27 September 2020

Photography Training Milnerton, Cape Town

Canon Camera / Photography Training Cape Town
Canon EOS Fast Shutter Speed Action Photography - Woodbridge Island
Canon Photography Training Cape Town

Private Canon EOS DSLR Camera and Photography tutoring / training courses in Milnerton, Cape Town.

Tailor-made (individual) learning programmes are prepared for specific Canon EOS DSLR camera and photography requirements with the following objectives:
  • Individual Needs / Gear analysis
  • Canon EOS camera menus / settings
  • Exposure settings and options
  • Specific genre applications and skills development
  • Practical shooting sessions (where applicable)
  • Adobe Lightroom post-processing training
  • Ongoing support

Canon Camera / Lens Requirements
Any Canon EOS body / lens combination is suitable for most of the training sessions. During initial contact I will determine the learner's current skills, Canon EOS system and other learning / photographic requirements.

Self Catering Accommodation Milnerton
Vernon Chalmers photography training is facilitated from a self-catering apartment in Arnhem, Milnerton (opposite Woodbridge Island) with an option for local and international photographers to overnight during the various training sessions. Optional accommodation will be calculated at reduced rates into the Photography Training Proposal / Invoicing. More Information

Photography Training Gift Vouchers
Most photography training sessions are available as Birthday / Christmas Gift training voucher options with a one year validity period. More information
  
Photography Private Training Classes Milnerton, Cape Town
  • Introduction to Photography / Canon Cameras More 
  • Canon EOS Autofocus / AI Servo Master Class More
  • Birds in Flight Photography Workshop More
  • Canon Speedlite Flash Photography Workshop More
  • Macro / Close-Up Photography Workshop More
  • Landscape / Long Exposure Photography Workshop More
  • Digital Workflow / Lightroom Post-Processing Workshop More

Training / demonstrations are done on the client's own Canon EOS bodies attached to various Canon EF / other brand lenses covering wide-angle to zoom focal lengths.

Method of PaymentPayment Options>>

Private Canon Camera / Photography Training Cape Town
Canon EOS System / Menu  Setup & Training Cape Town
2020 Individual Photography Training Session Cost / Rates>>

From R650 per four to five hour session in Milnerton, Cape Town. Practical shooting sessions can be worked into the training. A typical training programme of four training sessions is R2 450-00.


This to be inclusive of up to 15 hours theory / settings training (inclusive: a three hours practical shoot around Woodbridge Island if required).

Canon EOS Cameras / Lenses / Speedlite Flash Training
All Canon EOS cameras from the EOS 1100D to advanced AF training on the Canon EOS 80D to 
Canon EOS-1D X Mark II. All Canon EF / EF-S and other compatible brands.  All Canon Speedlite flash units from Canon Speedlite 270EX to Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT (including Macro Ring Lites). 

Advanced Canon EOS Autofocus Training
For advanced AF training have a look at the Birds in Flight Photography workshop options. Advanced AF training most suitable from the Canon EOS 7D Mark II to Canon EOS 1-DX Mark II.

Cape Town Training Schedules / Availability
From Tuesdays - during the day / evening and / or over weekends.


Canon Camera and Photography Training Cape Town
Canon EOS / Accessories Training Cape Town
Core Canon Camera / Photography  Learning Areas
  • Overview & Specific Canon Camera / Lens Settings
  • Exposure Settings for M / Av / Tv Modes
  • Autofocus / Manual Focus Options
  • General Photography / Lens Selection / Settings
  • Transition from JPG to RAW (Reasons why)
  • Landscape Photography / Settings / Filters
  • Close-Up / Macro Photography / Settings
  • Speedlite Flash / Flash Modes / Flash Settings
  • Digital Image Management / Post-Processing

Private Canon Camera / Photography Training Cape Town
Canon EOS / Speedlite Flash Training Cape Town
Practical Photography / Application
  • Inter-relationship of ISO / Aperture / Shutter Speed
  • Aperture and Depth of Field demonstration
  • Low light / Long Exposure demonstration
  • Landscape sessions / Manual focusing
  • Speedlite Flash application / technique
  • Introduction to Post-Processing

Tailor-made Canon Camera / Photography training to be facilitated on specific requirements after a thorough needs-analysis with individual photographer / or small group.

Typical Learning Areas Agenda (based Canon EOS 70D)
  • General Photography Challenges / Fundamentals 
  • Exposure Overview (ISO / Aperture / Shutter Speed) 
  • Canon EOS 70D Menus / Settings (in relation to exposure) 
  • Camera / Lens Settings (in relation to application / genres) 
  • Lens Selection / Technique (in relation to application / genres) 
  • Introduction to Canon Flash / Low Light Photography

Above Learning Areas are facilitated over two sessions of three to four hours each. An optional practical shooting component (if required) will be at an additional cost.



