14 April 2021

New Full-Frame Canon EOS R3 Mirrorless Camera

New Full-Frame Canon EOS R3 Mirrorless Camera
Image Credit: Canon USA
Canon USA Press / Media Release

Developing News: Canon Announces That The Powerful Professional Full-Frame EOS R3 Mirrorless Camera Is On Its Way

The Company Is Also Welcoming Three New RF Lenses: The Canon RF100mm F2.8 L Macro IS USM, RF400mm F2.8 L IS USM and RF600mm F4L IS USM


MELVILLE, NY, April 14, 2021
Canon U.S.A. Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, today announced that its parent company, Canon Inc., is developing a new, high-performance professional camera — the Canon EOS R3*.

When it arrives, the EOS R3 will be an outstanding complement to the three new RF lenses the company also introduced today — The Canon RF100mm F2.8 L Macro IS USM, RF400mm F2.8 L IS USM and RF600mm F4 L IS USM.

“The development of the Canon EOS R3 and the launch of the new RF lenses are the latest testament to the company’s commitment to professional still and video image and content creators,” said Tatsuro “Tony” Kano, executive vice president and general manager of Canon U.S.A.’s Imaging Technologies & Communications Group. “When the camera becomes available, it will pair well with each of the new RF lenses announced today. Canon is excited to share this news today, and we look forward to seeing the images captured with the new RF lenses and upcoming EOS R3.”

Under Development - The Canon EOS R3
The Canon EOS R3 will join the current lineup of EOS R full-frame mirrorless series cameras. This camera will usher in a new category to the EOS R system, positioned squarely between the EOS R5 and EOS-1D X Mark III cameras. The camera will put great emphasis on superb AF performance and speed, with fast-moving subjects. It is being designed to meet the reliability and durability demands of professionals, even when working in challenging conditions.

At the heart of the EOS R3 camera’s performance will be an EOS camera first, a Canon-developed, full-frame stacked CMOS sensor with a back-illuminated design, providing substantially faster read-out speeds during still-imaging recording. This completely new sensor is designed to produce less “rolling shutter” distortion during Electronic Shutter operation and offer continuous Electronic Shutter still-image shooting at speeds up to 30 fps — with full Dual Pixel CMOS AF and auto exposure1.

The AF system will leverage technology and performance from the well-received EOS R5 and EOS R6 cameras, using Deep Learning technology to further enhance eye and body detection for even better performance during portrait and action-type shooting. In addition, the EOS R3’s subject detection AF will offer new recognizable subjects for its AF system, bolstering its focusing capabilities during challenging shooting conditions.

The Electronic Viewfinder of the EOS R3 will offer photographers the ability to select the initial area for AF tracking by simply looking directly at the viewfinder location where they want to begin AF. With Eye Control AF2 and Servo AF activated, the camera will focus on and track moving subjects at that location in the frame. When Face Detect + Tracking is active, the camera will continue to follow moving subjects around the entire active AF area.

The camera body will be entirely new and accentuates the camera’s high-performance design. It’s a one-piece design, integrating the body with a vertical grip section. The weather and dust-resistance will be equivalent to that of EOS-1D class cameras — an essential consideration for nature, wildlife, sports and photojournalism content creators working in extreme conditions. In addition, news photojournalists will be excited to add the Mobile File Transmitter application for iOS and Android devices that will be available.

Full details of all the EOS R3’s features and specifications will be provided at the time of its formal announcement*. To follow along for more news on the Canon EOS R3 camera, please visit: www.usa.canon.com/eosr3.

From Up-Close To Far Away, New Canon RF Lenses Have You Covered
The Canon RF100mm F2.8 L Macro IS USM lens is not only Canon’s first RF lens designed specifically for macro photography, but also the world’s first3 medium telephoto macro lens with a maximum magnification of 1.4x. The new lens, designed for both advanced photo enthusiasts and professionals, takes macro photography expression to the next level with the introduction of a spherical aberration (SA) control ring. The SA control ring allows users to change the character and appearance of the bokeh and obtain a softer focus effect with a simple turning of the ring to the desired result. Additional features of the Canon RF100mm F2.8L Macro IS USM include:
  • Optical Image Stabilizer with up to five stops of Shake Correction4.
  • When combined with a camera featuring In-Body Image Stabilizer, up to eight stops of shake correction5 is possible with coordinated operation of Optical and In-Body Image Stabilizer.
  • Hybrid IS helps to compensate for angular and shift camera shake during macro shooting.
  • High-speed, smooth and quiet auto focus with dual nano USM.
  • Customizable control ring that allows photographers to adjust exposure compensation, shutter speed, aperture or ISO.
  • Rugged Canon L-series dust and water-resistant design.

