The Canon R5 Review (for Dummies)

I’ve recently taken on the role of Community Manager for the Canon Collective Facebook Page Group.  One of the perks of the job is every now and again, I am treated to some of Canon’s products to try out.

The new Canon R5 is receiving some bold headlines, such as “Game Changer” in mirrorless technology and this is a big call.  I currently shoot with a Canon 1DX, 5D IV and 5Ds and these are all exceptional cameras with some specific qualities for certain types of shooting.  But if I’m totally honest, there are a few tweaks on my wish list of features to really have my “dream camera”

So when the Canon R5 showed up on my doorstep (after doing a little happy dance), I pretty much took it out of the box and headed to my local park to take it for a test run.  I didn’t read the instructions.   I had seen a few online reviews about some of the features so had some idea what I was wanting to try and so I figured, how hard could it be, it’s still a Canon Camera after all.

In hindsight, maybe that wasn’t the best strategy as, although many of the functions and usability is similar, there are some big differences in the operation of this camera compared to the 5D and 1D (all more user friendly once you get used to them), particularly the focusing with animal and people “eye detection” which I was super keen to try out.  To be honest, I came away a little dejected.  I got confused with some of the settings and kept changing the ISO and shutter speeds by mistake.  Is this camera really the revolution everyone is going on about or just some great marketing by Canon?  My first instinct was to just go back to my 5D.  I’ve been shooting with one for over 5 yeas and could pretty much operate in my sleep.

Then I got home and downloaded the pictures!  Granted, a few were out of focus, but I think that was more the fault of the driver than the machine, but the images that were in focus – WOW.  The clarity and detail is truly incredible.  And being a 45 mega pixel camera means you can crop and zoom in on images without losing quality.  Particularly shooing wildlife on my first outing, this is a great feature as it allows you to keep your distance, but still achieve the image I was wanting.

So, I have now read more instruction manuals and reviews and spent a couple of weeks using the R5 in a variety of situations.  Let me start by saying that even though I have studied photography, I am not one of those overly complex people.  I find my photography more artistical than technical.  Some online guidelines talked in way too technical terms and seemed to make things more complicated.  When I take photos, I usually have a few settings and go to procedures I use in 90% of situations and I try and keep things simple so I can actually get on and enjoy what I am doing.  I don’t really change my settings much during an actual shoot.  If that’s you, here are some of my insights to get you started while you familiarise yourself with the R5.  Many of the features and setups are the same as a 5D so I am assuming some knowledge and only highlighting the differences.

 

SOME COOL THINGS ABOUT THE R5

  • First of all, a big feature from say the 5D range is the swivel rear screen. This made the camera easy to use in awkward positions like very low down as you can manoeuvre the screen so it is easy to see.  I even read a review that stated one of the big “game changing” features of the swivel screen was it allows you to take better selfies as you can view the screen whilst taking a selfie – I guess in today’s modern world of “influencers”, that could be a priority?
  • I think one of the biggest features for me is the R5 allows focus points across the entire width and height of the full frame which is often a frustration for me on the 5D range, not being able to move outside the centre focus points. I often want to widen the range of focus outside the centre of the screen particularly when shooting portraits on a low aperture and I don’t want to focus then move the camera
Focus on the eye is outside the usual centre focal range points

  • There’s no “live view” any more, the rear screen is on live view all the time. This could present a problem with battery life, but in all the situations I was in, I never had an issue.  If you have your eye to the camera, it switches off and also times out automatically after a period
  • On the point of battery life, I always always carry and spare and one great thing about the R5 is the battery is the same size as the 5D so if you have one of these cameras, you can interchange or if like me, you have a spare battery, it will work on both cameras so you don’t need to get another one.
  • As I said above, the R5 shoots 45 MP images (compared to say 30 on the 5D IV) which allow more flexibility with cropping and still maintaining a high quality image
  • Another big game changers for me is the eye detect focus. The camera literally has the technology to detect the eye on the person (or animal) and as the object moves, the camera will follow.  If there is more than one person, or you are shooting at really low aperture the camera will detect the eye closest to it, otherwise you can easily move the focal point to which eye you want.  I did several model shoots and this was a massive bonus for me, made shooting so much easier and the sharpness and accuracy of the image was impressive
Dancer moving during shoot with focus set to “eye detection”
  • The animal eye detection was a little less accurate. I shot both peacocks as well as lorikeets at feeding time and both times found that the camera sometimes got confused.  However being realistic, animals move a lot faster than humans and there were a lot more to get confused by.  I still found it a really accurate focusing method.

