EOS R on night drives (Kruger National Park)

Bundu

EOS T7i
Nov 24, 2014
67
22
South Africa
Some feedback if you want to use the R on a night drive on an african safari. The best camera for autofocus at night with just the light of a torch or spotlight. I struggled previously and this time I brought a 70-200 iii 2.8 with. It worked excellent with the R. I then used the 400 DO ii 4.0 witch did not work well previously and the same results. The moment you have a bit of light on the subject the focus is aquired almost immediately. With animals as far as 70m away. I would strongly recommend taking an R with on an african safari as you will eventually go on a night drive or two and the R REALLY makes a huge difference. I do not know why. On paper it should not be that much better than the 6dii or 5div but it does. Keeper rate for in focus shots went up from approx 20% to 90% plus. And focus aquisition 4 or 5 times faster.
 

Bundu

EOS T7i
Nov 24, 2014
67
22
South Africa
Hi Alan. The 6dii and 5div. I have used the 6dii extensively on night drives. The 5div only twice before I changed to the 6dii (for the flip screen). And then I changed to the R.
Maybe I did not use the previous bodies correctly hence the huge difference? Because the spec sheets says the difference cannot be that drastic.
 

Maximilian

The dark side - I've been there
Nov 7, 2013
2,319
177
Germany
Thanks, Bundu, for this interesting information.
To me it is getting clearer and clearer, that the R AF system has a really high potential.
I am curious on how this will work with a high performance, high fps R body (compare to 1DX II or alpha 9).
 

Bundu

EOS T7i
Nov 24, 2014
67
22
South Africa
I more and more get a feeling that they use a much bigger area than the focus point area for initial focus and then narrows focus down to the focus point. Pure speculation though!!!
 

Kit Lens Jockey

EOS 7D MK II
Nov 12, 2016
440
140
The R's autofocus ability in low light is the one thing that has led me to use it almost exclusively now. Despite preferring the controls and the ease of use on the 5D4 very much, the low light autofocus on the R completely blows it away. Put an f1.2 prime on the R (even an EF lens), and it will focus on things too dark for me to even see, and it does it without hesitation or inaccuracy.
 

AlanF

5DSR
Aug 16, 2012
4,664
1,171
I fully accept that the AF of the R works with less light than that of the 5DIV and that can be a good feature, but I am very surprised that the light levels are limiting for AF for torch-illuminated wild-life on safari. The guides use torches to illuminate well enough that the human eye can see the wild life easily, and the 5DIV AF works in the near dark and the R when you can hardly see at all. What were you using to illuminate the wildlife - a match at 100 metres? I have never found the 5DIV AF deficient when the guide has been using a torch at night and I used centre spot focus. Here are two from a North Borneo trip. The top is a buffy fishowl eating a rat, taken hand held standing from the top of a bus at 1/20s and iso 6400, the lower of a buffy owl taken from a rowing boat at 1/15s and iso6400, both at 400mm and f/4 and cropped. Any less light than that would not have given me the quality I wanted, and that degree of light is virtually floodlighting compared to the -3ev lower limit for the 5DIV.
2B4A7541_DxO_buffyfishowleatingrat20.jpg
2B4A6891_DxO_buffyfishowl_15th.jpg
 

Bundu

EOS T7i
Nov 24, 2014
67
22
South Africa
@AlanF. I agree, the 6dii and 5div autofocus is really really good with torch illuminated wildlife with the proviso that they are near, not moving and you have enough light and contrast. But try and focus on the lowly little shrub hare with its yellowish colour, yellow grass and the yellow light and it becomes very difficult to focus, and almost impossible when the hare is moving. The R still focus instantly, or nearly so, no matter far or near, still or moving, high or low contrast, yellow or white(led) light. As long as you can have the faintest of light on the animal it will focus.
Once again, the difference in autofocus performance, for me and what I am doing, is huge. Much much better than the spec sheets suggest. Like I said before, maybe I was using the mirrored cameras incorrectly?
 

AlanF

5DSR
Aug 16, 2012
4,664
1,171
Interesting. What AF settings did you use to follow the hare? Could you post an image as it would be nice to see one.
 

Bundu

EOS T7i
Nov 24, 2014
67
22
South Africa
@AlanF. Deleted all the hare photos except this. This was an easy shot as the hare was quite near and not in the yellow grass. It was running away from us. iso20000 f4 1/100 no flash
EOSR_iso20000_f4_100_no_flash1.jpg
 

Bundu

EOS T7i
Nov 24, 2014
67
22
South Africa
All taken with 400 DO at F4. This taken from very far. iso12800 f4 1/80 no flash. High iso but you can still see the whiskers, so autofocus spot on.
EOSR_iso12800_f4_80_no_flash3.jpg
 

Bundu

EOS T7i
Nov 24, 2014
67
22
South Africa
I see now that you cannot zoom in on the detail, especially the leopard photo. Must I upload the full resolution version as a thumbnail?
 

AlanF

5DSR
Aug 16, 2012
4,664
1,171
Thank you. And how did you set up the AF? Was it center focus, for example!? What was the size of the AF area? If you want to show more detail, just crop the bird or hare and load that. It’s was useful seeing what you have uploaded so far.
 
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