Problems with AF on birds @ R5

Ramage

EOS R5
CR Pro
Aug 27, 2019
510
1,018
The next two show the initial spot AF locked but out of focus versus background, and four shots later the bird is finally in focus under the locked focal point. The exposure and AF point position changed slightly from the first three shots to the fourth, so there is a good chance I tripped the shutter a second time. I was using back button spot AF. So you can lock the AF point on the bird and fire away, but it hasn't always achieved a correct focus on that point.
View attachment 195745 View attachment 195746
I was not aware that the Lightroom plugin for focus points was supported on the R5(or any R Camera), I have not seen any updates since ver 1.03 and that was released in Dec 2019

Works well with the R5?
 
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YuengLinger

EOS R6
CR Pro
Dec 20, 2012
3,452
1,886
USA
Sometimes it seems the spot AF square is bigger than it appears through the EVF. Or maybe it doesn't accurately represent exact placement of the active AF points--as if it is slightly off.
 
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knoxone

learning and having fun doing it
Feb 16, 2014
35
1
Columbus, Ohio
So it was somewhat focused on the ruddy duck then as soon as the ruddy duck starts moving it doesn't keep up. I have tons of shots of birds in flight where it doesn't seem to be able to keep up. Anyone else seeing this? These were shot with the R5 and the 600 f4 v2 at f4 1/1600 ISO2500
 

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koenkooi

EOS 5D Mark IV
CR Pro
Feb 25, 2015
1,592
1,443
I was not aware that the Lightroom plugin for focus points was supported on the R5(or any R Camera), I have not seen any updates since ver 1.03 and that was released in Dec 2019

Works well with the R5?

Canon cameras put the size and coordinates of the rectangles in the EXIF, so the plugin has no need to get updated for each new camera. Having said that, I like DPP4 better for showing focus points, it's one of the few things that it's faster at, compared to Lightroom.
 

JPAZ

If only I knew what I was doing.....
CR Pro
Sep 8, 2012
1,057
174
I was not aware that the Lightroom plugin for focus points was supported on the R5(or any R Camera), I have not seen any updates since ver 1.03 and that was released in Dec 2019

Works well with the R5?
It does work except for the occasional image where the plugin says it cannot analyze the photo. I use with both the RP and R5.
 

AlanF

Stay at home
CR Pro
Aug 16, 2012
8,038
9,591
Canon cameras put the size and coordinates of the rectangles in the EXIF, so the plugin has no need to get updated for each new camera. Having said that, I like DPP4 better for showing focus points, it's one of the few things that it's faster at, compared to Lightroom.
It's the only thing I use DPP4 for.
 

Ramage

EOS R5
CR Pro
Aug 27, 2019
510
1,018
It does work except for the occasional image where the plugin says it cannot analyze the photo. I use with both the RP and R5.
Nice thanks I looked at the supported Cameras and was like oh well I guess DPP4 gets to live for another day on my system :ROFLMAO: Now its days are numbered.
 
Feb 20, 2021
2
0
The next two show the initial spot AF locked but out of focus versus background, and four shots later the bird is finally in focus under the locked focal point. The exposure and AF point position changed slightly from the first three shots to the fourth, so there is a good chance I tripped the shutter a second time. I was using back button spot AF. So you can lock the AF point on the bird and fire away, but it hasn't always achieved a correct focus on that point.
View attachment 195745 View attachment 195746
I am very late to this, however your R5 pics are similar to mine. I also have a 5D 4 and 3, also used to have 1Dx. Never ever had this issue. Set up on BB focus one button for spot and one foe eye tracking animal. There is a similar post on Canon USA forums particularly around the 100 to 400 II , Which I was using with adaptor and 1.4. Link here https://community.usa.canon.com/t5/EOS/loss-of-sharpness-100-400-using-R5-and-adapter/td-p/323253 Never had this with the other 3 cameras 2 of which I still have. I have not tested my 500mF4 IS original version. New youtube out about 10 days ago. Link here https://edit.photography/canon-r5-sensor-misalignment-issue-confirmed-no-sharp-images-with-any-lens/

For me this not a user error, or getting use to a Mirrorless camera. I have no issues grabbing focus on small birds, but on a burst of 10 , 9 are soft. I tested my friends 100 -500 RF, and it went away. Sadly it was return the camera or invest more money to support my habit. So now i have the new RF lens of mine and going to test in the field today.


