PDA

View Full Version : Birds in Flight


Seonnaidh
2nd September 2012, 09:19 AM
Has anyone out there used the OMD E5 for photographing birds in flight?
If so, what sort of results have you had?
This is quite important to me so all help, advice and opinions gratefully received.

brian1208
2nd September 2012, 11:21 AM
I have been using it for some initial tests prior to visiting my favourite bird of prey centre. As expected, shooting BIF is not its best characteristic but I have found certain aspects that may be of interest. I am using the 75-300 for the bulk of my work but have also done some tests with the 45 f1.8

-I find that small birds at distance against a bland sky are nigh on impossible
- for the best results I need the bird(s) to fill around 30+% of the frame
- pre-focusing at approximately the location I hope the birds will appear helps a lot
- I use SAF+M exclusively, can't get CAF or CAF with following to work for me
- shooting birds against a darker background (sea, dark cloudy / blue sky) is much more effective than light and bland sky
- a quick "tweak" of the MF ring after initial half-press of the shutter button will sometimes make a great difference to sharpness
- with the 75-300 I get the best sharpness & faster lock-on limiting it to 250mm
- birds with contrasting feather colours / patterns are easier than those without eg: Magpie, Jay, Kestrel etc are easier than "LBJs, gulls and the like
- setting the EVF to fast refresh rate and using Live View Boost works best for me
- I've read that using +1 contrast and "Vibrant" colour setting helps focus speed and accuracy. I've got mine set to +1 contrast at present but can't honestly say I've seen much difference
- if the birds are going to be relatively close then the 45 f1.8 focuses much faster than the 75-300 and gives very good results

I'll try to post up some images and link to them in the next couple of days

Hope this may be of some use

Brian
-

David M
2nd September 2012, 03:25 PM
You need a Canikon to shoot anything that moves.

Chevvyf1
2nd September 2012, 04:03 PM
Has anyone out there used the OMD E5 for photographing birds in flight?
If so, what sort of results have you had?
This is quite important to me so all help, advice and opinions gratefully received.

There are quite a few posts about the CAF and Focus lock in the OMD section :) ... fwiw I decided NOT to take my Park Cameras OM-D because I like capturing Red Kites etc., and use the E-5 :) with the 50-200 for this - there are quite a few in my gallery :D

brian1208
2nd September 2012, 04:21 PM
You need a Canikon to shoot anything that moves

having just transferred to the OMD after years of shooting canon I would agree that it is certainly easier to shoot BIFs with them but that's as far as it goes.

I've been exploring the capabilities of the OMD and can confidently shoot Bees in flight, children in flight, Kite surfers and sail boarders in flight, high speed and aerobatic stunt aircraft in flight (in fact with all these I'm getting results with the EM5 which are at least as good as those I got with my 7D + "L" lenses)

The big difference is that now I always have my camera with me, with all my lenses (and that lot only weighs in at 1.24 kg! :) )

David Morison
2nd September 2012, 10:44 PM
As a tool specifically for BIF the E-M5 is almost a non runner except for large slow-moving birds and I now use the E5 + 50-200mm with or without the EC14 for this purpose. The E5 plus 300mm f2.8 works very well also, especially with it's focus-limit switch, but the extra weight is a problem for framing accurately. I agree with David M about Canon, I have borrowed a friend's 7D plus 400mm f5.6 and even though it doesn't have IS it is a dream for BIF. Several top notch bird photographers I know use the 7D and their results are amazingly consistent.

David

Roberta
3rd September 2012, 01:03 AM
Thats why I bought the 7D, and use the oly's for all the rest.
But will try out the om-d when it arrives hopefully to-day.......

brian1208
3rd September 2012, 06:20 AM
As a tool specifically for BIF the E-M5 is almost a non runner
If one were only buying it for this specific purpose I would agree completely. (but few people can afford to buy a system for one genre of photography?)

Not knowing Seonnaidh's situation I was working on the basis he may already have the EM5 and be looking for advice on how best to use it for this genre (in which case a lot of the comments would have been less than helpful :) )

brian1208
3rd September 2012, 12:01 PM
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m531/oldcanon/Olympus%20EM5%20manual%20focus%20tests/starlingallpointsAF.jpg

As an example of what can be achieved, this is hand-held at 228mm with the 75-300 on the EM-5 using all focus points activated, pre-focused on a point beyond which the starlings were active, set to AF+M

Its a crop to just under 1000 pix and not resized for web. The noise arises from using ISO 400 and me under-exposing then having to recovery the detail in LR4

Alpha1
3rd September 2012, 12:21 PM
Nice shot Brian, and some very helpful notes for your settings too. Many thanks. *chr

David M
3rd September 2012, 02:08 PM
Another classic E-System user group thread. As someone with 20 years of bird photography experience I estimate 98% of my published bird shots were manually focused.

brian1208
3rd September 2012, 02:31 PM
As someone with 20 years of bird photography experience I estimate 98% of my published bird shots were manually focused.

but for 15 of those years that was because AF wasn't good enough :)

What's Another classic E-System user group thread by the way? I've only just become an "Olympian" so don't understand these references (having become used to the Canon vs Nikon banter there is a whole new world opening up before me! ;) )

David M
3rd September 2012, 03:33 PM
There's a forum for classic threads that are humorous or informative. And I still use manual focus most of the time.

