31 May 2019

Canon EOS R First Impressions and Sample Images

Canon EOS R first Impressions and Test Images

The Canon EOS R was Canon's first Full-Frame interchangeable lens mirrorless camera that was launched on 5 September 2018. The Canon R was followed by the Canon RP (also Full-Frame) that was launched on 13 February 2019.

With Canon EOS R being Canon's first Full-Frame mirrorless body I followed the development from inception to launch, like many other photographers, with some serious anticipation.

With this interest in this new Full-Frame mirrorless strategy and subsequent product releases I was naturally exited when offered an opportunity to spend some time with the Canon EOS R and EF-EOS R mount adapter boxed kit from Canon South Africa. Initial post here.

I collected the EOS R and two EF lenses (EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM and EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens - with extender EF 1.4x III) from Cameratek in Cape Town on a busy Friday morning. Over the weekend I familiarized myself with the EOS R body, menu system and proprietary EF-EOS R mount adapter (enabling compatibility with all current Canon EF and EF-lenses).

Canon EOS R and native RF lenses
Currently there are five RF lenses for the EOS R system, covering the 35 - 105mm focal range, with at least another five RF lenses in development covering the focal range up to 240mm.

Canon EOS R Brief Specifications
  • 30.3 Megapixel Full-Frame CMOS Sensor / DIGIC 8 Image Processor
  • RF Mount Compatible with RF Lenses and EF / EF-S Lenses
  • Built-in EVF, Vari-angle Touchscreen LCD
  • ISO range of 100-40,000, expandable to 102,400
  • USB 3.1 in-camera charging support / Built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi®
  • Single UHS-II SD card slot / CR3 (RAW / C-RAW) and Dual Pixel RAW Support
  • Dust and weather resistant

Canon EOS R out of the box impressions 
I received the evaluation body and mount adapter (and the two EF lenses / extender) well packaged. Very similar to any new Canon EOS body and / or lens. With years of experience with the Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EOS 6D the EOS R grip and ergonomics felt immediately smaller and quite different than the bigger EOS DSLRs. Over the first weekend I was a bit hesitant about the ergonomics, but after a few days in the field the grip felt quite comfortable (even when paired with the relatively large EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM with EF 1.4x extender).

The familiar Canon EOS menus worked great and the flip-out vari-angle touchscreen works very much the same as the EOS 70D / 80D and EOS 6D Mark II. I don't personally have a need for the flip-out screen but it makes functional sense for many different types of photographers requiring different creative angles.

Test settings and other default criteria
During June 2015 I did a similar First Impressions article with the Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens which I received for testing from Canon South Africa (via one of the local Canon retailers). 

With the Canon EOS R I followed a similar testing approach and although I opted to be as objective as possible within my personal frame of reference during testing it was without doubt based on my extensive experience with my own  Canon EOS 6D (Full Frame / non-action) and Canon EOS 7D Mark II (APS-C / action).  

Over the testing period I used the following, configurations and settings with the Canon EOS R and three EF lenses (I also used my own EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM lens and EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro lens):
  • For action shots I used Manual Mode and non-action AV Mode
  • All images were captured in RAW and a few in S-RAW / M-RAW
  • All action images were captured in High-Speed Continuous shooting and AI Servo
  • All action / nature images were handheld and no flash used
  • Canon EF-EOS R mount adapter used with all lenses
  • Canon Extender EF 1.4x III only used on the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens

Using the Canon EOS R in the field

I spent quite some time with the EOS R and derived my overall impressions, likes and challenges from the various outings I used the camera. Conditions were generally what was expected in Cape Town this time of the year; some sun, wind, rain and some fog - nothing unlike the normal conditions most outdoor photographers will encounter with their own cameras. 

The four main areas and genres I used the Canon EOS R with in my testing period:
  • Birds in flight photography
  • Perched bird photography
  • Nature / flower photography
  • General walk-around / tourist photography 

SD cards used during my time with the EOS R
  • SanDisk Extreme PRO 32GB  95MB/s SD memory Card
  • SanDisk Extreme PLUS 32GB 80MB/s SD memory Card

My initial observations and experiences will be followed by more detailed stand-out features and challenges experienced with the EOS R across the listed genres / areas towards the latter part of this article.

(Click on any images to enlarge / start slide show)

Birds in Flight Photography Woodbridge Island: Canon EOS R at 400mm (100 - 400mm lens without 1.4 Extender)
Canon EOS R at 400mm (100 - 400mm lens without 1.4 Extender)
Birds in Flight Photography Woodbridge Island
As an avid birds / birds in flight photographer and trainer this was my first couple of outings with the EOS R paired with the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens with and without the 1.4x III extender. This was also an opportunity to test the camera in different light conditions, but mostly it was about its action performance, image quality and ISO performance at higher shutter speeds.

