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Scott's Column
Article Sub-Title Goes Here

May 1, 2016
By Scott Lewis

This we cover a new life change I am going through, and try to make sense of what I should be doing about a new camera... someday.

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Life Changes

I have been separated from my wife for 6 years. There was never any rush to get a divorce. Lawyers would just get in the way. I paid her child support we agreed on, and we had the kids whenever either of us wanted them. Then last year my youngest son moved in with me. This forced the sale of our house. With child support going away, she could not keep the house. We sold the house in October 2015 and divided the equity up. This may be old news, but now we get up to current times. We still had not gotten a divorce because there was still no rush. I assumed I would go file for divorce as soon as my youngest graduated high school, and there would essentially be no kids involved in the divorce.

A few weeks ago my son told me that his Mom was pre approved for a home loan (she moved in with her sister when we sold the house, until she could find a house of her own). I texted her asking if she knew she could not buy a house in Texas while married to me without my name being on the mortgage. She told me to go get that divorce right away. Right away meant a 60 day wait. Not a problem. But a self done divorce had a 4-6 month backlog. So, we had to get a lawyer (and spend an extra $1,500... what a scam).

She sent me a link to a house (3/21). It was very nice, and priced at $230K. I liked it. She said it was out of her price range, but since I make more money than her I might be able to afford it.

Wow... I thought I would not bother looking for a house until my debt consolidation loan was paid off in Fall 2017. I did not think I could afford a house, at least not a nice one.

My lease is up at the end of June, and the apartment I am in is not that good (I had to rush move in last year in one weekend, so I got what I got). This drove me to start looking at apartments. I wanted a two car garage so I could use it for automotive photography. I found 5, and figured I would go looking that Saturday (3/26).

Only 1 apartment with a 2 car garage was less than my existing rent ($1620/month with 2 - 1 car garages, one for storage). All were going to be more. So I whipped up a spreadsheet to calculate a mortgage and my initial numbers said with an interest rate of 4% I would have a mortgage of $1700/month on a $220K house (assuming a VA loan with little to no money down).

So I did the logical thing... called my real estate agent (3/23). He contacted his finance person to see if I could get pre-approved for a loan for up to $230K.

Then my wife sent me a link to a house that just came on the market (on a Friday, 3/25) for $199,900. I checked with my agent and he checked with the finance person and on Saturday (3/26) I got the word I was approved for the $230K. Whoo-Hoo! I am house shopping.

I told my agent about the house and he said they already had multiple offers on it. It was priced at $199,900. We still saw it on Monday (3/28), because the seller's agent was taking offers until Tuesday (3/29). It was a super cute house with wood floors in the living areas, the master and the study, and a pretty small backyard, but very nicely landscaped. Perfect, I don't want to spend a lot of time mowing a lawn.

We made an offer for $203K... yes, over asking price. We were still rejected. They likely took a Non-VA offer that was also over. Oh... and don't worry about the over asking... if the house appraised lower than the offer we would expect them to lower the price (and VA would require it). If not, that is a legitimate excuse to get out of the contract and get my earnest money back.

So... I start looking at houses... including the original $230K house my wife sent me. On Saturday (4/2) we looked at 7 houses. I put in offers on 2. The smaller of the two and my first choice (1785 sqft, all wood floors, great neighborhood, $225K asking), got an offer over asking late Saturday before my agent could get our offer in (for $215K). Oh well. The other house (2199 sqft, wood floors in living areas and master, upgraded kitchen, and a study) was over my budget at $240K asking. I put in a bid of $225K. They had multiple offers and were going to make a decision on Monday (4/4). So Sunday we upped our bid to $240K, and asked they leave the patio cover and pay for my closing. They accepted, but didn't want to pay toward my closing. So we asked for the patio cover (nice) AND patio furniture AND the refrigerator (since I don't own one). They accepted and on Tuesday (4/5) and we were under way. We were still in the option period, so I would still get my earnest money back if the inspection or appraisal were not favorable.

