90D for wildlife?

Started Dec 26, 2019 | Discussions
Austin7642 Regular Member • Posts: 396
90D for wildlife?

So I'm doing quite a bit of road tripping and traveling across the continent in the upcoming year. This past year I did so for about two months up and down the East and West Coast. I had packed along a 400mm DO II and a 600mm II with me for wildlife with a 7D II. Sadly, in the first month I didn't use the 7D II once as no situations really arose for me to need the reach and so I sold it. However, in the second month, there were instances where it would've been very useful, such as trying to shoot eagles in British Columbia, and the absence was enough of a pain that I'm considering buying a 90d for my upcoming travels this year. I am wondering how everyone who's used this camera for wildlife like it. Some of the questions I'm wondering about are can you push the iso above 1600, is there better DR, and is the focusing consistent and reliable? I'm also curious about the video side as well since it seems like 4k with no crop and 120 fps at 1280 would make it the best video camera aside from the 1DX II (which I have, but damn is it heavy on a gimbal).

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BirdShooter7 Veteran Member • Posts: 6,405
Re: 90D for wildlife?

I have a 90d and 7d mk2, and my preference is for the 7d mk2.  I like the controls a lot better and get better results from the AF.  The 90d does offer better image quality.  When viewing images from both cameras at the same size the 90d has noticeably lower noise and better detail.

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Some of my bird photos can be viewed here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/gregsbirds/

cdmazoff
cdmazoff Senior Member • Posts: 2,826
Re: 90D for wildlife?

Austin7642 wrote:

So I'm doing quite a bit of road tripping and traveling across the continent in the upcoming year. This past year I did so for about two months up and down the East and West Coast. I had packed along a 400mm DO II and a 600mm II with me for wildlife with a 7D II. Sadly, in the first month I didn't use the 7D II once as no situations really arose for me to need the reach and so I sold it. However, in the second month, there were instances where it would've been very useful, such as trying to shoot eagles in British Columbia, and the absence was enough of a pain that I'm considering buying a 90d for my upcoming travels this year. I am wondering how everyone who's used this camera for wildlife like it. Some of the questions I'm wondering about are can you push the iso above 1600, is there better DR, and is the focusing consistent and reliable? I'm also curious about the video side as well since it seems like 4k with no crop and 120 fps at 1280 would make it the best video camera aside from the 1DX II (which I have, but damn is it heavy on a gimbal).

Hi Austin.. I like what Birdshooter said.  Anyhoo: if you click on my flickr link below you will see what I've shot with the 90D and the 100-400 mk2 + 1.4 ex III.  Lots of BIFs... and just did a nice capture of a Swan unfolding.... a flicker flickering and some buffleheads  etc,  I'm only an amateur and still have lots to learn.  Good luck

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When I'm not playing birds, I'm shooting my accordion....or is it the other way around?

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Canon EOS 90D Canon Extender EF 1.4x III Canon EF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6L IS II
Chris Mak Senior Member • Posts: 2,541
Re: 90D for wildlife?
2

I use the 7DII and shortly had the 90D but returned it. Better DR at low iso settings is nice, but with a 400DOII+1.4TC combo not all that relevant. I try to keep the 7DII around iso 400-1000, where it performs best i.m.o. but hardly ever shoot at lower iso values.

What I missed mostly in the 90D was the stellar responsiveness of the 7DII, which can grab a shot in a split second and is usually spot-on. So it feels like a real action camera, but the 90D less so i.m.o. Perhaps others had different experiences. I decided to wait for a 7DIII, or just settle with the 7DII and save up for a brighter lens like the 500/4.

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jrkliny
jrkliny Veteran Member • Posts: 4,328
Re: 90D for wildlife?
2

If you are interested in shooting birds in flight and other similar fast moving subjects, pay attention to the comments by birdshooter and others who find the 7D2 to be better for AF Servo.

I cannot evaluate the AF Servo because I hardly ever use it and rarely shoot BIF. When it comes to overall performance the 90D has some strong attributes and advantages over the 7D2 and every other APS-C camera. First regarding the AF, I am very happy with the performance for less challenging shots than BIF. The AF on my 90D is dead accurate and precise. I did a number of tests including comparison with 10X liveview and the AF is impressive. It will also focus better in low light than the 7D2 but that is based on reviews. Finally the 90D is the first camera from Canon that will reliably AF at 1:1 macro distances. Previous cameras seemed to fail frequently at 1:2 and closer.

