13 June 2019

Cape Teal Duck with Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Cape Teal Duck with Canon EOS 7D Mark II - Vernon Chalmers Photography Copyright
Cape teal duck in crisp Cape Town / Woodbridge Island light with my Canon EOS 7D Mark II and EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens

Short bursts for three to four images
For the captures below I just pre-focused, panned slightly and press the shutter for two short burst of three to four images each. The three consecutive images are in my opinion all of consistent focus and sharpness.

Lightroom Post-Processing
All images processed in Adobe Lightroom 8. Converted from RAW to JPG. Lens profile correction. Minor colour correction. Sharpness and noise reduction applied.

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
  • SanDisk Extreme 64GB 120MB/s CF Card

Manual Mode Settings
  • Shutter speed: 1/4000s
  • Aperture: f/5.6
  • Focal length 400mm
  • Auto-ISO (ISO 500)
  • Continuous shooting mode (10 fps) / AI Servo
  • AI Servo / AF Mode Option (Large / Wide Zone AF / Case 1)
  • Lens AF On / No IS / Handheld

(Click to enlarge)
Cape Teal Duck with Canon EOS 7D Mark III Vernon Chalmers Photography Copyright
Frame 1 / 3 (10 fps) Cape Teal Duck with Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Cape Teal Duck with Canon EOS 7D Mark III Vernon Chalmers Photography Copyright
Frame 2 / 3 (10 fps) Cape Teal Duck with Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Cape Teal Duck with Canon EOS 7D Mark III Vernon Chalmers Photography Copyright
Frame 3 / 3 (10 fps)Cape Teal Duck with Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Canon EOS 7D Mark II Birds in Flight Photography Gallery View

Birds in Flight Photography Training Cape Town View

Birds in Flight Photography Training Gift Vouchers View

01 June 2019

Thoughts on planning / atmospheric conditions for photographers

Image Copyright Vernon Chalmers: Notes on planning and application for the serious photographer
Earlier this morning I posted about a question of any 'Photoshop' applied in one of my in-flight images - with the intention of asking if the image was manipulated in any way.

Read: Bird in Flight image photoshopped or not?

As a photographer I am a little concerned that people would think like that, but nevertheless see it as a compliment - especially where the photographer planned for achieving specific results.

For my own birds in flight photography around Woodbridge Island, Cape Town I look at two environmental variables very seriously: (i) available morning light and (ii) atmospheric conditions (wind / sun / clouds et al) before going out for a session.

My 'check' for best value photography is seen in the attached image: for the absolute best conditions this is what I look / plan for (when I look out the window). So its quite possible that some people may think Photoshop played any role in the outcome of certain images.

Unfortunately, days like this on the image is far and few between. I wait it out and when the going is good, I get going. It doesn't mean we don't should around here in any other conditions.

It is also important to note that the serious photographer should be able to shoot in many different light conditions. Light is probably our biggest advantage, but without appropriate light, the challenges will increase thinking and planning (without rushing out to purchase higher-quality equipment).

We all use different levels of post-processing . I believe the serious photographer will (only) attempt to improve the well-planned shot in terms of slight adjustment(s) in the exposure and / or the composition, without altering the original 'naturalness' of the image.

Image created with Canon EOS 700D / Canon EF 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens (on Manfrotto Compact tripod) from Arnhem Milnerton towards the main bridge at Woodbridge Island, Cape Town.

Source>>  Woodbridge Island Photography

Tracking Variables for Improved Birds in Flight Photography View

Canon EF-S 10-18mm IS STM Lens V&A Waterfront Cape Town

V&A Waterfront Cape Town with Canon EF-S 10-18mm IS STM Ultra-Wide Lens

V&A Waterfront Cape Town with Canon EF-S 10-18mm IS STM Ultra-Wide Lens - V&A Waterfront Cape Town

Objective
: Demonstrating application of the new Canon EF-S 10-18mm f4.5-5.6 IS STM Ultra-Wide zoom lens paired with the Canon EOS 700D / Rebel T5i DSLR camera body.


Note: Photos taken mid-afternoon / after dark at different ISO's, apertures and focal lengths. Handheld. No post-processing - just crops where applicable.

