24 May 2022

Thoughts on Upgrading my Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Upgrading my Canon EOS 7D Mark II

General thoughts on upgrading Canon gear for Birds in Flight Photography
Canon EOS 7D Mark II paired with EF 400f/5.6L USM Lens

Upgrading current Canon gear for my Birds in Flight / High-Speed Action Photography

I firmly believe and respect the process every photographer is going through when composing and capturing every image – even more so when its fast-moving birds in flight or other fast-action photography. A lot do is with the technology in hand, but the biggest challenges are (in my opinion) combinations and permutations of quite a few 'other' (non-technical) considerations for capturing that special moment.

Over the years many birds in flight and bird photographers have asked me for my opinion on my thoughts on the development, direction and / or evolution of the Canon DSLR / Mirrorless camera’s Autofocus (AF) system and other optimisations.

I have truly enjoyed every moment with the Canon EOS 7D Mark II (mostly paired with the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens). I have only really used the camera for Birds in Flight Photography, bees and butterflies, but, I know and have worked with many Canon EOS 7D Mark II photographers applying it in every photography genre out there. I cannot recall one single photographer that was not happy with his or her camera. Mostly, I have met them as camera / photography students and many of them are still learning on how to extract the maximum value from their cameras. There were many technology / other challenges, but these are expected when a (new) photographer tries out mastering any of the camera settings unfamiliar to him / her.

In 2017 I created an article 'The Future of the Canon EOS 7D Mark III' which is now renamed 'End of Canon EOS 7D Mark III Speculations' - in anticipation of the release of a possible Canon EOS 7D Mark III. 

On 24 May 2022 Canon launched the APS-C Canon R7 (and Canon R10) that should become the new standard for fast-action wildlife Canon APS-C hobbyist photographers looking for upgrading / replacing their current Canon EOS 7D Mark II cameras.

Pied Kingfisher with Catch : Canon EOS 7D Mark II Copyright Vernon Chalmers
During August 2017 I did a write-up about my own Canon EOS 7D Mark II Long-Term Use and Experience

I still do the majority of my Birds in Flight Photography with the Canon EOS 7D Mark II paired with the 'ever-green' Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens. 

I still follow my own quote over the years of ‘shoot with what is in your hands and make (and enjoy) the moment – chase the light, forget about kit in hand’. This is still very relevant to me to this day.

However, camera (and AF) technology is moving forward at a rapid pace and I have revisited my own quote a few times over the last three years. Sometimes thinking of what I would want to see as a replacement camera (in my hands for birds in flight photography). 

My main Canon EOS R7 Interest Areas:
  • APS-C vs Full Frame
  • Autofocus System
  • Memory Card(s)
  • Sensor (Megapixels)
  • Image Processor(s)
  • RF to EF Lens Compatibility / AF Speed (via Lens Adapter) 

Canon EOS R7 / EOS R10 Launch 2022 >>

Grey Heron In Flight : Canon EOS R6 Copyright Vernon Chalmers
I have had the opportunity to field test both the Canon EOS R and later the Canon EOS R6 for Canon South Africa. I did a wide variety of photography / and birds in flight with the EOS R, but was generally not that impressed at the time. I changed my tune quite somewhat during field testing the Canon EOS R6 for birds in flight photography exclusively. 

It was the first time I really became exited about the new Autofocus (AF) System. Not so much the higher frame rate of the EOS R6 compared to the EOS 7D Mark II, but the accuracy and tracking of the new Canon Dual Pixel CMOS AF II System deployed in the Canon EOS R6 / EOS R5 (inherited from the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III).

Page Image Information © Vernon Chalmers

Image 1: Product Images - Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens pairing

Image 2: Pied Kingfisher with Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens

Image 3: Grey Heron with Canon EOS R6 / RF 800mm f/11 STM lens

Image 4: Cape Teal Ducks with Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens

Cape Teal Ducks in Flight : With Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5/6L USM lens Copyright Vernon Chalmers Photography
Cape Teal Ducks in Flight : With Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5/6L USM lens

Canon Photography Training Milnerton Woodbridge Island | Kirstenbosch Cape Town

End of Canon EOS 7D Mark III Speculations

The Canon EOS R7 was Launched / Released (together with the Canon EOS R10) on 24 May 2022 for the High-Action / Wildlife Hobbyist Photographer

New Canon EOS R7 APS-C Mirrorless Camera (Image Credit: Canon Malaysia)
New Canon EOS R7 APS-C Mirrorless Camera (Image Credit: Canon Malaysia)

Canon EOS R7 and Canon EOS R10 Information / Videos



Update: Canon launched two APS-C / crop bodies) Canon EOS R cameras on 24 May 2022 - both bodies were released as the first APS-C format R bodies for the Canon EOS R System.

