The awesome AF of the R5 and RF 100-500mm for Dragonflies in Flight

AlanF

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We have a fun thread on Dragonflies and Damselflies, enjoyed by some of us aficionados. The most difficult shots are those of them flying as they are very small and fast and usually erratic. So we have developed tricks for photoing them. Recently, the AF of the R5 has made such shots much easier. So, I thought I would post some taken in the last couple of days to show more widely how good the AF of the R5 is. Also, the RF 100-500mm has a superb focal length range and minimum focal distance for the task, focusses very rapidly, and is light to swing around rapidly to track the little beasties. All here are taken with the lens at 500mm. And, for me, a real plus is that we can use the electronic shutter at 20 fps to make animated gifs to show the action of the wings. The shots here are with AF in full tracking mode and fast shutter speed. f/7.1.
 

AlanF

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Let's start with the Emperor Dragonfly, first a still and then a gif made from 76 shots in a 3.9 second burst.

309A2205-DxO_Emperor_Dragonfly_Flying_3_ls-sm.jpg
Emperor_Dragonfly_flying_GIF3_4sec.gif
 

AlanF

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And now one that is more difficult, a Banded Demoiselle. These flutter around very quickly, as seen in the first animated gif (0.4 second burst). In the second I have superposed the body of the Damselfly from each shot to show the wings in motion.

309A1725-DxO_Banded_demoiselle_flying-sm.jpg
Banded_demoiselle_darting_around.gif
Banded_demoiselle_flying_2.gif
 

Joules

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Amazing shots Alan! I guess you are demonstrating the eye AF here?

Those high FPS burst look really cool - though I dare say we may have found a use case for 30 FPS. Crazy speeds those wings are operating.

Made me recall this video that explains a few interesting aspects of the ways in which dragon fly flight differs from other inseects and showcases them in super slow motion:

I am glad though that the dragonflies did not maintain their size from the ancient days to the modern day. Their looks always have a slightly unsettling effect on me, even at their current size. Certainly in part to those crazy eyes.
 

AlanF

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Amazing shots Alan! I guess you are demonstrating the eye AF here?

Those high FPS burst look really cool - though I dare say we may have found a use case for 30 FPS. Crazy speeds those wings are operating.

Made me recall this video that explains a few interesting aspects of the ways in which dragon fly flight differs from other inseects and showcases them in super slow motion:

I am glad though that the dragonflies did not maintain their size from the ancient days to the modern day. Their looks always have a slightly unsettling effect on me, even at their current size. Certainly in part to those crazy eyes.
The eyeAF doesn't seem to work on these. I can do slow motion! But, a 100 fps would be much better.

Emperor_Dragonfly_flying_slow_motion.gif
 
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Joules

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The eyeAF doesn't seem to work on these. I can do slow motion!
Interesting, curious to see what Canon's upcoming cameras will be capable of in terms of insect eye AF then. I guess it makes sense it is not properly detected since these eyes are so different than those in mammals or birds. And the patterns on the body itself might add to the confusion, as they do in zebras.

Right, the R5 video framerates go into very decent slow motion range. Probably while maintaining this quality of AF even. Cool stuff.
 

FrenchFry

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Interesting, curious to see what Canon's upcoming cameras will be capable of in terms of insect eye AF then. I guess it makes sense it is not properly detected since these eyes are so different than those in mammals or birds. And the patterns on the body itself might add to the confusion, as they do in zebras.

Right, the R5 video framerates go into very decent slow motion range. Probably while maintaining this quality of AF even. Cool stuff.
For anyone interested in insect/bug/arachnid eye-AF, please voice this request to Canon's feedback page. I expect that as the RF 100mm macro is now out, we will have more R5/R6 users taking pictures of bugs. It would be so nice to see Canon implement better AF for these subjects so the R5 is an even better tool for capturing these subjects in flight.
 
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Del Paso

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Just mad !:love:
Absolutely fantastic pictures, incredible sharpness (flying insects !). Very well done, Alan !
 
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Nemorino

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Really great shots and GIF of the Emperor.:love: The Banded Demoiselle is also great but the first GIF makes me nervous! :eek:
The shots here are with AF in full tracking mode and fast shutter speed. f/7.1.

I also tried some DIF last weekend with the R5. May I ask which starting point for tracking You use and which "case".
I used case 4 which sounds logical for dragonflys and Tv with speed set to 1/2500 and Iso 1600.
 

AlanF

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Really great shots and GIF of the Emperor.:love: The Banded Demoiselle is also great but the first GIF makes me nervous! :eek:


I also tried some DIF last weekend with the R5. May I ask which starting point for tracking You use and which "case".
I used case 4 which sounds logical for dragonflys and Tv with speed set to 1/2500 and Iso 1600.
Fully auto for tracking and Case 2. Shutter speed and iso depending on light, usually 1/3200s.
 
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AlanF

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Some more fun. This is a 2 second burst slowed down about 7-8x of an Emperor Dragonfly swooping around about 13-16m away against a background of bushes and trees. The nice thing about having a background is that it shows the motion of the dragonfly as it is being panned. The downside is that the R5 has to focus on a very small subject, nearly a horizontal line, against the background, which the R5 has a reputation of failing at. It worked 3 times out of 4 for me.

Emperor_Dragonfly_flying_2s_150ms.gif