Canon EOS R5 and R6 Support Added to Capture One Pro (Podcast 716)

Canon EOS R5 and R6 Support Added to Capture One Pro (Podcast 716)


Visit Library for MBP Pro eBooks

Almost a month after the Canon EOS R5 hit the streets, and just in time for the R6 release, the Capture One team has released an update for Capture One Pro that adds native support for both of these cameras, and as you’ll see, the image quality is a huge improvement over the DNG conversion workaround that many people have been using for the past month. So much so, that I’d recommend anyone that was using that workflow to go back to their original raw files and process them again to get the most out of this amazing new camera.

I am creating this post and podcast today, and although it will be a little on the short side, I want to get it out because the Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1 lens release has been brought forward by a month, and I’ll be getting mine this Thursday, on August 27, the day of release, and will be trying to get out into the field to start and take this new lens through its paces so that I can report on my findings early next week.

Anyhow, there is generally a bit of a lag between the release of a new camera and Capture One Pro providing full support for it. I’ve become accustomed to that, and although I would very much prefer it if the camera manufacturers could work better with Phase One to enable earlier releases, in the grand scheme of things, waiting three to four weeks for this support isn’t such a bit deal, and when the support is added, it just reinforces one of the main reasons that I’m a Capture One Pro user. The image quality is just so much better. It’s sometimes only a subtle difference, and not always obvious until you compare images as we will today. The difference between Canon’s Digital Photo Professional and the DNG workaround images is so small that we’ll consider it insignificant, and just work through the four images that I wanted to share with you in pairs so that you can open them in the Lightbox, and we’ll also try looking at them with a before/after slider. None of these images have any processing done to them, other than the standard raw sharpening applied to all images by default so that you can see the baseline from which any further processing would begin.

Note too that these images were shot on the day that I got the EOS R5. I parked myself on a bench near the camera shop for a few minutes to put in a battery that I’d charged and brought along, and attach my strap, etc. and also quickly go through most of the important Menu settings before having a quick walk around West Shinjuku to grab these shots. In all of these pairs of images, the DNG Workaround processed image is on the left, and the Capture One Pro processed image is on the right.

The Cocoon Building in Shinjuku (DNG)
The Cocoon Building in Shinjuku (DNG)
The Cocoon Building in Shinjuku (Capture One)
The Cocoon Building in Shinjuku (Capture One)

So, you can either click on the images above and then navigate back and forth with your computer arrow keys or swipe in you are on a mobile device, or you can grab the vertical bar on the comparison image below, and compare the differences. Or you can, of course, do both. However, you look at the comparison I’m sure you’ll agree that the native Capture One Pro R5 support provides us with much better image quality than the converted DNG workflow produces. The blues are more natural and the building stands out much better than in the DNG image. It looks more like looking at the building than looking at a photograph of the building.

The Cocoon Building in Shinjuku (DNG)The Cocoon Building in Shinjuku (Capture One)
DNG Workaround on Left and Capture One Pro Processed Image on Right

The same goes for the next shot of the same building. The Capture One Pro version is so much more vibrant and crisp, like I’m looking up at the building on the day that I actually shot the image.

The Cocoon Building in Shinjuku (DNG)
The Cocoon Building in Shinjuku (DNG)
The Cocoon Building in Shinjuku (Capture One)
The Cocoon Building in Shinjuku (Capture One)
The Cocoon Building in Shinjuku (DNG)The Cocoon Building in Shinjuku (Capture One)
DNG Workaround on Left and Capture One Pro Processed Image on Right

This next pair of images, looking down the staircase of the Cocoon building so much more dynamic, and the texture of the metal is much more realistic. The DNG version is fine if that’s all you look at, but when you compare the two they are really worlds apart and keep in mind that this is without any additional processing. I’d probably add a little clarity and perhaps play with the Luma Tone Curve some, to enhance the image further.