Click to Enlarge


Woodbridge Island / Milnerton Lighthouse before sunrise - Canon EOS 6D / 16-35mm Lens
Woodbridge Island / Milnerton Lighthouse - Canon EOS 6D / 16-35mm Lens


White-Breasted Cormorant in flight - Slow Shutter Speed Abstract Cape Town
White-Breasted Cormorant in Flight  : Slow Shutter Speed Abstract Application

Private Canon Camera / Photography Training Cape Town
Perched Kingfisher - Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm Lens

Canon Camera and Photography Private Tutoring Cape Town
Long Exposure Photography: Canon EOS 700D / Wide-Angle Lens


Private Canon Camera / Photography Training Cape Town
Birds in Flight Photography : Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm lens


Colourpoint Persian : Canon EOS 6D / 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens - Image Copyright Vernon Chalmers
Colourpoint Persian : Canon EOS 6D / 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens

Private Canon Camera / Photography Training Cape Town
Fashion Photography with Canon Speedlite flash : Canon EOS 6D 70mm Focal Length

Long Exposure Photography with Canon EOS 6D - Woodbridge Island / Cape Town
Long Exposure Photography with Canon EOS 6D - Woodbridge Island / Cape Town

Private Canon Camera / Photography Training Cape Town
Close-Up & Macro Photography Cape Town  - Canon EOS 6D

Canon Camera and Photography Private Tutoring Cape Town
Panning / Slow Shutter Speed: Canon EOS 70D 70-300mm Lens

Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town View

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

Canon EOS R6 First Impressions and Sample Images


Field / First Impressions Report: 'Canon EOS R6 / RF 600 / 800mm f/11 IS STM Lenses for Birds in Flight / General Bird Photography' for Canon South Africa

I received a phone call from Roger Machin, Product Marketing Manager, Canon South Africa, asking if I would be interested in field testing the then recently launched Canon EOS R 6 and two Canon RF lenses. Roger made it very clear from the outset that there are substantial improvements in (at least) the Autofocus System ((speed and tracking) and Shooting Modes (Frames per second  / shutter application. 

The Canon EOS R6, together with the EOS R5 World Wide launched on 9 July 2020. Media Release

We discussed my testing objectives and a few weeks later the Canon EOS R6 body and two Canon RF lenses where delivered by Ashik Essop, Account Manager-Pro Dealer, Canon South Africa in Cape Town, to my training studio opposite Woodbridge Island, Cape Town. As per delivery:
  • Canon EOS R 6 Full Frame Mirrorless Body
  • Canon RF 800mm f/11 IS STM lens
  • Canon RF 600mm f/11 IS STM lens
  • SanDisk Extreme PLUS 64GB 80MB/s SD Card

Field Review / First Impressions Goal and Disclaimer 
As with the Canon EOS R 2019 Field Review / First Impressions the overall goal of Canon EOS R6 and RF lens review is a first impressions overview of how the equipment was applied and ultimately experienced in the genre of Bird in Flight  / General Bird Photography (in relation with my experience with a variety of other Canon EOS bodies and EF lenses). This is not a pure technical / empirical evaluation of the Canon EOS R6, listed  RF lenses against various Canon EOS bodies and EF Lenses.  

Field Review / First Impressions Objectives
It was discussed with Roger that as a Birds in Flight (fast action) photographer I would work with the EOS R6 and the new RF 600mm / 800mm f/11 IS STM lenses for a week and see how the different pairings would perform in:
  • Birds in flight (fast action) photography
  • General birding (mostly perched birds)

Canon EOS R6 Brief Specifications: View Here

Canon RF 600mm / 800mm f/11 IS STM M Lenses Brief Specifications: View Here

Difference between Canon EOS R6 And EOS R5 Canon South Africa

Canon EOS R6 / RF lenses 'out of box' Impressions 
I received the evaluation body and the two RF lenses well packaged. Very similar to any new Canon EOS body and / or lens. With years of experience with the Canon EOS semi-professional and professional DSLR's the ergonomics felt immediately smaller, but did not look much different than the bigger EOS DSLRs. It really does not take long to become comfortable with the EOS R6 in hand. 

The familiar Canon EOS menus operates smoothly with the flip-out vari-angle LCD touchscreen interface and / or the traditional non-touch  procedure. One major menu addition to the EOS R6 over the the EOS R is the extensive Auto-Focus (AF) Menu settings. More about the impressive AF System later.

Canon RF Lenses
When Ashik opened the first lens box and handed me the RF 600mm f/11 STM lens I was surprised to see a 600mm lens smaller, lighter and shorter than my Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens. Same with the RF 800mm lens - in reality not much longer than the RF600mm lens, but still matching the weight of my relatively light EF 400m f/5.6L USM lens. I did, of course, rise an eyebrow of the fixed f/11 aperture (on both lenses). 

For both lenses to fully operate on the EOS R6 a locking ring on the lens must be turned and some part of the barrel fiscally pulled out for extending the lens barrel. The camera will note operate without this procedure. 

Weight Comparisons: Against equal focal length Canon 600mm / 800mm L lenses
  • RF 800mm f/11 IS STM 1,260g // EF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM 4,500g
  • RF 600mm f/11 STM 930g // EF 600mm f/4L IS III USM 3,050g

Weight Comparisons: Popular Canon 400 / 100-400mm L Prime / Zoom lenses
  • EF 400mm f/f.6L USM 1,250g // EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM 1,570g

Canon EOS R6 AF System (with Eye / Face / Fast Animal Detection)

The EOS R 6 (as with the EOS R5) uses Canon’s advanced Dual Pixel CMOS AF II System which utilises up to approximately100 percent coverage of the AF area and EOS iTR AF X incorporating AF tracking algorithms using deep learning technology and enhanced readout speed of the CMOS sensor and processing speed due to the DIGIC X image processor. The 1,053 automatically selected AF Zones are made even more potent by the ability to detect the human eye, face or head as well as the eye, face or body of animals such as dogs, cats and even birds. (Source: Canon South Africa).

