Canon 1DX iii or Canon R5 for wildlife photography?

davidhfe

EOS RP
Sep 9, 2015
302
445
I currently have a Canon R5 on pre-order but i feel like i could be making a very expensive mistake.

Firstly i want to say that i own the canon 1DX ii and that i am a wildlife photographer. I am interested in the R5 due to its animal AF capabilities and the 45MP. I feel that it will be beneficial to me.
But i also feel as i am used to the 1DX then maybe the R5 isn't for me, Smaller form, not as rugged, the battery life does concern me a little also.

I have thought about getting the 1DX iii but it doesn't have the feature i am most looking forward too (animal AF)

Do you think that a R5 would be a good purchase if you owned a 1DX ii? would you consider it a downgrade even if it would be an additional camera (still keep the 1dx ii)

If you owned the 1DX II and was looking at getting a new camera what would be the deciding factors against the 1DX iii & R5

Do you think the R5 animal AF is not a big deal against the 1DX iii AF?

I would love to hear peoples opinions, i feel it could make me look at things in a new light.

I have worked out that it will only be around £1500 in difference between the R5 & 1DX iii after i have brought the grip, another battery and a card for the R5
I would not consider the R5 (or any 5 series!) a downgrade from a 1DX2 for many shooters. I think those who would think of it as a downgrade have fairly niche use cases that demand the 1 series--those folks generally know who they are:

- Need a bulletproof camera for harsh conditions (conflict zones, extreme temps)
- Value speed above all. The 1DX's shutter modes still give you 65% more speed over the R5. Are you up against your 1D2's 14fps AF/AE limit frequently?
- Are driving big whites. I am under the impression that these lenses can be driven faster with the 1D's higher voltage battery (I don't know how a gripped 5 series compares) but folks who own them should chime in here
- Need some other 1-series exclusive feature (speaking of, why has nobody ever put an ethernet jack on a grip before? awesome idea)
- EVF/OVF preference, though this is not a "1 vs 5" issue strictly speaking

To me, the R5 seems to be an ideal wildlife camera for those who aren't shooting in extreme situations. I can't answer if you should upgrade or not, but I would only go to the 1DX3 if you hit the above boxes. I am not even sure how big issue #3 is—it's come up on these boards and others when comparing vs the 5D4 which has "the same" AF system as the 1D2.
 

scottkinfw

Wildlife photography is my passion
I currently have a Canon R5 on pre-order but i feel like i could be making a very expensive mistake.

Firstly i want to say that i own the canon 1DX ii and that i am a wildlife photographer. I am interested in the R5 due to its animal AF capabilities and the 45MP. I feel that it will be beneficial to me.
But i also feel as i am used to the 1DX then maybe the R5 isn't for me, Smaller form, not as rugged, the battery life does concern me a little also.

I have thought about getting the 1DX iii but it doesn't have the feature i am most looking forward too (animal AF)

Do you think that a R5 would be a good purchase if you owned a 1DX ii? would you consider it a downgrade even if it would be an additional camera (still keep the 1dx ii)

If you owned the 1DX II and was looking at getting a new camera what would be the deciding factors against the 1DX iii & R5

Do you think the R5 animal AF is not a big deal against the 1DX iii AF?

I would love to hear peoples opinions, i feel it could make me look at things in a new light.

I have worked out that it will only be around £1500 in difference between the R5 & 1DX iii after i have brought the grip, another battery and a card for the R5

Hi Jack.

I have the 1DXII, and my passion is wildlife photography. I can't always shoot animals in the wild, so I also shoot landscapes, events, some portraits. I purchased the same accessories (less expensive grip) along with (the more expensive) adapter. I love my 1DXII. I ordered the R5 and don't consider it a downgrade.

The 1DXII is very heavy and big on it's own especially with an L-bracket and big whites. Add a second camera and a tripod and to the mix and unless you are very big and strong, it is difficult to carry on hikes. The size/weight will be an issue on international flights with a weight limit of 20 Kg. When I go on tours/photo shoots I always take two bodies, and sometimes filters. My second camera currently is the 5DIII.

