Canon R5 sharpness with 100-400 ii and buffer issues

Olivier11986

I'm New Here
May 17, 2013
23
1
Montreal
www.flickr.com
Hello everyone!
First of all, english is not my first language and I apologize for any mistake.
I've been doing bird photography for the last 10-12 years but I'm getting somewhat desperate with my new R5 these days... I got some serious buffer issues and the image sharpness is really bad compared to my old 5Dmkiii.

First, the buffer issue : whenever I do burst shots, my buffer starts around 40-45 pics available and after the first 3-4 shots it drops down to 20 before I can take maybe 10-12 shots if I'm lucky. This could be tolerable, but the buffer takes up to 90 seconds (timed it) to get transferred to the CFExpress card (Sandisk) and even when I'm up to around 13-15 shots I can only take one shot before it goes down to 0 again! I've tried this with multiple CFExpress cards, SD cards (300mbps) and the result is always the same. I shoot raw and save on a single card. The only time the problem seems to be somewhat less present is when I shoot without a lens and with the cap on and it seems to be worse when I continuously need to focus on my subjects. Needless to say, I missed a lot of shots this way.

As if this wasn't enough, picture quality with my 100-400 ii, which was super sharp on my 5Dmkiii, is really bad or at least hit or miss with mostly misses. I'll include pictures below to illustrate what I mean (100% crop). I'm also using the Canon TC1.4x iii, but was also using it before without any problem on my old camera, getting super sharp shots.
Yesterday I saw a Boreal owl (quite rare where I live), and it flew towards me before landing no more than 10 feet from me (was not baiting). With my 5Dmkiii I would have nailed that shot super sharp since it was really an easy shot. When I looked at my pictures I was really frustrated with the results since they were really not sharp at all. I tried using servo AF and one-shot AF, animal eye dectection AF, spot AF and got mostly the same results (RAW, IBIS on, ISO AUTO (2000), f/8, 1/800s to 1/1600s). Attached below is one of many "missed" shots and one of the few where the feathers are a bit sharper (less than 5% of the files). I also added a picture of a duck in a different setting, but again with the same softness problem. I was wondering if the use of the 1.6x-cropped frame mode sometimes could be the culprit, but even when using full frame I get this problem.

Stores are closed right now where I live, but I'll send the body to Canon to fix the buffer issue when they open back. However, I'm curious to see if anyone else had these problems. I'm also worried that even if they fix the buffer issues, I'll still end up taking pictures that are not sharp.

Test 2.png

(560mm, f/8, 1/1000s, ISO 2500)
Test 3.png

(560mm, f/8, 1/800s, ISO 2000)
Test1.png

(560mm, f/9, 1/3200s, ISO 1600)
 
Last edited:

AlanF

Stay at home
CR Pro
Aug 16, 2012
8,293
10,389
I don't have the buffer problems - they seem an obvious fault - or the sharpness problems.
Regarding the focus issues, using DPP, which shows the focus points, where was the focus on the top owl? The depth of field at 10 feet is very narrow for 560mm. The 1.4xTC on the 100-400mm II is useful at long distances but I wouldn't use it for close ups of large subjects.
 

Olivier11986

I'm New Here
May 17, 2013
23
1
Montreal
www.flickr.com
I don't have the buffer problems - they seem an obvious fault - or the sharpness problems.
Regarding the focus issues, using DPP, which shows the focus points, where was the focus on the top owl? The depth of field at 10 feet is very narrow for 560mm. The 1.4xTC on the 100-400mm II is useful at long distances but I wouldn't use it for close ups of large subjects.
Regarding the auto focus I have absolutely nothing to say against it is since it locked perfectly on the eye(s) of the bird in each of the 3 pictures.
I know that the depth of field is quite shallow with this setup, but I never experienced this before with my 5Diii, plus the duck was quite far when I took the picture and the result is about the same.
Only a week until the store is open again, can't wait to take my camera in (after waiting so long to get it out, haha)!
 

AlanF

Stay at home
CR Pro
Aug 16, 2012
8,293
10,389
Yes. Do you think this could be a problem?
Just a thought. If you have focussed and forget to keep your finger pressed on the back button, the focussing square still follows the eye in eyeAF even if the AF is not allowing for the change of distance. Then, when you press the shutter button the AF can be out.
 
