Opinion: Canon 5D Classic

My father recently purchased a Canon 5D Classic.  Looking at Youtube videos to investigate which lens might be most appropriate for his needs it became apparent that pictures shown from the “Canon 5D mark I” all exhibit a rather special and pleasant look.  This got me thinking…  how can that be? and why did it stop?

“from an era when the emulation of analogue based photography formed the benchmark”

Clearly the 5D classic or mark I is very old, being first announced some 13 years prior to the time of writing.  In addition it was the first full frame DSLR from Canon and had almost none of the digital automation that even today’s entry-level cameras boast.  This establishes that the design, creation and the software were all from an era when the emulation of analogue based photography formed the benchmark; not only in users’ expectations, but also in the minds and competencies of the designers and programmers.

At the end of this video are some cool samples, for more see the link at the end of the article.


As time goes on companies competing in a market tend to trip over themselves to deliver the best results for the measurements that used by reviews for comparison. In cameras and photography this is especially so. Sharpness, colour rendition, vignetting, low light, ISO characteristics and dynamic range. All of which are very exact measurements and measurable methods of comparison. Unfortunately, for artistic users of cameras, left behind in this race for measured superiority are the softer and more artistic, almost analogue, methods of comparison.

“’digital sterile perfection’ has been refined to such an extent, we are being driven to edit in post production to recreate a ‘feel'”

As this drive for “digital sterile perfection” has persisted and been refined to such an extent, we find that many of the artistic photographers have been driven to edit in post production to recreate a “feel”.  Whilst editing has introduced the ability for less experienced photographers to achieve satisfying results and has given them a sense of achievement; the need to edit with todays cameras has also created a burden on time and cost that is hard to claim is an enhancement.

The Canon 5D classic (Mark I) seems to be from yesteryear and the visual images it produces seem to date its era.  Considering the results are so close to film and the price is similar to a year or two subscription to Photoshop or Lightroom, I think the Canon 5D classic is a good choice.  I find this camera an especially good choice as the inherent artistic results of a camera are always more important than the analytical measurements.

Wiki on the 5D classic
“Wikipedia – Canon EOS 5D (classic)”

Very interesting video on 10 good reasons for the 5D
“Jamie Windsor – 10 reasons to get a Canon 5D mark 1”