The body and lens pairing felt quite comfortable in my hands and I managed to capture +- 1200 images on the first birds in flight outing.  The camera was initially slow to acquire Autofocus (AF) - considering I do most of my birds in flight photography with the EOS 7D Mark II.

Most of my birds in flight shots were from side-to-side and the EOS R was a bit slow between the individual shots. At least no shots were missed in any high-speed bursts between 5 and 8 individual shots. Although the camera was slow on acquiring initial AF, the lock-on and traction functioned seamlessly. I experienced no problems on the actual AF performance after lock-on, not even with the faster side-to-side flying birds.

Canon EOS R at 560mm (100-400mm lens with 1.4 Extender)
Canon EOS R at 560mm (100-400mm lens with 1.4 Extender)
The fact that the EOS R uses a mount adapter (EF-EOS R)
to pair with the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L USM II lens could
of had a slight impact on slowing down the initial acquiring of action subject as well.

Keen birds in flight photographers should be aware of this - this could potentially be a serious decision-making criterion
for action/ birds in flight photographers and I will provide additional feedback (if required). I use different cameras for different genres, but many photographers want one all-round body for action and still photography.

Contact Me for more information on the EOS R's performance / settings for birds in flight photography.

After the first morning I made a few adjustments to the menu system in terms of the Autofocus settings and also opted for switching off the LCD completely for the entire outing the next morning. As a RAW-shooter I disabled basically everything in-camera that was not required for RAW capturing. 

Yellow-Billed Duck in Flight : Canon EOS R at 400mm (100 - 400mm lens with 1.4 Extender)
Canon EOS R at 560mm (100 - 400mm lens with 1.4 Extender)
For the second outing I used the Canon Extender 1.4x with
the 100-400mm lens. Although the minimum aperture was
now only f/8 at maximum focal length registered by the camera  (560mm / f/5.6 + 1.4x) I was satisfied with the overall reach, AF-performance, depth of filed and eventual image quality.

I was more in-tune with the EVF on the second day and operated the camera with and without Back-Button (BBF) AF. The ergonomics of the EOS R was a bit tight for me to continuously use BBF, but had no real impact on any of my images. 

Although I was initially slightly concerned about the relatively small size of the EOS R, I started to like the smaller form-factor after a few hours in the field (compared to the EOS 7D Mark II).  On day two I captured more than 1500 images and had to switch SD cards halfway through the morning as I was using a 32GB SD Card.I definitely missed the the continuity of a my two-card system in the EOS 7D Mark II (1x CF card slot and 1x SD card slot). If I had to use this body (for whatever photography) I would not be too concerned about this - using a 64GB to 128GB SD card would sort this issue out for me although I respect the fact that many enthusiast / professional photographers would prefer a 2-card system.

For all the Birds in Flight outings I used Manual Mode with Auto-ISO (the way I shoot with all my cameras) and for most of the time the EOS R selected ISO's were well below ISO 1250 - the maximum I would use with the EOS 7D Mark II. 

AF Mode Selection used:
For the majority of shots I used Zone AF and Large Zone AF - which I found worked quite well for small and larger birds in flight. Lens IS on (and from time to time I used it with IS off as well).

Exposure settings used:
Manual Mode: f/5.6 - f/8 / Auto-ISO 250 - 1250 / Shutter Speeds 1/3200s - 1/4000s

Perched Bird Photography Woodbridge Island: Canon EOS R at ISO 500 / 560 mm (with 1.4x Extender)
Canon EOS R at ISO 500 / 560 mm (with 1.4x Extender)
Perched Bird Photography Woodbridge Island
As I would always do, when there is an opportunity to capture perched birds, I would not change much in the camera settings to get a few perched birds into the in-flight mix. 

When there is time I would simply adjust the camera from Manual Mode to Aperture Priority (Av) Mode and do AF adjustments from one of the larger zones to a smaller AF area (i.e. 1-point AF, Expanded AF Area or Expand AF area: Around).

As with birds in flight I used AI Servo AF Mode for all the perched birds.  The camera performed really well in low light with ISO well below 800.

The grey heron was captured just after sunrise on one of the birds in flight mornings (with the 1.4x Extender) and I was quite surprised with the Auto-ISO 500 reading (in Av Mode). 

During the first morning I captured a few perched birds with the bare 100-400mm lens at 400mm and here the Av Mode setting provided respected Auto-ISO 100.

Perched Bird Photography Woodbridge Island: Canon EOS R at ISO 100 / 400mm (without 1.4x Extender)
 Canon EOS R at ISO 100 / 400mm (without 1.4x Extender)
In One Shot Mode (still non-continuous burst shots) there are no AF or shutter delays and the EOS R perform well on par with both my EOS 6D and 7D Mark II in similar conditions albeit at one to two stops ISO beter and substantial opportunity for tight cropping while still retaining very good image quality. 

