BIF Using Little Brother

This article features a selection of handheld photographs of birds-in-flight using the EM-1X’s little brother, i.e. the EM-1 Mark III. All images were captured using the M.Zuiko 75-300 mm f/4.8-6.7 II utilizing Cluster Area C-AF. I used this lens and auto-focus setting as I thought it was a combination that some folks would use with this choice of camera body.

All of the photographs in this article were captured in about an hour and fifteen minutes under very windy conditions at Grimsby harbour. There weren’t that many birds in the area so I basically was shooting at anything and everything that was in flight.

I had to constantly adjust my scanning for birds-in-flight along a 180-degree view. This meant that I often was capturing photographs with birds fast approaching and in some cases almost on top of me. Using an auto focusing option that was very responsive was of benefit.

The air temperature was 0 degrees Celsius, and likely about minus 6 to 8 degrees Celsius with the wind chill.

The OM-D E-M1 Mark III is a terrific camera, often referred to as the little brother of the E-M1X. Many photographers cannot justify purchasing the E-M1X so I thought an article using little brother for birds-in-flight may be of interest to some readers.

In an earlier article I discussed various small sensor bird photography options, so I won’t repeat that information in this article. The purpose of this posting is mainly to share a good selection of images, captured at various shooting angles with the E-M1X’s little brother.

All of the photographs in this article was produced from RAW files using my standard process and settings. I didn’t do anything special with these images. The EXIF data provides usual shooting details as well as distance to subject and cropping information.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

OM-D E-M1 Mark III + M.Zuiko 75-300 mm f/4.8-6.7 II @ 281 mm, efov 562 mm, f/6.7, 1/2500, ISO-1250, cropped to 4317 pixels on the width, subject distance 14.2 metres
OM-D E-M1 Mark III + M.Zuiko 75-300 mm f/4.8-6.7 II @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/7.1, 1/2500, ISO-400, full frame capture, subject distance 14.8 metres
OM-D E-M1 Mark III + M.Zuiko 75-300 mm f/4.8-6.7 II @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/7.1, 1/1600, ISO-320, cropped to 3612 pixels on the height, subject distance 22.8 metres
OM-D E-M1 Mark III + M.Zuiko 75-300 mm f/4.8-6.7 II @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/6.7, 1/2500, ISO-400, cropped to 3825 pixels on the width, subject distance 23.3 metres
OM-D E-M1 Mark III + M.Zuiko 75-300 mm f/4.8-6.7 II @ 240 mm, efov 480 mm, f/7.1, 1/2500, ISO-1000, cropped to 3474 pixels on the height, subject distance 15 metres
OM-D E-M1 Mark III + M.Zuiko 75-300 mm f/4.8-6.7 II @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/7.1, 1/2500, ISO-320, cropped to 3762 pixels on the height, subject distance 22.5 metres
OM-D E-M1 Mark III + M.Zuiko 75-300 mm f/4.8-6.7 II @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/7.1, 1/2500, ISO-800, cropped to 3867 pixels on the width, subject distance 19.3 metres
OM-D E-M1 Mark III + M.Zuiko 75-300 mm f/4.8-6.7 II @ 194 mm, efov 388 mm, f/6.1, 1/2500, ISO-640, cropped to 4457 pixels on the width, subject distance 13.8 metres
OM-D E-M1 Mark III + M.Zuiko 75-300 mm f/4.8-6.7 II @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/6.7, 1/2500, ISO-400, cropped to 3421 pixels on the width, subject distance 14.9 metres
OM-D E-M1 Mark III + M.Zuiko 75-300 mm f/4.8-6.7 II @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/7.1, 1/2500, ISO-400, cropped to 3699 pixels on the width, subject distance 17 metres
OM-D E-M1 Mark III + M.Zuiko 75-300 mm f/4.8-6.7 II @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/7.1, 1/2500, ISO-800, cropped to 3829 pixels on the width, subject distance 23.3 metres
OM-D E-M1 Mark III + M.Zuiko 75-300 mm f/4.8-6.7 II @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/7.1, 1/2500, ISO-400, cropped to 3651 pixels on the width, subject distance 23.5 metres
OM-D E-M1 Mark III + M.Zuiko 75-300 mm f/4.8-6.7 II @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/6.7, 1/2500, ISO-800, full frame capture, subject distance 13.6 metres
OM-D E-M1 Mark III + M.Zuiko 75-300 mm f/4.8-6.7 II @ 200 mm, efov 400 mm, f/7.1, 1/2500, ISO-800, cropped to 4218 pixels on the width, subject distance 12.8 metres
OM-D E-M1 Mark III + M.Zuiko 75-300 mm f/4.8-6.7 II @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/7.1, 1/2500, ISO-500, cropped to 3807 pixels on the width, subject distance 18.2 metres
OM-D E-M1 Mark III + M.Zuiko 75-300 mm f/4.8-6.7 II @ 208 mm, efov 416 mm, f/7.1, 1/2500, ISO-640, cropped to 4338 pixels on the width, subject distance 13.6 metres
OM-D E-M1 Mark III + M.Zuiko 75-300 mm f/4.8-6.7 II @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/6.7, 1/2500, ISO-400, cropped to 3534 pixels on the height, subject distance 17.3 metres
OM-D E-M1 Mark III + M.Zuiko 75-300 mm f/4.8-6.7 II @ 150 mm, efov 300 mm, f/7.1, 1/1600, ISO-640, cropped to 4004 pixels on the width, subject distance 5.9 metres
OM-D E-M1 Mark III + M.Zuiko 75-300 mm f/4.8-6.7 II @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/6.7, 1/2500, ISO-400, cropped to 3739 pixels on the width, subject distance 23.6 metres
OM-D E-M1 Mark III + M.Zuiko 75-300 mm f/4.8-6.7 II @ 215 mm, efov 430 mm, f/7.1, 1/2500, ISO-400, cropped to 4596 pixels on the width, subject distance 12.5 metres
OM-D E-M1 Mark III + M.Zuiko 75-300 mm f/4.8-6.7 II @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/7.1, 1/2500, ISO-500, cropped to 3729 pixels on the width, subject distance 16.5 metres
OM-D E-M1 Mark III + M.Zuiko 75-300 mm f/4.8-6.7 II @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/7.1, 1/2500, ISO-400, cropped to 4312 pixels on the width, subject distance 18.5 metres
OM-D E-M1 Mark III + M.Zuiko 75-300 mm f/4.8-6.7 II @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/7.1, 1/2500, ISO-500, cropped to 4143 pixels on the width, subject distance 18.2 metres
OM-D E-M1 Mark III + M.Zuiko 75-300 mm f/4.8-6.7 II @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/6.7, 1/2500, ISO-800, cropped to 4296 pixels on the width, subject distance 14.8 metres
OM-D E-M1 Mark III + M.Zuiko 75-300 mm f/4.8-6.7 II @ 215 mm, efov 430 mm, f/7.1, 1/2500, ISO-1000, cropped to 3006 pixels on the height, subject distance 12.8 metres
OM-D E-M1 Mark III + M.Zuiko 75-300 mm f/4.8-6.7 II @ 234 mm, efov 468 mm, f/7.1, 1/2500, ISO-800, cropped to 3890 pixels on the width, subject distance 12.5 metres

