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Tecnología

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Wild wonders: Danny Green on the EOS-1D X Mark II

Wild wonders: Danny Green on the EOS-1D X Mark II

© Danny Green

November 2016

Canon Explorer and top wildlife photographer Danny Green has been using the EOS-1D X Mark II during 2016 and, as he explains to CPN Editor David Corfield, has finally found a camera that can capture his true natural vision...

For Danny Green, his EOS-1D X Mark II has become an essential tool of his trade. It’s a workhorse and an instrument of high precision – plus it’s the physical link between what we see and what he records. As such, it needs to be able to keep up with the action even in sub-zero temperatures or when it’s belting down with rain. And on both these points, as well as in several significant technical areas, Danny is full of praise.

© Danny Green
© Danny Green

Black Bear male, Minnesota, USA. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with an EF500mm f/4L IS II USM lens plus an EF1.4x III extender (effective focal length 700mm); the exposure was 1/800sec at f/5.6, ISO 3200.

“Every time Canon brings out a new camera, things improve,” he laughs. “I was shooting owls in low light in a forest recently and being able to shoot with high ISO speeds was essential, as I needed a fast shutter to capture their wings absolutely precisely, plus I wanted to see every detail in the feathers. The camera performed phenomenally. I’ve never been more excited to get home and look at the results on screen.”

For Danny, detail is king. But up until now certain sacrifices have had to be made. So has the EOS-1D X Mark II got what it takes to deliver on detail as well as speed? “The detail in the shadows and highlights is really remarkable now,” he affirms. “I remember the EOS-1Ds Mark III from 2007 and the detail in the files back then was phenomenal. But what let that camera down was the ISO performance (its native ISO only ran to 1600, expandable to 3200). Here, though, I now have the best of both worlds. I have incredible ISO performance (now expandable up to 409,600 from the 1D X Mark II’s native 51,200) as well as incredible detail in every situation thanks to a fantastic latitude, plus 14 frames-per-second if I need it.”

He continues: “In some tricky exposure situations, such as black grouse on white snow, it’s really difficult to get detail in such extremes of contrast. The grouse was one of my favourite sequences this year. I was photographing them at the lek [their display ritual to attract a mate]. When the males start fighting there is lots of movement and action and this time with the 1D X Mark II my success rate with the 500mm lens was so high that I was spoilt for choice when I came to do the edit later. The AF just locked on every time and the daunting task was looking at the work later. A camera as good as this actually makes my job harder – the capture side is arguably easier! What an irony!”

Focusing on perfection

Knowing how much ISO flexibility the EOS-1D X Mark II has, has given Danny one less headache in adverse conditions. But could the camera’s focusing speed be relied upon to capture his special wildlife moments? He needn’t have worried...

© Danny Green
© Danny Green

Great Grey Owl in flight, Finland. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with an EF300mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens; the exposure was 1/2500sec at f/2.8, ISO 1600.

“After using it a few times I became confident that the autofocus could do the job. It’s clearly further improved over the EOS-1D X, and that’s saying something. Years ago you used to hope that you’d have nailed the focusing but now it is almost in the back of your mind as the camera just locks onto the subject every time. The transformation this makes to a wildlife photographer’s hit rate is vast. It makes our job much easier, but the bar has been set even higher now, on a technical level,” he jokes, “as it becomes harder to capture something that is truly unique!”

On his focus technique, Danny explains: “I use the shutter button to activate my AF. I use different focus settings, depending on the subject. If I am working with a bird in flight, for example, I use a small cluster of AF points around the central focus area; it gives you a little bit more leeway. I also use the Case Settings and particularly like the ability to change the tracking sensitivity. You can set the camera up to your needs and your speeds as a photographer. Everyone has a different way of working, after all, and that's the real benefit of the Canon pro-series cameras.”

Danny was delighted to see AF at f/8 introduced with the EOS-1D X Mark II. “I use EF extenders a lot as they take up less space in the camera bag and the quality they provide when used with an L-series prime is extremely high,” he advises. “To have autofocus at f/8 means that the more elusive subjects, such as wolves, are easier to capture. Putting the 2x extender on my 500mm lens and knowing that I have full AF is a great reassurance. I have full confidence in my equipment now and that’s all you can ask for as a wildlife photographer. The rest is down to me!”

© Danny Green
© Danny Green

Bison Forest, Yellowstone, USA. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with an EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens at 400mm; the exposure was 1/1000sec at f/10, ISO 800.

“What I really liked was that it didn't need a huge learning curve to get to grips with it when compared to the previous camera. The 1D X was a fantastic DSLR, and still is, but I was quite excited about the Mark II. For me, it’s all about the ISO performance and speed.”