The Canon RF400mm F2.8L IS USM and Canon RF600mm F4L IS USM are both designed to be optically identical to their EF counterparts. The RF400mm and RF600mm weigh in at 6.37 and 6.81 pounds with a minimum focusing distance of 8.2 and 13.8 feet, respectively. Both lenses share many of the same critical features that help professional high-end super-telephoto lenses stand out from the crowd. Those features include:
  • Ideal for a wide variety of shooting situations, including sports, aviation, trains, automotive, and wildlife, such as birding.
  • Optical Image Stabilization with up to 5.5 stops6 of shake correction. Including three IS Operation Modes — still subjects, panning, and irregular movement.
  • Proprietary Canon lens coatings, Super Spectra Coating (SSC), and Air Sphere Coating (ASC) help minimize ghosting and flaring. Lens placement and coatings are optimized to provide users with clear, high-contrast images even when there is a bright light source.
  • Lenses include fluorite and super UD lens elements arranged in such a way to help correct chromatic aberration and make the models more compact. Like the latest Canon EF400mm f/2.8L IS III USM and EF600mm f/4L IS III USM lenses, released in the fall of 2018, weight on these RF-series super-telephotos has been significantly reduced vs. previous-generation Canon super tele designs.
  • Compatible with Canon RF 1.4x and 2x extenders, and feature a customizable electronic focus ring, with manual focus capability during SERVO AF.
  • A nine-blade circular aperture provides users beautiful bokeh and ideally blurred backgrounds when the aperture is stopped down.
  • For added convenience when on a shoot, two focus presets are available. Users can instantly return to one of two memorized focus distances.
  • Rugged Canon L-series dust and water-resistant design with vibration and shock resistance. The front element has been dressed with a fluorine coating for easy cleaning.
  • Infrared reflective pigments with high reflectance and titanium oxide lens barrel coating with silica provide excellent UV weather resistance and heat reduction.

Canon RF Lenses Pricing and Availability
The Canon RF100mm F2.8 L Macro IS USM, Canon RF400mm F2.8 L IS USM and Canon RF600mm F4L IS USM are scheduled to be available in July 2021 for an estimated retail price of $1,399.00, $11,999.00 and $12,999.00, respectively*. For more information, please visit usa.canon.com.

Source: Canon USA (Canon Press Release)

13 April 2021

For new Birds in Flight Photographers

For the new Birds in Flight photographers
Pied kingfisher in Flight - Canon EOS 6D 
For the new Birds in Flight photographers / anybody else interested

This is a post I published on Birdlife South Africa's Facebook Group on 13 April 2021.

The pied kingfisher is one of the fastest and smallest birds here at Woodbridge Island, Cape Town and generally the photographers here will by default use the 'fastest' camera (frames per second / Autofocus) and longest lens (reach) in their camera bags. Same as anywhere else I suppose...

For this exercise I used the 'slowest' camera and my shortest long lens in my bag to see what could be done - if that is all that’s available in a new / developing photographer’s bag.

The four images = a consecutive burst at a relatively slow, but maximum fps for the EOS 6D @ 4.5 fps with an 80 MB/s SD memory card. View all four images here

Canon Equipment / Settings used:
  • Canon EOS 6D Full Frame body (4.5 fps / basic 11-Point AF System)
  • Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens
  • Manual Mode: f/5.6 / 1/4000s / Auto-ISO 500
  • AI Servo (for continuous focus / movement)
  • 300mm focal length
  • Single Point AF
  • Image Stabilasation (IS) turned off

Succeeding in Birds in Flight photography does not necessarily mean the fasted frame rate / best AF-System on the market, but rather the mindfulness of a range of environmental factors that contributes to the ‘overall workflow’/ skills in getting satisfactory results.

Other considerations to keep in mind when developing skills for Birds in Flight Photography

------------------------------------

Questions / My Response on this post - on the Birdlife South Africa Facebook Group

Question "Interested to know why the IS was off? Always thought IS to be important for handheld shooting and especially for wildlife and birds.

My Response "In my opinion not required above 1/1000s - I give the camera and lens as little as possible 'to think about" My 400mm lens does not have IS - and is not really required for Birds in Flight photography using shutter speeds between 1/3200s - 1/4000s. Even in testing done for Canon South Africa on the EF 100-400mm f/4.6-5.6L IS II USM lens (Birds in Flight) I turned the IS off. It works for me - every photographer should test / experiment over an extensive period to so see how it 'pans' out for him / her."

"IS is globally debatable in application for action photography. It can become a hot topic, because people pay up to R120K+ for a prime lens with IS. You posed a very good question - and my answer to your question, like hundreds like yours I receive, is I don't use IS for fast action photography (ito the equipment I use). My main reference is Birds in Flight photography where I use 1/3200s - 1/4000s. I use different cameras for different genres - and there will be many time where IS = NB. My motto = anything that moves - no IS required if I use a high enough shutter speed - just have to watch your ISO - if using Auto-ISO (on modern DSLRs)."

Birdlife South Africa Facebook Group Reference

02 April 2021

Small butterfly photography with Birds In Flight Setup

The small butterfly was captured while I was out doing some birds in flight shooting around Woodbridge Island, Milnerton Cape Town this morning.

This is exactly the same camera / lens setup that I use for capturing birds in flight around the island. Normally, I would use a macro lens / or a zoom lens with an extended tube, but I was keen to see how this setup could work. 


Advantages for close-up photography with this setup are very good image quality and fast Autofocus (AF) of the Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens combination.

A disadvantage of the 400mm lens is the Minimum Focus Distance (MFD) when capturing close-up subjects. the MFD is 3.5 meter, but the lens can be used with extension tubes and / or close-up lens filters. Filter thread is 77mm.

The rest is up to (AF) tracking and framing requirements. I've captured all three images with lens AF on.

