Using Pro Capture Mode

This article shares a selection of 26 consecutive images captured using the Pro Capture mode with an Olympus OM-D E-M1X. It also discusses some considerations to keep in mind when using the Pro Capture feature.

One of the features with Olympus E-M1X, E-M1 Mark II and E-M5 Mark III cameras that will appeal to bird, nature and sports photographers is the Pro Capture mode. This mode allows a photographer to capture some images even before fully depressing the camera’s shutter release.

This feature is invaluable when attempting to capture a very specific moment. These could include a bird taking flight or landing at a nest. A tennis player serving. Or a baseball player swinging at a pitch.

When the shutter is half-depressed on one of the noted OM-D cameras, it will capture a number of images and store them in temporary memory. The camera will keep adding and subtracting images to the spooling pool of photographs depending on the number of images set by the photographer.

One of the benefits is that Pro Capture photographs are full resolution RAW files… not a reduced resolution jpeg file. To get a good idea about the degree of subject movement when shooting at 60 frames-per-second using Pro Capture mode, let’s look at 26 consecutive images of a heron taking flight. Clicking on the images will allow you to scroll through them quickly.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 190 mm, efov 380 mm, f/8, 1/1600, ISO-500, -0.3 step, Pro Capture
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 190 mm, efov 380 mm, f/8, 1/1600, ISO-500, -0.3 step, Pro Capture
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 190 mm, efov 380 mm, f/8, 1/1600, ISO-500, -0.3 step, Pro Capture
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 190 mm, efov 380 mm, f/8, 1/1600, ISO-500, -0.3 step, Pro Capture
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 190 mm, efov 380 mm, f/8, 1/1600, ISO-500, -0.3 step, Pro Capture
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 190 mm, efov 380 mm, f/8, 1/1600, ISO-500, -0.3 step, Pro Capture
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 190 mm, efov 380 mm, f/8, 1/1600, ISO-500, -0.3 step, Pro Capture
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 190 mm, efov 380 mm, f/8, 1/1600, ISO-500, -0.3 step, Pro Capture
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 190 mm, efov 380 mm, f/8, 1/1600, ISO-500, -0.3 step, Pro Capture
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 190 mm, efov 380 mm, f/8, 1/1600, ISO-500, -0.3 step, Pro Capture
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 190 mm, efov 380 mm, f/8, 1/1600, ISO-500, -0.3 step, Pro Capture
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 190 mm, efov 380 mm, f/8, 1/1600, ISO-500, -0.3 step, Pro Capture
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 190 mm, efov 380 mm, f/8, 1/1600, ISO-500, -0.3 step, Pro Capture
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 190 mm, efov 380 mm, f/8, 1/1600, ISO-500, -0.3 step, Pro Capture
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 190 mm, efov 380 mm, f/8, 1/1600, ISO-500, -0.3 step, Pro Capture
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 190 mm, efov 380 mm, f/8, 1/1600, ISO-500, -0.3 step, Pro Capture
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 190 mm, efov 380 mm, f/8, 1/1600, ISO-500, -0.3 step, Pro Capture
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 190 mm, efov 380 mm, f/8, 1/1600, ISO-500, -0.3 step, Pro Capture
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 190 mm, efov 380 mm, f/8, 1/1600, ISO-500, -0.3 step, Pro Capture
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 190 mm, efov 380 mm, f/8, 1/1600, ISO-500, -0.3 step, Pro Capture
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 190 mm, efov 380 mm, f/8, 1/1600, ISO-500, -0.3 step, Pro Capture
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 190 mm, efov 380 mm, f/8, 1/1600, ISO-500, -0.3 step, Pro Capture
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 190 mm, efov 380 mm, f/8, 1/1600, ISO-500, -0.3 step, Pro Capture
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 190 mm, efov 380 mm, f/8, 1/1600, ISO-500, -0.3 step, Pro Capture
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 190 mm, efov 380 mm, f/8, 1/1600, ISO-500, -0.3 step, Pro Capture
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 190 mm, efov 380 mm, f/8, 1/1600, ISO-500, -0.3 step, Pro Capture

It is one thing to try to describe the power of using Pro Capture to someone. Showing multiple consecutive images from the same Pro Capture run helps to demonstrate the capability of the feature much more powerfully. The 26 photographs you just viewed were all captured in less than 1/2 second!

