing is it has 21mp and we get these results. Sure would be nice to get a lower MP camera with a truely better noise control.
     
  31. Stephen, I need ISO3200. I shoot weddings. I shoot candids and my clients do pay for them, and they specifically ask for the great candids moreso over the posed stuff. I also use flash almost the whole time. Sometimes, you need ISO 3200 even with flash. Bounce flash isnt used to just brighten the scene. Its mainly used to lift shadows, but done softly cause of the bounced bigger light source thus removing harsh shadows. If bounced properly and not just the tilt forward 45 degree method so many misuse.
    I never "tweak" my focus manually. Only if I'm having trouble getting focus lock or very fine DOF and I need one very thin part in sharp focus, otherwise a wedding flow is too fast paced to manually tweak every single shot.
     
  32. Daniel--
    You say "(I mention the DoF because it can be razor thin with, say, an f/1.2 lens, so thin that even slight body movement forward or backward on your part could require a refocus.)"
    Now, combining this with your 'focus & recompose' technique, don't you run the risk of the main subject falling out of focus when you recompose due to the razor thin DOF?
    Absolutely agree with you on separating AF from shutter release. In addition to allowing one to shoot without constantly refocusing, it helps to be able to meter separately from focusing.
    Let me know what you think about razor thin DOF + recomposing. I actually use the other AF points just b/c I'm afraid that recomposing might cause the main subject to fall out of focus when shooting at f/2.8 (certainly more of a concern for f/1.2!). But, I have to admit, I hate using any of the non-center focus points-- in the dark they continuously hunt!
    If DOF is not a problem with recomposing, I'll certainly switch to just using the center AF point...
    Thanks,
    Rishi
     
  33. Looking at David Amberson's 100% crops, I'm compelled to bring up an unrelated topic: look at the unnatural noise in the form of horizontal and vertical lines. That's right, not random noise as in film grain, but little vertical and horizontal 'slices' all over the place (best way I can describe it).
    David, did you use DPP or ACR/LR to process these photos?
    I see this type of noise in my Panasonic LX3 RAWs also when I use LR or when I use any other open-source software (RAW Photo Processor, digiKam, etc.) and select 'AHD' demosaicing. If, however, I switch to 'VNG' or 'VCDMF' demosaicing, I get much more pleasing noise rendition without these horizontal & vertical 'jaggies' or what have you. RAW Developer also uses some demosaicing algorithm that renders noise much more 'pleasing' (i.e. random).
    Have you guys noticed this? I wonder why on earth more 'sophisticated' software such as Adobe's don't allow for more demosaicing algorithms and for us to choose which demosaicing algorithm we wish to use!
    Thoughts?
    -Rishi
    P.S. Here's a visual comparison of the noise rendition of various demosaicing algorithms:
    http://www3.elphel.com/importwiki?title=Demosaic_on_client_side
     
  34. Allow me to rephrase. Compare ISO 3200 noise between the 5DII and 1DIII in an 8x12 print.
    It is indeed changing the game when comparing apples to apples. Your pixel to pixel comparison is misleading. When comparing equal sized images, the 5DII images will always look better, both in resolution and noise.
    And as I said, I do not use noise reduction. I personally believe that a noiser image looks better because it has more detail. Any noise reduction technique must reduce detail. I also use lightroom, so default settings are the same for all of my cameras: 0 luminance and 20 color, Which I often set to 0 and 0.
    I also shoot weddings, and I must say that I shoot candids in low light, and I have never had to tweak the focus. The AF works fine. If it's so dark that the original 5D and a 1.2 lens can't focus, it's too dark to see. With the 5DII, same deal.
    I'm the kind of guy that feels money is no object when it comes to photography. Forgetting money, I chose the 5D and later the 5DII with canon's L primes for weddings. I did so, never regretting it. To make up for the reliability issues, I bought three of them. I also shoot Leicas and Mamiyas. I'm very comfortable in that for my shooting style, there is no 35mm SLR kit better than than a 5DII and Canon's fast L primes. At the moment anyway. If I had to get rugged, or get two cards written at once, or shoot closeups of down-hill skiiers moving toward me at 85 MPH, then I'd compromise a touch of IQ and use the 1DsIII. Since I largely shoot studio, street, and events, the 5DII wins.
     