Today my R5 was firing while supposedly locked on small birds (busy birds - Kinglet and Pine Warbler), but the bird was actually out of focus underneath the locked focus point (as indicated by Lightroom plugin) while the background was in focus. This is the typical problem I am seeing with the R5 and 100-500 using spot AF primary and animal eye AF only intermittently. In the first example, the camera thinks it was locked on the Kinglet, but all three shots taken were out of focus.
View attachment 195744
 

Ramage

EOS R5
CR Pro
Aug 27, 2019
510
1,018
@Peterdarcy Not buying the misaligned sensor BS.

Unlike the DSLR's you listed the EOS R, RP, R6 and R5 does not have a separate focus sensor, the focusing is done on the photo sensor so if the sensor was misaligned the user can still expect the spot that was reported in focus will be. There maybe additional issues with the senor but the alignment of the sensor would not affect the ability of a functional senor from obtaining focus at the point selected.
 
Feb 20, 2021
2
0
The next two show the initial spot AF locked but out of focus versus background, and four shots later the bird is finally in focus under the locked focal point. The exposure and AF point position changed slightly from the first three shots to the fourth, so there is a good chance I tripped the shutter a second time. I was using back button spot AF. So you can lock the AF point on the bird and fire away, but it hasn't always achieved a correct focus on that point.
View attachment 195745 View attachment 195746
@Peterdarcy Not buying the misaligned sensor BS.

Unlike the DSLR's you listed the EOS R, RP, R6 and R5 does not have a separate focus sensor, the focusing is done on the photo sensor so if the sensor was misaligned the user can still expect the spot that was reported in focus will be. There maybe additional issues with the senor but the alignment of the sensor would not affect the ability of a functional senor from obtaining focus at the point selected.
Noted, and appreciate some clarity.
 

rico.29

I'm New Here
Feb 27, 2021
16
3
Hi, i have the same problem, if the AF miss and hits the background or is set on something like 3 meters further away it won't focus on a bird closer to me, not with the eye AF and not with the "normal" AF, even its like 15 cm at 5 meter with 600 4.0, I never had this with any camera. In my opinion this camera is not useble for this type of photography , my camera is at Canon repair atm, if this is "normal" I'm gonna sell it, I'm realy disappointed.. Waited for months..

Eos R5
600mm 4.0 IS II or 300mm F2.8 (same issue)
Newest firmware
Spot AF op af on button(tried all, and front button too)
Animal af on star button
All af cases

Gr Jens
did you get your camera back and fixed? i just get my R5 and have same issue, it just won't focus on "obvious" subjects, still or not, servo or one shot, no matter the settings, 80% of shot miss, with 500mm IS v1 and 100-500mm RF... by the same time my A7R3 with 500mm IS v1 (canon lens, yes!!!) and 200-600mm G nailed it. Or my camera has a problem, or R5 is not the camera to use for such photo, i wonder if it's possible according all the videos on youtube saying R5 is "the best camera ever"...
 

BadBird

7D Mk II --> R5
Feb 5, 2021
13
8
Replying to MrPid in another, now locked thread, related to this one.

I have seen this sort of focusing on the background with regularity shooting small birds in trees, on feeders, and on the ground with the RF 100-500. It gets worse if I use the 100-400/1.4 lens off my 7DMk2, or a third-party zoom. My impression from comments seen here about Canon Support interactions is that only the newest level iii Canon EF lenses work well with the R5 AF.

I get the best results with back focus defaulting to Spot AF, and only triggering Eye Detection AF from * button when getting good focus lock with spot. When Eye Detection AF jitters a cloud of focal points all around the bird, forget it - it will almost invariably focus behind it - so I go back to Spot. I use Servo by default, but if the bird is lazy and the background busy enough to give Spot AF issues, I can switch quickly to One Shot so that I can use all of the manual focusing tools - which work great when you need them. Of course, manual focus is still iffy when hand-held compared to tripod mounted.

