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My Camera

My Canon EOS 5D Mark II by Carin Olsson (Paris in Four Months)

So here’s the first post as a result from your wishes that I previously asked about. A lot of people ask me about what kind of camera gear I use for my photos on the blog so here we go:

When I first moved to Paris (in February 2012) I used a Nikon D3100 with a 35mm f/1.8 lens. So all the photos taken between the period of February 2012 to January 2013 are taken with that camera and lens unless stated otherwise. For beginners in photography (or for someone who don’t like to lug around a super heavy camera but still want good photos) I can really recommend this camera.

I got my new camera (which is the one I use today), a Canon EOS 5D Mark II in November last year for my birthday and have shot all my photos with this one since I arrived in January 2013. I got this camera since I’ve evolved as a photographer but also since I’ve started to do photography on a professional level. No, it’s not the most handy camera out there I’m afraid (I wouldn’t recommend it to beginners), it weighs a lot and it’s really big to lug around town but now that I need it, I don’t mind all that much. Although I would looove to be able to wear smaller bags sometimes… With this camera I use three different lenses: a 35mm f/2.0, 50mm f/1.4 (which I use for most of my photos) and a 85mm f/1.8.

When talking about camera equipment and photography I can’t help but to mention this little story that I found through Carla: “A photographer went to a socialite party in New York. As he entered the front door the host said ‘I love your photos — they’re wonderful; you must have a fantastic camera.’ He said nothing until the dinner was finished, then ‘ That was a wonderful dinner; you must have a terrific stove.” - Sam Haskins

So many people think that just because you’re buying a certain camera your photos are suddenly going to come out gorgeously perfect. And that’s not the case. It takes practice just like with anything else. I have the same camera now as many of my absolute favourite photographers but that doesn’t mean I can take the same amazing photos. There’s so much more to the story. So if you’re looking for a new camera I would suggest doing some research to find the camera that suits you the best!

  • lisa zhang

    such true words!
    I love your photos, you have such a great eye and the colours are just so vibrant and stunning!


    • Paris in Four Months

      Thank you so much, that’s so sweet of you to say :)

  • Mary

    So much word! It’s like people think that an expensive camera automatically makes you a pro. I wish it were that simple. Oh well…Although to be fair a good camera does make it easier if you can handle it.

    • Paris in Four Months

      Exactly, you’re so right :)

  • Quiqui

    Love this post! So true! And that quote is really true! Sometimes I caught myself thinking like that. But it is the photographer that makes the photo beautiful, right? Thanks for the tip!

    • Paris in Four Months

      Thank you! And yes, I absolutely think so.

  • Anastasia Povoroznyuk

    I stumbled upon this quote some time ago, it’s wonderful :)
    I have Nikon D90 and even though the quality of the photos is amazing (comparing to the quality of photos taken by a regular digital camera), I know it’s not enough to have a good camera to take truly stunning pictures. My brother, who is a professional photographer, takes fantastic picturer using just an iPhone – and my mom is so bad in photographing, it takes ages for her to take a good photo even with this Nikon ;p

    I have a question. How do you carry your camera? In a special bag or in a regular bag? Because I’m so used to carry it just over my shoulder, but after being robbed in metro in Rome last week, I think I should think about safer ways to carry it…

    • Paris in Four Months

      Haha yes exactly! That’s so true :) I usually carry the camera in one of my normal, “regular”, bags. I know, I should have a camera bag but they’re not very pretty… Or handy. When I carry the camera in my hand I always wrap the strap around my wrist a couple of times.

      • Anastasia Povoroznyuk

        Wrapping the strap around a couple of times sounds like a good idea! Thank you!

  • Paprika

    This is really useful, especially as your photos are so beautiful, I’d love to learn to photograph like you doxx

    • Paris in Four Months

      Thank you so much :)

  • Craig Davies

    I really like the quote about the stove at the end of your piece. A good camera is helpful and it’s alway interesting to know what someone is using if you like their work. I like your work but the camera you use is not nearly as important as how you see the world.

    • Paris in Four Months

      Yes, I always find it interesting to know what people are using ;) Thank you so much, that’s so kind of you to say.

  • Rob J.

    Your quote sums up so much. As a serious amateur photographer I am asked all the time about my camera (I currently use a Pentax K30) and while I love talking about my camera, I am quick to point out that the camera is just a tool, the knowledge and skills belong to the person and must be learned as everything must. Your skills and knowledge show through in your photos, please keep them coming.

