Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Now I can talk about the ALL NEW Canon R1 and R5II cameras!!!!!

As many of you have expected, I have had a chance to shoot with the new Canon R1 and R5II cameras, but have not been able to tell you about my experiences with the cameras until now. Today Canon officially announced these new cameras and I am free to share my findings with you all.

I have spent most of my time playing with the Canon R1, since I will be using a couple of these cameras at the Olympics in little over a week and wanted to become as familiar as possible with the camera body before putting it to good use in Paris. For that reason, this blog will focus mostly on that new camera. It is not to say that the Canon R5II is not equally exciting, and I expect that I will use both new cameras in Paris this month. But my primary camera of choice for the Olympics will be the Canon R1.

There are a ton of new features to the Canon R1, but I want to focus on the features that I am most excited about. 

Let's get started!

Two CFexpress card slots

First of all, let me start with the one hardware change that I have wanted for a really long time! The camera has two CFexpress slots. I have really enjoyed using the Canon R3 camera, but even when I first used the pre-production camera at the Tokyo Olympics, I was not happy with the SD card slot. I always shoot to the same images to both cards (for redundancy reasons). Because the SD cards are so much slower than the newer CFexpress cards, it slowed down the buffer clear in the camera, and I did miss some shots because the buffer was full. I had a long talk with the Canon engineers in Tokyo about this. Now, with the Canon R1, I can't imagine I will ever have that issue again. Not only does it have two really fast card slots, it has blazing fast processing speed and a large internal buffer,  

Eye control

The Canon R3 had eye control, but honestly I tried it in Tokyo and turned it off. I was super excited about this feature when I was briefed about it, but it did not live up to my expectations. With the Canon R1, everything has changed. The Canon R1 has a much improved eye control system and it is amazing! I had a chance to use the new camera a couple of weeks ago, with some other photographers at a special meeting with Canon, and we all agreed that this new eye control was light years better than the one on the R3. I expect that I will use the new eye control at all times, regardless of what I am shooting. (One hint - I turn off the on-screen tracking icon as I find it distracting. But even without the indicator, the camera still focuses on whomever I am looking at. It is awesome!!! I really look forward to using this in Paris for the Olympics!

Pre-continuous shooting

I know that some other brands of cameras have had this feature for a little while, but since I am a Canon shooter, I have never tried anything like it. What does it do? This feature allows you to hit the shutter button of the camera (as long as you are holding it half way down) and it will go back half a second and write those images to the memory card. The first night that I had the Canon R1 in my hands, we had a big storm in Arizona. I opened the balcony door to my hotel room to try and capture images of the lightning. After a couple of failed attempts at capturing images with a long shutter time, the rain was getting too hard and I could not rest the camera on the ledge of my deck for the long exposure. Then I realized that this would be the perfect time to try the pre-capture. I stayed mostly in my room (out of the rain) and waited for a strike of lightning. I was holding the button half way down when the strike happened. As soon as I saw the flash I hit the shutter button. The camera wrote the previous half second worth of images to my memory card and voila, I had the photo!

(I can show you the image this way, but can't post the actual image since it was taken with a pre-production camera.)

I can see myself using this feature at the Olympics when photographing the fast action sports. There are times when I miss a shot because I did not anticipate what happened at the moment. It would be really great to be able to go back and get what I missed. This was the case in Arizona when I tested the camera during a basketball and soccer game. I have not used the camera enough to know how much of a battery drain this is, but I suspect that it would degrade the battery life by a fair amount. This is not a major issue, since the benefits far outweigh what might be shorter battery life.

Sticky focus

Back in January of 2021, I wrote a blog post about what I wanted in the next flagship Canon camera. And if you look at that post, you will see that Canon actually delivered on almost everything for the Canon R1. I stated back then that I wanted even better focusing. I can tell you that when I have used the pre-production R1, the focus is extremely fast and very sticky. By that, I mean that the camera will stay focused on my subject even when another person might cross in front of them. This is VERY important to me. 

Variable burst rates

Again, going back to the blog post from 2021, I wanted the ability to change the burst rate for the high-end camera, and now they gave that to us. The new Canon R1 can capture up to 40 frames per second, but I rarely need that speed. I love that I can customize the burst rates to fit my needs. I will likely set the top burst rate to 25 fps (or something like that) for most situations, but I can see cranking that up to the full 40fps for sports like Olympic diving, where I want to capture the diver right at the split second when their hands are breaking the plane of the water.

