One of the most outstanding features of the Canon EOS R5 is the new DualPixel autofocus. Covering almost the entire viewfinder area, it recognizes animals and humans, and even their eyes, on which it will then focus preferentially. I have already shown some static pictures in my blog.
However, I wanted to try it in action as well. Since my preferred subjects, as you can easily see here on my website, are mammals, landscapes and cities, I have little experience with BIF (Birds-In-Flight) photography.
During a walk at a lake, I suddenly heard a duck flying towards me. Fortunately I had the Sigma 60-600mm DG OS HSM on the R5. So I took the opportunity and quickly set the R5 to time preset with an exposure time of 1/1600.
Unfortunately, the camera was not in continuous shooting mode, so I got only a very few photos. After that I set the continuous shooting mode (electronic shutter, 20 fps, TV mode and exposure time of 1/2000s) directly to the C3 preset to prevent this from happening again 🙂 . Nevertheless, I find the following photo quite acceptable considering the circumstances:
The AF tracked the duck accurately and also recognized its eye. OK, experienced birders would probably have had the same success with a DSLR, because the flight direction of the duck was straight and the autofocus field could have been placed manually on the head while tracking the duck. And the autofocus didn’t have to be particularly fast in single frame mode of the camera.
According to Canon, however, the AF of the EOS R5 should be able to track objects reliably even at the highest continuous shooting speed of 20 fps with electronic shutter.
Of course I wanted to try that out by myself now. This time, a dragonfly that I discovered nearby was the object of my experiments. I photographed it again with my Sigma 60-600mm DG OS HSM, adapted with the Canon RF-EOS R adapter at 600mm focal length, aperture 7.1, 1/2000s exposure time and ISO 1250 with the highest continuous frame rate.
The shooting took place around noon in bright, hard sunlight and was only intended to prove the technical possibilities - free from any artistic aspect. The following is an uncropped image from the series:
And here a 100% crop of the dragonfly from the picture above:
In the series with 20 fps, ALL single images except 1-2 were 100% in focus. During the shooting I could see the autofocus mark sticking to the relatively small dragonfly, even though I was taking the pictures from hand-held and shaking considerably from side to side. Below is an animated, scaled down and slightly cropped GIF of the series:
If you are curious, you can watch the sequence in higher resolution (full HD) (Attention: 57 MB GIF)
All in all, I am very impressed by the autofocus performance of the Canon EOR R5. The adapted Sigma 60-600 also performs very well on it. Especially the price/performance ratio of the lens is unbeatable. Compared to the original Canon RF 100-500 F4.5-7.1L IS USM, which is almost twice as expensive, it has an even wider focal length range and with 100mm longer focal length even a 1/3 f-stop faster aperture. The only real disadvantage is its weight of 2,7kg (Canon RF 100-500 only 1.530g).