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So is the Canon R5 a bird photography body? (1 Viewer)

MJN

Well-known member
Colin.
The R5 is an outstanding camera and light years ahead of the 7D2 but it won't bring anything to the table for you with regards to actual or perceived reach compared to the 7D2 that you already use, particularly as you say, you crop heavily with the 7D2.
The crop mode on the R5 is not a crop sensor, it just provides you with smaller files as you are ditching a lot the edge areas of the image, also a lot of resolution is lost. Using crop mode on the R5 would leave you a bit worse off than using the 7D2.
If you're unsure, the rumoured R7 may be worth waiting for. If it arrives, it would be a leap forward from the 7D2 for your purposes.
Mike.
 

Barred Wobbler

Well-known member
I can understand you not going ahead, but who knows what will be launched and when. The R5 does have a 1.6 crop mode but I haven't used it as yet and probably won't either. On my first outing, and I have had only a few opportunities in the last two months, I took this shot of. a dog running towards me using eye detect and it was literally about the 10th shot I'd taken with the camera so it was practice mode. I was using the 100-400 Mk2 with a 1.4TC Mk3 . I was amazed that the sequence of shots were all in focus, the eye detect worked perfectly.
In answer to your question re cropping here the shots are 1) full shot 2)100% crop 3) 200% crop. No other processing except on the 200% one were I have sharpened the detail a tad.

You have to click on the original to see it!!

Incidentally, for the reasons you have cancelled the body, the day before yesterday I had the RF 100-500 in my Panamoz basket only to cancel it three times during the course of the day. Now it's out of stock and out of temptation again.
Our reserves in Wales are shut no matter what the condition!
When I took mine out for a test just before Christmas I did a selection of shots using the 1.6 crop to see how it went before going back to full frame. 1.6 gives an image of a bit over 17Megapixels, ie slightly less than the original 7D's 18 Mp, and the 7D ii's 20.2, so not too bad. I'm shooting using cRAW and the 1.6 crop gave me a file size of about 12M against 22-ish for the full crop versions. The bar-tailed godwits and the rock pipit I posted last week were taken using the 1.6 crop, but again I stress they are face-book quality edits I did earlier, popped on here for a quick response, not full quality. The purple sandpipers, turnstone, redshank and gulls were 1:1.

I've not been able to give the camera the run-out it deserves, given short days, recent weather and stuff, so it's only been out three times, including the first short test, but given that the full crop file size on cRAW at 22M is actually smaller than the 25-28M of my 7D II and the 30-ish of my 5D IV the file size isn't overly huge and the full frame crop gives more latitude for locking onto flying and running birds. For that reason I'll be not bothering with the 1.6 crop. It's just something else to fuss over.
 

njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
Les,
I think the image will be a hit with those of us who likes most of the bird in focus but not with those who like a paper thin DOF.

Niels
 

Barred Wobbler

Well-known member
The sun finally shone and I went for a walk this morning to give the R5 another test.

Eye detection set to 'animals'. Worked great on a heron on the far bank and in flight, pigeons in flight, robins and blackbird on the ground (with some confusion where dead leaves formed part of the scene) and jackdaws on a tower.

One problem. The eye detection doesn't like twigs and branches. No. That's not right. A correction: The eye detection LOVES twigs and branches. It sees 'eyes' everywhere. I have my AF button set to 'spot' and the star button to 'eye', with the eye being my first port of call. The problem is that the camera sees every bud, node or blemish on a twig as a potential eye and ignores the bird, even something like rook or a wood pigeon at close range, if there are twigs nearby to confuse it.
 

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Dave Williams

Well-known member
Does this help the 100-500 debate ?
View attachment 1362882

Only a sparrow;)
I'm not sure of the point you are making here!! Is it a cropped image, an illustration of sharpness or that at f10 you don't get much light on the subject?
No one is doubting the 100-500 isn't a fine piece of kit , nor is anyone suggesting that the R5 isn't either.
It's a case of is it worth it for that particular individual's needs at that particular moment.
 

njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
One problem. The eye detection doesn't like twigs and branches. No. That's not right. A correction: The eye detection LOVES twigs and branches. It sees 'eyes' everywhere. I have my AF button set to 'spot' and the star button to 'eye', with the eye being my first port of call. The problem is that the camera sees every bud, node or blemish on a twig as a potential eye and ignores the bird, even something like rook or a wood pigeon at close range, if there are twigs nearby to confuse it.
In all fairness, as most focusing hate black areas, I believe that there is a much higher contrast in the branches with dark spots there simulating eyes. Or in other words, that black bird with a black eye might be the worst case scenario for an eye detect AF.