Noise reduction

While most people are asking for higher resolution in their cameras, I am asking for cleaner images with less noise (grain) at higher ISOs. During my briefing with Canon, they told me that this new camera produces a much cleaner image at high ISO. I had a chance to test that a little and found this to be true. I want to do more testing in the future.

Prioritizing people

I was expecting many of the new features of the Canon R1, but one feature that surprised me more than all the others was the people prioritization.  With this feature, you can take a photo of someone and register that person (and up to 9 others in order of priority) in the camera. Once the image(s) are registered, the camera will look for those people and lock in on them like never before. This is really interesting and could be very useful at the Olympics when I want to isolate one athlete in particular. I also found a way to quickly turn that on and off with a single button press, so that I can determine when the camera should highlight that subject and the times that I prefer not to to highlight that subject (even though that person might be in the frame).

No rolling shutter

In all the previous mirrorless cameras from Canon, there has been an issue with rolling shutter (distortion with high speed objects). The Canon R1 does not have a global shutter, but is so fast at capturing images on the new sensor, that rolling shutter should no longer be an issue. I can tell you that in all then images I have captured with the pre-production camera, I have seen no distortion. 

No blackout

I have had times when I have shooting images and had to deal with the blackout in the viewfinder in between frames. When taking photos at really fast shutter speeds, this is not an issue, but when shooting with a slow shutter, it is very distracting. The new Canon R1 now has no blackout in between frames, which should make my motion panning a lot easier.

Video and Stills at the same time

I don't shoot a lot of video with my cameras, but I know that a lot of you might. In the past, when I did shoot video clips from an event, I would refrain from taking any still photos (which is a problem because I am hired to shoot stills for my clients). The reason I would not shoot stills is that it would interrupt the video to capture the still, basically rendering the video useless in my opinion. With the Canon R1, you can now capture video and stills without interrupting each other. This is a great feature for those like my son and daughter-in-law who capture stills and video for clients.

Two stage AF-ON button

Canon has basically turned the AF-ON button into two buttons, allowing us to program one function for a half press and another function while pressing all the way down on the button. I have not really played with this much, but will give it a try soon. I am intrigued by this, but afraid that I will have a hard time half pressing this button since I have years of muscle memory cramming it down all the way for every shot.


There are still some things that I wish were improved even more on the R1. Here is that list:

Resolution

The resolution of the Canon R1 is 24.2 megapixels. Although this is adequate for most everything I photograph, I do wish that they had increased the resolution to 30MP or 35MP and then given me a choice to turn that down if I wanted.

Flash Synch Speed

In the past, we have been limited to a flash synch speed of 1/250 sec. This is fine, but I would really love to have a flash synch speed that is much faster. They have improved the flash synch speed to 1/320 sec in the R1, but I wish that had been even more of an improvement.  

Camera weight

Having used the flagship products for many years, and knowing how much wear and tear it takes on my body, I wish that new Canon R1 was lighter than previous models, but that is not the case. I know that this might be asking a little too much, but hey, I guy can ask. 

The Canon R5 II

As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog post, I decided to focus most of my attention on the Canon R1, but that is not to discount my excitement about the new Canon R5II. This new camera shares some of the high-end features of the Canon R1. Notably, the excellent focus system, pre-continuous shooting and even the eye control. During my offsite with Canon, we were told that the new Canon R5II has 95% of the focus system as the R1. That is amazing!

This camera will not achieve the burst rate of the R1, but honestly, it is not designed to be the ultimate sports camera, and the burst rate is plenty for fast action and wildlife. Combining the new focus system with the 45 megapixels makes for an awesome camera in my opinion. I see myself upgrading to this camera as soon as they are available. 

It still has a combination of CFexpress and SD slots, which makes for slower buffer clear. But I have dealt with that for many years in the existing Canon R5 and will have to stick it out at least one more revision, to see what Canon does after this. 

Conclusion

At $6299 (R1) and $4299 (R5II), these are not inexpensive cameras, but having used both of them, I see them as really solid additions to my camera bags to help me get even better images. 

I have to tell you that I am SUPER excited about both cameras and can not wait to put the Canon R1 to use in Paris. Even though we all know that the camera does not make the photographer, with these latest improvements I expect to capture even better photos than I did in the past. I guess only time will tell. 

Now as we approach the Summer Olympics, my big question is...will Adobe have the RAW support for these cameras in the next week or so?

You can all look forward to seeing my Canon R1 images from Paris in a week or so, as I plan to be shooting with at least two of these cameras, and maybe an Canon R5II as well!



