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Choosing a Great DSLR Camera And Lens

Updated on December 10, 2014

Canon's 5D Mark III

My all-time favorite camera is the Canon 5D Mark III. My favorite used to be the 5D Mark II and it is a great camera but I now own the 5D Mark III and I'm really loving it. It's not a camera for the casual photographer who would be happy with a pocket-sized point-and-shoot (PAS) camera. Canon makes great PAS cameras but the 5D MK III is for serious amateur and professional photographers. It's not the top of the Canon line but it's a high end camera in any market.

Amazon is offering great deals on the 5D with the Canon 24-105mm zoom lens. I use this camera and lens regularly and feel comfortable and qualified to recommend them both. This is a high-end lens on a high end camera and a dynamite combination for serious photographers. If you read on, I'll show you one of my popular images made with this camera and lens. I'll also tell you about my second most used lens and show you an image captured with it using my 5D camera.

Image from Amazon

Features of The Canon 5D Mark III - Why I Like my 5D MK III

This article is aimed primarily at serious amateur photographers so I won't be super technical with the camera and lens features. Pro photographers have been at it for a while and know what they want and need so my goal is to bring the serious amateurs up to speed with this camera. In order to avoid glazing your eyes over, I'm only going to talk about a few of the features but it has many more features that make it a great camera.

  • FULL FRAME: A digital camera with an image sensor the same size as a 35mm film frame is called a full frame camera. This is important because image quality and resolution is not just a matter of having a lot of pixels. Image quality improves greatly with the size of the image sensor. This isn't just because it can accommodate more photo-sites (pixels), it's because the light catching ability of the photo-sites improves with the size of the image sensor. Most lower end digital cameras have smaller image sensors so when comparing digital cameras, don't just count pixels, consider the size of the image sensor.
  • 22.3 MEGAPIXELS: That's a lot of megapixels and when you consider the full frame image sensor, you know your will capture great images. The advantages of a high pixel-resolution camera include the ability to zoom in and crop and image with lots of pixels left over for a large print. The more pixels you have, the larger size you can print your images so more is good for resolution and enlargement.
  • BROAD ISO RANGE: The 5D MK III can operate at ISO's from 50 to 102,400. You probably know that the ISO settings determine the sensitivity of the image sensor to light. This is a huge range to allow you to take pictures in a wide range of lighting conditions.
  • LIVE VIEW MODE: This mode allows you to see through the lens using the 3.2" LCD screen on the back of the camera rather than looking through the view finder. This can be very handy under some shooting conditions.
  • SELF CLEANING IMAGE SENSOR: This is a helpful feature as it helps you keep the image sensor free of dust that might settle on it when changing lenses. When you are busy this can help prevent your having to stop to clean your sensor.
  • 6 FRAMES PER SECOND BURST: With my type of photography I seldom need this but it's wonderful when you're shooting something in motion and want to capture it at just the right instant. In this mode, hold the shutter release down and it takes 6 full frame images per second - great for sports and some wildlife.
  • IT'S AN HD-VIDEO CAMERA: Most digital cameras these days are also useable as video cameras. I seldom use this capability for my photography but this camera is a high definition (1080p) video camera.
  • IT HAS BUILT-IN HDR CAPABILITY: Not only does this camera have built-in multiple exposure modes, it actually merges multiple shots into an HDR image. For more information on HDR or High Dynamic Range, see my Squidoo article on High Dynamic Range Photography.

Canon 5D Mark III

The Mark III is a great sequel to to the Mark II. This means you can now buy the latest generation of 5D with its enhancements or you can still buy the 5D MK II with all its powerful features. You can't go wrong either way.

Canon 24-105mm Lens
Canon 24-105mm Lens

The Canon 24-105mm L IS f/4 USM Lens

This is my most used lens and a great match-up with the 5D MK II or III on Amazon. This is my walk-around lens on my 5D MK III...the one I leave on the camera and it's often my first choice in a wide variety of photography settings.

