Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Bird Photography,  Olympus / OM System,  Photo Gear

How to use the OM System OI.Share App for Backyard Bird Photography

OM Digital Solutions has a free OI.Share app that communicates wirelessly with your Olympus / OM System cameras.  The App has Remote Control, Photo Import, Camera How To, basic Photo Editing, and Geotagging.

The Olympus version of the OI.Share app is no longer functional.  So, you will need to install the OM Digital Solutions version of the app.

For backyard bird photography, I use the remote control function of the OI.Share app.  The Remote Control function has 2 different modes: Remote Shutter and Live View.  Remote Shutter functions like a wireless shutter release while Live View allows you to see the image that you are taking on your phone. 

If your goal is to get closer photographs of birds and not disturb them, Live View is the mode you want to use.  But, Live View mode does have some limitations.

Oi.Share App Remote Control Modes
Oi.Share App Remote Control Modes

Limitations of Using Live View for Bird Photography

  • Only MF and S-AF are available, C-AF is not available
  • There is no Half Press feature in Live View, so Pro Capture is not available
  • Bird Detection AF is also does not work with Live View
  • When you press the screen to focus, it can sometimes take a couple of seconds to focus which can mean a few missed shots
  • You cannot take additional shots after a shutter press as the app is loading the image from the SD card into the OI.Share app.  You can use Sequential or Silent Sequential Drove Mode to take multiple images with a single press of the shutter button.
  • The OI.Share app uses Bluetooth so your distance is limited to around 30 feet from the camera.  I have the OM-1 set up on my patio and was able to keep connected to the camera from around 30 feet through a glass sliding door.

In spite of those limitations, you can still get good backyard bird images using the Remote Control feature.  Here is how to set it up.

Setting Up for Using the OI.Share Remote Control App for Backyard Bird Photography

Determine Where to Compose Your Shot 

Birds like to land on a perch prior to heading to the bird feeder to feed.  I keep several dead branches on a Tulip Poplar tree for the birds to use as perches as they come to feed at our bird feeders.  If you don’t have dead branches on your trees, you can add one using a clamp.

Position and Aim Your Camera

Set up your camera on a sturdy tripod and aim the camera at the perch.  Frame the perch with a little extra room in the frame since you cannot change the position of the camera.

Dial in the Right Settings and Take a Test Shot

You can change most of the settings in the OI.Share app, but I like to set it up and take a test shot to ensure everything is correct.

WiFi Icon on the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III
WiFi Icon on the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III

Connect the Camera to the OI.Share App

First Time Connection Steps

  • Launch the OI.Share App on your phone
  • Initiate the connection on your camera.  On the OM-1, select Wi-Fi / Bluetooth on the Super Control Panel.  On OM-D camera, press the Wi-Fi icon on the main LCD screen.
  • Select Device Connection on the camera
  • Press the Wi-Fi / Camera / Bluetooth Icons at the Bottom of the OI.Share App. 
  • Press Easy Set Up
  • Press the Info Button on the camera to bring up a QR code
  • Press Scan on the app and scan the QR Code
  • Press Start Setup on the App. 
  • There can only be one camera registered with the app, you will need to click Register to overwrite the other camera.
  • You will get a prompt to Join the camera’s network on the app.  Click Join.
  • The app should now be connected.
  • Click on Remote Control.

Once your camera is registered in the OI.Share app, the process is much quicker.

Connecting to an Already Registered Camera

  • Launch the OI.Share App on your phone
  • Initiate the connection on your camera.  On the OM-1, select Wi-Fi / Bluetooth on the Super Control Panel.  On OM-D camera, press the Wi-Fi icon on the main LCD screen.
  • Select Device Connection on the camera
  • Click on the Remote Control icon
  • You will get a prompt to Join the camera’s network on the app.  Click Join.
  • The app should now be connected.
How to Change Remote Control Mode in the Oi.Share App
How to Change Remote Control Mode in the Oi.Share App

Remote Control Live View Settings

  • If your Remote Control Mode is set to Remote Shutter.  Change the mode to Live View using the Gear Menu in the upper right corner of the app, and then tap on the Remote Control sub-menu to change the mode.
  • You can change most of the basic camera settings from the app (Camera Shooting Mode, Shutter Speed, Aperture, Exposure Compensation, ISO, White Balance).
Oi.Share Live View Settings
Oi.Share Live View Settings
  • In the bottom right of the app, you can set either Touch to Focus or Touch to Shoot.  Touch to Shoot combines the focusing and shutter press into a single touch on your subject.  Touch to Focus requires a tap on the subject to focus and another tap on the shutter button to shoot the photograph. Using Touch to Shoot mode will speed up the process of focusing and taking bird photographs using the Oi.Share app.
  • You can also change the Drive Mode in the lower right corner of the app.  I set this to  Silent Sequential Drive Mode (OM-1) / Sequential Low (OM-D) to get additional frames when I press the shutter button to increase the likelihood of a good capture since the app will automatically load the image after the shutter is pressed which doesn’t allow for additional captures.

While not perfect due to the above limitations, the OI.Share app is a handy tool to photograph birds in your backyard.  You can move the tripod closer to the perch without disturbing the birds than if you were outside photographing them.

Written by Martin Belan

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Comparing the OM Systems OM-1 and Olympus OM-D E-M1X for Bird Photography
8 Tips for Handheld Focus Stacking for Macro Photography on Olympus / OM System Cameras

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