How to get the best out of Panning Assist and IBIS High Resolution mode

Firmware updates for cameras add exciting new features, such as sharper panning shots, super high resolution imaging and workflow improvements for professionals. Here, two working photographers share their experience of using these features and being able to do things they couldn't do before.
A Formula One racing car moving at speed is captured sharply against a blurred background in a photograph by Vladimir Rys using a Canon EOS R3 camera.

"Many photographers are a little bit fearful of shooting certain things," says Vladimir Rys. "The new Panning Assist feature will help them to be more brave and more creative, and take more risks." Taken on a Canon EOS R3 with Mount Adapter EF-EOS R and a Canon EF 200mm f/2L IS USM lens at 1/20 sec, f/4 and ISO 50. © Vladimir Rys

Camera and imaging technologies continue to develop at a fast pace, but regular firmware updates from Canon bring new functionality and improvements to the kit you already have. As part of Canon's commitment to providing the best experience for photographers, brand new features have been unlocked in the EOS R5 and EOS R3 in recent firmware updates.

Among other new functionality, perhaps the most exciting features are IBIS High Resolution mode, which unlocks new potential in the EOS R5 with firmware update 1.8.1 and newer, and Panning Assist, added to the EOS R3 in firmware update 1.4.0 and newer.

Here, two photographers and Canon Ambassadors who have been using these new features, Martin Bissig and Vladimir Rys, share their experiences and their advice on how to make the most of them, with additional expert comments from Canon Europe Senior Product Specialist Mike Burnhill. We also look at the EOS R3's new Register People Priority feature as well as upgrades to FTP transfer functionality and the Mobile File Transfer (MFT) app.

A landscape image looking out over a valley towards a mountain range with snow-capped peaks in the distance. Taken by Martin Bissig using the Canon EOS R5's IBIS High Resolution mode.

The IBIS High Resolution mode now available in the EOS R5 makes it possible to take 400MP images. This is ideal for capturing the smallest detail in a majestic landscape such as this one, although the increased resolution and clarity will not be discernible in this version of the image, optimised for web viewing. Taken on a Canon EOS R5 camera with a Canon RF 28-70mm F2L USM lens at 57mm, 1/160sec, f/16 and ISO 400. © Martin Bissig

IBIS High Resolution mode

This new feature gives the EOS R5 the ability to produce super-high-res images. It works by taking a series of nine shots, with the sensor moving slightly between each shot using the camera's IBIS mechanism, which simulates even smaller pixels. These shots are then merged together in-camera to produce JPEG images with a resolution of approximately 400MP.

This excitingly expands the potential uses of the EOS R5, beyond its already-impressive standard resolution of 45MP. However, Mike points out, this is particularly useful for genres such as still life and architecture, where maximum detail is beneficial and there's no chance of subject movement, but it won't be suitable for other types of photography such as portraits, sports, and landscapes with moving elements (trees in the wind, for example).

Although primarily a sports and action photographer, Martin was very keen to put the new feature through its paces and see what results he could get. He shot a series of landscapes, making the most of the high resolution to capture details down to tiny blades of grass and mottled rock surfaces from afar.

"There are always people out there who need a higher resolution," Martin says. "Although I probably would not buy a camera that shoots at 400MP, it is amazing having that camera already in my bag and being able to use that feature whenever I need it without having to buy anything new."

A technician wearing white gloves cleans the sensor of a Canon camera.

Do you own Canon kit?

Register your kit to access expert advice, equipment servicing, inspirational events and exclusive special offers with Canon Professional Services.
A very high resolution and HDR image of a mountaintop with a valley and high peaks in the background, taken by Martin Bissig on a Canon EOS R5.

