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E-M1 Firmware/Software Modifications

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by OzRay, Mar 22, 2014.

  1. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    This may also apply to other OM-D cameras, but I'm only familiar with the E-M1. While the E-M1 is high customisable, it still falls short on a number of areas which I'm slowly discovering and it's quite frustrating considering how customisable the camera actually is, so some things just don't appear to make sense. I'm slowly compiling a list of issues that I feel Olympus should address to make the camera a lot more functional. The list isn't conclusive, but a start to what I've found so far. I did send an email to Olympus on one issue, but received the usual cryptic response ie, they didn't have a clue as to what I was talking about.

    Anyhow, here are three things that I feel should and could be addressed, and I suspect quite easily, to provide better functionality for the E-M1 (maybe if an Olympus rep that understands English is reading this, they might be motivated to pass on the suggestions):

    1. LCD - Whenever the camera is turned on, the LCD is always in standby mode, in readiness to switch between Live View and the EVF, even if you have no intention of using Live View. The Live View may be turned off, but the LCD is still on and showing a blank screen, which turns off when you put the camera to your eye. This is possibly one reason why the E-M1 doesn't have all that great a battery life. I'm not sure how much power the LCD in standby mode draws, but I suspect that it's not insignificant. So this should be fixed so that the LCD is fully off until called for when the Live View, OK, Menu etc buttons are pressed ie when you actually need the LCD screen to be on.

    2. AFL - There is no provision for a proper AF lock, as the AFL only works in C-AF mode. There should be a provision to lock AF via a button so that it stays locked until that button is pressed once more. This sort of function is available with the 35-100mm and longer focal length 4/3 lenses, via buttons on the lens barrel, and is extremely handy. The only way to overcome this shortfall is via manual focus, but that creates more problems than it solves.

    3. Lever 2 position - Provide more options when Lever 2 is selected. I can't find one single use for the Lever 2 position, as it only offers one option other than Off. Lever 2 position could be a way of selecting AEL/AFL, by providing another button to work as an AFL when it is selected. This could provide another set of button functions by becoming a toggle between two setups. It almost appears as if the Olympus engineers ran out of things to select, so just left this lever with one choice, not a great one at that.

    I'm sure that I'll come across other things, but are there things that frustrate you that appear to be relatively easy fixes when it comes to camera controls?
     
  2. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    I think in general that you're being pretty optimistic to hope that Oly will be listening to these sort of user requests!!

    On your specific points:

    1. LCD - Have you tried turning off the auto eye detect and switching manually? On my E-M5, this seems to turn the back LCD completely off (although I can't say for sure whether it really is off).

    2. AFL - I have my E-M5 setup for back-button focus and this is effectively an AFL lock since the camera will not refocus until I press it again. The shutter button does not activate focus.

    3. 2x2 Lever - I have an E-P5 with this feature and I agree that it's poorly implemented and actually nearly useless. I can't find any of the options that are any use for me. Personally, I'd like to use it for switching AF to face detect and back.
     
  3. Neftun

    Neftun Mu-43 Veteran

    408
    Jul 15, 2012
    Norway
    Patrick Kristiansen
    The em5 uses an oled display. When black, pixels are off. Em1 uses lcd, backlight always on as far as I can tell.

    Second using afl/ael button as af-on. With ae-lock on halfpressed shutter, aperture on index and ev on thumb, I feel in total control.

    What's with no love for the 2*2 lever? Having iso and wb on the dials in position 2, I never have to take my eye from the evf.
     
  4. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    Thanks for the LCD clue. That halfway does what I want. But why on earth didn't Olympus allow the SCP work in this mode?

    I can't find a feature that does that locks AF.
     
  5. On my E-P5 I have a bad habit of switching the 2x2 lever over to change the ISO and forgetting to switch it back straight away. On the whole I don't find it more effective than pressing a shortcut button for ISO or WB. I might just set it to change the AF mode instead.
     
  6. Neftun

    Neftun Mu-43 Veteran

    408
    Jul 15, 2012
    Norway
    Patrick Kristiansen
    You need to go to button function, AEL button, change to mode3, I think. Can program it to do different things in the various af- modes.
     
  7. lightmonkey

    lightmonkey Mu-43 Veteran

    480
    Dec 22, 2013
    yep, same here. i reprogrammed a Fn button for ISO. 2x lever swaps focusing mode between S-AF and C-AF*TR.

    problem - which goes back to original post that em1 is almost there - is that it simply swaps focusing modes but not focusing points. so not 100% solution
     
  8. mpg01

    mpg01 Mu-43 Regular

    154
    Oct 21, 2012
    This, I've only had a chance to use an E-M1 for about a week so i may just have not gotten used the functionality but, yeah, Rather than adjusting ISO I was flipping WB options.
     
  9. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    I have that selected for a different button, but it doesn't do what I wanted.

    There's potentially so much flexibility in the system, but it's somewhat hobbled by what you can actually select and set as functions.
     
  10. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    Clint
    The E-M1 is complicated to set up when one wants to set many customizations. As with all cameras - they do require users to learn how to use them within the designed interfaces and then use the customizations to benefit. I had to find what I wanted that was not already a default, decide what I could or could not set for my wishes, and whether default settings could help achieve what I wanted or not. So it became system wide approach of functions and not so much I want this here and this here.