I have read about the recent release of bird AF on the oly EM1X. I would be curious about how that combo would handle the same challenge of birds behind branches.

Niels
 

Barred Wobbler

Well-known member
In all fairness, as most focusing hate black areas, I believe that there is a much higher contrast in the branches with dark spots there simulating eyes. Or in other words, that black bird with a black eye might be the worst case scenario for an eye detect AF.

I have read about the recent release of bird AF on the oly EM1X. I would be curious about how that combo would handle the same challenge of birds behind branches.

Niels
Plenty of contrast in the eyes of a close wood pigeon and not a hint of black to be seen. Even when the bird was entirely clear of twigs the blue squares could start dancing about on some sticks at the edge of the frame. Similarly with a robin only a few metres away on the grass. Sometimes the bird was pin sharp, at others the grass was in focus and the bird was a smudge.

This is a full size edit of one of the many that went to the bin, no cropping, reduced size to get the file size down from 30M.

When the camera finds an eye it generally holds it wonderfully, locking on throughout a burst on a bird in flight for instance, even a rook with a black eye on a black face, but with bushes, dead leaves or mounds of seaweed, it seems easily distracted.
 

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alanrharris53

Well-known member
njlarsen said:
In all fairness, as most focusing hate black areas, I believe that there is a much higher contrast in the branches with dark spots there simulating eyes. Or in other words, that black bird with a black eye might be the worst case scenario for an eye detect AF.

I have read about the recent release of bird AF on the oly EM1X. I would be curious about how that combo would handle the same challenge of birds behind branches.


I have only just got the EM1X, but it seems to work well with birds in trees as a first outing on a dullish day. Albeit with the head fairly well visible. It didn't get it right every time I tried to focus, but I would say at least 7 out of 10 it was good. But very early days. Mind you it sat there for about 10 mins so getting the shot with my Canon 5D3 using single point focus wouldn't have been a problem either. The bird focus system on the Olympus really comes into its own on birds in flight I think, although not had a chance to try that much so far. P1030313.jpg
 

Dave Williams

Well-known member
Plenty of contrast in the eyes of a close wood pigeon and not a hint of black to be seen. Even when the bird was entirely clear of twigs the blue squares could start dancing about on some sticks at the edge of the frame. Similarly with a robin only a few metres away on the grass. Sometimes the bird was pin sharp, at others the grass was in focus and the bird was a smudge.

This is a full size edit of one of the many that went to the bin, no cropping, reduced size to get the file size down from 30M.

When the camera finds an eye it generally holds it wonderfully, locking on throughout a burst on a bird in flight for instance, even a rook with a black eye on a black face, but with bushes, dead leaves or mounds of seaweed, it seems easily distracted.
Out of interest which of the AF case modes are you using?
 

Barred Wobbler

Well-known member
Out of interest which of the AF case modes are you using?
I'm using Case 1, the same as I use on the other cameras, but with the tracking sensitivity and acceleration tracking turned down to minus 1 as advised by a video I saw an Youtube (I think it was Jan Wegener). I'm considering adjusting those sensitivity settings to see what difference it makes.

The focus doesn't fail to find the eye in every case, even when there are intervening twigs, but certainly in a high proportion of cases. I photographed a quite distant bullfinch yesterday that was feeding on berries in the top of a small tree. Most of the (over 30) shots were hopelessly out of focus, but on a very, very, few the focus seemed to find the eye. One in particular stood out, so I've recovered it from the recycle bin. The camera found the black eye against the black cap of the bird, even though its head was surrounded by twigs and its beak was obscured! Maybe it found the eye, maybe it was coincidence that it locked onto a bud near the eye, I'm not sure. (EDIT. Actually it was the latter. I've just checked the focus point display and it shows a scatter of about a dozen or more points over the general area of the bird)

It's an amazing system, and I'm maybe missing something with the settings, but it's frustrating. Early days yet, it's only the 4th time out with birds, so time will tell.
 

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Barred Wobbler

Well-known member
I think I've hit on something that I've been missing.

I found something on Canon Rumours last night and changed my settings. Seems to have made an improvement.

I was out yesterday morning in good light at a local park feeding station photographing tits etc in dense shrubbery. I got a lot of hits, but more misses with my old settings. I found that repetition of pressing the focus button with my thumb improved the hit rate and encouraged the blue squares to stop dancing about on a stick and find an eye instead. When it hit the result was impressive, but I had a failure rate of about 65%, ie two thirds failures, and even when an eye was found it occasionally slipped onto a twig that didn't even have to be near the bird.

After changing my eye focus settings I went back this morning in horrible light with the new settings with challenging subjects, twitchy, fast moving small birds among plenty of distractions under dull heavy cloud. Although the eye focus still picked up on twigs, it was obvious in the field that there was a marked improvement. When I checked the downloads, I'd cut the failure rate to about 33%, so from two-thirds failures I've now got two thirds hits. Much better.

