Category Archives: Technical

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Canon 5D Mark III Informal Review

Ok folks I know that some of you have been waiting for this. Here are my first impressions about the 5D Mark III.

I had the opportunity to shoot with it during normal assignements and I have been using it in quite a few actual case scenario. And so far I am loving it!

Don’t expect me to provide a detailled technical review of this camera. There are better sources around the internet where you will find more comprehensive / technical / detailed information.

First you have to understand what I expected from the camera. I have been shooting with the original 5D and the 5D Mark II so I am pretty precise about what I was looking for in the successor of these two work horses.

I have always loved the 5D line: what I really liked was that the image quality was always over the top. I still think that for the price you pay, nothing beats it.

However, like a lot of people I have always been disapointed by some of the poor features of the body:

  •  Crappy AF: I have always used the central point to capture all my photos. So I have always been focusing and recomposing for as long as I have been shooting 5Ds. And it has been a pain. Moreover the AF has always been very poor in low light conditions. And when you are a wedding photographer and shooting in caves like I do you can understand how limiting this can be.
  •  Poor materials used for the body construction : simply enough the body itself doesn’t scream professional camera. It could always feel more sturdy.
  •  Very poor viewfinder : I wear glasses and the viewfinder on the previous 5D iterations has always been very hard to work with. It was far from being comfortable. It doesn’t let a lot of light in, I don’t have a 100% coverage and let’s face it I have never been able to manually focus a lens reliably 100% of the time.

So here we are, these were my main gripes about the 5Ds.

After a few days and lot more photoshoots all I can tell is that Canon has finally done it! They have managed to release the camera I was waiting for.

  • The image quality is still incredible. Moreover I can say that the colors of the 5D Mark III are in my opinion better that the Mark II out of camera. The Mark II colors used to feel a bit funky to me (yes funky is a very technical term). For example the reds were always a bit too much… red (as I said this is not a technical review).
  • The AF is finally reliable and usable. It is incredible, I had a hard time at the beginning to not focus and recompose, but now I am getting there. The AF is just awesome. I can finally totally rely on it and I have had consirably less missed shots than I used to. It’s fast (depending on your lens), it can focus waaaaay better in the low lights conditions (still not perfect but there is a net improvement) and it just works!
  • The camera itself feels good in the hand. You can sense that the construction is way better. It also fits better in my hand, though if I had to say I think the grip is a bit shorter so shooters with bigger hands than mine may find it uncomfortable.
  • The viewfinder is simply great. I have a better time with it so no worries
  • The ISO performance is also awesome. I had one photoshoot in an old chapel and to try things out (yeah I do experiments during my clients shoots) I decided to bump the ISO to 16 000 and I was bluffed by the result. Hardly any grain. It looks like when I shoot with the MarkII at ISO 4000. I even tried to push to 25600 and all I have to say is that the photos I got are very usable. so wow jus wow.

All of these more than justify the investment for me! With the AF alone I would have been sold so the whole package is a killer. And all I have to say is that the support for Eye-Fi card is just the cherry on top for me.

Here are a few shots to illustrate all of this.

First a few snapshots to show you the ISO performance.

Test in high ISO straight out of camera, Paris night time – ISO 10000 – f/3.5 – 1/160sec

Zoom 100%

Test in high ISO straight out of camera, Interior fair light conditions – ISO 10000 – f/2.0 – 1/320sec

Zoom 100%

Real shooting conditions, straight out of camera image, Only light source: candles – ISO 16000 – f/2.2 – 1/30sec

Zoom 100%

To follow up here are a few shots to illustrate the AF performances. All of these were captured as a unique shot (no shooting of multiple frames), and I never used the central focus point.

Vanity, focus on the eye with one of the right focus point, straight out of camera – ISO500, f/2.2, 1/160 sec

Smiling Girl in a bar, focus on the left eye, very poor lightning conditions, straight out of camera – ISO 12800, f/2.2, 1/100 sec

Real shoot conditions, focus on the right eye, remote flash trigger – ISO 100, f/2.2, 1/40 sec

Couple dancing, real shoot conditions, focus on man right eye, poor light conditions, remote flash trigger – ISO 500, f/2.8, 1/160 sec

So here it is, my informal review. To conclude, I won’t say that this is the best camera. But for me it was the camera I was waiting for!

Pascal Tran Binh Aoshi Studio Photographe Mariage Portrait Lifestyle Paris France International

 Pascal Tran Binh Aoshi Studio Wedding Portrait Lifestyle Photographer Paris France International

Anatomy of a Shot

I had some questions about this shot I took during a recent wedding so I figured that I would talk about the creation process here in another installment of Anatomy of a Shot.

As you may probably know I never use on Camera flash. I just hate the quality of light I get. So whenever I am using flash I always use it off-camera. Using this kind of technique during a wedding can be a bit tricky, and lots of people think that you don’t have time to be creative with light during these events. I tend to disagree. Yes it is a bit more difficult to setup your shots because of time constraints. During a wedding, you are expected to be fast and efficient. But it is doable, you just have to plan more for it.

When we arrived on location with all the party, I immediately started to scout the area to look for great places to shoot. When I came across this small barn I immediately fell in love with the setting. It had great warm colors which would contrast naturally with the costume and the dress, it would give me a superb background, I definitely wanted to come here to shoot: I knew I wanted to get a shot of the bride and groom kissing here.

So the first thing I did was to take them someplace else!

There was logic behind this decision: the barn was by far my favorite location, and I knew I would need to setup some lights and to get my couple to “play” in front of the camera. I needed them to trust me, to feel at ease. So we started shooting someplace else. It would give them time to warm up to the idea of having someone posing them and taking pictures of them.

Rule of thumb: if you spot a place you really want to shoot at, come there in the end!

We did an amazing couple session during half an hour and when it was time to get back, my couple was aware of how I was working, they weren’t intimidated by my camera, my stupid jokes or my light setup anymore. I knew I could now get this one shot I wanted to get.

I suggested we go into the barn for one last set of pictures, and they went in with a big smile. I quickly setup my rig. I wanted to have a cross lightning so I put my main speedlite with a small sofbox on my camera right at 1/8th of power and I put another bare on a stand behind them at 1/32th, I didn’t want this one to be too strong as I still needed to keep a nice mood. I positioned it so I would get a diffusion of light and I was aiming to get some lens flare too.

I took a quick test picture and I was all set.

I said something stupid and then suggested they kiss. They were not big on the PDA so I never asked them to kiss before this instant. They laughed, it felt natural, it was like they were alone. They forgot about me. I positioned myself to hide the lightstand behind the groom’s head and I snapped.

The rest is history.

Pascal Tran Binh Aoshi Studio Photographe Mariage Portrait Lifestyle Paris France International

Pascal Tran Binh Aoshi Studio Wedding Portrait Lifestyle Photographer Paris France International

What I bring with me

Hello Internet! Yeah I know it’s been an awful amount of time since I updated this blog last time… I am really sorry for that. I could find excuses, telling you that my cats change my admin password and that it made me unable to post any updates, but no. I simply have been too busy working on shoots, on my website design and post-processing.

Sooo again sorry, but that also means that there are good things to come! Stay tuned!

In the meantime this is just a small update because I received lots of questions recently about what I was bringing to a wedding or a shoot. It actually slightly depends on the shoot and the size of the wedding but generally it all comes down to what I can carry by myself when I don’t have a second shooter with me. So here goes: I generally bring two bodies, 4 lenses which all fit in my trusty Boda Bag and my light rod. You can see all of these in the following shot and if you need more details don’t hesitate to ask!


I am getting back to work, and I will be posting real good updates pretty soon.