Canon EOS 7D Mark II /  EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens (Handheld). Manual mode: ISO 1000 / f/6.3 1/5000s. Wide Zone AF / 10 fps. Handheld.


(Click to enlarge)
Butterfly Woodbridge Island : Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm Lens
Butterfly Woodbridge Island : Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm Lens

Butterfly Woodbridge Island : Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm Lens
Butterfly Woodbridge Island : Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm Lens

Butterfly Woodbridge Island : Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm Lens
Butterfly Woodbridge Island : Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm Lens

Butterflies and Sunbird at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden View

01 April 2021

Shooting Birds in Flight at higher ISO’s / moodiness of poor light

Little egre in flight - Canon EOS 7D Mark II
Little egret in flight - Canon EOS 7D Mark II - Woodbridge Island @ ISO 1600

My students know that I’m an great believer of Auto-ISO on all DSLR's in my bag (for Birds in Flight photography.) On this occasion (a while before Covid) I looked out the window and observed ISO weather of between ISO 1200 – 3200. A bitterly cold and horrible day for anything outside let alone Birds in Flight Photography. Normally on a day like this, I will evaluate my opportunity cost options and rather do something else.

But, I had a new client, super keen on testing out his brand new kit (body and lens) and I had little choice but to assist him in his quest for mastering application / practice. I did however, offered him coffee (instead) on Woodbridge Island before this shoot, but the lad wanted to shoot – so off we went.

Herewith one of the images I managed to capture with my traditional Birds in Flight settings on that day - remember I deliberately selected Auto-ISO to see the results. EXIF Data: ISO 1600 / f/5.6 / 1/2500s.

Little egret in flight over the Diep River Woodbridge Island with Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens.

Grey reflections behind the bird: Icy cold water of the Diep River, reflecting the state of the sky above...

Taking advantage of Auto ISO - Official Canon Article

Taking advantage of Auto ISO is an official Canon Learning document. 

Using Auto ISO 500 with Canon EOS 7D Mark II - Image: Vernon Chalmers Photography
Using Auto ISO 500 with Canon EOS 7D Mark II - View Gallery
Many of my Canon EOS photography clients / students uses the Canon EOS-1D X II, Canon EOS 5D Mark III/ IV and Canon EOS 6D / II and high-end APS-C / Crop bodies (EOS 7D Mark II / EOS 90D / EOS 80D / EOS 70D amongst others). This article is an excellent resource to inform them of the official Canon motivation on using Auto ISO.

I only use Auto ISO for my birds in flight photography and for many new birds in flight photographers this is quite a departure from pre-set ISO's

I have used Auto ISO since 2013 for serious birds in flight starting with the Canon EOS 70D and rarely had noise issues up to ISO 1200 (with some noise reduction applied in post-processing).

Taking advantage of Auto ISO
Canon’s EOS-1D X, EOS 5D Mark III and EOS 6D possess a host of new features and improvements, including a significant refinement of Auto ISO, that makes the feature an even more practical option to working photographers and serious enthusiasts. Aside from the cameras’ outstanding high ISO image quality and significantly increased ISO range, the following features answer the requests of many serious shooters:

  • User can manually pre-set a minimum and maximum ISO range
  • For Auto ISO, the shooter can pre-set the minimum and maximum available ISO range (this is separate from the range for manually-adjusted ISO)
  • For the first time with an EOS SLR, the shooter can set a minimum shutter speed used with Auto ISO. If the shutter speed drops below this user-set value, the Auto ISO will automatically be raised

Auto ISO has become a feature many experienced SLR users are considering in certain shooting situations. This article will cover in detail these new settings and offer some possible scenarios where they might prove very useful.

Auto ISO
The EOS-1D X, EOS 5D Mark III and EOS 6D allow Auto ISO to be used in all shooting modes, including Manual mode, and all the ISO speed options are accessed from a single screen. But for many experienced shooters, the first question may be, “Why would I want to have the camera automatically set the ISO for me?”

One example is when lighting may change radically during shooting. Theater and concert photography, where stage lighting may change rapidly, are really good examples. Wedding ceremonies in churches are another example. With available light in the church, the photographer would have to speedily adjust when the doors open and the couple exits. Without missing a moment, Auto ISO would let the photographer work at higher ISOs indoors and seamlessly switch to lower ISOs outside.

Sports events that occur in the early morning or late afternoon, where half the field may be in direct sunlight and the other side in deep shade, are also challenging. Professional sports photographers used to have a few choices to deal with this situation, such as pre-setting exposure settings for only one side of the field. Another possibility would have been carrying two cameras, each pre-set to different settings and film speeds, and switching between fields. I doubt many photographers miss doing that.

A wildlife photographer suggested this challenging scenario: he or she is following a running animal, which means that the shutter and aperture can’t be easily changed. The animal might hide under the shade for a moment before suddenly running into bright sunlight. Adventure photographers, like rock climbers, might face the same challenge with dramatically different lighting situations when facing up or down from the same spot.

If a photographer shoots in Av or Tv mode, they may anticipate needing or wanting to make major changes in aperture or shutter speed, respectively. Auto ISO can save time by preserving a reasonable hand-held shutter speed (in Av) or usable lens aperture (in Tv), which possibly eliminates the need to follow-up with a big Av or Tv change with a manual adjustment of ISO.

