Portuguese photographer Joel Santos had a pretty clear notion of what he’d find on his first assignment in Peru, having seen countless images from other photographers prior to his trip. Yet what he found was a land of unimaginable beauty and a population that inspired him to untold degrees. With him went the Canon EOS 5D Mark III, a camera whose speed, functionality and superb quality elevated his experience every step of the way.
"When a destination is so hyped, like Peru, often the reality is not as good," says Santos. "But in this case, the reality was so much more… Even Machu Picchu, that most iconic of places, was better than I expected."
Meeting and exceeding his high expectations, the EOS 5D Mark III offered Santos faster AF shooting speed and higher image quality than any SLR he’d previously used. "I love to shoot portraits, but when you are traveling you have to be quick," he explains. "With more focusing points on the Mark III, it was easier to get a sharp picture—even in low light."
Along with the EOS 5D Mark III, Santos took the Canon EOS 7D, whose precision he has long praised. "I always have to be concerned by the total amount of weight I take, both on a plane and in my backpack," he notes. "I take three lenses--an EF 17-40mm f/4L USM, an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM and an EF 70-200mm f/4L USM. The lenses are a good mixture of versatility and weight. If I lose one lens, the other can overlap. So, if I lose the EF17-40mm I can use the EF24-105mm, and if I lose the EF24-105 I have the EF70-200. I've planned for every problem!" he laughs.
Santos, who studied to be an economist before pursuing his photography career, is constantly on the lookout for practical improvements and advantages in new equipment. Now a widely published author and respected teacher of photography, he is painstaking when researching which equipment will best allow him to communicate his art. Santos had already been a fan of the 7D for its focus point innovation and found this advantage present in the super-fast EOS 5D Mark III as well.
"One feature that I really liked on the 7D was, when you shot in a portrait format, you could choose the focus point in relation to the camera orientation. When I shot an upright picture the focus points would be in the top third of the frame where the subject’s eyes would naturally be. This was a really big advantage when you don’t have much time to compose and focus. I was delighted to find this feature on the 5D Mark III."
Joel Santos's art is a gift to the world, and his images from Peru were a whole new level of awe-inspiring. Santos has since called the EOS 5D Mark III the best camera he’s ever used. "The difference with the Mark III was incredible," he says.