E-M5 ergonomics

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Kiwi Paul, Aug 12, 2013.

  1. Kiwi Paul

    Kiwi Paul Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 15, 2011
    Aberdeen Scotland
    This is a camera I bought that I was worried I might never like or gel with, I held a couple of them about a year ago and just didn't like the feel, (although both of these had the grips attached) so I went for a G5 then later a GH3 instead.
    But one day at the airport a few months ago I handled an E-M5 in a camera shop (sans grip) and was quite surprised how nice it felt. I eventually bit the bullet and bought one as one of the most hyped cameras in recent years so I wanted a shot. The free grip offer was back too so a good time to buy.

    I can honestly say from the first outing with it I loved it, over the next few days and weeks I altered the settings to suit my style and simply find it a joy to use. I know a lot of folk say it's too cramped and prefer it gripped but I find it just right, the buttons and wheels are easily accessible (I use my forefinger to move both wheels). The free grip arrived last week, I find the 2 piece grip way too cumbersome and can never see me using it like that, the single piece grip does give extra purchase but it compromises the handling in other ways (makes it awkward to easily reach the 2 buttons on top which I use a lot to set the focus square and focus mode) and the rear dial has then to be moved with the thumb (which isn't too awkward with the grip but still is a bit of a reach).
    I thought the grip would suit bigger lenses like the 100-300 but really I find the camera better sans any grip no matter what lens.
    It's a nice handling, nimble easy to use camera and I love it.

  2. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho

    I agree, but your post will likely drive the naysayers out of the woodwork to argue the opposite. Since complaints usually dominate the forum, it's nice to hear from someone (or two!) who actually like the ergonomics of the camera.

    To me, the biggest gripe I don't understand is about the menu system. Yes, it's complex, but once you've got the camera set up the way you like it, you rarely have to dive in again to change anything. Like any OS there are things I'd prefer done differently, but overall I find it a very intuitive camera to use once I've customized it.
  3. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Nov 7, 2010
    I'll pile on as well. I'd make some minor adjustments if I could, but overall the handling is fine for me and I like the powerful customization options.

    All cameras are different with regard to controls and UI. It's hard for me to declare each one to be good or bad, mostly just different. Not sure why Oly seems to bring out so many strong negatives, but it does. But that doesn't change how I relate to the camera.
  4. carpandean

    carpandean Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 29, 2010
    Western NY
    It's his opinion of a subjective topic (ergonomics), so there is no arguing about it. I can no more say that he is wrong than he can tell me that I am wrong for finding the gripless E-M5 only useful for small primes and kit lenses, or for finding that it is easiest to use big (well, for :43:) lenses like the 35-100mm f/2.8 with both parts of the HLD-6! I am happy for Paul that he prefers the naked E-M5. I wish that I did too, so that I could sell off the HLD-6 for a couple hundred dollars. :thumbup:
  5. sadwitch

    sadwitch Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 9, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    Main gripe without the grip for me is the positioning of the strap lug. I feel it hinders operations and gripe with grip on, top buttons become awkward to access but makes the AEL button easier to access. If only we can customise the play button, that will be perfect.
  6. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Paul... for me, "to grip or not to grip" is usage dependent.

    I tried the add on grips, as well, and have decided to not use them when using the camera for casual personal use, which isn't terribly demanding in terms of heavy handling usage.

    Were I using the camera professionally, however, especially with larger lenses, where I would be working quickly, with many set up changes, all day long... I probably would use the add on grips to make using the camera a little more "secure" in my hands during the intensive handling found in many commercial use conditions.
  7. Neftun

    Neftun Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 15, 2012
    Patrick Kristiansen
    The original strap holder is bothersome. After replacing it with a small keyring and rubber o-ring, the problem disappears. A leather halfcase I find adds the necessary bulk to make the body ergonimically sound. No problem with heavy lenses:)

    Patrick K
  8. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 14, 2012
    New Mexico
    I love my E-M5 ungripped. In film days, my 35mm system was OM, especially the OM-1, and it was always the right size for me. The E-M5 fits my preferences very nicely, and I find it a joy to use, including with a monster 300mm zuiko legacy lens. (Though for that the grip would be helpful).

