ARTICLE

"The Canon EOS R5 redefined the way I shoot": outdoor adventures reimagined

A rock climber hangs by his hands from an overhang as he scales a rock face in the German Alps in early evening.

Nature and adventure photographers Ulla Lohmann and Robert Marc Lehmann put the EOS R5 to the test on challenging nature shoots. Taken on a Canon EOS R5 with a Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM lens at 124mm, 1/500 sec, f/7.1 and ISO1600

© Ulla Lohmann / Canon Ambassador

For most photographers who shoot in the great outdoors, their dream camera would be light and portable, but robust and weather-sealed to cope with rain and dust. It would ideally incorporate all the latest technical developments in key areas such as resolution, autofocus, low-light performance and Image Stabilization.

So when German nature, conservation and adventure photographers Ulla Lohmann and Robert Marc Lehmann became the first to shoot with Canon's new flagship full-frame mirrorless camera, the Canon EOS R5, both seized the opportunity to test its headline features against this wish-list. What did they think of its 45-megapixel resolution, shooting speed of up to 20fps, 8 stops of Image Stabilization and 8K video, plus advanced animal subject tracking AF?

A man rowing a red canoe down a river surrounded by trees.

Ulla's 150km journey entailed travelling overland, on the water and even in the air, using the Canon EOS R5 for all kinds of photography. Taken on a Canon EOS R5 with a Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM lens at 15mm, 1/13 sec, f/22 and ISO100.

© Ulla Lohmann / Canon Ambassador

A paraglider with a yellow canopy high above the lush German Alps.

Paragliding is not only a blood-pumping sport, it was also a great way for Ulla to take aerial shots with the Canon EOS R5 over the German Alps. Taken on a Canon EOS R5 with a Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM lens at 35mm, 1/500 sec, f/6.3 and ISO250.

© Ulla Lohmann / Canon Ambassador

Canon Ambassador and adventure photographer Ulla's journey took her on a 150km circular trip around the Benediktenwand in the German Alps, accompanied by her husband and their young son. She travelled on various modes of transport: on a bicycle, in a canoe, on foot and by paraglider. Along the journey, she used the Canon EOS R5 to photograph landscapes, rock climbers abseiling into a waterfall, aerial views from the paraglider, and more.

Meanwhile, nature photographer Robert travelled to Feldberger Seenlandschaft near Neubrandenburg in north-east Germany, a region celebrated for its lakes and forests. There he photographed a range of wild birds in flight, such as the sea eagle, heron and kite, plus smaller birds such as the kingfisher.

An aerial view over a town and the surrounding countryside.

"The detail you get on this camera is just incredible," says Ulla. Taken on a Canon EOS R5 with a Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM lens at 35mm, 1/640 sec, f/9 and ISO250.

© Ulla Lohmann / Canon Ambassador

Higher resolution for greater detail

The Canon EOS R5 builds on Canon's respected EOS heritage and the innovations of the EOS R System, and both photographers got to grips with the camera very quickly. "For me the Canon EOS R5 is the perfect size," Robert says. "It's well-built, and everything is where you want it."

Ulla agrees. "It felt very robust and well-made, and I felt at home with it straight away. I was able to customise it for myself, to configure it for my own needs, and once I'd done that I was able to be very fast in using it."

Ulla was delighted with the Canon EOS R5's 45-megapixel resolution. "The detail you get on this camera is just incredible," she says. "For me, it showed in one particular aerial landscape shot which I took from a paraglider. When I zoomed in on this image afterwards I could clearly see very small details, even the writing on a house thousands of metres below.

"I was shooting JPEGs as well as RAW images and the JPEGs are really good straight out of the camera. Another great advantage is the high dynamic range of the files. They're so good, I don't need to shoot HDR images."

With increased resolution comes greater file sizes, but Robert found that the camera handled them easily. "I shot about 7,000 images, which adds up to a lot of data, but the CFexpress cards make it super quick – you can transfer 100GB within a minute, or 1TB in under 10 minutes.

"The ISO capabilities of the new sensor are also amazing," Robert adds. "I used the camera up to around ISO24,000 and the images are great."

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A heron with a fish in its beak, about to take flight, seems to be skipping along the surface of the water.

The Canon EOS R5's new animal-tracking AF is able to recognise dogs, cats and birds, detecting either the body, face or eye of the subject. Taken on a Canon EOS R5 with a Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM lens at 400mm, 1/3200 sec, f/6.3 and ISO12,800.