Even after the introduction of the Canon EOS R System the hopes were still high that a Canon EOS 7D Mark III would still be released in 2021 / 2022. The original Canon EOS R did not offer sufficient high-speed performance and even in my own conclusion, after my early 2019 Canon EOS R field testing, confirmed its inefficiency as a high-performance body.

The Autofocus of the original EOS R as well as other in-body specifications were significantly improved upon with the release of the Canon EOS R5 and Canon EOS R6. One major improvement was the new Canon Dual Pixel CMOS AF II System offering accurate speed and (human and animal) subject traction that was on par (and in some ways of higher specification) than that of the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III.

After my 2020 Canon EOS R6 field testing for birds in flight / high-action photography I concluded that the Canon EOS R6 was a suitable Canon EOS R recommendation / replacement for action photographers wanting to migrate or buy into the EOS R System.

While testing the Canon EOS R6 for birds in flight (even with the two supplied RF f/11 lenses) I realised that there will be no direct Canon EOS 7D Mark III replacement for the Canon EOS 7D Mark II. The AF performance of the Canon EOS R6 was indicative (to me) that the Canon EOR R System will offer a high-performance and affordable (APS-C) body for the Canon enthusiast and hobbyist wildlife photographers.


(My) Birds in Flight Photography Paradigm is shifting towards the Canon EOS R7
I have used the Canon EOS 7D Mark II almost exclusively for Birds in Flight photography (throughout its entire life cycle). I am still an avid user of this extremely capable Canon APS-C (1.6x Crop Factor) DSLR body for birds in flight / fast action photography. Like many current (and previous) Canon EOS 7D Mark II photographers I am quite exited about the announcement of the Canon EOS R7 - and should be considered as a suitable upgrade / replacement for the Canon EOS 7D Mark II.  

Canon Dual Pixel CMOS AF II System
The Autofocus (AF) System in a the new Canon EOS R7 is more / less the same Dual Pixel CMOS AF II System deployed in the Canon EOS R6 / Canon EOS R5 and Canon EOS R3.

Canon RF (and EF / EF-S) lenses for Canon EOS R7
There are already quite a few cost-effective RF (L) lenses that should pair well with the Canon EOS R7 / EOS R10 (in the 400mm to 800mm range for birds in flight / high-actiom). All current Canon EF / EF-S should be compatible with the Canon EOS RF lenses via the current EF - RF Mount Adapter). 




New Canon EOS R / PowerShot Cameras to be Released 2022 / 2023
New Canon EOS R / PowerShot Cameras to be Launched 2022 / 2023

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

Two Cost-Effective Canon Lenses for Birds in Flight Photography View

Birds in Flight Photography View

Canon Photography Training Milnerton Woodbridge Island | Kirstenbosch Cape Town

01 May 2022

Understanding Lens Minimum Focusing Distance (MFD)

Lens Minimum Focusing Distance (MFD) is an important consideration when longer focal length lenses (i.e. 300mm to 400mm) are used for close-up (butterflies and / or flower) photography.

Lens Minimum Focusing Distance : Canon Lenses

Understanding Lens Minimum Focusing Distance (MFD)
Lens Minimum Focusing Distance (MFD) : Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens

What is Lens Minimum Focusing Distance (MFD)?
MFD is the minimum distance between a camera sensor and image / subject in front of the lens that will allow focus with a specific lens. Lens MFD is measured in meters (and displayed as such i.e. 0.98m or 3.5m).

MFD is an important factor for close-up photography when using zoom or non-zoom lenses (with / without lens extension tubes or lens close-up filters). 

Most modern Canon EF and RF 300mm - 500mm (and other) telephoto / zoom lenses will have reasonable MFD's for capturing close-up subjects such as butterflies and flowers.

Canon Lens MFD Examples:

Higher quality lenses will allow substantial cropping for creating expectable to reasonably high-quality close-up images of butterflies and flowers. Being a few meters away in creating a close-up image of a butterfly or a flower should still yield an acceptable result. 