Overall I think that the E-M1X’s little brother, the E-M1 Mark III, performed very well. Cluster Area C-AF is an easy-to-use auto focusing option that produces consistently good results in a range of shooting angles when photographing birds-in-flight.

The M.Zuiko 75-300 mm f/4.8-6.7 II is quite a good lens, given its diminutive size and modest price point. Fitted to little brother, this lens provides a lightweight, affordable, and easy-to-handle bird photography option.

If you already own the M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 zoom along with little brother, adding an M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter would be a better option than investing in an M.Zuiko 75-300 mm f/4.8-6.7 II zoom lens for your kit.

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.

OM-D E-M1 Mark III + M.Zuiko 75-300 mm f/4.8-6.7 II @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/7.1, 1/2500, ISO-500, cropped to 4694 pixels on the width, subject distance 14.8 metres

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12 thoughts on “BIF Using Little Brother”

  1. I purchased your Eguide for Wildlife & Nature Photographers and find it extremely informative and a great learning guide. I have the OMD1 Mark III and am going to Rwanda(gorillas), Maasai Mara & Mana Pools Park in August for 18 days. Because it is not a photo safari I can only carry 33 lbs total, including clothes. I have the 17, 12-40, 40-150, 12-100, 60mm & 1.4 XX. I have the 100-400 on order (backorder) not sure what to do here. I have been practicing shooting birds, but am not really a bird photographer. What would you recommend I take in lenses. I have a OMD1 Mark II for backup. I understand my camera fairly well, but am still working on the fine details of settings. Thank you for any advice you can provide.

    1. Hi Barbara,

      It is difficult for me to give you specific recommendations since I don’t know your style of photography and what types of things you will be seeing and photographing during your trip. I’d recommend doing a sample packing of your clothing and essentials, not counting your camera equipment. Then calculate how much weight you have left for camera gear.