Important Note: Due to the new AF System it is immediately apparent that the EOS R6 is a more advanced EOS R than the original EOS R with a substantially configured AF Menu.

AF Menu Tab (5 Sub-sections providing opportunity for configuring a number of options):
  • AF 1: AF Operations (7 functions) // AF 2: MF peaking settings et al (3 functions)
  • AF 3: Servo AF - Cases (7 functions) // AF 4: Lens Electronic MF et al (7 functions)
  • AF 5: Initial Servo AF point for tracking options et al (4 functions)

Available AF Modes Settings:
  • Spot AF / 1-Point AF / Expand AF Area / Expand AF Area: Around
  • Zone Area / Large Zone AF: Vertical / Large Zone AF: Horizontal

Shutter Drive Methods / Frames Per Second (fps):
  • Mechanical shutter (12 fps)
  • Electronic first-curtain shutter (20 fps) 
  • Electronic shutter (20 fps)

Grey heron with Canon EOS R6 / RF 800mm f/11 IS STM Lens : ISO 640 / 1/2500s
Grey heron with Canon EOS R6 / RF 800mm f/11 IS STM Lens : ISO 640 / 1/2500s

Birds in Flight / Bird Photography Test Settings and other Default Criteria

With the Canon EOS R6 I followed my normal testing approach and although I opted to be as objective as possible within my personal frame of reference during testing it was with both the Canon EOS R6 in mind and the current crop of high-performance EOS DSLR bodies it's 'competing' against - right up to the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III.  

Weather Conditions During Testing
The first week of testing was almost impossible due to inclement weather in Cape Town. The second week I had three relatively crisp Birds in Flight / General Birding conditions with clear skies and minimal wind. 

Using the Canon EOS R6 in the field (Woodbridge Island / Table Bay Nature Reserve)
I spent five outings using the camera around Woodbridge Island / Table Bay Nature Reserve from which derived my various overall impressions, likes and challenges from the various outings I used the camera. I used both lenses for more / less the same time in flight / static bird species - exactly as I would normally use with my Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens and other pairings.

Setting up the EOS R6 Autofocus System
My objective was to set-up the AF System as similar as possible to all the other Canon EOS bodies I have used with advanced 61-point / 65-AF systems. 

My EOS R6 Autofocus (AF) Setup for Birds in Flight / Birding Photography

Birds in Flight / Bird Photography Test Settings and other Criteria

Over the testing period I used the following configurations and settings with the Canon EOS R6 and both the RF 600mm / 800mm f/11 IS STM lenses.

Canon EOS R6 AF Settings Used
During the few days I worked with the EOS R6 I did not experiment / explore all AF options, but kept my average AF Setup close to the default settings (as I always do with a new EOS camera). For the purpose of this report I used the following main settings:
  • Servo AF
  • AF Case: Case 1
  • Subject to detect: Animals
  • AF Modes: Used both the Zone Area and the Large Zone: Horizontal
  • Shutter: Mechanical Shutter / Electronic Shutter
  • High-speed continuous shooting + (H+)

Exposure Settings
  • Manual Mode
  • ISO 500 - 640
  • Aperture: f/11
  • Shutter Speed: 1/2500 - 1/3200s

Other Settings
  • RAW Image Processing
  • Lens Image Stabilization on 

Cape Shoveler Duck with Canon EOS R6 / RF 800mm f/11 IS STM Lens : ISO 640 / 1/2500s
Cape Shoveler Duck with Canon EOS R6 / RF 800mm f/11 IS STM Lens : ISO 640 / 1/2500s

General In Field Application / First Impressions

I have never captured Birds in Flight at f/11 with any telephoto lens and was quite interested in how this would play out at 600mm / 800mm. My own reference on 300mm to 400mm (depending on the light would always be f/4 - f/6.3 - with an average of  f/5.6 (+- 90% of the time). This was also an opportunity for testing the camera in different light conditions, but mostly it was about its fast action performance, image quality and ISO performance at higher shutter speeds.

Ergonomics / Weight (also with the RF 600/ 800mm IS STM lenses)
The Canon EOS R6 body and both lens pairing felt quite comfortable in my hands and I managed to capture +- 1200 images per birds in flight / general birding outing. Pairing with either the RF 600mm / 800mm IS STM lenses felt comfortable in-hand and it was definitely the lightest Canon Full Frame body and super-telephoto lens pairings I have ever used. Low weigh combinations due to Diffractive Optics covered in a hard plastic black barrel rather than metal used in professional L lenses will enable photographers to carry either body / lens pairings for long periods of time. 

In- Body IS (IBIS) for up to 8 shutter speed stops' Image Stabilisation
With IBIS you should be able to leave the tripod at home. This could then become ideal pairings for the photographers who wants to travel light and have super-telephoto lens reach for fast moving and static / low light shooting opportunities.