Towards the conclusion I will also discuss the CR3 RAW files, it sizes and Lightroom post-processing requirements. 

AF Mode Selection used:
For the perched bird shots I used the smaller AF areas. Toggling between the different AF-areas are quick and operates very much the same as most modern Canon enthusiast and professional APS-C and Full-Frame DSLRs.

Exposure settings used:
Aperture Priority (Av) Mode: f/5.6 - f/8 / Auto-ISO 100 - 500 / Shutter Speeds 1/400s - 1/800s 

Kirstenbosch National Botanic Garden: Canon EOS R at ISO 100 / 102 mm (f/2.8 / IS on and Handheld)
Canon EOS R at ISO 100 / 102 mm (f/2.8 / IS on and Handheld)
Kirstenbosch National Botanic Garden
For the outing to Kirstenbosch I used the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens for nature and small bird photography.

I also used the same lens with and without the 1.4x III extender for close-up photography around my training studio in Milnerton.

We left for Kirstenbosch garden on a sunny Monday morning and apart from the busloads full of international tourists there was not that many colourful flowers (for this time of year) to capture. All in all a photographers dream for fauna and flora in the the Western Cape.

I've setup the EOS R very much the same as I would do with the EOS 6D: Av mode, One Shot AF and Auto-ISO. The Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II USM lens (without the 1.4x extender) worked a charm on the EOS R. Fast and silent AF with pin-sharp images across the 70-200mm focal range. 

Kirstenbosch National Botanic Garden: Canon EOS R at ISO 100 / 200mm (f/4 / IS on and Handheld)
Canon EOS R at ISO 100 / 200mm (f/4 / IS on and Handheld)
While I was walking around the different gardens I realize that the EOS R would pair very well with any of the modern Canon 70-200mm f/4L / f/2,8L lenses with the latter being a wedding photographer's staple in terms of image quality, focal range and just the overall functionality of this  particular EOS / EF lens combination.

For most of the morning there was no birds and suddenly while photographing flowers this little sun bird arrived. 

With erratic and fast movements I was a little ill-prepared for his presence, but the EOS R with the 70-200mm coped very well - fortunately by this time I had switched to AI Servo and fast continuous shoot mode, but still in Av mode.

AF Mode Selection used:
For the Kirstenbosch Garden nature and bird shots  I used the smaller AF areas.

Exposure settings used:
Aperture Priority (Av) Mode: f/2.8 - f/11 / Auto-ISO 100 - 400 / Shutter Speeds 1/400s - 1/640s 

V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
V&A Waterfront, Cape Town: Canon EOS R at ISO 200 / 53mm (f/11 / IS on and Handheld)
Canon EOS R at ISO 200 / 53mm (f/11 / IS on and Handheld)
For the outing to the Waterfront I paired the Canon EOS R with my own Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM lens. I arrived at the Waterfront  around 07:00 one morning just to be greeted with gloomy and rainy conditions. 

Being about the only 'tourist' with a camera out and about I used the opportunity for some low light shooting. 

The outing to the V&A Waterfront was the most challenging in terms of adverse weather conditions and just the most appalling light.

Wasn't it for meeting one of my friends for coffee later I seriously considered driving back to Milnerton and coming back the next morning. I was the only person walking around outside with a camera.

V&A Waterfront, Cape Town: Canon EOS R at ISO 250 / 70mm (f/4 / IS on and Handheld)
Canon EOS R at ISO 250 / 70mm (f/4 / IS on and Handheld) 
I'm glad I stayed as I grabbed a few shots with the EOS R and my EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM lens and was really pleased how the camera performed in the appalling and low light conditions. 

The Auto-ISO was at least one to two stops better than my EOS 6D (in similar conditions). I was quite surprised to see Auto-ISO reading for not higher then 400 for all the images I captured around the outside of Waterfront. Inside it went up to ISO 5000 which still processed very well in Adobe Lightroom.

AF Mode Selection used:
For the V& Waterfront shots I used the smaller Large Zone AF: Vertical and Large Zone AF; Horizontal.

Exposure settings used (for outside):
Aperture Priority (Av) Mode: f/2.8 - f/11 / Auto-ISO 100 - 400 / Shutter Speeds 1/400s - 1/640s

Canon EOS R and Speedlite Flash Compatibility
As with all other Canon EOS Full-Frame cameras the Canon EOS R does not have an built-in pop-up flash, but works with Canon Speedlite and compatible flag units, I briefly tested the EOS R's compatibility with two of my Canon Speedlites with no problems (in ETTL II or Manual Modes):
  • Canon Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX II flash
  • Canon Speedlite 430 EX III-RT flash

My top stand-out features of the Canon EOS R

My inherent frame of reference during my time with the EOS R was my Canon EOS 6D (Full-Frame) and EOS 7D Mark II (APS-C). With mirrorless there is an expectation that the image quality will be superior (and a few other advantages) than the traditional DSLR. 

