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Thread: Canon 5d for portraits better than my Nikon d200?

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    Canon 5d for portraits better than my Nikon d200?

    Hey all,

    I shoot fashion photography and portraits with my Nikon d200 and Tokina 50-135mm 2.8, but I'm thinking whether the 5d would be better for the job? I would pair it with the 100mm f2 and also get one of the Canon speedlights.

    I know Nikon is faster and the build quality is better as well with all the manual levers and knobs in place, and their flash system gets praised all the time, but I've compared the images from the two cameras and at 100% Canon is just more pleasing, especially for portaits where I want superb skin tonality and background blur.

    Would you say it's a good idea or is the 5d solely a landscape machine?

    Thank you
    Last edited by Klif570; 16th March 2011 at 09:55.

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    Senior Member JMaher's Avatar
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    Re: Canon 5d for portraits better than my Nikon d200?

    I don't have a 5D but a 5D2 and it is a great camera for portraits. I particularly like the Canon skin tones better and I think that is the same for both the 5D and 5D2. Nikon makes great cameras (I once owned a D40, D2H, D90 and briefly a D700) but for portraits I would choose the Canon.

    Jim

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    Re: Canon 5d for portraits better than my Nikon d200?

    I've been using the 5D for some 6 years now for wedding work. For tonality you can't beat FF and the DR of the 5D is far above that of the crop cameras of the same generation which translates to smoother skin graduations.

    On the other hand if you are feeling rich both the 1DIII and 1DsIII have tonality and skin colour/tones to die for, easily twice as good as either 5D. The 2nd hand prices for these cameras are already extremely low though of course not as low as the 5D classic which is almost criminally cheap on the 2nd hand market.

    If you're interested I can send you a raw file or two with 5D portraits in difficult lighting, you can tell me what you think. PM me your email address.
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    Re: Canon 5d for portraits better than my Nikon d200?

    Thanks for the replies, sounds like the 5d is better suited for the job then

    Ben, I'm feeling anything but rich at the moment so the 5d is the only full frame camera I can afford right now. Some samples would be appreciated, thanks, PM sent..

    One thing I was a little worried about the 5d is if it's focus is accurate as on the D200, but I guess that depends on what copy you get..and truth be told both Nikon and Canon produce a lemon now and then so I don't want to start bashing the 5d for that..

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    Re: Canon 5d for portraits better than my Nikon d200?

    Just got the RAW samples and they do look better than Nikon D200, pretty much helped me to make my mind up

    Has anyone got any tips on what to look for when buying a used 5d? Although I haven't heard much bad about it apart from dust on the sensor being the most common problem.

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    Re: Canon 5d for portraits better than my Nikon d200?

    Best of luck, keep in mind that the 5D is murderous on sub par lenses (it's big brother is even worse) and make sure the one you buy focuses accurately, especially wide open and under fluorescent lighting. There is no focus adjust in the camera so if it's off then it means a trip to canon. Things to ask are whether the mirror recall has been done (not necessary if you live somewhere dry), etc. Keep in mind that in low light only the centre focus point is useable though it's very fast, this is a design flaw so don't get worried about it. iso 3200 (H) is useable with the latest ACR or LR but not with the older versions such as LR2.
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    Re: Canon 5d for portraits better than my Nikon d200?

    Thanks, is it better to go for the one that has had mirror recall done or not? I mean, does it mean that all 5Ds that haven't had it fixed will sooner or later develop this problem?

    About the lenses, the first one I would get is the 100mm F2. It's not L glass, but people really praise it on forums, and the samples I've seen so far look fantastic

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
    Best of luck, keep in mind that the 5D is murderous on sub par lenses (it's big brother is even worse) and make sure the one you buy focuses accurately, especially wide open and under fluorescent lighting. There is no focus adjust in the camera so if it's off then it means a trip to canon. Things to ask are whether the mirror recall has been done (not necessary if you live somewhere dry), etc. Keep in mind that in low light only the centre focus point is useable though it's very fast, this is a design flaw so don't get worried about it. iso 3200 (H) is useable with the latest ACR or LR but not with the older versions such as LR2.

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    Re: Canon 5d for portraits better than my Nikon d200?

    Another inexpensive choice would be the 85 1.8. Very fast to focus and a nice lens that can double for portraits or action. For more money either the 70-200 f4 IS or 70-200 2.8 IS. Both are also great lenses and fast focusing as well.

    Jim

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    Re: Canon 5d for portraits better than my Nikon d200?

    I haven't had the mirror fix done on either of mine and one has already blown through a shutter and I have little doubt the 2nd is close to a new shutter too. That means over 100,000 frames each. It's only an issue in a humid climate.

    I had the 100mm f2 for a while, utterly georgous portrait lens, so kind on skin but still so sharp, draws beautifully. I still have the 85mm 1.8 and it's an incredible lens, one of my most used lenses for wedding work. So sharp, so versatile. Both these lenses focus very fast which is a big plus.

    Keep in mind that both those lenses were far more contrasty and sharp than any L zoom I've ever owned, a good non L prime will usually beat any L zoom for everything but the 'L' colour.
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

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    Re: Canon 5d for portraits better than my Nikon d200?

    Thanks JMaher and Ben, I don't like the 85mm focal length as much as the 100mm; it would be great on a crop camera, but for on full frame 135mm would be my first choice, though I'm going to settle with the less expensive 100mm. I don't know how long it'll take me to get everything, but once I have it I will upload same samples.

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