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So is the Canon R5 a bird photography body? (2 Viewers)

Barred Wobbler

Well-known member
You might be onto something with your point about your varilux specs Colin. I have my EVF set to 5 also and it's good and bright, in fact maybe too bright, because I think it's giving me the impression the scene is brighter than it is, because my photos based on what I see there, rather than the histogram that I have in the top left of the viewfinder tend slightly towards underexposed a touch. Regarding the viewfinder clarity when you remove your glasses, (apologies if this is a daft question), but have you tried adjusting the diopter wheel on the viewfinder to suit your bare eye?

I'm posting this shot, not because it's a great shot, but as an example of what the focus can lock onto given a chance. It's a full frame edit - no cropping.

The sun had dipped partially behind a cloud when these two grouse took off and flew across the heather a month ago. This is the second shot in a burst of two. I don't know how many more were in the burst (if any) as I could have deleted any others as missed focus, but maybe I only took the two - those birds were vanishing fast.

It's not the greatest of shots, but if it had been my 7D II behind my Sigma 150-600 S rather than the R5 it wouldn't have been a shot at all. I've managed a couple of grouse flight shots with that combo in the past, but it was just pure luck. Red-Grouse-(12)-2048px.jpg
 

colincurry

Well-known member
When I mentioned the difficulty in seeing without my glasses, this was in general rather than through the EVF. Thanks but I am aware of the diopter adjustment. Off to Specsavers on Sunday to see about a pair of plain glass distance prescription specs to see if that will improve matters. All in all, today was pretty disastrous with results worse than I would have expected from my 7D2. OK for cows and very close stuff but very disappointing and worrying. Did manage a reasonable Greylag and a heron - but here, the eye was nowhere as sharp as I would have got with my 7D2. Like the grouse shot. Just for the record, which settings and AF set up did you use, please? I am using the 100-400 2 with 1.4 tc 3. Did wonder about trying the bare lens, but then I would have hardly any reach at all. Might have to try and re-acquire my 7D2.
 

Barred Wobbler

Well-known member
When I mentioned the difficulty in seeing without my glasses, this was in general rather than through the EVF. Thanks but I am aware of the diopter adjustment. Off to Specsavers on Sunday to see about a pair of plain glass distance prescription specs to see if that will improve matters. All in all, today was pretty disastrous with results worse than I would have expected from my 7D2. OK for cows and very close stuff but very disappointing and worrying. Did manage a reasonable Greylag and a heron - but here, the eye was nowhere as sharp as I would have got with my 7D2. Like the grouse shot. Just for the record, which settings and AF set up did you use, please? I am using the 100-400 2 with 1.4 tc 3. Did wonder about trying the bare lens, but then I would have hardly any reach at all. Might have to try and re-acquire my 7D2.
I was shooting on manual with the 150-600, using back button eye tracking to lock onto the bird. 1/2000 sec, F8, ISO 1600. Servo AF Case 1 with tracking sensitivity at -1 and Accel/decel tracking at +1. It's not always successful, some you win, some you lose, but it's infinitely better than the 7D II, which has been my bird camera since the first day of release in 2014, but which now languishes on a shelf in the cupboard, forlorn and spurned.
 

Barred Wobbler

Well-known member
I meant to add that I'm not a fan of using teleconverters, especially for flight shots. I admit I don't have a lot of experience using them after I tried a Canon 1.4 Mk III behind my 400/F5.6 on flying birds and quicly gave up. They have their place in putting more pixels over a sitting subject, but I don't trust them for flying objects that are hard enough to get onto with a bare lens. Incidentally, I brought that 400/5.6 lens out of retirement for a day or two last month to try it with the R5 and it worked well, although it was noticably slow in the high speed frame rate. You could hear the difference. I hang on to the 1.4 MK III, but it's never used.

I'm sure others have more success (and obviously more experience) than me with telecons, but I'm not a fan, because in my experience including many Tarifa migration seasons focus tracking is paramount with flight shots and you just can't get enough of it. I'm breaking my heart because I'm not at Tarifa with the R5 for the honey buzzards that are just starting to come through in numbers this week. I'd not be able to carry the memory cards I'd need if Covid wasn't getting in the way.

I worried about taking the step to full frame from the 1.6 crop with the R5, but took the plunge after I did the sums. I bought a 5D IV in early 2019 (not for birds) and apart from some very close range test shots of blue chaffinches and stuff - see below - at a cafe feeding station in Tenerife just after I bought it I've not used it for birds. That's what my 7D II was for. The 5D's a lovely camera, but I bought and used it for portraits, landscapes and steam engines, to which it is better suited. It's 30 MP. To me the 45MP of the R5 was a game-changer. Using the inboard 1.6 crop (which I don't after trying it on the first day out, because it's easier to catch fliers with full frame) gives you over 17 MP, just about the equivalent of the 18 MP 7D I, but with much better noise and a cleaner image, and cropping the full frame image in the R5 does the same.
 