  35. You say "(I mention the DoF because it can be razor thin with, say, an f/1.2 lens, so thin that even slight body movement forward or backward on your part could require a refocus.)"
    Now, combining this with your 'focus & recompose' technique, don't you run the risk of the main subject falling out of focus when you recompose due to the razor thin DOF?
    Unless you're on top of the subject or really swinging the camera on recompose, I don't think the distance from the perspective of the lens and AF module changes that much. I could be wrong for f/1.2, my fastest lens is f/1.8.
    Let me know what you think about razor thin DOF + recomposing. I actually use the other AF points just b/c I'm afraid that recomposing might cause the main subject to fall out of focus when shooting at f/2.8 (certainly more of a concern for f/1.2!).
    I've never seen an issue with recomposing using a 50 mm at f/1.8. However, at f/1.8 taking a slight step forward or backward, subject or photographer, will require a refocus in many situations. It all depends on subject distance and how critical a precise plane of focus is. It's surprising how easily one will shift their weight and move a bit without even thinking about it.
     
  36. I agree that the 5DII is a great wedding camera. After all, the image's final result is a print which cant show a 100% crop. So the image must look its best viewed normal and not 100%. That said, the 5DII is amazing when viewing pictures as pictures. Canon has the right combo of NR, sharpness etc to make a final image look good.
    The 5D2 does make very sharp, fine detailed images. What I wish my 1D3 had was a little better resolution. Its not always a big deal, but if the subject doesnt fill the frame, then the image sometimes lacks "bite" Of course, because the subject is only filling a small portion of the sensor thus only has say 1/10 of 10MP to resolve fine detail, where a higher res sensor givent the same subject placement would have a higher resolving power.
    If I fill the frame with my subject, it can make amazing 13x19 print's even viewed at 6" away. Thats something the 5D2 doesnt have any trouble with even if the subject fills just 1/3 of the frame. The fine deatil is still largely there. It is amazing that it can be as clean as it is with that kind of resolution.
    I hope the new specs rumored for the 1D4 are correct. Possible FF or 1.3x with 16mp and better ISO performance than the 5DII. This is what I'm waiting on to see. If Canon delivers some mediocre update to this camera, I'm jumping ship. I wanted to wait and see what Canon did with all the latest Nikon comp. before going thru the heartache of switching. I have too much money tied up in Canon gear, but at least if I see the 1D4 hasnt really changed, then I can switch to either a D3 at reduced price(maybe D4 out) or jump into a D4 if its ready by then. Either way, I win cause if the 1D4 is great, then I dont switch, if it isnt, I get a D3 which we know is great, or a D4 which I'm sure will be great. My 1D3 is good, but I want better ISO, more res. and a better LCD for god sake most of all.
     
  37. Hey Rishi.... I remember a while back you posted about these vertical and horizontal lines in your 5D(II?). I also chimed in by saying I get the same thing in low light with my 5D. Is the demosaicing algorithm the answer to this problem? If so, how does that fit in with all the theorizing that went on in those threads about amplifiers and where and when they were used? I might try a different algorithm on my 5D raws when I get a chance and see how it looks. Cheers.
     
  38. I hope the new specs rumored for the 1D4 are correct.
    I hope the rumored specs for the 60D are correct. I know, I know, it's a lower class of camera than you guys are talking about. But if they really put in 19 point AF (lifted from the 1D module), 7.4 fps, video, and managed to improve high ISO and DR in their APS sensor, it will be one heck of a mid level camera. A true match for the D300 and D300s.
    Since I can't really justify the budget for a 5D mkII or a 1D4, I'm hoping for a solid 60D :)
    For the record, while I don't have an issue with AF in low light because of technique, I would like improved area AF for BiF and airshows. The xxD AF isn't bad here, just not all it could be.
     