Location:
V&A Waterfront Cape Town

Equipment (Landscape / Seascape Photography)
  • Canon EOS 700D SLR camera body
  • Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM lens

Av Mode - Aperture Priority Settings
  • Aperture: f/5.6 - f/11
  • ISO 100 - 800
  • Shutter speed: various
  • Image Stabilization
  • Auto focus (lens)
  • Zero post-processing (just crops) JPG / RAW conversion
  • Lens Profile correction (Lightroom 5.4)


(Click to enlarge / slide show)
V&A Waterfront Cape Town with Canon EF-S 10-18mm IS STM Ultra-Wide Lens
Canon EF-S 10-18mm IS STM Ultra-Wide Lens 18mm f/11 ISO 100, Cape Town


V&A Waterfront Cape Town with Canon EF-S 10-18mm IS STM Ultra-Wide Lens
Canon EF-S 10-18mm IS STM Ultra-Wide Lens 13mm f/11 ISO 100, Cape Town



Canon EF-S 10-18mm IS STM Ultra-Wide Lens 13mm f/11 ISO 100, Cape Town



Canon EF-S 10-18mm IS STM Ultra-Wide Lens 10mm f/8 ISO 100, Cape Town



Canon EF-S 10-18mm IS STM Ultra-Wide Lens 13mm f/11 ISO 100, Cape Town



V&A Waterfront Cape Town with Canon EF-S 10-18mm IS STM Ultra-Wide Lens
Canon EF-S 10-18mm IS STM Ultra-Wide Lens 13mm f/5.6 ISO 800 (no flash) - Cape Town

Canon EOS 7D Mark II EOS iTR AF Testing

Birds in Flight Photography: Testing EOS iTR AF on the EOS 7D Mark II
Birds in Flight Photography: Canon EOS 7D Mark II EOS iTR AF
As with all new Canon EOS Full Frame bodies - EOS 5D Mark IV / EOS 5DS(r) / EOS-1D X (II) - the Canon EOS 7D Mark II is equip with EOS iTR AF (Intelligent Tracking and Recognition Auto Focus) enabling the camera for potentially focusing faster on moving subjects when in AI Servo mode shooting moving subjects.

This 
EOS iTR AF function is supported by the detection capability of the RGB+IR metering sensor, which is working seamlessly with EOS iTR AF for allowing continuous tracking in AI Servo shooting mode.

According to Canon, EOS iTR AF should be enabled when photographing either a moving person (for face tracking) or moving subjects with a strong colour. Colour and face tracking provides a faster, more accurate focusing system.


The EOS 7D Mark II user manual (Setting the AF and Drive Modes: page 128) states that the camera will take longer to focus when EOS iTR AF is enabled in AI Servo mode and that the camera's maximum frames per second (fps) shooting of 10 fps will be reduced to 9.5 fps.

EOS iTR AF is only supported in Zone, Larger Zone AF or the 65-Point automatic selection AF on the Canon EOS 7D Mark II. The same Zones will be applicable in 
EOS iTR A-enabled the Full Frame EOS bodies (within the 61-Point AF systems).

Comparing face detection performance and AF against obstruction

Comparing face detection performance and AF against obstruction


Setting Up EOS iTR AF (On / Off)
EOS 7D Mark II Menu: AF Sub-Menu / Sub-Section 4: Auto AF pt sel:
 EOS iTR AF On / Off 

Objective: To determine any shooting / image property changes and / or enhancements with the EOS iTR AF function enabled during my birds in flight photography. I've been shooting with the EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens for about two years without EOS iTR AF enabled. Time and reason enough for judging any AF tracking differences and / or improvements.

Equipment (Birds In Flight 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
  • Sandisk Extreme Plus SDHC™ UHS-I Card 95MB/s 32 GB 

Exposure / Focus Settings

  • Manual Mode Settings / Lens AF On
  • Shutter speed: 1/5000s
  • Aperture: f/5.6
  • Focal length 400mm
  • Auto-ISO (ISO 640)
  • Continuous shooting mode (10 fps) / AI Servo
  • AI Servo / AF Mode Option (Wide Zone AF / Case 1)
  • Lens AF On / No IS / Handheld

Location / Conditions

I went out this morning (in excellent light and conditions) and spent about two hours shooting around Woodbridge Island, Cape Town - all the usual birds; geese, ducks, egrets and a few oystercatchers.