In the relatively limited time I had with the EOS R the following are my stand-out features in this well-packages first EOS Full-Frame mirrorless camera from Canon:

Low Light Capability / ISO Performance :  Canon EOS R at ISO 5000 / 55mm (f/11 / IS on and Handheld)
Canon EOS R at ISO 5000 / 55mm (f/11 / IS on and Handheld)
Low Light Capability / ISO Performance 
For a number of years now I have used the Canon EOS 6D for most of my low light work and the 35mm Full-Frame sensor delivers again and again. With its high ISO performance I hardly bothered looking any other Canon Full-Frame body for my work.

Looking at the one to two stops better ISO performance that the EOS R delivered (during my filed evaluation period and no scientific testing) I was very pleased to see how this camera delivers relatively low Auto-ISOs in low light where I expected it to be much higher. At the V&A Waterfront and elsewhere (in the outdoors) it repeatedly delivered well below ISO 400.

The image on the right here was captured inside the V&A Waterfront at ISO 5000 (handheld in AV mode at f/11). What makes this image great for me is the fact that I have done nothing to it apart from converting it from RAW to JPG - it is Straight Out Of Camera (SOOC). 

I quite like the dynamic range, colours and the minimum work I have to do in post-processing with the majority of shots I captured during the testing period.    

Image Quality : Canon IOS R at ISO 100 / 200mm (f/4 / IS on Handheld)
 Canon EOS R at ISO 100 / 200mm (f/4 / IS on Handheld)
Image Quality 
The EOS R (with the EF lenses I used) rendered some of best image quality (and colour renditions) that I have personally worked with in the field and seen from other enthusiast and professional photographers in my training studio. 

I'm sure the EOS R will perform as good or even even better when paired with its native RF lenses.

The image here was from the outing to the V&A Waterfront - handheld from the outside into one of the tourist shops in a low light environment.

I've done some work on the image (cropping and some sharpening), but all in all spent less than 5 minutes with the post-processing

Cropability 
Uncropped: At 400mm with the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens
Uncropped: At 400mm with the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens
The (extreme) cropability of the EOS R is very good in my opinion. I have no problem cropping my birds in flight images with the EOS 7D Mark II and had very good results with the EOS 80D as well. 

I rely on cropping extensively for birds in flight and perched bird photography and over the next few days will prepare and share more examples with the EOS R in term of cropping the following genres:
  • Birds in Flight
  • Perched birds
  • Macro and close-ups

The EOS R's 30.3 MP sensor and pixel density provides generous opportunity for cropping and retaining relatively high image quality. Cropping is important not just for compositional purposes (minor), but also on the extreme side for bringing an entire in-focus subject closer for the viewer. The disadvantage of this approach it can be quite time consuming to bring some of the detail back, but I cant see this as much of an issue with the capabilities of the EOS R. 

Cropped image with EOS R: At 400mm with the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens
Cropped: At 400mm with the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens
Above is an example of an uncropped SOOC cormorant perched in the Diep River / Woodbridge Island. Image one is the uncropped image and then the crropped and post-processed image I worked with in Adobe Lightroom.

Here is a few examples I have done a few years ago with the Canon EOS 7D Mark II in terms of cropping and post-processing.

I'm of opinion now that the EOS R delivers even better results (from my own frame of reference at more less the same distances).

Some of the other features I like about the EOS R

Compatible with EF and EF-S lenses 
This is quite high on my list of likes. The compatibility with all current EF and EF-S lenses is a major feature and will be for many enthusiast and professional photographers with these lenses. It could very well be one of Canon's Unique Selling Points (USP's) down the line for photographers buying into the EOS system due to their current selection of EF / EF-S lenses. It makes a lot of business and consumer sense for me. 

I did not have any EF-S lenses to test on the Canon EOS R, but are of opinion they will work just as well as the EF lenses that I have worked with. I have used my EF 100mm f/2.8  USM Macro lens on the EOS R and it performed exactly the same as when paired with the EOS 6D.

Battery / charger compatibility
The Canon EOS R uses the same Canon LP-E6(N) battery and charger than most current enthusiast and professional Canon DSLR's. During my testing period it worked with no problem with the batteries from my EOS 6D / EOS 7D Mark II and EOS 70D. 

During testing I never had to change a battery while in the field. On one occasion I shot +- 1500 images and the battery still indicated a bar or two. For achieving this I had the LCD completely turned off and only viewed the images in the studio afterwords.

Challenges while working with the Canon EOS R

I call them challenges as both of them are manageable and both will test even the experienced photographer's patience. For some photographers they will probably disappear faster than for others. For some photographers neither will be an issue - all will depend on application and a few additional resources.

I experienced both challenges with some frustration, but happy to report that with planning, technique and experience overcome both to a big extent.

