If you are new to the Canon R7, you may not realize how the importance of the first menu screen. Changing the setting can be intimidating. To start you off, I recommend the following settings especially for bird photography.
AF Operation: Servo – (I still call it AI Servo) This setting forces the camera to continually check the focus on the subject and refocus as necessary
Subject Track – On. Of course.
Subject to detect: Very important to adjust based on your subject. The camera’s AI is looking for patterns and it ties into the next setting.
Eye Detection: Enabled – but eye’s on people are different than eyes on Animals.
Switch tracked subjects: zero. I want to follow MY subject, not let the camera pick.
I skipped AF Area are because it ties into another setting on the second tab. These two settings require some experimentation based on your shooting style.
The R7 default setting for auto-focus is the entire sensor and it wants to pick the subject. I like to have more control. I have the AF focus set to Expand AF Area: Around. This gives me control but still allows the camera to do it’s thing in the area that I choose when I move the joystick. But, you should experiment and see which setting works for you.
Another setting to play with is the AF Servo AF (on tab 2) which controls how the auto-focus should track objects coming into the frame. I find that the other Case settings let the camera jump to the closer or more active subject instead of the one that I want to follow. Case 2 set’s the camera’s priority to match MY subject choice.
Now, using these settings with the Canon RF 100-500mm works well when you let R7 do its thing. The worst situation is when the lens goes into a focus seek instead of a focus lock. I find that the Canon R7 focuses differently than the Canon R5. With most other Canons, I would use a spot focus and keep that focus on the subject. The R7 seems to want to start you off and gets confused if you want to force it. This could be inherited from the Canon R3. Not bad, just different…
When the R7 has focus on a subject, the AF indicator will change from white to light blue. If it shows red, it has no idea what to focus on and will trigger a seek to find a subject. With the RF 100-500mm, this process can take a few seconds and blow the shot. Just remember – If blue, you can shoot away. If red and you push the shutter half-way, it will trigger a seek. This red issue happens when you are trying to capture birds in flight against a blue sky (a small subject against an infinite background.) It rarely happens with a ground shot or something with a “real” in the background. Just keep it in mind if it happens.
Now, combine these settings with the Drive Modes from my last article, and take some pictures!