    All said and done I have been shooting with the camera for 5 months - and have only used one other camera that I like better, and it cost over twice as much. The E-M1 was very well done.

    LCD -
    Use the Live View button and Info button to turn off the Live View screen for a very minimal electrical draw - the LCD screen has to be turned back on manually. And the SCP does come up on screen or in the viewfinder, I have the OK button set to call it up.

    Add to that the cameras 1 minute sleep mode when not being used - I don't think there would be a significant increase in battery life by turning the LCD entirely off - LCDs and LEDs are some of the most energy efficient electronics around. Besides the batteries are small an easy to carry, which I have an extra or two with me all the time anyway.

    Focus Lock
    Custom Menu AEL/AFL, just set it to S3/C3/M1 -

    Using either S-AF or C-AF, use the AEL/AFL button to engage focusing and removing your thumb when focused, recompose and shoot. Works the same as higher end Nikons and Canons.

    It is also be possible to assign the AEL/AFL button to the Fn1 button for back button focus and then reassign something else to the AEL/AFL button, but that is way more complicated than I'd want - so I never experimented with assigning something else to the AEL/AFL button.

    Lever 2 position - I guess there could be more options, but then again that could add a whole other level of complexity to something that is already filled with many opportunities for duplication, unintended consequences, and errors that aren't really errors but user misunderstanding or confusion.
     
  11. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    Unfortunately, the only way to fully turn off the LCD and use the EVF solely, also removes the ability to view the SCP with the OK button, you get a different, not so friendly view in the EVF or LCD if Live View is turned on.

    I already have sleep mode and turn camera off mode enabled.

    There appears no way to use S-AF, press a button and the AF stays locked at that setting. A simple example of where it can be handy is for panoramas. You can already lock the exposure with the AEL button, but it would also be ideal if you could lock the AF at the same time so that there is no repeated focusing while panning. You just can't do this as far as I'm aware, except by going into MF mode.

    Extra levels of functionality doesn't necessarily mean extra complexity, as long as the selection methodology doesn't vary. To have a whole range of functions available for the Lever 1 position and just one for the Lever 2 position doesn't make sense.

    What would be really great is to be able to connect the camera to you PC and then assign settings through the PC. For example, you can tune aftermarket car ECUs in this way and set parameters in any way that you want, even in real time.
     
  12. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    I did find one way to view the SCP with the LCD eye detect off, but it will only show in the EVF, or LCD if Live View was switched on. You have to go into Custom Menu/D/Control Settings and, in P/A/S/M etc, select Live SCP and disable the rest.
     
  13. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA
    I'm surprised - and agree that this is unfortunate. It would be a great candidate for a firmware revision, if it would be possible.
     
  14. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    Clint
    My E-M1 is setup as in the downloadable pdf in the first post of this thread, https://www.mu-43.com/showthread.php?t=57117

    I shut off Live View on the LCD by using the Live View button on the back of the camera, and click the Info button until nothing is showing on the LCD and I have a blank screen (my normal modus operandi). No live view, no previews, no auto playback of just shot images, nothing till I press the OK button and the SCP shows on the LCD. If I have the camera to my eye and click on the OK button, the SCP shows in the viewfinder. The LCD may not be "totally off" but this does minimize the electrical draw and is a non-issue for me.

    BTW - My E-M5 functions exactly the same way.

    As for locking focus - with back button focus set up the way I have it, I press the Fn1 button to start focus and it will continually focus until I remove my thumb - and focus is locked. It will stay focused at that distance until I press the button again. For this to work the camera is set for C-AF as I gain the best of both worlds - I press the Fn1 button till it locks focus, release and shoot at that focus setting till I need to set another focus point. If I need to use continuous focus I just keep my subject in the viewfinder under my focus target while the FN1 button is pressed and press the shutter button when I want an image taken or I can release the Fn1 button and shoot at that focus distance until I again press the shutter button. Simple and easy and the side benefit is I can set S-AF and hand the camera to someone else and they use the shutter button as normal.

    I could go into Custom Menu A, AEL/AFL and set S-AF to Mode 3, then no matter if the camera is set for S-AF or C-AF I get the same functionality I already mentioned.
     
  15. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    Yes, you can set up AF lock if in C-AF mode, but I use that rarely, as it's pretty crappy. My point was that it would have been very handy to be able to lock AF by the press of a button while in S-AF mode. See the buttons on the front part of the lens in this picture (there are four of them and the 90-250mm, 300mm and 150mm have them as well), they lock the focus regardless of the AF mode that you're in:

    [​IMG]

    With all the flexibility built into the E-M1, you would think that at least one button could emulate this experience.
     
  16. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    One thing I should have mentioned from the outset, is bring back tethered shooting, whether by wire or wireless for PC/Mac. Just providing a remote control via a mobile phone is not really good enough for a camera that professes to be a pro camera. Anyone working in a studio or similar situation is going to want to work from a full sized screen. If the wireless capability to interact with a mobile phone is there, then there should be no reason why a PC/Mac shouldn't be able to do so as well. Olympus did it once with the E-1, but then decided to run and hide.