With Canon EOS R - Black-winged Stilt flying at pace
Canon EOS R Action - Black-winged Stilt flying at pace
EVF / Shutter lag
During the birds in flight photography section of this article I mentioned the delay of (1) getting AF and (2) once AF is achieved the slight stuttering between continuous shooting of images 

Immediately apparent for me was the slight shutter lag (during pre-focus in Autofocus (AF) Mode - almost like a brief blackout period between individual images that I experienced with the fast flying birds.

My initial focus and shots were not great as I tried to come to terms with the electronic view finder (EVF) and the slight hesitation / stuttering between shots (in continuous mode).

The relative slowish 5 fps frame rate (when compared to the EOS 7D Mark II's 10 fps) was no concern as I'm also used to the Canon EOS 6D that is only 4.5 fps, but still produces fairly good results (when paired with my EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens).

Compounding this problem (in my opinion) is the fact that I used the EOS R mount adapter to use the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens with the EOS R.

Between day one and day two I had this problem more / less under control by means of a longer awareness and anticipation of a bird flying towards me. I'm use to the EOS 7D Mark II's almost instantaneous pre-focus and AF capabilities and it took me a few days to adjust this experience to a more workable solution.

Although it was a bit harder work to get the images I wanted I was just as satisfied with my birds in flight images coming from the EOS R when compared to the EOS 7D Mark II.
  
Working with Canon EOS R CR3 RAW Files in Adobe Lightroom 8.2
Working with Canon EOS R CR3 RAW Files in Adobe Lightroom 8.2
Updated post-processing software for CR3 RAW files
Before I collected the EOS R from Camerak I updated both my Canon Digital Photo Professional and Adobe Lightroom to the latest versions to ensure compatibility with the CR3 files. 

Prospective buyers of the Canon EOS R should take note of this. A few updates will have you sorted in no time.

Canon Digital Photo Professional (DPP) 4 users: CR3 files will only work with DPP 4.10. This is a free upgrade from Canon.

For Adobe Lightroom Users: The updated Adobe Lightroom 8.2 (released in Feb 2019) is fully compatible with EOS R.

More information on processing Canon CR3 RAW files with Canon DPP or Lightroom

Transferring images from camera to computer
I used the both my Lexar Professional Dual-Slot USB 3.0 and Transcend TS-RDF8K USB 3.0 Multi Card Readers for transferring CR3 images without any issues.

Perched Cormorant: Canon EOS R at ISO 100 / 400mm (without 1.4x Extender)
Canon EOS R at ISO 1250 / 560mm (with 1.4x Extender)
The Need for Speed
The EOS R's 30.3 MP sensor generated RAW that was between 29MB and 41MB in file size. Without the proper USB 3 download tools (USB 3 transfer cable is boxed with camera) and sufficient  RAM memory (and a low performance CPU in your computer) the downloads and processing will drive photographer nuts.

Not so much for the landscape photographer, but definitely for the fast action / birds in flight photographer downloading more than a thousand images at a time.

Recommended minimum specifications (from an  Intel / Windows PC perspective)
  • Intel Core i5 to i7 CPU (Fourth Generation or higher)
  • 8 to 16 GB DDR 3 or DDR 4 RAM Memory
  • Optional: 2 GB to 4 GB Graphics Processing Card (GPU)
  • 1 Terabyte (TB) Hard Disk Drive / Optional: 2 to 4 TB Removable Storage

V&A Waterfront Cape Town Architecture: Canon EOS R with EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM lens at f/8 / ISO 320 / 57mm
Canon EOS R with EF 24-70mm f/4L USM lens at f/8 / ISO 320 / 57mm
Conclusions

Canon EOS R Strategy
Canon EOS T\R entered the market with a lot of anticipation and expectations from Canon enthusiast and professional photographers alike.

The Canon EOS R was a relatively late entry into the Full Frame  interchangeable lens mirrorless camera market. The message I repeatedly hear from Canon globally is that there is and will be a lot of future attention towards the EOS R System. So by many standards the EOS R System is still in its infancy, but (will be) built on a strong reputation and existing EOS DSLR framework and functionality.

After spending a few weeks with the EOS R I am optimistic and fairly convinced that Canon will deploy substantial future resources in the development of the R System (and possibly the EOS M as well - the current Canon APS-C mirrorless range).

Current EOS R functionally
This is what most photographers around me want to know. How does it shoot? Show me images... What is the image quality like and what about AF performance? Is it fast enough for Birds in Flight and other action? Lost of questions and on a relatively small personal footprint here I hope that I can contribute to answering some of these decision-making questions with my EOS R first impressions article.

