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Am I the only one who's mad at Olympus for the E-M5's build quality? Can we do something about it?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by LowriderS10, Oct 14, 2014.

  1. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    I love my E-M5 and the M4/3 system...but I'm extremely mad at Olympus for the way this thing is built.

    - LCD bezels crack.
    - Dials fall off.
    - EVFs fog up in the rain.
    - Viewfinder eyepieces fall off.
    - Batteries don't always make good contact.
    - EVFs burn out if the sun hits them.

    The list goes on. This is an incredible amount of serious issues with these cameras that, I think, are completely unacceptable at their price point (especially at the price many people bought them for a year or two ago).

    I have had more build quality-related issues with this camera than ANY OTHER CAMERA I HAVE EVER OWNED, including entry-level DSLRs, compacts, etc.

    Is there anything we can do to let Olympus know how we feel? ...or will they ignore us and laugh because, hey...they already have our money, and building a crap E-M5 just means that we'll be more likely to upgrade to whatever camera they're bringing out next? I can't be the only one grinding my teeth every time my expensive camera disappoints me.
  2. WT21

    WT21 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    The build issues have been documented pretty quickly after the camera first started shipping, which was in the first half of 2012, so more than 2 years now.

    bezel - Nov 2012

    hangs - May 2012

    eyepiece - Jan 2013

    dial pop-off - Oct 2012

    EVF issues are a new one to me, but the above are some of the reasons I sold mine and decided not to buy back in.
    • Like Like x 2
  3. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Nov 7, 2010
    Lowrider, did you have issues under warranty that Olympus wouldn't address? Not sure "letting them know how we feel" at this point has much value given that the E-M5 must be at or near the end of it's life cycle. Seems like the 1 and the 10 are better with regard to these sorts of issues, so maybe Olympus has improved their process since the early days of the 5. I must admit that I'm biased, I suppose, because I've owned three E-M5s, all purchased used, that were without issue.
    • Like Like x 5
  4. memzinla

    memzinla Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 31, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    I really love love love the E-M5, but I also had the same issues with my E-M5. The eyepiece fell off and one of the dials fell off. :/
    • Like Like x 1
  5. nardoleo

    nardoleo Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 2, 2013
    i have been using the EM5 for almost 2 years now. only the eye cap has been lost numerous times, other than that, no other issue.

    oh, and the body paint comes off easily too. my hotshoe and top part of the cam looks like i brought it to the jungle. hehe
    • Like Like x 2
  6. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter Subscribing Member

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Hopefully, they'll address most of this in the replacement coming next year. It seems the EM10 and the EM1 have had less problems from what I see in the forum.
    • Like Like x 3
  7. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    No, nothing under warranty. I noticed the LCD bezel at about 11.5 months, but I was slammed with work/life, and couldn't get to it on time. The dial popped off at about 18 months in, the eyepieces were too small of a bother to warranty (I ended up switching to an eyecup from another model that solved my problems), the lugs wearing off the paint as well as the hotshoe paint wear I've learned to accept, the fogging there's nothing I or they can do anything about and the battery connection issues I was told was a firmware issue, but turned out not to be...so yeah...nothing was fixed under warranty. Thankfully my EVF has had no bleeding...at this point, I have a fully functional camera whose output I'm very happy with. But I feel like those people who bought crap supercars for a lot of money in the '80s and grumbled that when it works, it's a pleasure...but when it breaks - and they did often - it's a pain that one shouldn't have to put up with after the amount one spent on it. Twice I've had to deal with camera-related issues on a trip...the EVF went missing in the Swiss Alps, and the dial popped off in the middle of Brussels a year later. It's good to hear that the 1 and 10 are better...I really hope the 5 replacement follows suit.

    It's annoying, eh? It's like a best friend who just happens to randomly punch you for no reason every now and again, but otherwise is a good guy. :D 

    Then you're pretty lucky!! Mine's had every issue in the book, except for the EVF bleeding. It's still working and churning out great pics, I still consider it a reliable travel companion...but I can't help but feel that Oly kinda slapped this one together in a hurry.

