Canon EOS R5's Animal AF can track a lion's eyes – IN THE DARK!

Canon EOS R5's Animal AF can track a lion's eyes – IN THE DARK!
(Image credit: Andrew Beck / YouTube: Wild Eye)

As if the hype train for the Canon EOS R5 needed any more coal thrown on the furnace, we've just been sent this footage of the Animal AF in action that somehow makes the camera even more impressive. 

While our Canon EOS R5 is still sitting patiently in the lab awaiting a full battery of tests, South African wildlife photographer Andrew Beck got in touch to share some video of his own tests. As you can see in the video below, the R5's Animal AF really is quite remarkable – for starters, it can track a lion's eyes in the dark! 

• Hands on: Canon EOS R5 review

The footage also shows the R5 performing AF tracking on other subjects including infant rhinos and hyenas, as well as birds – including, crucially, birds in flight. You can add these to the other species we've seen Canon's tech tracking in a previous video, including meerkats, sloths, monkeys, tortoises, turtles and fish. 

If the Canon EOS R5's uncanny ability to find a lion's eyes at night wasn't impressive enough, the way it can track a bird in flight – including its eyes – really does look to be a game changer for birders and wildlife photographers. 

"I've been fortunate to have spent some time behind the viewfinder of an early production unit of the Canon EOS R5 in South Africa's Sabi Sabi private Game Reserve and I have been very impressed," said Beck.

"The speed of acquisition and ability to actively and continuously track a subject through the entire frame is quite literally mind blowing. The first clip where the camera identifies and locks on to the eye of a lion even though there is no light is a moment I'll never forget. Bare in mind that that was with the Canon 100-400mm MKII @ F5.0 in very low light. Astonishing."

The R5's autofocus system looks so far to be Canon's best AF tech yet – even outpacing the flagship Canon EOS-1D X Mark III. We'll reserve judgement until we've put our production model through its full paces, but right now it certainly looks like the AF king…

Read more: 

Hands on: Canon EOS R5 review
Hands on: Canon EOS R6 review
The best Canon camera: Canon's DSLR, mirrorless and compact cameras

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James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients like Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photo and lighting tutorials, as well as industry news, rumors and analysis for publications like Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-Photo: The Nikon MagazineDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and talks at The Photography Show. He also serves as a judge for the Red Bull Illume Photo Contest. An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.