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Dave Williams

Well-known member
I have been snapping Swallows in flight with the old 7D2 this week - I wonder how much easier it would have been with a R5? I know the R5 is great sticking on a bird once it has latched-on with zone AF but with Swallows you mostly have a split second before it is out of the focus area - does it latch on very quickly?
FYI Roy C .....The swallows were flying in decent numbers but the conditions were not good. No wind to hold them up and generally flying fairly high in the sky. My attempts to catch them in flight with the RF 100-500 plus RF 1.4 were hopeless...just as they always were with the EF500mm f4 plus 1.4TC but when I took the TC off I was quite amazed how good the tracking was on what were basically tiny dots in the sky. The keeper rate was really high compared to previous experience and for once I didn't feel frustrated and having to walk away before being tempted in to hurling my gear in to the nearby lagoon! The extra pixels result in a reasonable shot after cropping. I haven't done any other PP work other than to reduce file sizes.
I look forward to trying when the conditions are better. _G7A6431.jpg _G7A6431 crop.jpg
 

Barred Wobbler

Well-known member
There was a movement of hirundines this morning in a cold blustery north wind. They are slow to arrive up here this season.

I managed to get onto one of the swallows.
 

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mikenott

Flawed but improving!
As there is a bit of focus(sic) on birds in flight, what's the consensus here on image stabilisation on or off for BIF on the R5 (+RF100-500?)
 

Barred Wobbler

Well-known member
I had my stabilisation on today, usually I don't for flying stuff, but I'm hopeless at remembering to flip the switch in those moments between looking at bushes and seeing a flying target approaching. I don't know if it makes much difference either way with the 100-500 and the R5, but I do know it was disastrous to leave it switched on with the 7D II and the Sigma 150-600 for flying raptors.
 

njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
I had my stabilisation on today, usually I don't for flying stuff, but I'm hopeless at remembering to flip the switch in those moments between looking at bushes and seeing a flying target approaching. I don't know if it makes much difference either way with the 100-500 and the R5, but I do know it was disastrous to leave it switched on with the 7D II and the Sigma 150-600 for flying raptors.
If you are doing 1/2000 s shutter, stabilization should make just about no difference.
Niels
 

Barred Wobbler

Well-known member
True, but when I first got my 150-600 in 2015 I took it to the Pyrenees after only about a week, forgot to turn off the lens stabilisation and I lost a lot of flight shots of red kites and a few lammergeiers, presumably because the stabiliser was working overtime and even at 1/1600 and 1/2000 I was getting soft shots. On many trips since then with that combination I've made a point of never turning the lens stabiliser off even for sitting shots, simply because at 1/2000 second it's not needed and the flight shots at that speed (and higher) have been fine (apart from the usual cock-ups and wind-induced problems).
 

Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
There are no hard and fast rules.
It's physics.

It will come down to how the particular IS system works and the results it generates for various shake frequencies, patterns, and amplitudes - and how your particular shakes generate those inputs at the time.

Often there will be a 'sweet spot' where you get better results than shutter speeds just above or below that.

On my completely unrelated Nikon D7200 and Tamron G2 150-600 rig 1/400th sec seems to be a bit of a sweet spot - generating results better than anything below that speed, and under 1/640th-odd sec. The only thing that seems to consistently help sharpness (apart from backing off a smudge of aperture and zoom) is getting closer with the right lighting !


Chosun 🙆
 

colincurry

Well-known member
Just an update...............

Tried in the garden without specs and things seemed a little better.

Plain distance lens specs ordered yesterday. Cheap faux tortoiseshell frames with lenses £29 - worth a punt.

Have re-re-visited Whistling Wings and Jan Wegener and have AF-on button set to Eye AF and * to Spot AF. As I am using the tc, maximum aperture is f8. I use Auto ISO and Auto WB (as on my 7D2) so the only difference in settings for BIF and Birds in bush is shutter speed. I use custom settings for each and the M-Fn button to shuffle between. On the manual custom setting revealed by using the M-Fn button, I have changed to people for the eye setting. I may set up Setting three for AV for buildings and architecture, scenery etc.

Hope for better weather and closer birds - along with everyone else.

Like the swallows.
 

