I spent a few hours on Saturday photographing birds. This article features a small selection of images of a red winged blackbird captured hand-held with an Olympus OM-D E-M1X, fitted with an M.Zuiko 40-150 mm f/2.8 lens and 1.4X teleconverter.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
One of the challenges when photographing red winged blackbirds is trying to get some light on the bird’s head at the correct angle to highlight its eye.
Red winged blackbirds are fairly quick flyers and often fly low over water and plants. This can make acquiring focus on them difficult.
I had the opportunity to test the continuous auto-focus with tracking on the Olympus OM-D E-M1 with these birds.
I noticed a blackbird quickly approaching. It was flying directly at me, which is always an interesting test for a camera’s auto-focusing system.
Since I am an absolute novice using the Olympus OM-D E-M1X some of the misses that I have been getting are likely more due to operator error, than an issue with the camera.
I captured a total of 15 images in my AF-C run, getting decent focus with 5 images in the middle of the run. The next two images are the fifth and ninth in the series.
While getting 5 images out of 15 doesn’t sound great… I know from experience that I would have missed these photographs completely with my Nikon 1 V3. I typically pre-focus my Nikon 1 gear to help increase the percentage of keepers I can get with the equipment. There was no time to pre-focus for any of the birds-in-flight photographs used in this article.
The final image in this short article is a result of a ‘wheel around and shoot’ opportunity. I noticed something flying low to my left and wheeled around as I brought the OM-D E-M1X up to my eye. All I had time to do was quickly frame the blackbird and fire off a very short AF-C run.
I was able to hit on the first two images out of six captured. Again, not a great percentage but I would have missed completely with my Nikon 1 V3, so I was actually pretty pleased.
It should be noted that the light was quite poor… basically grey and overcast. The blackbird in the last image in the article was flying over some still water. The grey background in the image is a reflection of the colour of the sky.
The lighting likely had an impact on auto-focusing performance. It certainly does with my Nikon 1 gear. When viewing these images it is good to remember that these are straight out-of-camera jpegs using default settings, and with no cropping done to them.
I definitely need to review all of the shooting modes and auto-focus settings of the OM-D E-M1X in more detail so I can better utilize them in the future. More experimentation in the field to build my skills with this camera is also needed. My very early impressions of the AF-C with tracking capability of the OM-D E-M1X are positive.
All photographs in this article were captured using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. All photographs displayed in this article are straight-out-of-camera jpegs without any cropping, or adjustments in post, done to them. They were resized to 1200 pixels for web use.
Use of Olympus Loaner Equipment
All of the photographs in this article were captured using Olympus Loaner Gear which was supplied by Olympus Americas Inc. on a no-charge basis. We are under no obligation what-so-ever to Olympus Americas Inc. in terms of our use of this loaner Olympus camera equipment. There is no expectation or agreement of any kind with Olympus Americas Inc. that we will create and share with readers any images, articles or videos, or on what that content may be.
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