Michael's Dispatches

Camera Auction


3150-fertilizer5a-1000Kopp-Etchells Effect during combat operations with British Forces. (Sangin, Afghanistan, 2009)

01 April 2012

The time has come for expensive upgrades.  Canon has added the Mark III 5d and soon the Dx to the line.

I have two Canon 5d Mark II bodies for sale with accessories.  The 5d Mark II bodies were incredibly popular with amateurs, full-pros, and with me in places like Afghanistan, Nepal, Thailand many other places.

Since mid-2005, I’ve used nothing but the very best camera gear for the job.  These 5d bodies are by far my favorites.  Great in low light, not heavy, and high quality full-frame sensor.

3150-fertilizer14a-1000Numerous scientists in the United States and the UK who are studying the Kopp-Etchells Effect asked for and received copies of my Kopp-Etchells photos, saying they were the best they had ever seen.

Photos from my 5d bodies have been seen around the world ranging from Ripley’s Believe it or Not! to my own upcoming book on Afghanistan.  Images from these two bodies have been published in at least hundreds of outlets and seen by unknown millions of people.  This is a small camera with a big punch.

P17-bottom-a-1000I named the Kopp-Etchells Effect after a Benjamin Kopp and Joseph Etchells who both were killed in combat during the general time and general vicinity of these photos. Ben was a US Ranger and Joseph a British Soldier.

Movie makers in Hollywood are now using 5d bodies for the extreme high-quality of the video output.  I’ve also used the 5d in combat for video.  For instance during two firefights spliced into this one video.

These two 5d bodies are not baby-spanking new; both have seen significant combat with British and US forces.  They photographed everything from General Petraeus to Mt. Everest to dead Taliban to fighting in Bangkok to Kopp-Etchells.   Both recently were sent to Canon for all needed maintenance.  They are perfectly good to go but with external dueling scars that prove their value.

3150-fertilizer13a-1000A "Google" of "Kopp Etchells" will show thousands of uses of these photos around the world. These were made in Sangin, Helmand Province, Afghanistan in 2009. Anyone who fought in Sangin is unlikely to forget.

Why am I selling?  The Canon Dx and the Mark III 5d are rolling out.  The Dx will be for normal shooting.  I will have the Mark III 5d modified for low-signature low-light shooting.  If you are not doing a lot of cutting edged low-light work, or high-end specialty work, there likely is little value in going to the Mark III or Dx.  The 5d Mark II remains world class, and on the video front, there is some contention on whether the Mark III is as good as the Mark II.  (Though with audio, Mark III apparently is a clear winner.)

What is for sale:

1)    Canon Mark II 5d body in perfect operating condition but with much combat experience.

2)    Special Canon Mark II 5d (full spectrum): I had this one specially modified for shooting in low or zero ambient light.  The sensor is sensitive to infrared and is “full spectrum.”  It will pick up invisible IR lasers from rifles, Predators/Reapers (Taliban use cell phone cameras to see these lasers), IR sources, including the IR flash I had specially modified.  This camera is in perfect condition but the body has dueling scars.  This camera is also great for daylight.  It will have the IR look and images are usually better with post-processing.  Images with this camera can be phenomenal.  Also good nighttime surveillance work.  Various filters can make it useful for forensics, scientific, or astronomy work.

3)    Canon 580EXII flash specially modified for IR: Great for wildlife photography or even in complete darkness.  When it fires, there is a small red signature.  You won’t be James Bond with it, but the flash is less than obvious unless you are looking right at it.  With naked eye you need to be close and looking right at it to see it.  (Also, if you are close, you might catch a quick, dim red reflection off of walls or leaves or ground.)  With good night vision gear, any sniper will see it from a mile away.  The flash will also work in daylight shooting but only with the modified camera (above).

Normal 5d Mark II with 50mm f1.2mm.  The best cameras need the best glass.  (Sangin, Afghanistan 2009)

WARNING:  Before using this IR flash in combat with US forces, it's crucial to show it to the commander or Command Sergeant Major and explain its function.  They probably will not have seen something like this, but 30 seconds of explanation and a quick demo and they will be tracking.  (They use all sorts of low-light gear—this might be new but they will be tracking instantly.)  No commander or CSM has ever told me “no” on this flash, but there will be times when the flash will be a no-go.  Even with permission from the Commander and CSM, it remains very important to alert ALL troops if you are going to use the IR flash.  It will blind their night vision gear for a split second.  Never use it at night aboard a military aircraft without specific guidance/permission from the pilot.  This will, for an instant, blind out their goggles.  Do not use the IR flash on helicopters that are landing in the dark.  This flash and the modified camera are also good for daylight shooting and some fascinating, unexpected effects.

Combat video made with my 5d during fighting with British.

Original Kopp-Etchells dispatch.

Starting bid for the two bodies, IR modified professional flash, two batteries (total) and two chargers: $7,000.   It’s all yours without bid for $7,500.

(This is listed on Ebay, but makes more economic sense to buy directly by check or equivalent.  Please email questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..)

The auction on Ebay can be found here.

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    robin yates · 9 years ago
    Mr Yon, I have watched most of your posts, if I was in the market for new cameras I would be a bidder so all I can do is say thanks Balls of Steel Yon!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Tim Johnson · 9 years ago
    I could have sworn that last nights 60 Minutes TV Show used some of your footage that you shot showing the Kopps- Echell effect. I sure hope you get paid if it is.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    scotch7 · 9 years ago
    I know it's not, but had to quip.

    Seriously, I LOVE your photo work and echo Robin Y's BOS comment.

    Can you remind us entry-level Canon DSLR shooters the identity of your ultra-wide lens?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    FThomas · 9 years ago
    I am still amazed at the shots that you have produced knowing the limitations of digital vs. film (though they are few). You have wrung every ounce of capability out of your equipment and done it with a great eye for composition. Only thing standing in my way of bidding or just buying outright is money.

    Good luck on your auction! Here is wishing you a couple of EOS 1DX bodies and the new 600 EX RT flashes to match.

    Sure you don't want to hang onto that 50mm 1.2? The Holly Grail of low light lens!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Daniel Von Fange · 9 years ago
    Doesn't photo gear typical sell for higher prices when separately? And for the part-of-history value, it seems like you might get more of a premium from multiple people each wanting their own piece of history...

    Guess it's just less hassle this way?

    Keep on rocking.
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    karen · 9 years ago
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