The Bowels of the Cocoon (DNG)
The Bowels of the Cocoon (DNG)
The Bowels of the Cocoon (Capture One Pro)
The Bowels of the Cocoon (Capture One Pro)
The Bowels of the Cocoon (DNG)The Bowels of the Cocoon (Capture One Pro)
DNG Workaround on Left and Capture One Pro Processed Image on Right

This final pair from the first day is just the sunlight stream through the early summer tree foliage, but again, the difference between the two images is quite striking. You get a sense of the sunlight in the Capture One Pro version, but the DNG workaround shot is flat and lifeless in comparison. I couldn’t really tell in my initial review. The images looked OK, but now they’ve come to life, and it really makes me happy that Capture One Pro has now been updated.

Sunlight Through Trees (DNG)
Sunlight Through Trees (DNG)
Sunlight Through Trees (Capture One Pro)
Sunlight Through Trees (Capture One Pro)
Sunlight Through Trees (DNG)Sunlight Through Trees (Capture One Pro)
DNG Workaround on Left and Capture One Pro Processed Image on Right

Of course, how much of a difference you can see between these pairs of images will depend on your display. If you don’t see much difference, try a different computer. A desktop computer will generally be better than a laptop display, for example. If you didn’t already check out my EOS R5 Review, you can see that here.

If you are not already a Capture One Pro user, you can try it for a full month by downloading it here from www.captureone.com.

Anyway, I have a few other things to do today, then I’m off to pick-up my RF 100-500mm lens tomorrow, and will be out trying to get some photos that I can share with you hopefully early next week. Stay safe and sane in the meantime.


Show Notes

Canon EOS R5 Body – https://mbp.ac/EOSR5
Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM Lens – https://mbp.ac/100-500

Capture One Pro: https://www.captureone.com/

Music by Martin Bailey


Audio

Subscribe in iTunes to get Podcasts delivered automatically to your computer.

Download this Podcast as an MP3 with Chapters.

Visit this page for help on how to view the images in MP3 files.


Canon EF 200-400mm F4 L EXT 1.4X Lens Review (Podcast 414)

Canon EF 200-400mm F4 L EXT 1.4X Lens Review (Podcast 414)

After many moons, finally here’s my Canon EF 200-400mm F4 L EXT 1.4X lens review! As you may recall, I bought this lens  back in June 2013, as I was able to get a good deal on some old gear that I sold to pay for it. I’ve dragged my feet on this review though, because I wanted to really take the lens though its paces first, and having now used it for some heavy wildlife shooting almost every day from the end of January to the end February this year, I’m now full of stuff I want to tell you.

There are also download and subscription options at the end of the post.

Before we start, I’d like to set expectations for this review. Although I sometimes do in studio tests for my cameras and sometimes lens reviews, the 200-400mm lens is predominantly a wildlife and sports lens, to be used mainly in the field, so that’s what I’ve based this review on—real world, in the field wildlife photography. I’m not going to do lab tests, as to me, how this lens handles and the results that it produces in the field are the most important aspects. Having said that, there were a few times when I tried something specific in the field, knowing that it’s the sort of thing that you might be interested in hearing about.

Also, before I get you too excited about this lens, know that it is expensive! I literally had to sell my old 300mm f/2.8, 600mm f/4 and 135mm f/2 lenses, and my old Canon 1Ds Mark III to cover the cost of this lens. As of March 2014, this lens is currently running at $11,299 on B&H, so it’s definitely up there with the most expensive glass on the market. Whether it’s worth this much is for you to decide. Personally, I think it is, or I wouldn’t have bought it, and my positioning has only been reinforced by actually using the lens.

Incredible Versatility!

One of the reasons this lens is so expensive, but what makes it so versatile, is the built-in 1.4X Extender. This is a revolutionary innovation by Canon, that really took the industry by storm when it was announced almost two years before the lens actually went on sale. As you can see in this photo, the lens bulges out to the side, to house the Extender when it is not engaged, and a simple lever style switch to engage or disengage it.

Canon EF 200-400mm F4 L Extender 1.4X Lens

Canon EF 200-400mm F4 L Extender 1.4X Lens

The action of the switch is well balance, and can be flicked up easily and quickly. In practice, although initially I fumbled trying to find the switch in a moment of fast-past shooting, once you get used to it, it really feels well positioned and can be flicked on or off very easily.

The amazing thing about having this Extender built in like this, is that we no longer have to unmount the lens from the camera to put on or remove an extender to obtain your required focal length. Essentially, you can zoom from 200mm to 400mm, then if you need the extra reach, you just flick a switch and your at 560mm.