Birds in Flight
I'm adding two sets of 6 consecutive images here of two birds flying at pace, first an African Oystercather, which is at times difficult to track due to it black feathers (against the blue water) and then an Egyptian Goose flying towards me (tightly cropped in post-processing).

Initial AF Findings

I could sense no difference in any AF behaviour ito speed, locking on or tracking conditions irrespective of bird, speed and or background colour / textures.

The jury is still out how effective the EOS iTR AF function is for birds in flight. Of what I've experienced today I can honestly say that it made no real difference (when compared to similar shots with EOS iTR AF disabled). I will keep it enabled and to observe any changes over time ito different light conditions and perhaps smaller / bigger and different colour birds.


African Oystercatcher with EOS iTR AF (Click to enlarge / slide show)

Birds in Flight Photography: Testing EOS iTR AF on the Canon EOS 7D Mark IIBirds in Flight Photography: Testing EOS iTR AF on the Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Birds in Flight Photography: Testing EOS iTR AF on the Canon EOS 7D Mark IIBirds in Flight Photography: Testing EOS iTR AF on the Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Birds in Flight Photography: Testing EOS iTR AF on the Canon EOS 7D Mark IIBirds in Flight Photography: Testing EOS iTR AF on the Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Canon EOS Setup and Tips For Birds in Flight Photography

Egyptian Goose with EOS iTR AF (Click to enlarge / slide show)

Birds in Flight Photography: Testing EOS iTR AF on the Canon EOS 7D Mark IIBirds in Flight Photography: Testing EOS iTR AF on the Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Birds in Flight Photography: Testing EOS iTR AF on the Canon EOS 7D Mark IIBirds in Flight Photography: Testing EOS iTR AF on the Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Birds in Flight Photography: Testing EOS iTR AF on the Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Birds in Flight Cape Town Canon EOS 7D Mark II Image Gallery

Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town

Canon EOS 6D Bulb Mode / Long Exposure Photography Images

Canon EOS 6D Long Exposure Photography Cape Town
Canon EOS 6D / EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM Ultra-Wide Lens : Long Exposure Photography using Bulb (B) Mode

Objective: Demonstrating long exposure photography using the Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM Ultra-Wide lens (paired with the Full Frame Canon EOS 6D) across the old wooden bridge, Milnerton Lagoon and Otto du Plessis Drive Woodbridge Island bridges, Milnerton Cape Town.

Note: All four images captured in Bulb Mode, on Manfrotto tripod and Canon remote cable release. Post-processing with regard to cropping and lens profile correction were done in Photoshop Lightroom 6.


What is Bulb Mode? (as applied in Long Exposure Photography)
By default a Canon EOS DSLR (most other DSLR's as well) is limited to a maximum of a 30 seconds (displayed as 30″) exposure duration - the actual time that the shutter will remain open in Manual Mode / Aperture Priority (Av) Mode / Shutter Priority (Tv) Mode. 

Bulb Mode allows the shutter to stay open beyond the 30 seconds limitation by either pressing and releasing the shutter button manually or using a variety of remote switches / cable releases - acting as a manual timer. 

Long exposure photography of minutes and up to hours (depending on the photographer's long exposure requirements) are capable with Bulb Mode. All other exposure settings are available in Bulb Mode just like Manual Mode.

Bulb Mode Placement on EOS DSLRs
On enthusiast and professional Canon EOS bodies Bulb Mode is designated as a dedicated "B" for Bulb Mode on the Mode Dial. On entry level Canon EOS bodies Bulb mode is embedded as part of Shutter Priority (Tv.) Mode's shutter timer settings.

