Trouble In Camera Paradise

I was tired of the old one. I felt held down, stifled. He was too limiting. He was boring me, frankly. I knew there were others who could do so much more, others that promised to inspire my creativity.

I was ready for a change. I wasn’t 100% committed to the old one. Never was. I always knew I’d move on eventually, and it was time.

So late last year I sold my trusty (if boring) Canon T2i to make a big upgrade. I got me a Canon MK II- a full frame DSLR. A professional grade camera. Probably a little out of my league, yeah, but I had the opportunity to snag him, so I did, and I didn’t make any mention to him about me not being quite a “professional.” I figured I’d fake it till I made it, hoping he wouldn’t notice my stumbling fingers as I tried to get to know him.

I thought he would be easy. I thought he would sweep me off my feet with his big camera muscles. I thought we’d fall in love quickly.

I thought wrong.

He’s not perfect, it turns out. He’s not an open book, either, and I still haven’t had time to completely read the book he came with, which is vastly different from his inferior-but-trusty predecessor’s. He likes to piss me off by not focusing on things, and the pictures he gives me SOOC seem blah and sometimes grainy.

I swear, my center focus point was PRECISELY on that water drop. WHY is it not in focus?? 1/500 SS, f/ 2.0, 400 iso

I’ve been putting all the blame on him for a while, but I know deep down it’s a 2 way street. I know I’m largely to blame for not taking alllll the time needed to learn all his functions, all the best in camera settings, how to properly expose a shot with him to decrease noise. He’s just so very different from the old one. And so stubborn.

But then? I know his potential. I know what he can do when we finally get it, the 2 of us. I was tempted, for a brief time, to upgrade him, but it’s not fair… to my bank account.

So we’re going through a bit of  camera-relationship-counseling. I guess the first step is I actually have to touch him.

We went on a little walk in the rain today. I tried to be patient with him, to really think of HIS needs, not what the old one needed.

I think we made some progress.

I’m not giving up on us yet, baby.


If any of you have tips and tricks for Canon MK IIs, I’m all ears! Right now my only lens is my 50 1.4, but I’m strongly considering asking for a 35L for my birthday/Valentines/MothersDay present.

Also, perhaps this is also in conjunction with a winter blah funk? Because there’s really not anything fun to take pictures of right now, and my house is pretty much always a mess since I’m so tired lately. I’m hoping Spring will bring love our way.


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  1. A few years back, we sent our Canon DSLR and lenses back to the manufacturer for a tune-up due to focus issues. They came back /slightly/ improved but still imperfect, even for an amateur like me. We sold everything–the camera, two lenses, a flash, and the case–at a significant loss (sob!) two years ago and switched to Nikon. I haven’t looked back–the focus is SO much sharper. While we were making the decision, we borrowed cameras from a few friends to take them for a test run first, and then bought our D7000 from Costco of all places because their 30-day free return policy covers cameras, too. Good luck!

  2. Oh I love mine! It was a love story from the beginning. Canon tends to underexpose photos. I could get into details but I won’t. When your exposing a photo expose slightly to the right. Or email and I can try to help you more 🙂

  3. I’m glad you two aren’t giving up on each other yet! You’ve got a might fine piece of equipment there and I know with more time the two of you will run off into the sunset together <3 But for now, I think the photos posted are pretty freaking gorgeous! During my pregnancy w/ the twins I took a LOT of time off from my relationship with my camera because we just weren't seeing eye to eye. Now that I have my body back and my energy, there's been so much love making <3

  4. The grain could come from underexposure, especially if you’re trying to correct exposure in post-processing. As far as the water drop being out of focus, you said you used the center focus point. Does that mean you set the center focus point and then recomposed/moved the camera? If so, with an f/2, you could have moved the camera slightly backward/forward just enough to move the area of focus. It is possible that the camera and/or lens needs a tune up, but it’s also possible that you just need to practice more. My 50mm seems to be backfocusing on my D7000, but not all the time, so I’m trying to determine if it’s really the lens that is having issues or if my technique is getting sloppy.

    Remember, good cameras don’t take good pictures. Good photographers do! Good luck, and keep working with it. 🙂

    • I’ve been reminding myself to expose to the right one or two notches to avoid underexposure, that’s why I’m so baffled! I’ve even tried shooting at a higher ISO, which I know seems counterintuitive, but since this camera is supposed to be so good with higher ISOs, I thought that might help.

      As for the focus point, no recomposing. It was on the water drop when I fired the shutter, and I thought the SS was high enough to make up for any motion blur.

      I know, I know 😉 I’m not expecting this thing to do ALL the work for me, but I felt I’d really grasped all these basic concepts with my last one, and I’m just frustrated by the steep learning curve there seems to be.
      Thanks for the advice!

