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Is a 10-Year-Old Camera as Good as a New One?

Comparing a Canon 5D III vs a Fujifilm GFX 100S in a portrait shootout
Photo of a model

How does a decade-old professional camera stack up against a current model? And is it necessary to invest in something new with more pixels when your older camera still seems ok? Those are the questions portrait photographer Zach Sutton tackles in an intriguing new post on Lensrentals’ blog titled “Comparing a Ten-Year-Old Camera to a Modern One.”

Sutton says his camera comparison was inspired by the fact that this month marks the ten-year anniversary of the Canon EOS 5D Mark III, “a camera once known as the top of the line, now superseded by a couple of different camera generations.”

“A lot can happen in the tech industry in ten years, and the photography market is no exception,” he writes. “The biggest change comes in format – DSLR is a dying breed, with mirrorless platforms taking over for all major brands. But format aside, each iteration of new cameras comes with faster shooting speeds, higher resolutions, and chips promising faster and far more accurate focusing. And while these upgrades are universally appreciated, one must ask – Are they really as important as we think they are?”

Photo of a model
Can you tell which photo was captured with the Canon 5D III and which was shot with the Fujifilm GFX 100S? (Photos © Zach Sutton)

So, what does Sutton stack against his old reliable Canon 5D Mark III full-frame DSLR? The much higher resolution Fujifilm GFX 100S medium format mirrorless camera, which debuted last year. Sutton admits that, on paper, it doesn’t seem like a fair fight. However, as he explains, camera specs aren’t always the most important thing in photography.

“The Fujifilm GFX 100s is a better camera on all accounts – increasing resolution significantly from 22.3MP to 102MP, supplying a much larger sensor, adding built-in image stabilization, and having nearly 7 times as many focus points,” he notes. “And that is just touching on the basics, the Fujifilm has a number of additional features that put it in a class well above what Canon could offer ten years ago – but do those things really add quality to your work or just some conveniences?”

Read his full post here where he shares side-by-side images he shot with both cameras and a fun quiz to see if you can tell which was captured with which. We won’t play spoiler so check it out for yourself. You may be surprised by his results!

“Is a 10-Year-Old Camera as Good as a New One?” Comments

  1. This seems like a silly exercise – of course technology has improved but portraiture is hardly a genre that tests any kind of limits of a camera – except, perhaps, smooth tonality for skin coloration.

    Take both cameras to a fast moving sporting event – which would “win”? My guess – the Canon.

    Use both cameras for golden light landscapes of the Grand Canyon or Death Valley to be enlarged to multi-yard dimension prints, where dynamic range and resolution is strained? Hmmm – let’s guess…the FUji?

    My point is, this comparison means little.

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