He remembers his first proper field test with the camera: “I started using it in early March, capturing owls in Finland, and was nervous,” he admits. “You don't get many opportunities to get a shot of an owl flying towards you and you have to have faith in the tools that you’re working with. But that Finnish low light was really good for putting it through its paces in the winter and in extreme conditions too – that's also important to me. A lot of those sorts of things need to tick my boxes as well, such as will it get condensation inside the body or will the battery let me down. Like I said, it's a tool at the end of the day and it needs to work. I’ve got to be honest, though, I don't use all the functions. It certainly helps to have GPS but 4K filming is something I don’t do. At the moment.”

Fieldcraft and greater understanding

As well as the thrill of capturing special moments in exquisite detail on his solo expeditions, Danny enjoys teaching fieldcraft skills on his popular workshops and uses the images taken on the EOS-1D X Mark II to reveal new information about his wildlife subjects. “The detail you can get in the EOS-1D X Mark II’s files is incredible. Take the grizzly bear with the salmon,” he recalls. “I couldn't believe the sharpness and the clarity. It actually teaches you to look at the subject in more detail. When you zoom in at 100 percent you can see every water droplet dripping off the bear’s fur. It’s just incredible to be able to capture this.”

© Danny Green
© Danny Green

Moose and autumn colours, Yellowstone, USA. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with an EF500mm f/4L IS II USM lens plus an EF1.4x III extender (effective focal length 700mm); the exposure was 1/160sec at f/5.6, ISO 1600.

He continues: “I used the EF500mm super telephoto on that trip, which actually accounts for about 80 percent of what I shoot anyway. But I also loved the new EF100-400 Mark II zoom, which I used on the last couple of trips to Alaska, where I was photographing those grizzly bears as well as moose. The lens is sharp right throughout its zoom range and gives me real flexibility and confidence, knowing that the results are more or less on a par with what I would usually get with the 500mm. It’s got to be one of the best zoom lenses on the market and I see a lot of them being used by photographers who come on my workshops.”

“It’s nice to pass on technical knowledge and I like to teach people how to get the best out of their cameras, but I get even greater delight in showing people the fieldcraft skills involved in photographing animals as well as explaining their ecology. One of the big things to know about wildlife photography is how important it is to understand the subjects, because it makes your photography a lot easier if you know their behaviour. I like to think I know a lot about my wildlife subjects, even though they constantly surprise me, but what I’ve realised now is that after shooting digitally for 12 years the technical advantages of this EOS-1D X Mark II are incredible. I know there’s a lot more I need to understand about it, so I suppose I’d better get the book out and start learning!”


EOS-1D X Mark II – KEY FEATURES

  • Continuous shooting at up to 14fps for full resolution RAW or JPEGS; up to 16fps in Live View mode.
  • Burst rate of up to 170 RAWs in single continuous burst at up to 14fps and 4K movies using CFast cards in new CFast 2.0 card slot.
  • New 20.2 Megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor with ISO range of 100-51,200; expandable up to ISO 409,600.
  • 61-point High Density Reticular AF II system with 41 cross-type points; improved centre point focusing sensitivity to -3EV and compatibility down to f/8.
  • Accurate subject tracking for stills and video with new EOS Intelligent Tracking and Recognition AF with 360,000-pixel metering sensor.
  • View and control over stills and video via the 3.2-inch touch panel LCD with 1.62 million dots.
  • Increased resolution and fine detail with lens aberration correction and diffraction correction via new in-camera Digital Lens Optimizer technology.
  • Built-in GPS provides geotag information including auto time syncing with Universal Times Code (UTC) via satellites.
  • New optional Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E8A is compatible with IEEE 802.11ac/n/a/g/b; supporting both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz WiFi bands.
  • Durable and rugged magnesium alloy body with dust and weather resistance for demanding shooting situations.

Biografía: Danny Green

Danny Green

Danny Green is an award-winning wildlife photographer based in the UK. He became interested in nature from a young age and has been photographing the natural world for over 20 years. His approach to photography is detailed and can involve him spending months, if not years, working on one specific subject. Danny has travelled to some of the most remote regions of the world – from the Highlands of Scotland to the Boreal forests of Finland and polar ice caps of Svalbard. He has won many prizes in the most respected wildlife photography competitions and his work is represented by the leading natural history picture agencies. His recent book The Long Journey North details seven years of shooting in the arctic and subarctic regions of northern Europe.



Mostrador

Beaver at its lodge, Finland. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with an EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM lens plus an EF1.4x III extender (effective focal length 280mm); the exposure was 1/500sec at f/4, ISO 800.