Final gear change in my landscape kit for 2021

After stumbling across the best deal I’d ever seen on a slightly used Canon 5DSR, I ended up re-evaluating whether or not I actually needed three camera bodies. I’d never had more than just my trusty Canon R before June of 2020 when I decided to try on location, behind the scenes YouTube videos. In the summer to address my curiosity, I ended up buying a secondhand Canon M50 and videography setup.

The M50 is excellent for video work, with HD and 4K options, and it’s incredibly lightweight when paired with the Canon EF-M 22mm f/2. It’s an excellent ultralight hiking setup that captured one of my favorite images of 2020. Yet just six months later, I sold it.

One of my favorite images of 2020 was taken on the Canon M50 and 22mm f/2 lens combo.

So… why the discontent?

For one, I truly don’t believe I need three camera bodies. Two is necessary to both photograph and take videos, but the third body always sat idle. I’m not a fan of idleness, so this bothered me a bit. I also felt like I had unnecessarily acquired another lens, the 22mm f/2, that was not compatible with either the R or 5DSR. The EF lenses I had did technically work with the M50 via an adapter, but they were all monstrously front-heavy. By selling the M50 and 22mm f/2, I’ve now cut down on my overall kit size and fully covered all of the cost of the 5DSR. My lens collection is now completely interchangeable between both cameras as well as an added bonus.

Secondly, I increasingly wasn’t impressed with the still image quality the more I shot with it. I once owned the Canon 80D (same sensor as the M50) and really enjoyed the images from it, but after moving to the Canon R, I could definitely notice a drop in quality when shooting on the M50. That favorite image of 2020 that I mentioned earlier is compositionally one of my favorites, but upon close inspection, much of the detail was lost due to the higher ISO needed to capture the scene (and therefore requisite noise reduction applied). For web sharing, it’s not a problem, but I would have loved to print this image as a 16×20″ print to go alongside my two other favorites from the trip, both of which have plenty of clarity and resolution. In hindsight, I should have carried my full frame kit with a tripod into the Narrows, but that seemed like a poor option when compared to the paltry weight of the 1 pound M50 & 22mm f/2 sealed in a wet bag.

The new video/stills setup for 2021 and beyond.

After much thought, I’ve decided on moving forward with just the Canon R as a hybrid photo & video camera option. Two additional huge, convincing reasons are that:

  1. the weight savings of the M50 + 22mm f/2 is only 1 pound when compared to the Canon R + 35mm f/2 IS setup, and
  2. the Canon R is weather sealed (especially so when paired with canon L lenses). So I’ve paired the R+35mm combo with my mic and set up the Canon R as my new hybrid setup.

In conclusion, I know that this will end up being the right choice. My favorite image from the Narrows would’ve turned out much, much better had I been using the much sharper Canon R + 35mm f/2 IS kit (which would’ve provided the same field of view and low light ability), and I could have used a slower shutter speed (and therefore lower ISO & resultant noise) thanks to the Image Stabilization in the 35mm full frame lens that the 22mm f/2 lacks. The stabilized 35mm f/2 will also be much better for handheld video scenes, eliminating much of the distracting choppiness in video footage taken on the M50.

I also can now take my tank of a 5DSR, R, and weather sealed zooms into the outdoors in inclement weather. This is something that was not a possibility when shooting with the non-sealed M50.

And finally, I know that any image captured with the Canon R will have extremely high quality. I will never feel like I’ll have sacrificed on an image by choosing to save weight and shoot only on the M50. After all, chasing one pound of weight savings is certainly not worth sacrificing once in a lifetime images over! I know I would much rather have the better print ready photos.

Happy trails,

Brian

2 Comments on “Final gear change in my landscape kit for 2021

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