OM-D E-M1X Hand-held Hi Res Images at Bird Kingdom

This article features a small collection of Olympus OM-D E-M1X Hand-held Hi Res images captured at Bird Kingdom. Unfortunately there were not as many birds as usual in the public areas during my visit today. This reduced the number of photographic opportunities that were available.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 40-150 mm f/2.8 with 1.4X teleconverter @ 210 mm, efov 420 mm, f/5.6, 1/60, ISO-3200

If you have been reading any of the online reviews on the Olympus OM-D E-M1X you may have noticed the occasional comment that the hand-held Hi Res Shot Mode is not that practical.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 40-150 mm f/2.8 with 1.4X teleconverter @ 210 mm, efov 420 mm, f/5.6, 1/60, ISO-3200, 100% crop

Some reviewers have made the statement that this capability has limited scope and is designed mainly for landscape. A few hinted that it was ‘gimmicky’.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 40-150 mm f/2.8 with 1.4X teleconverter @ 210 mm, efov 420 mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-3200 (please excuse the out of focus foliage at the bottom of this photograph)

I couldn’t disagree more. After creating a few sample images I discovered that this function is fairly easy to use. It also can be applied to a wide variety of subject matter. These include flowers, portraits, birds and other animals, and for a whole host of static subjects.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 40-150 mm f/2.8 with 1.4X teleconverter @ 210 mm, efov 420 mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-3200, 100% crop

For photographers looking for ways to add flexibility to their kit and provide more services to their clients, this feature is a bit of a game changer. These hand-held Hi Res images at Bird Kingdom were a ton of fun to create, while also providing some challenge. A great combination for any photographer!

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 40-150 mm f/2.8 with 1.4X teleconverter @ 210 mm, efov 420 mm, f/5.6, 1/160, ISO-3200

When using the Olympus Hand-held Hi Res Shot mode it is important to choose subjects that are reasonably stationary. Most birds do not sit motionless for any length of time. Success with birds really depends on timing your shutter release during the split second that the subject is motionless.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 40-150 mm f/2.8 with 1.4X teleconverter @ 210 mm, efov 420 mm, f/5.6, 1/160, ISO-3200, 100% crop

The Olympus OM-D E-M1X captures sixteen images in rapid succession when the Hand-held Hi Res Shot Mode is used. The IBIS system adjusts between each of those images to allow for the hand movements of an individual photographer.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 40-150 mm f/2.8 with 1.4X teleconverter @ 210 mm, efov 420 mm, f/8, 1/400, ISO-1600

Needless to say there is a lot that can go wrong if you are not disciplined with your technique. If the camera is unable to combine the images properly, it will display an error message and discard all but the first image of the run.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 40-150 mm f/2.8 with 1.4X teleconverter @ 210 mm, efov 420 mm, f/8, 1/400, ISO-1600, 100% crop

The Olympus Hand-held Hi Res Shot Mode produces a 50 MP file (8160 x 6120) in both jpeg and RAW. All of the images in this article are straight out of camera jpegs. At this point I am unable to process RAW files with the software that I use. Hopefully DxO PhotoLab will have a camera module for the OM-D E-M1X in the very near future.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 40-150 mm f/2.8 with 1.4X teleconverter @ 210 mm, efov 420 mm, f/8, 1/640, ISO-800

There is no doubt in my mind that there is a lot more that can be done with photographs captured using the Hand-held Hi Res Shot Mode, when using RAW files.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 40-150 mm f/2.8 with 1.4X teleconverter @ 210 mm, efov 420 mm, f/8, 1/640, ISO-800, 100% crop

Today was only my second opportunity to use the Olympus OM-D E-M1X and I have a huge amount to learn about how to use its various capabilities properly. The Olympus Hand-held Hi Res Shot Mode is something that I can see using on a regular basis. It will take more experimentation to get the most from this feature.

Technical Note:
All photographs in this article were captured using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. All images were produced using the Olympus Hand-held Hi Res Shot Mode. All photographs displayed in this article are straight-out-of-camera jpegs. They were resized to 1200 pixels for web use. 100% crops of each image are included.

