Canon R7 BIF with the R7

Archibald

Well Known Member
Pro Member
Pro Member
Followers
0
Following
2
Joined
Oct 17, 2023
Posts
226
Likes Received
467
Name
Ed
City/State
Ottawa
CC Welcome
  1. Yes
I have never been that good of a BIF shooter, but I'm getting some frustrating behavior with the R7. I'm curious what you folks use as settings on the R7 and how well it works for you. Is this a useful thing to discuss here, or has it already been covered in the forum?

Below is a successful shot taken this morning, of a Canada Goose hybrid.

R7_B9493 Goose hybrid.jpg
  • Canon EOS R7
  • RF100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM
  • 500.0 mm
  • ƒ/7.1
  • 1/1600 sec
  • ISO 400
 
Ron @ Whistling Wings Photography is one of the better bird in flight photographers and Central Florida tour operators. I’ve been with him on Blue Cypress Lake shooting osprey and owls and he really knows his stuff, and he knows Canon cameras. He’s the person that introduced me to the R5 and I haven’t looked back.

Ron has a YouTube channel. Maybe checking out some of his videos will help with getting the settings. Here a few of his R7 videos but he has more on AF settings on the Canon R3, R5 and R7



Thank you, TonyB. I will set aside some time and watch these.

(I've been with Ron too, also on Blue Cypress Lake!)
 
I have even have more videos but in the end it's basically all the same. All the presenters have to work with the same menus, they just have their own sauce for mapping buttons for what they want to achieve for their shooting styles.

We have no real control over AF. Either the camera see contrast or it doesn't. We can't fine tune that. These days throw in eye recognition with contrast.

We have always had control over AF tracking characteristics after initial focus is achieved. They are all bound to the same Case # menus and Switching Tracked Subjects (STS) options. Most are pretty similar with their choices. Tracking Sensitivity set to -1 or 2 has been staple forever. For Accel/Decel I'm usually in +1 or +2. STS ether 1 (factory) or 0. After setting that up I would not spend a lot of time in those menus.

Next is how you want initial AF to be achieved. Let the system find the eye or use a non eye mode to get the subject in focus first and then flip over to Eye detect. I prefer to let the system to have a go at it first and then go into recovery mode if I need to.

If the camera successfully focuses on and tracks a BIF the AF box may change in size. It may switch to the head, to the body, back to the eye, back to the body and so on. This all depends on how far the bird is and how well the system can make out the eye. I just keep tracking and shooting when that happens. It is what it is. You want to make sure both Subject and Eye detect are selected.

Recovery. This is the most important part to me. Since I expect AF to fail I don't worry about why it did. If AF goes off the bird completely I switch to a non-eye detect mode, get the AF point/s back on to it and then flip back to Eye detect. That's the sauce part. Users need to decide how they want Eye initiate and how to take control if the system is struggling. Which buttons to map and what AF mode (single, spot or zone) to use for the override. That was I showed that 1 minute segment of Jan's video. He used Spot focus for the override. Spot is not my first choice for that. I prefer Single point and sometimes Zone AF but each to their own.
 
I should also add. The main reason I referred to that 1 minute clip. If you use an AF override and say you use Spot focus you don't have to get it on the head or eye. Just get it anywhere on the body and then go back to Eye detect and let the camera find the eye. Much faster than trying to get it on the head (or eye) especially for BIF.

Sometimes on other sites I think some couldn't quite get that part. They thought they had to get the spot focus point on the eye or head before going back to Eye detect. You don't.
 
Since almost all my BIFs are surprises, I have no way of knowing in advance if the bird is going to fly straight or chaotically or behind things. So I don't know of any way to program the cases beforehand to match the shooting situation. Therefore I leave it on Auto.

I have been tied up with other things the last few days, but want to get out and practice more. I think my problem is mainly getting the bird in the frame and in one place long enough for the AF system to be able to concentrate on it. In other words, it's a technique issue. Plus R7 limitations too of course, but I suspect mostly my poor technique.
 
