Advice Needed: EM1 II: How to track fasting moving subjects (and focusing)

Started Oct 6, 2018 | Questions thread
Skeeterbytes Forum Pro • Posts: 16,274
Re: Advice Needed: EM1 II: How to track fasting moving subjects (and focusing)

Denjw wrote:

HarryShin wrote:


Question: I’d to get advice on how to track fast moving objects when using a telephoto lens.

Background Info:

a: What I’m trying to shoot / track are jets at an air show.

B: I use the Olympus EM1 II (15 FPS), 40-150mm 2.8 with teleconverter; I usually shoot at 150mm (210mm with teleconverter)

C: I have no problems tracking a group of planes (ie Blue Angels) doing a formation flight, but it’s difficult to impossible tracking the demo aircraft (ex: F-22, F-35) flying solo and especially when they do a high speed pass.

D: To somewhat deal with this situation, I recently started experimenting with the Olympus Eye Dot (I think that’s what it’s called) and it actually works better than me looking through the viewfinder. The problem is that it’s only an approximation and it has zero value in re: what’s the optimal focal length at any given situation.

E: I’m going to assume ( but I’m not sure) that an optical viewfinder may be better than the EVF, however that still doesn’t deal with the difficulty of just trackin’g a fast moving object when using extreme telephoto.

F: I’d really like to get specific input solutions in that I’m probably going to get even a longer focal length lens; for some of the venues, even the above lens is still too short. I can only image the incremental difficultly of getting a decent shot a longer focal lengths.

Associated question: For those familiar with the EM1 II system, what specific settings should I use fo the C-AF or should I even bother with C-AF? Because of the... unreliability of the focusing system for me (I’m sure it might be user error), I’ve been just been estimating focus distance and shooting manual / f8 etc... (it’s an air show and the planes fly in the general area / distance); it works most of the time, but it’s not accurate and I would like to do it as accurately as possible.

Thanks in advance for any help, Harry

I am not an aviation shooter but do use the E-M1 II for BIFs.

I would have thought the Dot EE-1 would have helped to shoot aircraft. Just make sure you have it calibrated properly so the dot sight target matches the camera's focus box.

EVF's do take some getting used to but still can be used for fast moving subjects.

C-AF works well on the E-MMkII and with the 40-150mm so you just to need to experiment with some settings and practice.

Some settings to try:

Make sure Rec View =Off

Use Sequential Drive Low with electronic shutter.

Try 5 point or 9 point targets.

AF Scanner Mode 3

Use the built in AF limiter if aircraft are close

C-AF Tracking sensitivity 0 - +2

C-AF Release Priority =On

But the most important thing is the ability to keep the focus points on the subject and that is what takes a lot of practice to become proficient at.

Some aviation shooter will no doubt chime in with their thoughts.

These settings are a very good starting point. I'll add that you were using standard shutter high frame rate, which locks focus on first frame. Switching to low rate (max 10 fps) allows C-AF to adjust during your burst sequence and gives the camera AI an opportunity to assist in following the subject.

Experiment with all focus points, which will display only those engaged as the subject crosses the frame. With a clear sky it may be better than five or nine-box focus pattern. I tend to shoot earthbound moving things so have fore and background to contend with and use it less often.

If you use electronic shutter, jets should be okay but anything with a prop will look...interesting.

Good luck!


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