    I sure hope you're right!
    • Like Like x 1
  8. aidanw

    aidanw Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 19, 2012
    Wellington, NZ
    While these issues are really annoying - and I've had three issues with mine (Image Stabiliser stopped working temporarily; lost eye cup several times; Aperture showing as "-.-") - I do think that it's unfair to compare the reliability with a Canon 7D or Nikon D600.

    Those large DSLRs have been through many many generations to get where they are.
    I've had Canon 350D, 400D, 550D, 40D, 5D - and these are all very similar cameras in a sense. They are not revolutionary every release.

    Whereas the m43 cameras are pushing the envelope with size, IS, processing power packed in a tiny unventilated case, water proofing, etc.
    I attribute the failures to this.

    If we were looking at the 3rd or 4th gen OM-D series and seeing common defects I'd be very unhappy.
    In the meantime, I think these are an unfortunate part of being a slightly early adopter.

    The "grass is greener" part of me wonders if Sony NEX cameras are more stable given how many more releases of a very similar design they've made. But I'm sure there are teething issues there too, perhaps not as much.
    • Like Like x 2
  9. WT21

    WT21 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    Canon 5d classic had a major fail with the mirror becoming unglued. Also, the lcd in the early runs were very off in color, and they had to change the lcd. Paint pn the hot shoe chipped easily, and you could easily bend a CF pin.

    How about the folks who bought a Nikon d800 with its auto-oiling senser? Betcha they would have preferred a cracked bezel :D 
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    My E-M10 is way solid. In fact it feels like a refined E-M5 in every sense!
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    That would be some of the d600s. Some d800s had a left side focus errors (more people just didn't know how to use or test the camera properly than there were cameras with errors).
    • Like Like x 1
  12. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    I'm not comparing it to anything...but if I were to do so, I can tell you that my ancient Canon A75 compact never had any issues. My second-hand Canon 10D (talk about early adoption...it was one of the first mass-produced DSLRs, period) worked flawlessly when I was a reporter (no easy job for a camera). My Rebel XTi (again, a very early DSLR) never missed a beat. My Canon G7 saw duty as a well-beaten newspaper office camera for years, had been dropped too many times to count, and it worked flawlessly until the day it was stolen. Look in my signature, I've owned dozens of digital cameras, many of them far cheaper than the OM-D...and I've *NEVER* had as many issues as with the OM-D.

    I'm not really buying the "early adoption" thing. Sure, it's a new body...but it's not like Olympus is new to either the camera business or to digital cameras. If they can't take what they've learned in decades of making cameras and apply it to their flagship model (which is what it was for quite a while) to make sure it doesn't fall apart in the hands of scores upon scores of users, we've got a problem.

    All great examples. That in no way excuse Olympus's poor build quality. Furthermore, the 5Ds were recalled and the mirrors were fixed for free, whether they were under warranty or not. Where's Olympus with that sort of solution? The 5DC's LCD issue was noticed and remedied very quickly...they changed the LCDs early on during the run, and later models were in no way affected. Olympus never changed anything through the production run of the E-M5 to improve the issues I'm speaking of. That bothers me as much as the fact that these things are happening at all. Zero support from Olympus and no effort to remedy the issues during the production run.

    Part of the reason I waited more than a year into the E-M5's production run was to get a copy that had had the kinks worked out. But wait...Olympus doesn't play that game. The manufacturing/design flaws that plague the first copy one off the line will plague the final one off the line...and that's not right.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. shutterduster

    shutterduster Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 8, 2013
    Keremeos, BC. Canada
    Dave T
    I have had my E-M5 for over 2 1/2 years. Shutter count is 67,200.
    Take it everywhere. Rides around in my off roader, hiking up mountain trails, on the beach, walking around town, rained on, snowed on, splashed on a rough outing on the ocean. No fogging, no battery issues, no cracked bezel, no evf falling off although the eyecup went missing "ONCE" and there is a bit of paint loss.

