For the first time in several months, I left the Nikon DSLR at home for the weekend's soccer tournament. Instead, I took only one camera and one lens, that being the Olympus OMD EM1 with Olympus 50-200 SWD.   Went with the intention of having fun, watching my son and his team and learning about the OMD EM1's capabilities.  I met all those criteria. 

Before you go further, understand I am an amateur and that I was out having fun today. I was in dad mode, not reproduction in magazine mode. While I am pleased with the results, others may not be. I understand that, I just ask that you recognize what my purpose for the day was. I will continue to get better with this camera. It was just my first outing with only having fired about 50 frames prior to this experiment.  

Camera settings

  • Shot JPEG because my end use is for personal use, web and small prints for my family
  • Set on single focus point, most often on center
  • Set Autofocus to AFC
  • Shot in either A or Manual. Had good light so shutter speeds were quite high
  • Set to continuous low shooting speed. Wasn't really thinking here honestly as there were a few sequences I would have liked to have the full 6.5 fps but figured I'd be screwing up all day and would have less to throw away at the end of the day shooting in low speed mode.  
  • Tried both Vivid and Natural setting.  

Here is the first sequence following one of my son's team mates moving the ball out the left side of the field. This sequence had no interference of another player or anything passing through between the subject and the camera.   Click on one of the images to bring up the lightbox slideshow and you can quickly scroll through them to look at the tracking capability.

I was able to get many repeated sequences like this when I got a good lock on and there were no obstructions between the player and the camera.  Overall, quite pleased! I can't believe this is a small mirrorless system!

Where I had less luck was tracking players that were going through player traffic on the field. Here is an example that I ran into several times. Unlike my Nikon system, it would not track back or lock back on once I missed.  Again, click on the first frame for the lightbox slideshow and then click through the images to look at the tracking capabilities. It tracked pretty well until the very last frame where it lost it. Also, I screwed up the WB accidentally on this sequence because I had switched the toggle around the AEL button that switched the controls. I did not have time to correct it so I corrected manually in post.    

All in all I shot almost 1000 images across 4 games. Had a blast and learned a lot. Still have a lot of tweaking technique a bit. One of the key things is my style of watching and raising my Nikon to my eye. The OVF is always on. On the OMD EM1 there is still a bit of lag when I raise it to my eye. I have to adjust to watching the game through the EVF so I am always ready and always locked on a subject.  Again, a first stab.  More to come. (edit: it has been pointed out that I can change this in a menu and always have it on, or toggle to live view on the LCD.) 

And here is one last fun sequence from my boy.  He plays in a U11 competitive league. He loves soccer and is one competitive little dude.