If necessary of course, you can then pull back a little, and although you’d ideally only pull back to an effective focal length of 400mm, and not right back to 280mm, the widest focal length with the Extender engaged, in practice, I found myself pulling back past 400mm a number of times.

Although I’m mindful of this, and try to disengage the Extender when I don’t need it, as we’ll see, the image quality is unchanged with the Extender engaged, so I let the shooting situation decide how I work with the lens. If I am photographing birds in flight at a distance, I’m more likely to leave the Extender engaged, until the birds get really close, and then disengage it to pull back further.

Sample Images

Anyway, let’s take a look at some shots from the 200-400mm, so you can see why I’m head over heals with this little beauty. First, here’s a photograph of nine Red-Crowned Cranes in flight made at 400mm without the internal 1.4X Extender engaged. This is an un-cropped 18 megapixel file from the Canon EOS 1D X.

Nine Red-Crowned Cranes in Flight

Nine Red-Crowned Cranes in Flight

And so you can see just how detailed and sharp this image is, here is a 100% crop of the two cranes to the right of the group. This is resized in the blog post, so you’ll need to click on it to view the full-sized image before you’ll actually see it at 100%.

Nine Red-Crowned Cranes in Flight 100% Crop

Nine Red-Crowned Cranes in Flight 100% Crop

For a more closeup view of the sharpness, let also look at a crop from this photo, of a Steller’s Sea Eagle flying straight towards me.

Flying with Intent

Flying with Intent

This was shot at 386mm, so pulled back just a tad from 400mm. Here’s the 100% crop. I hope this is coming across with these examples, because when I first saw the detail in these images the hair on the back of my head stood up, and I’m used to seeing sharp images.

386mm shot at 100%

386mm shot at 100%

1.4X Extender Engaged

I know you want to see what the images look like with the 1.4X Extender engaged though, so let’s look at a few more examples. Here’s a photo of a Black Kite shot at 560mm with the 1D X. This is a slight crop along the right and bottom, but otherwise, and has +12 Clarity added in Lightroom, but otherwise straight out of the camera.

Black Kite Soaring

Black Kite Soaring

And here is the 100% crop. Remember, this is with the 1.4X Extender engaged, and at the full reach, 560mm. This photo just blows me away, so I hope you’re now starting to understand why I’ve fallen in love with this lens.

Black Kite Soaring  @ 560mm 100% Crop

Black Kite Soaring @ 560mm 100% Crop

Another Internal 1.4X Extender Example

I just have to share this shot with you too, as it blew me away. Here’s a shot at 526mm of a Steller’s Sea Eagle.

Steller's Sea Eagle

Steller’s Sea Eagle

And here again is a 100% crop of his head. This one gave me goose pimples. It’s straight out of the camera. I didn’t even add any Clarity or anything to this.

Steller's Sea Eagle @ 100%

Steller’s Sea Eagle @ 100%

Internal AND External Extender Performance

One of the first things I checked when I first heard of this lens, was if it was possible to add an external Extender as well as engaging the internal extender, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that you can. At full extent of course, this take the focal length from 560mm to 784mm. As an example, I shot this photo of an Ural Owl with the 5D Mark III, so had slightly more resolution at 22 megapixels than the 18 megapixel 1D X images.

Sleeping Ural Owl

Sleeping Ural Owl

Internal 1.4X Ext + External 1.4X Ext @ 100%

Internal 1.4X Ext + External 1.4X Ext @ 100%

I’m sure you’ll agree that although the image quality isn’t stunning anymore, it’s still very acceptable. I shot this image on the first of my two tours, using a monopod, at f/9 for an 1/800 of a second at ISO 800, as it was overcast on this day.

On my second tour, I decided to try a few other combinations, and luckily the Ural Owl was there again, so we have the same subject for our comparison, although it was a clearer day this time. In this example, I had both the internal 1.4X Extender engaged, and a 2.0X Extender, taking the focal length out to a whopping 1,120mm!

Sleepy Ural Owl @ 1120mm

Sleepy Ural Owl @ 1120mm

And here, is what I would consider a very acceptable quality image at 100%. It’s not world-beating clarity of course, but if you really need the reach, this is one way to get it.