© Robert Marc Lehmann

A heron frozen in motion coming in to land on the water, with its wings curved and legs outstretched.

Using the Canon EOS R5 and the exciting new Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM pro telephoto zoom lens, Robert was able to freeze the motion of this heron – although it looks as if it is hovering, it was coming in to land on the water. Taken on a Canon EOS R5 with a RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM lens at 324mm, 1/2000 sec, f/6.3 and ISO12800.

© Robert Marc Lehmann

Amazing autofocus

The main thing Robert tested on his shoot was the Canon EOS R5's ability to shoot fast-moving birds in flight. He found that the camera's capability to shoot at up to 20fps with electronic shutter, combined with the new animal tracking AF and eye-tracking AF feature, was an extremely effective combination.

A mountain biker performs a mid-air stunt against the sun. The image is shot from below and framed by red poppies and grasses on the hillside

Filming 8K and oversampled 4K on the Canon EOS R5

In the first Canon EOS R5 video shoots, Martin Bissig and Ivan D'Antonio explored how its 8K capabilities reduce shooting time and expand creative options.

"I was in a boat on a lake, shooting subjects such as a heron going in to catch a fish, or the sea eagle or kite in the air, and there was no room for error at all," he says. "We had heavy rain, and visibility was poor – I had situations where you'd say it was almost impossible to track a bird. It's easy enough for a camera to do that in a bright sky, but if you have a dark bird against a background of trees, it's hard for the autofocus to track. But not with this camera – it stays on the animal all the time. For example, from a sequence of 50 images in a row of a sea eagle in flight, I was thrilled to see that every single image I shot was in focus."

Ulla also turned to the animal-tracking AF when photographing swans. "The camera didn't lose focus if there was something in the foreground, even shooting through dense reeds," she says. "It just kept on tracking the focus, which I thought was amazing. You can really rely on it."

A sea eagle flying low over the surface of the water, with a fish between its talons.

Robert says he was "thrilled" with the performance of the AF, even on a dull day with bad weather and poor shooting conditions. Taken on a Canon EOS R5 with a Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM lens at 176mm, 1/4000 sec, f/5 and ISO2,500.

© Robert Marc Lehmann

Robert Marc Lehmann shooting from a boat with the Canon EOS R5.

Despite shooting fast-moving birds from an unsteady boat, Robert captured beautifully sharp images thanks to the Canon EOS R5's standard-setting Image Stabilization and advanced animal-tracking AF.

© Robert Marc Lehmann

Ground-breaking Image Stabilization

Also helping to ensure Ulla’s shots were sharp, even when shooting handheld and in low light, was the Image Stabilization. The Canon EOS R5 is the first Canon camera to offer 5-axis In-body Image Stabilization and deliver up to 8-stops of IS when used with compatible lenses.

Pushing her kit in order to get the image she dreamed of, Ulla even used the Canon EOS R5 to shoot long exposures handheld – a technical feat born of necessity. "At one point I was canyoning – abseiling down narrow gorges and jumping down waterfalls. It's very adventurous terrain, and you can't take a tripod with you. You also cannot put the camera on the rocks because they are wet," she says.

A man abseiling down a rock face in the German Alps, caught in mid air against the blue sky in the background.

Ulla took this shot while dangling off a cliff face, where she had little room for error or opportunity to adjust the camera. Taken on a Canon EOS R5 with a Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM lens at 15mm, 1/1250 sec, f/9 and ISO500.

© Ulla Lohmann / Canon Ambassador

Ulla found herself in the water, in a wetsuit, putting the weather-sealing of the Canon EOS R5 to a serious test as she photographed people abseiling into a waterfall.

"I wanted to use a longer exposure to take images with a blurry waterfall behind while the people in the foreground were still in focus. It worked really well and I was able to shoot exposures of one second or more handheld and still get sharp images.

"The camera redefined the way I shoot, because before I was shooting several images when I wanted to make sure one of them was sharp, but now I can shoot only one and know it will be sharp."

A waterfall tumbles into a pool in the rocks, shot using a long exposure to blur the falling water.

Ulla used a long exposure to blur the water in this waterfall, yet the foreground detail is sharp. Taken on a Canon EOS R5 with a Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8L IS USM lens at 46mm, 0.3 secs, f/18 and ISO100.