  • The focusing system does take a little getting used to and I found my method of shooting slightly changed (I changed from rear button focus to shutter button), but after a few days, I found it so much easier.
  • You can adjust the focus point using the toggle on the back of the camera as with the 5D or now you can use the rear screen with the “Touch and Drag” feature. It’s a little tricky getting used to, and I recommend you set up to just use the right hand part of the screen (this makes sense once you use) but basically with your eye up to the viewfinder and your right hand holding the camera, your thumb can manoeuvre the screen easily to adjust focus on the move
  • You can also set up the rear screen to touch and shoot from the rear screen – although personally I found this annoying and disabled the feature
  • The new file format of the R5 is CR3. Make sure your computer has the latest updated software to accept these files (mine didn’t and took a bit of juggling with Apple) so just a tip if you try to download and the computer tells you there are no files or they aren’t compatible.
  • The R5 has a new feature called the “control ring”. This is on both the adapter if you are using your DSLR lenses (as an option) or on the RF lenses. It is basically a ring between the lens and the camera body that allows you to adjust various features such as ISO, aperture or shutter speed.  It actually is a really cool feature.  I pretty much had mine set to ISO and this allowed me to change ISO during a shoot without even taking my eye away from the camera.  Be careful though, when you start using it, I had a few instances where I accidentally changed the ISO without realising so it does take a little getting used to.
  • As a great way to transition from the DSLR to Mirrorless technology, you can purchase the R5 and get an adapter to use your DSLR lenses. I used the R5 with my L Series 24-70 f2.8 lens.  There are two adapters available and I highly recommend paying the extra to get the one with the control ring feature (about AUD $100 extra).  It means if/when switching between the RF and DSLR lenses you have the same control ring feature, and let me assure you, once you start using it, it is super handy.
  • Even though you can still use a DSLR lens, the range of RF lenses is growing all the time with currently around 15 to select from.
  • The camera has a “Q Button” on the back which makes it really easy to make quick adjustments like image style, white balance, autofocus modes, autofocus operation, etc. On the 5D, I have a custom menu set up with these adjustments as these are the most commonly adjusted, so it makes it a lot quicker and easier changing from one button the rear of the camera.
  • You get an in camera preview of images shot when you have your eye to the view finder which is really handy when shooting in bright light situations where the rear screen can be a little hard to see.
  • The R5 has inbuilt image stabilisation technology meaning it can effectively reduce camera shake up to 8 stops allowing you to shoot a lower shutter speeds hand held
1/80 sec, f2.8, ISO 12,800 unedited
1/13 sec, f2.8 ISO 2000 unedited
  • Interestingly, the shutter release is really quiet so when shooting compared to other models, it’s super quiet. There is even a “silent” mode by which the camera disables the shutter so shooting is virtually totally silent
  • Camera definitely feels lighter straight out of the box
  • A big difference between the R5 and pretty much every other camera is the video quality – 8K on the R5 which I know is a huge selling point for a lot of people. Let’s be real, video is “the new black”.  Everyone is doing it and there is a lot of money to be made.  Personally I am sticking to my old school stills, it’s my passion so I’m not interested in the video side of camera capability but if you are, you can’t go past the R5.  I have to confess though I was so excited with taking photo’s I didn’t even test out the video on the R5 – sorry.