Photo from B&H Photo-Video-Pro Audio

Why it's my Most Used Lens

  • 24-105mm ZOOM: This is a great range from wide-angle to moderate telephoto. It allows me to shoot everything from landscapes to portraits with a single lens. This is my "walk around" lens. I leave it on the camera and only use others when the 24-105 isn't right for what I want to shoot.
  • L GLASS: When you see an "L" in a Canon lens description you know you are looking at a Canon high end lens. The "L" indicates the lens contains Canon's Super-UD glass which provides optimum contrast and color resolution. In photography, resolution isn't just pixel count and image sensor size, the quality of your lens makes a big difference.
  • IMAGE STABILIZATION: The "IS" in a lens description indicates the lens comes with Canon's image stabilization technology to help reduce camera shake for sharp clear images.
  • AUTO FOCUS: This is a fast and sharp auto focus (AF) lens using Canon's USM technology. You can also switch AF off for manual focus when needed.
  • f/4: This lens has a maximum aperture of f/4 which is constant throughout the 24-105 range. This isn't a super-fast lens but it's more than adequate for most shooting conditions.

The Canon 24-105mm Lens on Amazon

If you already have a good Canon DSLR, you can start your high-end photography with this lens. You may change your cameras but I bet you keep this lens.

What's Your Favorite Camera and/or Lens? - Tell Us How You Use It And Why You Like It

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    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      5D Mark II is also my camera. Favoutie lens 70 -200mm and 17-55mm...lurve them

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image

      Itaya Lightbourne 5 years ago from Topeka, KS

      Sweet camera! Putting one on my list now. Great feature article. :)

    • AnnaMKB profile image

      AnnaMKB 5 years ago

      We have a Nikkon D80 that I'm quite happy with. My favourite lens is a Tamron 90mm macro. LOVELOVELOVE macro photography. :-D

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @AnnaMKB: You can't go wrong with a Nikon.

    • Wayne Rasku profile image

      Wayne Rasku 4 years ago

      I have the Canon Rebel T4i now and I really like it. If money permitted, I would get a Canon 7D (I can only dream about a 5D MarkIII at this point)

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 4 years ago from California

      @Wayne Rasku: You have a great camera...I worked my way up to the 5D over time...the 7D would be a good next step for you. I used the 5D III and 70-200 f/2.8 II to shoot a bluegrass festival and loved the combined performance....fast and sharp. See my website or "Have You Tried Bluegrass Jam" lens for examples.

    • profile image

      nifwlseirff 4 years ago

      I'm starting with Canon 650D / Rebel T4i, but getting top quality glass - the 70-300mm IS L telephoto for wildlife shots (the f/2.8 is out of budget and too heavy), and the 100mm IS L macro. Am really impatient for my shopping trip in November!

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 4 years ago from California

      @nifwlseirff: Excellent.....it pays to get good glass...a good investment for the serious photographer and you can't go wrong with Canon.

    Shot With My Canon 5D Mark II With My 24-105mm Lens - Why I Consider This a Good Camera and Lens Combination.

    Middle Falls on The McCloud River
    Middle Falls on The McCloud River

    I threw this image in here so you can see the 5D MK II and 24-105mm lens at work together. The same lens with the 5D Mark III would be at least comparable to this. This is a high dynamic range (HDR) image (see my Squidoo article on HDR photography) and I used the camera's photo bracketing setting to capture the dynamic range necessary to make the image work.

    Other Canon DSLR Options on Amazon

    Canon has a variety of DSLRs in various price ranges. You will find some at higher prices and some at lower prices than the 5D Mark II but the 24-105 lens will work with them all.

    My Second Most Used Lens

    Wind On The Mountain
    Wind On The Mountain

    I can't end this article without telling you about my second most used lens. It's the Canon 70-200 mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens. It is a high end lens that I love to use for landscape, event and portrait photography. It's a very versitial lens that can be used in many applications. The Digital Photography Review website has a detailed independent review of this lens here.

    The Mount Shasta image above was shot with my 5D and my 70-200 mm f/2.8 lens....I guess you can see why I love this lens. This lens is available on Amazon, see below:

    The Canon 70-200 mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens - You Will Love It!