Five sunlit shots from yesterday, hits and a miss, (facebook quality images). Note how the focus point in the third shot preferred the twig up in the top left corner to the centrally-placed bullfinch (uncropped). And a great tit in atrocious light from today. All hand-held, 1/800s, Sigma 150-600 Sport
 

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colincurry

Well-known member
Delighted to see the Barred Wobbler's success.

Take Niels point about Les's sparrow shot and the depth of field. I too like to see/capture as much of bird as possible in focus. On other forums, there are lots of pictures with only the eye in focus. Whilst this may demonstrate the capability of the automatic eye focus, really can't see the point of these 'one-dimensional' offerings.

Dave has commented: 'The big question is will the R5 take better pictures than my previous cameras?...... and the answer is No!' Been playing in the garden with 7D2 and 100-400 2 snapping perched birds amongst branches and twigs and am pleased with the results. Also caught a rook in flight against a dark sky which smartened up quite well. Later, I saw a bird in a tree about 50 yards away under 10/10 cloud which I thought might be a starling. It turned out to be a redwing which also scrubbed up ok. Tried again today with a slightly closer redwing under total cloud - again pleased with the result. I think the point I am trying to make is, this, for me, reinforces my decision to wait for a possible R7. I already get reasonable results adding my 1.4 tc 3 for static birds; birds inflight are problematical - so, the R7 would also have to be able to take the 100-400 with tc and retain the same ability to autofocus as the R5/6 to make it undeniably attractive.
 

Bafty

Well-known member
Taken yesterday with the R5 + 500mm f4 mkII + 1.4ext mkIII @ f5.6....The eye detect AF locked on and would let go !

Controlling DOF is one of the best skills you can acquire, enough to get all the subject in focus (hopefully) but shallow enough to blow the background out and off course get your nose in the dirt !
 

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bkdc

Well-known member
The R5 and R6 contain Canon’s most advanced AF system. If you can’t make it work, it’s not the camera. :) And AF performance on RF lenses is definitely superior to AF performance on an EF lens with an adapter.
 

njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
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I am not using Canon, so maybe I should stay out, but: maybe it is time for barred wobbler to share his new settings if they can help others - or maybe someone else can point to a change that would improve his hit rate.

Niels
 

Barred Wobbler

Well-known member
I am not using Canon, so maybe I should stay out, but: maybe it is time for barred wobbler to share his new settings if they can help others - or maybe someone else can point to a change that would improve his hit rate.

Niels
No, don't think I'll bother. I'm clearly an idiot who shouldn't be let out with a camera.
The R5 and R6 contain Canon’s most advanced AF system. If you can’t make it work, it’s not the camera. :) And AF performance on RF lenses is definitely superior to AF performance on an EF lens with an adapter.
 

Dave Williams

Well-known member
The big question of course is will the R5 take better images than my previous cameras?
...... and the answer is No!
But getting them will be much easier now, especially the action shots.
Colin part quoted me so I thought I would add the all important last part!

The R5 certainly makes getting the shot you are after easier but it isn't a miracle worker and neither will it be the most technically advanced camera Canon has ever made in the not too distant future. Whether the next body launch provides the same giant leap this one has remains to be seen.
I'm sure I'm not the only one to admit that I have "upgraded" cameras in the hope it will help me get better shots without having fully explored the potential of the ones previously owned. I sometimes look back at shots I took at the beginning of my photographic journey and think I haven't progressed too far but that's because there's a lot more to getting a decent shot than just the camera/lens in your hands, the basic principals never change.
The only thing I can say is I am really happy with my purchase and for the first time in years I'm not wondering what owning another piece of kit, particularly one from another manufacturer, is like.
Just wish I had the opportunity to test it but lockdown and the weather combined have proved to be the biggest frustrations I have experienced with the camera so far!
 

Dave Williams

Well-known member
Taken yesterday with the R5 + 500mm f4 mkII + 1.4ext mkIII @ f5.6....The eye detect AF locked on and would let go !

Controlling DOF is one of the best skills you can acquire, enough to get all the subject in focus (hopefully) but shallow enough to blow the background out and off course get your nose in the dirt !
Another nom de plume revealed!! Nice images Paul and backing up my comment that no matter what the new innovations in technology the basics of a good shot remain. DOF of course is as much governed by the choice of lens as the photographer and it's the one thing that is currently limited when it comes to wildlife photography.
I imagine the RF lens should perform better than it's EF equivalent but there are few you can compare at the moment. I'm not going to let go of my 500mm f4 any time soon!
 

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