  39. I got lost in here somewhere. First we seemed to be comparing the 5D II to the 1DsIII, and the next thing I know we are talking about the 1DIII, not the IDsIII. Did you mean IDsIII on those pics, David? You have them labeled as the 1DIII (1D3).
    --Lannie
     
  40. While slightly off the original topic I have to agree with David Amberson on the 1DIII vs the 5DII. The AF on the 1 series is significantly better than on the 5DII and the 1DIII is slightly better at high ISO as David's photos show. The real issue is what do you need to do the job. In critical situations and professional work the price difference is worth paying to give yourself the best chance of success. This does not mean that the 5DII is a poor camera - it is probably the best price / performance compromise that Canon makes (the 40D and 50D are other potentially strong competitors for a price/performance award). I own also all of Cannon's professional bodies from the F1 onwards but have not bought a digital 1 series. I do not shoot for income these days so the extra cost of the professional body is hard to justify given the shorter lifecycle of digital bodies. I have shot a number of 1D bodies at ski races and ice hockey games and the 1DIII beats the 5DII, even the 1DIIN offers pretty good performance. The point is that the 5DII is good enough for almost all shots. Set up correctly with a fast lens (300 f2.8 or 70-200 F2.8) you can get a 99.5% or better sucess rate at ski races and a 90% success rate at poorly lit indoor ice hockey games. For most of us this is more than adequate - but if you miss Herman Maier falling or Jerome Iginla scoring you may be out more than the price difference between the camera bodies. Thus for a professional sports shooter you have to have a 1 series AF system. For weddings the case is less clear and the 5DII has a better LCD (for live view)and the ability to shoot video - this may make it a better option than the 1DIII.
    From the few 1DsIII shots I have taken, I feel that the 5DII has better high ISO performance (e.g at 3200) but this is a non-scientific test.
     
  41. Bernie,
    No in those threads I was talking more of lines across the entire image... which, logically, does apply to amplifier gain variability from row to row. The noise in the AHD example from the link I pointed to above shows small horizontal and vertical lines, maybe 40 or 50 pixels in length each (wild guess)... look closely at the 200% images. I myself don't need to look very closely and can see it at 1:1.
    This noise has nothing to do with amplifier gain variability (in my opinion)... seems to be coming from the inferior demosaicing algorithm. And Lightroom shows the same sorta noise... so I'm guess they use that algorithm or some variant of it. Don't know why, since there clearly seem to be better ones out there.
    -Rishi
     
  42. You need to expose right in camera to get best results with high ISO, any manipulation with software afterwards will degrade the image.
    I would go Nikon D700 for weddings, better high iso performance than 5D11, not as many pixels but how big do you need to print for a wedding album?
     
  43. Suddenly I understand so many people hate pixel peeping.
    For me, pixel peeping was about per-pixel sharpness, demosaicing, and jaw-dropping detail.
    For some, it's a great way to pretend that comparisons of image quality at 100% of cameras with vastly different resolutions is in any way valid.
    Comparing a 3200 ISO image printed at 16x20, it is going to be painfully obvious which camera has the best noise performance. No noise reduction, no sharpening, just a plain print of the entire frame. To match print sizes, you may downsample, or print at a higher resolution. Either way, the 5DII is it. Twice the resolution means that the camera can be twice as noisy, and still equal the lower resolution camera in low light performance.
     
  44. LOL
    Sure pro bodies may focus faster. But pro bodies are not required to focus in low light, or take good pics.
    Guess my 5D does not know it cannot focus in low light. I will not tell the 5D.
    It continues to focus in low light using the center focus point
     