Ian
3rd September 2012, 03:37 PM
A couple of Red Kite shots taken at Tetsworth a couple of months ago:

http://dpnow.com/galleries/data/547/P7010091.jpg (http://dpnow.com/galleries/showphoto.php/photo/26291)

http://dpnow.com/galleries/data/547/P7010061.jpg (http://dpnow.com/galleries/showphoto.php/photo/26290)

E-M5 plus Panasonic 100-300.

Ian

PS Original discussion thread can be found here: http://e-group.uk.net/forum/showthread.php?t=21478

brian1208
3rd September 2012, 03:50 PM
Nice work Ian, big dark birds against a nice sky, just what you need :)

Can't wait to get to the Hawk Conservancy Trust to give my system a work out with the kites and eagles

Greytop
3rd September 2012, 07:29 PM
Red Kite in flight captured with the E-M5 and 100-300 @ 300 mm, this is a heavily cropped image btw.

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/Red_Kite2.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/48654)

Kittykat23uk
3rd September 2012, 08:25 PM
Hmm. so what I have gathered from this thread is that right now there wouldn't be any benefit to me in upgrading from my E-620 and 50-200 to an OMD-E5 for BIF photography (in terms of improving keeper rate). That is good to know but I really do wish that Olympus would hurry up and sort out a body that is better at higher ISO that will work well with my 4/3 lenses..

Here's a few taken with my current kit:

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7125/7839474322_8f8b0a6c72_c.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/kittykat23uk/7839474322/)
P8041452 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/kittykat23uk/7839474322/) by kittykat23uk (http://www.flickr.com/people/kittykat23uk/), on Flickr

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7037/7088066197_d2f083d52a_c.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/kittykat23uk/7088066197/)
P4078175 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/kittykat23uk/7088066197/) by kittykat23uk (http://www.flickr.com/people/kittykat23uk/), on Flickr

http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5046/5204701885_62c4b61bf0_z.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/kittykat23uk/5204701885/)
albatross jo 038 Shy Albatross (http://www.flickr.com/photos/kittykat23uk/5204701885/) by kittykat23uk (http://www.flickr.com/people/kittykat23uk/), on Flickr

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7095/7374693354_5c386589ed_z.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/kittykat23uk/7374693354/)
P5270116 adj (http://www.flickr.com/photos/kittykat23uk/7374693354/) by kittykat23uk (http://www.flickr.com/people/kittykat23uk/), on Flickr

brian1208
3rd September 2012, 09:23 PM
wouldn't be any benefit to me in upgrading from my E-620 and 50-200 to an OMD-E5 for BIF photography (in terms of improving keeper rate).
Spot on in my opinion, this is not primarily a tool for BIFs, although it can be made to perform quite well with them.

If that's your main activity then stick to DSLRs and get better lenses + a body with advanced CAF + tracking (which was where the 7D was so brilliant)

Kittykat23uk
3rd September 2012, 09:28 PM
At the risk of taking this thread rather off topic, BIFs are part of my hobby but it is wildlife in general that interests me and I would prefer to stick with 4/3 if possible, as I don't really want to cart around anything much bigger..

OM USer
4th September 2012, 10:27 AM
Here is a picture of a gull I took recently (also up on that other site). I'm still trying to perfect the settings and my technique for this type of photography.

OM-D E-M5, Vivid, sharpness +1, ESP metering, 0 EV compensation, Auto WB, SAF, MZD 75-300 zoom @ 258mm, 1/800 sec, F11.0, ISO 200 (Auto), Program Mode

http://i848.photobucket.com/albums/ab43/Fluffball_photobucket/om-d%20em-5/P7240975b.jpg (http://i848.photobucket.com/albums/ab43/Fluffball_photobucket/om-d%20em-5/P7240975b.jpg)

CJJE
4th September 2012, 12:57 PM
- setting the EVF to fast refresh rate and using Live View Boost works best for me

Brian
-

Brian,

I've been looking at the settings on my OM-D and find that the option to set the EVF to fast refresh is greyed out so I can't change it from 'Normal'. I've tried resetting other options to see what's stopping me changing it but without success so far. Any thoughts as to what is conflicting with this menu option? (The manual is no help as it just refers me to page 20 which seems completely irrelevent!)

Thanks,

brian1208
4th September 2012, 01:17 PM
Chris, I'm looking at my camera LCD now.

The Camera is set with the EVF activated only (no option for eye control to switch between EVF and LCD)

Menu gearwheel J5 shows the EVF Frame Rate option.
(Gearwheel D, option 9 controls the LiveView Boost)

Can't see that I have anything else set that may explain why you can't see the option for EVF high frame rate?

Hope you find out what's blocking you (the manual is a bit of a nightmare isn't it!)