At 32.5 mp, the 90D is class leader for resolution! It also matches lower resolution cameras for high ISO performance and for dynamic range. The in camera software does a great job of producing jpegs with great image quality and low noise to at least ISO 6400. The Canon DPP4 software does a great job of processing raw files. Again it will handle high ISOs to at least ISO 6400. The default noise reduction will do a great job of preserving details while removing noise. Of course this also means the software will handle noise that arises from pulling details from the shadows. The DPP4 software also has a magic property of correcting for softness due to diffraction. I am getting superb results at f/20 and higher. Without the software correction, softening due to diffraction would be noticeable. You can continue to use Adobe products such as Lightroom in place of DPP4 software but you might need additional software for noise reduction and you will not have the diffraction correction if you shoot tight apertures.

If you spend some time reading the 90D threads on this forum you will find lots of very positive comments. You will also find there were a lot of 7D2 users who were unhappy. They wanted a 7D3 instead. Personally I would not have wanted a 7D3. I don't want a bigger, heavier camera that would cost twice the amount of the 90D. I don't need or want to pay for 2 card slots, faster performance and a bigger buffer.

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MuzzaAus Senior Member • Posts: 1,988
Re: 90D for wildlife?
1

Hello Austin7642,

I am using the 80D and 90D with my 100-400mmL IS II.I found the AIServo zone Af to be very inconsistent at first . It would focus on many things but not where I intended. I learned that ITR( face recognition AI) was on by default. I have found the zone AF to be much better since disabling ITR. I think the 90D struggles with Zone AF at 10fps and an option for say 7fps might improve this.

Sometimes the tracking AF is frustrating to use but I am persisting. I am getting some excellent shots when critical focus is achieved. I find that early morning or late afternoon light seems to improve my keeper rate. Overall, I am very happy with the 90D.I will learn to use the camera and adapt to get the most out of it. I like the noise performance , colours and increased cropping ability of the new 33 MP sensor. One can hope that Canon is listening to these forums and will update the tracking Zone Af functions. ( I wouldn't hold my breath for this option) I find the AI servo single point AF to be fast and very consistent. In 5 years it won't matter, we may all be using the EOS 7R mirrorless which replaces the 7D II. I will continue to use the 80D and 90D . You can find a positive review by Roger Clarke of Clarkevision who really likes the 90D and says the AI servo single point AF is better than the same on the 7D II, but the AIServo zone AF may be better on the 7D II. His post generated much discussion on this forum.

Cheers

Murray

TheBlackGrouse Veteran Member • Posts: 3,573
Re: 90D for wildlife?
2

MuzzaAus wrote:

Hello Austin7642,

I am using the 80D and 90D with my 100-400mmL IS II.I found the AIServo zone Af to be very inconsistent at first . It would focus on many things but not where I intended. I learned that ITR( face recognition AI) was on by default. I have found the zone AF to be much better since disabling ITR. I think the 90D struggles with Zone AF at 10fps and an option for say 7fps might improve this.

Sometimes the tracking AF is frustrating to use but I am persisting. I am getting some excellent shots when critical focus is achieved. I find that early morning or late afternoon light seems to improve my keeper rate. Overall, I am very happy with the 90D.I will learn to use the camera and adapt to get the most out of it. I like the noise performance , colours and increased cropping ability of the new 33 MP sensor. One can hope that Canon is listening to these forums and will update the tracking Zone Af functions. ( I wouldn't hold my breath for this option) I find the AI servo single point AF to be fast and very consistent. In 5 years it won't matter, we may all be using the EOS 7R mirrorless which replaces the 7D II. I will continue to use the 80D and 90D . You can find a positive review by Roger Clarke of Clarkevision who really likes the 90D and says the AI servo single point AF is better than the same on the 7D II, but the AIServo zone AF may be better on the 7D II. His post generated much discussion on this forum.

Cheers

Murray

Ok, let's be critical

Forget about photo one, a flying heron is a PIF (plane in flight), too easy.

But let's be fair too, the flying Cockatoo is sharp. It doesn't seem to be a lucky shot, I looked at 100% and the AF didn't focus on the leaves in front of it. Good performance of the single point AF.