  45. Landrum, I was speaking of the 1DIII. Sorry. The 5D2 only beats the 1Ds by only as much as the 1D3 beats the 5D2. This is because the 1Ds uses same size sensor and same pixel density, but the 5D2 utilizes and new sensor design of gapless microlenses. The 1Ds had been out a year before that tech was released. Just wait a year and see what the 1 Series does with that same tech. EWWWWWWHHHH
    Ed, I dont know where you come up with your rationalization, but twice the resolution doesnt mean the camera can be twice as noisy and still produce better prints.
    We've gone way off topic. My examples flat out show that sensor vs sensor without any NR and any manipulation show the 1DIII puts out a less noisier file. Not by much, but its cleaner. We can talk all day long about the resolution and yes its good, but lots of it is wiped out with the strong NR. Looking at the files just as the camera makes them, the 1D3 is cleaner...thats it. The AF is miles ahead. The 5D had better LCD and better resolution. Other than that, its not better. I dont need video. I'm a photographer, not a videographer and my brides hire proffesional video guys to do that part. If I needed the capability to print bigger than 16x20, I still wouldnt buy it cause the AF is so inferior. Having used the 1D3 for over a year and trying the 40D you can see the difference immediatley, and the 40D is better than the 5D2 in that respect. This is why if the 1D4 should be a perfect fit for me. More res.,better screen, and I'm sure they overcome any AF issues from the past. The 5D2 could quite possibly be a backup, but not main body.
    And BTW for those who said something about focusing in the dark, my 1D3 has focused in a gym during a pageant with almost no light. Only sillouettes were visable and I got the shots, everyone next to me using Canon XXD's, Sony's and even Nikon DXX's all gave up.
    But not me, the very first shot in this linked album was in complete darkness as you can see where the only light was my speed light, ISO 3200 and at 200mm you see how far away she was from me. Bounced flash over my shoulder into the wall behind me and ceiling above. It focused almost instantaneous, never hunted. This lady found me at a baseball game 2 months later and thanked me for that shot cause it was the only she had so far with her new grandson. It wasnt the best shot, but pretty good given the scenery and this is a 1024x768 downsized version.
    I later earned a job from that photo and thats why the pro series 1D3 is the choice for me. I'd bet money that any other Canon(non 1 Series) would not have got that shot. Its simple, if you "need" 1 Series, get one, if you dont "need" it, the 5D2 is the next best thing and will be one hell of a camera.
     
  46. Ed, I dont know where you come up with your rationalization, but twice the resolution doesnt mean the camera can be twice as noisy and still produce better prints.
    Yes it does. You have to enlarge the lower resolution image more for any given print size. Which means you amplify its noise by the greater enlargement. But you cannot amplify its resolution. If in the enlargement you end up amplifying the noise to the levels of the higher resolution sensor you now have no noise advantage and a significant resolution disadvantage. This is inescapable. You cannot ignore that the final product of any camera is an image printed or viewed at a specific size, and that you must enlarge from the sensor to reach said size. The more you enlarge, the more you amplify problems.
    Per pixel the 1D3 may be cleaner. Printed to a specific size the 5DII will prove cleaner. To do a real comparison you must upsize the 1D3 image to the 5DII dimensions, or downsize the 5DII image to the 1D3 dimensions.
    There is a paper on the Internet which discusses this in greater depth. If I can remember or find the link I'll post it.
     
  47. Again - I have to defend David not on resolution but on AF. Since I have the 5DII but do not own a digital 1 series the AF in low light on the 1 series is much better than the 5DII. Even my pair of old EOS1Vs can focus quicker in very low light than the 5DII. The 1DIII and 1DIIN are probably slightly better than the old 1V but it is not easy to noice and would require instrumentation. Your point Paul is that the 5DII meet your low light requirements - that does not say it is faster than the 1 series. The simplwe fact is that Canon was afraid the 5DII would take away pro body sales so they used an inferior AF system. Even the 1 series needs an AF upgrade - it is not much better than the 1V was and if you have not tried the Nikon D3 try it - the AF on this camera is notably faster than the 1 series. Don't let product ownership blind you to weaknesses otherwise manufacturers get complacent. I have NEVER owned Nikon SLRs but they currently have Canon beaten for AF. Similarly I own the 5DII but I can assure you for professional sports use the 1 series is the only choice - for amateur use the 5DII set up correctly with fast lenses is still very good. As I said in my earlier post we are talking about a few missed shots between the 5DII and 1 series. If all you take is sports shots and you must get them all buy the 1DIII. If you need a more general purpose camera the 5DII is a much better compromise (cheaper with no 1.3x crop, higher resolution, better dynamic range and a much better screen).
    By the way Paul most professionals are required to take good pictures (and focus in low light).
     