That was way too fast. Closing is set for May 11th.

I never thought I could afford a nice house in such a nice neighborhood. My finance person said my mortgage should be right about $1670, including property tax (which will go up once the sale price of the house gets into the county's system as they have it listed as $198K), insurance and home owner's association fees.

The deal fell through. SO the next outing with my agent we saw a couple of houses and one I really liked. It was priced at $250K. We put in an offer of $238K, They countered with $242K. We re-countered with $242K and they leave the fridge. They accepted and we are moving forward. Closing date is set for May 23rd. The inspection went well with nothing serious to worry about. We are waiting for the appraisal now.

It's looking like the mortgage to include everything... including Home Owner's Associate, will be about $1690/month. I'll know more when it's final. If the appraisal comes in below $242K they are willing to lower the price, but then they are keeping the fridge. Overall, it is a pretty small bump from my rent. However, my rent includes water and trash. Those will be separate in a house.

The down payment I had saved for a classic car is going toward closing costs. They can roll the closing costs into the house, but to do that they have to do something they called lender's fees... which increases my interest rate on my load, and raises the mortgage payment. No way. I'll pay a few grand now and save for the classic again.

Yea... these are serious 1st World Problems!!!

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New Camera???

2016 was looking like the year I finally get a new camera. I am using a Canon EOS Rebel T2i I purchased in 2010. I am also looking to buy a classic car and get a house, so who knows if this purchase is in the cards this year.

Obviously the house situation above may prevent me from getting a camera. However, Canon is on the verge of a new camera and it is not out yet. So, maybe I just need to wait... which is what I have impatiently been doing for months. (Now I will do it patiently since I have to save for it again.)

I am not the typical photographer type that thinks the gear makes the photographer. Quite the opposite... I believe it is the person behind the gear. However, there are some limitations I have with my current camera.

I went to Circuit of the America (COTA) race track a couple of months ago after buying a 2x teleconverter. I was hoping to get some great shots of cars on the track using the teleconverter with my 70-200mm lens. With the teleconverter in place that makes my lens a 140-400mm lens. And... since I have a cropped sensor camera, it is the equivalent of being a 224-640mm lens (equivalent zoom range if I had a full frame camera.... which is what I want).

Unfortunately none of the pictures came out truly sharp. I was disappointed. Essentially I have reached the limit of this camera. With just the 70-200 I get some sharp images (and miss many.... due to my inexperience with track photography). This requires me to crop them drastically to get the car to fill the frame. With the combination of the lens and teleconverter I could not get any shots I was truly proud of.

On my next outing to the track I rented a Canon 7D Mark II. This is Canon's latest crop sensor camera (so my lens & teleconverter will still be 224-640mm equivalent). This camera shoots at 10 fps (mine is rated at 3.4 fps). This is Canon's entry level sports camera for professionals on a budget, and advanced hobbyists. It has a million focus points (well, relative to the 9 in my T2i). It is FAST. It was extremely difficult to take a single picture when I wanted to. I was not going to have time to switch between one shot and continuous shooting, and I was NOT familiar enough with the camera having only spent a couple of hours with it. So I left it in continuous shooting mode and took a LOT of duplicates. Hey... it's just memory, not film.

I was able to get a few pretty sharp pictures. I also got a lot of unsharp pictures. I did notice something. Many of the pictures when zoomed in on the wheels showed an arc to the spin of the wheels. This is ME. I am not panning properly. If I were the wheels would be in a perfect circle spinning around the center.

I was using a borrowed monopod. I believe it was hurting more than it was helping. Unfortunately, I only had about 40 minutes to get photos of cars on the track. I arrived late to the track, and the person I was there to photograph was only going to be on the track for one more session. Both of us needed to leave a bit early. On a plus side... the person I photographed bought 2 - 24x36 prints mounted on gator board from that track day. There was more than enough profit in those two prints to pay for the camera rental!!!

So... I need practice. Which is going to be tough since it is hard to really tell sharpness on the tiny screen on the back of the camera.