The flying Moorhen is impressive as these creatures are fast and the AF will easily pick up the water vegetation.

Number four, this nice woolly whatever-Austrialian marsupial looks like a proof that spot AF is working. Important when shooting wildlife, many animals are hiding in bushes, trees.

Overall, much better than I expected from the 90D.

However, being a BIF-shooter I'd like to see shots of flying swallows, hobbies, terns

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TheBlackGrouse
Active Outdoor Photographer

BirdShooter7 Veteran Member • Posts: 6,405
Re: 90D for wildlife?
1

Is saying the 99d in single AF point mode does well really telling you much about the performance of the AF system.  I don’t know about anyone else here but in my personal experience the old 7d was fantastic with tracking using only the center point AF so the fact that the 90d can still do it doesn’t really impress me.  It is the area AF nodes that could use improvement and unfortunately it doesn’t appear that much progress has been made in that area.

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User4286416121 Contributing Member • Posts: 695
Re: 90D for wildlife?
1

However, being a BIF-shooter I'd like to see shots of flying swallows, hobbies, terns

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TheBlackGrouse
Active Outdoor Photographer

I would love a camera that can shadow a swallow. Swallows could give a drone a haircut!

Course at high FL the narrow angle of view is very difficult already.

Thanks for the image. Same page we are

MuzzaAus Senior Member • Posts: 1,988
Re: 90D for wildlife?
1

Hi TheBlackGrouse,

Thanks for your detailed critique of my shots.:-) Here are some shots of Masked Plovers.

They are quite irregular in their flight pattern and reasonably fast. I would like to get some good shots of Swallows or Martins but I am not successful yet.

Cheers

Murray

.

.

BirdShooter7 Veteran Member • Posts: 6,405
Re: 90D for wildlife?
1

Nice work on these!

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RogerZoul
RogerZoul Senior Member • Posts: 2,772
Re: 90D for wildlife?

Chris Mak wrote:

I use the 7DII and shortly had the 90D but returned it. Better DR at low iso settings is nice, but with a 400DOII+1.4TC combo not all that relevant. I try to keep the 7DII around iso 400-1000, where it performs best i.m.o. but hardly ever shoot at lower iso values.

What I missed mostly in the 90D was the stellar responsiveness of the 7DII, which can grab a shot in a split second and is usually spot-on. So it feels like a real action camera, but the 90D less so i.m.o. Perhaps others had different experiences. I decided to wait for a 7DIII, or just settle with the 7DII and save up for a brighter lens like the 500/4.

this, plus what birdshooter7 said partly reflect my feeling about the two.  The controls on the 7D2 are geared for someone really serious about wildlife, where as those of the 90D do NOT.  Yet, the 90D does have higher resolution, better low-iso DR, and thus better IQ.  I think if budget affords, one can justify both. The 7D2 is simply better for BIF, too, especially small birds in front of cluttered backgrounds (or not).  If you do macro, however, the 90D kills there.  I too am waiting on the 7D3 but I still can use the 90D with the flipout screen, so I don't mind having  both of them.  If I had to have only one, I'd probably stick with the 7D2, however.  I think Canon has to have more than just a 1D for sports/action/wildlife as nearly everyone can use the reach sooner or later.

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JackiePan
JackiePan Forum Member • Posts: 91
Re: 90D for wildlife?

hi Austin,

I am new to wildlife and bird shoot, months back I got one Canon 600mm F4 II at good price from my friend, as he moved to SONY. Then I was thinking of getting one Canon body for it. I used to be Canon user, with 5D3 and couple of lens. After weeks search and homework, with my limited budget, 7D2, used 1dx, and 90D seemed to fill my requirements. I tried 7D2, very good AF performance, 65 points PDAF in OVF, however Image quality is not as I expected, poor dynamic range and high ISO is not good, maybe I was comparing with my current Sony A7R3, not fair with 7D2, it is good camera but I have to pass it just because its CMOS is as old as 70D. Then comes 1DX, except heavy body, I can't find any shortage on it. I almost pick up 1DX on eBay till someone posted some 90D bird image, which is amazing. I started to watch some YouTube 90D wildlife videos and some postings about 90d+600mm F4II, overall it is a very good combination. some people complains 90D eliminates shadow too much, or buffer is too small. I tried 90D at store, I think the buffer is good, as long as UHS-II card used, Choose C-RAW, it is fast enough for 56 Raws on time shoot, I think that is good enough for amateur like me. The only concern is that I also have 2.0 TC, after using 2.0 TC, the maximum aperture will be F8, and some people are saying the lens will hunt as only centre point supports AF @ F8. I need to test and find more on this, otherwise 90D is perfect for me. Light body, high pixel for cropping, 4k video, touch screen, etc.

