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Birds in Flight

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  • Birds in Flight

    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.


    "Always shoot in RAW and avoid JPEGs"

    William Shakespeare.

  • #2
    Re: Birds in Flight

    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
    -

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    • #3
      Re: Birds in Flight

      You need a Canikon to shoot anything that moves.
      It's the image that's important, not the tools used to make it.

      David M's Photoblog

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      • #4
        Re: Birds in Flight

        Originally posted by Seonnaidh View Post
        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
        .
        .
        [I].
        .
        I Lurve Walking in our Glorious Countryside; Photography;
        Riding Ducati Motorbikes; Reading & Cooking ! ...


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        • #5
          Re: Birds in Flight

          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! )

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          • #6
            Re: Birds in Flight

            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
            PBase Galleries:-http://www.pbase.com/davidmorisonimages

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            • #7
              Re: Birds in Flight

              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.......
              Roberta
              E620, E30, OM4-Ti OM-D1... Canon 7D and 5Dmiii
              lenses 14-42mm, 40-150mm, 50mm, 18-180mm, 70-300mm, ec-14 still looking for a Bigma (Canon 17-55mm, 70-300mm and 100-400L)
              FL 50R and Hahnel remote (Canon and Olympus)

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              • #8
                Re: Birds in Flight

                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 )

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                • #9
                  Re: Birds in Flight



                  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

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                  • #10
                    Re: Birds in Flight

                    Nice shot Brian, and some very helpful notes for your settings too. Many thanks.

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                    • #11
                      It's the image that's important, not the tools used to make it.

                      David M's Photoblog

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Birds in Flight

                        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! )

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                        • #13
                          Re: Birds in Flight

                          There's a forum for classic threads that are humorous or informative. And I still use manual focus most of the time.
                          It's the image that's important, not the tools used to make it.

                          David M's Photoblog

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Birds in Flight

                            A couple of Red Kite shots taken at Tetsworth a couple of months ago:





                            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
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                            • #15
                              Re: Birds in Flight

                              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

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