  48. In my experience of shooting night events (no weddings), if the subject is decently lit or if the moment can wait for you to focus and recompose, the AF of 5D/5D.2 is enough.
    If your subject does not have enough light on it, and you don't have time to focus and recompose, you can forget about it. Of course faster lens helps, and AF assist also helps, but they can only go so far.
     
  49. So to summarize:
    For weddings, the 5DII beats the 1DIII in noise performance, and as long as you use the center point to focus, equals it in AF performance.
    Low Light Winner: 5D Mark II
    Mark Anthony Kathurima above posted a link to Jeff Ascough's comments on the subject. As he is a world class wedding photographer that specializes in low-light, no-flash candid photography, I'd say he trumps the discussion. He uses his 1 series cameras as backup since the 5D2 came out.
    I have a similar wedding photography style, (though I use the flash crutch a bunch more than Jeff Ascough does, because let's face it, he's a master), and the 5D or 5D2 have never let me down in a low light situation. Granted, I'm using very fast primes, and I'm aware of the limitations. When working on a dark dance floor, flash or STE2 assist is a good idea, and you are always close enough for that at a reception. You can't see anything through the viewfinder anyway when it's that dark. When those situations happen, I use the red beam to aim the camera while holding it over my head. (which is easier with a lighter camera :)
    See this series:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/edrodgers731/2855481932/
     
  50. Unless you shoot unlighted midnight weddings, the 5D II will be excellent for more typical situations.
    Dan
     
  51. Ed your point on the 5DII for weddings is probably correct but for absolute low light performance - (my main experience is badly lit amateur ice hockey) the 1DIII or even 1DIIN will beat the 5DII as the Af on the 5DII struggles in these conditions. But I cannot understand why you would need this type of Af performance at a wedding!
     
  52. G Dan, I dont shoot weddings at midnight, but will be shooting a reception close to midnight this week. I have shot in old churches that had so little light and wouldnt allow flash with dark brick walls and almost black wood ceilings that might has well been dark outside, and for those moments where you need focus aquisition fast and accurate, there isnt a better camera than the 1D3. The 5D2 would just hunt and get focus too slow as the moment would pass.
    Ed, the 5D will never equal AF performance even in the best of light. It may work fine and do well, but never equal to it. The 5D2 doesnt produce a cleaner image at normal viewing mag. I have already proven that. You might see an issue at 16x20, but I have never printed a ISO3200 shot at 16x20 anyway and have never sold a 16x20 of any wedding. SO its moot.
    In a 11x14 which has been my biggest, it wouldnt be better. At very least you could say just average printing without pixel peeping that they are the same in ISO performance, but then the only thing the 5D2 does better is resolution. And the 10mp 1D3 makes 11x14 prints so sharp that I often soften the skin tones of my brides just so they dont complain.
    OK, if you need 21mp, its the best camera for the money for that. Just because it has some improvements that the 1Ds doesnt have.
    Theres also price. If one was needing an awesome wedding camera, affordable and it must be Canon, the 5D2 is it. Most cant consider the 1D3 or 1Ds3 cause of price, so yes, the 5D2 is the best bang for buck. No questions asked. I'm only defending the point that the 5D2 isnt the best camera Canon makes.
    If you wanted the best all around wedding camera from Canon and you could spend $4k, the 1D3 is it. It has the best AF, it has enough res cause most dont even want 11x14, it definitley has ISO performance.
    Since the last AF repair mine had, its better IMO than the Nikon D3 in AF. Its always been faster of the gate no doubt, but now the accuracy is 99%. The D3 may track better, I dont know, but its negligable. Its(D3) about 1/2 stop cleaner in ISO. I have used both of those side by side as well. I was quite surprised how close they are when used side by side especially when you hear all the hype.
     