I also need a new camera. Mine is showing its age. It is only 18 MP. I know, that is a lot for almost everything. However. I regularly print at 24x36, and I am trying to convince some clients of printing even larger. I am at the limit of my camera for print size now.

Then there is the lack of features: poor low light performance, slow shutter, poor focus. The list goes on. I would buy the 7D Mark II, but I want a full frame camera.

I was waiting very impatiently for Canon to announce the replacement for the 5D Mark III, the 5D Mark IV.

I have heard rumors all over the place (see below). Since there are many conflicts to the rumors I can't say anything with even a remote amount of certainty.

I have heard the Mark 4 will have a 28-32 MP sensor. I have also heard that it will only be 24 MP. The Mark 3 is a 22 MP camera. The most recent rumor to me publishing this article was that the Mark IV will be a 24 MP camera, and the reason I "was" and not "am" waiting for the Mark 4.

Nikon has the D810 (Nikon's latest camera in the same price/feature bracket as the 5DIII and 5DIV), The D810 is a 36 MP camera. I just don't get that why Canon would only provide 24 MP in the Mark IV, unless they are content with dividing their customer bas into studio photographers who will buy the 50 PM 5Ds (and 5Ds R), and other photographers with the 5D4.

A friend of mine thinks the latest rumors might actually be for the Canon 6D Mark II (a replacement of the 6D due likely the early 2017). Some of the rumors specs mentioned below are just too little a bump to get people to upgrade from a 5D2 or a 5D3. So I am still playing the waiting game.

If the Mark 4 is less than 30 MP I will have to think of another plan. At 28 MP it is a struggle. I don't know if that will be enough for the kind of printing I do. If I get the 5Ds will I have to get the 7D Mark II as a sports/backup camera? If so... should I buy one NOW?

If there is ANY chance Canon has not finalized the specs of the 5D Mark IV... here is a which list of what I need:

1) 32 mp. This is enough for me to print up to 40x60 and should be all I need.
2) Good ISO performance up to 6400. I don't care about those crazy 400,000 ISO ratings. I need usable ISO of 6400 with minimal noise.
3) 7 fps. This is more than twice the speed of my current camera and would be enough for the kind of sports work I do.
4) A really good focus system. My camera has 9 focus points. The 7D Mark II has a billion (it seems). Put that in the 5D4.
5) Built in WiFi. I mainly want this so I can review photos on the camera with my iPad. This would be done during track days, so I can better practice my focus/panning technique, but it would also be used in my studio work to make sure I am tack sharp on focus and my lighting is where I want it.
6) The usual stuff. I have not used a professional camera at this level to know what more I could want. But if I read the 5D Mark 3 manual... I want what it has. A couple of custom function buttons, a great focus system, good bracketing, silent shutter mode, weather sealing, micro adjustments to lenses, blinking highlight clipping warning, etc, etc.

Let's see what happens.

Below are a handful of captions from Canon Rumors. I check them every day (torturing myself) hoping I will get something juicy. Alas, the latest rumors point to an August announcement with availability in the Fall.

I'll keep you posted... but it looks like it will be a few months before I can do that.

From Canon Rumors:
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4/27/2016: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Rumored Specifications (link):

  • 24.2MP Sensor
  • 61 AF Points (41 crosstype)
  • DIGIC 7+ (Single)
  • 7fps
  • ISO 100-51,200 (expandable options)
  • 3.2″ touchscreen LCD
  • CFast/SD card slots
  • Wifi built-in
  • GPS built-in
  • BG-E20 battery grip
  • LP-E20 battery
  • Slight weight reduction

4/22/2016 (link):

We’re told that the new EOS 5D Mark IV, which will be announced in August will have a new battery grip, the BG-E20. We don’t know at this time if the new camera will use an LP-E6 series battery or not, though we hope it does.

There is no dedicated external wifi transmitter coming for the camera, so that seems to confirm that wifi will be built-in to the EOS 5D Mark IV.