    • Paris in Four Months

      Exactly, and many people don’t get that. It’s a skill and takes practice just like anything else :) Ah, thank you so much!

    • Vanessa

      I have to second that! Your pictures are the mirror of your passion and dedication to your work :)

      • Paris in Four Months

        Ah, thank you so much :) You’re both so kind!

  • Rachel Phipps

    Ahh I feel you about the bag thing – I got a new Vivienne Westwood clutch last May and I still have not used it as I rarely don’t have my DSLR with me; luckily around that time last year I also got a lovely and small-ish Chloe evening bag ( that is just about big enough to fit my essentials and my DSLR while still looking rather small!

    • Paris in Four Months

      Haha yes, it’s so frustrating! That Chloé bag looks so cute though :)

  • jenn976

    You’re right about practice, practice, practice. Sometimes it takes many years. But you’ve got a good tool, a very good tool. And your photos already look marvelous.

    • Paris in Four Months

      Exactly :) Good tools and a lot of practice is a good combination. Thank you so much!

  • Snappystreet

    Yes! I can relate too :) For my birthday last year I was lucky enough to receive a Canon 5D Mark II with a 50mm f/1.2 and you’re so right – it takes so much practice and learning how to make the camera work ‘with’ you, not for you. I adore your blog and it is truly inspirational!

    • Paris in Four Months

      Ah, I would love to have that lens :) You’re certainly right. I’m still learning the camera! Thank you so so much.

  • Xenia

    You have a really great camera. I took a class a week ago about the basic photography for bloggers. The instructor is a professional photographer. One of the students asked her what brand camera is the best. She said they are all good but from her personal experience the Canon EOS was the best. That really made me happy because I purchased a Canon Rebel two months ago. It was only $400., but the instructor said that the lens is the part of the camera that you invest most of your money in; not the body of the camera. It also takes practice, practice, practice.

    • Paris in Four Months

      Yes, well everybody has their own favourite. Some people prefer Canons and some prefer Nikons. It’s very personal in my opinion. That’s very true! The lenses are the most important thing :) (and practice of course)

  • yenifer_minerva

    I’m a new reader and your blog makes me miss roaming the streets of Paris SOOOO much!!!! Great photos!!!

    • Paris in Four Months

      Well welcome here first of all :D And thank you so much.

  • Virginia Kelser Jones

    Well mine’s a Canon Rebel XTI that is five years old. My fav lens is an 18-200 for street use and I too have a 50mm that I pop on for low light situations. I love your work a lot. Would you mind sharing what if any post processing you do? Your images have a pale, soft look that I really really like. V

    • Paris in Four Months

      Thank you :) I do everything in Photoshop, if it’s needed.

  • Julieta Melgar Luna

    I’m not sure how I ended up reading your blog, but I’m so glad I did. I love every single one of your pictures! Thank you for sharing them. If possible, could you take some pictures of flower shops in Paris. I’ve never been there but I dream of patisseries and flower shops.

  • Makeup Morsels

    Ah yes, this is so true. I do believe that it’s easier to get relatively polished pictures with an expensive camera without really knowing what you’re doing, but to get really good pictures it’s up to the photographer, not the camera. And your pictures are gorgeous, it goes without saying. I love the look that Canon cameras give, I find they shoot a tinge warmer than Nikons. I’ve debated with upgrading my camera and/or lens (I’m shooting with the Canon Rebel XSi and an 18-55 mm kit lens right now) but can’t justify it because I’m not looking to be a pro photographer and have actually grown quite attached to my little (well, relatively speaking) DSLR. Lovely post!

    • Paris in Four Months

      That’s so true. Thank you so much :) I think you could invest in a relatively inexpensive lens if you want to upgrade. The 35mm 1.8 lens that I had on my Nikon was the best purchase I’ve ever made. Made the photos look so much more professional without spending a fortune!

  • Ellen Carr

    Your photos are absolutely beautiful. Can I ask if you use a editing program??

    • Paris in Four Months

      Thank you :) So sorry about my late reply! I must have missed your comment. I use Photoshop for all post editing.

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  • Emily

    Very True! Some of my favourite photos were taking with a simple point-and-shoot camera, and that doesn’t lessen their value simply because the camera wasn’t a DSLR. Love the quote at the end!

    • Paris in Four Months

      Exactly :) Glad you liked it!