The specific Canon EOS / EOS R Full Frame or APS-C camera body used (ito image sensor, megapixels, etc.) could also have an impact on cropping (and additional post-processing) quality of the image.


For the attached butterfly images (at Woodbridge Island) I used the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens while photographing birds in flight. 

For most of my Kirstenbosch butterfly and flower images I use the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM (Mark I) lens.

Butterfly with Canon 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens
Perched Butterfly Woodbridge Island with Canon 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens

Small Flower Kirstenbosch with Canon 70D / EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens
Small Flower Kirstenbosch with Canon 70D / EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens

Birds in Flight Photography Skills Development

Birds in Flight Photography Training / Skills Development

Peregrine Falcon in Flight - Canon EOS 7D Mark II
Peregrine Falcon in Flight - Canon EOS 7D Mark II 

Regular Birds in Flight Photography sessions at Woodbridge Island, Cape Town is without doubt the photography genre I enjoy the most. 

Not just the photographing of the more than 70 species on / around the Island, but also the research, development, and presentation of Birds in Flight Photography Private Training / Workshops around Cape Town.

I find the advances in modern Canon EOS DSLR phase-detect AF-systems fascinating and spend many hours with my Canon cameras experimenting / looking for ways for extracting the maximum value from various Canon APS-C / Full Frame bodies and telephoto lenses. 

Canon EOS R6 First Impressions and Sample Images (Birds / Birds in Flight Photography

Photographing Birds in Flight
Photographing Birds in Flight is a challenging genre, but the modern Canon AF System, tracking ability and excellent range of Canon EF telephoto lenses provides for a very good DSLR camera / lens combination for photographing Birds in Flight. 

Birds in Flight Photography Skills Development / How to Photograph Birds in Flight
I've had some great results over the years with various Canon EOS DSLR bodies (both personal and professional) and with Birds in Flight Photography Training during skills development sessions at Woodbridge Island, Cape Town. I have personally worked with / or have trained delegates with the following Canon EOS bodies:
  • Canon EOS 700D / EOS 750D / EOS 800D
  • Canon EOS 60D / EOS 70D / EOS 77D
  • Canon EOS 80D /  EOS 90D
  • Canon EOS 7D / EOS 7D Mark II 
  • Canon EOS 6D / EOS 6D Mark II
  • Canon EOS R / EOS RP / EOS R6 (Mirrorless)
  • Canon EOS 5D Mark III /  EOS 5D Mark IV
  • Canon EOS-1D X / EOS-1D X Mark II

Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town - Canon EOS 7D Mark II
Canon EOS Advanced Autofocus Training Cape Town
Starting out with Birds in Flight Photography View

Birds in Flight Workshops / Private Training Cape Town
I facilitate regular Birds in Flight Workshops in the Milnerton / Woodbridge Island Cape Town. 


From intermediate to advanced Canon Autofocus systems including all Canon EOS / EOS R bodies up to the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III and Canon EOS R6. Workshops Cape Town overview.

Birds in Flight / Action Photography Advanced Autofocus Workshop Cape Town

My Birds in Flight Canon Camera Gear / Combinations

Canon EOS 7D Mark II / Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens
Canon EOS 7D Mark II - Woodbridge Island Cape Town
Canon EOS 7D Mark II / Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens
I predominantly capture Birds in Flight with this combination mainly for the following reasons:

Canon EOS 7D Mark II

  • Advanced AF system with multi-controller support
  • Wide Zone AF option for erratic and small birds
  • 10 fps continuous shooting and deeper buffer
  • Slightly better ISO noise improvement
  • Dual memory card slots

Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens

  • Reach: 400mm x 1.6 on APS-C bodies
  • Exceptional image quality
  • Fix focal length / f/5.6 aperture
  • Built-in lens hood
  • Fast Autofocus
  • Light weight

Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town with Canon EOS 7D Mark II


Canon EOS 70D / Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens
Canon EOS 70D - Woodbridge Island Cape Town
Canon EOS 70D / Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens
Before I acquired the Canon EOS 7D Mark II I had no issues shooting birds in flight with the Canon EOS 70D and the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens combination.

Currently I use the Canon EOS 70D [aired with the super-sharp Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens for closer birds.

