We issued another update to our Canon EOS R5 review recently. This time around, we decided to push the limits of what it was said to be able to do. When we typically see photos of birds and animals, they’re stagnant. But the Canon EOS R5 has animal AI detection that is seriously amazing to us. So we set up a test to see how well it could track birds doing something pretty unpredictable: fighting over food. And as you’ll see in our Canon EOS R5 review update, it did a pretty incredible job.
Our staff universally agrees that the Canon system is better than Sony’s when it comes to animal detection. But in our reviews, we’re often capturing birds either in predictable flight patterns or totally still. In our review update though, we captured birds fighting over food. And the results are pretty mind blowing.
Here’s the update that we included in our full Canon EOS R5 review. You can click here to check out the full review if you’re interested. For your curiosity, we used the Canon EOS R5 and the Canon RF 100-500mm f4.5-7.1 IS L USM lens, and both can be purchased using the links provided.
Animal AF: Capturing Birds Fighting Over Food
The Canon EOS R5 is an insanely capable camera and has only become better with firmware updates. Since Canon added animal and vehicle detection, it’s one of the most versatile cameras on the market. When it comes to animal detection, it’s incredibly good. But we decided to see just how good it is for birding. Most bird photos you see are of stagnant birds or ones in flight. We wanted to get something a bit different.
For months, Editor in Chief Chris Gampat has set up a bird feeder on his balcony and worked to gain the trust of local birds. Slowly they started to come. One day, the younger pigeons saw the mourning doves eating, and came in droves with house sparrows. And eventually, they all started fighting over the food. The drama that ensued made for great photos.
These aren’t the stagnant shots of birds that we see. Instead, we used the Canon EOS R5 with the Canon RF 100-500mm f4.5-7.1 L IS USM to see how well it could track the birds moving. To capture this, I had to do a bit of refinement:
- I changed how I used the AF. I set the AF-On button to single point and lowest tracking sensitivity.
- Changed the Servo AF to Case 2, which tracks subjects and ignores obstacles. This worked when it came to tracking a bird’s head and eye when things like a wing or another bird got in front of it.
- It absolutely did incredibly well. But I still think that the Canon EOS R7 would do a better job. However, really good action photos of animals are very possible with the Canon EOS R5
We shot at ISO 6400 to capture the fast-moving motion. We also used the High continuous + drive mode along with the High-speed drive mode. When the Canon EOS R5 was set in this way, it continually captured great photos of birds fighting and interacting with one another. Some of these images were shot in HDR PQ settings, so that’s why the tonality on them is different. When you do this, you can’t use the electronic shutter.
We’re very impressed with what the Canon EOS R5 can do in a situation like this. And compared to the Sony A1, it performs pretty much just as well. Arguably, the Canon system gives you more control than Sony’s does.