5 Frames with a Canon EOS 5D & 50mm f/1.8 EF STM – The Hunt for a Daily Carry Camera.

By Eric

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.

Generally.

  • 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.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM
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.

1Ds Mk II for blog post Canon 1Ds Mark II

An non Mark II lens variant also worked well adapted to Sony w/ an MC11.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM

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.

Sony A7RV - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8

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.

Canon EOS 5D Canon EOS 5D Canon EOS 5D Canon EOS 5D

Cheating. Here is a bonus fall foliage pic.

Canon EOS 5D

Thoughts?

Mainly, that will do.

More?

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.

Downsides?

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.

IQ sidebar.

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

Sony A7RV - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8

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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About The Author

By Eric
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.
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Comments

J Sigal on 5 Frames with a Canon EOS 5D & 50mm f/1.8 EF STM – The Hunt for a Daily Carry Camera.

Comment posted: 03/01/2024

Hamish. This is my first time reading here. As such, I find absolutely nothing wrong with this website. I enjoyed your article, and I enjoyed the images included. The overall experience was had at about 4:15 AM over coffee with my cat on my shoulder. I have no idea what the site might have been like in the past, however, being a photo enthusiast, and having the exact camera that this article was about found quite enjoyable. I’ve had the 5D scent. It came out in 2005 and it’s still hitting on all cylinders. I’m actually looking at the purchase of a second one as a back up. I still use the kit lens that came with it While I have no direct experience either creating or maintaining any kind of website, I’m absolutely certain that takes significant amount of work to make it Show up on a daily basis. So far Hamish nice job. Keep up the good work. I’m booking it for continuing future reference. Thanks for your efforts, JAY.
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Kieron on 5 Frames with a Canon EOS 5D & 50mm f/1.8 EF STM – The Hunt for a Daily Carry Camera.

Comment posted: 31/12/2023

Funnily enough I looked back at some photos in took on a friend's 5D mki in 2005/2006ish the other day. I too noted how well they stand up 18 years later. That was the first DSLR I used where I just popped everything on auto and with the Speedlite, the fast 50mm , everything just looked great. I can see the appeal of the full frame, but the 5d body is fairly big no? For a daily camera personally I think I'd want something smaller that can fit into a small bag. Interested to hear how you get on with it!
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Eric replied:

Comment posted: 31/12/2023

Kieron, Thank you for your kind words. I do see your point about size. May have to do with either my beef mitts or just preferring to carry a brick of a camera but the size does not bother me. I do have other smaller vintage digital options to carry when I need a jacket pocket solution (RICOH GXR for example.), but the 5D has been my preferred daily camera recently. Two of the sample pics were taken at an event where my chorus was singing. The flag bearer and chorus members. "Logic" would dictate that one of those smaller cameras would be preferred. But against my own logic I brought and rather enjoyed using this bus of a camera. On the film side I will carry around a Pentax 645N often so I am an odd duck. Still, fair point. All the best to you. Eric

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Art Meripol on 5 Frames with a Canon EOS 5D & 50mm f/1.8 EF STM – The Hunt for a Daily Carry Camera.

Comment posted: 30/12/2023

On staff of a large magazine where I shot travel stories the 5D was a welcome gift when it was released. I had a couple 1Ds MKII bodies but was never a fan of the bigger bodies. When I shot film it was the Nikon FM2 I preferred over the F3. Just seemed to be more discreet and fit better in my hands over a long day of shoots. So the 5D joined me on the road and I liked it and the following 5D Mk II. And on from there. And as much as I liked my later 5Ds and its high MB's the original 5D was more than good enough for magazine work at the now somewhat disreputable 12mb. Good stuff. thanks
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Eric replied:

Comment posted: 30/12/2023

Art, Thank you for sharing your experiences and the kind words. Eric

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Richard Oakley on 5 Frames with a Canon EOS 5D & 50mm f/1.8 EF STM – The Hunt for a Daily Carry Camera.

Comment posted: 30/12/2023

I still have an EOS 5 35 mm.. I would love to go digital..but one thing the and as far as I can see all pro cameras are missing the EOS 5' cute little pop up flash.. im sure modern ccd are fantastic and don't need flash guns due to having asa 9 million. But sometimes I like to be able to give a little fill in flash,you know ..to remove nasty shadows. So I want a EOS with 50 megapixels plus with a pop up flash.. I want full frame.. I want it to be user friendly but be able to go pro when I want to. I want hassblad performance in the size of a EOS 5.. if want more battery life I can ads vertical grip if and when I want.. And I want it under 2k..
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Eric replied:

Comment posted: 30/12/2023

Richard, That is an impressive wish list. I understand. The closest I have come to that spec/price sheet is my minor two time ownership obsession with the Pentax K-1. No pop up flash but it added IBIS on a DSLR. Eventually I let go of it and my one camera to do all wish list since the camera industry did not seem interested in playing along and decided to collect a menagerie of film and digital gear over the years that has gotten slightly out of hand. May not be a reasonable solution but I am having fun with it. All the best to you. Eric

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Maxwell Bradley on 5 Frames with a Canon EOS 5D & 50mm f/1.8 EF STM – The Hunt for a Daily Carry Camera.