 

Price – okay let’s just not go there.  It’s roughly double the price of a 5D IV body, which for many people is a lot.  But I am constantly asked “what camera/lens should I buy” and my answer is always always the same.  “Buy the absolutely the best you can afford”.  I think if you buy inferior quality lenses etc, you quickly outgrow them and end up getting the better one anyway, so initially you may save a little money, but it ends up costing you in the long run.  This happened to me only once, I bought a non brand lens thinking I could get away with it, and honestly, I was never happy with the quality and quickly replaced it for an Canon L-series.  I personally think you are far better off just owning one body and one great versatile lens than trying to get a bit of everything for the same money.  So my advice is, if you can afford the R5, it is truly amazing and after testing one out for a couple of weeks, I am absolutely trading in some old gear and upgrading.  The other option is to start with the R6 which is around half the price of the R5, with the biggest differences being 8k video vs 4k and 45 megapixels vs 20 megapixels.

SET UP TIPS OUT OF THE BOX (DIFFERENT TO OTHER MODELS)

 

  1. Set the camera’s shooting mode to M, Av or Tv
  2. Shooting menu 1, Tab 1, Set the Image Quality to RAW or JPEG (I’m thinking if you have bought an R5, you only shoot in RAW)
  3. Autofocus menu, tab 1, subject to detect, pretty self explanatory with People, animals or no priority – you will use this menu a lot to set your focus depending on your shooting scenario
  4. Autofocus menu, Tab 1, Touch and Drag AF settings, which allow you to use the rear LCD to move the AF point when looking though the viewfinder
  5. Shoot Menu, Tab 2 When using the touch and drag feature for rear screen focus, you can customise the active touch area. If you are using your eye in the view finder to focus, I suggest you set the area to “right”.  This makes more sense when you use the feature, but basically avoids say your nose or face accidentally touching the screen and also as you use your thumb to focus, realistically you only move it across the right half of the screen
  6. You also have option of “absolute” or “relative” position method. If your subject is stationary, I would recommend “absolute” as it gives precise positioning whereas “relative” moves the focal point relative to the direction your drag on your screen so is more effective for moving objects

So to sum up, for me, this camera is such a massive step up from previous models, I feel like all the hype is totally justified.  The absolute clinchers for me are the Eye Detection Focus, the rear screen swivel plus touch and drag focus, the Q menu for quick changes as well as the control ring and finally the expansion of the focus point outside the centre of the image to the full range of the full frame sensor.

If you wonder about why you should step up to the mirrorless technology, there is a definitely size to weight advantage as well as a far greater focusing speed on the mirrorless, which makes taking pictures so much more accurate and easy.  Mirrorless is clearly the way technology is heading and Canon have certainly stepped up the bar with the R5.

Why A Travel Agent is A MUST

If ever you were wondering what the value of using a travel agent is versus booking your own travel – you MUST read this.

Many people, (in the past, myself included), think it unnecessary booking travel through an agent when there is “google”.  After all, all the information you need is available at your fingertips and there’s even sites where you can compare prices and get the best deal.

All true.

But, and this is the big BUT. I like many other used to always book my own travel.  To be honest, if I’m just after a quick domestic flight, I still go online and book it myself.  However, years ago, I was booking an overseas holiday for the family.  I needed international flights, domestic flights in the country we were visiting, car hire, travel insurance, hotels, tour bookings plus plus plus.  It was all a bit overwhelming, particularly as I had never been to that particular country before.

So, I picked up the phone and arranged the booking through Orbit World Travel.  From that first trip, I have never looked back and whenever I am booking travel that involves multiple bookings, like flights plus hotels etc, I ALWAYS use Orbit World.

Why?

Of course, I could still do all the bookings myself.  And as I said above, there is so much information online, but, these guys are travel professionals and have knowledge about many of the locations, and usually someone with first hand experience of a destination to give clients useful hints and tips.

Plus, it doesn’t cost any extra, but the “extras” are invaluable.  Pretty much every trip I have booked through Orbit, I have been upgraded in my room, or received a “special deal” through their relationships with hotels around the world.

More importantly,  when something goes wrong, you have a trusted company that you know and are familiar with that you can call on 24 hours a day, no matter where you are in the world to help you sort out whatever issue it is you may have.

The peace of mind that this gives when travelling is priceless.  Being in a strange country, sometimes not knowing how to speak the language and have any sort of problem can very quickly ruin a great adventure.