Also, if you inspect the focus point or points in DPP or with the Lightroom Show Focus Points plugin (yes, v1.03 on Mac matches DPP in focus point display), and some of them are off the subject (or even if part of the single spot AF square is off the subject - small bird at 500mm) then the actual focus will usually be behind the subject. Shooting high speed continuous from a tripod, the sharpness of the focus will actually change between shots - I usually get one really sharp shot out of 3 or 4 in a row. Of course, the birds are moving, even if only slightly, but even in Servo the camera doesn't hold a sharp focus very well. I shoot mainly for documentation, but that one really sharp shot I get out of a string is dramatically better than I can get with the 7DMk2/100-400/1.4. I actually had WORSE results with several 5DMk4s with Tamron or Sigma zoom-600s, even after much AF micro-adjustment. Here's hoping the next firmware release helps, but I am not holding my breath.

Out of curiosity, are R6 users (especially with RF 100-500 or RF 800) seeing better AF performance than R5 users are?
 

mkamelg

EOS R
Feb 1, 2015
55
28
Poland
This post only represents my point of view, which I will not ask anyone to agree with. I hope it will not be treated as some kind of heresy.

This thread could easily be renamed to „Problems with AF on birds in cameras from the R family”.

I just sold my little used EOS 5DS R. I used the money from the sale to subsidize the purchase of the RF 70-200mm F4L IS USM lens and attach it to my EOS R.

From the minimum focusing distance (MFD) up to 5 meters it works as it should, but when it comes to distance equal to or greater than 5 meters especially when the smaller AF point frame size (Spot AF in EOS R5/R6 models) protrudes with its edges beyond the target that's another story.

Camera: EOS R with firmware in version 1.8.0

Lens: RF 70-200mm F4L IS USM with firmware in version 1.0.8

Accessories: Hoya Fusion Antistatic Protector circular filter installed.

Conditions: When taking pictures outside, strong gusts of wind with a speed of 23 km/h blowing to the side of the lens. I did not have a lens hood fitted.

Camera settings: RAW, Fv, Av, Tv, ONE SHOT, Silent shutter, 1-point AF EOS R (normal AF point frame size), 1-point AF EOS R (smaller AF point frame size)

Lens settings: FULL, AF, STABILIZER ON, STABILIZER MODE 1

In all comparison photos on the left there is a photo taken when selecting normal AF point frame size, and on the right there is a photo taken when selecting smaller AF point frame size.

The dimensions of this rectangle with a checkerboard with the inscription „SpyderLENSCAL” (excluding the ruler and these two feet from the base) are 11.7cm high and 10cm wide. According to https://www.whatbird.com/browse/attribute/birds_na_147/51/Size/ very small birds have a size in the range 3-5in (8-13cm).

All photos are handheld with the lens stabilization turned on.

Click on a single screenshot and it will open in a new browser tab, click on it again in a new browser tab and it will enlarge.

70mm at MFD


200mm at MFD


70mm at 2.5m on the distance scale


200mm at 2.5m on the distance scale


70mm at 5m on the distance scale


200mm at 5m on the distance scale


70mm at infinity (closer to the left end of the infinity symbol) on the distance scale; the test board was in close proximity to the tree


200mm at infinity (closer to the left end of the infinity symbol) on the distance scale; the test board was in close proximity to the tree


70mm at infinity (closer to the left end of the infinity symbol) on the distance scale; here I moved the test board away from the tree


200mm at infinity (closer to the left end of the infinity symbol) on the distance scale; here I moved the test board away from the tree


Two days ago I managed to get a few sparrows in front of the lens at a focal length of 200 mm. I had the smaller AF point frame size selected. The photo on the left was taken from a distance 2.5 m (this value showed up on the distance scale), the photo on the right was taken from a distance 5 m (this value showed up on the distance scale). In the first case, the AF system broke through the fence mesh, branches and landed on the sparrow. In the second case, the AF system landed on the sparrow's tail (at least i think so).



Do I have any ideas to solve this problem (Is this a problem at all or am I creating one myself)?

1. See advice from AlanF https://www.canonrumors.com/forum/threads/problems-with-af-on-birds-r5.39490/page-5#post-878983

2. After focusing with AF, turn on the instant image magnification (one finger swipe on the EOS R touch bar) and apply the correction manually using the MF ring. This is probably a bad idea when it comes to photographing very lively birds or anything else that moves very lively.