    This lens is expensive but it's Canon's high-end lens and will make a big difference in your images. If you are going to be serious about your photography, consider this lens.

    I'd Love To Hear From You

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      • micheleburke profile image

        Michele Marie Burke 5 years ago

        Great information. The picture is stunning! Thanks for sharing.

      • TreasuresBrenda profile image

        Treasures By Brenda 5 years ago from Canada

        Great review. Your page should help many people when they are trying to choose a camera.

      • CNelson01 profile image
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        Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

        @micheleburke: Thank you Michele

      • CNelson01 profile image
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        Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

        @TreasuresBrenda: Thank you Brenda

      • mbgphoto profile image

        Mary Beth Granger 5 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

        Great review and I love your photo!

      • CNelson01 profile image
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        Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

        @TreasuresBrenda: Thank you and I hope so!

      • CNelson01 profile image
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        Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

        @mbgphoto: Thank you for the kind words.

      • SophiaStar LM profile image

        SophiaStar LM 5 years ago

        This is a great review. I have been getting more interested in photography as of late, this was perfect, great information.

      • CNelson01 profile image
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        Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

        @SophiaStar LM: Thank you SophiaStar....photography is a great artistic outlet...go for it!

      • michaelcollinso1 profile image

        michaelcollinso1 5 years ago

        Some really great information and a very good review, I just wish I could afford one! I loved the picture by the way.

      • CNelson01 profile image
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        Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

        @michaelcollinso1: Thank you Mike. Photography brings me a great deal of enjoyment and satisfaction. Since I sell my work in galleries and on websites, it's a bit more than a hobby but you can pay a lot more for some hobbies.

      • NeilTryAthlete profile image

        NeilTryAthlete 5 years ago

        Wow! That's an awesome image you took.

      • CNelson01 profile image
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        Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

        @NeilTryAthlete: Thank you Neil...it's a good one to show that particular camera and lens at work.

      • profile image

        anonymous 5 years ago

        Love the image. I reviewed the same camera as it is also my camera, you might like to take a look at mine also

      • CNelson01 profile image
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        Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

        @anonymous: Thank you SC, I saw your review...well done...we are Canon fans for sure.

      • flicker lm profile image

        flicker lm 5 years ago

        That sounds like an outstanding camera. Beautiful photo you took with it!

      • CNelson01 profile image
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        Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

        @flicker lm: Thank you flicker. It's a great camera and lens combo. Squidoo_chick also did a review of this camera.

      • Brandi Bush profile image

        Brandi 5 years ago from Maryland

        Your waterfall photo is amazing! I really thought it was a painting! :) Great review of the Canon 5D Mark II!

      • CNelson01 profile image
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        Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

        @Brandi Bush: Thank you mamabush...I do treat some of my photographs in a painterly way but this one I loved the natural look. Because it was high dynamic range (HDR) it looks different.

      • TheVox1 profile image

        TheVox1 5 years ago

        I'm a big fan of the 5D and the 7D and still debating which one to get. Also, I really, really want a telephoto lens :) Great lens!

      • CNelson01 profile image
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        Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

        @TheVox1: Thanks...can't go wrong with either one. I find my second most used lens is the 2.8 70-200 zoom....enough telephoto for most of my uses.

      • BlueTrane profile image

        BlueTrane 5 years ago

        Thanks for your opinions...trying to find the right camera for my needs.

      • CNelson01 profile image
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        Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

        @BlueTrane: Thank you and good luck on your search.

      • ItayaLightbourne profile image

        Itaya Lightbourne 5 years ago from Topeka, KS

        Great article!

      • CNelson01 profile image
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        Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

        @ItayaLightbourne: Thank you ItayasDesigns!

      • johnshade lm profile image

        johnshade lm 4 years ago

        Thanks this is helpful to me, I've been looking for a new camera

      • CNelson01 profile image
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        Chuck Nelson 4 years ago from California

        @johnshade lm: You're welcome. It's a significant expense but a wonderful piece of equipment that will do wonders for you.

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