Swallow BIFs at close range with the OM-1

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faunagraphy Senior Member • Posts: 1,153
Swallow BIFs at close range with the OM-1

With my older cameras (E-M1ii and D500), photographing swallows at a distance of 15+ feet was doable. Even then, it was a bit hit or miss. Sometimes the E-M1ii would fail to retain focus (or focus at all) and on the D500, focus would snap to the background if I failed to accurately keep up with the bird and I would miss the shots.

This made it very difficult to shoot birds at close range with either camera, let alone swallows! When swallows rapidly closed the distance, turning the D500 to keep up with them was a lot easier if using the marvelous 300mm PF, but its FOV is equivalent to that of a 200mm lens on Micro Four Thirds, so the subject was proportionately smaller (and it doesn't resolve as much detail as the 300mm Pro so cropping was not very helpful).

With the OM-1, things are a lot easier and more consistent. This isn't to say that it's perfect by any means, but the results are very good. Above all, I was astonished at how speedy the focus was, even when swallows were zipping past me as close as 10 feet away.

At least that's my ballpark guess ... 10 feet away! Estimating distances in the moment is difficult - but I can say with confidence that the range at which I can get photos has more than halved!

Here are some shots I got earlier today. These are straight exports from OM Workspace - no other processing. So some of them are underexposed. I also did not crop so that you can get a feel for how close the subjects were. Who knows, someone might do some trigonometric calculations based on the lens's angle of view and the size of a violet-green swallow and find that my distance estimate is incorrect. 😂 Let's just say that they were close enough to leave me thrilled with this $2200 camera's capabilities.

This one below was from a sequence of 60+ shots and all seem to be in focus.

Confusing backgrounds? A lot of times, they aren't a problem!

The swallow in this photo obviously isn't close, but I'm including it to demonstrate two things: one, how the camera can detect a bird at the very edge of the frame, and two, how well rolling shutter is controlled. On my E-M1ii, the pole would have been tilted to the right in this left-panning shot.

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Wildlife photography in central and western India, and the Pacific Northwest. Mostly Micro Four Thirds with some Nikon F.

 faunagraphy's gear list:faunagraphy's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus PEN E-PL6 Nikon D500 Olympus E-M1 II Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 50-200mm 1:2.8-3.5 SWD +23 more
Nikon D500 Olympus E-M1 II OM-1
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