Whenever I have experienced any sort of issue, Orbit have sorted it out without me having to worry or get involved.  If you think travel is always smooth sailing, particularly overseas, you either don’t travel much or have been super duper lucky.

  • On a trip to the US when our girls were both quite young, despite have confirmed pre booked seats, about a week before I noticed that my husband and I and our two girls were all seated separately on a 14 hour flight. Our girls both next to random strangers!  I spent hours on the phone with the airline trying to sort with absolutely no luck at all.  I was in such a panic thinking about our little girls sitting far away from us, with strangers, particularly when it was an overnight flight and we would be sleeping.  Apparently, there was some computer issue with the seating, but the airline told us we would just have to try and sort at the airport and get people to move seats after check in, they couldn’t do anything other than that.  The flights had been booked through Orbit, and I have no idea why I didn’t just call them immediately when I discovered the problem, but when I did, they escalated the issue and had us all seated together and everything sorted well before our date of departure.

  • We booked a stay in Hawaii with our two girls and were upgraded to a better room as well as getting access to a “Club” within the hotel FOC that offered breakfast, evening cocktails, all day snack and exclusive access, all complementary thanks to Orbit with no charge to us.

  • Finally, and the reason that prompted me to write this, I take out an annual travel insurance policy every year to cover myself and my family for travel, both domestic and international. This year, due to Covid 19, obviously all our travel plans have been cancelled and as well as being unlikely to return to travel at least for the remainder of the year.  The policy is $1,500 a year, so very reasonable if you travel a lot, and particularly if you have any issues when traveling, but it’s a lot of money to pay out for nothing.  As in, I can’t travel so the policy is effectively a total waste this year.  I contacted Covermore who the policy is with and basically had no luck at all.  I was so frustrated.  However, once again, as the policy had been purchased via Orbit World, I contacted them to see if they would have any better luck.  Can you believe I received a full refund on the policy thanks to Orbit World Travel and their contacts within the industry.  This was a massive win for me and confirmed once and for all, I will NEVER travel without going via a reputable travel agent.

Finally, can I say that this is not a paid blog and Orbit World did not request or know about me writing it.  But credit where credit is due.  This is me passing on what I feel is valuable information to others who may travel and run into some of the issues I have in the past.

 

The service from a travel agent is why they are professionals and I could give another dozen examples of the value add I have received over the years.

 

Definitely check them out if you are after travel assistance, both business or leisure.  They have offices all around Australia so will certainly be able to give you the same sort of great service that I have always experience with them.

 

Now if they can just sort out opening up the borders and letting us actually being able to travel again, I will continue to support them in the future.  😜

What Inspires You?

There is usually something from way back to leads you to the career path you take. Someone or something that inspires you. For me, it was Formula 1 Driver Ayrton Senna.

1 May this year marked the 26th year anniversary of his death. I was lucky enough to meet him once in 1993 but I didn’t “know” him personally yet he was probably one of the biggest influences in my life. He was the most dedicated, focussed and passionate man and his will to succeed was inspiring.

As a child growing up, watching Formula 1 racing with my big brother, we would argue about who was the best. For me, it was a no brainer. Anyone willing to sacrifice everything to achieve his dream, thats the sort of person I wanted to be like. It was his passion that motivated my photography ambitions and I started my career as a motorsport photographer – way back in the day of pre-digital and slides.

I was living in the UK when he was tragically killed at the Imola F1 Grand Prix and I, like many people around the world, was devastated.

These are some of the images I was lucky enough to snap of him both at the Adelaide and Silverstone Grand Prix.

RIP to a great man.

Thinking Outside the Square

Isolating at home has been difficult for so many, including me. As a photographer, my passion is getting out and shooting models/fashion and content for brands and companies so being confined at home is like tying my hands behind my back.

But now is not the time to wallow in the struggle of it all. I have set up a studio at home, and shooting for local Australian Brands encouraging people to “BUY LOCAL” with creative images from innovative companies. At the same time, I’m perfecting my photography skills, I’m learning new skills about lighting, styling and being creative in a confined, limited space.

