5DS R & Canon 500mm f/4L IS II Lens = Breathtaking Image Files… « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

5DS R & Canon 500mm f/4L IS II Lens = Breathtaking Image Files...

What’s Up?

In the morning, co-leader Denise Ipplito took several pelican loving participants back to the cliffs for more while co-leader Arthur Morris escorted the duck-hungry folks back to Santee Lakes. In the afternoon we headed to another of my favorite beaches and pretty much struck out on birds. Many folks hung with me photographing patterns in the sandstone rocks while learning and utilizing my flower technique: Av mode with Live View for mirror lock and 2-second self timer and either AEB or in-camera HDR. Lots of folks stayed with Denise and photographed the big pier. We all got together to photograph the meg-sunset we had been hoping for. It was well worth the wait.


Here is another one that was created at La Jolla, CA on Day 2 of the 2016 San Diego IPT, this one with the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens and the Canon EOS 5DS R. ISO 500. Evaluative metering +1 2/3 stops: 1/250 sec. at f/5.6. Cloudy WB.

Center AF point (Manual selection)/AI Servo Expand/Rear Focus AF as originally framed was active at the moment of exposure. This is a very small crop from the right and the bottom. The active AF point was on the spot where the gray of the neck meets the white. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see the incredible fine feather detail in a larger version.

Brown Pelican scratching

5DS R & Canon 500mm f/4L IS II Lens = Breathtaking Image Files…

If you are on a decent monitor please click on the image to enlarge it and let me know what you think of the image quality. When I have used my 500 II on this trip I have been using the 5DS R exclusively.

Photoshop Hanky Panky?

If you see any evidence of Photoshop hanky panky please let us know what you think I did and offer your proof.

The San Diego Site Guide

Whether you are visiting San Diego for photography for the first time or live in the area and have done the pelicans many dozens of times, you will learn a ton by studying the San Diego Site Guide. Why spend days stumbling around when you can know exactly where and when to be depending on the wind direction and sky conditions? In addition to the pelican primer, there is great info on the best beaches for the gorgeous gulls, on Marbled Godwit, on the lower cliffs, Lesser Scaup, and Wood and Ring-necked Ducks as well.

Learn more or purchase your copy here.

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15 comments to 5DS R & Canon 500mm f/4L IS II Lens = Breathtaking Image Files…

  • avatar Anthony Sakal

    That camera is amazing in the hands of people who know how to use it but you have to compare the exact same equipment to appreciate the differences.

    On a recent trip my friend and I used 7D Mark II bodies with different lenses. I spent a lot of time using the 100-400 II and he used the 500 f4 older version. I dumped several of his compact flash cards into my computer so as to carefully blow up his 500 shots to determine how the detail fared against the 100-400. As expected the 500 gave far more resolution. Now, since I have the 5DSR, I plan to take the time, later this month, to see how the 100-400 glass resolves images compared to the 7D Mark II using the 500 f4. In other words will the high resolution 5DRS improve detail of lower resolution lens so those lens appear to exhibit similar detail to high resolution lenses on the lower resolution 7D Mark II? How will a blowup full frame image on the 7D Mark II using the 500 f4 stand against the full frame image of the 5DRS using the 100-400 II? I suspect that the 7D coupled with the 500 will give more detail despite the fact that the camera’s produces a smaller file. Obviously if both lenses are used on the 5DRS the 500 will be remarkably better when it comes to resolution.

    All of this technical stuff is of little value if you can’t take the picture, in the first place, which is the reason why mirrorless cameras have a long way to go when it comes to bird photography despite their lower noise and higher megapixel sensors. An image with a 21 megapixel 7D Mark II is a lot easier to acquire than with a 42 megapixel Sony. That being said the 5DRS, not often the best choice to take flight shots or shots of skittish fast moving warblers, still appears to offer a better camera and lens combo than the best mirrorless combos when striving for additional resolving power.

