Baseball action, Olympus OM-D E-M5

Testing My New OM-D

Today was a good day!  I got to have breakfast with a friend, see his son play in a baseball tournament, and finally use my new Olympus OM-D E-M5 in some action!

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I’ve been trying to shrink my camera gear footprint.  Looking for alternatives to my large DSLR’s started with the addition of my Sony NEX3.  The NEX3 has many nice features, good image quality, and I still use it today.  It is not however, a replacement for my DSLR.  It’s too slow!  It’s actually ok to use  for static subjects, but lousy for anything that moves quickly.

Next I moved to the Olympus E-P3 and Panasonic GX-1.  These are both Micro Four Thirds (MFT) format camera.  I love the features, size, and image quality, but they are not suitable replacements for my DSLR.  Same story, too slow for any type of action.

There have been some advancements in the MFT world.  The introduction of the OM-D E-M5 (OM-D) really made some noise in the world of cameras and photography.  This was back in the early part of 2012, and I wasn’t able to jump on the bandwagon and buy one for myself at the time.  So, I bided my time and watched my favorite camera stores, waiting for a deal.  And finally last month, I was able to take advantage of one that presented itself at Adorama.

It was love at 1st site when I took my OM-D out of the box!  I loved the size, look, and feel of this little jewel.  But, was it the DSLR replacement/alternative that I was looking for?  By the way, if you’d like to read a review, click this link – OM-D.

The answer to that question is yes, and no.  Yes, because it is fast.  Much faster to use than any of my other non-DSLR cameras.  It can focus quickly, and can fire off 9 frames per second (fps).  And no, mostly because of user error and a little having to do with the way this camera achieves focus.  I don’t want to get into all of the techno-babble regard autofocus, but if you want, you can read about it here – Autofocus.  I’m sure as I get used to my OM-D, I’ll become more comfortable with it’s many features and settings and be able to confidently use it for any type of action.

And now, the results!  The action on the baseball field was lively.  For the most part ,the OM-D did just fine.  At 9 fps I was able to catch some great action sequences.  I was also able to capture what would have been some great action sequences, if they had been in focus.  To be fair, that could have happened with my DSLR.  I noticed a couple of times that my focus point was off (I usually set it to center).  Focus accuracy improved greatly once I reset it.

One of the other things that I discovered was that I had better luck setting the OM-D to single autofocus, rather than continuous autofocus or continuous tracking autofocus.  I’d pick a point on the field where I anticipated some action to take place and focus on it.  Once the players moved into view I’d press the shutter and fire away.  That may or may not be the best way to catch the action, but it seemed to work well for me today.

Here are a few shots from the game:

Baseball action, Olympus OM-D E-M5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baseball action, Olympus OM-D E-M5
Baseball action, Olympus OM-D E-M5

All of the shots above were converted from the original RAW file format to jpeg, and resized for viewing on the screen.  There was no other post processing performed.

While I’m not much on pixel-peeping, I have looked pretty closely at these images.  Overall I’m very pleased with the image quality.  My seat-of-the-pants review is by no means scientific,  but I think it does demonstrate how the OM-D works in a real life setting.  To my eyes, the image quality from my OM-D is on par with my Canon 60D.  While the 60D has a slower frame rate (5.5 fps to 9 fps), it does seem to do a little better tracking fast moving subjects than my OM-D.  Not by much mind you, but it is something to think about.  In every other area I think the OM-D is equal too or greater than my 60D.  I’ll need more photo opportunities such as the one I had today to make up my mind.  There will definitely be more to follow!

That’s it for now, until next time – Happy Shooting!