Wildlife photography with the Olympus OM-D E-M5 is nowhere easy and with its contrast detection autofocus system, fast moving animals like flying birds are quite challenging to get. In addition, even though the M.Zuiko 75-300mm 1:4.8-6.7 is a nice lens in general, it is way too slow and not exceptionally sharp. So what is required to achieve an acceptable outcome from this lens? Here are some of the main findings from my focus training in Centennial Park:
- The most important thing with this camera / lens combination is light … bright sunlight. At least this first pre-condition is not a problem here in Australia most of the time.
- When I compared photos taken wide open at f6.7 to photos I took at f8, I found that the latter were a lot sharper. So if the light allows to stop down to f8 it seems to be a good choice to do so.
- Due to the slow contrast detection autofocus, the continuos autofocus (C-AF) is unusable at the long end. Hence, I prefer the single autofocus (S-AF) setting with this combo to get at least one lucky shot instead of being stuck in a never ending focus hunt without a single photo taken.
- Last but not least the most important lesson I learned so far is that focus training starts with watching the wildlife without even lifting the camera. As soon as one knows the rules of the game and is able to predict the next steps, focussing becomes a lot easier – with any camera. This special knowledge allows to better position and setup the camera in the first place and prepare to be ready when the important scenes happen. In regards to birds that means, knowing where they gather, where they feed, where they rest and how they interact.