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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17 thoughts on “OM-D E-M1X Hand-held Hi Res Images at Bird Kingdom”

  1. Hi Tom,

    I am an Olympus em1mkII user. For wildlife and landscape mainly.

    To me, high iso performance is not that much of a downside as commonly alleged. However, I’d be interested in seeing larger size pictures, because your results at very high iso actually look great and I would not dare attempt pushing up beyond iso 3200. Wonder what are you noise reduction settings and post processing.

    Maybe larger size pictures would help counter the olympus bashing on the internet ? I make my opinions, but that alone does not make Olympus profitable nor the mft format an option that will stay in the market.

    I also use hi-res tripod mode for wildlife and given suitable care, it achieves stunning results.


    1. Hi Denis,

      I use DxO PhotoLab 2 as my main RAW processor and run all of my images through the PRIME noise reduction function of that program, regardless of the ISO at which they were captured. I’ve found that PRIME is the best and easiest-to-use noise reduction that I’ve tried… for the camera gear that I use.

      In terms of my post processing… my approach is a bit unorthodox in that I commonly use three software programs. I run my images through DxO PhotoLab 2 using one of my custom presets. I develop these to my taste depending on subject matter and lighting. I then export a DNG file into CS6 for some additional adjustments. After that I typically finish my images off in the Nik Collection.

      I don’t have a dedicated process that I use for every single image. How I work with a RAW file in post depends totally on what I perceive that the image requires. For example, for certain subject matter I’ve photographed with the Olympus OM-D E-M1X, I did not need to use the Nik Collection.

      If you look under the Post Processing section of this website you’ll find lots of articles that provide more information and specific cases on how I work with my RAW images in post. To get the most out of any camera, but especially ones that use smaller sensors, I would always recommend using RAW files and processing them in post. If you have not already read this article, it may be of interest:

      The Olympus Loaner Gear was returned to Olympus Americas about 10 days ago, so I’ve been unable to do any additional photography with Olympus equipment. I have ordered an Olympus OM-D E-M1X along with four M.Zuiko lenses. With any luck my Olympus equipment will be arriving today. So, more future M4/3 images will be forthcoming.

      In terms of Olympus bashing on the internet… I suggest to simply ignore it. There will always be people out there that love to slag other brands of cameras, especially cameras that use smaller sized sensors. I suppose that since Nikon 1 is no longer in production, those internet trolls have now moved on to attack Olympus. I don’t think anything will help stop Olympus brand bashing… or any camera brand bashing for that matter. The people who engage in the bashing of camera gear do little else but demonstrate their lack of skill, creativity and professionalism. Great photographs can be captured using any kind of camera.

      *shrugs* Personally I couldn’t care less what other people think about my choice of camera gear. Everyone should use the camera gear that best suits their specific needs. The challenge that each of us faces is to produce the best quality work we can, given our choice of camera gear. Every piece of camera gear comes with some sort of trade-off.

      The Nikon 1 system was incessantly criticized from the moment it was introduced because of its small 1″ sensor… often by people who had never even held a Nikon 1 camera in their hands. When I first got into the Nikon 1 system I kept my ISO limited to 800. Once I started using the PRIME noise reduction in DxO I quickly discerned that I could use my Nikon 1 gear up to ISO-3200 without any hesitation. I would capture the odd image at ISO-6400 but that was a stretch for the 1″ sensors used in Nikon 1 bodies.

      I haven’t used Olympus gear sufficiently yet to decide where a practical limit is in terms of ISO. At this point I personally would not hesitate to capture images at ISO-5000 at a minimum. Depending on subject matter and lighting, I imagine that I could find myself shooting in the ISO-8000 to ISO-10000 range when needed and not really worrying about it.

      ISO settings are only one part of the equation of course. The Olympus IBIS system in the E-M1X is excellent. I’m anticipating to be able to shoot at slower shutter speeds on a frequent basis which will directly impact ISO settings, noise, and ultimately image quality.


