Canon EOS R5 - Autofocus in Action

Canon EOS R5 - Autofocus in Action

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:

600mm, f/6.3, 1/1600, ISO 640, light crop

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).

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