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MIRRORLESS AUTOFOCUS


Wildlife photography is a genre that I occasionally have a go at doing. I can certainly see the appeal and why photographers will dedicate as much time as I do to landscape or astro photography in search of that perfect image.


In the spring and summer months along the Yorkshire and Northumberland Coast line was are blessed with ample opportunities to shoot seabirds that make the coast their home whilst breed before either heading back out to sea or migrating.


Earlier on in the year, I bought a Canon EOS R for no other reason than a lot of clients are making the switch to mirrorless and I believed that it was important to understand advantages and disadvantages. I have to say even though the EOS R has received mixed reviews since its launch a couple of years ago and has now been replaced by the EOS R5 and R6 it hasn't really put a foot wrong. My only real nervousness when using it was whilst shooting a couple of weddings as it only has one SD card slot which means you are always at risk of loosing all of your images in the rare event that a card fails. Thankfully this didn't happen.

The EOS R in essence is a Canon 5D MK IV but without the mirror. Pretty much everything else is the same with the exception of the number of focus points. I won't go into the difference but the EOS R has thousands more. Usually this wouldn't make the slightest bit of difference to me. Being a landscape photographer, I focus manually on one spot in an image, usually through live view and bingo that's it. I also don't need to worry about things like eye auto focus and the capability of the camera in tracking a subject once the camera has locked onto it. However this summer whilst running workshops we have visited the Farne Islands in Northumberland on numerous occasions and Bempton on the Yorkshire Coast. Its a great change from the landscape work that I do with clients and during the middle of the day when the light is at its harshest it also a good way to let everyone see some of the amazing wildlife that we have along with putting some new skills to the test.

Until I bought the EOS R, my go to cameras were an EOS 5D Mk 111 and and EOS 5DSR. The latter is still my go to camera for landscapes and the MK111 is now my time-lapse camera and one that I will also lend to clients if needed. What I have noticed is the incredible advancement in autofocus technology with the EOS R. If you were to compare it to the 5D's it is like comparing a Porche 911 to a VW Beetle. For those of you who know your cars, you will know that the 911 evolved from the early Beetles years ago and in essence this is what has happened with mirrorless cameras. With the EOS R5 and R6 there has been another gigantic step forward. At the Olympics in Tokyo at the moment some photographers are using pre production EOS R3's where the camera somehow understand what you are looking at through the view finder and focus on this automatically. Only time will tell if this is a gimmick. I dare not think what the EOS R1 will be able to do when it is eventually launched.



Now, I am never going to dedicate the hours needed to become a decent wildlife photographer, I just don't have the time and if I am honest the patience. However what the last few months have taught me is that I was then I would defiantly be going all in on mirrorless for the autofocus capabilities. I now get the hype of why sports and wildlife photographers are raving about the R5 and why the R6 is a great camera for the amateur photographers who don't want to spend £4000 on the R5. But if you are into wildlife or fast moving objects, then in my option speak to you bank manager or sell a kidney. It will be worth it. Trust me if I can capture birds in flight and get them pin sharp then you certainly will be able to,





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