Canon Surely Does Not Suck: Part II of Many. « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Canon Surely Does Not Suck: Part II of Many.


I tried out my brand new Nikon D-850 on Thursday morning. It was mostly cloudy and not the greatest of mornings. I was not too excited by the 45 mega-pixel images but when I shared them with Patrick Sparkman and Lee Sommie, they both were. I guess I need to either clean my glasses or get an attitude adjustment. The three of us got together in the afternoon and photographed at La Jolla. We had a ball. I will give it a go with the D-850 in the morning. My plan at present is to keep the D5, use it with the 200-500, and go with the D-850 on the tripod-mounted Nikon 600mm f/4. That will likely be delivered to my home in Florida.

Those interested in learning even more about my recent switch to Nikon might wish to read the many and varied comments along with my responses in the last few blog posts.

I was glad to learn recently of the sale of Walt Anderson’s barely used EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens in mint to like-new condition with extras for the BAA record low price of $9395.00 and that NANPA President Don Carter sold his Canon EOS 7D Mark II in near-mint condition for $849.00 and his Canon EOS-1DX in near-mint condition for the BAA record-low price of $2298.00, both two days after they were listed.

The Streak

Today makes one hundred seventy-nine days in a row with a new educational blog post! This one took about an hour to prepare. With all of my upcoming free time (or not …), the plan right now is to break the current record streak of 480 … Good health and good internet connections and my continuing insanity willing.


Booking.Com came through for me twice again recently with both the DeSoto Fall IPT and next July’s UK Puffins, Gannets, and Bempton Pre-trip room reservations. And all the rates were great. If you’d like to give Booking.Com a shot, click here and you will earn a $25 reward. Thanks to the many who have already tried and used this great service.

Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs and dozens of folks whom I see in the field, and on BPN, are–out of ignorance–using the wrong gear especially when it comes to tripods and more especially, tripod heads… Please know that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail. Those questions might deal with systems, camera bodies, accessories, and/or lens choices and decisions.

This image was created by multiple IPT veteran Jake Levin on the first 2018 San Diego IPT with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (at 213mm) with the Canon EOS 7D Mark II.

Brown Pelican, Pacific race, preening back

Canon Surely Does Not Suck: Part II

Exhibit A

Canon makes a variety of relatively inexpensive intermediate telephoto lenses and lightweight camera bodies. The 100-400II is an amazing lens and I will miss it.

This image was created by Bryan Holliday with the hand held Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 2X III, and my former favorite flight photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.

Northern Pintail, drake in fight

Canon Surely Does Not Suck: Part II

Exhibit B

Are you kidding me? Kudos to Bryan for creating this image at 1200mm with hand held Canon gear. I will be borrowing a Nikon TCE 20 from B&H in late spring and try it out with my 600mm f/4 to see if what everyone says is true: “Harry, it sucks!”

If you know who Harry is please leave a comment. πŸ™‚

This image was created by BPN Avian moderator David Salem with the hand held Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and the EOS-1D X (now replaced by the blazingly fast Canon EOS-1D X Mark II.)

Cinnamon Teal, drake in fight

Canon Surely Does Not Suck: Part II

Exhibit C

As this and the next two images show, David is right up there with the world’s best ducks in flight photographer; do you know anyone who is better? Cinnamon Teal is one of my favorite ducks. I have seen it only a few times in thirty five years and have zero good images of this small, fast flying duck.

This image was created byBPN Avian moderator David Salem with the hand held Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and the EOS-1D X (now replaced by the blazingly fast Canon EOS-1D X Mark II.)

Northern Shoveler, drake in fight

Canon Surely Does Not Suck: Part II

Exhibit D

What you need to make image like this with hand held super-telephoto lenses: good gear, strength, endurance, great hand-eye coordination, and lots of determination.

This image was created by BPN Avian moderator David Salem with the hand held Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and the EOS-1D X (now replaced by the blazingly fast Canon EOS-1D X Mark II.)

