- Size and weight — MUCH, much lighter than my 1DX Mark II and even more frames-per-second.
- The eye-tracking focus is an absolute game changer. The fact that the camera can keep an animal on the focus point, as it’s moving, and I am able to compose so the animal is moving into the frame— without having to physically move the focus point— makes the change worth it to me. And the buttons on the camera can be set up in such a way so that you can switch between normal auto-focus and eye-tracking focus in a split second.
Even though the bear moves to the edge of the frame, the eye-tracking focus stays with the animal.
Because the animal stay sharp no matter where it’s at I can then crop the image exactly as I see fit.
- Frames-per-second. The idea that I can get up to 20 frames a second is another game changer when it comes to capturing the “decisive moment” like when a bear is pouncing on a salmon or a bird is flying and flapping its wings in front of its face. BUMMER is that it shoots 20 fps which means I have A LOT of images to cull through. -:)
- Focus Bracketing (Yes, Canon calls it “bracketing” though we photographers have always called this focus “Stacking” ). Either way, I did not even know this was a feature when I bought the cameras. But the idea that you can quickly and easily focus-stack (in several distance increments and up to 99 frames) within the camera, and then simply use Canon’s Digital software to easily blend the images is another game-changer. No longer do you need extra equipment like focus rails and software and such to change focus increments. How simple can it get?
- Focus Peaking —Yet another game changer is “focus-peaking” which allows you to use manual focus, which will then highlight (in the color of your choice— yellow, blue or red) all the areas that are in focus as you rotate the manual focus ring. This eliminates the whole idea of needing to use and calculate hyperfocal distance any longer. This creates a situation where you can very quickly make a sharp image from foreground to background, 10-times faster than the old school hyperfocal way.
My backyard patio with some chairs set up starting about 5 feet away from the camera. This is looking at the back-screen of the camera as it appears normally—on auto focus.
The same exact photo but turning to manual focus and having “focus peaking” turned on. The areas that are in focus turn red (or the color of your choice) as you manually focus the camera.
- Focus Points over the ENTIRE frame. This is not unique to Canon, but with most mirrorless cameras. The idea that you can move the focus point absolutely anywhere in the frame is, again, another game-changer. No longer am I stuck with 26 or 64 points of focus (or whatever a body has) all condensed mostly in the center. The focus point can be moved ANYWHERE in the frame, even off to the very edges or corner. Totally unlimited capability now.
Like to this area in the upper left-hand corner. Anywhere at all the focus point can be moved to. A big game changer.
Video — one can go from shooting stills to video by pressing one button and the video quality is incredible.
And this is not to mention the obvious features that help me all the time: R5 with 45 megapixels. The images are of a stunning quality where I can even “crop the crap” out of an image and it still holds up well.
In-body stabilization. With some lenses on both the R5 and the R6 the body stabilization allows even better hand-holding capabilities and sharp images at lower shutter speeds.
Beautiful viewfinder. One of the big reasons I was hesitant to go mirrorless was because when I looked through the eyepiece of various manufacturers and models, the display just looked like crud. I did not want to view the beautiful creation through something that degraded the quality of what I was seeing. The Canon R5 and R6 have an enhanced electronic viewfinder which looks wonderful.
Electronic shutter. Using the electronic shutter makes the shutter absolutely silent. Which is fantastic when photographing wildlife or a delicate human situation.
Voice Memos on Images. For many years I’ve used the voice memo feature on the Canon 1DX mark II when photographing the Iditarod. As a dog musher goes by, rather than have to write down who he/she is or the location on a piece of paper and collate it later on, I simply look at the image, press the microphone button and speak the caption as I sound file onto the photo. Later on, when editing, I can then transcribe the voice memo into the image’s caption. Makes life super easy and especially in the winter with gloves on and when pens don’t write very well. The Canon R5 has this ability as well.
DOWNSIDES— as with anything there must be a downside to this. And for me these are the downsides.
The cards. They only take CF express or SD cards. So all of my old CF cards I’ve used for years are obsolete.
The learning curve. It’s still going to take a while for me to get used to how to quickly know what particular buttons do and change some settings.
My motto is: GO FAST — GO LIGHT — GO SIMPLE. And while I still stumble through understanding intuitively how to switch some settings, the new Canon mirrorless cameras fit that motto perfectly.
THE BOTTOM LINE;
For me the bottom line is not to convince you to buy a Canon mirrorless camera. At all. But if you have not jumped into the mirrorless scene yet and you want to up your photo game, certainly do consider mirrorless. Perhaps rent one from lensrentals.com or some such. Just try it and see if you like it. Many of my clients swear that Sony is the best way to go. Others suggest that Olympus or Fuji is the best thing going. I say —whatever floats your boat. Whatever is easy for you to use is the way to go.
As I understand the rumors, it appears that more and more the DSLR may be a thing of the past in the not too distant future. As more and more manufactures will begin to not create new ones and perhaps eventually not support them or do away with them.
All the best —