Times are tough, and for some, it’s just too much, but if you can, try and find a positive. Anything. Learn to cook something new, spend time with family or help others. It’s a great way of coping and keeping yourself happy in these difficult times.

Stay safe everyone and if you want any more information of shooting from your own home studio, or need images, contact me julesingall1@gmail.com

Below are samples of images created at home in my makeshift studio.

Why Photographers Don’t Share their RAW Images?

A very common question from clients to photographers is “Can I have the RAW Images from a shoot”. The answer will mostly be “no” and here’s why in simple terms.


A RAW file is a format that most professional photographers shoot in as it gives more editing capability.    Basically it is the unprocessed data of the image information from camera, without processing and compressing.  It allows the Photographer to be able to correct slight flaws in the image such as exposure, texture, contrast, colour etc without diminishing the quality of the image. Usually when a photographer shoots an image, they already have in their mind the editing that will take place in Photoshop post shoot.  For this reason, to an inexperienced eye, a Raw image may look less attractive.  Raw format images need to be converted to JPEG and other image formats prior to printing and sharing as these formats are more convenient and user friendly, plus the fact that many devices to not have the capability to read a RAW file without specific software.  The quality of a JPEG file generated from RAW format is much better than the one directly shot in JPEG.  Generally Photographers do not share their RAW images.  It would be like asking an artist to give away an unfinished piece of work.

In any case, you can edit the JPEG files, but just be aware it is not going to be as good as an edit on the RAW so I suggest if there is something specific, you are better off going back to the photographer and asking them to complete the edit for you.  I would’t recommend converting the Jpeg images back to photoshop images as they have already been compressed, so you cannot “uncompress”.

Following are some examples of the RAW image straight out of the camera on the left, with the edited image on the right. Obviously, a photographer will try and get as much “right” in camera, but there are always slight tweaks that you can make to further improve an image to your liking post shoot in Photoshop or Lightroom

The first image is an indoor studio shoot.

As you can see, there are only slight differences between the two images, however there was a bit of time taken to complete the edit. The background colour was corrected, the hair was brightened, the whites in the eyes enhanced as well as the teeth, lips, and eye colour. Finally the skin tone was softened.

The following image was shot about 30 minutes prior to sunset at the beach with soft, low light.

Again, very similar edit to the image above. It took probably 10-15 minutes on the edit, and even though only slight, it does brighten up the image

Finally, a much faster edit is landscape photography, but as you will see in the following example, the differences are a lot more dramatic. I have overdone the edit on the colour balance in the sky just to demonstrate the difference that it can make. At the end of the day, it is the personal preference of the photographer as to what temperature to set the colour and how far to push the edit. This is also another reason that a Photographer will not share their RAW images. The edit styles on an image can be quite varying and dramatic, depending on the Photographer’s personal style. Therefore, if a Photographer shares their RAW image and it is edited in a way that does not reflect the Photographers brand, it can be damaging to the Photographer as the image is still technically theirs.

In this image, I have obviously changed the temperature to a warmer colour to bring out the oranges and yellow. Using a graduated filter have corrected the sky. Also I have adjusted highlights, colour, shadows, texture and saturation on the image.

Tricks to Taking the Perfect Reflection Photo

I am often asked my favourite style of photography, and it’s a hard questions, because I love taking photos of anything, anywhere. Capturing a moment in time through my eyes and my perception. It gives me a little thrill!

However, if you look at my social media, where the pics are more what I like to photograph, rather than what I am paid to photograph, I tend to favour reflection type shots. Ok, I’ll admit, I am a self obsessed reflection junkie. And judging by the reaction when I post one, many other people are too.

You may think that they are difficult, but honestly, it’s not rocket science. But there are a few tips and tricks.

It’s all about the light the winds – and if you are shooting for a water reflection at the beach, it’s also about the tides.

Firstly, the light. The best reflection shot is in low light and usually with a bit of cloud around to add to the reflection, but as you can see from my examples, it’s not imperative.

The weather must be calm. You are never going to get a good reflection shot in strong winds. Basically, the reflection is in the water, and so the water must be calm, which means the wind must be calm to allow this – simple right. Get a good app and check the conditions before you head out.