Mechanical Shutter vs. Electronic Shutter
Hearing the mechanical shutter firing off at 12fps is a very sweet sound for me to such an extent I predominantly used the mechanical shutter vs the super-fast and very quiet Electronic Shutter at 20fps. I also opted for the mechanical shutter due to the perception of slightly less shutter lag and the fact that I don't need 20 images of the same bird filling the SD card up.

Buffer / Burst Speeds
The average consensus is that the EOS R6 can maintain bursts of over 1,000 JPEGs or 240 RAW per burst in continuous mode. This also depends on the speed of the SD Memory card used. I used the 80 MB/s card from Canon SA and it was adequate for my purpose. Occasionally the camera would pause slightly during a burst - but by that time I had more than enough images of the current subject.

Yellow-billed duck with Canon EOS R6 / RF 800mm f/11 IS STM Lens : ISO 640 / 1/2500s
Yellow-billed duck with Canon EOS R6 / RF 800mm f/11 IS STM Lens : ISO 640 / 1/2500s

AF System Field Application / Impressions

Critical for Birds in Flight Photography

AF Tracking and Detection
When Roger Machin from Canon SA initially contacted me with the proposition for testing the EOS R6 I was a bit sceptical of his enthusiasm - as I had in my mind the original EOS R's all round AF / Shutter lag performance - but, as I read elsewhere / and experienced first hand this is Canon's most advanced AF System for tracking, retaining and following fast moving subjects.

After the few outings I had with the Canon EOS R6 I most definitely share Roger's enthusiasm and can without doubt state the Dual Pixel CMOS AF II System with intuitive Tracking and Detection will become a formidable standard for all new EOS R bodies - and I don't believe you will hear many complaints from the fast shooters (in any field).

AF Method / Mode used
From the 6 AF Methods / Modes I only used Zone AF and Large Zone AF Horizontal. I personally preferred Large Zone AF Horizontal (due to a relatively low risk of possible environmental obstacles i.e. trees and buildings). Both methods worked satisfactorily and made tracking and detection easy - even for faster and smaller flying birds.

It took one or two outings for configuring of the AF to have a similar responsiveness and tracking as per modern professional EOS bodies (61-point / 65-AF systems). I have not worked with the EOS-1D X Mark III, but the understanding is that the New EOS R5 or R6 should at least perform on similar levels.

The EOS R6 was in a different class compared of the original EOS R, especially when using the shorter RF 600mm f/11 IS STM lens and I felt much closer to my Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens. Keep in mind that with both the RF 600 / 800mm fix aperture lenses operating at f/11 will be slower than the f/5.6 I'm used to.
Click to Enlarge
  
Pied Kingfisher in Flight Canon EOS R6 / RF 800mm f/11 IS STM Lens : ISO 640 / 1/2500s  Specked Pigeon in Flight Canon EOS R6 / RF 600mm f/11 IS STM Lens : ISO 640 / 1/2500s
Canon EOS R6 / RF 800 / 600mm f/11 IS STM Lens : ISO 640 / 1/2500s

Paired with the RF 600mm / 800mm IS STM lenses
I was quite surprised with the AF tracking, the Dual Pixel CMOS AF II system in tandem with the new DIGIC X image processor, with its deep learning technology performed exceptionally well in tracking even the smallest of small birds in flight here - the pied kingfisher! It locked on with ease, especially when using the RF 600mm IS STM lens - the tracking felt on par with my Canon 7D Mark II / 400mm f/5.6L USM lens birds in flight setup and in my opinion, with the animal tracking option enabled, is definitely the most advanced AF System I have worked with up to now. 

The animal tracking function - once it locked-on the subject will form a solid blue outline around the entire subject - and maintain this during a fast-burst continuous shooting session. Should it lose the position it may connect again depending on the bird's position / flight direction movements. 

I could not really achieve this so well with the RF 800mm IS STM lens, but the technology applied is quite a phenomenal step forward in user-assistance in acquiring and continuous tracking of fast moving subject. Its not going to work so well on a bird suddenly entering the frame and moving out again, but with careful planning and anticipation of flying subjects the photographer should get this assistance in most continuous bursts.

Click to Enlarge
 
Lesser Swamp Warbler Canon EOS R6 / RF 800mm f/11 IS STM Lens : ISO 640 / 1/2500s    Cape Canary Canon EOS R6 / RF 800mm f/11 IS STM Lens : ISO 640 / 1/2500s
Canon EOS R6 / RF 800mm f/11 IS STM Lens : ISO 640 / 1/2500s

Perched Bird Photography Woodbridge Island
As always there is an opportunity for capturing perched birds, I would not change much in the camera settings to get a few perched birds into the in-flight mix. The reason for no change is really the fact that there is not a lot of time between the odd perched bird and the predominant Bird in Flight objective. 

