Experienced photographers act as though it’s child’s play to take action photos. As long as you just use an expensive camera and a very expensive lens, the rest is a cakewalk. In practice, it’s different. For action and nature photography, a great deal of practice and experience is required before your percentage of successful shots increases. The best investment—we are talking about a hundred euros—with the highest returns in the short term is probably the Olympus EE-1 Dot sight.
TELEPHOTO LENS PROBLEM: HOW DO I FIND SUCH A SMALL BIRD?
You spot a small bird with the naked eye. That’s handy, since the big telephoto lens is already on the camera! An experienced photographer immediately points the camera at the right spot and starts shooting. I don’t. I think that I’ve targeted exactly the right place, but all I see through the viewfinder is reeds. No bird.
I lower the camera, blink a bit and look again. Yep, it’s still there. When I have a telephoto zoom on the camera, then I zoom out and find the bird. As soon as I’ve found it, then I zoom in. Usually, of course, that’s the moment that the bird decides to fly away. Better luck next time.
INDISPENSABLE FOR Birds in Flight (“BIF”):
Olympus EE‑1 DOT SIGHT
“Fast AF only helps if you are able to aim quickly and precisely at the right place.”
The challenge becomes even greater when you try to photograph a bird in flight (BIF) more or less filling the frame. Photographing a bird in flight with loads of space around it is manageable, but as soon as the bird gets close enough to nearly fill the frame, it really gets difficult—for the camera, the lens and the photographer.
First zooming out and then zooming in is not an option, since by then the bird has already flown by. And if you aim wrong, all you see is a flat grey or blue sky. Should you move right, left, up or down to capture that bird? Without the bird in frame, you can’t start to focus. And they promised me lightning-fast AF with this camera and lens! For system cameras, it can also happen that the camera is focused to a short distance, so that the bokeh of your great telephoto lens is so beautifully even that you don’t even realize that you did have the bird in frame.
Olympus EE‑1 DOT SIGHT: NOT ONLY FOr micro-43
When hearing the name Olympus, you might think about micro-43. But this tool is just as good when used on a Canon, Nikon, Fujifilm or Sony camera as it is on a micro-43 camera from Olympus or Panasonic. The only thing you need is a hotshoe on top of the camera for attaching the Olympus EE-1 DOT SIGHT.
HOW DOES AN OLYMPUS EE‑1 DOT SIGHT WORK?
Astronomers and sharpshooters have a solution for this problem. You use a scope that also brings a bit of the surroundings into view, so that you can orient better and thus aim more quickly at your subject. That is exactly what the Olympus EE‑1 DOT SIGHT does. You provide the device with a battery, place it in the hotshoe of your camera, fold it out and turn it on. You now see a window with a red dot. The first time that you use this tool, you have to make sure that it is lined up well. I put a camera with a telephoto lens on a tripod at a distance from a traffic sign that more or less corresponds with the distance from the birds that I wanted to photograph. With two setting buttons, I made sure that the center of my viewfinder exactly aligned with the position of the red dot. After that, I could photograph moving subjects, by using the Olympus EE-1 DOT SIGHT, instead of looking through my viewfinder. That took some getting used to. If you use a system camera, then you can sometimes move your eye to the screen on the back of the camera, so that you are certain that it’s working properly. With an SLR, you can periodically review a shot you’ve taken if you’re not sure about photographing without using your viewfinder. But checking isn’t actually needed. It really works.
ConclusiON Olympus EE‑1 DOT SIGHT REVIEW
I encounter few photographers who make use of a tool for focusing faster, and I really don’t know why. The Olympus EE-1 DOT SIGHT has caused by percentage of successful shots to increase significantly. Perhaps even more than if I had purchased an expensive camera and a very expensive lens. Even so, it feels a bit like cycling with two little training wheels in the Tour de France when you stand between photographers with enormous photo equipment and rely on the Olympus EE-1 DOT SIGHT. First, a micro-43 camera with a hefty telephoto lens is a baby, in terms of size and weight, in comparison with an SLR camera with a bright telephoto giant. Second, you are also cheating when focusing, by not even using your viewfinder.
I don’t care. I want one. A better chance of great nature photos for such a small investment is not something I can pass up.