With my Canon EOS R5 at the zoo

Yes­ter­day morn­ing, I took the oppor­tu­ni­ty to fur­ther test the EOS R5 dur­ing a vis­it to the zoo. A first short review of the Canon EOS R5 and some remarks about my menu-con­fig­u­ra­tion and my acces­sories can be found in my ini­tial expe­ri­ence report. This time, I used the Canon EOS R5 exclu­sive­ly with my Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens, part­ly with the con­vert­ers, always wide open. Regard­ing the focus­ing speed, I did­n’t notice any dis­ad­van­tage com­pared to the same lens on the 5DS R. The aut­o­fo­cus sys­tem cov­ers almost the entire image area except for about 5% on the left and right edge of the frame. Of course I was espe­cial­ly curi­ous to see the per­for­mance of the ani­mal eye aut­o­fo­cus in action at the zoo.

And that was extreme­ly impres­sive. It actu­al­ly worked with almost all ani­mals: With the flamin­gos I was con­cerned about their long curved neck, but even in that case it worked very well. I took the head­line pic­ture for this arti­cle hand-held with the 400mm f/2.8 lens and edit­ed it in Light­room, com­plete­ly dark­en­ing the back­ground and cut­ting out a por­trait ver­sion from the land­scape image. The image sharp­ness is extreme­ly impres­sive, in the fol­low­ing you see a 100% Crop:

100% Detail of the above image

Until now I have only rarely achieved this sharp­ness with the 5DS R and then most­ly with a tri­pod with mir­ror lock-up. The ani­mal eye aut­o­fo­cus worked per­fect­ly even with a black crow with black eyes. The fol­low­ing pic­ture shows an exam­ple with­out spe­cial aes­thet­ic value:

Crow - total image - 400mm, f/2.8, 1/2000, ISO 4000

Here is a 100% crop of the above image:

Crow, 100% detail of the pic­ture above

Even at the edge of the viewfind­er, the R5 always fol­lowed the eye of the black bird reliably.

Oth­er ani­mals used as test objects for the eye aut­o­fo­cus were a red pan­da and a Bac­tri­an camel, in both cas­es the cam­era focused reli­ably on the eyes:

Red Pan­da - 400mm f/2.8, 1/1250, ISO 4000
Por­trait of a Bac­tri­an camel - 400mm, f/2.8, 1/640, ISO 2000

All pre­vi­ous shots were tak­en hand­held with­out a tri­pod. When I reviewed the pic­tures of this morn­ing, I was extreme­ly impressed by the sharp­ness of the images. In almost every shot the focus was exact­ly on the spot. Com­pared to my pre­vi­ous­ly tak­en pic­tures under sim­i­lar con­di­tions, the cam­era actu­al­ly deliv­ers much more sharp­ness than the nom­i­nal­ly even high­er res­o­lu­tion EOS 5DS R, although it uses an anti-alias­ing fil­ter in front of the sen­sor. I also notice this in the fact that I have to re-sharp­en my RAW images sig­nif­i­cant­ly less dur­ing post-pro­cess­ing. Usu­al­ly the default set­ting in Light­room is sufficient.

I don’t know if this is due to the more accu­rate sen­sor-based aut­o­fo­cus or the miss­ing shock from thre flip­ping mir­ror of a DSLR, but the sharp­ness and detail of the images is extreme­ly impres­sive. Final­ly two pic­tures, which were also tak­en yes­ter­day at the zoo and which I edit­ed in black and white:

The Hand - Goril­la lady - 400mm, f/2.8, 1/500, ISO 5000
Lying zebra, 400mm, f/2.8, 1/1250, ISO 320

All in all I am still very enthu­si­as­tic about the cam­era. The high-ISO qual­i­ty has also improved sig­nif­i­cant­ly com­pared to the EOS 5DS R. I now use ISO val­ues up to 6400 with­out any major con­cerns. I am very sat­is­fied with the yield of a morn­ing vis­it to the zoo and would be hap­py about any comments.

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