I’m still wrapping my head around my Olympus cameras getting better with age as additional capabilities are provided through firmware updates. My previous experience with other cameras was that firmware updates were mainly used to fix software bugs, not give me new capabilities at no additional cost.
When I purchased my first E-M1X I was amazed with the camera’s innovative functionality, build quality, handling and ergonomics. Having read about how Olympus would add features through software, I was anticipating that birds would be added to the E-M1X’s Intelligent Subject Tracking.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
When Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking was announced in 2020 I was overjoyed. My assumption was that it would help push my bird photography to new levels. And, it certainly has accomplished that in spades for me.
Being able to use Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking effectively has taken some ongoing effort and experimentation. Getting better with age isn’t an automatic proposition. It takes some work and commitment. I’ve now captured over 40,000 images using this technology as I’ve been experimenting and playing with it.
While photographing perched birds became far more effiicient and effective when using Bird Detection AI, it wasn’t until I started using a single AF point that I began to maximize its potential. Adjusting that single AF point was instrumental in being able to ‘thread the needle’ through twigs and branches.
Using the E-M1X’s articulated rear screen in conjunction with Bird Detection AI made capturing low angle photographs of birds significantly easier. We all have our own skill and physical limitations. For me, using Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking in combination with the E-M1X’s articulated rear screen has made some previously impossible photographs… possible.
Capturing photographs of fast, erratic flyers like swallows has become something that can be accomplished with confidence and consistency.
One of the hallmarks of bird photography is its unpredictable nature. Sometimes split second opportunities appear. These require rapid ‘quick fire’ responses.
My E-M1X has been up to the challenge of these fleeting opportunities. As my familiarity and skill using Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking has improved, so too has my success with ‘quick fire’ captures. I continue to be genuinely surprised with the ‘quick fire’ photographs that I’ve been able to capture.
Olympus has done other things to make my E-M1X bodies and my wife’s E-M1 Mark III better with age. Although we won’t likely use it, being able to capture video files in RAW using an Atomos Ninja V HDR monitor takes these cameras to a whole new level. I have little doubt in my mind that OMDS will continue the Olympus tradition of giving its customers additional functionality through firmware updates. It is such a joy to get a ‘new’ camera when major firmware updates are provided.
Technology will continue to advance while my current Olympus camera bodies continue to get better with age. I’ve noticed that OMDS has been discounting the E-M1X for a while now. Currently an E-M1X is only $600 more than buying an E-M1 Mark III in Canada. This price differential could be a no-brainer for many M4/3 bird photographers.
Discounting is often a signal that a new model is in the pipeline. I have no idea what that could be as I have no inside knowledge of such things.
Perhaps we’ll see OMDS launch a new body with a new sensor and a global shutter. That would certainly be a signficant technological step. Even if that happens I’ll continue to use my existing E-M1X bodies. My challenge is pretty simple. I need to keep getting better with age so I can keep up with the growing functionality of my current gear!
Photographs were captured hand-held using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard process. This is the 1,021st article published on this website since its original inception.
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