__________________________________________________________

• Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!

• You can now purchase Jeff Cable Photography images from my new fine art site at: https://fineart.jeffcable.com/

• If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.

• Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa Costa Rica and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours.

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Saturday, June 29, 2024

The Summer Olympics in Paris - Credentials are here!

Let me start this blog post by saying this: It is a great day! And why is it a great day? Because I just received my Olympic photo credentials for the Summer Olympics in Paris. 

The Olympic planning process is one that takes almost two years, that involves the following steps:

* Submitting the credential application

* A six month wait for the application approval

* Submission of photo, passport, security information, and more

* Gaining access to the official press intranet site

* Research and application for housing 

* Contract negotiations and approvals

* And much more...

And all of this work becomes reality when I get my official press credentials delivered. It is always a great day when the credentials arrive, and yesterday was that day!

I get a lot of emails from people telling me that they like following the blog, but they especially like following along during the Olympics. People often ask me if it is OK to share the blog with others, and of course this is great. Feel free to spread the word to your friends and family. The more people following along on the blog, the better. 

I am really excited to be going to Paris to cover these Games for Team USA, and I am really looking forward to sharing the experience with all of you. I will be sharing what it is like to be there and the "behind-the-scenes" of the Games. I will be talking about the new equipment I am using, the crazy stories that happen, the challenges, the good and the bad. All of which makes the Olympic roller coaster that us photographers ride every two years.   Well folks, buckle up because we are less than a month away from the Opening Ceremony!

The credentials are here, and my 8th Olympics is about to happen! (And no....I never take any of this for granted.)


__________________________________________________________

• Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!

• You can now purchase Jeff Cable Photography images from my new fine art site at: https://fineart.jeffcable.com/

• If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.

• Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa Costa Rica and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours.

 _________________________________________________________________  

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Images from my Costa Rica photo tour guests

Last year after returning from another one of my Costa Rica photo tours, I posted a blog with images that my guests took. Not my images, their images! And I heard from a lot of people that they really enjoyed seeing what the non-professional photographers were able to capture in this amazing place. So...once again I am sharing images from some of my guests who were nice enough to send them to me. 


One of the things that I love so much about seeing my guest's images is that they see things and capture images that I don't.  Bob loves taking photos of landscapes and captured this image at one of our beach stops. I like the way he turned it black and white to add more drama. (Photo credit: Bob C.)


He also got as great shot of this spider monkey peeking through the rain forest foliage. (Photo credit: Bob C.)


When I saw his image of this plant during our photo critique, I loved it! Again, I love that he saw the great light on the leaves and captured this photo. With all the amazing wildlife that we see in Costa Rica, sometimes even I forget to capture the other beautiful things that surround us.  (Photo credit: Bob C.)


On our macro day, Bob got this tight shot of the juvenile iguana.  (Photo credit: Bob C.)


Like everyone else, Bob loved photographing the sloths. Who doesn't?  (Photo credit: Bob C.)


We all got nice photos of the Scarlet macaw, but Bob got this nice image of the bird taking off from a tree branch.  (Photo credit: Bob C.)


Maureen (who also went to Tanzania with me on the last trip) joined me for her second photo tour and captured some great images. Here is the Helmet lizard on a branch, also taken on our macro day.  (Photo credit: Maureen C.)


She found this unique bug on one of her walks around the property. I wish I had seen that one, as I have never seen this insect down there. (Photo credit: Maureen C.)


She got this clean shot of a macaw hanging out in a tree. (Photo credit: Maureen C.)


Also on the macro day, Maureen captured this photo of the Red-eyed tree frog. She chose to use the Canon 100-500mm lens instead on a macro lens, which many of my guests are choosing to do now that they focus in so close. (Photo credit: Maureen C.)


You may recognize this image which is almost identical to the one I posted from my favorite images in the last blog post. Maureen was on the same boat as me, listened to my recommended settings, and got down low to capture this posing iguana. (Photo credit: Maureen C.)


We saw all four species of monkeys in the region, and did our best to capture them in unique positions. I recommended shooting from this angle to use the leaf as a leading line, and Maureen did just that! (Photo credit: Maureen C.)


We saw this young hawk on a branch and all photographed it as it waited for it's mother to come back. (Photo credit: Maureen C.)


I have been on these beaches countless times and never taken the time to photograph the crabs which are all over the place. Tom saw this little one and did a great job of taking it's portrait. I need to remember this when I am back in November. (Photo credit: Tom B.)