3. Wait for the camera firmware update as it was in the case of EOS R cooperation with lenses RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM and RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1L IS USM.

4. Buy yourself an EOS R5 or EOS R6 because of Animal Eye AF?
 
Last edited:
Feb 7, 2021
5
0
In my experience with the r5 + EF 500mm, the Animal Eye AF does not solve the problem outlined in this thread and documented clearly in the post above by mkalemg. If the conditions are "right" (i.e., the camera focus "sees" the background instead of the bird), regardless of whether you are using single-spot AF or animal eye AF, the camera will focus on the background--like it or not. The only solution is to focus on the tree--or whatever else is near the bird and recompose. Distances between camera and subject and background, size of bird, and characteristics of the background dictate whether the r5 misbehaves. Waiting for a firmware update to render the r5 as reliable for bird photography as the 7d2.
 

Dockland

EOS 90D
Nov 14, 2019
191
443
Sweden
In my experience with the r5 + EF 500mm, the Animal Eye AF does not solve the problem outlined in this thread and documented clearly in the post above by mkalemg. If the conditions are "right" (i.e., the camera focus "sees" the background instead of the bird), regardless of whether you are using single-spot AF or animal eye AF, the camera will focus on the background--like it or not. The only solution is to focus on the tree--or whatever else is near the bird and recompose. Distances between camera and subject and background, size of bird, and characteristics of the background dictate whether the r5 misbehaves. Waiting for a firmware update to render the r5 as reliable for bird photography as the 7d2.

I was trying out following some birds in flight this last weekend and I*m not a "bird shooter" but I think it worked decently. The AF followed my subject as long as it was in the frame.

Example with RF 100-500 and R5 (nothing fancy about this shot, I know, but just trying the following AF out a bit.
Subject distance approx. ~70m/~230ft @500mm

20210411_14_32_08_0982-1.jpg
 
Feb 7, 2021
5
0
I was trying out following some birds in flight this last weekend and I*m not a "bird shooter" but I think it worked decently. The AF followed my subject as long as it was in the frame.

Example with RF 100-500 and R5 (nothing fancy about this shot, I know, but just trying the following AF out a bit.
Subject distance approx. ~70m/~230ft @500mm
As documented above in this thread, the focus failings are for small, (nearly) stationary birds against a busy background; in my case for an EF 500 mm. Yes, the r5 is extremely good at birds in flight.
 

Dockland

EOS 90D
Nov 14, 2019
191
443
Sweden
As documented above in this thread, the focus failings are for small, (nearly) stationary birds against a busy background; in my case for an EF 500 mm. Yes, the r5 is extremely good at birds in flight.

Ah, might be the same issue on the R6?

 
Feb 7, 2021
5
0
The above Dockland video is an excellent documentation of the problem of r5/r6 inability to focus on small subjects against a busy background. The solutions given in the video to the problem work with a "bird on a stick" in front of distant background, but are not workable in a more-challenging (and typical) situation where the bird is moving around in a tree with leaves. The r5/r6 is simply not capable of focusing reliably in such circumstances. Recently when I was photographing migrating warblers, the bird would sometimes be briefly visible in the part of the tree closest to me. With a 7d2 this is cause for joy/relief because this is the best possible situation: a close bird in front of the foliage. With the r5, by contrast, this turns to disappointment because the camera focuses on the foliage and not on the bird. The only solution I have found in these (again typical) situations is to abandon the r5 and use the 7d2.
 

AlanF

Stay at home
CR Pro
Aug 16, 2012
8,038
9,591
The same is reported to occur even with the the Sony A1 https://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1699402
It is indeed true that DSLRs are programmed to focus on the nearest object whereas mirrorless can get stuck on backgrounds, and there are many complaints about it. So, in these situations, use a DSLR if it troubles you. I have what is probably the best medium weight DSLR gear for AF - Nikon D850 and D500 with the 500mm PF - but I'll take out my R5/100-500mm on just about every occasion because overall I'll get more keepers. I don't have many problems using the R5 to shoot small birds against busy backgrounds, and that is what I do most.
 
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