This article provides my first impressions about using the E-M1X’s Bird AI for birds in flight, as well as sharing a selection of sample photographs. Unfortunately the selection of birds at this particular time of year is limited.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
My first impression is that there are distinct advantages to using Bird Detection AI if you own an OM-D E-M1X. It does track very well with birds in flight and does a great job nailing focus on a bird’s eye.
As illustrated in my earlier article, Flying Straight Into the Lens, this can create excellent results. It also frees up a photographer to concentrate on a subject bird, rather than trying to keep the cameras’s auto-focus points on the bird in flight.
As seen in another earlier article, Mallard Overtaken in Mid-Air, Bird Detection AI will stay focused on a subject bird if another subject enters the frame while a continuous auto-focus run is in progress.
As long as a photographer acquires focus in advance and maintains it on the bird, it is also possible to capture photographs of a bird landing adjacent to other birds.
Using Bird AI for birds in flight where there is an uncomplicated background like the surface of water…
Or with the sky as a background.. is quite simple and very effective.
These types of common situations make using Bird Detection AI a no brainer for an E-M1X owner.
Even in more difficult situations using Bird AI for birds in flight can make sense. The image above was captured in very poor light… late afternoon under dull, overcast conditions… and using the MC-14 teleconverter.
What impresses me the most about using the E-M1X’s Bird AI for birds in flight is how this technology keeps focused on the eye of a subject bird.
The ability to effectively track with a bird in flight, while maintaining focus on the bird’s eye makes this very powerful technology as we can see in the 5 consecutive frames that follow. Distance to subject varied from 19.5 to 18.8 metres as the bird flew in closer to me.
There are situations where the E-M1X’s Bird Detection AI cannot be used. Pro Capture H comes immediately to mind. There also may be specific situations like photographing birds-in-flight that are very close to confusing backgrounds where a different auto-focus setting may produce better results. At this point I haven’t experimented sufficiently with Bird AI for birds in flight to make these assessments yet.
What I can say is that based on my early experiences with the E-M1X’s Bird Detection AI… it will be my default setting for my bird-in-flight photography. I’m very much looking forward to next spring when (hopefully) I will be able to photograph a wider selection of bird subjects in different environments. My impressions about using Bird Detection AI for perched birds will follow in a separate article.
Photographs were captured hand-held using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard process. Crops are indicated where applicable. A lens module for the M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS lens was not yet available for DxO PhotoLab 4 at the time of writing this article.
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