Photos from my 5d bodies have been seen around the world ranging from Ripley’s Believe it or Not! to my own upcoming book on Afghanistan. Images from these two bodies have been published in at least hundreds of outlets and seen by unknown millions of people. This is a small camera with a big punch.
Movie makers in Hollywood are now using 5d bodies for the extreme high-quality of the video output. I’ve also used the 5d in combat for video. For instance during two firefights spliced into this one video.
These two 5d bodies are not baby-spanking new; both have seen significant combat with British and US forces. They photographed everything from General Petraeus to Mt. Everest to dead Taliban to fighting in Bangkok to Kopp-Etchells. Both recently were sent to Canon for all needed maintenance. They are perfectly good to go but with external dueling scars that prove their value.
Why am I selling? The Canon Dx and the Mark III 5d are rolling out. The Dx will be for normal shooting. I will have the Mark III 5d modified for low-signature low-light shooting. If you are not doing a lot of cutting edged low-light work, or high-end specialty work, there likely is little value in going to the Mark III or Dx. The 5d Mark II remains world class, and on the video front, there is some contention on whether the Mark III is as good as the Mark II. (Though with audio, Mark III apparently is a clear winner.)
What is for sale:
1) Canon Mark II 5d body in perfect operating condition but with much combat experience.
2) Special Canon Mark II 5d (full spectrum): I had this one specially modified for shooting in low or zero ambient light. The sensor is sensitive to infrared and is “full spectrum.” It will pick up invisible IR lasers from rifles, Predators/Reapers (Taliban use cell phone cameras to see these lasers), IR sources, including the IR flash I had specially modified. This camera is in perfect condition but the body has dueling scars. This camera is also great for daylight. It will have the IR look and images are usually better with post-processing. Images with this camera can be phenomenal. Also good nighttime surveillance work. Various filters can make it useful for forensics, scientific, or astronomy work.
3) Canon 580EXII flash specially modified for IR: Great for wildlife photography or even in complete darkness. When it fires, there is a small red signature. You won’t be James Bond with it, but the flash is less than obvious unless you are looking right at it. With naked eye you need to be close and looking right at it to see it. (Also, if you are close, you might catch a quick, dim red reflection off of walls or leaves or ground.) With good night vision gear, any sniper will see it from a mile away. The flash will also work in daylight shooting but only with the modified camera (above).
Normal 5d Mark II with 50mm f1.2mm. The best cameras need the best glass. (Sangin, Afghanistan 2009)
WARNING: Before using this IR flash in combat with US forces, it’s crucial to show it to the commander or Command Sergeant Major and explain its function. They probably will not have seen something like this, but 30 seconds of explanation and a quick demo and they will be tracking. (They use all sorts of low-light gear—this might be new but they will be tracking instantly.) No commander or CSM has ever told me “no” on this flash, but there will be times when the flash will be a no-go. Even with permission from the Commander and CSM, it remains very important to alert ALL troops if you are going to use the IR flash. It will blind their night vision gear for a split second. Never use it at night aboard a military aircraft without specific guidance/permission from the pilot. This will, for an instant, blind out their goggles. Do not use the IR flash on helicopters that are landing in the dark. This flash and the modified camera are also good for daylight shooting and some fascinating, unexpected effects.
Original Kopp-Etchells dispatch.
Starting bid for the two bodies, IR modified professional flash, two batteries (total) and two chargers: $7,000. It’s all yours without bid for $7,500.
The auction on Ebay can be found here.