This year saw photographers around the world rejoice in the release of the new iteration of the much loved Canon EOS 5D DSLR.
A full-frame favorite among professional sharpshooters, the latest Canon EOS 5D Mark IV model packs a load of new features that include a 30.4MP sensor, 61-point autofocus system, 4K video recording, all new touchscreen and more. On paper, it certainly sounds like a seriously desirable DSLR, but what’s the reality?
To find out, we talked to two of Singapore’s leading photographers about their experience with the new Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and how the new features allow them to pursue their professions with confidence.
Eddie Sung, Rock Photographer
A former corporate headhunter, Eddie Sung has always been obsessed with music and decided to pursue this passion by photographing rock stars like Kenny Loggins and Stevie Wonder when studying for a business degree in America. Since taking early retirement from the corporate world over 10 years ago, Eddie, now a sprightly 57, has embraced his second career with plenty of success.
In 2006, he won all top three prizes at the prestigious Lucie Awards in New York and has since gone on to photograph such musical icons as The Beach Boys, Slash and SlipKnot, while his image of 80s alt-pop legends Blondie taken in Woodstock ended up on the sleeve of their 2011 album, Panic Of Girls.
In between chatting enthusiastically about some of the many artists he’s worked with, Eddie is equally passionate when it comes to describing the new Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. The self-taught photographer, who has been using versions of the EOS 5D since it first came out, is quick to point out some of the benefits of the Mark IV’s new features.
Of particular interest to him is the new camera’s impressive low light capability. After all, dark and dingy venues are a career hazard for a concert photographer, so a camera that can handle the gloomy conditions is essential. The EOS 5D Mark IV certainly does that offering an ISO range of 100 to 32000 with a possible expansion up to 102,400.
Eddie is best known for his iconic images of musicians frozen in time amidst the chaos and energy of concerts. Capturing that moment in time, what Eddie likes to call the ‘zen moment’, is the key to his work. The EOS 5D Mark IV is a camera that won’t let him down amid the frenzied atmosphere of a gig. Not only can it shoot up to seven frames per second, it also boasts the innovative Dual Pixel RAW feature, which allows you to make minor adjustments to the focus of a photograph after it has been taken.
Possessing a 30.4-megapixel full-frame sensor and a whopping 61 autofocusing points, the camera gives you complete control over the shot. These reasons and more are why Eddie remains such a groupie when it comes to using the EOS 5D Mark IV.
Alvin Tan, Commercial photographer
With 8 years under his belt, Alvin Tan, 33, might seem like a relative newcomer when compared to the experienced eye of Eddie Sung, but that’s not to belittle the award-winning photography he has produced.
Alvin’s passion was sparked during his time at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, where he got to undertake a half year module on photography. After completing his national service, he began training professionally as a commercial photographer. Notable clients that he has worked for include major brands like Milo, Unilever, P&G and Canon, as well as government agencies such as the Singapore Traffic Police and the National Environment Agency.
Whether shooting complex commercial projects, taking photos of a friend’s restaurant or capturing intimate portraits, it is clear that Alvin has to be flexible and creative in his approach to his craft. That’s definitely two phrases that can also be levelled at the new Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, as we discovered when we joined Alvin at a special portrait session with well-known Lush DJ Chris Ho at Teo Studios.
One thing that’s crucial to a commercial photographer is that their photographs can hold up to some extreme scrutiny, whether they’re appearing in glossy magazines or splashed across giant billboards. With the 30.4MP sensor, up from 22MP in the Mark III, Alvin can ensure he gets photographs that can withstand the necessary manipulation needed to get the perfect image while still retaining the high resolution detail required in the commercial sector.
The much improved sensor is not the only area in which the Mark IV offers added flexibility, the LCD Monitor is also now touch-sensitive. It allows you to really play with different angles during a shoot, while still giving you complete control and perspective over the image. This greater control is evident in the Mark IV’s other features such as the Dual Pixel RAW option that allows you to adjust an image’s bokeh (focus areas) after it’s been taken.
Such control is essential when working in commercial photography where the visual image is a crucial part of effective advertising.
Of course, making sure the end result is right is the ultimate goal for any commercial photographer. That can often mean the client would be keen to play a big role in the production process whether that’s on the shoot or overseeing it from a distance. The Canon EOS Mark IV’s built-in Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity let photographers share images to the client’s smart devices as the shoot is going on. With real time feedback, there’s no need for do-overs later.
One other highlight that has got Alvin excited about the new model is the camera’s capability to record 4K video at 30fps, or Full HD video at 60fps. It’s also got dual pixel CMOS AF in all video modes, which helps those tracking shots look pin-sharp in post-production. This aren’t just a boon for movie makers but also for photographers like Alvin who are pushing the boundaries of his industry by exploring relatively new areas like cinemagraphs (still photographs that feature minor, repeated movements).
With the ability to take short bursts of super high quality video, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV has the flexibility to support these creative developments. Its raft of new features also go a long way in all the other areas of Alvin’s day-to-day jobs.