DSLR vs mirrorless for wildlife photography | Canon 5Dmk4 + 100-400mm II vs Canon R6 + 100-500mm RF



DSLR vs mirrorless for wildlife photography | Canon 5Dmk4 + 100-400mm II vs Canon R6 + 100-500mm RF

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I’ve been meaning to create a DSLR vs Mirrorless for wildlife photography video for ages and now it’s finally here! I compared the Canon 5D mark IV DSLR camera and a Canon 100-400mm II zoom lens with the Canon R6 mirrorless camera and a Canon 100-500mm RF zoom lens at Indlovu River Lodge’s two underground hides.

In the video, I compare the advantages and disadvantages of both the DSLR and Mirrorless setups as I focus on things like auto focus, frame rates and image quality.

Spoiler alert! I LOVED the Canon R6 mirrorless camera and the Canon 100-500mm RF lens – the extra reach was very useful and the quality of the lens amazing. It’s as sharp as the Canon 100-400mm II lens and the depth of field even at f/7.1 is still shallow enough if you use it in the right conditions.

The Canon R6 mirrorless camera’s animal eye-tracking auto focus system is fantastic and performed very well with the little birds at the hides. It was, however, not good enough to track swallows zooming past us at lightning speed, but that was not surprising. The high frame rates of up to 20 frames per second was very useful when photographing birds taking off, but the amount of memory card and hard drive space that all these photos took up, is a little bit worrying.

I hope you enjoy the video! If you have any questions about DSLR vs Mirrorless for wildlife photography, please leave your questions in the comments below.

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42 thoughts on “DSLR vs mirrorless for wildlife photography | Canon 5Dmk4 + 100-400mm II vs Canon R6 + 100-500mm RF

  • November 13, 2021 at 13:58
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    Regarding the noise you have over 3200isos with the 5D you should try to edit some of your shots in DXO photolab5 elite edition, the noise reduction is really good (deep prime). There is a 30 days trial version available.

  • November 13, 2021 at 13:58
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    I’m so torn! I have the canon 600mm f4 version 2 and the 100-400mm. It seems like this new zoom would be a great in between lens. My 100-400mm is very new though and the 100-500 is nearly impossible to obtain due to supply chain issues. But wow, I think that 100-500 is a truly great lens. I can’t imagine a better safari lens too.

  • November 13, 2021 at 13:58
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    Why compare 5d with the new 6d replacement? 🤔 6d = r6.! 5d = r5.!

    For being a photographer with a big channel, you should seriously know that.

  • November 13, 2021 at 13:58
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    The 100-400mm has far more shallow depth of field than the 100-500mm RF, it is not obvious until you compare them at the same place

  • November 13, 2021 at 13:58
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    Well, what about trying out the Sony A1? Which besides all the other superior specs has a very nice feature: You can select a few shots from a series and delete the rest with just one click.

  • November 13, 2021 at 13:58
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    You better go with the canon 1Dx iii which has the same megapixel as R6 , I have shot with Canon eos R6 before it was great

  • November 13, 2021 at 13:58
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    Can someone help me about the canon raw format. what is differents which in raw and cr3 raw format? i'm Canon Rp user and this is my first mirrorless dslr camera =D

  • November 13, 2021 at 13:58
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    The “danger” of shooting 20fps electronic with thr R6 is terrible rolling shutter effect with any quick movement.

  • November 13, 2021 at 13:58
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    Hy I am watching your video from Pakistan🇵🇰 I want to buy a new camera in few days for videos and images as well but my main focus is cinematic videos can you please give me your good advice either I should buy mirrorless or DSLR . I am begginer so also I am having some budjet issues almost count under 500$. Please give me a better suggestion.

  • November 13, 2021 at 13:58
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    Hy I am watching your video from Pakistan🇵🇰 I want to buy a new camera in few days for videos and images as well but my main focus is videos can you please give me your good advice either I should buy mirrorless or DSLR . I am begginer so also I am having some budjet issues almost count under 500$. Please give me a better suggestion.

  • November 13, 2021 at 13:58
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    No matter which bird you have locked on, press the last button on the top right of the camera (next to the asterisk) which will place a double arrow on that eye, then use the joystick to move left or right through the other birds.

  • November 13, 2021 at 13:58
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    The problem with any autofocus system is that there are many different settings and modes and people get lazy leaving to much to the camera. If with a DSLR you shoot the lion shown in the video, we all know that single focus point is the best option, you can focus on the eye, eliminate the "grab the Grass" situation and produce the stunning images. Withe eye detection AF, my reference is Sony as I have not used the Canon yet, same situation. People think it is magical, yet it is but also now flawless. It also grabs the grass, It also grabs onto the leopards skin when it looks like an eye. There is no replacement for camera skills and understanding how your camera and lens perform in different situations. Yes the eye detection and new focus systems are AI driven but as said not flawless. I recently used a Nikon D6 and the focus speed is something else. No it does not have eye, AF but except for fast flying small birds, was able to nail the eye with normal wildlife images every time even big birds like Herons, eagles etc in flight. Yes Eye AF is magical, however, not a fail proof system. I am sure the Canon 1Dxii is that same as the D6.

  • November 13, 2021 at 13:58
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    Like so many videos I just LOVE, I shared this and forgot to "like" it or say something. The clarity of those pix, the pytilia and GB bunting, is just totally unreal. Thank you !!! Now you can go find one of those crimson shrikes while you're up 😉

  • November 13, 2021 at 13:58
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    Wow amazing bro..I am huge fan of telephoto lences..both are amazing cameras.i love wildlife photography and vediography.i planing to buy used canon 90 d ..what is your openion about canon 90 d..with 70 to 300 mm lens?

  • November 13, 2021 at 13:58
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    Wish you also compared the Canon 100-400mm II on the Canon R6 using a Canon RF EF adapter. Works great.
    Also instead of eye detection, try animal detection on those fast moving birds.
    Works surprisingly good. Only use eye detection on shots that are close enough for the eye to be detected.
    Nice video!

  • November 13, 2021 at 13:58
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    You should have compared with the M6ii or 90D + 100-400 + TC1.4iii. They have double the pixel density than the R6!

  • November 13, 2021 at 13:58
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    In a nutshell I don’t see any advantage of a mirrorless vs mirrored . It’s the other technologies the new Canons have in focusing that have the upper hand. If the older DSLR bodies had the same focus technology there would be no advantage of the type systems .

  • November 13, 2021 at 13:58
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    Why do you keep comparing these cameras when you are convinced that mirrorless is superior. Let everyone have their choices too. I find a dslr too comfortable in ergonomics and optical viewfinder. For all that investment very few people now a days are ready to pay good money inspite of delivering good photography.

  • November 13, 2021 at 13:58
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    When comparing noise between a 30mp and a 21mp camera, one should first bring the photos to the same size. Only then you have a fair comparison.

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