B-17, Chino Planes of Fame Air Show 2014

Olympus E-M5 at an Air Show

In a past post, I wrote about my experiences using my Olympus E-M5 and Canon 60D at air shows.  This time I want to talk about the E-M5 by itself.

It’s been a busy year for me so far regarding air shows.  I’ve been to 3 air shows in the first 5 months of the year.  The Cable Air Show, LA County Air Show, and most recently the Chino Planes of Fame Air Show.  I’ve taken the  E-M5 to all three and it performed both well, and not so well.

I mentioned some of my issues in a previous post, but to recap, I’d say the top 2 were the poor autofocus/tracking performance and the image blanking out in the EVF (electronic viewfinder).

Luckily there’s a lot of info available online.  After doing a little research, I made some changes to my settings.  I kept the autofocus the same at Single AF, but changed the focus points.  Originally I had it set for a single, very small AF point, but changed it to a slightly larger grid (still centered and smaller than the entire grid).  The other changes were increasing the refresh rate of the EFV, and slowing down the sequential shooting mode from 9 frames per second to about 6 frames per second.  This combination really made a difference in the EVF not going blank on me.  Although the changes improved the overall performance of the E-M5, I still brought my Canon 60D along, but that will be the subject of another post.

The Chino Planes of Fame Air Show is always a big deal for me.  I just love the WWII warbirds, and the Planes of Fame Museum puts plenty of them in the air.  As a  bonus, they always get something a little more modern, and this year it was the F-22 Raptor!

Part of my routine, in addition to getting my sunrise photo pass for the show on Saturday, is to attend the preview event on Friday.  I thought this would be a good chance to get warmed up with my E-M5, as well as have some ice cold beer and some laughs with a friend (thanks Jeremy)!

I did make one mistake on Friday.  I brought my slinger bag packed not only with my E-M5 and a couple of lenses, but also my 60D and Tamron 200-500mm and 70-200mm lenses.  I was nervous about just having my E-M5, so I thought it would be a good idea to bring the big stuff.  The funny thing was that as the day wore on, I never got the 60D out of the bag.  I used my E-M5 the entire day.  Wow, did that bag get heavy!

On the day of the show (Saturday for me), I arrived very early.  The sunrise photo pass gets 75 photographers out on the tarmac at 5:00am, and in position for the sunrise.  We all scrambled around, getting in various positions to get the shots we were after.  I put myself near the F-22 Raptor so I could capture it with the sun rising in the background.  I used my E-M5 exclusively.  After that, it was just a matter of waiting for the show to start at 11:00am.

Once the show started, I switched to my 60D and Tamron 200-500mm lens.  While I will write about this in a separate post, suffice it to say that it performed perfectly.  The only real problem was it got heavy after awhile,  and did I mention that it’s heavy?

What counts in the end are the results.  Here they are:

I’m very pleased with my E-M5.  The changes I made seemed to have helped.  While it’s not quite up to par with my 60D for capturing fast moving air planes, it’s much better than it was.  I think I’ll keep it!

That’s it for this post.  Next time, I’ll go into more detail about using my 60D at the Planes of Fame Air Show.

Until next time – Happy Shooting!