I Owned a Canon EOS 5D For Three Days (For Camera Nuts Only)

Magical 5D Arrives in Shelter Office!

It was almost a magical moment. I’ve been so looking forward to getting Canon’s hot 5D digital camera, which has a bunch of features beyond my present 20D. It arrived today and bummer! Joy soon turned to depression. The mirror (that flips up and down) had come loose from its frame. Rats! I also discovered (didn’t know) that the zoom lenses from the 20D won’t work on the 5D (an EFS 17-85 mm/1:4-5.6, and an EFS 10-20 mm/3.5-4.5 digital sizes. More rats! And now I was looking at an additional $2500 in lenses.

I’m leaving next week on a photo trip, shooting builders in Canada and other points north. I’ve been using a Canon 20D for over a year now and it’s a sweetheart. It weighs a ton but it’s worth it. It’s 8 megapixels. I’ve been thinking about the 5D, a 12 megapixel model for about a year, it has some incredible features, and ordered one last week from B and H Photo. Well, much as I wanted a new tool/toy, I decided to return it and skip the 5D for a while, not be trying to learn how to operate a new camera while on an intensive photo trip. Well, duh!

Back to A Fixed 50mm

The good news is that today I also got a 50mm 1.4 Canon lens and it’s a revelation. I put it on the 20D and took some pics around the house. Makes me realize I’ve been depending on zoom lenses for years and forgot about the speed and sharpness of a fixed lens. I can shoot really dark places now. Like the old days, moving myself and not the lens to get the right composition. Besides, I see the world about as 50 mm. (I know some photographers who see it as 35 mm or so.) I just shot this in the office. Oh man, what I’ve been missing by not having a 50 mm! I’m inspired.

Shot in mirror a half hour ago with 50mm lens on a unipod

Two Photo Tips I Picked Up From Frankie Frost

A few months ago on a rainy day, Marin Independent Journal photographer Frankie Frost came out to shoot some photos of me for an article in the paper. He shot about 200 photos. Bam. Bam. Bam. They’re digital, you’re not using film. Ever since, I’ve loosened up, been shooting lots of pics of people, like 10 to get them warmed up. Soon they relax. I’m getting much nicer photos of people. Secondly, Frankie used a monopod, with a clip on/off attachment. It gives you stabilkity so you can shoot at m aybe 1/8. The more I use it the more I like it. Lot less clunky than a tripod.

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

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