Kirstenbosch Garden: Canon IOS R at ISO 100 / 200mm (f/2.8 / IS on Handheld)
Canon EOS R at ISO 100 / 200mm (f/2.8 / IS on Handheld)
My personal opinion and recommendation
The EOS R is a great performer, a relatively small form-factor Canon full-frame mirrorless camera with some excellent features.

The all-round landscape and wildlife enthusiast / professional photographer should get substantial value with the EOS R System in terms of modern communication features, image quality and very good low light / low noise performance.

With its native RF lenses and the compatibility with the full range of EF / EF-S lenses it will be more than a worthy new EOS upgrade and / or replacement body. 

For action photographers
The current EOS R is in my opinion not ready to replace the Canon EOS 7D Mark II, EOS 5D Mark IV to shoot dedicated (only) action / birds in flight to meet many (almost) instant AF-focusing or continuous burst mode expectations.

I don't believe this was ever Canon's objective with Canon EOS R - not the current bodies any way. However, for the occasional action and / or birds in flight the the EOS R should deliver super results.

Latest Canon R / RP Mirrorless Full Frame Firmware Updates

More Information about Canon EOS R from Canon South Africa

Canon EOS 7D Mark II First Impressions / Test Shoot

Canon EOS 80D First Impressions / Test Shoot

Purple Heron in Flight: Canon EOS R at 560mm / ISO 640 (100-400mm lens with 1.4 Extender)
Canon EOS R at 560mm / ISO 640 (EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens with 1.4 Extender)

Canon Digital Photo Professional 4.10.50 For Windows | Mac View

20 May 2019

Macro Photography in the Rain - Paddocks, Cape Town

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens - Macro Photos Cape Town
Canon EOS 70D / EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens - Macro Photography Cape Town

Macro Photography in the Rain - Paddocks Milnerton Cape Town

Objective: Demonstrating application of the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM lens (paired with the Canon EOS 70D body).

Note: Photos are hand-held in Av mode without flash (except last image is captured using the Canon Speedlite 430EX II flash). Poor light / raining conditions. Some cropping / other post-processing in Lightroom 5.7.

Canon DSLR / Flash Equipment
  • Canon EOS 70D DSLR camera body
  • Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro lens
  • Canon Speedlite 430EX II flash

Av Mode - Aperture Priority Settings
  • Aperture f/8-11
  • Auto-ISO 120-250
  • Shutter speed: various (auto in Av mode)


(Click To Enlarge)
Canon EOS 70D / EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens Cape Town
Canon EOS 70D / EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens Cape Town

Canon EOS 70D / EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens Cape Town
Canon EOS 70D / EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens Cape Town

Canon EOS 70D / EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens Cape Town
Canon EOS 70D / EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens Cape Town

Canon EOS 70D / EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens Cape Town
Canon EOS 70D / EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens Cape Town

Canon EF 100mm Macro Lens - Inside A Red Pepper, Cape Town 
View

Small Flower Macro Photography Cape Town View

Small Flower Macro Photography with View

Canon EOS 7D Mark II: Automatic Selection AF Testing Cape Town

Canon EOS 7D Mark II : Automatic Selection Autofocus Testing
Yellow-Billed Duck : Canon EOS 7D Mark II
Canon EOS 7D Mark II / Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens - Birds In Flight AF Testing Woodbridge Island / Cape Town

Objective: Testing the Canon EOS 7D Mark II body / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens AF / FPS AF point-selection on Auto-Selection 65-Point AF.


I went out this morning with the objective of testing the Canon EOS 7D Mark II in ISO 1250 - 1600 light conditions, using for the first time the camera's AF point selection on Auto-Selection 65-Point Autofocus with initial AF point pre-selected - instead of the usual (Wide) Zone AF that I generally use for fast flying birds in flight photography.


In busy / high-contrast conditions it does not perform as well as the AF Zone areas, but I am satisfied that it could be used in low-contrast and less busy backgrounds i.e. for shots with lots of plain backgrounds / significant depth of field (focus range) between subject and background as seen here with the fast-flying yellow-billed duck. The AF selection I used mostly for Birds in Flight Photography: Wide Zone Selection>>

Canon EOS 7D Mark II Automatic Selection AF
Canon EOS 7D Mark II Automatic Selection AF

Canon EOS 7D Mark II FPS Shooting Preference


I prefer shooting shorter bursts of 3 to 4 shots per burst to preserve the buffer and not to be caught out with the camera slowing down (and perhaps missing a sudden opportunity in flight / creative movement from the bird).

