Giving the Canon EOS R's Eye AF a Workout
After a casual portrait session with the R and the RF 50mm f/1.2L Lens I thought I'd share a quick update on the Canon EOS R's Eye AF performance.
This indoor, ambient window light session netted 157 images. Of these images, 10 were 2/3 body portraits, 82 included head and shoulders (or were framed slightly wider) and 64 were headshots with a significant number of those being close to minimum focus distance. All images were captured at f/1.2 for the shallowest, most-AF-challenging depth of field possible and eye detection AF was exclusively in use.
Of the 157 images, ten were focused on eyelashes (usually acceptable, mostly close to the iris), two were focused a similarly-short distance behind the iris and only two images misfocused beyond iris-to-eyelash distance. The other 143 were optimally focused on the iris.
That the camera was being handheld with me in a somewhat squatted position and the subject standing (sometimes leaning against a wall) meant that our movement could easily have caused any of the less-than-perfect results.
I remain very pleased with the EOS R's portrait AF capabilities and the RF 50mm f/1.2L is a very impressive lens, perfect for portraits.
Canon EOS R, RF 50 f/1.2L and a Model on the Rocks
I have to wonder what a model thinks when the assignment to wear a parachute dress at Dragon's Teeth (Kapalua, Maui, HI) comes in. "I get to wear an enormous dress designed to blow in the wind while standing barefoot on sharp rocks in extreme wind next to an ocean with occasional rogue waves that send salt water spray over everything nearby for an entire very hot, sunny day!" Pick me! Pick me! [Finding Nemo]
This model obviously accepted Canon's request and she managed the assignment very professionally. Parachutes are designed to ease the landing, but in this case, the parachute was more likely to cause a liftoff (followed by a perilous landing). I would have been more comfortable if she had a crash pad beside her, but she stayed on her feet through even the strongest wind gusts.
A 50mm lens does not create the extreme background blur that long telephoto lenses can create, but the 50mm angle of view allows a closer camera position that provides a more intimate look while the f/1.2 aperture still provides a strong background blur that makes the subject stand out. The look is unique in a very positive way.
The extremely wide f/1.2 aperture allows handholding in very low light levels but with a white dress in the sun, even a 1/8000 shutter speed is not always fast enough to avoid blown highlights at f/1.2 and ISO 100. In direct sunlight, a neutral density filter or, as used in this example, a circular polarizer filter on the lens.
When water is on the horizon, I usually want the image framed with the horizon level. Electronic viewfinder levels have greatly improved my original captures in this regard, but with the wind and unstable footing, I still managed to get a small degree of tilt that needed to be corrected in this image.
An ultra-wide aperture lens is generally selected to make use of those ultra-wide apertures.
Often, especially with 50mm ultra-wide aperture lenses, the image quality at the widest apertures is not good and often describable as "dreamy".
While dreamy can be nice on occasion, it is not usually what I am going for.
With this lens, f/1.2 results are very sharp, showing good resolution and contrast.
I have not hesitated to use this lens wide open and ... haven't stopped it down very often.
The Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM Lens is a compelling reason to get a Canon EOS R camera.