  53. David I have used a D3 for ski racing and in tracking AF it is clearly better than Canon (at the moment). I do not feel that Canon's 1 series AF has made a lot of progress since the 1V of 2000. The 1DII essentially has the same 45 point AF - it has F8 capability and more cross points but this is not a big upgrade. canon claims it works to 1 EV lower but this is not really obvious in use. It is time for a Canon upgrade
     
  54. David,
    At 11x14, the 5DII will be much cleaner than the 1DIII at ISO 3200. It has already been explained to you several times by several people. You seem to have a psycological thing for the 1DIII.
     
  55. "... there isnt a better camera than the 1D3. The 5D2 would just hunt and get focus too slow as the moment would pass."​
    A few quick comments.
    1. The 1D3 is certainly a fine camera and (early issues aside) it certainly is optimized for fastest AF more than the 5D II.
    2. That said, I think you vastly underestimate the AF system of the 5D II. It is not the case that it would "just hunt and get focus too slow" - in other words fail to function. The differences between the AF systems in cameras at this level are measured in degrees, not "failure" vs. "success."
    3. As nice as the 21MP is for certain types of photography and final products, those are not the only features that can make the 5D II attractive to a variety of photographer.
    4. (I don't understand how a thoughtful photographer could make a generalization like "there is not better camera than a 1D3," though...)
    In the end, we make our choices from among a range of very capable cameras, each of which is likely optimized for certain situations and types of shooting, but each of which is also quite capable of functioning in a wide range of situations. When thinking of these issues in a general sense, I think it is worth stepping back from certain preconceptions (e.g. - a 1 series camera is always "better" than anything else) and consider the issues with a bit more objectivity.
    Take care,
    Dan
     
  56. Lets be honest both of those cameras will make lousy wedding photos in the hands of an unskilled photographer. The photographers style, vision and skills will have a far greater effect on the quality of photos than whether they choose a 5DII or a 1DIII. There were many great wedding photos taken long before these cameras ever existed and there are many great wedding photos still taken with far lesser specified cameras than these.
     
  57. I said
    for those moments where you need focus aquisition fast and accurate, there isnt a better camera than the 1D3.​
    This wasnt a statement on the "best" camera.
    The 1D3 is the best camera right now for speed in focus aquisition/accuracy. Even the very guy that brought forward the focus issue that everyone complains about said himself that even the D3 wasnt as good as 1D3 in that regard. He said specifically that the 1D3 was by far the best camera he had ever used in regards to speed of focus aquisition/accuracy. His only issue was tracking.
    In regards to focus on 5D2, I made a statement about a specific situation I was shooting in where I have used lesser cameras and the focus did just hunt and fail to focus. Namely the 40D which has a better AF system. It might eventually find contrast and lock, but who has 60 seconds in a candid moment to hope it locks.
    For those who know it would fail, yes go ahead and MF and not wait and gamble. But for those who dont, this has happened alot with that AF. These were extreme low light and not typical lighting conditons cause otherwise yes, the 5D would focus and lock, just a little slower than the 1 Series, but I often work in very low light and this why I chose an extreme camera. Why is it so hard for some to accept that Canons top tier 1 Series AF is just alot better than the next level down. Which is arcaic btw.
    And the MarkIII 1 Series has the newest AF system of Canon and has been completely overhauled compaired to the older stuff...so its not the same.
    Sounds more like someone else has a "psycological thing" for the 5D2 and cant accept they dont own the best and anyone who says something negative about it is wrong. I know the downfalls to my 1D3 and have stated them. No one seems to think the 5D2 has any down falls. Its also funny how many people complained about the very things I mentioned when it came out and how dissappointed they were in such a mediocre upgrade to the original. All complained how they felt the AF system should have been completely overhauled among other things, but Canon didnt bother. They figured, who needs better AF for $2600...we gave them.....video.
    But here, on Photo.net, a few cant stand any negative comments. Thats quite fine. I know what I have, and the others who have never used a 1D3 dont know what they are missing, so they dont know. The 5D2 is as good as it gets for them. And when they see Nikon users of the D700 with pro AF praising how wonderful the AF is and its pro feel/quality, they just wonder, maybe even switch. All because Canon wont give their Prosumer camera at least a better AF system than the 50D. I shouldnt have allowed myself to make as many posts as i did. Just got caught up on work, thought I'd browse the net to kill some time.
    All this time wasted cause of a few comments. The OP asked and made a statement of
    The key area I am focusing on is to make photographs for weddings and going thru many forums and reviews by users I find 5D mark II has slow AF in low light... Pl suggest me with your comments. Thanx​
    Then Daniel said
    If you learn how to auto focus properly even an old 10D is quick in low light.
    * Move AF activation off the shutter release (a custom function).​
    So I responded with the correct answers to the OP addressing Daniels response by saying moving the AF button will in no way speed his focus...and it doesnt. It wont change accuracy at all and nor will it change speed what so ever. Think thats wrong,ask Canon
    Then Ed said
    the 5D II is the BEST Canon low light camera by far.
    If it isn't good for low light, no Canon camera is.​