Martin points out that the images generated by IBIS High Resolution mode, although incredibly detailed, have the restricted dynamic range characteristic of JPEGs. To remedy this, he takes three super-high-res shots at different exposures and merges them together in post-production to create HDR images containing a wider range of tones worthy of the high resolution. Taken on a Canon EOS R5 with a Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8L IS USM lens at 24mm, 1/125 sec, f/13 and ISO 250. © Martin Bissig

Martin's tips for using IBIS High Resolution mode

From his experience, Martin offers the following tips to produce the best results with IBIS High Resolution mode:

1. "Use a very sturdy tripod. Even the slightest vibration will mean the feature doesn't work correctly, so make sure it's properly heavy duty."

2. "Use a remote release, or set the timer. If you try to press the shutter button as normal, this will also introduce vibrations."

3. "Pick your scene well. This feature works best for architecture and still life, but it does have some outdoor applications if you choose wisely. Even landscapes which look still might contain moving elements, such as trees moving in the breeze. If you want to shoot outdoors, you'll need to make sure there's nothing like that in view. That said, smaller things in the frame like planes or birds can be edited out relatively easily."

4. "Choose your lens carefully. A telephoto lens is more likely to vibrate, even a tiny amount, and ruin your shot. An ultra-wide angle may pick up details in something like a landscape which moves slightly – such as blades of grass. I found the sweet spot to be between 24mm and 70mm."

5. "Use a computer or larger screen to check for pixel movement." Mike advises that the camera's LCD screen displays a preview image, not the full 400MP, so if you want to see the image quality and appreciate the higher resolution, then you need to download the file or connect the camera via USB or Wi-Fi and use EOS Utility to view it on a computer screen.

A Formula One racing car moving at speed is captured sharply, with foreground and background both blurred, in a photograph by Vladimir Rys using the Panning Assist feature in a Canon EOS R3 camera.

"I was excited to try Panning Assist," says Vladimir. "I now use it every time I'm panning. As soon as I switch it on, it helps with the hit rate massively, giving me many more successful shots." Taken on a Canon EOS R3 with RF 400mm F2.8L IS USM lens at 1/13 sec, f/10 and ISO 50. © Vladimir Rys

Panning Assist

This is an exciting new feature for anyone who likes to shoot fast-moving subjects such as motorsport with an EOS R3. As Mike explains, "it works by analysing the speed of the subject and the panning movements of the photographer. The system then tries to keep the subject in the same position in the frame using the optical image stabilisation built into IS-equipped lenses. This provides a sharper image when panning, and less blur of the subject."

Vladimir uses his EOS R3 to photograph motorsports such as Formula One, and was excited to learn about the new Panning Assist feature. "I'd been looking forward to something like this for a long time," he says, "and it did not disappoint."

Vladimir tried out the new feature when shooting Formula One in Bahrain. "Generally, when shooting, I already know if I have the shot before I even look at the display on the back of the camera," he continues. "There were lots of moments when I thought, OK, I've probably missed that one – but then I'd look back on the screen and it was pin-sharp. That's when I realised that Panning Assist is going to help me a lot with hit rate, and I think it will make it a lot easier for many photographers shooting motorsports."

Panning is a difficult technique to perfect. When shooting a moving car, for example, you have to be as synchronised as possible with the movement of the car. It's a skill that develops with experience, but Vladimir says Panning Assist fast-tracks your abilities so you get better results sooner.

"This technology should give photographers the confidence to be braver and get better results," he says. "With this assistance, you can afford to be more creative and try new things that might not have worked before. For example, there might be sections of the track where the cars are travelling at super high speed, such as over 300kph, where in the past you wouldn't even stop as you'd be afraid to try panning at that speed.

"With Panning Assist, you can play around and try it. I found that the camera just picks up the subject and will follow the car and do a lot of work for you."

Vladimir says he found Panning Assist also saved him a lot of time. "In the past, I might spend half an hour getting two or three shots, whereas with Panning Assist enabled, I will have enough shots within 10 minutes so I can move on and get different pictures from different viewpoints."

A dart captured at the moment it pierces a soap bubble, with the bubble just starting to burst.