If you’re shooting at the beach, you want the refection from the the water in the sand. This is best on an incoming tide where you will get the water streaming up the beach and leaving a nice glossy reflection in the sand for a few seconds as it recedes back.

Once you have your perfect shot you’re happy with, there’s a couple of editing tips for reflections too. Firstly, play with the highlights. I usually bring them down a fair way. And the new texture tool on Lightroom will give you good detail in your shot, just don’t push it too far. I sometimes pull the clarity down just a touch to offset the texture so it’s a softer image, but have a play and see what you think.

Finally, be prepared that you may not get your shot the first time. I post a pic and its easy to think I just dashed out, took a quick snap and presto, its a perfect reflection. Sometimes it will take me 5, 10 even 20 trips out to get the shot (and more importantly the conditions) right so don’t give up, it’s definitely worth it once you nail that perfect reflection shot.

For more ideas, go to either my Instagram or Facebook pages @Jules Ingall and of course, as always feel free to comment or DM me with any questions at all.

Happy Shooting

Most Insta-grammable Spots In Lithuania

When I travel somewhere new, I do always want to shoot my first impression images – what stands out and “gets” me in new surroundings.  But saying that, I also don’t want to miss out on anything so I do my research prior to visiting.  And that’s what I’m sharing here with you.  This was my first visit to Lithuania and wow, I was totally blow away. From the history, to the gorgeous laneways to the old town.  It’s incredible.  If you’re going for the first time, these are some of the places that I would suggest you don’t miss out.  Oh and a little tip, the “old town” is not too large to be seen on foot, where you see the best of hidden laneways, derelict buildings and hidden gems.  

Start in the Town Square, day or night there’s lots of activity and beautiful buildings

Town Square at night

The Vilnius University has a great old chapel as well as beautiful buildings and corridors to explore

Vilnius University Grounds

The corridors of Lithuania University

The laneways of Vilnius are some of my favourite in the whole Baltic region.  Lots of colourful old doors, cobble stone streets and interesting windows.

Back street laneway in Old Town Vilnius
Cobble Stone Streets in Old Town Vilnius
Interesting Wall Art in the Back Streets
Old Town Vilnius

There are actually 40 churches in the old town of Vilnius. What is interesting though is, as you visit them, they are more of a tourist attraction than a place of worship so don’t worry if you’re not religious.  A guide is always a good idea as there are some really interesting historical stories

One of the many churches
More Churches

Vilnius Cathedral

Vilnius Cathedral
Inside Vilnius Cathedral

Vilnius Library founded in 1570 it is the oldest library in the Baltic States with with over 5 million documents. Relocated to a modern new building in 2013 which is well worth the wander through

The Library
Interesting art display in the library

Cant miss the bohemian district of Uzupis – just outside the Old Town. They have their own tongue in cheek “constitution” and if you can talk with the locals, a great historical story. 

Uzupis District
Bohemian Streets of Uzupis

Trakai is a famous town about 20 minutes drive from Vilnius with the legendary Trakai Castle, originally built in 1408 and then rebuilt in the 20thcentury. It’s a weekend escape for Vilnius locals with plenty of lakes for locals to swim in.  Also great local Kibinai traditional foods to try at local eating houses.

Trakai Castle
Exploring the old Walls of Trakai Castle

If you’re on a driving tour of Lithuania, the resort town of Anykscia is recommend on a lot of tourist websites.  To be honest, I could take it or leave it.  It was a nice relaxing rest after all the walking and tourist activities of the few days before, so I’ll leave it up to you.  There is the Laju Takas park with tree top walk.

Tree top walk
Tree Top walk

We stayed at the Spa Vilnius Anyksciai which did have a lovely day spa, indoor pool and plenty of forest area to relax and explore around it.

Collecting pine cones in the forest

Gold Coast’s Most Instagramable Locations

It’s the new trend. We are all travelling more and with this, comes sharing our adventures on Social Media.  Often, a great “Instagramable” location can determine our destination choice.  In fact, many people travel to a location purely with the aim of getting that perfect “Instagram shot”.

Continue reading “Gold Coast’s Most Instagramable Locations”