Time to be with your loved ones

Time to be with loved ones

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Besides our workhorses (Canon 5D3 and 60D), we have an old camera - Canon 1Ds Mk II which has its OLPF scratched. That is, the camera works (ok, more or less because the signs of time are present on it - however is usable) without any problem for apertures less than, let's say, 7.1 but starting from this aperture if the middle area happens to be a highlights area, a vertical black line appears.

We spoke with the Canon's local dealer and he said that the price to replace this is @ 600 Euro (we're located in Europe) but, besides this, he warned us (he is a friend of us) that the replacement could render camera useless because it can happen even at their (ie. Canon's) repair center particles of dust to reach between sensor and the new OLPF leaving permanent black spots on images.

The general question is what should we do?

Some options we thought at:

  • Leave the camera as is because we don't use it too much anymore and, also, there are enough situations in which I (us) as photojournalist(s) shoot in dim light, hence the aperture will be anyway open. In this way we use camera now.
  • Leave the camera as is BUT because this spares us some money invest this money in another camera / lens / gadget for this sum. Does anyone know a good complementary camera for a photojournalist in the aprox. range of the money needed for replacing an OLPF? (it can be also a good P&S or mirrorless - we are not purists, we need to have our job done and we are aware of the goods & bads of P&S, mirrorless, dSLR etc. - we do not badly need another 1Ds or 5D3, but if we could get a price/performance bargain then why not?)
  • Go ahead and make the conversion somewhere else ...but where? Does anyone know a certified/reliable (first) and cheap (second) company in US or Europe which changes Low-Pass filters for Canon 1DsMk2 who can guarantee that nothing wrong will happen?
  • Doesn't matter, go ahead and change the filter at the Canon's local representative

Which path, in your experience, should we choose?

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2 Answers

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To replace the OLPF with no risk of introducing dust requires a full on clean room which is usually well beyond the capability of camera service and repair centres. However I know a number of these places will replace the OLPF so I imagine the risk is relatively small.

With regards to repairs you have to consider what the camera is worth. A 1DsmkII is worth more than €600 so this would indicate the repair is economical, however in this case you have to consider the difference in value between a) a regular used 1DsII and b) a used 1DsII that can only be used faster than f/7. To some the difference in value between these cameras is less than €600 as they mostly use the camera with fast lenses wide open. Ultimately this is the decision you have to make.

Personally I would keep the camera for occasional use as you do right now and put the money towards a new lens. Maybe the new Sigma 35 f/1.4. And I can speak from experience as I have a 1DsII with a shutter that only works when the shutter speed is less than 1/500s. I looked at repairing it but decided to just keep it for use in low light when the shutter will be much longer than 1/500s (and in dangerous situations when I don't want to risk one of my other cameras).

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I have personal experience with camera conversions from a "lab" in the United States their link is http://www.maxmax.com/

The web site takes a little getting use to as it seams a little less user friendly but there is a ton of information and examples.

For me "if" the camera actuation's are within 1/2 of its life expectancy I would have it "modified"

LDP or MaxMax.com have a service where they "Hot Rod" the sensor by removing the Low Pass Filter, this is done under strict "clean room" conditions.

By doing this the images become sharper and actually increases resolution not much but noticeable, however you don't get something for nothing and by removing this filter the camera is prone to moire'.

Newer cameras from Nikon and Canon are now producing high end cameras without this filter, don't quote me on this but I believe the Nikon 7100 and Canon's 1Dx are amount those.

SO to sum it up I'd get it modified and enjoy a full frame camera that can work with the "BIG" boys at a fraction of the cost.

Robert from Canada

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