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  • Claudine RO

    Hi, Carin! This is really awesome:-) because I also use Nikon D3200/85mm (now), but some posts I’ve made with Canon EOS 600D. My photographer now (Spela) use exact the same camera, like U :-) …but, you know, Carin, this is just camera like camera :-) because every pic is always made just with your head and eyes:-) And I think, that this is most important: What can I see? What i want to have on this pic? And how? So, excuse to my english…but I’am really Your fan;-) LOVE, bisous to U, Claudine RO

  • Ainsley

    How did it feel switching from Nikon to Canon? When I was younger, I used a Canon point and shoot camera but I’ve been using a Nikon D40 for a while now. I always thought that at heart, Canon was for me, but I’m wondering if I’ve been using Nikon for so long that my heart has changed.

    • jonathan sales

      Nikon has better technology nowadays. Canon’s getting there bit by bit.


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  • Steven

    G’day mate, great photos, ya got a really good eye, I read in here that you use Photoshop, have you try Lightroom. Beginning a bit of an armature photographer that is what I now use 95% of the time. Looks like ya enjoy ya self shooting Nic.

  • maven8

    great advice..It’s not always the camera but the story you are capturing. I think that’s why I have found myself by a simple iPhone Instagram shot just as much as a professional photo taken with a super expensive camera. Cheers!

  • Birgitte

    Hi Carin, I am currently about to switch from my old Canon 40d to a full frame. I have had my eye on the 6d since it’s a bit more accessible economically speaking, but I would love to hear your opinion. Did you ever consider the 6d instead of the 5d mark II and what made you go for the 5d mark II? I am using my camera for professional photo shoots like you and I am indeed afraid that I will regret not going for the 5d mark II right away… I hope you have the time to share your experience.

  • Birgitte

    Sorry Carin, I think I mixed up the two 5d cameras a bit. In fact it seems like the 5d mark II costs more or less the same as the 6d while it is of course the mark III that costs more. I would still love to hear your opinion about these 2 (or 3 :-) ) cameras compared to each other.

  • Louise Barbara

    That quote about photographers and people always assuming that it’s the camera that makes the photos great is so completely true. I’ve been told a number of times “You must have such a good camera!” and it’s a tad frustrating. You’re completely right in saying that it’s the photographer, not the camera. It’s you that makes your photographs so beautiful (and they are so so beautiful).

  • Z.

    So you don’t use the lens that came with the Canon 5D Mark II? I’m sure the pictures still come out great with that lens as well, right? I’m thinking of buying that camera as I have a Canon 1000D right now and it’s not the best…just about 10MP.

    • Paris in Four Months

      I don’t have that lens since I only bought the camera body.

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  • Estevan Cruz

    I absolutely love all your photos! I’m still fairly new to photography and i try to incorporate photography when i have a chance because of my busy school schedule. But you have an amazing eye! At the moment i have a Nikon D700 with a f/1.8 50mm and i love it i just feel like I’m having a hard time with being creative with how i shoot and how i use my camera. Any tips when you have no ideas for pictures? or just for a new photographer when trying to make the best with your environment?

  • FiFi Qin

    5D MARKII is a great camera in many aspects. I am considering upgrading a lens for mine. You just have all the amazing lenses I love!

  • mystylediary

    This is so helpful! I’m looking into buying a new camera and will be practicing lots when I get it to be able to produce beautiful pictures like yours. :) Love your blog!

  • Hilal

    Hi carin, I fall in love with your photos. You’re great. I m planing to come to paris on this august for one mounth and i’m confused about which camera that i should prefer for taking photos. Should i prefer professional machine or is iphone5 enough? And i curious do you take photos with camera or iphone in your instagram page

  • Lynne Knowlton

    Hi Carin,
    Your photos are fantastic! I’ve been following you for quite some time now… since by bestie Norma {{ My Beautiful Paris }} introduced me to your photos/blog/ and your oohhhhh so ahhhmazing instagram. Thanks for the fantastic tips. Keep rocking it! I hope we meet some day! Bisous, Lynne xx

  • Demi Pradolin

    So your only 23 and your already established enough in a city like paris to afford your own apartment? how did you manage this? i understand a huge amount of hard work would have been involved, but the city is so expensive rent wise, did you come over already an established photographer? was it mainly through this blog that you have got work? did you study it or was it more of a natural nact?

  • Emilly J

    I love that story by Sam Haskins and it is so true, you don’t need to have a fancy camera to show your talents. You also don’t need special lighting, just be ready to go when the natural light is just right.