For a while now, I have been searching for a daily carry camera. More specifically a digital one. I am well covered on the film side with a couple of my favorites. A recent post by Hamish inspired me to post this one. This is less of a review and more of a 5 frames with ramblings.
Before I continue let me lay out my specifications.
- Capable. Need not be top performers but serviceable IQ, AF, and AE is required.
- Inexpensive. Must be something that I can risk growing legs as I am inclined to occasionally leave gear behind. Happened twice with rather precious gear. I lucked out both times but this changed my daily habits/requirements after the second occurrence. Chronically appreciating Instatwitface darlings are not welcome.
- Durable. If not all-out melee weapon durability it must be able to shrug off a hit without consequences.
- Plentiful. I have a couple of cameras that meet the requirements above and I like them, but they are as rare as hen’s teeth and not easily replaceable.
- A bare bones feature set is just fine. Things like video are not needed as this is meant to be a stills device.
Specific to my quirks/preferences.
- Full frame. Not for everyone and there are many great inexpensive crop options available (One example.). Personal preference.
What led me here was those left-behind cameras mentioned earlier. And as a result, I no longer bring newer gear along with me in my daily travels. Though they may not cost much in the grand scheme of things they are too valuable to risk having a caffeine-infused carbonated beverage splashed all over it while sat on a table at the local TGI Red Ruby Tuesdays Lobster Garden. This has not happened yet thankfully. But it could. At least that is what my paranoia tells me.
Selection process. This started with a lens.
One that I was very impressed with (Version II variant.) years ago used with a brickbat of a camera I picked up as a bit of a joke, but had great fun with.
An non Mark II lens variant also worked well adapted to Sony w/ an MC11.
Both are fine tools to put behind the lens but I wanted something smaller than the 1Ds II and far less pricey, replacement wise, than one of my current Sony bodies.
That is right ladies and gentlemen a camera from 2005. Why not one of the newer 5D models or even the 6D? My goal was to obtain the least expensive solution that meets my minimum requirements, is easily replaceable (Exhibit A and B), and can sit behind the lens mentioned above and as far as I can tell this is it.
- Capable. 12.8 MP is plenty for this purpose.
- Inexpensive. Check. Cost less than the EF to FE MC11 adapter pictured above.
- Durable. For a camera of legal voting age it has held together well.
- Plentiful. Exhibit A and B.
- Bare bones feature set is just fine. No video. Would make a Leica M owner proud. (These are just corny jokes folks. No offense meant.)
Well. I have prattled on far more than necessary in attempts to justify my camera nerdery. On to the 5 images followed by some closing thoughts.
Cheating. Here is a bonus fall foliage pic.
Mainly, that will do.
As should be no surprise after my 1Ds II experience it is better than I expected. The low light performance was serviceable, especially with the RAW file tools available in Lightroom. Auto ISO is only available in the mode that shall not be mentioned… whatever the green box represents on the mode dial. But that was not an issue in actual use. Modern conveniences like a mess of focus points, Eye or Face detect, tilting/touch screen were not missed either. A lovely old timey DSLR bring it up to my face or wing it from the hip experience was had. And it felt good. This is a camera for low stakes photography. A bring with, all occasion camera. If I get the shot great. If I miss the shot fine. No great loss. But I must say that my hit rate has been more than acceptable. Especially at this price point. And as I alluded to in an even longer post about this camera this is also a camera that I would have no issue recommending to someone looking for an inexpensive, full frame digital camera.
None of note for this price. If pressed in addition to the features some may miss I could mention the Compact Flash card and reader needed. But I quickly found both online along with backup batteries for a reasonable price.
Before I close I must say that I am very pleased with the IQ. Could blather on, but will leave the sample photos above to make my case. Received a comment on Instagram that, “There’s just something special about the images produced by those early 12 megapixel full frame sensors.”, and I cannot argue with them
To sum up the experience it aligns with what all full frame DSLRs of this era were designed to be. An SLR experience with no film development required.
That is about it. Again this is just one of many options out there, but this one has met my specific needs so far.
Eric L. Woods
I shoot a variety of new and old digital and film cameras. Industrial Engineer by education, IT is my vocation, and I really enjoy using, testing, and writing about cameras. All three of the latter are very therapeutic exercises for me. If you are so inclined my blog address is ewoodsphoto.com and I can be found on Threads and Instagram. All the best to you.
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