Tom got this nice shot of a White-faced monkey eating in a tree. (Photo credit: Tom B.)


He also got this shot of the Scarlet macaw feeding off of the local palm nuts. (Photo credit: Tom B.)


When we are down in the rain forest, I teach everyone to look for the catch-light in the eyes of the animals. I love that Rob caught these two Howler monkeys with great light in their eyes. (Photo credit: Rob B.)


Rob also got this awesome shot of a parrot playing with it's feather. I love the everything about this photo: the great moment and a super clean background! (Photo credit: Rob B.)


In the last blog post, you may have seen my images of the dolphins jumping in the water around us. As much as I love my photos, I also love that Janis captured this environmental shot of the dolphins. I am drawn to the simplicity of the photo and the way that it shows the pod of dolphin low in the frame with the great sky above. (Photo credit: Janis K.)


Janis captured this Glass frog on our macro day, but unlike most of us who took photos of the frog on a flower, she grabbed this photo with the frog on a leaf. Great complimentary colors here! (Photo credit: Janis K.)


I usually tell people to avoid images with the birds against a bald sky, but Janis captured this photo of two macaw at a tree top, and proved that even my advice can be ignored and a great image can be captured. (Photo credit: Janis K.)


She got this nice image of mother and baby White-faced monkeys. (Photo credit: Janis K.)


Janis also got the exact moment that this Squirrel monkey stuck it's tongue out to grab a snack. Great timing! (Photo credit: Janis K.)

Most of these images were captured with Canon cameras, but not all of them. I encourage people to come join me, regardless of the camera that they use, and their skill level. This is an amazing place to teach and have fun.

The May 2025 trip is now sold out, but the October and November 2025 trips still have openings. I hope to see you there on a future trip.



__________________________________________________________

• Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!

• You can now purchase Jeff Cable Photography images from my new fine art site at: https://fineart.jeffcable.com/

• If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.

• Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa Costa Rica and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours.

 _________________________________________________________________  

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Another photo tour to the rain forest of Costa Rica!

One of the things that I love about the rain forest of Costa Rica is that, no matter how many times I am down there, I see something different every time. Myself and my 12 guests have all returned home with a whole treasure trove of great images. 

Not only did they get awesome photos, but we all had an amazing time. It was another group that got along so well, shared their enthusiasm, took incredible photos, and had a lot of laughs. That the goal for all my photo tours: shoot well, and have a blast while doing that!

In this blog post, I am going to show you some of my favorite photos from the trip. In the next blog post, I hope to share some of the awesome images that my guests captured.

Everyone has been asking me if I took a new Canon camera with me on the trip. The answer is no. I was mostly shooting with the Canon R3 and the Canon R5. Almost all the photos were taken with the Canon RF 100-500mm lens (even the shots that look like macro images). And everything was edited on the MacBook Pro using Adobe Photoshop.

Here are my favorites (in chronological order)...


There are butterflies all over the place. This photo was taken in the first hour of our trip, during our walk of the resort property, I really like the colors in this photo as well as the lighting that was on the butterfly, casting an interesting shadow on the leaf.


The parrots are loud and plentiful as in the rain forest. We watched this one feeding on a nearby tree limb. You can see that we had a little bit of rain, but not enough to keep us from shooting. 


On our first full day, we saw all 4 species of monkeys. I love this shot with the Squirrel monkey wrapping itself with it's tail.


Any time we see babies (of any animal), we got excited. And we saw lots of them on this trip.  I love this cluster of White-face monkeys, with a baby in the mix.  


This White-face monkey was just chilling in a tree, watching all the others moving around. Love the pose.


Still on the first day, we came across a pack of Howler monkeys. Once again, we paid extra special attention to the youngsters.


Even though we didn't get a great photo opportunity with the Spider monkeys omn the first day, we did have fun watching them follow each other and they jumped from tree to tree. Knowing that we would only get silhouettes, I shared the camera settings and we had fun capturing them mid-flight.


The second day was our macro day, and everyone had a blast photographing the Red-eyed tree frogs. 


I never get tired of these cute little frogs.


We also had some other subjects to capture, including this Iguana (which only show this color in their younger days)


For the first time in all of my trips to Costa Rica, I had a chance to photograph the tiny little Glass frog.  We were all amazed that Eduardo (the man who finds the animals for us) could find this thing amongst all the foliage of the rain forest.