Now, remember that as you add extenders your widest aperture becomes smaller. The lens drops from f/4 to f/5.6 when you engage the internal extender, but then it drops two more stops from f/5.6 through f/8 to f/11 when you add the 2.0X Extender which costs you two more stops. I shot this at f/11, the widest aperture possible, again at ISO 800, at 1/500 of a second. I was using a monopod here too.

Internal 1.4X Ext + External 2.0X Ext @ 100%

Internal 1.4X Ext + External 2.0X Ext @ 100%

Note too that you lose auto-focus with this combination, because your aperture is lower than f/8, the smallest aperture that the 1D X will auto-focus at. Still though, I’m really impressed with the image quality here, especially when we consider that it’s shot at 1,120mm.

There was one more surprise waiting for me though. While I had the 2.0X Extender fitted, I made a few images without the internal Extender engaged, to see what the image quality is like. Note too that the 2x extender takes you to 800mm at f8, whereas then internal 1.4x and external 1.4x only take you to 784mm. So here’s the full image shot at 800mm (left) and the 100% crop (right).

Ural Owl @ 800mm

Ural Owl @ 800mm

Only the 2.0X External Extender 100% Crop

Only the 2.0X External Extender 100% Crop

This to me actually looks sharper than when I use both the internal 1.4X Extender and an external 1.4X Extender, so this is something that I’ll definitely be bearing in mind when I do need the extra reach of an external extender.

The downside of using this combination of course is that it stops me from zooming out to 280mm. My shortest focal length would become 400mm, but if I need the reach, this is definitely an option. Also of course, although I’d lose auto-focus, I would have the option to zoom out to 1,120mm if I really needed to.

In hindsight, I probably should have also tried the lens with both the internal and external extenders fitted and shooting moving subjects, but I actually never felt the need for the extra reach on my two recent winter wonderland trips. When the need arises, I’ll let you know how the auto-focus bears up to this at some point in the future.

200-400mm + 5D Mark III Combination

One thing that I know some people are waiting to hear about is how the 200-400mm lens fairs with the 5D Mark III. Image quality isn’t an issue, but I found that the auto-focus performance for moving subjects drops considerably.

It often takes much longer to achieve initial focus, and then also when tracking with birds in flight it’s much more likely to lose focus for a while before regaining it, or losing it altogether until you stop focusing and then refocus. The 1D X will occasionally lose focus during a set, but it’s much less likely to do so, and when it does, it pretty much always recovers pretty quickly without any user intervention.

I had some sets of images of eagles flying straight towards the camera where the focus was just off by about the same amount for the entire set, and although this happened sometimes with the 1D Mark IV too, it just doesn’t happen any more with the 1D X. The 5D Mark III isn’t unworkable, but I shot the middle of three days of sea eagles on my second Winter Wonderland tour this year with the 5D Mark III, with almost identical weather conditions on all three days, and the difference was significant.

As I was going through my images after the tour, I couldn’t figure out why I was missing so many shots, and then I realized that I was looking at the day when I’d switched cameras. When I started going through my images from the following day, having switched back to the 1D X, it was like a breath of fresh air. The images were just so much more consistently sharp.

As I say though, the 5D Mark III and 200-400mm lens combination is not unworkable. Here’s an example of a shot made at 371mm, of a Steller’s Sea Eagle coming straight for the camera.

5D Mark III + 200-400mm f/4 EXT Lens at 371mm

5D Mark III + 200-400mm f/4 EXT Lens at 371mm

And here is a 100% crop of just the eagles face for comparison. As you can see, when you nail the focus, the results are great. But you’ll nail focus on fast moving subjects with far less frequency than you will with the 1D X. This is a shame really, as sometimes I like to forfeit the 12 frames per second that the 1D X gives me for a little extra resolution, but unless Canon release a firmware update to greatly improve the AI Servo focusing on the 5D Mark III, I think I’ll stick with the 1D X when using this lens.

