Small Birds with the Canon R3 and the EF 100-400 IS V2 and a couple 1.6 Crop Factor Images

pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooterwestern IndianaSuper Moderators Posts: 14,641 moderator
edited June 27, 2022 in Wildlife

In my previous thread - https://dgrin.com/discussion/268132/a-few-birds-and-other-critters-from-south-texas#latest - I mentioned that I had ordered the Canon R3 body last October 2021. It finally arrived in late April of this year, and I have spent the last 4 weeks chasing small birds in west central Indiana with the R3 body, and an EF 100-400 IS v2 + a version III 1.4 tele-converter that I already owned. This gave me a 560mm f 8 lens for my R3 body. I wanted to see how the AF faired at f8, and how the IBIS worked with the non-RF lens. I own and use an RF 100-500 on my R5, but this post is about the R3.

The lighter weight of the R3, compared to my 1DX Mk II, is appreciated, the inbody IBIS allows me to hand hold lenses that I would otherwise need a tripod with a standard DSLR. The larger LP-E19 battery means I don't usually need to carry a couple extra batteries for an afternoon of shooting, like I might with the R5. The viewfinder in the R3 is a joy to use with no apparent blackouts which are so disturbing if you are shooting birds in flight.

A catbird in front of rhododendron bush 560mm, f8, 1/800th, ISO 2500. This image, like most of these posted here, are significant crops, barely 1/4 of the full frame image. The R3 is 4000 x 6000 pixels, or 24 Mbts in size which is 25% bigger than the files from my 1DX Mk II

I have several frames of blue jays, here is one in the rhododendron bush with a peanut 560mm, f8, 1/800th, ISO 8000

This frame of a blue jay flying directly toward me at 1/800th second shows how well the AF system can be at f8 in the shade, 560mm, ISO 1600 - the eye seems pretty sharp

This cardinal was captured at 560mm, f8, 1/800th, at ISO 3200

I know a shutter speed of 1/800th is too low for birds in flight, but in deep shade with an f8 lens, what are you gonna do? The fact is that the combination of 1/800th and IBIS works pretty well for this body - better than I would have thought.

Now I am eager to see what Canon reveals in a couple weeks with the announcement of the APS-C R7 - A 32 MPxl mirrorless body with, hopefully, the AF and IBIS of the R3. We'll know more pretty soon

Any comments or questions about the images I have posted are heartily encouraged.

Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin

Comments

  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Super Moderators Posts: 22,542 moderator

    Feathers are a great test of resolution and your images are a proof-positive of the resolving power of the Canon EOS R3 with the EF 100-400mm F/4.5-5.6L IS II USM and Canon Extender EF 1.4x III.

    Great job, Pathfinder! 👍👍

    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaSuper Moderators Posts: 14,641 moderator

    Thank you for your comments, Ziggy. I thought the noise levels for ISOs from 3200- 8000 heavily cropped were pretty decent, certainly better than my 1DX Mk II.

    Here's another thieving blue jay 1/800th, f8, ** ISO 12800**

    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaSuper Moderators Posts: 14,641 moderator
    edited June 27, 2022

    While the R3 is a full frame mirrorless camera, it is capable of shooting in APSC 1.6 crop mode, capturing a central portion of the sensor, to yield an ~ 9 Mpxl RAW file that is 3744 x 2496 pixels in size. Why would one not just shoot in full frame mode and crop later, I think is most folks thinking.
    But the ability to reach out with 560mm - ( 400 + 1.4 TC ) and then be able to see a stable, non-moving image at 1.6 x 560 mm, ( or 896mm equivalent ), at a bright f8, is not to be sneezed at, when chasing small birds. This is a small light combo you can actually handhold, although it it better to brace it on something, even if you are shooting without a tripod. Chasing closeups of small birds can be challenging from a tripod rig. At least for me.....
    I started shooting in crop mode, mostly, out of curiosity, expecting to be not very impressed, but found myself shooting in crop mode more and more. The tracking AF continues to work even in deep shade back inside the rhododendron bushes. The pixel count is not very high, but, I can't shoot most APSC sensored cameras at ISO 6400, or 12600 with any expectation of useful images. But these are the same pixel sensors as the rest of the R3's sensor, and if I DO my job, and the focus is crack on, a significant percentage of the frames are of value to my eye. I will post a few here, so the readers can give me their opinion. The following images were shot with my R3 in crop mode, AND have been significantly cropped further, but they still seem of some value. This does require sharp lenses, that focus quickly. The EOS 100-400 V2 focuses to under 3 meters even with a TC and a crop sensor.

    A male house finch at ISO 10,000 1/800th f10 - 3585 x 2390 pixels in size for the image seen below

    Here's a chipping sparrow getting a drink ISO 10,000 1/800th f8.0 - 2956 x 1971 pixels in the final image

    I am interested in folks opinion about the images captured in crop mode - APSC 1.6 crop with the R3 posted here

    It will be interesting to see how the R7 images compare - certainly much larger file sizes, roughly 32 Mpxls, but I suspect their low light performance will not match that of the cropped files from the R3.

    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Super Moderators Posts: 22,542 moderator

    Impressive results speak for themselves! 👍👍

    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
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