For this, all I really did, in Manual Mode, was to lower the shutter speed for lowering the ISO - if the ISO was set to Auto-ISO. With the EOS R6 and the rather long 600mmm / 8000mm RS lenses Auto-ISO did not perform exceptionally well at f/11 and I used pre-set ISO's between ISO 500 - 800. Not a problem - just an adjustment if the Aperture is that high (at f/11),

Other Important First Impressions

Image Quality with the RF 600 / 800mm f/11 IS STM lenses
I have never been much of a pixel-peeper, but saying this I expect quality results in terms of the expected (professional) standard of kit in my hands - therefore I should do everything possible to enhance the best outcome in terms of the gear, light conditions, exposure settings and AF setup. The EOS R6 (with the two RF lenses I used) rendered acceptable in-flight images / perched bird images comparing to images created with even the EOS 7D Mark II / EOS 7D / 5D Mark IV paired with professional L-designated 300mm / 400m lenses. Here I must stress that Exposure Settings / quality of light will have an significant impact on the final Birds in Flight Image. 

Background Blur
Both lenses provided for more / less the same high quality Bokeh as I would achieve with my 400mm at f/5.6 on both my Canon EOS Full Frame or Crop bodies. This will very much depend on distance between camera and subject - and then subject to background. As an experienced photographer around Woodbridge Island know by now where the best background blurring opportunities will be - so a lot of achieving a satisfactory  Bokeh is to plan for it.

Shooting at a fix f/11 Aperture (RF 600 / 800mm f/11 IS STM lenses)
Not an ideal aperture when considering I have been using f/5.6 at an 90% average on most other Canon consumer / professional prime and zoom telephoto lenses for birds in flight  the last eight tears. It took me one outing to get the gist of an absolute fixed f/11 Aperture. It took me one outing to make the necessary adjustments. With good light it is much less of a challenge, but you have to keep your eye on high shutter speeds vs ISO performance.

ISO Performance (RF 600 / 800mm f/11 IS STM lenses) 
As said above, it was quite challenging to work with a fixed f/11 for birds in flight / fast action photography and it was required to adjust from my default Auto-ISO to a fix ISO. In low light conditions Auto-ISO would shoot up to ISO 3200 at a shutter speed of  2500 / 3200. I used manual ISO's 500 - 640 most of the time. With this setup I left the ISO as is and kept going focusing on finding fast flying subjects. Interesting in various Canon documentation  it is claimed that the EOS R6 handles darker scenes better than the EOS R5. Auto-focus is possible between EV-6.5 (dark) and EV +20 (light).

 Battery Life
The official battery life rating is about 510 shots with the LCD and about 380 shots with the viewfinder.
On each outing I captured +- 1200 images and there was probably still between 10 -20% of battery power left. One advantage is that the new Canon LP-E6NH battery used will be backward compatible with LP-E6N and LP-E6 battery packs. 

Grey heron with Canon EOS R6 / RF 800mm f/11 IS STM Lens : ISO 640 / 1/2500s
Grey heron with Canon EOS R6 / RF 800mm f/11 IS STM Lens : ISO 640 / 1/2500s

Other / Optional features I liked about the EOS R (for Birds in Flight / Perched Birds)

Dual Memory Card Slots
Dual UHS-II SD card slots with Auto-switching

Compatible with EF and EF-S lenses (With optional RF Lens adapter)
This is quite high on my list of preferences. 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 R system due to their current selection of EF / EF-S lenses. It makes a lot of business and consumer sense for me. 

RF 1.4x / 2xLens Extenders
Both the 600mm / 800mm IS STM lenses are compatible with the new 1.4x and 2x RF lens extenders.

Shutter Durability Rating
300 000 actuations (clicks)

Challenges while working with the Canon EOS R6 / RF 600mm / 800mm IS STM Lenses

Shutter Lag?
During my Field Report / First Impressions Testing while working with the Canon EOS R in 2019 the biggest challenge experienced was an substantial shutter lag of the mirror body while out doing my birds in flight testing. With the EOS R6 this is practically nullified and I only experienced lagging using the Electronic ViewFinder, but after the second outing / and using the Electronic Shutter (and a fine-tuned AF System) I forgot about it. So no real issue for me.

f/11 Aperture with 600 / 800mm IS STM lenses
I would describe both these lenses as enthusiast lenses as they are not constructed to the level of professional L-designated telephoto lens standards. At 600mm / 800mm at f/11 there will be some challenges in the field. Both lenses performed slower than my average f/5.6 - which will slow the AF down and this could have an impact on effective tracking. At f/11 the photographer will also have to keep an eye on exposure settings (especially at higher apertures and low light conditions). But, for the weight and the price it should be an effective value proposition for the enthusiast wildlife photographer requiring longer focal lengths and a lighter traveling pairing. With experience, adequate skill and good lighting these lenses should deliver good to excellent results.  

Updated post-processing software for CR3 RAW files

Prospective buyers of the Canon EOS R6 should take note of this. A few updates will have you sorted in no time if your editing software is not updated to read CR3 RAW files.

Canon Digital Photo Professional (DPP) 4 users: CR3 files will only work with DPP 4.10. This is a free upgrade from Canon. I opened the CR3 files with DPP version 4.12. 

For Adobe Lightroom Users: The updated Adobe Lightroom 9.2 is fully compatible with EOS R6. 

My processing was done with Lightroom Classic 9.4 

Transferring images from camera to computer
I used 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.