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: 1/5000s 
  • Aperture: f/6.3 
  • Focal length 400mm 
  • Auto-ISO (ISO 1250)
  • Continuous shooting mode (10 fps) / AI Servo
  • AF Mode Option (Auto-Selection / Case 1)
  • Lens AF On / No IS / Handheld

(Click to Enlarge / Slide Show)
Canon EOS 7D Mark II @ 400mm Manual Mode: f/6.3 / ISO 1250 / 1/5000s
Canon EOS 7D Mark II @ 400mm Manual Mode: f/6.3 / ISO 1250 / 1/5000s - Cape Town

Canon EOS 7D Mark II @ 400mm Manual Mode: f/6.3 / ISO 1250 / 1/5000s
Canon EOS 7D Mark II @ 400mm Manual Mode: f/6.3 / ISO 1250 / 1/5000s - Cape Town

Canon EOS 7D Mark II @ 400mm Manual Mode: f/6.3 / ISO 1250 / 1/5000s
Canon EOS 7D Mark II @ 400mm Manual Mode: f/6.3 / ISO 1250 / 1/5000s - Cape Town

Canon EOS 7D Mark II @ 400mm Manual Mode: f/6.3 / ISO 1250 / 1/5000s
Canon EOS 7D Mark II @ 400mm Manual Mode: f/6.3 / ISO 1250 / 1/5000s - Cape Town

Canon EOS 7D Mark II @ 400mm Manual Mode: f/6.3 / ISO 1250 / 1/5000s
Canon EOS 7D Mark II @ 400mm Manual Mode: f/6.3 / ISO 1250 / 1/5000s - Cape Town

Canon EOS 7D Mark II @ 400mm Manual Mode: f/6.3 / ISO 1250 / 1/5000s
Canon EOS 7D Mark II @ 400mm Manual Mode: f/6.3 / ISO 1250 / 1/5000s - Cape Town

Canon EOS 7D Mark II @ 400mm Manual Mode: f/6.3 / ISO 1250 / 1/5000s
Canon EOS 7D Mark II @ 400mm Manual Mode: f/6.3 / ISO 1250 / 1/5000s - Cape Town

Canon EOS 7D Mark II @ 400mm Manual Mode: f/6.3 / ISO 1250 / 1/5000s
Canon EOS 7D Mark II @ 400mm Manual Mode: f/6.3 / ISO 1250 / 1/5000s - Cape Town

Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town
Birds in flight Photography Cape town

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

New PayFast Online Payment Options

New Vernon Chalmers Photography Training PayFast Online Payment OptionsNew Vernon Chalmers Photography Training Payment Options
All local and international delegates booking for any photography training will now have additional (and faster) online payment options other than the standard EFT payment option currently available in my photography training proposals / invoices.

I am pleased to announce that PayFast will handle secure online payments on behalf of Vernon Chalmers Photography / Blu-C Self Catering Apartment via Visa / MasterCard credit cards, major debit cards, instant EFT and Masterpass digital wallet payment options. From today all training proposals / invoices will be accompanied with the online payment options.

Self-Catering Apartment Accommodation Payment Options
My photography training studio apartment offering accommodation to photographers and other visitors is no also registered with Payfast and will be trading as Blu-C Accommodation. More Information.

No additional cost 
There is no additional cost for using any one of the PayFast online payment options. The price on the invoice is the only price (either the full rate or the discounted rate for returning delegates).

Due to the individual nature of delegate training requirements the standard training proposal / invoice will still be manually processed and emailed - with my Standard Bank EFT banking detail still available as a payment option.

PayFast Online Payment Options
A second email (from PayFast) will follow my original training proposal / invoice from which delegates will have a choice to pay from one of the following payment options in the online payment menu:
  • Instant EFT (ABSA / FNB / Capitec / Investec / Nedbank / Standard Bank)
  • Credit / Cheque Cards (MasterCard / Visa)
  • Debit Cards (ABSA / Bidvest / Nedbank / Postbank / Standard Bank)
  • Masterpass

New Vernon Chalmers Photography Training PayFast Online Payment Options

The training proposal / invoice email correspondence to all delegates will detail the options as well. Delegates are welcome to use the conventional ETF payment option or opt for any one of the all-in-one integrated PayFast online payment options (available via secure online transaction link).

Overview of both the Payment Options offered for all Vernon Chalmers Photography training .

Payfast On-Line Payment Option
All delegates will receive a personalised email from PayFast with the following information:
  • Training service description
  • Sent to name and email address
  • Sent from Vernon Chalmers Photography
  • Payment total
  • Invoice ID
  • Order ID

Clicking on the Pay Now button and / or Pay Now link in the email will start the online payment process. Payment confirmations will be made available as soon as possible after a successful transaction.

PayFast Online Interface View for Vernon Chalmers Photography  (with sample invoice detail)
Vernon Chalmers Photography Training Sample PayFast Online Payment Options
Vernon Chalmers Photography Training Sample PayFast Online Payment Options after Pay Now click through 

Why PayFast?
As a frequent online shopper at Takealot I have used PayFast as a secure online payment option for a number of years with full confidence, professional communication and efficiency. After careful consideration and recommendations from other corporate service providers I registered and verified Vernon Chalmers Photography with PayFast to offer my photography training delegates with the same full range of secure payment options, communication and efficiencies.