  • avatar Steve Soderling

    I think I have a decent monitor, but I don’t believe that the crop is large enough to show off the really fine detail. For me the enlarged image is about 1.5x (in both dimensions) compared to the original. To really get a good feel for the sharpness, I would like to see a 100% crop.

    I absolutely love the image and it certainly looks extremely sharp, but the only difference in resolution between the 5DS R and the 7DII SHOULD be due exclusively to the elimination of the low pass filter. I really don’t know how much the filter on the 7DII blurs the image (I would love to know the effective pixel pitch of the 7DII including the filter), but I would bet it is very difficult to see this unless you get pretty close to a 100% crop. I wonder if your Canon technical contact could shed some light on this.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Steve, Thanks for you kind words. The flattened master file is 144mb. The 900 pixel tall JPEG is just 1.54mb. Therefore, I believe that the JPEG is only about 1% of the size of the flattened master file so I am not sure what you mean by ” the enlarged image is about 1.5x (in both dimensions) compared to the original.”

      Aside from the antialiasing filter, I believe that the point you are missing is that all sensors and therefore all pixels are not created equal. I firmly believe that fine detail and noise control with the 5DS R are light years better than with the 7D Mark II.

      You will see a 100% crop soon.


      • avatar Warren H

        Art, the enlarged image that I get when I click on the image in the post is only 800 px high and is only 378 KB in size. So it is significantly reduced in size (and quality) compared to the original. (I would guess the sharpness and image detail is also reduced compared to a 1.5 MB jpeg version that you referenced.) This is especially true when “pixel peeping” and trying to judge sharpness on a pixel level. It would not be accurate for anyone to be judging the sharpness and image detail of that camera based on a 378 KB jpeg saved down from a 144 MB original file!

        I love the composition, but my favorite part of image is the colors. The rock and blurred water go really well together and the colors on the pelican can really “pop” of the background. The colors on the head draw the viewer right to the eye. (At least it does to me!)

        Thanks for sharing!

  • avatar Tony Botelho

    I have a good monitor, and I have to say that this photo has a razor cutting sharpness to it like no other! I feel I could just touch the pelican. I love the feel of this image, and how relaxed the pelican is, I don’t know if he is scratching, or just taking a break and waving to the photographers.

  • avatar Leonard Malkin

    I think the underbelly could have ben lightened a bit.

  • avatar Warren Robb

    A very nice image, Artie. In order to make your point, I believe nothing was done in Photoshop, not even your usual detail extraction on the head or eye work.

  • avatar Warren H

    I have two guesses. The first is a total guess, the second, I think I see something (which means it is natural or you would not have left it!)

    1. I would guess you “cleaned up” the rock some. There are stains in the area near the pelican, but the rest of the rock is clean. Just seems too clean… (But it looks good!) – I do not see anything that says you changed something in this area.

    2. I would also guess you added some area on the right. There seams to be a vertical “line” just left of the signature in the background blur. Again, I think you would probably do a better job, so I bet this is actually natural.

  • avatar Doug

    The detail is awesome, Art. During post, what are your impressions of the 5DSR vs the 7D Mk2?

    I recently discovered your blog. It is a great source of information. Thanks!

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Doug. I believe, perhaps incorrectly so, that 5DS R files are far superior to 7D II files as far as fine detail, high ISO noise performance, and image quality–whatever that is… Based on pixel pitch and count, the images should theoretically be equal in those areas. But I am pretty sure that all sensors, and therefore all pixels, are not created equal. artie

  • avatar Scott Borowy


    I see that you’ve added a watermark to your image. 🙂

    In all seriousness, for 5DS R files, do you find it easier or harder to make any post-image adjustments because the file is so detailed?

    All My Best,

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hey Scott, Pretty much the same though I believe that theoretically it should be easier. a

  • avatar Jon

    The image looks fine to me, I have to confess 99% of your images look excellent to me and on a screen I see little to no difference in terms of fineness of detail and colour rendition, I genuinely would not have known what kind of camera had been used.