I think the animal AF is a is an important feature. The size/weight is very important to me. I'm not concerned at all about the battery (can always slip fully charged ones in during a break in the action). The R5's higher MP count is important to me, I think this is a very good MP count that shows greater detail/resolution vs. 1DXII (1DXIII?) and yet, the FPS is 12/20, so it is a sweet spot for me. I am looking forward to seeing what the new sensor will do.

Even with the accessories, the R5 is cheaper.

So for me, the size/weight, MP count, animal AF were all important. This is the first prosumer l sports/action/wildlife mirrorless that Canon put out and will likely have some quirks. Still, I think that later iterations will be even better and that this is where we will be headed. I am not worried about the durability of the camera at all or ergonomics. If/when Canon comes out with an R1, I'll be comfortable moving up.

Frankly, I'm excited to get the R5.

These are my values and my thoughts on the R5. If you have doubts about your choice, you can cancel the order and later, rent one before committing. Don't buy the camera unless you really WANT it, because it doesn't seem like you really NEED it.

Regards,

scott
 
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scottkinfw

Wildlife photography is my passion
Yes, good for the soul but not so for the knees and back, waiting with one hand on the trigger. About 8 hours in total with mixed results but at least I now have seen the Quetzals that the natives revered. Quite the bird.
On the other hand, you were shooting in very difficult conditions. Dark birds, likely poor lighting
Yes, good for the soul but not so for the knees and back, waiting with one hand on the trigger. About 8 hours in total with mixed results but at least I now have seen the Quetzals that the natives revered. Quite the bird.
I'll just remind you about wildlife photography. It is a matter of luck and being at the right place at the right time, and of course, technical skill. You were shooting in difficult conditions, and unless you had supplemental lighting (maybe with a better beamer) it would be unreasonable to expect a much better result. It is the lot in life for a wildlife photographer.
 
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Jack Douglas

CR for the Humour
Apr 10, 2013
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Alberta, Canada
On the other hand, you were shooting in very difficult conditions. Dark birds, likely poor lighting

I'll just remind you about wildlife photography. It is a matter of luck and being at the right place at the right time, and of course, technical skill. You were shooting in difficult conditions, and unless you had supplemental lighting (maybe with a better beamer) it would be unreasonable to expect a much better result. It is the lot in life for a wildlife photographer.
No reminder needed! I'm not a particularly lucky person but with my camera I've had more than my share of luck. My only photographic virtue is persistence. And yes the lighting was so bad and then a mist came in making the results so disappointing. There were some that were a little better but clearly the camera couldn't focus fast enough. Looking at the second shot you'll realize why I was so disappointed because of what it might have been. Would the R5 have made a difference??

Female Quetzal arriving at nest_s_38235.JPG
Quetzal_male_s_38223 - Copy.JPG
 

AlanF

Stay alert, control the camera, save photos
Aug 16, 2012
6,844
5,893
On the other hand, you were shooting in very difficult conditions. Dark birds, likely poor lighting

I'll just remind you about wildlife photography. It is a matter of luck and being at the right place at the right time, and of course, technical skill. You were shooting in difficult conditions, and unless you had supplemental lighting (maybe with a better beamer) it would be unreasonable to expect a much better result. It is the lot in life for a wildlife photographer.
As Louis Pasteur said, “Luck favours the well-prepared photographer”
 
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I've seen a couple of videos of the R5 in the hands of pro wildlife photographers, and the animal eye detect is a gamechanger as they reckon it focuses on the eye of the bird from quite a distance.
One of them showed a run of about 20 shots of a bird diving and coming towards him and every shot had perfect focus.
I reckon the focussing system will be a godsend for wildlife photographers.
 

Jack Douglas

CR for the Humour
Apr 10, 2013
6,609
1,970
Alberta, Canada
I've seen a couple of videos of the R5 in the hands of pro wildlife photographers, and the animal eye detect is a gamechanger as they reckon it focuses on the eye of the bird from quite a distance.
One of them showed a run of about 20 shots of a bird diving and coming towards him and every shot had perfect focus.
I reckon the focussing system will be a godsend for wildlife photographers.
I'm cautiously hoping you're right on that one!

Jack
 

scottkinfw

Wildlife photography is my passion
As Louis Pasteur said, “Luck favours the well-prepared photographer”
I absolutely agree. I was thinking that I should have said (not as eloquently as Louis), that you have to be ready to shoot before you get to the site. Sadly, I missed my best shots learning and re-learning that addage.
Thank you.

scott
 
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mkamelg

EOS 5DS R
Feb 1, 2015
31
12
I'm NOT from the United States
Published July 18, 2020


A few questions and answers to them from the comments posted below the video.