Green-winged Teal, drake in fight

Canon Surely Does Not Suck: Part II

Exhibit E

A fast frame rate helps David capture the dramatic downstroke poses seen here and with the shoveler image above. The downstroke poses reveal the beautiful colors of the speculum feathers.

This image was created by Arash Hazghi with the hand held Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and the blazingly fast Canon EOS-1D X Mark II.

Short-eared Owl in flight

Canon Surely Does Not Suck: Part II

Exhibit F

Using Canon gear, Arash has made many of my favorite-ever flight images.

This image was created by Arash Hazghi with the hand held Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens and the EOS-1D X (now replaced by the blazingly fast Canon EOS-1D X Mark II.)

Great Grey Owl incoming

Canon Surely Does Not Suck: Part II

Exhibit G

Arash has worked hard developing settings for his Canon cameras that will maximize his chances of getting razor sharp on the eyes images of birds flying right at him.

This image was created by multiple IPT veteran and dear friend Patrick Sparkman at La Jolla, CA with the hand held Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II USM lens and the mega megapixel Canon EOS 5DS R.

Brandt’s Cormorant, incoming, with seaweed for its nest

Canon Surely Does Not Suck: Part II

Exhibit H

Patrick borrowed my 400 DO II on many occasions and usually did quite well with it.

Your Favorite?

Which of the Exhibits above, all made with Canon gear, is your favorite? Please let us know why you made your choice.

Canon EOS 5DS R

Mansoor Assadi is also offering a used Canon EOS 5DS R digital camera body in like-new condition for only $2649. The sale includes the front body cap, a RRS L-plate, a LensCoat BodyBag, the Canon batter grip (with only one battery), the original box with everything that came in it, and insured ground shipping via major courier. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Mansoor via e-mail or by phone at 415-559-8027 (Pacific time).

The 5DS R is one of the premier dSLRs for landscape photography and as Patrick Sparkman and I proved, it is a great body for bird, wildlife, and nature photographers who have good sharpness techniques, especially those who make large prints; it’s image quality is unmatched. artie

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Please Remember to use my Affiliate Links and to Visit the New BAA Online Store πŸ™‚

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you get in the habit of using my B&H affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your photo and electronics purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod head, Wimberley lens plates, Delkin flash cards and accessories, and LensCoat stuff.

As always, we sell only what I have used, have tested, and can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And please remember that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

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In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors. Just be right :).

25 comments to Canon Surely Does Not Suck: Part II of Many.

  • avatar Bill

    I have to go with the Northern Shoveler.Wonderful feather detail and nice flight position as well.To hand hold a six hundred with an extender is amazing.

  • avatar Rob Stambaugh

    The grey owl is just incredible, for the reasons Jake stated.

    Meanwhile I’m still reeling from your earlier account of D5/200-500/1.4 focus failures with a high-contrast still subject, whatever the settings. Huh? What?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Only at close to point-blank lens and usually with very early or late light. Worse with outer AF points. I already have a work around for most birds. Will share soon.

      with love, artie

      ps: many report similar problems with static subjects (such as the perch after the bird has flown). And the problems occurs rarely without the TC.

  • Hey Artie,

    Been reading your blog for a while now and myself have switched to Nikon about a year ago but to the D500 with 200-500mm and sometimes use it with the 1.4x. I do plan on getting a D850 in the near future, but would love to see a blog post in the future by you comparing the D5, D850 and the D500. I’ve read mixed reviews of the D500 holding fast action focus better than the D850, comparable to the D5, and with the 1.5x crop, 10fps and no need for a battery grip, it makes for a great hand hold-able setup with the 200-500mm for fast action (with or without the 1.4x tc).

    At the end of the day, a camera system is just a tool to create a your art (as shown by the amazing images you posted by the other great artists) and I can’t wait to see what you have in store for us with your new tools :).

    Take care!


    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Pablo,

      Agree πŸ™‚ I have never used a D-500 and don’t plan to. I will have a lot to say about both cameras. I might even go with two D-850s…

      with love, artie

  • (To Krishna) I have used both the 200-500 and the 80-400 and prefer the latter by a wide margin. Neither is stellar with a TC, a known limitation, but on the D500 or D5, the 80-400 can be excellent (and of course, handheld all day).