© Ulla Lohmann / Canon Ambassador

Ulla Lohmann in a blue wetsuit and red helmet using the Canon EOS R5 in the water.

Ulla's adventure was a challenge for her as much as for the Canon EOS R5.

© Ulla Lohmann / Canon Ambassador

Using RF and EF lenses

To shoot his wildlife images, Robert paired the Canon EOS R5 mainly with the new Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM lens. "Previously I used the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens, and I was always craving that extra 100mm of focal length," he says. "I know people will say that f/7.1 is too slow, but if you need to you can shoot with high ISO and the images are perfectly fine.

"The Canon Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM lens is the perfect wildlife tool, and I think it's going to change everything."

Robert also used a range of other lenses, including his Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM and his Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x, both attached to the Canon EOS R5 with an EF-EOS R Mount Adapter. "I wanted to see whether the autofocus worked as well with these lenses and found they worked perfectly, without any loss of quality," he says.

For her shoot, Ulla used zooms including the Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM and Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8L IS USM, but also used primes such as the Canon RF 85mm F1.2L USM for portraits. "I found all these RF lenses to be incredibly sharp and fast," she says, "and they work really well with the Canon EOS R5."

A colourful kingfisher perched on a branch, with the background a blur of green.

"The Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM lens is the perfect wildlife tool, and I think it's going to change everything," says Robert. Taken on a Canon EOS R5 with a Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM lens at 500mm, 1/500 sec, f/7 and ISO4,000.

© Robert Marc Lehmann

A swan swimming in front of a jetty, with the scene reflected in the still water.

Ulla's photo of a swan demonstrates the Canon EOS R5's sumptuous dynamic range and the effectiveness of its animal-tracking AF. Taken on a Canon EOS R5 with a Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM lens at 15mm, 1/200 sec, f/9 and ISO640.

© Ulla Lohmann / Canon Ambassador

Video capabilities

As both Ulla and Robert are filmmakers as well as stills photographers, they both used the Canon EOS R5 to shoot some video of their travels.

"For me the video feature is very important," says Ulla, "because it means I can deliver high resolution footage in 8K to production companies with small kit. I don't need a big camera and crew, and I can go to areas where not many people can go and bring back high-resolution footage. This is definitely a game-changer."

When filming the wild birds in action, Robert extensively used the camera's 4K 120fps slow-motion feature. "When I used slow motion before, on a Full HD camera, it wasn't really pin-sharp," he says. "But on the Canon EOS R5 the 4K slow-motion looks incredible. It's also great to be able to shoot video while looking through the electronic viewfinder and see how it's going to look. It's like a real video camera, and the in-body Image Stabilization makes shooting really steady."

A bright aerial landscape with still water dotted with islands surrounded by tree-covered hillsides.

The Canon EOS R5 is the first Canon camera to offer 5-axis in-body Image Stabilization, delivering up to 8-stops of IS when used with compatible lenses, helping to make images crisp and clear even when shot from a paraglider. Taken on a Canon EOS R5 with a Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM lens at 15mm, 1/320 sec, f/9 and ISO400.

© Ulla Lohmann / Canon Ambassador

Game-changing kit

Despite working in sometimes challenging conditions, both Robert and Ulla were very impressed with the Canon EOS R5's performance. "I was often shooting in really heavy rain with some big storms, but it was good because then you can really test a camera," Robert says. "Yes, I could have shot similar pictures with my Canon EOS-1D X Mark III, but the essence of the Canon EOS R5 is that you can shoot the same kind of images but it's way easier, the resolution is much higher and the camera is a third of the weight. So it's definitely a camera I will use."

Looking back on her trip, Ulla says the Canon EOS R5 enabled her to shoot images she couldn't have dreamed of capturing before. "The camera really re-imagines the way I shoot and pushes my own creativity because it can do so many things," she says.

"The Canon EOS R5 puts a smile on my face when I'm working with it, because it performs so well and is so much fun to use. Images I thought were not possible to take before are now possible."

Written by David Clark


Ulla Lohmann’s kitbag

The key kit pros use to take their photographs

A Canon EOS R5 with Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM lens on the bank of a pool with a waterfall in the background.

Camera

Canon EOS R5

A professional full-frame mirrorless flagship camera offering photographers and filmmakers high-resolution stills and 8K video. "It puts a smile on my face because it performs so well and is so much fun to use," Ulla says. "It redefines the way I shoot."

Lenses

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