Raymond Phang’s take on the Canon 5D Mark 3 & backup storage system

Warning: Technical Post Ahead

As most of you know, we got our hands on the new Canon 5D mk3 the minute it was available. (16 March) We got this toy to play with first while waiting patiently for our 1Dx to arrive, which sources say should be here once our team comes back from our yearly month long New Zealand pilgrimage. Haha.

Nonetheless, this is not a full fledge review of the Canon 5D mk3 and again we are not that technical enough to give a review but more for those that are interested, here are some thoughts after using the camera for an actual wedding day shoot.

This cam truly justify itself as an upgrade. What I love so far about the camera apart from all the new bell and whistles (plus some other new stuff which I have yet to try)
– Low noise at high ISO
– Silent shutter (nobody’s gonna stop me in church now!!!)
– Responsive af and what I used to miss focusing on 5dmk2 this cam can pick it up effortlessly. Low light AF on is a dream come true.
– Did I mention about the low noise yet?
– 1 x cf slot PLUS 1 x sd slot! Finally can have redundancy for my images!! (Will talk more about this below)
– Bloody unbelievable low noise.
– White balance more accurate under florescent lighting condition meaning to say less half green/yellow/magenta frames
– And yes! The noise (or lack of noise) is crazy. I can shoot at iso 6400 and the noise feels like only 1600 or less on the 5D mk2. Ridiculous.

I have also done a non scientific left and right comparison of the same subject, under same condition and camera setting using both the new and old 5d Mark 2. Somehow the color rendered from the new sensor is better, have slightly more dynamic range and overall produce better images. Kudos to Canon for upping the ante. The Black + Yellow brand watch out! Hahahaha!

Left is Canon 5D mk2 and Right is Canon 5D mk3. Both files are unedited from RAW viewer. Both settings in camera are identical and ISO is purposely set to 2000 to purposely push noise out. Dynamic range and color can clearly be seen. Not the best comparision but with mountains of backlogs, I dont have time to do a proper test

 

Files from Canon 5D mk3

Close up 100% crop of the files shows that the thread of the 5Dmk3 can clearly be seen while 5Dmk2 details are a little lacking.

 

Softness, details and crispness plus less CA on the edges! Color noise from the old 5Dmk2 and the new 5Dmk3. ISO 2000 on the 5Dmk3 feels like only ISO 800 or less?

 

Color noise visible on 5Dmk2 while disappears on 5Dmk3. No more patchy markings all over.

 

Ok before I digress further, I shall bring you back to the reason why and what made me look forward to these 2 newly launched cameras and in particular the Canon 1Dx. Firstly, they both have better weather seal (meaning I can still shoot in the rain while I get drenched. Couples or corporate clients should know I still carry on the shoot irregardless of how heavy the rain goes. Shooting cars in motion in the rain? No problem! Corporate shoots with rain? Lets carry on!) I cannot remember how many times my old 5D mk2 failed me because of the rain got too heavy and into the supposedly sealed gaskets. The buttons would randomly lock up and shutter won’t fire. We are the types who won’t pamper our gear and only work on getting the shot rather than wait for rain to stop hence the weather seal is important to us. Reason why we didn’t go for the older 1 series because as mentioned, it’s older. We require full frame (which 1dmk4 doesn’t have) and we know a better camera is on the pipeline (verses the older 1Dsmk3). Who would spend SGD $11,000 on an older camera body with the files almost matching the 5Dmk2 only to have a replacement camera coming out later.

Secondly, which is more important to me is that they have redundancy slots for second CF card (1Dx) and SD card slot (5Dmk3). This redundancy option finally completes and secures our backup solution that we have in place since 2009. To have a clearer idea of how our (very kiasu) backup steps are, this is the rough gist.

Completed shoot, return home (albeit tired and hungry) download cards immediately to main workstation. This main workstation runs on Raid system with a hardware raid controller card meaning at any one point of time 2 hard disk can fail BUT the files will still be intact.

Once downloaded and renamed to correct specs and dated, images will be burnt on archival quality DVD or blueray disc which can span from 5 DVDs to 20 DVDs per shoot depending on scale of shoot. These DVDs will be stored in a cool and dry environment to prolong their shelve life and maximize their archival quality.

After which we will do an automated daily backup(we wrote a script to do this manually or daily at a fixed time) over to our archival 5 bay Raid system NAS (network access storage which can have a single Hdd failing but still retains all files intact). This NAS is kept within our own premises but in case of a fire breakdown or burglary (though i have no idea who will want to steal NAS), we have an offsite NAS which we already programmed it to synchronise and receive all files everyday automatically from our local NAS at a secret location so fire and burglary is out of the question. How kiasu are we? Last count of RAW files plus all edited files and psd files at different location and independent copies? : 4

Previously the bottleneck we have lies with the camera and what if during the shoot the card gets corrupted or damaged before we even get back home for backups. By buying the new 5Dmk3/1Dx, because of the added redundancy, we bring up the backup count to a whopping 5! Plus if one of the memory card in the camera fails or gets corrupted, we still have a backup card to download.

Why do we do that? Because your files are worth it. Seriously we couldn’t live or face any couple or corporate client if we didn’t have this system in place and one day a hdd decides to happily die on us. No doubt the running cost, electrical bills, 2 different location yearly Internet bills, hardware and software to build up the infrastructure, maintenance and all is tremendously high (rough figure to do up is about $20k) but we feel compelled to do it and to do it right because you entrusted us with your memories and the least we could do is to protect and prevent disasters from happening within our means. We have received questions and various snide remarks from fellow industry photographers on why we spend so much on buying and upgrading our equipment because seriously these additional cost really doesn’t justify itself. Let’s just say that we hope and pray everyday that we don’t have gears or equipment failure but because we are living in a world far from perfect, we rather be safe than sorry. 🙂

 

Peace,
Raymond

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