    Then I addressed Ed's response to inform the OP what Ed said is wrong. The 5D2 is not the best camera for low light focus that Canon makes. He said its the best by far, if its not then no Canon is. Which was totally incorrect. The OP asked about AF performance cause of what he has read by many other complaints. It can be slow and its not the best, again Canon will tell you where the best AF performance is. Those who complain about the 5D2 AF being slow are expecting more from $2600, maybe cause Nikon did. Imagine that. But its the best right:)
    So lets say the OP was considering both the 1D3 and 5D2(i know he isnt). I've already shown ISO results as being at very least equal, some saying the 1D3 was better...whatever, say its equal, thats close. Then we look at AF. We who have brains know the winner here. This sums up low light. Which is what he was interested in, not resolution. SO if they both have equal ISO capability, the 1D3 has the best AF....why would the 5D2 be the best low light Canon by far. Thats all I was trying to say. Inform the OP. I'm sure he wasnt considering the 1D3 or he would have posted a 1D3 vs 5D2 question. But at least be honest about the 5D2 AF and not say bold statements like,
    the 5D II is the BEST Canon low light camera by far.
    If it isn't good for low light, no Canon camera is.​
    I'm done with this. I wasted too much time here debating with someone other than the op. I explained my statements and why I said them. Hope the OP finds what they are looking for.
     
  58. ZZZZzzzzZZZzzzzzz..........
     
  59. Jeff Ascough from the link posted above:
    "Ahh that old chestnut. In terms of AF using the center point, the MKII is a match and I would say is marginally superior to the 1DsMKIII. Looking at the other peripheral points, the 1DsMKIII is superior as it has more horizontal/vertical points than then 5DII. When I first got the 5DMKII pre-production camera back in November last year, I was blown away by its focus accuracy in low light with the center point."
    That is, of course, if you are the type of person that uses the focus / recompose method. I am, the OP may not be.
    And on the second point, it's a fairly simple concept to understand. Twice the resolution = half the apparent noise. Show me a high ISO full image comparison at ANY size, and the 5DII has half the noise. That's not the case with the 1DsIII, mind you, but definately with the 1DIII.
    Since David does weddings, as well as sports, I'd say he has the camera he needs.
    But me personally, I've never had to blast off 10 low resolution frames a second at a high speed target while shooting a wedding. I choose the 5DII for weddings. It's not about the money. I've dumped $15,000 on an M8 and two primes just for fun. So, if David thinks I prefer the 5DII because I can't afford the 1DIII, he's quite crazy. I might have gone for the 1DsIII as my main wedding body, but decided to wait for the 5DII, and I'm very glad I did. The only thing I really miss is the dual card slots. Redundancy is definitely a good idea at a wedding.
    Do I have an itch for a swarm of focus points that don't know an eyelash from a nose hair? No.
     