5D Mark III + 200-400mm f/4 EXT Lens at 371mm 100% Crop

5D Mark III + 200-400mm f/4 EXT Lens at 371mm 100% Crop

I know there’s a big price difference between the 5D and the 1D X though, so maybe you don’t want to rule it out. The 5D Mark III is still an incredible all round camera, and often my go-to body. If you don’t shoot fast paced wildlife or sports, the 5D Mark III works fine with the 200-400mm, it may still be an option. Indeed I used this combination a number of times throughout my two 2014 Japan winter wonderland tours, and was only dissatisfied with the auto-focus or the AI Servo tracking ability on the 5D Mark III when shooting these eagle shots.

Weight and Portability

So, what other considerations might you want to bear in mind before taking the plunge on a big lens like this? Well, exactly that, it is a big chunk of glass, weighing it at 3,620g which is a hair under 8lb. Without getting into a discussion about downsizing to a mirror-less camera system though, the weight doesn’t really bother me, because this lens enabled me to replace my 300mm and 600mm lenses, which at 2,550g and 5,360g respectively totals 7,910g or 17.5lb, so I’m now carrying a wider focal length range for less size and weight, so I’m happy.

Hand-Holdability

After my old monopod broke many years ago, I didn’t replace it, because I didn’t really use it that often. Having tried to hand-hold the 200-400mm lens initially, I thought it would be too heavy, so I picked up a new Really Right Stuff monopod for these recent tours. It had been my intention to use the monopod on the boat from which we photograph the sea eagles.

200-400mm f/4 Lens in a Gura Gear Bataflae 32L Backpack

200-400mm f/4 Lens in a Gura Gear Bataflae 32L Backpack

I had taken the monopod on board the first day, and didn’t use it. There just really isn’t enough room, and I felt that it would actually hinder my movement, but I was also pleasantly surprised to find that this lens actually is hand-holdable, although you do feel it in your arms and shoulders after a while. There was actually a young lady on our tour who also had the 200-400mm and hand-held too, so it’s not just a man-thing. It seems to be doable. I haven’t abandoned the monopod altogether either. It’s getting used, just not in all the ways I imagined it would be.

Transporting the Lens

In the past I’ve had to take my 600mm in a different bag, because my main Gura Gear Bataflae 32L backpack was already full, with the 300mm, 70-200mm and a range of other lenses, but now I can fit my entire wildlife and landscape kit into the Bataflae 32L as we see here.

In fact, the 200-400mm lens fits comfortably down one side of the Bataflae 26L backpack, so if I leave my macro and 14mm prime lenses at home, the rest of my gear fits in the other side, so this kit is incredibly portable. That of course really helps when traveling by air, especially as the airlines are gradually tightening their baggage restrictions.

Also, because it’s smaller than the 600mm, I’ve not been using my Really Right Stuff long lens support with this lens, although I’m sure it would help to keep things nice and tight when shooting down below 1/100th of a second of so, but I also shot some images at 10 seconds, like this one (below) and they were sharp as tacks too, so not having to take that support though again helps to keep my overall travel weight down, so is a really welcome change.

Cranes at Roost

Cranes at Roost

RRS Replacement Collar Foot

I did replace the lens collar foot with the Really Right Stuff replacment, which I have to say is not one of their most beautiful creations. The replacement foot for the original 600mm IS lens was nicely formed, but the 200-400mm replacement isn’t as pretty. It’s functional and well engineered though, as you can see here.

Canon EF 200-400 f/4 L EXT 1.4X Lens with Really Right Stuff Replacement Foot

Canon EF 200-400 f/4 L EXT 1.4X Lens with Really Right Stuff Replacement Foot

Gimbal Heads

If you are wondering why I replace the foot that comes with the lens, this is because the Really Right Stuff replacement foot has the Arca Swiss style dovetail plate built in, and allows the lens to sit lower down in a Gimbal Head, which makes it easier to balance the lens and camera. Without the replacement foot, you have to add a plate to the bottom of the foot that comes with the lens, and that’s a big foot too, so it all adds up.

Although I mentioned hand-holding this lens earlier, when it’s possible to use a tripod it’s definitely better, especially when you are shooting for any length of time. Plus, if you are shooting a moving subject like birds in flight, a gimbal head or a sidekick is the way to go. Trying to track with a moving subject and keep your camera straight with a ball-head is just not an option.