Canon EOS 70D
  • Responsive AF system
  • Zone AF option for erratic and small birds
  • 7 fps continuous shooting

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens

  • Reach: 300 x 1.6 on APS-C bodies
  • Exceptional image quality
  • Variable focal focal length 
  • Fast Autofocus
  • Compact

Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town with Canon EOS 70D

Canon EOS 6D paired with the EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens
Canon EOS 6D  - Woodbridge Island Cape Town
Canon EOS 6D / Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens
I do not use this Canon combination very often, but in my opinion the Canon EOS 6D works quite well for birds in flight (with center-AF Point selection). Many photographers don't even try as there are a few misconceptions that the 11-Point Autofocus system is not 'accurate enough' for tracking and capturing fast flying birds.

Canon EOS 6D
  • Full Frame Sensor
  • Sensitive center-point AF Point
  • 4.5 fps continuous shooting and deep buffer
  • Excellent low light shooting / ISO Management

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens

  • Reach: 300 x 1.6 on APS-C bodies
  • Exceptional image quality
  • Variable focal focal length 
  • Fast Autofocus
  • Compact

Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town with Canon EOS 6D


Birds in Flight Cape Town on Instagram


Canon Equipment Reviews / Tests / Future Thoughts For Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town

Canon EOS 6D / EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens Birds in flight Test View

Birds in Flight Photography with Canon EOS 6D Full Frame DSLR View

Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens : First Impressions Cape Town View

Canon EOS 70D for Birds In Flight Photography : Paired with EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens View

Canon EOS 80D / EF 100-400mm f/4.5L IS II USM Lens : First impressions / Test Shoot Cape Town View

Two Canon EF 400mm Lens Options for Birds in Flight Photographers View

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


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

Introduction to Birds in Flight Photography: Camera & Lens Settings / Tips View

Long-Term Use / Discussion of the Canon EOS 7D Mark II View


Birds in Flight Photography Workshop: Supporting Document Links View

Capturing / Tracking Variables for Improved Birds in Flight Photography View


Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town - Lightroom Post-Processing

Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town - Cropping & Post-Processing View


Show Active Focus Points in Adobe Lightroom 5 / 6 CC View


Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town - Social Media / Facebook Support


Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town Facebook Page View

Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town Support Group View


My Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town Location

Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town : Woodbridge Island View

Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town : Table Bay Nature Reserve View


Birds Species at Woodbridge Island / Table Bay Nature Reserve Cape Town View

Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town - Woodbridge Island Map / Directions View 


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

Vernon Chalmers Photography Article Index

Vernon Chalmers Photography Article Index

Vernon Chalmers Photography Article Index
Vernon Chalmers Photography Article Index : Image @ Vernon Chalmers 

Photography articles prepared by Vernon Chalmers using various Canon EOS / EOS R cameras and Canon EF / EF-S / RF lenses

Go To Canon Camera Articles>>

Introduction to the Exposure Triangle
In understanding ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed it’s important to note that all three are present in every photo you capture with your camera. The degree in which they are applied will depend on various camera and / or lens settings and lighting conditions. Read more>>


Long Exposure Photography Setup & Tips
Long-duration shutter speeds / long exposures are applied when shooting after sunset, night photography and / or fireworks. The photographer will use longer shutter speeds to capture a low / fading / after-sunset or a night composition - all of which could provide for some really dramatic exposure effect. Long exposures (during daylight) are also achievable with the use of filters (see section on ND filters). Read more>>


Canon EOS 6D Bulb Mode / Long Exposure Photography
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. Read more>>

Fast shutter speeds for slow and faster flying birds
Previously I briefly discussed the effect of slow shutter speeds on relatively fast movement subjects for creating motion blur in some of the moving parts (the areaoplane and the motorcycle) - capturing them with shutter speeds of between 1/60s - 1/125s if the objective of the photographer is to show motion blur (in i.e. the propellers and wheels). Read more>>

Impromptu Slow shutter speed action - Dakota in Flight
The image of the Dakota aeroplane - with spinning props - was a split-second decision of changing settings for creating the spinning / blurred propeller-effect.