    • Yeah, I have limited myself from shooting wide quite a bit, but sometimes it’s really my only option in the house. What’s super frustrating is I shot wide open a lot with my last camera, and I feel like I had a pretty good grasp on focus with it.

  5. Are you using a redline lens? Or is it the consumer 50 1.4? I ask because my 50 1.4 is horrible at focusing, awful. Useless in lower light. It’s slow to respond, cludgy, the depth of field is great but I never use that lens in favor of my redline 24-70 2.8 which is uh-mazing. Worth the investment. With a good camera you really need to invest in a lens that can keep up.

  6. don’t give up 🙂 I shot canon for years and just this year switched to nikon…only because it was a better fit for what I needed in my camera. With Canon I would tend to overexpose anywhere from 1/4 to a full stop. Granted, I expose for the shadows due to it giving me the look I desire in my images. With Nikon, I don’t have to overexpose nearly as much. Honestly though, both brands put out great camera…it’s just figuring out which ones work best for you! Trying to shoot raindrops….perhaps try using a higher f stop…it might help give you the “sharper” look you’re hoping to achieve!! Kinda like when I shoot wedding rings…I shoot at f/10 to ensure I’m catching every facet and that it’s tact sharp! Don’t be discouraged…learning takes time! But you’re already on the right track and doing an awesome job!!!! xo

  7. Janelle Sorensen on

    I’m such a wannabe. As an adolescent, I thought being a photographer for National Geographic would be the absolute shizzle. When I graduated, my dad gave me his 1960’s manual Canon with three different lenses. I loved it with ignorant passion and took many, many amazing photos (that oodles of people commented on and I always attributed to the camera). About 2 years ago I made the leap to digital (just because it’s so much more practical and fun for modern photo-sharing) and bought an Olympus E-P1. It has amazing functionality and I’ve probably figured out about 2.37% of it. Blurg. Why does it have to be so difficult to be amazing at everything?

    Keep on being an inspiration, Jill!!!

    • It’s SO hard to ever feel like I’m grasping it! Every time I get one thing down, there are a million others I’m struggling with. I would love to see your film photos! Do you have them online anywhere?

  8. Maybe another “day in the life” shoot, for some fun photos? I love capturing the “boring” daily life, and then looking back a year later!

  9. I had SUCH focus problems with my D7000 that I know this frustration far too well. I drove myself insane trying to fix them (and sent back to Nikon 3 times before giving up). So it’s not a Canon thing…it can happen with Nikons too.

    Are you using BBF? That helps a bit in case you have shaky hands – to separate the focus from the shutter. That helped me…a little when I started seeing similar problems with my D700.

    Do a focus test, too. I use a remote control because I like to focus on a big yellow button 🙂 but there are actual focus tests you can download. You can see if it’s the camera (is it consistent?), the lens, etc. For my D7000, it was consistently sucky but not sucky in consistent ways. I’d get maybe one shot in focus out of 400 or so. SO MADDENING.

    I know 5DMII have these issues – I’ve seen other people complain – and I don’t know if they’ve ever experienced success with sending back to Canon, but maybe you could try that route. I’m so sorry you’re dealing with it. It SUCKS!

    (I ended up going to Costco and telling them that I really tried to fix the camera and they actually took it back 15 months after I purchased it. Costco is amazing.)

    • Oh, and the grain – yes, to echo others – ETTR more than you think you should. It will take care of a great deal of grain. Good luck! It is so frustrating when things don’t go as well as you hope.

    • I am using BBF, but I haven’t done a focus test or micro adjusted my lens. I’ll definitely do that before I make any HUGE changes. That’s awesome that Costco took yours back!

  10. I heard there was a lot of issues with the Mark II, mostly with colors and the focusing system. Don’t be too hard on your self….it’s probably a problem with the camera itself.

  11. Ahh yes… I had a very similar experience when I upgraded my trusty old Nikon D200 (that I bought used off of ebay) that I could use blindfolded to a new Nikon D600. Considering the D600 is – well an enormous improvement, it’s very similar to the Mark – I thought, surely everything I shoot will be gold. Not so. There was a learning curve fo’ sho’. I’m much more comfortable with it now, but yeah, I was a little bummed that I wasn’t flying with the D600 right out of the box. I’m sure you’ll be taking fabulous photos with the Mark ii very soon!

  12. I’m with you on the weather and lack of things to photograph. I’m having withdrawals because it’s just grey outside. I don’t have a pro camera (yet), but I have a one year old t3. Any advice? I love, love, love photography. I think I have decent natural ability, but I really need to get the technical know-how and step it up a notch!

    Also, I’m totally willing to test out your camera for you. 🙂

  13. Pingback: That Time I Took A Broken Camera To Florida

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