In Manual exposure mode, a pre-set shutter speed and lens aperture can be continually maintained, even if the light changes. This allows the photographer to have full control over stopping motion and depth-of-field, while still allow the camera to react to any changes in light (this could be ideal in remote-controlled or intervalometer shooting). A very handy, yet underutilized, feature is the ability to apply AE Lock when working with Auto ISO in Manual mode. The viewfinder will show the difference between the locked value and the current metered value. It is important to know that the camera won't let you use the “ealxtended” ISO settings (equivalent to ISO 50, 51200 and 102400 on the EOS 5D Mark III and EOS 6D) in Auto ISO.

Shutter Speed
Until now, one problem that kept many pros away from Auto ISO was that there was no meaningful control over how slow a shutter speed might be selected in low-light conditions. But with Canon’s recently introduced SLRs, the photographer can tailor Auto ISO to give exactly this type of control. A separate menu entry, Minimum shutter speed, provides the following settings:

  • Auto: Camera will continue to try to maintain a shutter speed of at least 1 over the lens focal length, changing ISO to maintain this as long as possible. The camera will tend to pick lower ISOs and slower speeds when using standard or wide-angle lenses.
  • User-defined shutter speed: Photographer can pick a speed from 1 second to 1/250 of a second and the camera will only go below this shutter speed after it has raised its ISO to the highest available setting, based on Maximum ISO set by the user under Auto ISO range.

Some users are often hesitant to delegate such an important setting to the camera’s brain. But after getting used to this new feature, the results speak for themselves.

Image Quality
Thankfully, Canon thought about image quality at great length and came up with very elegant solutions. Users can specify the slowest shutter speed before the ISO is raised automatically and they can set a limit to the highest ISO the camera will use, which enables them to retain the lighting and look that they desire for a scene. They can also specify the ISO range the camera can use to ensure proper image quality.

The overall image quality at higher ISOs on Canon’s latest full-frame digital SLRs is superior to any Canon EOS models which have come before them — making shots at higher ISOs a legitimate and practical option, even for critical shooters. Just a few years ago, ISO 400 or 800 provided image quality that was borderline acceptable. With current systems, one can now push the ISO to 3200 and higher and get vastly cleaner files. This point certainly means Auto ISO is here to stay.

Flash and Auto ISO
When using a flash on the EOS 6D, 5D Mark III or 1D X, photographers need to be aware of these settings:

  • Auto ISO normally is locked at ISO 400 when an EOS speedlite is attached and turned on
  • Auto ISO can be lowered down as far as 100, if over-exposure would occur in fill-flash situations in bright outdoor lighting
  • If an EX-series speedlite is swiveled for bounce, Auto ISO can extend from 400 or up to 1600 (depending on level of ambient lighting in the scene) and allow for an extra measure of E-TTL exposure when flash is scattered by bouncing

Video
Even though one can’t set maximum and minimum ISO or shutter speed when shooting video, video shooting with EOS SLRs does permit use of Auto ISO. When recording video with an EOS SLR in any Auto mode (P, Tv, or Av), ISO is always set automatically by the camera.

When shooting in Manual Mode, users can set a specific ISO (from 100 to 12800; up to 25600 on the EOS-1D X) or let the camera automatically adjust the ISO on the fly. The beauty of this is that the photographer’s choice of shutter speed and lens aperture, often critical when recording HD video, can be pre-set and locked in. Yet, if lighting changes as the camera or subject moves, the camera can adjust exposure by only varying ISO. Again, when shooting video and the camera is set to Program (P), Aperture Priority (Av) or Shutter Priority (Tv), the only option users have is to let the ISO be automatically set by the camera.

If you are shooting from a moving vehicle — for example, a car or a train — you may be going through a whole range of scenes from bright to dim light. Another situation when Auto ISO is very helpful is when shooting one continuous shot with a Steadicam. Auto ISO comes in handy when going from a very dark scene (an underground Subway platform) to a very bright scene (a street at midday) when one does not have easy access to the camera settings while recording.

Conclusion
As you can see, Auto ISO is a very useful setting when the light is changing rapidly and either the shutter speed and/or aperture need to be pre-set to match a specific effect – like freezing action for sports or wildlife, or when changing settings is not easy. It can enable very quickly and make major changes to speeds or apertures, thus allowing the user to shoot again without having to make a follow-up adjustment to ISO.

When working in situations with rapid and extreme changes in lighting, consider using Auto ISO more often, especially when capturing the moment is absolutely critical.

An In-depth Discussion of M + Auto-ISO for Canon SLRs View

Source: Canon USA

Vernon Chalmers Photography Training Update 2021

Landscape Photography Training Milnerton, Cape Town
Photography Training Milnerton, Cape Town
Offering individual photographers with private and flexible Canon EOS / Photography training classes in Milnerton, Cape Town (opposite Woodbridge Island). 

Training Objective
To assist the developing Canon EOS photographer with an integrated learning approach for mastering the more advanced camera and exposure settings within selected application and genres with any current Canon EOS APS-C or Full-Frame camera (i.e Canon EOS 1300D / 60D / 7D / 6D / 5D or Mirrorless EOS R / M bodies).

Delegates will be able to select specific areas to suite specific photographic applications / genres depending on personal requirements and current / future lens selections. Training may be scheduled over a period of time and does not have to be completed on a specific date.

