I had previously written a blog post where I did not recommend the Olympus OM-D E-M5 for Bird and Wildlife photography. Well, now its time to eat my words. While the Olympus OM-D E-M5 wouldn’t be my first choice for birds in flight, I found out that it will certainly work in a pinch.
While in India, I was photographing the Golconda Fort in Hyderabad, India when several Black Kites started circling around the fort. Due to space restrictions, the Olympus OM-D was the only camera body that I brought on the trip.
I switched to the Panasonic Lumix 100-300mm Lens on the Olympus and climbed to the top of the fort to attempt to photograph the Kites. To my surprise, I got several sharp images of the Black Kites in flight.
The keeper percentage was less than what I get with my Canon 7d or Canon 5d Mark iii, but I was still happy with the results. I would have otherwise missed the photographing these cool raptors.
Here are some birds in flight tips using the Olympus OM-D
Light. Good light is important. At this time, there are no fast long lenses available for micro four thirds. These slower lenses do much better in good light.
Autofocus. I used single focus to capture the birds. Continuous autofocus on the OM-D is not ready for birds in flight.
Sequential High Shutter Mode. Use sequential high shutter mode to give yourself a better chance of in focus images. Sequential high mode will give you 9 frames per seconds but will not focus between frames. Make sure you periodically release the shutter and refocus.
Focal Length. Start with a shorter focal length and zoom in to the bird. Focusing hand held at 300mm (with a 2x crop factor) can be a challenge.
Image Stabilization. If you are using a Panasonic lens, make sure you turn off the image stabilization. The Olympus OM-D E-M5 has image stabilization bult in the camera. Having both image stabilization systems turned on could lead to blurry photos.