Olympus introduced a new feature called Pro Capture mode with the OM-D E-M1 Mark II. It makes it easier to capture moments that last for just a split second so it’s useful for sport or action.
In Pro Capture mode, the camera uses its electronic shutter to enable shooting at up to 60fps (frames per second). Also, images start recording the moment that the shutter release is half-pressed.
However, the camera only actually writes images to the card once the shutter release is pressed fully. If the button is pressed and released, the 14 frames recorded before the button was pressed along with the 25 recorded afterwards are written to the card. This means you have 39 images in total. But if you continue to press the shutter release, its possible to capture up to 99 more images to the card.
Significantly, the images are full resolution (20Mp) files and they can be raw or jpeg format. As raw files have more data, they are usually larger in size than jpegs, so it’s a bonus to be able to record them at 60fps. In addition, they’re a better choice if you need to adjust colour or exposure post-capture.
One downside to using Pro Capture High mode is that the focus is fixed at the start of the 60fps sequence. If you want to use continuous focusing, there’s Pro Capture Low mode which drops the shooting rate to 18fps. While 18fps may seem a big drop from 60fps, it’s still an impressively high shooting rate for 20Mp images.
Olympus Pro Capture Mode in Action
During a shooting tour with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II I had the opportunity to use Pro Capture mode to capture balloons full of water being burst by an archer firing an arrow.
We lined-up alongside a row of water-filled balloons with the archer standing off to our right and I composed the image with Pro Capture High mode selected on the camera. I can’t say I enjoyed looking through a viewfinder with an arrow to one side. Nevertheless, I managed to keep my eye on the balloons in the viewfinder.
Next, there was a countdown from three (in Spanish as we were in Spain). The archer released the arrow on one and the balloons almost seemed to burst at the same time. It was impossible to separate the word ‘one’ from the burst.
As I half-pressed the shutter release, the camera focused the lens on the balloons. As the word ‘three’ started, I pressed the shutter release fully home. I lifted my finger as soon as I saw the balloons burst.
If I had been shooting normally, it would’ve been pure luck to capture the arrow in a balloon. However, in Pro Capture Mode High I saw it in shot after shot. It’s clear that Olympus Pro Capture Mode opens a raft of creative shooting opportunities that would have relied on multiple-camera or flash set-ups in the past.
The image gallery below shows several sequenced of images shot at 60fps.
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Pro Capture Mode Image Gallery
In conclusion, as it allows the focus to adjust while shooting, Pro Capture Low mode is useful when you’re shooting a subject that’s moving towards the camera. This means it’s more useful for sport than Pro Capture High mode.
But, if the subject distance doesn’t change Pro Capture High mode may be a better choice. It could be useful for capturing facial reactions at social events, sprays of water and fun.