Flexible Modules
The training will be from any combination of the Canon EOS / Photography training I offer via workshops or private training sessions. All training will be structured around a general Canon EOS Menu / Exposure Modes module and then elective application / genre modules.

Cost for 4x Five Hour Sessions
Training programme cost for 4x five hour sessions - 20 hours (of any of the below training options) R2 450-00 with ongoing technical support.

Specific Learning Areas (to select from)
  • Introduction to Photography / Canon EOS More
  • Birds and flower Photography Kirstenbosch More
  • Birds / Birds in Flight Photography More
  • Landscape / Long Exposure Photography More
  • Macro / Close-Up Photography Workshop More
  • Canon Speedlite / Ring Lite Flash Photography More
  • Digital Workflow / Lightroom Post-Processing More
  • Any combination of above

Image Post Processing
The complete image management / workflow process will be discussed (if required) with an introduction to Adobe Lightroom Classic CC either as an introduction or a hands-on post-processing learning module (depending on delegate genre / module selection).

Duration of the Training
Four sessions of up to five hours per session during the day, evening or Saturday mornings. All training will be inclusive of practical applications (depending on application / genre selection). 

Contact me from this website

Contact me via WhatsApp: Direct link wa.me/27608878087 or 060 887 8087

Visit the Vernon Chalmers Photography Website for More / Rates 

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

Landscape / Seascape Photography Training
Landscape / Seascape Photography Training Cape Town

Action / Motor sport Photography Training
Action / Motor sport Photography Training Cape Town


Fashion / Portraiture Photography Training
Fashion / Portraiture Photography Training Cape Town

Bees and Butterfly in Flight Photography

Bees and Butterfly in Flight - Cape Town

Bees and Butterfly in Flight - Cape Town
Macro and Close-Up Photography with Canon EOS 6D / EOS 7D Mark II / EOS 70D

A few bees and a butterfly in flight, first with the Canon EOS 6D / EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L ISM lens (with Canon Extension Tube 25 II) and then with the Canon EOS 70D / EF 100mm USM Macro lens and finally with Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens.

Shooting Conditions: Sunny, mid-morning

Location: Woodbridge Island Cape Town

Canon EOS 6D / EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens
Images captured in Manual Mode: Multi-shot / continuous mode at 4.5 fps AI Servo. Single-Point AF. f/8 ISO 1600 - 6400 1/4000s Handheld.(Canon EF25 II Extension Tube) FL 112mm

Bees in Flight Challenge
From all the photography genres I am currently working in, this is the most challenging - not so much for the exposure settings, but for selecting the best body and lens combination. I prefer the Canon EOS 6D full frame body with the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens (with an Extension Tube fitted between body and lens) for close-up photography. 

This pairing allows me for shooting with a longer working distance between lens and subject (compared to my 100mm macro lens) and I can shoot at much higher ISO's without losing to much detail (at 1/4000s). Unfortunately the highest shutter speed of the Canon EOS 6D is only 1/4000 seconds and when I go out again will experiment with High-Speed Sync flash with some of my Canon Speedlite / Ring Lite flashes.
Post-processing done with Adobe Lightroom 6 CC. RAW to JPG conversion with some sharpening and noise reduction applied.

(Click to Enlarge)
Bee in Flight Canon EOS 6D / EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens @ ISO 2000
Bee in Flight Canon EOS 6D / EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens @ ISO 2000

Bee in Flight Canon EOS 6D / EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens @ ISO 1600
Bee in Flight Canon EOS 6D / EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens @ ISO 1600


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

Images captured in Manual Mode: Multi-shot / continuous mode at 7 fps AI Servo. Zone AF. f/8 ISO 6400 1/5000s Handheld.

Post-processing done with Adobe Lightroom 6 CC. RAW to JPG conversion with some sharpening and noise reduction applied

Bee in Flight  Canon 70D / EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens @ ISO 6400
Bee in Flight Canon 70D / EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens @ ISO 6400


Bee in Flight Canon 70D / EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens @ ISO 1000


Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
Images captured in Manual Mode: Multi-shot / continuous mode at 10 fps AI Servo. Wide Zone AF. f/6.3 ISO 400 - 1250 1/5000s Handheld.

Post-processing done with Adobe Lightroom 6 CC. RAW to JPG conversion with some sharpening and noise reduction applied.


Bee in Flight  Canon 7D Mark II / EF 400 f/5.6L USM Lens @ ISO 800
Bee in Flight Canon 7D Mark II / EF 400 f/5.6L USM Lens @ ISO 800

Bee in Flight  Canon 7D Mark II / EF 400 f/5.6L USM Lens @ ISO 800
Bee in Flight Canon 7D Mark II / EF 400 f/5.6L USM Lens @ ISO 800

Butterfly in Flight Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens @ ISO 1250
Butterfly in Flight Canon EOS 7D Mark II EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens @ ISO 1250

Birds in Flight Photography with Canon EOS 6D

Birds in Flight Photography with Canon EOS 6D /  EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens
Birds in Flight Photography with Canon EOS 6D Full Frame DSLR

Capturing Birds in Flight with a basic Autofocus (AF) System and the reasonably slow frame rate of the Canon EOS 6D Full Frame body and EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM zoom lens.