      From the lenses that you have listed, it strikes me that there are two basic options that I would consider if I was going on the trip to Rwanda. If the 100-400 arrives in time for the trip, I’d take the 12-100 f/4 and the 100-400 f/5-6.3 plus the MC-14 teleconverter. This would provide a lot of focal length flexibility in only two lenses. The 60 mm macro weighs so little it almost doesn’t matter if it is added.

      The other choice I’d consider would be a ‘low light’ option. In this case, I would take the 12-40 f/2.8 and the 40-150 f/2.8, plus the MC-14 teleconverter. I would probably buy the MC-20 and a set of extension tubes. This would give quite a good focal length range at an aperture of f/2.8 with only two lenses, plus added flexibility with the MC-14, MC-20 and extension tubes. This would give added reach when needed and some close-up capability. If light weight was my main criteria, this is the option that I would choose.

      If you are planning to take both of your camera bodies with you, then I would mount one of the lenses on each body. This would save time as you could simply choose whatever camera has the right focal length lens mounted to it. I’d pack at least 4 spare batteries… 2 for each camera. This will depend on how frequently you will be near reliable power to do recharging.

      Again, these would be the two lens options that I would personally consider. Whether they make sense for you is something I cannot answer.

      I’m not the author of The Equide foe Wildlife & Nature Photographers.

      Tom

      1. Thank you for your feedback. I will definitely follow one of your suggestions and try going out to practice with the 2 options (if the 100-400 ever comes). I apologize for mixing up the authorship. I have really appreciated your articles and have been working through your archives. Thank your willingness to share your time and knowledge

  2. Hi Tom,

    You don’t give any real indication of the image quality between the two cameras you own. Apart from the obvious physical control and size differences between the cameras, do you see any significant differences in noise, color or iso capability between the E-M1 Mark III and the E-M1X? I’m still on the fence on replacing my Nikon 1 system. I miss the depth of field of a small system now that I’m shooting everything on a full frame.

    1. Hi Simon,

      The E-M1 Mark III is my wife’s camera which I almost never use, so I don’t have a lot of first hand experience with it. My impression is that there is no noticeable difference in terms of image quality between the E-M1X and the E-M1 Mark III in terms of dynamic range, colour depth or ISO performance.

      I don’t use the E-M1 Mark III as I don’t find it particularly comfortable, especially with larger lenses like the M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS zoom (I have large hands). I find the handling and ergonomics of the E-M1X to be significantly better. I also find that Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking is superior to any of the auto-focus options on the E-M1 Mark III for bird photography.

      It really depends on your needs and budget whether the E-M1X or E-M1 Mark III is your best choice. I absolutely love the E-M1X and bought a second one as a back up for our business after using my first one for about 6 months.

      Tom

  3. Hi Thomas, how do you manage to get the distance to subject and the mode you were using? I don’t seem to find it in the exif data.
    Thanks for such a great and informative articles,
    Javier.

    1. Hi Javier,

      The distance to subject measurements are estimates done by my E-M1X. For me, these are visible after I process an image and save my files in Windows Explorer. I right click on a jpeg, then left click on properties, then left click on details. Not all cameras provide this information. For example, none of my Nikon 1 cameras provide this.

      Tom

      1. Thanks very much Thomas for coming back, and so quick. I have a M1 mark ii, and the subject distance appears blank. It might be a feature only available on the M1X. Seems very useful, as it allows to better understand the scale of cropping. I’ll try to dig in google if there is way of getting it showing in lightroom. It would be so good.

        Javier.

        1. You’re most welcome Javier! I try to be responsive to reader questions. Our E-M1 Mark III also has distance to subject estimates. Not sure about the E-M1 Mark II.

          Tom

  4. Good morning Thomas,

    I love your column and read it often, and I appreciate the photos and information.
    I have the EM1 mark 2 with the latest firmware and the 40 – 150 Pro w/MC 14. Do you think this combination will work as well as the Mark 3 you used?
    John

    1. Hi John,

      It has been almost 2 years since I held an E-M1 Mark II in my hands… and even then I only used it for part of a day so I don’t have a personal frame of reference that I can offer to your question. My understanding is that the E-M1 Mark III has an improved auto-focusing system. I don’t know whether that would make a significant difference compared to the E-M1 Mark II. Perhaps readers with experience with both cameras will be able to comment.

      As far as using the M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with teleconverters in terms of comparing image quality with the M.Zuiko 75-300 mm f/4.8-6.7 my view would be that the PRO 40-150 f/2.8 would be superior.

      Tom

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