Shooting Location
Woodbridge Island / Cape Town

Canon EOS 6D Bulb Mode / Settings / 
Accessories
  • Bulb Mode
  • ISO 200
  • Aperture: f/16 
  • Shutter Speed (53s - 180s)
  • Manual Focus / Lens IS Off
  • Canon RS-80N3 Cable Remote Switch
  • Manfrotto Tripod 190X MK190X3-3W

(Click To Enlarge)
Woodbridge Island Street Long Exposure Photography Canon EOS 6D Vernon Chalmers Photography Training Copyright
Woodbridge Island Street Long Exposure Photography Canon EOS 6D, Bulb Mode

Woodbridge Island Old Wooden Bridge Long Exposure Photography Canon EOS 6D Vernon Chalmers Photography Training Copyright
Woodbridge Island Wooden Bridge Long Exposure Photography Canon EOS 6D, Bulb Mode

Woodbridge Island Milnerton Lagoon Long Exposure Photography Canon EOS 6D Vernon Chalmers Photography Training Copyright
Woodbridge Island Milnerton Lagoon Long Exposure Photography Canon EOS 6D, Bulb Mode


Milnerton Beach / Lighthouse Long Exposure Photography Canon EOS 6D, Bulb Mode

Canon Long Exposure / Night Photography Setup & Tips
Canon Long Exposure / Night Photography Setup & Tips

New Motorsport / Panning Workshop Cape Town

New Motorsport / Panning Workshop - Planning Information
Motorcycle Panning at Killarney with Canon EOS 6D / 70-300mm L lens
Motorsport / Panning Workshop - Planning Information
The objective of this post is to inform anybody interested in motorsport photography and mastering the panning technique that we are in the process of planning a photography workshop at Killarney, Cape Town for learning and practicing the photographing / panning of fast cars and motorcycles around the race track.

The Motorsport and Panning Workshop will be facilitated in conjunction with Steve Williams, experienced Canon photographer for Motorsport South Africa and Jacques Myburgh, experienced Nikon photographer and photography workshop facilitator.

The aim of the workshop is to provide the developing Canon and Nikon photographer with hands-on learning opportunities for mastering the challenges of photographing / panning fast race cars and motor cycles around the Killarney circuit with specific reference to:
  • Exposure settings
  • Focus tracking
  • Multiple exposures

New Motorsport / Panning Workshop - Planning Information
Race Car Panning at Killarney with Canon EOS 6D / 70-300mm L lens
Required Equipment
Any Canon or Nikon APS-C or Full-Frame DSLR with a lens in the following focal length range: i.e: 18-135mm / 24-105mm / 70-200mm / 70-300mm / 100 – 400mm. Different lenses could be required for stationary cars / motorbikes, relatively close-up panning and far-out action shots. More information about our specific track positioning will be made available later.

Learning / Application
The workshop will start with a theoretical session on the challenges of motorsport photography, camera / exposure settings followed by extensive hands-on practice of the various photographic (and panning) techniques at Killarney in racing conditions, capturing fast action at different shutter speeds.

Confirmation of date(s), costing and detailed learning agenda will be made available as soon as possible.

Discounted rates for any returning Vernon Chalmers Photography clients/ delegates will apply. Discount % will vary from my standard discount policy as this workshop will be structured and facilitated substantially different from other Vernon Chalmers Photography Workshop or Private Photography Training.

Interested photographers are welcome to contact me here or via Facebook.

New Motorsport / Panning Workshop - Planning Information
Motorcycle Panning at Killarney, Cape Town with Canon EOS 6D / 70-300mm L lens

Birds in Flight Photography Training Session

Vernon Chalmers - Birds in Flight Photography Training
Birds in Flight Photography on a crisp Cape Town morning
I did a walkabout with a new Birds in Flight photographer earlier this morning. We were greeted with a cool, but crisp winters day at Woodbridge Island, Cape Town.

Camera / Photography Training Objective
Assisting a new Birds in Flight photographer getting his Canon EOS 7D Marked II tuned in for the birds around Woodbridge Island in in early morning / excellent light conditions.

Birds In Flight Cape Town Images

Images were captured in Manual Mode / Auto-ISO: Multi-shot / continuous mode at 10 fps AI Servo. Post-processing done with Adobe Lightroom 6. RAW to JPG conversion with some sharpening and noise reduction applied.