Comment posted: 30/12/2023

Great photos, great article. Love the read. I really wish 35mmc would figure out how to not drive this website into the ground. I used to be on here daily, rereading, reading new, and just generally browsing. This website is so riddled with horrible formatting issues, horrible ads covering content, and low res quality images that make viewing a disservice to the posters. I hate what it has become and it makes it basically an unusable mess for its very purpose-sharing photographic experiences. Why should images look like they’re 5kb thumbnails -always- now. Why should scrolling take you to the nether spaces of the website when it used to be perfectly formatted? Something happened in the last year and a half that made this go from a greatly structured website and resource to being like a poorly made website from 2012. I have no idea why anyone thought this was the better direction and they need fired for this. Makes me never want to come here, but the website is the only prolific one with great content. So I read the words, and dream of what the pictures actually look like…
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Hamish Gill replied:

Comment posted: 30/12/2023

I have posted a lot of updates about the issues I have been facing with the website and what I have been trying to do to fix it. To begin with, I am currently having the website totally rebuilt from the ground up (at huge expense I should add). It will launch mid Jan. This won’t fix all the issue with the ads though. I have been stuck in a contract with a company that has been going down hill for a long time. I will be switch away from them may time as soon at the contract comes to an end. Unfortunately making and maintaining websites for over a decade is not something I ever conceived would be this difficult. By the end of 2023 I will have lost money on it for the year, and that’s including the way-less-than minimum wage I am able to pay myself for working on it at least 1 day a week. And just for reference, aside from me, there’s only Sroyon who helps find people to write for the website for a very nominal amount of money, and Molly who writes the news for a very slightly less nominal amount of money. Nominal in both cases, because even in a good year, the website barely scrapes by. I do most of this, by myself, just for the love of it and the community. Definitely not for the money… and I definitely can’t fire myself! In short, I am trying, it’s not easy, but hopefully you’ll see progress soon. In the meantime, if you want to get rid of the adds, it’s only £2.99 a month. Hopefully that goes some way to reassure you Thanks, Hamish

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Rob Youngson replied:

Comment posted: 30/12/2023

A huge thanks for all your incredible work Hamish. I hope the up hill battles are behind you soon. Excited for the new look website later in the year. Best of luck. Maxwell, just a thought from my personal experience. After paying or contributing to get past the necessary (for the site to keep afloat) adverts. If viewing on an apple device, phone or Mac, just click ‘reader view’ you’ll have nicely formatted text, white on black, and the images will remain where they should be in the text. It’s imperfect but is how I enjoy 35mmc. And Eric, a great read and lovely images. Makes me pine for my trusty old Nikon D700.

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Jukka Reimola replied:

Comment posted: 30/12/2023

Hamish, I made my first posting on this site sometime last spring, after a short while lurking this site. 35mmc has since become a breath of fresh air, a sunshine after dark clouds, a guiding star for my photo hobby. I wish you strenght and better luck with the site for 2024. I'm quite sure most members of 35mmc share my feelings.

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Eric replied:

Comment posted: 30/12/2023

Hamish, Thank you for all that you do. I find hosting a blog with one writer, me, is no picnic at times. I cannot even fathom the effort required to manage this website. Especially considering this is one of few websites that has content that I genuinely enjoy with a mostly supportive user community. And I know none of that is by accident. Continued and increasing success to you in all of your endeavors. Eric.

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Brashtown Czar replied:

Comment posted: 30/12/2023

I know intimately the challenges involved in running a site like this. Ultimately the "attention economy" has created a race to the bottom that leaves non-parasitic websites in a very noncompetitive position. You have my sympathy and gratitude. Sympathy because I know the struggle, and gratitude because I believe you are doing good in the world, bringing beauty and hope and healing to many through a platform for sharing art and passion. I truly wish it wasn't a burnout project for you.

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Erik Brammer replied:

Comment posted: 30/12/2023

Hamish, please don’t feel discouraged. Everyone that reads 35mmc should really consider whether it’s not worth a coffee a month.

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Hamish Gill replied:

Comment posted: 30/12/2023

Thank you, I appreciate that! I hope they do too!

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Hamish Gill replied:

Comment posted: 30/12/2023

Thanks Erik!!

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BILL C WHITE on 5 Frames with a Canon EOS 5D & 50mm f/1.8 EF STM – The Hunt for a Daily Carry Camera.

Comment posted: 30/12/2023

I have a 5D (no live view) that was bequeathed to me. I do not use it all the time, but I find the IQ of Canon gear amazing. Thanks for an enlightening article on the usefulness of "vintage" gear.
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Eric replied:

Comment posted: 30/12/2023

Bill, Thank you for the kind words. I expected it to be good, but it exceeded my expectations. Eric

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Paul Quellin on 5 Frames with a Canon EOS 5D & 50mm f/1.8 EF STM – The Hunt for a Daily Carry Camera.

Comment posted: 30/12/2023

Thought provoking article Eric. I too have a wide selection of film cameras and three digital Canons. I have a 5Dmkii and I continue to go back to it for some situations, especially near the beach (wind blown sand). My 1DXii and 5DSR are more refined, but there is a satisfying clunky feel to the mkii and sometimes landscape just seem to work well with it. Your article made me think about why I still quite like it and the reasons are similar to your own. Thank you.
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Eric replied:

Comment posted: 30/12/2023

Paul, Thank you for the kind words. You are very welcome. Eric

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Sean Benham on 5 Frames with a Canon EOS 5D & 50mm f/1.8 EF STM – The Hunt for a Daily Carry Camera.

Comment posted: 30/12/2023

The 5D is a real gem. A perfect camera for those nostalgic about film but tired of the cost and patience of using it. Despite only going to 3200 ISO, the noise is very minimal, and of course the colors are wonderful. Paired with the Canon lens 50/1.8 II, it’s the perfect everything camera. Sure it lags if you’re expecting a lot out of it in sports and wildlife photography, but for street and portraits, it’s still hard to beat!
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Eric replied:

Comment posted: 30/12/2023

Sean, Agreed on all points. Eric

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