4/15/2016 (link):

Not directly related to the 5D Mark IV, but this about the 6D Mark II:

We have been told by an unconfirmed source that the EOS 6D Mark II will sport the same resolution as the EOS 5D Mark IV, which is being reported at 24mp.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV: announcement in August 2016, Release in September/October.
Canon EOS 6D Mark II: announcement in February 2017, release in March/April.

4/6/2016:

The latest is about how the camera is going to launch. We’ve confirmed that the EOS 5D Mark IV will be announced in late August/early September in time for Photokina, which begins on September 20, 2016 and runs through to September 25, 2016. The ship date for the camera should quickly follow if everything goes to plan. This sort of launch would mimic the way the EOS 5D Mark III was launched and released. We think there’s a good chance you’re going to have the EOS 5D Mark IV in your hands some time in October, 2016, if not sooner.

4/2/2016:

We’re told by a couple of people that they’re 100% sure the follow-up to the EOS 5D Mark III will be called the “EOS 5D Mark IV” and not the reported “EOS 5D X” moniker. Unfortunately, there is no other information available at this time about the EOS 5D Mark IV, which tells us there is no imminent announcement for NAB.
We’re still placing our bets on this camera being announced in August and showcased at Photokina in Cologne, Germany in September, 2016.

3:18/2016:

We’ve been told that the EOS 5D Mark III replacement is slated for announcement after the EOS-1D X Mark II begins shipping in large quantities, which is at the end of April at last check. This information isn’t new. We’re also told that the next camera will get a moderate bump in resolution, but a good leap in dynamic range and ISO performance like the EOS-1D X Mark II. Again, this likely isn’t new information, but at least shows some consistency. The same source has also told us that the video features of the camera will be the best in the lineup and will easily best the EOS-1D X Mark II for most filmmakers.

2/28/2016:

“EOS 5D X” is now the new favoured moniker for the EOS 5D Mark III replacement, though we haven’t heard from anyone all that reliable that this is going to be what the camera is called. I’d also call the current sensor information unreliable. I just don’t think it’s going to be a 28mp camera, and we’re likely to see it around 24mp.

2/24/2016:

The next big show will be NAB 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada starting on April 16, and we expect a few Cinema EOS announcements, but not a DSLR announcement. We know that the replacement for the EOS 5D Mark III is likely the most highly anticipated Canon imaging product. We don’t think Photokina in September is when the camera will be announced either. We think that show will be used by Canon to show off their new EOS M line of products and perhaps the EOS 6D Mark II. We also don’t think that the EOS 6D Mark II will be announced before an EOS 5D Mark III replacement. This leaves us with part of April, May and June for an announcement. Nothing ever happens in July and August as far as major product announcements.

1/31/2016:

With the specifications of the EOS-1D X Mark II being made public, the obvious next question is what can we expect to see in the EOS 5D Mark IV, which is coming in 2016. The EOS 5D Mark III followed the EOS-1D X quite closely in on paper specifications. Below is a prediction based of what we think we could see inside the next 5D.

  • 28mp
  • 9fps
  • DIGIC 6+ (They won’t launch DIGIC 7 so closely to a flagship camera)
  • 61 point AF
  • CFast & SD
  • TouchscreenBuilt
  • -in GPS & Wifi
  • Lighter weight

12/26/2015:

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV: We expect to see a brand new version of Canon’s most popular full frame camera soon after the EOS-1D X Mark II, most likely in early Q2 of 2016. The big question with this camera, will it shoot 4K?

Predicted Specifications: 28-32mp, ISO 409,000, 8fps, DIGIC 7, More than 61 AF Points, CF & SD, GPS, Wifi, NFC.

NOTE: This is the one I am clinging to. I want that 32 MP!!!

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Conclusion

So... life is changing. I will start figuring out how to save for a new camera after I am in the house. I am 99% sure the classic car is on the back-burner until Fall 2017.

Life is good... drink it up!

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