Birds in Flight Location

Milnerton Lagoon / Woodbridge Island Cape Town

Canon Gear / Memory Cards

  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II camera body 
  • Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens
  • Lexar Professional CompactFlash UDMA 7 32 GB
  • Sandisk Extreme Plus SDHC™ UHS-I Card 95MB/s 32 GB

Exposure / Other Settings: Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens

  • Manual Mode
  • Aperture: f/5.6
  • Auto-ISO 500 - 1600 
  • Focal Length: 400mm 
  • Shutter speed: 1/5000 seconds 
  • AF on - Case 1 / Wide-Zone
  • Lens Autofocus on
  • Handheld

(Click to Enlarge)
Reed Cormorant - Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm Lens
Reed Cormorant - Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm Lens  Woodbridge Island / Cape Town

Grey Heron in Flight - Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm Lens
Grey Heron in Flight - Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm Lens  Woodbridge Island / Cape Town

Grey Heron in Flight - Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm Lens
Grey Heron in Flight - Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm Lens  Woodbridge Island / Cape Town

King Gull in Flight - Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm Lens
King Gull in Flight - Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm Lens  Woodbridge Island / Cape Town

Pied Kingfisher in Flight - Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm Lens
Pied Kingfisher in Flight - Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm Lens  Woodbridge Island / Cape Town

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

Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town

Canon PowerShot SX40 HS Camera For Sale Cape Town

Canon PowerShot SX40 HS Camera For Sale Cape TownSeller: Vernon Chalmers (personal unit) SOLD

This 35x (35mm equiv: 24 - 840mm) super zoom compact camera I'm selling with lens hood, 16 GB Philips SD Card, Battery Charger and Lowpro compact camera bag.

The Canon PowerShot SX40 HS is in excellent condition and an ideal travel camera / anybody who wants to learn photography ito Manual Mode and all exposure modes available on a Canon DSLR Camera (P / Av / Tv / M Modes)

The camera is compatible with all Canon Speedlite flashes. I've just tested the camera with my Canon 430EX III-RT Speedlite and its firing 100% in ETTL and Manual Modes.

Reason for selling: Never really been used due to quite a few DSLR cameras in my studio.Camera was used as demo model during training explaining / showing differences between various Canon EOS / PowerShot cameras.

Below are three photographs I captured recently.

More Images>> Depth of Field Demo Images Canon PowerShot SX40 HS

Price: R1 800-00 (excluding packaging / courier costs if required)

Price is not negotiable, but I will add an orientation and exposure training session (3 hours) at no additional cost (if required).

Method of Payment: Direct EFT or via my Online Payment System via PayFast (link for Master / Visa Card / Debit card will be forwarded for online payment).

Camera is available to be viewed / tested at in my studio apartment in Arnhem, Loxton Road, Milnerton (opposite Woodbridge Island). Map | Directions

Contact me here or on Facebook

Canon PowerShot SX40 HS Key Features
  • 35x optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 24 - 840mm) with ultrasonic motor
  • Image Stabiliser (4.5-stop)
  • Intelligent IS
  • 12.1 megapixel sensor
  • HS System with DIGIC 5
  • Full 1080p HD
  • 2.7 inch vari-angle LCD screen
  • Electronic viewfinder
  • Smart Auto
  • Multi-area WB
  • High-speed Burst HQ
  • Manual modes
  • Zoom Framing Assist

Canon PowerShot SX40 HS Detailed Specifications

(Click to Enlarge)
Canon PowerShot SX40 HS Camera For Sale Cape Town
Canon PowerShot SX40 HS Camera For Sale Cape Town : Close-Up Photography

Canon PowerShot SX40 HS Camera For Sale Cape Town : Landscape Photography

Canon PowerShot SX40 HS Camera For Sale Cape Town : Birding Photography

Affordable Canon 400mm Lens for Birds in Flight Photography

Canon EOS 7D Mark II /  EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens Woodbridge Island Cape Town
Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
'Super Fast Autofocus on Canon EOS 7D Mark II'
I was recently asked for my opinion on an affordable, light and reasonably sharp 300mm or 400mm prime lens (for Birds in Flight and some wildlife photography) by one of my Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town workshop delegates.