      1. Hi Tom ! Many thanks for your answer and advice. Experience shows…

        I still would like to know if you would care sharing some larger size pictures. The idea is not to pixel-peep . I am personnally convinced, of course, but what about people who do not use Olympus gear and will inevitably suspect that small size samples support the common idea that mft sensor + such high isos will not allow large prints ? Olympus bashing is not my concern, , but it does impact general opinion and it seems that your site and post aim at making truth prevail.

        I too use dxo photo lab premium noise reduction too. Most effective at retaining detail in my opinion.

        In case of any interest (for anyone but you) :

        I have used 5000 iso and emd1 mk2 result with very good results. Never attempted any higher. High isos do work with me, provided I choose high isos AND conveniently positioned histogram (to the right) rather than desperately try to get isos down, thus stacking the histogram to the left.

        Zuiko 40-150/2.8 and 300/4 are a joy to use. No mystery. Not to speak of 12-100/4.

        You are absolutely right : body + lens IS is so terrific that a little amount of practice will get you razor-sharp pictures with 300/4 – 600mm FF equivalent at… 1/30th of a second. Most of the time, the very high frame rate will enable to capture the fraction of second when your subject is absolutely motionless. Besides « capture pro » is an absolute must for wildlife if you are not to miss the very instant you have been waiting countless hours for…

        Nothing to add to your answer and conclusions then. Except this, for anyone interested in real wildlife photography : if you hike trying to capture pictures of very shy fauna in remote locations, then you are basically alone and unobtrusive, with no one in position of discussing your equipment, and virtually no one around likely to carry canikon bodies + 600mm + tripod + food and water all the way and back… That applies to landscape photography to some extent.

        Best !


        1. Thanks for the detailed reply Denis!

          I have had issues with piracy of my images in the past so I purposely reduced the size of the images displayed on my website some time ago. I may consider an article showing some high ISO images, as well as 100% crops. The crops would likely to show noise level. My Olympus gear just arrived about 10 minutes ago… so I haven’t even charged the batteries yet.


          1. That would be a great input, Tom. Thanks in advance.
            Have a great time with your new gear. Looking forward to see more of your great work.


  2. Stunning photos all! My favorite is number two and “please excuse the out of focus foliage at the bottom of this photograph” I love the out of focus foliage of green at the bottom! I like to add some out of focus foliage to the front of some of my flower images. Looks like you can get fantastic photos from any camera!

  3. Wow, Tom. These images are spectacular! I also appreciate
    Olympus and shoot beautiful close ups with my OLY OM-D and Leica Macro-Elmarit 45. However nothing matches these images. Good luck with your upcoming choices.

    1. Thanks very much Pam… I appreciate your supportive comment!

      At the end of the day this will actually be a simple “yes or no” choice in terms of deciding to invest in some Olympus gear or not. It all comes down to a fundamental judgement about project efficiency with our video business. Photography considerations are secondary. It will come down to whether the Olympus E-M1X can give us the increased efficiency we want for our video projects or not.

      If we do decide to invest in the Olympus E-M1X and the three PRO zooms we will likely add a macro lens down the road.


  4. Beautiful results as always! The As an Olympus M1mk2 owner, I have used the HiRes feature but that model (as yet) does not have the ability to use this hand-held. My decision to buy Olympus was greatly influenced by their excellent IS along with lens quality as the 40-150 f2.8 shows. The question on my mind is, what does high-res (16 image combo 8160 x 6120) offer versus the standard single image (5184×3888)? In a future blog post, maybe you could make some comparisons between the two, cropping to illustrate the difference and whether the additional care required is worth it in the final result. There are also now some excellent software products to resize images where more pixels are needed e.g. for a print such as Topaz Gigapixel AI.

    1. Hi Colin,

      It is actually very simple to use the Hi Resolution Hand-held mode. Other than deciding which subjects make sense to photograph, it really doesn’t take any more time to shoot a Hi Res hand-held image versus a standard one. The in-camera processing takes about 15-20 seconds. Some repeat attempts may be in order if the subject moved or if a photographer isn’t steady enough. Other than that… it really is very simple to do.