Click to Enlarge

African Oystercatcher Canon EOS R6 / RF 600mm f/11 IS STM Lens : ISO 640 / 1/2500s African Darter Canon EOS R6 / RF 600mm f/11 IS STM Lens : ISO 640 / 1/2500s
Canon EOS R6 / RF 600mm f/11 IS STM Lens : ISO 640 / 1/2500s

Conclusion
 
At the conclusion of my Field Testing / First Impressions Report on the Canon EOS R I wrote "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" 

Canon executed this with the launch of both the Canon EOS R5 and the EOS R6. The new EOS R6 is a feature-rich Full Frame Mirrorless EOS body that should appeal to a variety of photographers - including fast action / Birds in Flight  photographers.

The most outstanding feature for me is the new Autofocus System that is now defining the way forward for a wide variety of genres / applications - including tracking and detecting fast moving animals - even some of the smallest and fastest birds in flight.

 Click to Enlarge

Reed Cormorant Canon EOS R6 / RF 800mm f/11 IS STM Lens : ISO 640 / 1/2500s Speckled Pigeon Canon EOS R6 / RF 800mm f/11 IS STM Lens : ISO 640 / 1/2500s
Canon EOS R6 / RF 800mm f/11 IS STM Lens : ISO 640 / 1/2500s

Personal Opinion and Recommendations (for Action / Birds in Flight Photography)

The EOS R6 arrived as a big improvement in terms of shutter lag, AF application (with the new tracking and detection functionality) and made quite an impression on me compared to the EOS R and all other modern EOS DSLR's with 61 to 65-Point AF systems.

In 2019 I concluded the following on using the original Canon EOS R for Birds in Flight Photography ''The current EOS R is in my opinion not ready for replacing the Canon EOS 7D Mark II, EOS 5D Mark IV et al for shooting dedicated (only) action / birds in flight to meet many (almost) instant AF-focusing or continuous burst mode expectations."

The new EOS R6 easily overcame the high-action photography limitations of the EOS R and I would recommend the EOS R6 for fast action photography / Birds in Flight photography. With an improved* version of the EOS-1D X Mark III image sensor (latest flagship DSLR camera) it is clear that the Canon EOS R System development strategy is now starting to show real high-performance maturity. I personally believe that Canon arrived at a time where the EOS R System paradigm has shifted to an imminent advantage over the traditional EOS DSLR. I'm saying this with utmost respect towards most modern EOS DSLR's - of which I own quite a few. * Canon ASIA

Canon RF 600 / 800mm f/11 IS STM lenses
For most enthusiast photographers any of these two super telephoto lenses even at f/11 will perform well for general wildlife and the occasional fast action / birds in flight photography. The shorter 600mm lens performed better (AF performance) in my shooting conditions - although the longer 800mm focal length is tempting, it will be important for the future buyer to decide between focal length, application, general lighting conditions, light weight and relatively low cost. 

More Information about Canon EOS R6 from Canon South Africa

Download the Canon EOS R6 PDF User Manual Here

© Copyright Vernon Chalmers for Canon South Africa

Little Egret with Canon EOS R6 / RF 800mm f/11 IS STM Lens : ISO 640 / 1/2500s
Little Egret with Canon EOS R6 / RF 800mm f/11 IS STM Lens : ISO 640 / 1/2500s



19 September 2020

Birds around Woodbridge Island / Table Bay Nature Reserve

Grey heron spreading wings - Table Bay Nature Reserve
Grey heron in flight - Table Bay Nature Reserve
The week after my field testing of the Canon EOS R6
I went out a couple of times with the Canon EOS 7D Mark II for some reference testing. I went for a view short hikes along the Diep river, Woodbridge Island and the adjacent Table Bay Nature Reserve
(opposite the Milnerton Golf Course)

Also captured my first sighting of an African black
duck in fight 

Woodbridge Island Bird Index

Conditions and Location
Late morning winter sun with no wind at Woodbridge Island, Cape Town. Woodbridge Island Map

Canon Camera / Lens Settings 
  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II
  • EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
  • Manual Mode
  • Auto-ISO: 400 - 1000
  • Aperture:  f/5.6 / f/6.3
  • Shutter Speed: 1/3200s
  • AI Servo: Case 1: Wide Zone
  • 10 fps High Speed Continuous Mode
  • Handheld

Post-Processing
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic CC 9.0: Colour correction / noise reduction / lens profile correction.

Speckled pigeon Woodbridge Island Vernon Chalmers Photography
Speckled pigeon in flight - Woodbridge Island @ f/6.3

Blacksmith lapwing Woodbridge Island
Blacksmith lapwing  - Woodbridge Island @ f/6.3

African darter in flight - Table Bay Nature Reserve
African darter in flight - Table Bay Nature Reserve

African black duck in flight - Table Bay Nature Reserve
African black duck in flight - Table Bay Nature Reserve

Egyptian goose in flight - Table Bay Nature Reserve
Egyptian goose in flight - Diep River, Woodbridge Island

Low flying grey heron - Table Bay Nature Reserve
Low flying grey heron - Table Bay Nature Reserve

Pied kingfisher in flight - Table Bay Nature Reserve
Pied kingfisher in flight - Table Bay Nature Reserve

Perched Levaillant's cisticola - Table Bay Nature Reserve
Perched Levaillant's cisticola - Table Bay Nature Reserve

01 September 2020

Canon EOS R6 Field Testing Courtesy of Canon South Africa

Canon EOS R6 Field Testing Courtesy of Canon South Africa

New: Field / First Impressions Report: 'Canon EOS R6 / RF 600 / 800mm f/11 IS STM Lenses for Birds in Flight / General Bird Photography' for Canon South Africa

I'm pleased to announce that I will once again be working in association with Canon SA in field testing the new Canon EOS R6 Full Frame mirrorless body that was launched during July 2020. (I've done a similar exercise with Canon SA in 2019 after the launch of the Canon EOS R).