The workshop delegate is a Nikon D500 user / photographer and although I could not comment directly towards her requirement for a Nikon 300mm or 400mm prime lens I shared with her my own Canon EF 300mm / EF 400mm prime lens decision-making process (from a few years ago).

My response (edited for the website with more content and context for assisting other / new Canon Birds in Flight photographers as well).

I use the Canon EF 400mm f./5.6L USM lens for my Birds in Flight photography at Woodbridge Island Cape Town. A cost-effective Canon EF 400mm prime lens with no Image Stabilization (IS), with very fast Autofocus (AF) and surprisingly light for carrying around for long shooting sessions (up to three to four hours at times). A simple and effective design with many good reviews over the years.


Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens for Birds in Flight Photography
Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens for Birds in Flight Photography

Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens: Professional / Consumer Reviews

This lens is exclusively paired with my Canon EOS 7D Mark II and I'm satisfied with the all-round AF performance, sharpness and mobility (paired with the APS-C / Crop Canon body). 

Canon EOS 7D Mark II /  EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens Woodbridge Island Cape Town
Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
The Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens performs very well with the Canon EOS 700D, Canon EOS 70D, Canon 7D Mark II and the Canon EOS 6D (ito my own long term evaluaton).

I'm of opinion that the AF performance is slightly faster when compared to the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM zoom lens of which I have tested extensively on both the Canon EOS 7D Mark II and Canon EOS 80D in exactly the same shooting environment.

Not bad for a Canon Super Telephoto lens that was designed / released in 1993.

I did not consider the Canon EF 100-400mm lens options as I already have the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens - a lens that in itself is very fast and sharp and offers a great zoom range when required.

My original Canon prime lens decision-making lens selection
When I originally decided on a birds in flight lens I looked at three prime options:
  • Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS USM lens
  • Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens
  • Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens

Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS USM lens
I decided the 300mm f/4 (with image stabilization) was a tad short and not really optimized with a tele-converter on the Canon bodies at the time. With a tele-converer the reach is good - 300 x 1.4 - 420mm, but the AF would be a tad slower at f/5.6 for birds in flight (and I was concerned about the image quality when paired with the converter). And I already have a reasonably fast and sharp 70-300mm zoom. I have seen some great images from this lens and it was a serious consideration for me, but personally don’t really like shooting with a converter on a crop body i.e 7D Mark II.

Canon EOS 6D /  EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens Woodbridge Island Cape Town
Canon EOS 6D / EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens
Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens
The EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens (with image stabilization) at 3x the price the price was not something I could justify from a cost / benefit perspective, I tested it, very good and at f/4 (without converter). With a 1.4 converter the lens would probably just as fast at f/5.6, but an expensive option for birds in flight. Very sharp and not that heavy.

I've deliberately tested it on my Canon EOS 6D (Full Frame) at f/4 in the same shooting environment I use the Canon EF 400mm f/4 USM lens. A high-end professional Canon super telephoto lens that is comfortable on both APS-C and Full Frame bodies (with / without the 1.4x / 2x tele-converters), just a tad expensive and not convinced it will justify the price / value / performance ratio in my Birds in Flight photography workflow and shooting at my Woodbridge Island, Cape Town shooting environment. Birds in Flight images with the EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens

Canon EOS 7D Mark II /  EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens Woodbridge Island Cape Town
Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens
I researched this lens for three months in terms of the following criteria:
  • For Birds in Flight photography only
  • 400mm focal length for pairing with APS-C body
  • Autofocus speed and image quality
  • Weight (mobility for carrying long periods)
  • Cost of ownership (Budget / ROI)

From the first morning I've added this lens still on my Canon EOS 700D I knew it was the correct decision. It ticked all the researched criteria boxes and although I've added a few newer Canon EOS bodies to my bag this is still my lens of choice for Birds in Flight photography. Its not a f/2.8 300mm or 400mm lens, but with enough good Cape Town light I am still without any doubt that this lens will perform very well against the more expensive Canon Super Telephoto options.

Canon EOS 6D /  EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens Woodbridge Island Cape Town
Canon EOS 6D / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
My training studio and home office apartments are literally on the doorstep of my shooting environment at Woodbridge Island and have a birds view of the the lagoon, sun and wind speed before venturing down for a shoot. 

Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens Release Date
The Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens was released in May 1993 and as far as I know somewhat before Canon's IS implementation (according to Canon 1995). It became a very popular lens for bird / birds in flight photographers mainly due to low cost, light weight, image quality and fast Autofocus.

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

Starting out with Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town
Starting out with Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town

Two Canon 400mm Lens Options for Birds in Flight Photography
Two Canon 400mm Lens Options for Birds in Flight Photography

Canon EOS Setup and Tips For Birds in Flight Photography
Canon EOS Setup and Tips For Birds in Flight Photography

Tracking Variables for Improved Birds in Flight Photography

Tracking Variables for Improved Birds in Flight Photography

Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town
Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town

Sample images with two Canon zoom lenses
Have a look at Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town with the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (paired with Canon EOS 7D Mark II) and the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens (paired with Canon EOS 70D).


Water thick-knee Canon EOS 7D Mark II /  EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens Woodbridge Island Cape Town
Water thick-knee in FlightCanon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens (Woodbridge Island - Cape Town)

Canon EOS 7D Mark II: Auto-ISO / Low Light Shooting

Canon EOS 7D Mark II: Low Light / High ISO Shooting Woodbridge Island Cape Town
Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm Lens  Auto-ISO 2000
Auto-ISO / Low Light  Birds In Flight Shooting with Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Telephoto Lens - Cape Town

Objective: Low light testing of the Canon EOS 7D Mark II's Auto-ISO ability in early morning / changing light conditions.

Shooting Conditions: Early morning during / after sunrise with a slight fog in the air. 


Images
All images were captured in Manual Mode: Multi-shot / continuous mode at 10 fps AI Servo. Post-processing done with Adobe Lightroom 5.7. RAW to JPG conversion with some sharpening and noise reduction applied.

Location
Milnerton Lagoon / Woodbridge Island Cape Town (Birds in Flight Photography)

Canon Gear / Memory Cards

  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II camera body 
  • Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens
  • SanDisk Extreme 64GB 120MB/s CF Card
  • Lexar Professional CompactFlash UDMA 7 32 GB
  • Sandisk Extreme Plus SDHC™ UHS-I Card 95MB/s 32 GB


Exposure / Other Settings: Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens

  • Manual Mode
  • Aperture: f/5.6 - 6.3 
  • Auto-ISO 1000 - 2000 
  • Focal Length: 400mm 
  • Shutter speed: 1/3200 - 1/4000 seconds 
  • AF on - Case 1 / Zone - Wide-Zone
  • Lens Autofocus on
  • Handheld
(Click Image to Enlarge)
Canon EOS 7D Mark II: Low Light / High ISO Shooting Woodbridge Island Cape Town
Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm Lens - ISO 1000 f/5.6 1/4000s  - Cape Town


Canon EOS 7D Mark II: Low Light / High ISO Shooting Woodbridge Island Cape Town
Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm Lens - ISO 1250 f/5.6 1/4000s - Cape Town


Canon EOS 7D Mark II: Low Light / High ISO Shooting Woodbridge Island Cape Town
Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm Lens ISO 1600 f/5.6 1/4000s - Cape Town


Canon EOS 7D Mark II: Low Light / High ISO Shooting Woodbridge Island Cape Town
Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm Lens ISO 1600 f/5.6 1/4000s - Cape Town


Canon EOS 7D Mark II: Low Light / High ISO Shooting Woodbridge Island Cape Town
Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm Lens - ISO 2000 f/6.3 1/3200s  - Cape Town


Canon EOS 7D Mark II: Shooting In The Fog Cape Town
Canon EOS 7D Mark II: Shooting In The Fog Cape Town

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

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

Canon EOS 7D Mark II : Automatic Selection Autofocus Testing
Canon EOS 7D Mark II : Automatic Selection Autofocus Testing

Canon EOS 7D Mark II : Wide Zone Autofocus Testing
Canon EOS 7D Mark II : Wide Zone Autofocus Testing

Cropability of the Canon EOS 7D Mark II
Cropability of the Canon EOS 7D Mark II