I was doing Birds in Flight on Manual Mode with a fast shutter speed of 1/4000s - and quickly moved to Tv Mode for setting a slower shutter speed (1/60s) and let the camera control / decide on a smaller aperture / higher f/stop value (f/18 in this case). Read more>>

Free Canon Shooting Simulation: Exposure Practice
The Canon simulation software provides a practical and intuitive way to learn and apply the Exposure Triangle, different shooting modes (Manual / Shutter Priority / Aperture Priority) and to practice shots by changing the settings (and seeing the inter-relationship of ISO / Aperture / Shutter Speed). Visit the Canon website to practice your shots Read more>>


Ultra Wide-Angle Lenses: APS-C vs Full Frame Focal Lengths
Ultra Wide-Angle Lenses: different focal lengths (comparing Crop and Full Frame focal lengths). On my website I have made two posts from the same Woodbridge Island, Cape Town location for interested photographers looking at wide-angle lenses. Read More>>

Birds in Flight Photography: Cropping & Post-Processing
I recently responded to a request from one of my delegates from our latest Birds in Flight Photography Workshop Cape Town with regard to image cropping and the amount of post-processing required (as applied in my own Birds in Flight images in my regular shooting environment at Woodbridge Island, Cape Town). Read More>>


Starting Out With Birds in Flight Photography
Starting Out With Birds in Flight Photography
Many photographers, when they first getting interested in Birds in Flight / Action Photography, are of opinion that they require professional grade gear, or at least the latest and / or greatest DSLR / Lens combination that they can afford. Birds in Flight Photography gear acquisition can very quickly spiral out of control for new photographers putting gear first and not being mindful to all the basic requirements for getting started. Read More>>

Aperture Demonstration for New Photographers
A brief aperture / background blur demonstration of 8 images captured at different apertures, but exactly the same depth of field between camera / subject and background distance) to show what effect an aperture change will have on background blur when changing the aperture setting on the camera. Read More>>


Canon EOS Setup and Tips For Birds in Flight Photography
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. As 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 birds in flight photography. Read More>>


Tracking Variables for Improved Birds in Flight Photography
Tracking Variables for Improved Birds in Flight Photography
During my Birds in Flight and Canon AI Servo AF Workshops in Cape Town I generally start of with a slideshow of a variety of in-flight images (with different Canon EOS bodies / EF prime / zoom lenses) for pointing out basic EXIF data, location and other relevant information. Read more>>

Focus Stacking in Macro and Close-Up Photography
In Macro and Close-Up photography we are challenged with a very narrow Depth of Field (DOF) in creating a sharp image (and providing for more and / or less out of focus areas). 

In order for extending the DOF across the image image or part of the subject(s) in the frame photographers use focus stacking for achieving a more desired / sharp result. Read More>>

Difference between Digital Noise and Background Blur
Blur can really mean different things in digital photography, but should not to be confused with unwanted graininess or digital noise across a digitally created image. Unwanted noise generally occurs when shooting in low light, when a digital camera's ISO setting is too high. Read more>>


The Difference between Optical and Digital Zoom
Difference between Digital Noise and Background Blur
To bring far away subjects closer into the frame photographers have a choice to either use a telephoto zoom lens or to move closer to take the shot at a closer focal length. The latter is not always possible, and many photographers rely on a variety of zoom lens options for bringing a variety of subjects closer. Read More>>

Using the Canon RC-6 Remote for long exposure photography
The Canon RC-6 Wireless Remote Control is an inexpensive wireless transmitter for Canon EOS DSLR cameras and a really handy accessory for pairing with my Canon EOS 700D. This tiny remote release assists me mostly with long exposure landscape / seascape photography (on tripod) when using Av / Bulb mode for shutter releases of up to 30 to 40 seconds. Read more>>

What is Camera / Lens EXIF Data?
EXIF Data is the identification and listing of an information metadata tag and its values -available for DSLR / Compact / Smartphone cameras before and / or after taking the photo. Generally found on your LCD screen viewing image detail or when downloaded in Canon's Digital Photo Professional, Google Picasa / Adobe Lightroom (and other camera / editing software). Read more>>



Vernon Chalmers Photography Articles
Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 100 - 400mmm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens

Canon Photography Training Milnerton Woodbridge Island | Kirstenbosch Cape Town

Macro & Close-Up Photography Cape Town Facebook Group

Macro & Close-Up Photography Cape Town Facebook Group
Macro & Close-Up Photography Cape Town Facebook Group

Join the Macro & Close-Up Photography Cape Town Facebook Group >>

An invitation to anyone who is interested in capturing Macro / Close-Up nature images and / or current Macro nature / close-Up photographers in / around Cape Town and Western Cape for discussing / uploading Macro / Close-Up images.