One of the objectives of working with the EOS R6 will be the hands-on assessment of the EOS R6 Autofocus performance using the following lenses for birds in flight photography:
  • Canon RF 600mm f/11 IS STM lens
  • Canon RF 800mm f/11 IS STM lens

Canon EOS R6 Key Features and Specifications
  • Full-frame mirrorless camera
  • OLED electronic viewfinder with 3.69 million dots and 120fps refresh rate
  • 3-inch Vari-angle LCD touchscreen
  • Dual UHS-II SD card slots
  • New 20-megapixel full-frame CMOS image sensor
  • Native ISO range of 100-102,400
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF with approximately 100 percent coverage and 1,053 autofocus areas
  • Subject tracking and eye-detect autofocus
  • DIGIC X image processor
  • Up to 12 frames per second continuous shooting with the mechanical shutter
  • Up to 20fps shooting using the electronic shutter
  • In-body image stabilization with up to 8 stops of shake correction
  • 4K (DCI and UHD) video at up to 60 frames per second
  • Full HD (1080p) video at up to 120fps
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity

Canon RF 600mm F11 IS STM and RF 800mm F11 IS STM Key Features:
  • 600mm (RF 600mm F11 IS STM) and 800mm (RF 800mm F11 IS STM) focal length
  • Image Stabilization (IS) up to (RF 600mm F11 IS STM: 5-stops, RF 800mm F11 IS STM: 4-stops)
  • STM Autofocus Technology
  • Lightweight (RF 600mm F11 IS STM: approx. 930g and RF 800mm F11 IS STM: approx. 1,260g)
  • Compact - equipped with barrel structure that extends in use and retracts when stored
  • Lens Control Ring – giving direct control over Tv/Exposure compensation/ISO settings
  • F11 aperture lens with IS with full AF when paired with a Canon EOS R camera


Canon RF 600 / 800mm f/11 IS STM Lenses Official Media Release

Canon EOS R6 Sample Images  Birds in Flight Photography Canon EOS R6

Grey heron in flight - Woodbridge Island (EOS R6 / RF 800mm f/11 IS STM Lens)
Grey heron in flight - Woodbridge Island (EOS R6 / RF 800mm f/11 IS STM Lens)
Photographer / Copyright: Vernon Chalmers for Canon South Africa

Jackal Buzzard in Flight  - Woodbridge Island (EOS R6 / RF 800mm f/11 IS STM Lens
Jackal Buzzard in Flight  - Woodbridge Island (EOS R6 / EF 800mm f/11 IS STM Lens
Photographer / Copyright: Vernon Chalmers for Canon South Africa

Five new bird species seen at Woodbridge Island

 I am quite pleased to add five new bird species that I have seen over the last two months here at Woodbridge Island and the adjacent Table Bay Nature Reserve.

Images are not of the greatest quality, but for now will have to suffice as record shots that I have added to my Woodbridge Island Bird Species Index.

Canon Equipment Used:

  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens
  • Canon EOS R6 / RF 800mm f/11 IS STM lens

Pin-tailed Whydah (Koning Rooibekkie) - Table Bay Nature Reserve
Pin-tailed Whydah (Koning Rooibekkie) - Table Bay Nature Reserve

Jackal Buzzard above Woodbridge Island
Jackal Buzzard above Woodbridge Island - Canon EOS R6

Mandarin duck at Woodbridge Island
Mandarin Duck Woodbridge Island / Milnerton Golf Course - Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Spur-winged goose Woodbridge Island
Spur-winged goose Woodbridge Island - Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Black-headed Heron Table Bay Nature Reserve Woodbridge Island
Black-headed heron Table Bay Nature Reserve - Woodbridge Island - Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Setup and Tips For Birds in Flight Photography

Canon EOS Setup and Tips For Birds in Flight Photography
Yellow-Billed Duck in Flight - Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm Lens
As a keen Birds in Flight photographer and trainer I spend a fair amount of time photographing and researching birds in flight (around Woodbridge Island, Cape Town).

Although this article is not a step-by-step guide for becoming more proficient in the photographing birds in flight it offers my own links to in-site resources that should assist the new / developing photographer.

Its really up to the individual photographer to take time for  researching and learning about the various settings, skills and applications to master birds in flight photography.

Also Read: Birds in Flight Photography Learning Considerations

As with any other genre Birds in Flight Photography requires a good understanding of camera / lens settings, Autofocus settings and the many capturing and tracking variables to ultimately succeed with capturing various / fast flying birds.

