Birding & bird watching / Thailand

Canon EOS 7D Mark II and EOS 5D Mark III comparison – Bird Photography in Rainforest.

Canon EOS 7D Mark II and EOS 5D Mark III comparison – Bird Photography in Rainforest. I recently took a new Canon 7D Mark II and my old 5D III to Thailand.  After a quick calibration and customization on the Canon EOS 7D Mark II,  I took both cameras into the rainforest to photograph mainly birds. Here is a reflection of how I felt about the two cameras;

Canon EOS 7D Mark II and EOS 5D Mark III comparison - Bird Photography in Rainforest.

Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher, Kaeng Krachan National Park , Thailand 2015. EOS 5D III

Canon EOS 7D Mark II and EOS 5D Mark III comparison - Bird Photography in Rainforest.

EOS 5DIII cropped @ ISO 4000

Canon EOS 7D Mark II and EOS 5D Mark III comparison - Bird Photography in Rainforest.

EOS 7D II , cropped, ISO 2000

Auto focus system for both cameras are quite similar in the field. I find the Canon EOS 7D Mark II seemed more responsive (time taken for camera to focus and fire). It has the toggle button around the joy stick that allow me to change the focusing area from one point to multiple points quickly (In the Canon EOS 5D Mark III, I have to take an extra step to do that and removing my eye from the view finder). The Canon EOS 7D Mark II also has a wider selection of manual focusing points from centre to extreme left or right while the Canon EOS 5D Mark III is only limited to near the centre area.Therefore giving a narrower choice. The difference between 10 fps on the Canon EOS 7D Mark II and 5 fps on Canon EOS 5D Mark III, makes a big difference in getting the right moments especially in action shots.

Layout out and customisation: I find both Canon EOS 7D Mark II and EOS 5D Mark III complement each other for bird photography in the rainforest. They both have very similar buttons and layout and share the same battery. I have set up both cameras in their Customized setting C1,C2,C3 and the continuous autofocus tracking mechanism and focusing points for flight shots. Therefore, I could interchange the cameras to get the best image depending on the situations.

Evaluative Metering. I find the Evaluative Metering on the Canon EOS 7D Mark II more “forgiving” against backlight that I don’t have to compensate a lot .What I would need to compensate for 2.5 stops on the EOS 5D Mark III I only need to put 1.5 stops approximately on the Canon EOS 7D Mark II. EOS 7D II with 1.6X cropped factor The 1.6X cropped factor for the APS-C sensor is especially helpful in bird photography where my 600 mm prime lens effectively becomes 960 mm. Adding a 1.4X tele converter, it has a 1344 mm effective focal length. The cropped factor really helps those far away bird ( or small birds) where you wish you were nearer to the subjects. However, the cropped factor worked against me when I have a very short working distance and cannot move back. This is where I would use the 5DIII to remove the 1.5X cropped factor or use a shorter lens.

EOS 5D III +600mm + 1.4X

EOS 5D III +600mm + 1.4X

EOS 7D II +600mm +1.4X

EOS 7D II +600mm +1.4X

EOS 5D III with Full Frame Sensor Battery Life and ISO Noise;  I have the feeling that I am getting shorter battery life for the same battery on the Canon EOS 7D Mark II. On 2 or 3 occasions, my battery drained out very quickly ( another reason could be that I should more images with the 7D ). If I turn on the GPS function, battery will drain out within half day. The Canon EOS 5D Mark III is especially good in very low light condition in the forest canopy even with ISO 6400. While Canon EOS 7D Mark II will start to get noticeable noise around ISO 2000. I will refrain from using higher ISO if I don’t need to. Thankfully with a simple noise reduction on Adobe Lightroom 5 you can minimise the noise.

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