The system has its limitations and sometimes there isn't much you can do. Even with Eye detect and whole area we have ti try and anticipate the birds movement. That is not easy to do with really erratic birds. You'd probably get better results with the R3 but you spend a lot more. I would let get myself get too frustrated over that. How many BIF shots of swallows get posted? Not very many. :)

At one time Ron liked Auto but I think he went back to controlling TS and Accel/Decel himself. Others swear by it.

I thought long and hard about Auto and here is my take. Tracking Sensitivity. You set it from -2 to +2 and both end do as advertised. I've done controlled tests. -2 will hang onto your original subject for a second and not refocus on obstacle. +2 will immediately focus on the obstacle. How could the system possibly know what a user wants? To hang on to the original subject or let it go? Since I believe most people want to hang onto the original subject I think Canon weighted TS towards -1 or -2 in Auto.

Accel/Decel in Auto. I can see the system automatically compensating when subjects are stopping/starting and slowing down/speeding up.

I think Auto is a good choice.
 
Ron @ Whistling Wings Photography is one of the better bird in flight photographers and Central Florida tour operators. I’ve been with him on Blue Cypress Lake shooting osprey and owls and he really knows his stuff, and he knows Canon cameras. He’s the person that introduced me to the R5 and I haven’t looked back.

Ron has a YouTube channel. Maybe checking out some of his videos will help with getting the settings. Here a few of his R7 videos but he has more on AF settings on the Canon R3, R5 and R7



So I watched the first two videos. The first went by a bit too fast and too much emphasis on the R3 and R5. I will watch it again at the right time.

The second was just on the R7. I discovered I had High Speed Display OFF! Very odd, because in my notes it says On. So that was an error, now fixed. That could help with BIF.

I did find it odd that Ron favored the electronic shutter. That will give rolling shutter effects with BIF. He also didn't go into the Detail Set of the AF-ON button. The settings there are important.

Time to go out and do some tests.
 
Exactly. Shoot less shots and you will get better results. Who needs 30 fps! We used to shoot 5 fps, then 10, after that 15 now we are at 30 and we think that it's not enough!
I fundamentally do not agree with "we". It's easy to parse "need" historically, so please defend it with cars, airplanes, the internet, indoor plumbing, ...

Shooting birds in flight we lived with what we had, so sure, I did a lot of shooting at 5-10fps, and I was happy with what I got. But if I had all those shots back and in a catalog I would happily show you hundreds of series where in the one to two tenths of a second between a pair of shots the perfect moment existed. But the shots on either side were useless So the moment exists only in memory. We "needed" it but didn't have it, so we didn't complain about it to others because the option wasn't available. But when it was there was rejoicing, and when it worked we saw what we were missing.

If I "needed" 30fps in a "there's no way I can live without it" way then I would pony up for an R3 that can actually perform at that rate. My problem with the R7 is that Canon gives you 30fps and then laughs as they say, "Made you look!! It doesn't work." It's like a car that tells you it will drive itself but once in a while it doesn't see the truck sitting across the road in front of you. Sure, who "needs" to be behind the wheel and not drive, but there are times you want to use what you paid for. So you turn it on and turn around to get something in the back seat, and ... do you want this to be the time it decided not to do what it said it does? What you paid for it to do?

With that behind me, let me say "we" have no idea what "we" are talking about when "we" dismiss the idea that more is not "needed" and that results are "better" without it. All we're doing is avoiding that auto pilot button that we paid for.

And Canon, if you're listening, don't give us what we want if it doesn't work. We're happier with something that simply delivers on spec. And maybe even paid more if it did (how many of the initial reviews said something about this "not being the replacement for the 7D"?!)
 
Was at Conowingo shooting Eagles yesterday. Heavy fog and low light when we arrived, so I did some non-scientific experiments. Had my OMS OM-1 with the 150-400 f/4.5 (FFE 300-800), my new R7 with the RF 100-500, and then my R5 with the RF 100-500. Shooting a blue heron sitting on a rock across the way......
First cam to achieve focus lock at 800mm (500 for the R5) as the light improved and the fog lifted, was the OM-1, second was the R5, third was the R7. My point for the day was to see how the R7 compared primarily at 800mm as compared to the OM-1 at 800mm. Once the light was decent, they all did the job, however in low light the R7 was the worst.
IQ wise, just looking at shots in LrC, in good light You really can't tell the pics apart when shot in good light (no crop or the R5 wins).