Q: Anand Iyer Wow the eye AF looks pretty amazing. What would you say the hit rate is when eye AF is locked on during burst shooting?
A: Andrew Beck 90% + easily! It hardly skips a beat.

Q: David Francescangeli Which lenses have been used? 100-400II ef with adapter rf-ef and?....
A: Andrew Beck In addition to the 100-400mm MKII I used the 400mm F2.8 MKII paired with 1.4X and 2X converters whilst in the field on this occassion.

Q: Jason Koch Is there any blackout with it set to 120 refresh rate?
A: Andrew Beck I pushed this to the extreme by panning and using slower shutter speeds to see how the camera performed and I must say that it is hardly noticeable. The AF system works hard to maintain focus throughout as well. A vast improvement on the R and RP as you’d expect.

Q: Jason Koch Andrew Beck So there is some blackout?
A: Andrew Beck No more than what you’d expect with a DSLR at slower shutter speeds as far as I’m concerned.
A: Jason Koch Andrew Beck Thanks for the info.
A: Andrew Beck My pleasure, watch the top left corner of the clip and you’ll see when actual images were captured and how negligible any blackout is. Hope that helps!

Later, there was also a discussion between commenters with a question that had not yet been answered.

Chas Moonie @Andrew Beck Thanks Andrew, is the viewfinder blackout free @ 20 fps like Sony A9 or do you have to use the LCD screen for blackout free @ 20fps, I have pre ordered R5 , fingers crossed

Quivver77 This is an important question. If there is blackout then I will have to wait for the R1 or R1x (1dx equivalent). If you're shooting a cheetah hunt you can't have a blackout while tracking otherwise you'll be constantly behind the action. Yes DSLR has blackouts but your mind fills in the gaps and allows you to follow the action - unless the blackout in the R5 is that short the lag will make it hard to shoot fast action. Please test for this extreme condition case.

Chas Moonie @Quivver77 I can't get anyone to answer this question, I have asked at least six R5 reviewers and nobody will answer !

Quivver77 @Chas Moonie That is frankly worrying. Because a fast AF by itself is not enough. I am looking to move from the 1dx II to mirrorless but unless the system has zero lag there is simply no way I would do it. Yes - blackouts exist in DSLR's but the mirror slap is very fast and our brains can process that missed frame and still keep focus (plus the optical viewfinder has NO LAG). But if there is lag in the R5 (EVF) and it takes a few miliseconds for the image to process and another few miliseconds for the EVF to update the subject will already be in a different location. If you are dealing with a fast subject it will essentially jump frames. Something that will make photography not only difficult but very annoying. Andrew Beck is a wildlife photographer so he should understand and know this problem as i'm sure he's used DSLR's extensively in these kinds of high frame rate action situations. Honest review would be appreciated.

Chas Moonie @Quivver77 I would be surprised if R5 is blackout free in viewfinder like A9. The EVF refresh rate is 120, some say this will help but I don't have sufficient technical knowledge ?? I had 1DXII and EOS R and EOS R was ok for non action stuff only.
 
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BeenThere

EOS R
Sep 4, 2012
1,087
504
The R5 has so much potential, that I would just get it now, use it for awhile, and if it is too disappointing in some respect, sell it. It should hold value really well in the first year. There will always be better cameras arriving later.
 

AlanF

Stay alert, control the camera, save photos
Aug 16, 2012
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was that back to your film days? surely not with your Canon DSLR. Right? :)
I like eye-AF in liveview on my 90D and RX10IV for human portraits. But, for birds, if I ever get the opportunity see anything interesting in these covid times, it would rarely make much difference for me.
 

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
Mar 25, 2011
16,108
1,202
I don't know how I have ever managed to take a photo of a bird without eye-AF. I had better delete the lot and start all over again.
And, check the link to flickr. Almost exclusively birds sitting in a tree or pond. Nothing wrong with them, but any camera would be fine for them.
 