Generally,  when I capture Birds in Flight at Woodbridge Island Cape Town, I prefer the extra fps and reach of a faster APS-C (crop) body paired with a 400mm prime lens.


This morning I took the Canon EOS 6D (4,5 fps) and the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens while everybody around me captured birds in flight with the Canon EOS-1D X / Canon EOS 7D Mark II and the Canon EOS 70D - all of which have superior frames per second (fps) continuous shooting rate and superior AF systems compared to the humble Canon EOS 6D with its basic 11-Point AF system.

Location: Woodbridge Island, Cape Town

FPS (Frames Per Second Rate in continuous shooting mode) of the EOS bodies mentioned:

  • Canon EOS-1D X  14 fps
  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II 10 fps
  • Canon EOS 70D 7 fps
  • Canon EOS 6D 4.5 fps

Autofocus
(AF) Points of EOS bodies mentioned

  • Canon EOS-1D X 61 AF Points
  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II 65 AF Points
  • Canon EOS 70D 19 AF Points
  • Canon EOS 6D 11 AF Points

These 4 consecutive images of the Pied Kingfisher are substantial crops, but the point is that Birds in Flight photography is possible without the most advanced fps / AF systems and / or fast(er) prime lenses.

Canon Equipment Used
  • Canon EOS 6D
  • Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens
  • Manual Mode:  Auto ISO @ 300mm focal length

(Click to Enlarge)
Birds in Flight Photography with Canon EOS 6D /  EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens
Birds in Flight Photography with Canon EOS 6D /  EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens 

Birds in Flight Photography with Canon EOS 6D /  EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens
Birds in Flight Photography with Canon EOS 6D /  EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens 

Birds in Flight Photography with Canon EOS 6D /  EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens
Birds in Flight Photography with Canon EOS 6D /  EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens 

Birds in Flight Photography with Canon EOS 6D /  EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens
Birds in Flight Photography with Canon EOS 6D /  EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens

Birds in Flight Photography with Canon EOS 6D / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens - View

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

Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town View

Table Bay Nature Reserve: Hidden Urban Treasure

Entrance to the Table Bay Nature Reserve
Entrance to the Table Bay Nature Reserve
A short hike from Woodbridge Island, opposite Milnerton High School, is the entrance to the Milnerton Lagoon section of the Table Bay Nature Reserve conservation Biodiversity Network. A relatively small wetlands area, but part of the much wider geographical nature conservation zone covering the Rietvlei Wetlands, Milnerton Lagoon, Milnerton Beach, Milnerton Racecourse, Zoarvlei Wetlands, Diep River and the Parklands Fynbos Corridor.

I frequently hike the Milnerton Lagoon / Diep River area in the hope of spotting some of the various bird species around the roadside of the Milnerton Lagoon, the Diep River and the tiny island (not Woodbridge Island) where I regularly photograph egyptian geese, grey herons, pied kingfishers and spoonbills.


I've spotted a lonesome malachite kingfisher flying past a few times, but I'm still unable to discover his perching whereabouts - or to get a good in flight capture. On a sunny morning there are many red-knobbed coots scooting down the river.

Perched Pied Kingfisher : Table Bay Nature Reserve
Smaller Birds
Various smaller birds like the weaver and waxbill chirp and hop impatiently through the reeds. Many of the larger birds also land and feed on the Milnerton golf course side of the Diep River. 

On any given day there will be at least one Pied kingfisher flying, diving and / or perched. Personally, my favorite small bird to watch and photograph.

During summer many sandwich and swift terns carry out their spectacular dives and turns out past the pump station into the main reserve area. 

Malachite kingfisher
Over the last couple months I've also captured the elusive malachite kingfisher perched / (and eventually in flight) in the reserve and on the wooden bridge.


More information on the Woodbridge Island, Cape Town Local Bird Species

Table Bay Nature Reserve: Hidden Urban Treasure
Karoo Prinea : Table Bay Nature Reserve
Entrance to the Table Bay Nature Reserve (Milnerton Beach / Milnerton Lagoon / Diep River) is free and the images below are captured from about a 10 - 15 minutes walk from Milnerton Lagoon / Woodbridge Island through the Diep River entrance.

There are some amazing views of the Diep River, the prominent Milnerton Lighthouse on Woodbridge Island and our majestic Table Mountain. 

On the other side of the Diep River are the lushes greens of the Milnerton Golf Course - on a quite morning you will hear the regular 'ping' of golf balls being driven down the well-kept fairways.

Snapshots with Canon EOS 6D / EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens.