Bafty

Well-known member
Some interesting techniques, personally I never turn the lens IS off as above 700mm FL I prefer stability in the camera viewer which also seems to me aid AF, the 1.4 ext seems to live on the big lens when reach is an issue but not so on the 70-200 or the 100-400

Here's an image of a Slav Grebe taken about a month back using the 1.4 ext
 

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mike nesbitt

Well-known member
I have been snapping Swallows in flight with the old 7D2 this week - I wonder how much easier it would have been with a R5? I know the R5 is great sticking on a bird once it has latched-on with zone AF but with Swallows you mostly have a split second before it is out of the focus area - does it latch on very quickly?
Hi Roy.
I like your description "snapping" Swallows. It kind of implies that it's a run of the mill exercise lol.
I had a brief go today and quite frankly snapping swallows is rather demanding. I'd say that quite a few different elements need to come together, such as: a steady supply of close subject matter, good conditions, a decent breeze to hold the birds up and most importantly someone with the ability to nail the shot. By and large the first three of those four were there today even though the light could have been a bit better.
Zone af was working well on the more distant birds and locking on to them was a doddle. Not so clever when you try to convert a pin head sized object into an image though!
When the birds were close enough to image, I struggled! the 700mm focal length didn't help and the erratic flight paths were difficult to keep in the zone. I'd say 400 would have been better but I didn't really have to much time to experiment.
Here's an image that I did save, I got several more which were roughly the same, not up to the level of the bar that you set but needless to say I've made a start and conditions permitting, I'll give it another go.
Not actually a Swallow but very similar!
Cheers,
Mike. _U6A3807mn.jpg
 
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Roy C

Occasional bird snapper
Hi Roy.
I like your description "snapping" Swallows. It kind of implies that it's a run of the mill exercise lol.
I had a brief go today and quite frankly snapping swallows is rather demanding. I'd say that quite a few different elements need to come together, such as: a steady supply of close subject matter, good conditions, a decent breeze to hold the birds up and most importantly someone with the ability to nail the shot. By and large the first three of those four were there today even though the light could have been a bit better.
Zone af was working well on the more distant birds and locking on to them was a doddle. Not so clever when you try to convert a pin head sized object into an image though!
When the birds were close enough to image, I struggled! the 700mm focal length didn't help and the erratic flight paths were difficult to keep in the zone. I'd say 400 would have been better but I didn't really have to much time to experiment.
Here's an image that I did save, I got several more which were roughly the same, not up to the level of the bar that you set but needless to say I've made a start and conditions permitting, I'll give it another go.
Not actually a Swallow but very similar!
Cheers,
Mike. View attachment 1383609
Thank you very much for the feedback Mike - its good to know that the R5 latches on nicely to distant flyers like Swallows (very nice shot of yours). I use the term 'Snapping' very loosely as I do not consider myself a 'proper' photographer - more of a walker that sometimes takes along a Camera lol.
Most of my shots with the 7D2 that I post are very heavy crops (some are 100% crops) but that's OK for web use - it means that with a R5 I would have to crop even harder!
It is obvious that the R5 is a superb Camera but I am still on the fence as to how useful one would be to me given that it does not give me any 'reach' advantage - I guess my keeper rate would go up considering the better AF. Having said that I suspect I will buy one! The only way I could see it really helping me would be to get a 800 f11 but not convinced of the quality of that lens especially if I need to cropped a fair bit!
 

mike nesbitt

Well-known member
Another session with the Hirundines.
This time the conditions were just about right, I ditched the 1.4X and had a session with the R5 + 100-500 RF
Mostly using 500mm 1/3200 sec, f7.1, and adjusting ISO to suit any change in light but mostly at 1000. IS switched off, at that shutter speed it's probably not necessary . I'm not sure either way with the IS tbh.
Even in the better conditions with Zone af the keeper rate was very low, that said, I've never experienced a high keeper rate for these birds when in flight anyway. It's much more difficult to get a keeper when shooting against rippled water than against blue sky. Essentially I need to get closer but this location doesn't permit that.
 

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Roy C

Occasional bird snapper
Another session with the Hirundines.
This time the conditions were just about right, I ditched the 1.4X and had a session with the R5 + 100-500 RF
Mostly using 500mm 1/3200 sec, f7.1, and adjusting ISO to suit any change in light but mostly at 1000. IS switched off, at that shutter speed it's probably not necessary . I'm not sure either way with the IS tbh.
Even in the better conditions with Zone af the keeper rate was very low, that said, I've never experienced a high keeper rate for these birds when in flight anyway. It's much more difficult to get a keeper when shooting against rippled water than against blue sky. Essentially I need to get closer but this location doesn't permit that.
Brilliant shots Mike, I could never get anything as good as these (no matter if I had the R5 or not).
 

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