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Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
Mar 25, 2011
16,108
1,202
I would not consider the R5 (or any 5 series!) a downgrade from a 1DX2 for many shooters. I think those who would think of it as a downgrade have fairly niche use cases that demand the 1 series--those folks generally know who they are:

- Need a bulletproof camera for harsh conditions (conflict zones, extreme temps)
- Value speed above all. The 1DX's shutter modes still give you 65% more speed over the R5. Are you up against your 1D2's 14fps AF/AE limit frequently?
- Are driving big whites. I am under the impression that these lenses can be driven faster with the 1D's higher voltage battery (I don't know how a gripped 5 series compares) but folks who own them should chime in here
- Need some other 1-series exclusive feature (speaking of, why has nobody ever put an ethernet jack on a grip before? awesome idea)
- EVF/OVF preference, though this is not a "1 vs 5" issue strictly speaking

To me, the R5 seems to be an ideal wildlife camera for those who aren't shooting in extreme situations. I can't answer if you should upgrade or not, but I would only go to the 1DX3 if you hit the above boxes. I am not even sure how big issue #3 is—it's come up on these boards and others when comparing vs the 5D4 which has "the same" AF system as the 1D2.
I have one on order as well. I have a 30 day return period in case I don't like the way it works for me. I have returned one camera in the last 20+ years because I was disappointed, so its possible but unlikely.
 

Jack Douglas

CR for the Humour
Apr 10, 2013
6,609
1,970
Alberta, Canada
And the R5 doesn't have the AF-ON back button exactly where it is on the 1DX2 rendering it useless for me. ;) My ideal camera must have legs, a brain with perfect AI and long range transmission to heaven and hell (just in case).

Jack
 

AlanF

Stay alert, control the camera, save photos
Aug 16, 2012
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And the R5 doesn't have the AF-ON back button exactly where it is on the 1DX2 rendering it useless for me. ;) My ideal camera must have legs, a brain with perfect AI and long range transmission to heaven and hell (just in case).

Jack
I am afraid it's purgatory for you, and the WiFi won't work there.
 

Keith_Reeder

I really don't mind offending trolls.
Feb 8, 2014
957
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Blyth, NE England
I don't know how I have ever managed to take a photo of a bird without eye-AF. I had better delete the lot and start all over again.
Joking apart, I know that many of my bird images - even some of the best - were not focused on the eye, but elsewhere on the body, because I didn't have time to move the AF to the ideal "on the eye" position.

If the R5's animal/bird AF can streamline that aspect for me - and it's looking promising - I'm really struggling to see a downside to the camera. Yes, the pixel density means I'll lose a bit of effective reach compared to the 7D Mk II, but it'll improve significantly over my 1D-x, and that's the camera I use most, just because of how responsive and intuitive it feels in the hand.

The other deal-breaker for me is to be able to use Auto ISO in Manual and be able to easily adjust the EC: I can't imagine for a second that the R5 won't have that ability, so...

Oh - and and AF-On button in a sensible place, of course - thanks for the reminder, Jack..!
 

AlanF

Stay alert, control the camera, save photos
Aug 16, 2012
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Joking apart, I know that many of my bird images - even some of the best - were not focused on the eye, but elsewhere on the body, because I didn't have time to move the AF to the ideal "on the eye" position.

If the R5's animal/bird AF can streamline that aspect for me - and it's looking promising - I'm really struggling to see a downside to the camera. Yes, the pixel density means I'll lose a bit of effective reach compared to the 7D Mk II, but it'll improve significantly over my 1D-x, and that's the camera I use most, just because of how responsive and intuitive it feels in the hand.

The other deal-breaker for me is to be able to use Auto ISO in Manual and be able to easily adjust the EC: I can't imagine for a second that the R5 won't have that ability, so...

Oh - and and AF-On button in a sensible place, of course - thanks for the reminder, Jack..!
I never move the AF point for bird photography for two main reasons. First, I am rarely sufficiently close that I need to - cropping is my middle name. Secondly, I use back button focus and on the very rare occasions the bird is too large in the frame, I focus on on the eye and recompose in a fraction of a second. I do agree eye AF would be useful in the second case. What is more important for me is for the camera to latch on quickly to a bird in flight. The R5 will not sacrifice reach to the 7DII, which attracts me to it - the 5DSR outresolves the 7DII and Canon claims the R5 outresolves then5DSR.
 
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