Some well-known brands and retailers using PayFast:

Reference: PayFast Website

New Vernon Chalmers Photography Training PayFast Online Payment Options

16 May 2019

Canon EOS 70D: Birds In Flight Photography

Canon EOS 70D for Birds In Flight - paired with EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens

Canon EOS 70D / Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens - Birds In Flight Cape Town

After some serious deliberation between the Canon EOS 70D and the Canon EOS 7D Mark II for my Birds In Flight (BIF) photography, I ordered and collected a new Canon EOS 70D body during May 2015.

The Canon EOS 70D is a very responsive and relatively fast continuous shooting Canon EOS APS-C DSLR body for serving my BIF shooting requirements. With the leftover budget I added a new Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro lens and Canon Professional Gadget Bag 1EG to my growing Canon EOS system. (At the time of purchase the Canon EOS 7D Mark II was almost double the price of the Canon EOS 70D in ZAR).

Canon EOS 7D Mark II Update: During October 2015 I started facilitating Birds in Flight Workshops in Cape Town and acquired a Canon EOS 7D Mark II body for studying and getting up to speed with the more advanced 65-point Autofocus system. I mainly pair the dual Digic 6 image processor / 10 fps Canon EOS 7D Mark II with the (same) Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens. AI Servo / Frames per Second Test with Canon EOS 7D Mark II Birds in Flight gallery with Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Canon EOS 70D / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM LensPaired with the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens the Canon EOS 70D quickly delivered the expected results via application of the 19-point Autofocus system, Digic 5+ Image Processor and 7 fps / frame rate (compared against my Canon EOS 700D's 9-point Auto-Focus system, Digic 5 Image Processor and 5 fps / frame rate and same Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens).

Birds In Flight Test ShotsManual Mode with deliberate fast shutter speeds of 1/1200 - 1/2000s to freeze the wings and to compensate for the lack of Image Stabilization on the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens. All photos created handheld with Single Point AF or Zone AF. Post-processing was done in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 6 and converted from RAW to JPG (minor colour adjustments, noise reduction and lens profile correction). Overcast / low light conditions.


Canon EOS 70D / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens for Birds In Flight, Cape Town
Canon / SanDisk Equipment (Birds In Flight Photography) 
  • Canon EOS 70D SLR camera body 
  • Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM telephoto prime lens
  • SanDisk 32GB Extreme PLUS 80mb/s SD memory card
  • SanDisk 32GB Extreme PRO 95mb/s SD memory card

Canon EOS 70D Manual Mode Settings

  • Shutter speed: 1/12000 - 1/3200s 
  • Aperture: f/5.6 - 8 
  • ISO 250-800 
  • Focal length 400mm
  • No Image Stabilization 
  • Autofocus mode (Centre Point or Zone AF)
  • Continuous shooting mode / AI Servo (up to 7 fps)
  • Handheld

Cape Town Birds In Flight Photography Location
Milnerton Lagoon Woodbridge Island, Cape Town

(Click to Enlarge / Slideshow)
Canon EOS 70D for Birds In Flight Photography, Cape Town
Canon EOS 70D / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens

Canon EOS 70D for Birds In Flight Photography, Cape Town
Canon EOS 70D / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens

Canon EOS 70D / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
Canon EOS 70D / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens

Canon EOS 70D / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
Canon EOS 70D / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens

Canon EOS 70D for Birds In Flight Photography, Cape Town
Canon EOS 70D / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens

Canon EOS 70D for Birds In Flight Photography, Cape Town
Canon EOS 70D / EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens

Canon EOS 70D / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
Canon EOS 70D / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens

Canon EOS 70D / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
Canon EOS 70D / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens

Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Super Telephoto Prime Lens

Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens: Links to professional / consumer reviews - View


Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens


Advantages of the Canon EOS 70D over the EOS 700D for Birds In Flight (own experience only) 
  • Dedicated Auto-focus (AF) button on EOS 70D vs none on EOS 700D
  • Improved / more adjustable Auto-Focus (19 Points vs 9 Points)
  • Improved control button on the Canon EOS 70D 
  • Improved battery life with battery charge(r) indicators (+1200 vs +- 650 shots) 
  • More frames per second for Birds In Flight (7 fps vs 5 fps) 
  • Top LCD and intuitive switch-gear with handy AF selection mode (vs Mode dial) 
  • Slightly bigger / brighter viewfinder (pentaprism vs pentamirror / 95% vs 98% coverage) 
  • Improved (body) balance with Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens 

Article Source © Vernon Chalmers (with Canon EOS 70D / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens)

Canon EOS 80D Birds in Flight Testing / 1st Impressions Cape Town

Canon EOS 7D Mark II - First Impressions and Test Shoots Cape Town