You can see clearly when you shoot with the 5D Mark II

Many of the 2009 International Rolex Regatta photos I shot in St. Thomas were made with Canon’s 5D Mark II camera.

Much has been made of the 5D Mark IIs high definition video capability, which is wonderful, but the camera’s still capabilities have been given less press. That’s a shame, because the 5d Mark II produces very large and extremely detailed still images.

A 5D Mark II still image is 60.5 megabytes when it comes out of the camera. That’s HUGE.

It means you can make enlargements that can easily go to 24X36 inches and far larger. It also means you can make extreme crops and still make a beautiful 20X30. That’s important in shooting sailing, surfing and other action sports where you may not always be able to perfectly frame the shot in the camera or get as close as you’d like.

But one of the coolest aspects of those large files is that you can see incredible detail.

I cropped this shot of Barra, a Morris 48, to correct the tilted horizon, which took the image down from 60.5 to 48.8 megabytes.

I did not know the boat’s name, but I simply zoomed in on the stern, and there it was. Plus I could even read the homeport, South Bristol, Maine. And not that this is important, but there is so much detail that I could see that one of the crew members was wearing a Boston College tee shirt.

Having spent 15 years as a photo editor I have a habit of looking for photos inside photos, and in this shot of an IC24 called Red Dog, I saw the bowman’s arms creating a cool shadow on the jib when he grabbed the spinnaker pole.

Red Dog’s captain might like the original photo.

But I like the shadow of the bowman, so I cropped it for my own purposes. Even after this extreme crop it’s still a 9 megabyte file, which is still a larger file than professional digital cameras created 7 or 8 years ago, and it will still make a beautiful 8X10 print.

Mind you, I used less than a sixth of the photo to make the shadow shot. I couldn’t have done that a few years ago, even if I’d spent $10,000 for a camera.

And that’s why I love the 5D Mark IIs, which are a bargain at $2,700.