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).
This Post Has 4 Comments
Congratulations for this well done test. I own an Eos R5, which I use now with an old EF 400 f/5.6 L for wildlife (coupled with an EF 1.4X III when needed). I would like to upgrade my tele buying either the RF 100 500, or the Sigma 60-600, sice 400 mm is too short in a significant number of cases. I now this test and review is quite old now, I imagine you have had other chance to test better the autofocus of the Sigma, and maybe even the RF 100-500. Basing on your test, do you feel, after that time, that the Sigma is still a valid option, comparable to the Canon lens (even the EF 100-400 II)?
Thanks in advance.
thank you for your compliments. I still use both the Sigma 60-600 and the EF 100-400 IS II. Optically, the IS II is better up to 400mm. Using the 1.4x extender, it can still keep up with the Sigma, but is 2/3 stop slower, has a poorer bokeh, and is missing 60mm at the long end. In addition, the 100-400 is much more compact and lighter than the Sigma. The Sigma, on the other hand, offers an unbeatable zoom range and the autofocus continues to sit very well with the R5. It feels like the 100-400’s AF is a bit faster, but the Sigma’s is certainly fast enough for my purposes. Both lenses are very good and worth a recommendation. I have no experience with the RF 100-500 so far, I currently consider it to be excessively expensive.
I was thinking to buy Canon Rf 100-500mm, but after this I’m totally interested in Sigma. I would like to know difference between Canon 100-500mm Rf and this lens especially autofocus performance. This Sigma might be more value for money than RF lens.
The Sigma 60-600 is indeed worth its money. It is an ideal lens for safaris or the zoo, I have used it extensively on our last safari 2018/2019 in the Masai Mara, many pictures of this lens can be seen in my gallery. For my purposes, the AF is fast enough, but it might be to slow for fast flying birds. The eye AF on the EOS R5 works perfectly, I already have some pictures of birds on my website. The Sigma has a longer focal length range and a higher speed than the RF 100-500, but the Sigma is a very large and heavy lens, it is more comparable to the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x. I don’t know the AF performance of the RF 100-500 personally, but according to the reports it will certainly be faster than the Sigma. And it is twice as expensive. For me, the advantages of the Sigma clearly exceed the costs and I will keep it.