Have you spotted this helpful link yet?

http://www.dpreview.com/articles/9115179666/user-guide-getting-the-most-out-of-the-olympus-e-m5

Brian

brian1208
4th September 2012, 01:21 PM
I thought that as I'd mentioned how good this camera was at shooting Bees in Flight with the 75-300 I should show what I mean, here's one from this morning (one of three separate shots)

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m531/oldcanon/hoverflies%20and%20other%20insects/BumbleapproachingPenstemon.jpg

CJJE
4th September 2012, 01:58 PM
Chris, I'm looking at my camera LCD now.

The Camera is set with the EVF activated only (no option for eye control to switch between EVF and LCD)

Menu gearwheel J5 shows the EVF Frame Rate option.
(Gearwheel D, option 9 controls the LiveView Boost)

Can't see that I have anything else set that may explain why you can't see the option for EVF high frame rate?

Hope you find out what's blocking you (the manual is a bit of a nightmare isn't it!)

Have you spotted this helpful link yet?

http://www.dpreview.com/articles/9115179666/user-guide-getting-the-most-out-of-the-olympus-e-m5

Brian

Hi Brian,

Thanks for the quick response. I've tried turning the EVF autoswitch off, and both settings for Liveview Boost, but still can't access the EVF Frame Rate options. (And thanks for thinking of the dpreview page, I'd printed that off soon after getting my camera!). I'm loathe to reset too many of my chosen settings, but haven;t found one yet that enables the frame rate settings. I've even tried changing lenses and exposure modes! (I'm using firmware v1.2 by the way - don't know if that's affected the menu optioins?)

So to persevere....

Ian
4th September 2012, 02:21 PM
At the risk of taking this thread rather off topic, BIFs are part of my hobby but it is wildlife in general that interests me and I would prefer to stick with 4/3 if possible, as I don't really want to cart around anything much bigger..

Do you mean you would like to stick to Micro Four Thirds? :)

Ian

brian1208
4th September 2012, 02:33 PM
(I'm using firmware v1.2 by the way - don't know if that's affected the menu optioins?)


Same with me, so I don't think its that.

I'll have a ponder but at the moment I have no idea what's going on

David Morison
4th September 2012, 02:51 PM
We have seen some excellent BIF shots taken with the E-M5 and there is no doubt that for mainly larger birds in fairly direct or predictable flight the camera works well:

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/P80903221.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/51524)

or:

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/P52801482.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/51522)

But to get something like lapwings in their twisting and turning display flights that is when the E5 wins hands down. The E-M5, at least in my hands, cannot lock on to such a fast moving target:

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/P4263265.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/51521)

I'd be very happy if a bird photography expert could point me in the right direction but in my experience the E-M5 just won't do it. MF could be an answer if the birds stayed in the same plane but the chances of that happening with flight patterns like the lapwings is very rare.

David

brian1208
4th September 2012, 03:04 PM
But to get something like lapwings in their twisting and turning display flights that is when the E5 wins hands down

or indeed, any fast focusing DSLR with good focus tracking

but in my experience the E-M5 just won't do it

Me neither but I'm not suprised

As expected, shooting BIF is not its best characteristic

I don't think I ever seen anyone foolish enough to claim that the EM5 (or any other Contrast Detection AF system camera) is designed for BIF work.

But I thought here we were discussing how to get it to do the best job it can for those of us who have given up our DSLR's or decided not to go down that route and still want to try the occasional BIF work?

David Morison
4th September 2012, 03:55 PM
I don't think I ever seen anyone foolish enough to claim that the EM5 (or any other Contrast Detection AF system camera) is designed for BIF work.

But I thought here we were discussing how to get it to do the best job it can for those of us who have given up our DSLR's or decided not to go down that route and still want to try the occasional BIF work?

Neither was it claimed that the E410, E30 or E5 would be suitable specifically for this work but they all do the job well. I don't think that anyone expected a technically advanced camera would do a worse job than previous products, even if BIF is a fairly specialist requirement.

I have posted before my settings for BIF:

FN1 assigned to Myset 1 which has these settings:

Shutter priority set to 1/640th sec.,
Exposure compensation set to +1.3,
Sequential shooting set to "H",
AF Mode set to matrix AF (not CAF)
ISO set to Auto
File recording set to RAW
IS set to 1

David

Kittykat23uk
4th September 2012, 04:32 PM
Do you mean you would like to stick to Micro Four Thirds? :)

Ian

Well as a 4/3 E-620 user, I don't much care whether my next camera will be 4/3 or m4/3 in essence as I don't have anything in particular against a mirrorless solution, provided it delivers improvements over my current set up and still allows me to use my 50-200 lens. All I want really is access to the high ISO performance of the OMD-E5 with a fast and usable AF in low light, particularly CAF which is not exactly usable on my 620. :D

brian1208
4th September 2012, 04:38 PM
the OMD-E5 with a fast and usable AF in low light, particularly CAF

Wouldn't we all just love that! :D

Ian
20th September 2013, 04:34 PM
And here we are a year on...

Ian

Wee man
21st September 2013, 09:34 AM
And older , bolder and broke!

brian1208
21st September 2013, 07:31 PM
And here we are a year on...

Ian


mine's already ordered *chr