Latest firmware updates for Canon's pro EOS lineup

Unlock innovative technologies and enhanced performance in Canon's most advanced EOS cameras for free with the latest firmware updates.
The Register People Priority menu screen on the EOS R3.

One of the new enhancements to the autofocus capabilities on the EOS R3, Register People Priority, allows you to pre-register people on your camera to detect and track their faces, even when there are other faces in the frame.

A smartphone screen shows the Canon Mobile File Transfer app in use with multiple images of winter sports onscreen, three selected with a tick.

With recent firmware updates installed on compatible cameras, the Canon Mobile File Transfer app helps to streamline post-shoot workflows and allows you to change FTP server settings even after image selection.

The EOS R3 gains another autofocus related new feature in the same firmware update. For photographers who work at events where multiple faces might be present, the new Register People Priority feature could be an invaluable addition.

"It allows users to register up to 10 faces in priority order," Mike explains. "When the camera is in a situation where there are lots of faces, it can use these registered faces as a priority for which face to focus on. This is ideal for weddings, press conferences, red carpet events and so on."

Both the EOS R3 and EOS R5 also receive enhancements to their FTP transfer functionality, which could also be a big help for working professionals. "The auto protect function will lock any image on the memory card that has been sent via FTP," Mike says. "This makes it easy to identify which images have been sent and which ones have not. It's also possible to identify once images are downloaded from the memory card to a computer and can be identified in software."

Another enhancement applies when you're using the Canon Mobile File Transfer (MFT) app, which enables users to transfer images to FTP servers through mobile devices and helps to streamline post-shoot workflows. The new features include a screen lock to prevent accidental operation during transfer, and allows you to change or edit FTP server setting after image selection but before transfer. It also improves the user interface and transfer progress view, and makes the app IIM compatible.

A user holds a tablet showing a firmware update via the Canon Camera Connect app, with a Canon EOS R3 on the tabletop alongside.

The Canon Camera Connect app makes it straightforward to install firmware updates on many EOS R System cameras using your smartphone or tablet.

Installing via the Canon Camera Connect app

Installing firmware updates and unleashing your camera's new potential is very simple and straightforward, using the Canon Camera Connect app on your smartphone or mobile device with compatible cameras.

"It's very easy," Martin says. "You connect the camera [to the app], and a window pops up informing you that new firmware is available. You tap the button and the app installs it – it's that simple. It is definitely a nicer way to update your camera than previously, where you had to download the firmware file, copy it onto an SD card, put the card into the camera and so on – this is much easier."

Martin says he frequently uses the Canon Camera Connect app. "I used it to remotely release the camera shutter to avoid camera shake when taking 400MP shots, but I also use it quite a lot to share my images when I'm on trips – it's great to have everything together in one place."

Upgrade for free!

Mike emphasises Canon's commitment to ongoing product enhancement. "The EOS R3 was launched in 2021 but it is still very much Canon's premier pro camera," he notes, "and we continue to add features based on customer feedback to make the camera more effective for professional photographers."

Groundbreaking new functionality added in firmware updates can make it feel almost like you're getting a new camera for free. However, although there's no charge, Mike hopes that users will appreciate the development effort behind the exciting new features. "Adding new features is not as easy as just copying the code from one camera to another," he emphasises. "The process is much more complex than that – and once new code is added, it of course always needs testing to ensure it works and does not impact other functions.

"The updates to the EOS R3 (Panning Assist) and to the EOS R5 (IBIS High Resolution mode) both need precision control of the in-body Image Stabilizer beyond the original parameters of the system. This requires retro-engineering a function that was not part of the design of the system and takes time to do and get right. Having a new idea for a feature is the easy part – making it work reliably is much more complex and time-consuming."

Find out more about the new and enhanced photography and video features, lens and accessory support, workflow functions and more in the latest firmware updates.

Related articles

Get the newsletter

Click here to get inspiring stories and exciting news from Canon Europe Pro