(Click to Enlarge)
Table Bay Nature Reserve - Diep River View
Table Bay Nature Reserve - Diep River View

Table Bay Nature Reserve - Table Mountain View
Table Bay Nature Reserve - Table Mountain View

Links to more Table Bay Nature Reserve information

Table Bay Nature Reserve - City of Cape Town
Table Bay Nature Reserve - City of Cape Town

Table Bay Nature Reserve - Cape Bird Club

Table Bay Nature Reserve - Cape Bird Club

Bird Watching in the Table Bay Nature Reserve
Bird Watching in the Table Table Bay Nature Reserve

Table Bay Nature Reserve - Wikipedia
Table Bay Nature Reserve - Wikipedia

Table Bay Nature Reserve - Cape Town Green Map
Table Bay Nature Reserve - Cape Town Green Map

Table Bay Nature Reserve – Responsible Tourism
Table Bay Nature Reserve – Responsible Tourism


Accommodation near Table Bay Nature Reserve
Accommodation near Table Bay Nature Reserve

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


Directions / Map to the Diep River Section of the Table Bay Nature Reserve, Cape Town
Entrance to the Table Bay Nature Reserve is on the Diep River side of the crossing of Broad Road and West Coast Road. My recommendation if you coming by car is to park on Woodbridge Island and walk over the main bridge, past the old wooden bridge and keep along the Diep River, past the pump station rondawel and enter to the left where you see the Table Bay Nature Reserve sign board (at the traffic lights).

Directions / Map to the Diep River Section of the Table Bay Nature Reserve, Cape Town


Close-Up Photography : Table Bay Nature Reserve, Woodbridge Island
Close-Up Photography : Table Bay Nature Reserve, Woodbridge Island

Canon EF Lens Full Time Manual Focus Override

Canon EF Lens Full Time Manual Focus Override
Canon EOS 6D / EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens
I often use the lens full time manual focus override function on my Canon USM zoom lens when doing close-up photography with the Canon EOS 6D / Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens (without a tripod).

Canon Full Time Manual Focus Override
Full time manual focus override is a lens focusing function for fine-tuning focus while in camera / lens Autofocus mode. Its not always possible in the field (without a tripod) to go manual focus when doing close-up photography - for this purpose I gently turn / fine-tune the lens focus ring for pin-point focusing (whilst in AF Mode).


Link to all Canon EF / EF-S / EF-M lenses compatible with the Full Time Manual Focus Override function - View>>

When to use Full Time Manual Focus Override

  • Fine-tuning focus when in AF Mode 
  • During close-up photography (not on tripod) 

Canon Equipment

  • Canon EOS 6D
  • Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens
  • Canon EF25 II Extension Tube

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens Focus Ring
Canon official nomenclature showing the focus ring. Most Canon lenses will have the focus ring just behind the the front lens element, but with the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens it is located more towards the back of the lens.


(Click to Enlarge)
Canon EF 70-300mm 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens Showing the Focus Ring
Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens

Exposure / Lens Settings
  • M Mode: f/5.6 - 6.3 
  • ISO 100 - 2500
  • Shutter Speed 1/500
  • Lens AF / IS on

Handheld / Focal Length: 170-300mm

Shooting location / Conditions

Table Bay Nature Reserve / Woodbridge Island, Cape Town. Sunny early morning


(Click to Enlarge)
Canon EF Lens Full Time Manual Focus Override
Canon EF Lens Full Time Manual Focus Override Source

Canon EF Lens Full Time Manual Focus Override
Canon EF Lens Full Time Manual Focus Override Source

Canon EF Lens Full Time Manual Focus Override
Canon EF Lens Full Time Manual Focus Override Source

Canon EF Lens Full Time Manual Focus Override
Canon EF Lens Full Time Manual Focus Override  Override

Canon EOS 7D Mark II Long-Term Use and Experience

Canon EOS 7D Mark II Long-Term Use and Experience
From a Birds / Birds in Flight Photography Perspective
Predominately with Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens

In the beginning: Entry-level body and zoom lenses
During 2013 I became seriously interested in photographing birds in flight around Woodbridge Island, Cape Town. With the very close proximity to the Milnerton Lagoon and relative close access to most bird species I started out with the Canon EOS 700D and a variety of Canon 70-300mm lenses, eventually settling with the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM super telephoto lens.

Also Read: Canon EOS 7D Mark II for Birds in Flight Photography

Deciding on a longer Canon telephoto lens

I did a few months of extensive research before purchasing the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens with a decision based on; Autofocus speed, image quality, weight and lack of Image Stabilization. This lens served me very well through four EOS bodies and I still use this lens for my Birds in Flight Photography - exclusivity paired with the Canon EOS 7D Mark II. Its probably my best long-term purchase (ROI) and will keep it for any future body upgrade pairings.

Common Starling in Flight: Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
Upgrading from the Canon EOS 70D
During 2014 I started shooting birds in flight around Woodbridge Island with the very responsive Canon EOS 70D paired with the EF 400mm f/5.6L lens and for all in-flight purposes I was more than satisfied with the results (ito Auto-focus, larger viewfinder, image quality, tracking and the EOS 70D's 7 fps).

I also purchased a second EOS 70D for maintaining an exclusive Birds in Flight pairing while using the second EOS 70D and the Canon EOS 6D for my low light, landscape and macro / close-up photography workshops and projects.

Early 2015 my Birds in Flight Photography at Woodbridge Island was recognized by one of our local Cape Town retailers and they provided me (via Canon South Africa) with a Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens for a week of testing and writing an article - of which I published shortly after the test period on my Canon Camera News website. The weather was not great, but I managed to do various shoots at two Cape Town locations. The Canon EOS 7D Mark II article is now available here on my new Vernon Chalmers Photography website: First Impressions and Test Shoots Cape Town

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

Pied Kingfisher in Flight: Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
Birds in Flight Workshops with Canon EOS 7D Mark II
During this time I also arranged  for the facilitation of my first Birds in Flight Photography Workshop Cape Town (which was sponsored by Canon South Africa via the Canon retailer). I traded one of my EOS 70D's for a new Canon EOS 7D Mark II, studied and practiced the 65-Point AF System for a few weeks and I was good to go for the workshop and to facilitate private training for Canon photographers who started upgrading to the Canon EOS 7D Mark II from the older Canon EOS 7D and EOS 70D's.