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Like many of the lenses I have used successfully, the 200-500 is much maligned. I have already made a ton of great images with it with both the D5 and the D-850. And so has Patrick Sparkman. Lots of 200-500 images coming soon.

      with love, artie

  • avatar Therese Scheller

    HAND HELD! Must pick jaw up from the floor. All of them are stunning.

  • Oh my goodness, I dream of a day when I can make images which are at least 90% close to these ones. Absolutely stunning images.

    If I had to pick one/two then I will pick the Owl images.. I love owls and only have seen them couple of times in the wild. Did not even get a decent chance to photograph them as yet…

    Thank you for sharing them.

  • avatar David Policansky

    Artie: I’ve seen Arash Hazghi’s grey owl image before, and I’m so envious of him for having the opportunity and the skill to have made such a totally stunning image. I can’t top what Jake said about it, so let me just say “amen, brother.”

    But I have to say that I’d be extremely proud of all the images you posted if they were mine. I have long said, occasionally in this space, that my own photographs are very far from being limited by my equipment. I’d say that’s been true at least since late 2014, when I got the 7DII and the 100-400II, and likely since 2009, when I got the 7D and 400 f/5.6L. I can say quite definitively that the equipment I had before the 7D/400 f/5.6L combo DID limit my photographs.

  • avatar Jake

    My favourite has to be Arash’s incoming Great Grey Owl. The wing positions are perfect, the stare is arresting and the falling snow against a dark background is just the icing on the cake. All of the images shown are stunning,

  • avatar Pat Fishburne

    Okay, I’m the odd man out, but I loved the Northern Shoveler by David Salem. Given that it was taken with a 600mm hand held, the detail on the bill and the feathers is amazing. And, kudos to Jake Levin for his beautifully sharp brown pelican.

  • Hey Artie, regarding your 200-500 and your D850. The 200-500 was made to sell at a price to compete with lenses from Tamron and Sigma. Your D850 with 46 mega pixels may be showing the limitations of the lens. The 80-400 is a better lens but more expensive.

    • It is interesting. I have use 200-500 a bit but did not dare to use 80-400 based on Internet reviews. I always thought 200-500 is much better than 80-400. Did you use both lenses ?

  • avatar Chase Moxley

    What brand of xqd cards are you using ? It seems the price is going up.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Only Sony makes them now so they have a monopoly. The great folks at Delkin are negotiating with them as we speak. Hopefully they will be producing them soon and we can enjoy better supplies and reduced prices. with love, artie

  • avatar frank sheets

    Of coarse all great images, but I think I like Bryan’s pintail. It has to do with the subject perfectly matched with its background and great position of the bird. Of coarse kudos to anyone who can track as something as fast as a duck with a hand held 600mm w/ 2x (1200). I’m not sure I would even give it a try!

  • avatar Hugh Metcalfe

    The Pintail shot is also my favorite because it shows, in capable hands, the 5D IV is very effective for avian flight photography.

  • avatar Graham hedrick

    Maybe it’s me, i don’t sense glowing review of your spankin new camera system.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Heck, it was only the first day with the 45-mega-pixel beast. I tried some new stuff today πŸ™‚

      with love, artie

  • avatar James Saxon

    Northern Pintail is my favorite. Great technique using a handheld 600 + 2x. Hats off to anyone that can get that type of image hand held. (I have a hard time on a tripod.) Love the Cinnamon Teal. We have three nesting pairs in my area but all I have found them doing is eating and sleeping. Last comment on your switch; both systems are great and both have their strengths and weaknesses. It’s the photographer’s use of this equipment that creates dynamic images.

  • avatar zhenb

    All images are great but I love both the owls the most. Because I adore these cat-like birds and the poses of them are nice too.

  • avatar John Hoffman

    Long Island native the late great Harry Chapin.

  • My favorite is Bryan’s Northern Pintail Drake. The exceptional technique required to make such a photo using a “handheld 600 with a 2X extender” speaks for itself. The background color compliments the detail in the duck to present a very pleasing image.