After spending the first half of the day in the macro location, we returned back to the resort. I walked around with some of my guests, and showed them how to get the attention of the crocodiles in the nearby pond. This one came towards us, and I showed them how we could get down low to get a shot of just it's eye. So cool!


On our fourth day, we went to an area that is known for having a lot of Two-toed and Three-toed sloths. We found a couple of juveniles and waited to see if they would stay in a ball, or if they would move around. One of them became really active and we all had a blast photographing this Three-toed sloth as it posed for us. 


All of my photo tour guests were thrilled with their photos, which makes me really happy!


While looking for more sloths, our guide showed us a couple of Hummingbird nests. This was the first time I have photographed this with such clarity. And even more exciting...


...we were told that there was a Pacific screech-owl nearby. We all made our way to the back of the property to see this beauty!


The next day was our time on the bay, looking for dolphins. We saw some Bottle-nosed dolphins within minutes of leaving the dock, but they were not very active. We had a great tour of the bay, photographing some of the birds and local scenery, and then found an active pod of dolphin. I had arranged for two boats (so that we would have room to move around and get good photos) and I was photographing the other boat when this dolphin jumped high in the air. A couple of the guests got really nice photos of this jump.


Dolphins have always been my favorite animals, so it is a treat to photograph them.


The following day was our day off, which gives everyone a chance to relax, go to the pool, go through their photos, and shoot some more. Actually, half of the group wanted to go back to the sloth area, so I arranged that for them. I stayed back at the property to get some work done, and then went out to shoot some more. I love it when I walk around and see my guests searching for more great photos. The passion runs deep! In this case, we saw this bird eating berries from a nearby tree and I captured this photo.


Since I have photographed the monkeys, sloths and other larger animals so much, I decided to spend some of the free day photographing the smaller insects of the region. Believe it or not, I was using the Canon R5 and the Canon RF 100-500mm lens for all these photos. Nope, these are not from a macro lens! I saw this phosphorescent bug flying around the flowers and let the subject detection of the Canon R5 help me lock in and get a sharp image of this little one in flight. Of all my photos from this trip, this is actually one of my favorites. I really like the colors, the sharpness, the position of the bug, and the fact that it is different from what I usually capture down on the Osa Peninsula.


I was walking around and saw this Dragon fly on the edge of a leaf. I zoomed all the way to 500mm with the long lens and got this photo. I love showing the detail in this insect that you might otherwise never see. 


I saw these Leaf-cutter ants walking on a log, passing some mushrooms. I got down low and took some photos of these crazy strong ants.


On our second to last day, we drove out towards an area where we hoped to get photos of the Scarlet macaw. And just as planned, we found some macaw feeding on palm fruit. I encouraged everyone to crank up their ISO (to get a shutter speed of at least 1/2000 sec) and wait for the birds to grab a fruit and fly away. 


The beauty and color of these birds always blows away my guests.


I almost always save the Sierpe River tour for the last full day in the rain forest. On this trip, we usually see all kinds of cool wildlife, but the boat ride itself is really pretty and a highlight for the guests. The ride down the river last week was especially good. We had perfect shooting weather and saw a lot of cool animals. The river cruise started with this large iguana who peeked up over this log to check us out. 


Our driver maneuvered the boat so that we could get a shot of this Green Heron guarding her baby in the nest.


This is not wildlife, but I saw these two guys paddling towards us (even though the boat is backwards) and I just thought it was a cool scene. 

We had been out on the river for 3 hours and were making our way back to the dock and restaurant for lunch, when our guide saw a crocodile by the edge of the water. We were going pretty fast, and creating a wake in the water. As the wake reached the crocodile, he opened his mouth. I already had the croc locked in focus, and fired off a bunch of photos as the water went into it's mouth. I really like this shot, which make the croc look fierce, even though he was just hanging out in the river and soaking up the waves (literally).

Those are some of my favorite photos from the last trip. As I said, I am collecting some images from my guests and hope to share those with you next.

If you are wanting to join me in Costa Rica for one of my photo tours, please click HERE to see which tours are coming up. This year is already sold out, but I have added three tours for 2025. The May 2025 trip is almost sold out already, but I have an October and November trip as well.

I also have space in the upcoming trip to Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, which was AMAZING last year. You can see images from Vietnam HERE and Cambodia HERE. If you are interested in join me for that tour, please let me know soon!



__________________________________________________________

• Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!

• You can now purchase Jeff Cable Photography images from my new fine art site at: https://fineart.jeffcable.com/

• If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.

• Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa Costa Rica and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours.

 _________________________________________________________________