Group Admin / Moderator: Vernon Chalmers

The Macro / Close-Up Photography Cape Town Facebook Group is a Vernon Chalmers Photography / Social Media project featuring Close-Up / Macro Photography around Cape Town (and other local areas).


Macro & Close-Up Photography Training Milnerton and Kirstenbosch Garden, Cape Town - More Information

Macro & Close-Up Photography Cape Town Facebook Group
Close-Up Photography : Canon PowerShot SX40 HS

Bird watching in the Table Bay Nature Reserve

Bird in the Table Bay Nature Reserve / Woodbridge Island

Helmeted guineafowl - Table Bay Nature Reserve
Peekaboo! Helmeted Guineafowl - Table Bay Nature Reserve

On a glorious and crisp morning I went on my routine short walkabout around the Table Bay Nature Reserve Diep River, Woodbridge Island.

Normally, I'm out looking out for birds in flight, but on this particular mid-morning most birds were settled in their feeding and 'doing-nothing' routine.

I was very pleased to see a few helmeted guineafowl jogging along, at times, precariously close to Otto du Plessis Drive (on-route to the Reserve).

Making my way through the Reserve, and highlight of my morning, was a close encounter with a nesting / perched pair of pied kingfishers. I was fortunate enough to capture at least one of them.

Towards the end of the gallery below are two birds in flight images captured of a Cape teal duck, Egyptian goose and Darter flying over the Diep river (flowing past the Table Bay Nature Reserve and the adjacent Milnerton Golf Course).

My 'Bird Species Index' around Woodbridge Island / Table Bay Nature Reserve

Images by Vernon Chalmers with Canon EOS 7D Mark II and Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens.

Thoughts on my settings used for Birds in Flight / Perched Birds
Exposure settings (mainly aperture and shutter speed)  will depend on birds in flight and / or perched birds. With so many birds flying up and down the Diep river, Woodbridge Island / Table Bay Nature Reserve area I rarely change my exposure settings. Shooting with the Canon EOS 7D Mark II / Canon EF 400mm f/4.5L USM lens since early 2015 I've tweaked my settings alike for fast and slower birds. One of the only settings I will change is the shutter speed (to support the lighting conditions).

For perched birds I generally use the same settings in good light conditions for providing a decent exposure. With enough time (and perhaps more so in less light) I may adjust from Manual to Av (Aperture Priority) Mode for decreasing shutter speed and ISO. What I do try and change is the AF Mode, but it is rarely achieved as my main focus is to keep things simple and to enjoy the outing (if setup for birds in flight).

I could also use the Full Frame 6D for perched birds, but prefer the reach of the Crop / APS-C body. Sitting, say for instance, in a hide for perched birds I will use a different combination of body / lens and settings, but in my local shooting environment I prefer one body / lens paring and one set of settings for both flying and perched birds.

Canon EOS 7D Mark II / Lens Settings
  • Aperture: f/5.6
  • Auto-ISO 400-1200
  • Shutter Speed: 1/4000s
  • AF: Large Zone (Case 1)
  • 10 fps / handheld
  • AF on
  • FL: 400mm (prime lens)
  • CF Card: Lexar Professional 800x / 120MB/s 32GB

Canon EOS Setup and Tips For Birds in Flight Photography

(Click to Enlarge)
Grey Heron in the Table Bay Nature Reserve - Diep River / Woodbridge Island
Grey Heron in the Table Bay Nature Reserve (overlooking the Milnerton Golf Course)

Close Encounter with Pied Kingfisher in the Table Bay Nature Reserve Image 1 / 2
Close Encounter with a Pied Kingfisher in the Table Bay Nature Reserve

Little Cisticola on guard in the Table Bay Nature Reserve
Little Cisticola on guard in the Table Bay Nature Reserve

Cape Spurfowl in Fight over the Table Bay Nature Reserve
Cape Spurfowl in Fight over the Table Bay Nature Reserve

Southern Masked Weaver (ringed) overlooking the Table Bay Nature Reserve
Southern Masked Weaver (ringed) overlooking the Table Bay Nature Reserve

Cape Teal Duck in Flight over the Diep River / Table Bay Nature Reserve
Cape Teal Duck in Flight over the Diep River / Table Bay Nature Reserve

Egyptian Goose in Flight over the Diep River / Table Bay Nature Reserve
Egyptian Goose in Flight over the Diep River / Table Bay Nature Reserve

Darter in Flight over the Diep River / Table Bay Nature Reserve
Darter in Flight over the Diep River / Table Bay Nature Reserve

The Hadeda ibis was from a previous walk back from the Table Bay Nature Reserve. Quite tame and minding his own morning breakfast routine.