AF for birds in flight, the R7 locked on to the flying Cormorants (Eagles were asleep I guess) but didn't hold the lock as well as the other two cams particularly as they dropped below the tree line. Best for birds was the OM-1.
OM-1 rig costs $9500. R5 rig was roughly $6700, and the R7 rig cost $4300.
All anecdotal musings.
YMMV
 
Was at Conowingo shooting Eagles yesterday. Heavy fog and low light when we arrived, so I did some non-scientific experiments. Had my OMS OM-1 with the 150-400 f/4.5 (FFE 300-800), my new R7 with the RF 100-500, and then my R5 with the RF 100-500. Shooting a blue heron sitting on a rock across the way......
First cam to achieve focus lock at 800mm (500 for the R5) as the light improved and the fog lifted, was the OM-1, second was the R5, third was the R7. My point for the day was to see how the R7 compared primarily at 800mm as compared to the OM-1 at 800mm. Once the light was decent, they all did the job, however in low light the R7 was the worst.
IQ wise, just looking at shots in LrC, in good light You really can't tell the pics apart when shot in good light (no crop or the R5 wins).

AF for birds in flight, the R7 locked on to the flying Cormorants (Eagles were asleep I guess) but didn't hold the lock as well as the other two cams particularly as they dropped below the tree line. Best for birds was the OM-1.
OM-1 rig costs $9500. R5 rig was roughly $6700, and the R7 rig cost $4300.
All anecdotal musings.
YMMV
Interesting comparison! Had to read it a couple of times. Performance seems to correlate with cost and weight.

I'm assuming here without having seen the pics that there was no severe cropping involved, but wondering about the results if it were.
 
My summary of the R7. It may have some limitations which I didn't notice because I never shot in H+ in ES. I didn't want to cull all of those files. I find the AF pretty amazing. From the first day when I really started using it (not practising in the condo :) ) I was pretty impressed how quickly it locked on an how well it tracked. It locked onto small bird heads in big ponds even with distracting reeds, etc. For BIF it just tracked. The AF point it adjusted the size as needed but just followed the bird. For really erratic birds all my R bodies have been challenging. I've never had a 1DX body nor do I have or tried an R3 to see how much difference it makes.

However this is the first Canon body I can say I was a tad disappointed in. The mechanical shutter is awful, for me anyway. I don't even like it in EFCS. Seemed like Canon cheeped out a little.

The R5 specs show 14 bit for M/EFCS shutter and 12 bit for ES. It does not say that in the R7 manual but I find it hard to believe that processor could maintain 14 bit in ES when it can't keep up to AF at 30fps. The fellow from Photons to Photons measured it and say says it is 12 bit in ES. I'd prefer to shoot in 14 but then there is this. Canon stopped posting that info for other bodies as well.


The R3 might be able to handle it. Here is a screen shot of unofficial readout speeds from one of Duade Paton's videos.
 

Attachments

  • Screenshot-2023-10-25-at-1.54.21 AM.jpg
    Screenshot-2023-10-25-at-1.54.21 AM.jpg
    61.7 KB · Views: 33

Latest reviews

  • Zoom Canon RF 24-240mm F4-6.3 IS USM
    4.00 star(s)
    A good lens for what it does, with it's drawbacks
    I have had this lens since it came out and it is my lightweight go to lens for walking around in the city and using my infrared-converted camera...
    • Hali
  • Zoom Canon RF 24-240mm F4-6.3 IS USM
    5.00 star(s)
    Exceeded My Expectations
    I was fully prepared to not really like the Canon EOS RF 24-240mm lens, but I bought one on the used market because a friend was very pleased with...
    • Dave Noordhoff
  • Prime Canon RF 35mm F1.8 Macro IS STM
    5.00 star(s)
    Excellent Standard Lens for Full Frame RF Mount Cameras
    I've used this great little lens on a RP, R6 and a R6 Mk 2 and been pleased with its performance on all three bodies. It's ideal for portraits...
    • Dave Noordhoff

New in the marketplace

Back
Top