Birds in Flight with EM-1

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Lee O'D, Jan 12, 2014.

  1. Lee O'D

    Lee O'D Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 27, 2013
    Hi, I know this has been discussed before, but is anyone having any real degree of success shooting birds in flight with the EM-1?
    I'd love to ditch my Canon gear one day as I have a EM-5 with 70-300 lens and love it. It's great for static subjects but I cant shoot birds in flight with it. If there was a way to get good BIF shots with the EM1 I'd buy one tomorrow. Any input greatly appreciated.

  2. humzai

    humzai Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 17, 2012
    You can do birds in flight with em5 just use saf. The e-m1 is much better then the e-m5 and tracking works well for me but I have no experience with canon gear so I can't compare the two. Check the share birds thread. You can search for posts by my username and you'll see some bifs I've taken with the e-m1.

    What canon gear do you use for birding?
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  3. JimUSNY

    JimUSNY Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 5, 2013
    Mid Hudson Valley NY
    ]Well, the EM1 will be a lot better than the ME5 but still not very good, CAF unless you have absolutely no clutter in background is near impossible, and TR mode even worse.
    Also the 70-300 wouldnt be a great lens to use even with the E series, its just to slow. I am mainly using a 150MM and EC20 for 300MM F4, sometimes my 50-200 with EC14 for 283MM F5, The thing that saves me with the 150 is the focus limiter so no full searching at least.. my best luck is shooting S/AF MF and zeroing in in AF and using Manual focus to track the bird..

    All that being said the E5 wasn't that great at CAF either, and I usually resorted to SAF/MF with that also. But the EM1 is much better than the EM5, at least you can see in the EVF better to know when your in focus, by the way if you try MF make sure you turn off the magnifier or you will probably lose bird completely in the VF, and function buttons placement and accessibility is way better.. but if you are going to get one for just BIF purposes I dont think I would now that I have it, and hope the next model is better with teh 4/3rds lenses or they come out with a fast long micro 4/3rds lens.. holding the camera in portrait mode helps AF on the 4/3rds lens quite a bit also so you can try tht on EM5, I dont recall every trying it on mine, I gave up on the long 4/3rds lenses on it quite quickly, mainly because of the small EVF made it impossible to use for MF on distant birds in flight.. The EM1 is much better, but keeper rate fairly low

    the ones with blue sky were the first I got acceptable using CAF, the male harriers with background I had to use MF.. I have many many misses

    roughleggedhawk-15.jpg maleharrier-13.jpg maleharrier-2.jpg roughleggedhawk-31.jpg
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  4. denniscloutier

    denniscloutier Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 24, 2011
    Vancouver, BC
    I've had some success with my EM-1 and 50-200. It is hit and miss though. I frequently shoot with a friend who has a 5DmkIII and a 500mm lens. His success rate is definitely higher than mine. Of course I can almost fit my rig inside his lens hood. I think a fast long native lens would improve things. The EM-1 works well with 4/3 lenses, but the native lenses are noticeably faster to focus.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Lee O'D

    Lee O'D Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 27, 2013
    Thanks for that. I'm using a 5D mk3 with a 400 f4 DO lens.
  6. Lee O'D

    Lee O'D Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 27, 2013
    Thanks, some helpful info, I don't think I'll be selling my canon gear any time soon. Harriers and Rough legs superb by the way.
  7. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    While it's possible with an E-M1, your 5DIII will still be better at it.
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  8. jamespetts

    jamespetts Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 21, 2011
    London, England
    Hmm - I had a go at taking some red kites near my parents' house last week, with only limited success: maintaining focus near tree branches was not easy, but much of the problem was that, by the time that my 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 non-SWD with 1.4 TC had moved through half its range in order to try to focus, the bird had flown entirely away, and it was too out of focus for me to keep track of it in the frame. Also, the birds were a bit too far away for me to have any success.

    The best that I managed was through a first floor bedroom window:

    Red kite by James E. Petts, on Flickr
  9. chonbhoy

    chonbhoy Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 23, 2013
    Scottish Highlands
    Nice shots but i'm sure that it takes a lot more hard work to get keepers. I was just wondering how much your gear is paying a part? no one has mentioned if your expectations are from using the same tripod with a CaNikon camera etc