      The fact that the E-M1X has the Hi Res hand-held mode wasn’t a primary consideration for us to look at Olympus gear. In fact, anything that the E-M1X can do photographically wasn’t on our primary consideration list. All of our primary considerations are video based. All of the photographic capabilities are lots of tasty icing on the cake!

      Colin, your suggestion about comparing Hi Res and a standard image makes sense. Since you already have an E-M1 Mark II, you are already familiar with the level of additional details that can be obtained. I would assume that the hand-held hi res would be similar to the result you are getting with the tripod version of the hi res function.


  5. Hi Tom,

    Those are exquisite details of the birds I must say.
    I agree with your comment that it can add to a photographer’s bag of fun things to do. I kept guessing what your lead image was as it was intriguing though I guessed right because I had the advantage of reading in your last post where you were headed. Looking forward to more of your birding field tests images.


    1. Glad you enjoyed the photographs Oggie!

      I was out today doing some bird photography. The morning started out well in terms of lighting… then was dull and grey. Not The type of lighting that would have encouraged me to keep shooting had I been out with my Nikon 1 gear… but interesting conditions for some field testing.

      There is much for me to learn with the E-M1X in terms of how to properly use all of the shooting mode and auto-focus settings. Given my old, porous brain this may take a while 🙂


  6. Hi Tom,
    Adorable birds and impressive photography. Much of the success might be owed to your famously “calm” handholding technique.

    I still hope Olympus eventually lends you a Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 300mm F4.0 IS Pro and a 1.4 teleconverter, to see what you can achieve with their “pro-capture” feature. I’ve seen stunning photos shot by amateurs, mainly smaller birds. It may still require much cropping to fill the frame, however.

    Best, Stefan

    1. Thanks for your comment Stefan… I’m glad you enjoyed the images!

      My primary purpose in acquiring the Olympus Loaner Equipment that I am currently testing was not to assess it from a photography standpoint, but rather as a potential way to significantly improve the efficiency of my client video business. Since I would never use a lens like the Olympus 300 mm f/4 IS PRO prime for my video work it did not make any sense for me to arrange to borrow that particular lens.

      Like you, I have seen some wonderful work done with that lens… it is very impressive indeed! Unfortunately I do not like using prime lenses for photography at all and a lens like the Olympus 300 mm does not fit with my approach… so I would not have any interest in borrowing one from Olympus Americas Inc. On the other hand the Olympus 150-400 f/4.5 IS PRO that is scheduled to be released in 2020 would be a lens that would interest me.

      The images in this article were captured with the Olympus 40-150 mm f/2.8 PRO fitted with the M.Zuiko 1.4X teleconverter for an equivalent field of view of 56-420 mm. I did do some initial testing yesterday with that combination photographing swallows in flight. I also played around a little bit with the Pro Capture feature. You can rest assured that a future article about the use of Pro Capture will be forthcoming as well as some commentary about photographing birds, including small ones, with the Olympus Loaner Equipment that I am currently using.

      I have quite a bit of work to do in order to get up to speed with all of the auto-focusing settings on the OM-D E-M1X. I can say that the very brief test I did using Olympus gear to photograph swallows in flight was promising.


  7. Because I’m an Olympus user (Pen F and OM-D E-M1ii), I’m pleased you are finding your experiment with Olympus gear is working for you so far. I have the lens you are using (and the teleconverter as well) and also a wonderful 60mm f/2.8 macro, which I’d recommend. At the same time, I love my Fuji cameras and find myself using them more frequently. As much as I love the Pen F, for instance, it’s not as handy as my Fuji X100F — and Olympus, alas, has discontinued it.

    1. Hi Bill,

      Thanks for adding to the discussion and sharing your experience with Olympus and Fuji gear! I can relate to your comment about camera gear that one loves using being discontinued by its manufacturer. Should I decide to eventually invest in Olympus equipment, the Olympus 60 mm macro lens is something that I would add to the kit.


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