Using Pro Capture

    1. Before using Pro Capture make sure to read the manual of your OM-D camera to make sure you understand the operating guidelines.
    2. Determine the frame capture speed you need. This will depend on the size of your subject and its motion speed. Pro Capture frame rates vary by OM-D model camera. You will also need to check to see if the frame rate you choose can utilize continuous auto focus, or if the first frame locks focus and exposure for the rest of the image run.
    3. If your camera has the ability to set the number of pre- and post- shutter frames think about what specific action you want to capture. This will impact how you set the number of shutter frames. For example, if you are trying to capture very fast action you may want to set a maximum of pre-shutter frames, and less frames post shutter release.
    4. Choose a good shooting angle. When using Pro Capture Hi the first frame locks focus and exposure for the rest of the run. For best results pick a subject that will be moving at right angles to your camera position.
    5. Think about shutter release timing. It is our natural instinct to press the shutter on our camera as soon as an action sequence starts. When using Pro Capture this may be a bit premature. Depending on the speed of the subject’s action and the number of pre-shutter frames you have selected, a slightly delayed shutter release may be better. For example, it can sometimes be more successful to depress your shutter release once a bird has physically left its perch, than when it first begins its launch movements.
    6. Decide if you will be panning with your subject or capturing images with a static camera position. Being able to effectively pan with a subject while using Pro Capture takes practice.
    7. Use single point auto-focus. Using Pro Capture means your camera will be continually recording images into temporary memory until you fully depress the shutter on your camera. If you have to wait for several minutes for the action to happen you may need to acquire auto-focus a number of times. This is most easily and accurately done using a single AF point. For example, I had to wait over 40 minutes for the Great Blue Heron shown in the Pro Capture run in this article, to take flight.

Technical Note:
Photographs were captured hand-held using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. All images were produced from RAW files using my standard process, and are displayed as 100% captures without any cropping.

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4 thoughts on “Using Pro Capture Mode”

  1. Tom,

    Those 40 minutes of waiting was well worth it!
    Love love love the sequence especially those where the heron has gathered enough lift to raise itself from the water, as if he/she is walking on water. It’s truly a wonderful slice of that .5 seconds it took the Oly to run those 26 shots. Loving the tech but more than that, appreciating the skill to translate that capability into a mini-photo documentary of wading-to-flying.

    Oggie
    http://www.lagalog.com

  2. Very impressive. Back when I was shooting a lot of sports the ability to do this would have been very useful.
    I noticed that most of the time you used the phrase “Pro Capture”. In #4 you referred to “Pro Capture Hi”. Is that a particular setting in PC? If so, what other PC settings are there, and will using other such settings NOT lock AF & AE?
    Thanks, WEJ

    1. Hi William,

      There are settings for Pro Capture in the various Olympus OM-D camera that provide this feature, i.e. E-M1X, E-M1 Mark II and E-M5 Mark III. The capabilities and settings vary by camera model. For example the Pro Capture Hi in the E-M1X shoots at up to 60 fps with the first frame locking focus and exposure for the rest of the run (I think this is selectable 15, 20, 30 and 60). In Pro Capture Lo the E-M1X shoots at a lower fps (1-10 selectable, 15 or 18) and uses continuous auto-focus. I don’t use this setting as I much prefer the Pro Capture Hi.

      I think the E-M1 Mark II is the same as the E-M1X… but I’m not 100% sure.

      The E-M5 Mark III has different frame rates for Pro Capture Hi and Pro Capture Lo… 30 fps in Pro Capture Hi (options for 10, 20 or 30 fps I think) with Pro Capture Lo at 10 fps.

      There are various other parameters such as lens used, ISO values etc. That’s why I mentioned that owners need to read their manual to see the exact specs for Pro Capture with their OM-D camera.

      Tom

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