  • Like
Reactions: YuengLinger

SteveC

R5
CR Pro
Sep 3, 2019
2,337
2,187
Just a thought. If you have focussed and forget to keep your finger pressed on the back button, the focussing square still follows the eye in eyeAF even if the AF is not allowing for the change of distance. Then, when you press the shutter button the AF can be out.

To amplify this, I know that I've ruined shots because I've forgotten I need to press the back button.
 

bhf3737

---
CR Pro
Sep 9, 2015
652
1,423
Calgary, Canada
www.flickr.com
I don't want to be the Naked Emperor, but why the owl pictures are not sharp? In both owl pictures the focus seems to be on one eye and seems to be sharp. Depending on your distance to the subject, Narrow DoF renders the beak and chest feathers less sharp. The Mallard picture seems to be a different story and the eye-AF could not find the eye perhaps because of the distance?
 
  • Like
Reactions: stevelee

adigoks

EOS 750D
Jul 12, 2020
59
66
welcome to high MP realm. slightest missfocus will be very noticable compared to 22MP 5D MK III.
 

adigoks

EOS 750D
Jul 12, 2020
59
66
welcome to high MP realm. slightest missfocus will be very noticable compared to 22MP 5D MK III.
because of that, try using faster shutter speed 1/4000 -1/8000.
the duck image suffer from slight motion blur. make sure you hold it very steady or using tripod.
2nd owl image is fine.
only the first one i think had slight front focus.
 

Olivier11986

I'm New Here
May 17, 2013
23
1
Montreal
www.flickr.com
because of that, try using faster shutter speed 1/4000 -1/8000.
the duck image suffer from slight motion blur. make sure you hold it very steady or using tripod.
2nd owl image is fine.
only the first one i think had slight front focus.
The problem I have is that I didn't change my technique between the 5DIII and this one, and I was already at 1/3200. With the 5DIII I was able to get tack sharp images with speeds way lower than this. Maybe you're right and high MP count is not as good as I thought...
 

Olivier11986

I'm New Here
May 17, 2013
23
1
Montreal
www.flickr.com
Well, sending the camera to Canon first thing on Monday, I'll see what they'll tell me and how long it will take. If they can at least fix the buffer issue I'll be happy. Regretting selling my old camera now, haha.
 

AlanF

Stay at home
CR Pro
Aug 16, 2012
8,293
10,389
When you're talking to/about pixel-peepers, this is irrelevant.
Like noise, diffraction, camera shake, aspects of DR, noise at high iso, focus errors etc etc etc, if you look at the same output size from the same size (in mm x mm, pixels) sensor, the magnitude of those effects is usually the same, independent of the number of pixels. But, if you are blowing up a crop from a high resolution sensor to get extra reach, then those detrimental effects are highly relevant - and that is a concern to everyone who does crop or uses a high pixel sensor to squeeze out more resolution.
 

SteveC

R5
CR Pro
Sep 3, 2019
2,337
2,187
Like noise, diffraction, camera shake, aspects of DR, noise at high iso, focus errors etc etc etc, if you look at the same output size from the same size (in mm x mm, pixels) sensor, the magnitude of those effects is usually the same, independent of the number of pixels. But, if you are blowing up a crop from a high resolution sensor to get extra reach, then those detrimental effects are highly relevant - and that is a concern to everyone who does crop or uses a high pixel sensor to squeeze out more resolution.

If I'm starting out with a certain field of view and doing the same percentage crop it again shouldn't matter (up to a certain point). For example if I'm going to get "reach" by doing a 25% reduction, on a 6000x4000 sensor I'll end up with 4500x3000, and on a 9000x6000 sensor I'll end up with 6750x 4500. Printed at the same fairly small size (perhaps even up to 8x12in or 20x30cm) there shouldn't be too much difference. That "certain point" I mentioned above is where one starts with a low-rez sensor, so that that a 50 percent crop leaves you with not enough to work with (and it's possible 3000x2000 is below that line).

If, on the other hand, you're starting out with "whatever sensor I have I'm going to crop down to 3000x2000 because that's how I maximize the reach I've got" then you will absolutely see differences, but then, if you're doing crops to a certain pixel size you're doing the same thing as a pixel peeper, just on a wholesale level. (However--you have a good justification for doing so.)