The First Impression and Test Shoots Cape Town article will have all my personal views and findings of the Canon EOS 7D Mark II as the current Canon flagship APS-C body. I still maintain the same views and impressions and although Nikon (as one other brand) became very competitive with the Nikon D500 I still believe the Canon EOS 7D Mark II (also as part of the EOS system wrt lenses et al) is still one of the best Birds in Flight / Action Photography APS-C bodies on the market today.

Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
Canon Zoom vs Prime Lens (Birds in Flight)
I've used the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM zoom lens on Canon South Africa's own Canon EOS 7D Mark II and during my field review of one of my workshop delegate's Canon EOS 80D and I can in all objectivity say that the AF and tracking speed of the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens is just (by a small margin in my opinion) more responsive than the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens.

Globally reported Canon EOS 7D Mark II AF issues
After the launch of the Canon EOS 7D Mark II in September 2014 there were a fair amount of complaints with the AF-system under certian conditions (ito sharpness and focus issues experienced with various lenses). I've read countless real world test articles, blog posts and comments on various websites. Some photographers really struggled and in some cases had their cameras exchanged. For some its still an ongoing challenge and the online discussions about the AF focus accuracy (under certain conditions) with some of the bodies are still active.

From the first Images: Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
Canon EOS 7D Mark II Out Of The Box Shooting
Straight out of the box my copy of the Canon EOS 7D Mark II performed as expected (on many of the factory default-settings).

Up to today, more than two years later, the camera and AF-System is performing exactly the same it did when I captured my first 10 fps high-speed burst with this camera - Egyptian goose taking flight.

My Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens pairing is still  exclusively used for Birds in Flight photography and my other two EOS bodies are used for everything else.

I still have great pleasure going out to Woodbridge Island shooting the Canon EOS 7D Mark II and I still use this body (and AF-System) as benchmark for all my Birds in Flight Photography training and workshops - as it is in many ways the same as the Canon two 65-Point AF-systems Deployed on the Full Frame Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EOS 5Ds (R) and EOS-1D X. Now we also have the upgraded 65-Point System in the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV / Canon EOS-1D X Mark II.

Perced Birds: Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
Perched Birds with Canon EOS 7D Mark II
I capture a fair amount of perched birds with this pairing and am quite comfortable to use the same Manual and AF-settings I will for my Birds in Flight Photography. From time to time (depending on the opportunity) I may use Av mode for a few captures, but the majority of the time I don't change anything - just to keep it simple and quick - and to always have my preferred Manual settings as the primary default  setup when going out for a shoot.

I have no immediate plans for replacing this body, but are keeping my eye on the possible release of a Canon EOS 7D Mark III. I prepared a Canon EOS 7D Mark III Wish List - from a Birds in Flight Photography perspective. I will probably replace my Canon EOS 6D with the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV before year-end, but am still more than satisfied with the EOS 6D for low light,  landscape and some portraiture / fashion work. The Canon EOS 7D Mark II will replace my EOS 70D whenever we see a future Canon EOS 7D Mark III DSLR body. Looking forward for some macro and close-up photography projects once the EOS 7D Mark II is semi-retired from Birds in Flight.

Red-Eyed Dove in Flight: Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
In conclusion
Birds in Flight Photography is in many ways a skill to be mastered irrespective of the camera body used. When I acquired the Canon EOS 7D Mark II I knew what my requirements where; more responsive AF-system, faster fps, two memory card slots, a more robust and configurable EOS body than the Canon EOS 70D - to be used with the same Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens.

The EOS 7D Mark II is without any doubt one of the most advanced high-performance and action-orientated Canon EOS DSLR body. It most definitely met most of my requirements and expectations. Today it is still Canon's highest performing action photography EOS APS-C body in Canon's DSLR range. Its not perfect, I personally would have preferred a stop or two better low light / ISO performance for my Birds in Flight photography, but its not really a major issue,  I just shoot in good light (as I live right next to my Woodbridge Island shooting environment).

Yellow-billed duck: Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
With a 300mm+ lens pairing (considering individual good light shooting conditions) and adequate photography skills the Canon EOS 7D Mark II Birds in Flight photographer will perform very well against most Canon EOS Full Frame DSLR offerings on the market today.

Towards the future...
The Canon EOS 7D Mark III will have to be another game changer for the Canon engineers to match / exceed the high expectations and shooting standards of most current Canon EOS 7D Mark II photographers. I'm personally looking forward to the release of the Canon EOS 7D Mark III - even it is just for more dynamic range and improved low light performance.

Article and Image Copyright: Vernon Chalmers 2018

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New Canon EOS 7D Mark III Rumors & Announcement Updates View

Canon EOS 7D Mark III Wish List for Birds in Flight Photography View

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

Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town View

Hadeda Ibis - Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
Hadeda Ibis - Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens