Obama’s official portrait was taken with a Canon 5D Mark II. Trump’s with a Canon 1Ds Mark III, which is even older

Jan 21, 2017

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

Obama’s official portrait was taken with a Canon 5D Mark II. Trump’s with a Canon 1Ds Mark III, which is even older

Jan 21, 2017

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

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Here is an argument that may shut the race for new gear. President’s Trump’s official portrait was taken with a Canon 1Ds Mark III. Now, it’s a great camera, but it’s also almost a decade into the market. It was announced in august, 2007. President Obama’s portrait, on the other hand, was taken with a Canon 5D Mark II. (Obama was also the first president to have his portrait taken with a digital camera – and we owe that to Pete Souza).  Obama’s second portrait, by the way, was taken with a 5D mark III (Announced March, 2012)

Here is the interesting thing though, the 5D mark II was announced on Sep, 2008, it’s actually a year newer than the 1Ds Mk III that was used to photograph president Trump.

While there may be some debates on the artistic choices of the photographer, it does not look like the camera has failed to perform its job.

Just for fun, here is a comparison of the three portraits EXIF

PortraitObama (2009)Obama (2013)Trump (2017)
CameraCanon EOS 5D Mark IICanon EOS 5D Mark IIICanon 1Ds Mark III
Lens??EF85mm f/1.2L USMEF70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM
Focal length105mm85mm145mm
ISO100200640
shutter speed1/1251/1251/320
aperturef/10f/7.1f/8
FlashFlash not fired, compulsory flash modeFlash not fired, compulsory flash modeNot fired
SoftwareAdobe Photoshop CS3 MacintoshAdobe Photoshop CS5 MacintoshAdobe Photoshop Lightroom 6.5.1 (Macintosh)

(political comments will be deleted)

[via reddit, photos via whitehouse.gov]

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Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

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53 responses to “Obama’s official portrait was taken with a Canon 5D Mark II. Trump’s with a Canon 1Ds Mark III, which is even older”

  1. Ruan Redelinghuys Avatar
    Ruan Redelinghuys

    640iso?

    1. David White Avatar
      David White

      My technical guess is he used constant lights

  2. Clement RENAUT Avatar
    Clement RENAUT

    and ?

  3. Patrick Tollgren Lazarov Avatar
    Patrick Tollgren Lazarov

    145mm to make him look thinner? :3

    1. Curiousmonga Avatar
      Curiousmonga

      actually longer lenses make you look fatter

      1. JackStrambo Avatar
        JackStrambo

        Try shot with an ultra wide angle then.

        1. Nède Avatar
          Nède

          it’s not the length of the lens it’s the distance between camera and subject ;)

          1. JackStrambo Avatar
            JackStrambo

            Oh, actually I also made a mistake. Sorry :)

          2. Nède Avatar
            Nède

            not a big deal :D

  4. newworld666 Avatar
    newworld666

    Why would it fail ? 1DsIII has got better pixels than the newest Sony 42MP A99II .. better S/N, better Colours, better Tones .. for skin it’s much easier.

    At 1/320 F8 you get by far sharpest pictures for portraits..
    Till now, unless you go to MF you won’t get better than a Canon for a decade.

    https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-bqnVqHV/0/X3/i-bqnVqHV-X3.jpg
    https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-vf84sr2/0/X3/i-vf84sr2-X3.jpg
    https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-T7292FV/0/X3/i-T7292FV-X3.jpg

    For a decade some blogs are obsessed by dynamic which is just meaningless in a studio with controlled lights. In such case, by far => better pixels is more useful to get better pictures (post processing won’t help that much).

    1. Mike Aubrey Avatar
      Mike Aubrey

      “…which is just meaningless in a studio with controlled lights.”
      and yet the photographer still shot at ISO640 for some stupid reason.

      1. Eduardo Frances Avatar
        Eduardo Frances

        It may not be stupid if he used constant lights…

        1. Mike Aubrey Avatar
          Mike Aubrey

          Maybe, but given his shutter speed, he could at least drop to ISO400, if not ISO200.

      2. Chad Andreo-Photo Avatar
        Chad Andreo-Photo

        And he had room since it was shot at 1/320 Second.

  5. Margaritas Ante Porcos Avatar
    Margaritas Ante Porcos

    And yet the photo isn’t sharp. It looks like mashed potato.

  6. Dennis Stachel Avatar
    Dennis Stachel

    So what. I mean, my older 1D Mark II still does the job.

    1. Jitesh S. Mistry Avatar
      Jitesh S. Mistry

      Still have two of them, although got a 1D3 I use a little more regularly.

    2. Dennis Stachel Avatar
      Dennis Stachel

      The only two things I miss are Auto ISO and AF adjustments.

  7. Joseph Arseneau Avatar
    Joseph Arseneau

    So? I’ve sold a number of pictures I took with my Samsung S5.

  8. Brock Banks Avatar
    Brock Banks

    I don’t care of it was a Rebel… cameras do not take portraits, photographers do.

    1. Paula Gemin Bell Avatar
      Paula Gemin Bell

      Amen!

    2. Daniel P Sousa Avatar
      Daniel P Sousa

      Nah, I’m pretty sure the camera has a big part in it…

    3. Shivas Irons Avatar
      Shivas Irons

      not all sensors are born the same: I remember of many photographers keeping to use Nikon D2X for its great skin tones when new model were already available…

    4. Andreas Brett Avatar
      Andreas Brett

      Absolutely with you BUT: who lights someone from below?! Either the photographer was really unpleased to be taking Trump’s photo (with him on this point… :)) and decided to light him badly or Trump just got an amateur who was willing.

  9. Neil Croft Avatar
    Neil Croft

    This article looked at first like it might be interesting but does not say anything other than tell us the age of the cameras. Am I missing something?

    1. Alexander L. Harris Avatar
      Alexander L. Harris

      Just because you work as a professional photographer in Washington doesn’t mean you get paid well enough to upgrade your equipment regularly?

  10. Ryan Farr Avatar
    Ryan Farr

    So?

    The 1dsIII a great camera.

  11. Henry Rodgers Avatar
    Henry Rodgers

    The lenses and settings are interesting.
    I’m by no means a harsh critic regularly however, what was done with the Trump portrait, from composition to compromising ISO for a higher than necessary shutter speed, is bewildering to me.

    1. Jerome Courtois Avatar
      Jerome Courtois

      Exactly my thoughts when I saw that.

    2. Sir-Neville Christopher Lewin Avatar
      Sir-Neville Christopher Lewin

      They had to compensate for all the ??? ?

    3. Jerome Courtois Avatar
      Jerome Courtois

      The WB was all over the place ?

  12. John Geldermann Avatar
    John Geldermann

    Another article I saw said it was noisy and the focus too shallow. Then they criticized the photo… ?

  13. Joe Kelly Avatar
    Joe Kelly

    I wish these tech companies (I consider DIYP a “tech website”) would stop posting politically-RELATED posts. Nobody cares that the Trump photo was taken with an older camera. Nobody is gonna think, “Wait! Since it’s an older camera, that must mean something!!!!” NO! It does not!
    /rant over

    1. Jim Johnson Avatar
      Jim Johnson

      Photography of a sitting president is important to the industry. The official portrait is going to be one of the most widely printed and viewed photos in the world (it goes in all of the government offices and will be reprinted in news publications and history books).

      From a photography standpoint, it’s important.

  14. Bob Stewart Avatar
    Bob Stewart

    A camera is but the tool the skill of the photographer is what matters.

  15. Carl Crumley Avatar
    Carl Crumley

    The focus is off. It seems sharp on his bushy eyebrows and his bangs, but the eyes are a little soft. Instead of f/8 perhaps if it was f/11 the focus miss wouldn’t be so obvious. Better yet, the focus should have been about and inch further and the eyes would have been sharp regardless of the aperture.

    I wonder who the photographer is that took the photograph. I’ve heard he hasn’t hired an official photographer and may not hire one. If so, he’ll be the first president since John Kennedy not to a photographer on staff.

  16. Gvido Mūrnieks Avatar
    Gvido Mūrnieks

    Is it me, or the photo looks rather amateurish? :/

    1. Nick2iL Avatar
      Nick2iL

      I afraid you are not mistaken

      1. Gvido Mūrnieks Avatar
        Gvido Mūrnieks

        I am not saying it’s totally bad. But if a kid in photography class would take a photo like this – he would barely get a passing grade.

        1. Nick2iL Avatar
          Nick2iL

          I’m not saying it’s very bad photo but I would expect for the first photo of the president of united states I would expect a bit more impressive photo :/
          I’m not professional photographer just hobbyist but I see some errors were made during the shot. I think trump is a bit too close. And I hate he cut his shoulder on the left side.

  17. Nick2iL Avatar
    Nick2iL

    why the left shoulder is cut off like that?! it doesn’t look good :/

  18. Jonathan Keys Avatar
    Jonathan Keys

    Ive done numerous portraits with my tailboard camera from the 1870s Is it time to upgrade…

  19. Aaron Aldrich Avatar
    Aaron Aldrich

    I stand by my 5D Mark II, It’s reliable and such a tank, it’s been dropped, submerged, and buried in snow and keeps on ticking!

  20. Bernard Bujold Avatar
    Bernard Bujold

    Considering that Pete Souza was also the photographer for Ronald Reagan before being the one for Obama, and since he know how to keep well the archive, if I was Donald Trump, I would ask Pete to stay as the official photographer! To be continued…

    1. Jim Johnson Avatar
      Jim Johnson

      Souza already said that he would not accept the position. I can’t say I blame him. He had to keep the same schedule as the POTUS in two administrations. That’s got to be hard on your personal life.

  21. Andreas Brett Avatar
    Andreas Brett

    Anyone notice the camel toe just below his chin…. :-P

  22. Basti Hansen Avatar
    Basti Hansen

    Wow, doesn’t the Depth of Field look rather shallow for f/8?!

    1. Basti Hansen Avatar
      Basti Hansen

      Look at the flag pin on his suit..

    2. Hien Tongho Avatar
      Hien Tongho

      That’s the effect of the focal length and how close you are to the subject. Looks about right for 145mm

  23. Diogenes_Down_Under Avatar
    Diogenes_Down_Under

    I fail to see what relevance the age of a camera has to taking a good portrait. Check the portraiture of Henri Cartier-Bresson on a 35 mm film Leica using only a 50 mm lens seventy years ago. It seems the young are obsessed with having the latest technology for no other reason than it is the latest.

  24. Sean Avatar
    Sean

    And anyone gives two craps about any of this? Man..slow news day.

  25. ConPhoto Avatar
    ConPhoto

    think I read he’s very particular about where he;s photographed from, preferring straight on. Looks like photographer was trying to push him to the side slightly. He’s also slightly turtle-heading as he’s concerned about the swaggly chin(s), which is making him appeared hunched somewhat.
    The uplighting (to take care of his chin(s)) isn’t great either, I think (politics aside) it makes him appear somewhat sinister. I’ve seen much better portraits of him when he was a layman

    1. ConPhoto Avatar
      ConPhoto

      and it doesn’t matter a damn about the camera