    Maybe I just baby mine :wink: I'll start using mine and wait for all those issues to come up.
    • Like Like x 3
  14. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    Consider yourself extremely lucky, then!

    Also, take a closer look...I'll bet the bezel is cracked. I didn't notice mine 'till I started reading about it, took a closer look, and sure as shootin' it's cracked. Whatever, thankfully, it apparently doesn't affect anything.

    By the way, I actually do baby mine (though I don't shelter it)...it always rides around in a padded bag, and only exposed to the elements when it has to be...the fact that it's STILL exhibiting all those issues, despite my best efforts to protect it, is very sad. It has been on three continents, up Mt. Fuji and a handful of mountains in Switzerland, survived Waterloo and 6 hours of rain (albeit with a fogged EVF) shooting pandas in China and said hello to some of the greatest works of art in the world...like I said...I like the camera, and I've been a massive fa.nboy of the system since the day I bought into it. But that doesn't excuse this particular model's shortcomings.
  15. GRID

    GRID Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 22, 2011
    I´ve had mine for about 2 years now and it works like when it was new, I use it alot on quite hard conditions, Dusty, cold, snow, rain and bring it into work almost every day also, but in my padded backpack.
    • Like Like x 1
  16. Mikefellh

    Mikefellh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 7, 2012
    Toronto, Canada
    I have TWO E-M5's, and I've had NONE of those issues.

    Guess it has to do with how you take care of them; when transporting them I keep them in SLR form-fitting cases I had for my previous Oly dSLRs (my E-300 CS-3SH when I don't have the grip on, and my larger E-3 CS-7SH when I do have the grip on). The camera with case goes into my backpack; I'd never put the camera into another case without the form-fitting case on.

    I've always used these type of cases, including my film SLR for 20 years!
  17. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    That's good to hear...I wonder what the difference is...

    Horseradish! I'm sorry, but I will *NOT* be taking any responsibility for Olympus's shoddy workmanship. It has NOTHING to do with how they're transported. Like I said, I baby the heck out of this camera (more so than some of my past gear that kept ticking without any issues).

    It's nice that you treat your cameras like a Faberge egg, but that shouldn't be necessary for a camera that has been marketed as a do-anything-stand-up-to-any-environment pro camera from the get go.

    Like I said, I take care of my camera as much as possible. It's always in a padded bag, whether at home, in a backpack or in my car. Heck, I'm so careful that when I set it down on a table, I fold the strap so that it protects the lens...no way in heck the shortcomings of my camera are the result of anything but disappointingly poor workmanship and quality control at Olympus.
  18. 50orsohours

    50orsohours Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 13, 2013
    Portland Oregon
    You seem real frustrated lately with m4/3. I started with a G3, EM-5 and now my EM-1 and not one issue.

  19. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    I really did love my little E-M5 while I had it (before it was stolen), and while mine never had problems it was a little fiddly. Didn't feel as solid as either the 5DII or as touch as the near indestructible old 300D (plastic fantastic, first consumer DSLR from Canon, which really started me off on the whole photography thing). In part, I think it's down to the challenges of miniaturizing everything to that degree. the E-M1 feels like a much more solid product, although still not quite the 'hammer' that was the 5D mark II; some of that is purely down to mass. I also found the E-M10 I played with in-store to be a better balance of contruction/features than the E-M5 is/was.

    I think we do need to remember that the E-M5 really put MFT back on the map where mirrorless stills shooters were concerned.
  20. Al.

    Al. Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 3, 2010
    Hull, East Yorkshire, UK
    The EM-5 is not the best camera I have ever owned, when it first came out everyone was stating it was a Pro quality camera, but feels very fragile to me.
    what still bugs me is the stupid position of the on off switch.
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