I recently switched from my old original Wimberley Head to the Really Right Stuff PG-02 Full Gimbal Head. The Wimberley is a great gimbal head, and I was happy with mine for many years, even though it was the original heavier head, not the lighter mark II version, but I am so much happier with the Really Right Stuff. Not only can it be configured to use for shooting images to stitch together for panorama photos as I explain in my latest ebook Striking Landscapes, but as a gimbal head it’s simply a cut above the rest.

One merit is that it can be broken down and stored more easily, because it’s modular, but also, it has just the right amount of drag when tracking with birds in flight. It actually feels almost like a video fluid head in use, which makes for a very smooth panning action. You can apply a bit of traction with the locking nuts on the Wimberley, but it’s not as smooth as the RRS PG-02.

For storage and transporting the RRS gimbal head, I am using the LensCoat Really Right Stuff PG Gimbal Pouch, which holds all of the components that I need to build the Full Gimbal and I can also fit the parts for my panorama stitching setup too, so this protects the head and keeps it all nice and organized.

LensCoat Really Right Stuff PG02 Pouch

LensCoat Really Right Stuff PG02 Pouch

Case is Too Big!

One last word on transporting the 200-400mm lens itself. The case that comes with it, is although very sturdy and protective, it’s too big. It looks as though Canon have just reused the same outer shell as some of their bigger telephoto lenses, with a different inner molding, and there’s a lot of wasted space. As you can see in this last shot for this review, if they wanted to save money by using the larger case, they could have at least molded it in such as way that you could pack the camera with a body fitted. I don’t like to this, because it can put a lot of stress on the mount if the bag is banged, but the point it, the case is big enough to do this.

Canon EF 200-400mm F4 L Extender 1.4X Lens in its Case

Canon EF 200-400mm F4 L Extender 1.4X Lens in its Case

Conclusion

So, that’s my review of the 200-400mm F/4 Extender 1.4X lens. As I say, I’ve tried to base this on my real-world experience with this lens, rather than indoor tests, which is why I waited until I was able to really use the lens for a full month on my two 2014 Japan Winter Wonderland tours.

Many times I found myself giggle like a teenager at the sheer joy of being able to zoom again, for the first time in ten years. For so long now I’ve been shooting wildlife with my prime telephoto lenses, that I’d forgotten how much easier it is with the flexibility of a zoom lens. Having the ability to zoom from 200 through to 560mm with the flick of a switch, knowing that the image quality is as good if not better than my old prime lenses, is revolutionary.

The folks at Canon outdid themselves on this one!

Support the Podcast

This review is based purely on my own experiences and opinions and is not sponsored by Canon, B&H, Really Right Stuff or any other third party. If you decide to buy any of the items discussed, you can support this Podcast and site by buying from B&H using the below affiliate links.

 

Join us in 2015!

So, that’s it for this week, but before we finish, talking of my tours, if you’d like to join us in Japan for the 2015 Winter Wonderland tours, do take a look at the tour page at https://mbp.ac/ww2015, or sign up for our Tours and Workshops Newsletter for information on future tours as they are announced.

Pixels 2 Pigment is Back!

Also, note that I am bringing the Pixels 2 Pigment printing and digital workflow workshop back, with small group in-studio workshops here in Tokyo. The first workshop is going to be held on May 17 and 18, 2014, for a maximum of five participants, and everyone will be taking away either a large format print or a 20×30″ canvas gallery wrap, courtesy of our friends over at Breathing Color. We’ve already filled two places, so if you’d like to join us, please hurry. For details and to reserve your place, take a look at the new Pixels 2 Pigment page (https://mbp.ac/p2p).


Show Notes

RRS Replacement Foot: https://mbp.ac/200-400rf

RRS PG-02 Full Gimbal Head: https://mbp.ac/rrspg-02

LensCoat RRS Gimbal Pouch: https://mbp.ac/rrsgp

Japan Winter Wonderland 2015: https://mbp.ac/ww2015

Pixels 2 Pigment In-Studio Workshops: https://mbp.ac/p2p

Music from Music Alley: http://www.musicalley.com/


Audio

Subscribe in iTunes for Enhanced Podcasts delivered automatically to your computer.

Download this Podcast in MP3 format (Audio Only).

Download this Podcast in Enhanced Podcast M4A format. This requires Apple iTunes or Quicktime to view/listen.