  60. Ed, I have to disagree with you on the 5DII ceneter point Af vs the 1DIII or 1 DsIII. As I said earlir I shoopt sports, both ski racing and ice hockey. These are two of the most difficult sports for AF as the speeds are quite high, the lighting can change rapidly (especially in ski racing where it goes from sun to shade quite often as the athlete gets into shadows from trees) and amateur ice hockey can be played in very dark (cold) arenas. Even in these conditions the 5DII AF (so long as you only select the center point or for AF Servo center and hidden assist points and use a USM lens of F2.8 or faster) is very good. Almost 100% for ski racing (the only thing it fails on is a skier comming suddenly into view - for example over a jump) and about 90% for ice hockey. For hockey the speeds are quite high and I have been in arenas where the light measured between LV8 and LV10. However, even pair of old 1Vs are better in AF than the 5DII I have had since Christmas. My point is that for critical AF situations the 1 series is better than the 5DII - but that the 5DII if used carefully is more than enough for most people. The 5DII is a great camera but you fly in the face of every test and even Canon's own specifications when you say the 5DII has better AF than the 1DsIII. For professional sports the 1 series is still the best solution.
    I am at more of a loss why you need the 1 series AF performance for weddings however. While the churches may be dark, subject motion is limited and my 5DII will easily focus on a static subject in LV 3 even. One issue I have noticed with the 5DII AF is that for critical portrait work you need to turn the AF assist points off (if you use AF) as you get the center point on the eye and get focus confirmation only to find that the camera has actually used one of the assist points perhaps focusing on the nose. This is not a big issue as i tend to use live view and MF for this type of shot but it is something you have to be aware of.
     
  61. Philip,
    I didn't say the AF is better, Jeff Ascough, the famous wedding photographer and paid Canon ambassador did. And he didn't really say it was overall better, only that the center point works better than his 1DsIII in his opinion.
    I know that for tracking motion and overall speed, the 1 series is better for auto focus.
    But like you say, this is a wedding we are talking about. It's a non-issue in my opinion.
    The clunky, archaic, and inadequate focus mechanism in my old 5Ds and my new 5DIIs has never once failed me. If it hunts, it's going to be under exposed anyway. We are talking EV1 here. At that point, IR assist better be working with my lighting.
     
  62. Ed I have to agree that the 6DII AF is up to most tasks. I think it is a very good camera and bought it over the 1DIII as it was cheaper and better for landscapes etc... The fact that it works so well for sports and low light sport was an unexpected bonus. It only works well with good glass for sports - I use the 70-200 F2.8 or the 300 f2.8 both of which (especially the 300) focus fast.
     
  63. USE MANUAL FOCUS!
     
  64. Um, yeah, try using manual focus while a couple is spinning on the dance floor at 60 rpm at a wedding. In the dark.
     
  65. I photographed my first low light event last night using a canon 5d mark 11 only no tripod or flash. I put my ISO up to over 1600, f stop mainly 2.8 to let in us much light as I can though I was still getting shutters of below 1/50 most of the time as the lighting was continually changing . obviously due to the equipment i was not carrying with me and having long exposures some photos where blurred. I also shot in raw and jpeg. please help me with advice in this situation of what I could have done differently. thankyou kindly
     
  66. We need more/faster focus points b/c 'focus & recompose' does NOT work for large aperture lenses with close subjects. My Canon EOS-3 has more focus points than my 5D. It also has eye-controlled focus point selection. I don't understand why the 5D & 5D Mark II are ages behind Canon's own film cameras.
    So to answer the OP: I use the 5D in low light, but I really wish I didn't have to. I need extra, high-sensitivity, focus points.
    Furthermore, in my dream world, I want a touch sensitive 4:3 frame, representing the full field of view, where I can use my thumb to just touch the area of focus points I want selected. As I move my thumb around on this small touch-sensitive frame, the appropriate points would light up in the viewfinder. This'd make focus point selection exponentially faster. It'd be a game changer. C'mon Canon. Nikon. Somebody. Who's not here listening to me...
    To answer the last person's question: shoot manual. Keep your aperture open & your shutter speed at a setting you see does not give you much blur. Then select auto ISO or just deal with dark images that you may brighten up later. Or not b/c dark photos can make for cool effects... at concerts for example, where a light happens to brighten a face.
    OR. Use a flash & shoot in aperture priority. Bounce the flash light.
    Rishi
     
  67. very difficult to get fast shutter speed in low light, turned iso very high need F1.4 lens
     
  68. very difficult to get fast shutter speed in low light, turned iso very high need F1.4 lens prime lens
     

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