Continuous experimentation, patience and practice should yield the required photography skills, Autofocus tracking and and bird(s) in flight anticipation for creating great shots. I've started my birds in flight journey with various EOS bodies; starting off with four to five frames per second continues shooting modes and the primitive (but quite effective) Canon 9-Point and 11-Point AF / AI Servo Systems (compared to the up-to 65-Point AF / AI Servo systems available today).

The professional and semi-professional APS-C / Full Frame Canon EOS bodies with their advanced AF-Systems will assist the photographer a great deal with tracking fast moving subjects (once the AF system is suitably configured), but most Canon EOS bodies with AI Servo capabilities, 4fps + continuous shooting speeds, correct exposure settings and a 70-300mm lens will achieve reasonable and sharp results.

Quick Setup used for Birds in Flight Photography with Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens

Camera / Lens Settings for Birds in Flight  (Canon EOS bodies)
  • AI Servo focusing mode
  • Continuous Shooting Mode up to 10fps (depending on EOS body)
  • Zone Autofocus (depending on EOS body)
  • Case 1 (if Cases in AF System)
  • Manual Mode (exposure)
  • Auto-ISO
  • Apertures f/5.6 - 6.3
  • Shutter Speeds 1/3200s - 1/4000s
  • Lens AF on 
  • No IS (lens used does not use IS, but not an issue at 1/3200s)

Birds in Flight Photography Training Gift Vouchers View

Canon EOS Setup and Tips For Birds in Flight Photography
Little Egret in Flight - Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm Lens
Autofocus Setting / EXIF Data
For most of of the Birds in Flight Photography posts on this website I add the Canon EOS AF / AI Servo Settings and minimum exposure EXIF Data (ISO / Aperture / Shutter Speed). Herewith most of the settings required for capturing birds in flight with the Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Birds in Flight Tracking Variables
The interpretation and application of the listed variables are not necessarily always going to provide for extraordinary results in every situation, but after quite a few years as a Birds in Flight photographer the following criteria are some of the most important factors / decisions (for ensuring great looking in-flight images). Tracking Variables

Two Cost-Effective Canon Lenses for Birds in Flight Photography
Canon budget lens choices for serious birds in flight photography: This is a topic I frequently discuss during my frequent Birds in Flight Photography training and workshops in Milnerton / Woodbridge Island, Cape Town. Canon Lenses

Red-knobbed Coot Canon EOS Setup and Tips For Birds in Flight Photography
Red-Knobbed Coot - Woodbridge Island Milnerton, Cape Town
Memory Cards for Birds in Flight Photography
Although there are faster cards I have use the following Lexar and SanDisk Compact Flash (CF) and Secure Digital (SD) cards in all my Canon EOS cameras for Birds in Flight Photography (EOS 700D / EOS 70D / EOS 7D Mark II / EOS 6D) with very good results: More on Memory Cards / Card Readers
  • SanDisk Extreme 64GB 120MB/s CF Card
  • Lexar Professional 32GB 800x / 120MB/s CF Card
  • SanDisk Extreme PRO 32GB  95MB/s SD memory Card
  • SanDisk Extreme PLUS 32GB 80MB/s SD memory Card

Show Focus Points - Adobe Lightroom Plugin for Canon DSLRs
An important part of the learning is to see how the Canon AF System behaves ito your focus and AF Points lock-on (or not). Although this function is available in Canon's Digital Photo Professional (DPP) I find the Lightroom plugin with just so much more focus and camera / lens data.  As with Lightroom 5.7 and Lightroom 6, the Show Focus Points plugin will also work in Lightroom Classic CC (Ver 7.3) without any issues. Matter of fact the plugin should be part of the upgrade / migration process coming from an older version of Lightroom to Lightroom Classic CC. Go Show Focus Points Plugin

Canon EOS Setup and Tips For Birds in Flight Photography
Grey Heron in Flight - Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm Lens
Birds in Flight Photography Resources
A listing of various supporting documents I have used for creating my Birds in Flight Photography Workshops and Training programmes. Birds in Flight Resources

Birds in Flight Photography Training Cape Town
I offer a variety of Birds in Flight Photography / Canon EOS Autofocus training programmes in Milnerton / Woodbridge Island, Cape Town Birds in Flight Photography Training Training is also available for photographers using Adobe Lightroom post-processing. Lightroom Training Cape Town

Birds in Flight Photography Online Support
All Birds in Flight delegates are invited to join the Bird in Flight Photography Facebook Support group for posting images, discussion and questions. Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town Support

More Birds in Flight Photography Information

Birds in Flight Photography Milnerton Woodbridge Island, Cape Town - Canon EOS 7D Mark II
Birds in Flight Photography Milnerton Woodbridge Island, Cape Town - Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Settings  / Lightroom Post-Processing for all four Images:

Canon Camera And Lens for Birds in Flight Photography
  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II
  • Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens
  • Manual Mode: f/5.6 / 1/4000s
  • Auto-ISO 500 - 800
  • AI Servo / Large Zone AF / Case 1
  • Continuous Shooting Mode: 10fps
  • Handheld

Post-Processing: Lightroom Classic CC for Birds in Flight Photography
  • Cropping / Colour Corrections
  • Sharpening / Noise Removal
  • Lens Profile Correction
  • RAW to JPG Conversion