Hadeda Ibis with breakfast - close to the Table Bay Nature Reserve
Hadeda Ibis with breakfast - close to the Table Bay Nature Reserve

Small birds in the Table Bay Nature Reserve

Canon EOS Advanced Autofocus Training

Canon EOS / Canon EOS R Advanced Autofocus Training

Canon EOS Advanced Autofocus Training Module
Advanced Autofocus Training Module - Image with Canon EOS 7D Mark II

"Master your Canon EOS / EOS R AF System / Fine-tune your Camera for Action and Birds in Flight Photography"

This module is now fully integrated in most Birds-in-Flight Photography Training Sessions. 

Over the last ten years I have facilitated a number of Birds in Flight Photography workshops in Milnerton / Woodbridge Island, Cape Town.


Autofocus / AI Servo Training Module Objective

To provide Canon EOS DSLR photographers with a hands-on learning and configuration experience through-out the full duration of the theory / settings sessions covering the current Canon 61-Point and 65-Point AF Systems (and Canon EOS R with more than 5500 AF-Points) - with enough shooting opportunity via practical shooting sessions.


Please note: This advanced training module is integrated into my Birds in Flight Training sessions. The Canon Autofocus / AI Servo one-on-one training module will be facilitated from a Birds in Flight Photography perspective.

More on my Birds in Flight Photography Training>>

Applicable Canon EOS Bodies
Canon EOS-1D X (Mark II) / EOS 5D Mark IV / EOS 5D Mark III / EOS 6D Mark II /  EOS 7D Mark II / EOS 90D / EOS 80D (and others)

Applicable Canon EOS Bodies
Canon EOS R3 / Canon EOS R5 / Canon EOS R6 (and others)

Contact Me should you wish to learn only about the advanced Canon EOS Autofocus / AI Servo One-On-One Training Module

___________________________________________________________

Advanced Canon EOS Autofocus (AF) One-On-One Training Module Cape Town
This hands-on Canon EOS AF / IA Servo Master Class Cape Town will be facilitated to both enthusiast and professional Canon EOS photographers for configuring and tweaking a variety of AF / AI Servo settings for the best possible AF accuracy and tracking performance.

Canon Autofocus / AI Servo one-on-one training will be facilitated from a Birds in Flight / Action Photography perspective.

_____________________________________________________________________

Key Autofocus Module Learning Areas
  • Autofocus overview
  • Telephoto / Super Telephoto Lenses (Prime / Zoom)
  • Tele-converters (Mainly Canon EF 1.4x / 2x)
  • Memory cards (all current options: CF / SD)
  • 61-Point AF Systems (EOS Full Frame)
  • 65-Point AF System (EOS 7D Mark II)
  • 5500+ AP Point AF Systems (applicable Canon EOS R's)
  • AI Servo Focus Areas / Zones
  • AF Cases and detailed fine-tuning of Case parameters
  • Tracking variables for birds in flight (planning and application in the field)

Photographers with EOS R / RP / 70D / 60D and other Canon EOS bodies
Please
Contact Me for more information for discussing the suitability of this workshop for your current / future Canon EOS / Autofocus requirements.

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Canon EOS Autofocus / AI Servo Master Class Workshop Cape Town
Fast Flying Dove  :  Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm Lens  :  Woodbridge Island Cape Town

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


Canon Photography Private Training Classes Milnerton, Cape Town
  • Introduction to Photography / Canon Cameras More 
  • Birds in Flight / Bird Photography Training Sessions More
  • Canon Speedlite / Ring Lite Flash Photography Workshop More
  • Macro / Close-Up Photography Workshop More
  • Landscape / Long Exposure Photography Training Sessions  More
  • Digital Workflow / Lightroom Post-Processing Training Sessions More

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