Goodbye, Canon and Thank You.

The end of a beautiful friendship.

My Canon 5D and its collection of Canon lenses are for sale.

5D and friends.

You can see all the journal pieces I wrote on this transformational camera by clicking here.

The decision to sell was not an easy one, but I am a user, not a gear collector. In my book, it’s a crime to have equipment of this quality sitting around unused. Simply stated, when the 5D, with its full frame sensor, came out it instantly obsoleted all the 35mm and medium format film gear I owned. A short time thereafter my Leica M bodies, used by me for 35 years, my Mamiya 6, Rollei 3.5F and Rollei 6003 Pro were all gone, along with their lenses. Such was the quantum leap in image quality and versatility offered by this magnificent camera. My Canon 5D journey commenced over five years ago and as my first serious digital camera I thank Canon for its 5D, which revitalized my interest in taking pictures, while simultaneously obsoleting the sheer drudgery of film processing. I have always preferred pressing the button to time in a darkened room with smelly chemicals.

But a couple of significant changes have occurred in my life since the 5D was purchased. First, we sold our vineyard in the country and moved back to the San Francisco Bay Area. It was a fun experiment, my zinfandel grapes won a lot of prizes but the whole farming thing started to get old. Plus, we wanted our son to grow up with all the diversity and distractions offered by one of the world’s great cities. And, from a snapper’s perspective, being close to the City by the Bay meant a return to my first love, street snaps. So while landscape work was fun and my one man show of landscape snaps was a success, my heart remains on the streets, a genetic code inculcated during a youth in London. And a street snapper the 5D is not. It’s not that it’s a big camera, it’s that it’s simply not the best instrument for my way of working on the street. I tend to get really, really close to my human subjects and the 5D just is not right in that context. Yet whether it’s outdoors for infinite vistas, QTVRs with a fisheye, bugs and birds, or in the studio, I have yet to use a finer instrument.

Other things changed in my life. Testifying to the abuse of my hands over many years of tinkering with cars and engines and woodworking, I started to develop tendonitis in my wrists. Make me lift a heavy weight and it’s not a lot of fun. Further, with age, my back has started to give out and carrying heavy gear compounds my problems. Canon 5D gear is built like a tank; it is not featherweight.

I still believe that in a world where very few prints are made, there’s simply nothing like a large print to do justice to a great photograph. For those, the 5D is unbeatable. Photo exhibitions still favor mounted, framed prints, not LCD screens. The 5D is crazy sharp and grain free, at any rational enlargement size. Want prints over 36″ on the short side? The 5D Mark II is for you.

Update 4/23/2011: All my 5D gear has been sold. I hope the new owners will enjoy this superb equipment as much as I did.

Thank you, Canon, and Goodbye.