This article shares some M.Zuiko 100-400 Pro Capture H sample handheld images. All were captured using an OM-D E-M1X along with an M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter. All photographs are shown as full frame captures without any cropping.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
When composing a Pro Capture image run of a perched bird taking off, it is important to anticipate its direction of flight, as well as the space needed in the frame for the extension of the bird’s wings. As you can see in the above photograph, I have positioned my subject bird on the extreme right hand side, as I was anticipating that the female cardinal would fly from right to left across the frame.
You’ll also notice that I zoomed in on the subject bird until its height was about 1/2 of the frame. This is to allow for the upstroke of the bird’s wings. The amount of space that needs to be allowed for wing movement will vary by species. For example, birds that often soar or glide when they fly will have longer wings than those that constantly flap their wings when flying.
Although the amount of body movement has been slight, in the photograph above we can see the subject bird is now leaning slightly to the left. This is consistent with the direction of the bird’s head. Both of these body positions are signals that the bird intends to fly from right to left.
Here the female cardinal is beginning to open its wings and launch into flight. Its gaze is fixed on its direction of travel.
The cardinal has now launched into flight with the digits of both feel releasing from its perch. If you look at the bird’s eye you’ll see an interesting detail… its eyelid has been lowered to protect the bird’s eye. This often happens when a bird takes flight or just before it touches down when landing.
Our female cardinal is now in full flight with its wings extended. I used a shutter speed of 1/2500 to freeze the motion of the head and body of the bird, but still allow for slight wing blur. Since the M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter was being used, I lost 1-stop of light. I typically photograph birds in Manual mode using Auto-ISO, and adjust exposure using compensation as needed.
This photograph is one of my favourites from this Pro Capture H image run. One of the attributes of the M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 zoom that has impressed me is the sharpness of the lens, even when shot wide open. I have no hesitation using either of my M.Zuiko teleconverters with this lens, as the image quality remains at a high standard. The MC-14 is the one I use most often.
I love the sense of speed that is captured in the above photograph. Small details like the position of the digits on the bird’s feet add to the interest.
If you look closely at the cardinal’s eye and beak in the photograph above you will notice a slight softening starting to occur. This is due to the bird starting to exit the depth-of-field range in which it would remain in focus. When using Pro Capture H, the first frame locks auto-focus and exposure for the balance of the frames that follow.
With a subject distance of only 6 metres, using an efov of 718 mm and an aperture of f/8.7, the amount of depth-of-field is only about 2-3 centimetres (~1 inch). This means that the angle of flight of a subject bird relative to the focal plane of a camera can take it out of focus quickly when using Pro Capture H.
In our last two photographs we can see that the head of the bird goes slightly out of focus, while its tail is still sharp.
Increasing the distance to subject can increase the amount of depth-of-field available, assuming that the aperture and efov remain constant.
There are a number of factors to consider when planning a Pro Capture H image run. One thing is certain… using the M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 with either of the M.Zuiko teleconverters gives photographers a lot more flexibility when in the field.
Photographs were captured hand-held using camera gear and technology as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard process. Photographs are displayed as full frame captures without any cropping. My standard Pro Capture H settings were used: Pre-Shutter Frames and Frame Count Limiter were both set to 15. Photographs were captured using a frame rate of 60 frames-per-second. The 12 photographs in this article were captured in a total of 1/5th of a second.
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