I would like to hear what other's suggestion as well.

Thanks,

Jackie.

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TheBlackGrouse Veteran Member • Posts: 3,573
Re: 90D for wildlife?
1

JackiePan wrote:

hi Austin,

I am new to wildlife and bird shoot, months back I got one Canon 600mm F4 II at good price from my friend, as he moved to SONY.

Wow, you've got the best!

Then I was thinking of getting one Canon body for it. I used to be Canon user, with 5D3 and couple of lens. After weeks search and homework, with my limited budget, 7D2, used 1dx, and 90D seemed to fill my requirements. I tried 7D2, very good AF performance, 65 points PDAF in OVF, however Image quality is not as I expected, poor dynamic range and high ISO is not good, maybe I was comparing with my current Sony A7R3, not fair with 7D2, it is good camera but I have to pass it just because its CMOS is as old as 70D.

Before you make a decision, try another 7DII body. There is some copy variation especially in ISO performance. For instance, my 7DII has clean images at ISO 1600 (and 3200 is easy to clean) which is enough for shooting wildlife, except at sunrise or sunset.

Then comes 1DX, except heavy body, I can't find any shortage on it.

If you have the 600 you can work with a 1DX because you have enough reach.

I almost pick up 1DX on eBay till someone posted some 90D bird image, which is amazing. I started to watch some YouTube 90D wildlife videos and some postings about 90d+600mm F4II, overall it is a very good combination. some people complains 90D eliminates shadow too much, or buffer is too small. I tried 90D at store, I think the buffer is good, as long as UHS-II card used, Choose C-RAW, it is fast enough for 56 Raws on time shoot, I think that is good enough for amateur like me.

Image Quality of the 90D is great. However, most 'complaints' are about the AF performance when shooting action. The buffer is not the problem. Many of us wildlife shooters use small bursts. That gives better tracking performance and you have the buffer in reserve in case something unique happens (less than once a year).

Always pick the largest RAW size as you have to crop a lot and need every pixel on target.

The only concern is that I also have 2.0 TC, after using 2.0 TC, the maximum aperture will be F8, and some people are saying the lens will hunt as only centre point supports AF @ F8. I need to test and find more on this, otherwise 90D is perfect for me. Light body, high pixel for cropping, 4k video, touch screen, etc.

Don't get me wrong, the 90D is a good camera. However, you already have the 600 prime. If I were you I would buy the 1DX (if possible a used Mk II, if you win the lottery the new Mk III). Then you can handle any situation for the next decade and have the best Image Quality. Size and weight of the body are not your first concern, the 600 prime is large and heavy anyway 

I would like to hear what other's suggestion as well.

Thanks,

Jackie.

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TheBlackGrouse
Active Outdoor Photographer

cdmazoff
cdmazoff Senior Member • Posts: 2,826
Re: 90D for wildlife?
1

JackiePan wrote:

hi Austin,

I am new to wildlife and bird shoot, months back I got one Canon 600mm F4 II at good price from my friend, as he moved to SONY. Then I was thinking of getting one Canon body for it. I used to be Canon user, with 5D3 and couple of lens. After weeks search and homework, with my limited budget, 7D2, used 1dx, and 90D seemed to fill my requirements. I tried 7D2, very good AF performance, 65 points PDAF in OVF, however Image quality is not as I expected, poor dynamic range and high ISO is not good, maybe I was comparing with my current Sony A7R3, not fair with 7D2, it is good camera but I have to pass it just because its CMOS is as old as 70D. Then comes 1DX, except heavy body, I can't find any shortage on it. I almost pick up 1DX on eBay till someone posted some 90D bird image, which is amazing. I started to watch some YouTube 90D wildlife videos and some postings about 90d+600mm F4II, overall it is a very good combination. some people complains 90D eliminates shadow too much, or buffer is too small. I tried 90D at store, I think the buffer is good, as long as UHS-II card used, Choose C-RAW, it is fast enough for 56 Raws on time shoot, I think that is good enough for amateur like me. The only concern is that I also have 2.0 TC, after using 2.0 TC, the maximum aperture will be F8, and some people are saying the lens will hunt as only centre point supports AF @ F8. I need to test and find more on this, otherwise 90D is perfect for me. Light body, high pixel for cropping, 4k video, touch screen, etc.

