20 July 2017

Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town: Using Canon's Large Zone Autofocus

Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town: Using Canon's Wide Zone Autofocus
Canon EOS 7D Mark II / Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens - Birds In Flight AF Application Woodbridge Island / Cape Town

Objective: Using the Canon EOS 7D Mark II body / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens with AI Servo / Large Zone selection for tracking fast and at times, erratic flying smaller birds..

During the facilitation of our recent Birds in Flight Photography Workshop Cape Town practical shoot at Itaka Island / Woodbridge Island I did a few quick bursts with the Canon EOS 7D Mark II's Wide Zone AF selection.


In our Birds in Flight Cape Town Support Facebook Group I wrote after some post-processing "Most of the modern Canon DSLR sensors will offer various AF Zones to select from. On bodies offering advanced AF system the larger / wide zone-type AF selection area is suitable for a variety of birds in flight" All new Canon EOS DSLR's from the EOS 7D Mark II is configured with the Wide Zone AF - other bodies will be the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and the the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II.

Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town: Using Canon's Wide Zone Autofocus
Canon EOS 7D Mark II Wide Zone AF Selection

Birds in Flight with Wide Zone AF Selection
In my Woodbridge Island, Cape Town shooting environment the Sandwich Tern is a relatively fast bird and I am satisfied with the Wide Zone AF configuration.

Short bursts for six consecutive images
For the Sandwich Tern captures below I pre-focused with the AI Servo AF locking on and then pressing the shutter in short bursts of three to four images each. The three consecutive images (frames) are in my opinion all of consistent focus and sharpness.

Lightroom Post-Processing
All images processed in Adobe Lightroom 6. Converted from RAW to JPG. Lens profile correction. Minor colour correction. Some noise reduction

Cape Town Location
Milnerton Lagoon Woodbridge Island, Cape Town

Equipment (Birds In Flight / Action Photography)

  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II DSLR camera body 
  • Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens 
  • Lexar Professional 800x / 120MB/s 32GB CF Card 

Manual Mode Settings

  • Shutter speed: 1/4000s 
  • Aperture: f/5.6
  • Focal length 400mm 
  • Auto-ISO (ISO 400) 
  • Continuous shooting mode (10 fps) / AI Servo 
  • AI Servo / AF Mode Option (Wide Zone AF / Case 1) 
  • Lens AF On / No IS / Handheld

(Click to Enlarge)
Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town: Using Wide Zone Autofocus
Canon EOS 7D Mark II Wide Zone AF : Birds in Flight Cape Town

Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town: Using Wide Zone Autofocus
Canon EOs 7D Mark II Wide Zone AF : Birds in Flight Cape Town

Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town: Using Wide Zone Autofocus
Canon EOs 7D Mark II Wide Zone AF : Birds in Flight Cape Town

Canon EOS 7D Mark II - Birds in Flight Photo Gallery


Canon EOS 7D Mark II Info / Manual Downloads