Flying Straight into the Lens

One of the toughest image focus challenges for a camera is when a bird is flying straight into the lens. This article shares a series of 9 consecutive photographs of a gull flying straight into the lens of my E-M1X when I was using Bird Detection AI to acquire focus.

Each image is followed by a 100% crop to give readers a good idea on how well the Bird Detection AI on my E-M1X performs. All images were produced from RAW files using my standard bird settings in post.

Topaz Sharpen AI is not part of my standard approach in post processing was NOT USED for any of these photographs.

It should also be noted that the DxO PhotoLab 4 lens module for the M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS zoom lens is not yet available. When it is I would imagine that these results would be improved to some degree.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 200 mm, efov 400 mm, f/5.9, 1/2500, ISO-320
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 200 mm, efov 400 mm, f/5.9, 1/2500, ISO-320, 100% crop
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 200 mm, efov 400 mm, f/5.9, 1/2500, ISO-320
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 200 mm, efov 400 mm, f/5.9, 1/2500, ISO-320, 100% crop
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 200 mm, efov 400 mm, f/5.9, 1/2500, ISO-320
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 200 mm, efov 400 mm, f/5.9, 1/2500, ISO-320, 100% crop
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 200 mm, efov 400 mm, f/5.9, 1/2500, ISO-320
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 200 mm, efov 400 mm, f/5.9, 1/2500, ISO-320, 100% crop
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 200 mm, efov 400 mm, f/5.9, 1/2500, ISO-320
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 200 mm, efov 400 mm, f/5.9, 1/2500, ISO-320, 100% crop
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 200 mm, efov 400 mm, f/5.9, 1/2500, ISO-320
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 200 mm, efov 400 mm, f/5.9, 1/2500, ISO-320, 100% crop
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 200 mm, efov 400 mm, f/5.9, 1/2500, ISO-320
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 200 mm, efov 400 mm, f/5.9, 1/2500, ISO-320, 100% crop
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 200 mm, efov 400 mm, f/5.9, 1/2500, ISO-320
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 200 mm, efov 400 mm, f/5.9, 1/2500, ISO-320, 100% crop
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 200 mm, efov 400 mm, f/5.9, 1/2500, ISO-320
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 200 mm, efov 400 mm, f/5.9, 1/2500, ISO-320, 100% crop

The E-M1X’s Bird Detection AI uses deep machine learning to acquire focus. It does this by using artificial intelligence to analyse the entire photograph, and determines focus based on a sophisticated algorithm contained in the camera’s firmware.

None of the auto-focus points on the camera’s sensor are used to determine focus. The processing of the image and focus determination are all done by the dual TruePic VIII processors inside the E-M1X.

The E-M1X’s Bird Detection AI recognizes birds, either perched or in-flight. When the shutter it half-depressed on the E-M1X, Bird Detection AI then determines focus on the bird’s body, or if possible on the bird’s head… or eye. Technology like Bird Detection AI and Pro Capture are redefining what is possible with bird photography.

Technical Note

Photographs were captured hand-held using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard process. Photographs are displayed as full frame captures, as well as illustrating some 100% crops. 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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6 thoughts on “Flying Straight into the Lens”

  1. “None of the auto-focus points on the camera sensor are used to determine focus.” – Wow! that really simplifies things.

    1. Hi Colin,

      How Subject Detection AI works was explained in an excellent E-M1X review YouTube video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbDvTEvENOA This information starts at about 12:30 in the video. For anyone who is interested in the E-M1X and wants to learn more about how the camera is constructed and what makes it different than the E-M1 Mark II or Mark III, this is a great video to watch.

      Actually I think the Subject Detection AI makes acquiring focus much more complicated which is the reason why 2 quad core processors are needed to perform this type of focusing. The video explains this quite well.

      Tom

    1. Hi William,

      Yes, I hope the lens module for the M.Zuiko 100-400 is out within the next number of weeks. That will allow me to take advantage of the automatic lens corrections that are built into DxO PhotoLab’s software.

      Tom

  2. If you haven’t tried it yet, I recommend trying AI Bird Detection AF combined with Pro Capture. It works very well.

    1. Hi Robert,

      I very seldom use Pro Capture L… but using it with Bird Detection AI is on my list of things to do… thanks for the reminder!

      My preference is to use Pro Capture H at 60 frames-per-second as I am a ‘precise moment’ junkie. Having said that, it did occur to me that using Pro Capture L/Bird Detection AI when panning with birds-in-flight waiting for some specific action to happen could be a very powerful combination. One example would be waiting for a tern to do a mid-air shake after it has caught and eaten a fish.

      Tom

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