I would like to hear what other's suggestion as well.

Thanks,

Jackie.

Glad you are happy and lucky enough to own a 600 II f4!!!!  Ditch the 2x tele for a 1.4 tele and make sure it is version III Good luck and happy shooting

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When I'm not playing birds, I'm shooting my accordion....or is it the other way around?

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Canon EOS 90D Canon Extender EF 1.4x III Canon EF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6L IS II
Duckman21 Forum Member • Posts: 87
Re: 90D for wildlife?

Does anyone actually find 80D's tracking to be better than 90D? I thought I saw a few comments claiming such. Generally I find the 80D tracking good for herons, gulls and eagles, but impossible for swallows unless they are by a nest box or against the sky. I prefer using 9-point zone AF, but while it does fairly well for BIF, it seems to prefer using the bottom points for stationary objects, thus front-focusing when photographing a duck or other swimming bird (though I suspect my Tamron G2 has a role in that too). I've had the same issue with the 760D  (which uses the 7D AF system) using the same lens.

Also curious about the M6 Mark II consider as Gordon Laing considered it superior for tracking BIF. He's not the most experienced reviewer for wildlife photography but it sounds too good to be true when he says M6II has the second-best AF tracking after 7DII...

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kpr1291 Forum Member • Posts: 52
Re: 90D for wildlife?

MuzzaAus wrote:

Hello Austin7642,

I am using the 80D and 90D with my 100-400mmL IS II.I found the AIServo zone Af to be very inconsistent at first . It would focus on many things but not where I intended. I learned that ITR( face recognition AI) was on by default. I have found the zone AF to be much better since disabling ITR. I think the 90D struggles with Zone AF at 10fps and an option for say 7fps might improve this.

Sometimes the tracking AF is frustrating to use but I am persisting. I am getting some excellent shots when critical focus is achieved. I find that early morning or late afternoon light seems to improve my keeper rate. Overall, I am very happy with the 90D.I will learn to use the camera and adapt to get the most out of it. I like the noise performance , colours and increased cropping ability of the new 33 MP sensor. One can hope that Canon is listening to these forums and will update the tracking Zone Af functions. ( I wouldn't hold my breath for this option) I find the AI servo single point AF to be fast and very consistent. In 5 years it won't matter, we may all be using the EOS 7R mirrorless which replaces the 7D II. I will continue to use the 80D and 90D . You can find a positive review by Roger Clarke of Clarkevision who really likes the 90D and says the AI servo single point AF is better than the same on the 7D II, but the AIServo zone AF may be better on the 7D II. His post generated much discussion on this forum.

Cheers

Murray

Hi,

I am curious about what did you use for post processing as they look very clean. Did you use NR in Lightroom?

Regards,

Kevin

rsmithsd73
rsmithsd73 Regular Member • Posts: 305
Re: 90D for wildlife?

In my opinion, the 1DX power will drive the AF of the big 600II much more reliably. And it will outperform the 90D in high ISO and you will like the 12FPS. Just look out for oil splatter on sensor and be prepared to learn to clean your own sensor.

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JackiePan
JackiePan Forum Member • Posts: 91
Re: 90D for wildlife?
1

rsmithsd73 wrote:

In my opinion, the 1DX power will drive the AF of the big 600II much more reliably. And it will outperform the 90D in high ISO and you will like the 12FPS. Just look out for oil splatter on sensor and be prepared to learn to clean your own sensor.

I agreed. also thanks your suggestion.

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Tannin Senior Member • Posts: 1,397
Re: 90D for wildlife?

Hi Jackie.

You have the best all-round birding lens on the planet. It would be a sad waste of that beautiful lens to pair it with a second-rate camera, or one not suited to your purpose. Make the most of that lens by pairing it with a 5D IV. Great AF, outstanding handling and controls, wonderful sensor with good ISO performance and heaps of resolution .... find the money somehow, you won't regret it.

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