    Others may have a less positive experience, but can't really disagree that it is a wonderful camera for me to use. That, being personal, is just a fact. I've bounced around with other m4/3 bodies, but I think I'll end up with another OM-D, just as in the old days, I had an OM-1 and an OM-2.

  9. stratokaster

    stratokaster Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 4, 2011
    Kyiv, Ukraine
    I think E-M5 could be an excellent camera if its rear dial was located a bit further to the right, if its strap lugs didn't dig into the palm of my hand, if it didn't require about 10000 button presses just to enable and disable exposure bracketing, and if it was possible to set it to smaller AF point size permanently instead of having to fiddle with it every time after turning the camera on. What's even more frustrating is that you can permanently enable small AF box size on the E-PL5 and even on the E-PM2, but geniuses at Olympus being their greedy selves will never backport this purely software feature to the E-M5. Do they really think that if they frustrate their customers enough they will get more sales in the future? :hmmm:

    As it is, the E-M5 is very good, but flawed.
  10. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho

    As predicted . . . LOL (just teasing)

    One question/comment though: Do you use bracketing often? I find I hardly ever it with the OMD, as the liveview "blinkies" do such a good job of displaying the exposure in all parts of the image. And it's so easy to pull shadows with the OMD I no longer see the need for HDR.
  11. stratokaster

    stratokaster Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 4, 2011
    Kyiv, Ukraine
    I rarely use bracketing, but I know a lot of people who do. Still, even if I actually use bracketing 2 or 3 times a year, I don't want to press 12 buttons just to enable or disable it. This is the epitome of bad UI design.

    For me personally the main deal breaker is the default size of the AF box. It's simply humongous and the camera will happily focus at the most contrasty object within the AF box and not where I want it to.
  12. Ian.

    Ian. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2013
    I just want to say "nay!" I would have posted earlier but I was in woodwork.

    Hardware: On-Off button near the top. 2x2 (E-P5) Dials.
    Grip-gripe: I'd like an E-P3 type removable one. Nothing bulkier.
    Software: Bracketing and Mysets are a smeg-up!

    ...and thrice nay!
  13. arad85

    arad85 Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 16, 2012
    Having picked up an OM-D for the first time on the weekend, all I can say is it is waaaay too small.... I have large hands (I'm over 2m tall - 6' 8" in proper measurements) and it took less than 10 seconds for me to decide the OM-D wasn't for me - I couldn't evem hold the camera and press the shutter button comfortably.

    A gripped GH-3 on the other hand... nice.

    Horses for courses :wink:
  14. jeffryscott

    jeffryscott Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 2, 2010
    I too prefer the camera without the HLD-6. Never tried any of the third party grips.

    I find these kind of discussions to be one of the reasons I miss having a local camera shop that carries a nice variety of cameras. No matter what you read, until you handle a camera you really don't know what it will feel like. In reality, they all will produce excellent images, it comes down to ergonomics and if the system will do what you want.
  15. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    Hmmm. To me, something I use only 2/3 times a year is better buried in menus, so I don't inadvertently engage it. But to each his own.

    As to the focus box, yeah, it's one of my gripes, though certainly not a deal breaker. There are other niggles that I find more bothersome. On the whole, however, I just work around them and they don't really detract from my enjoyment of using the camera. The positives greatly outweigh the negatives, to me.
  16. htc

    htc Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 11, 2011
    It's a good advise to all of us. Handle them as features not faults :rolleyes:
  17. Photodan1

    Photodan1 Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 26, 2012
    Nashville, Tennessee, USA
    Focus area size

    I have to say that as an owner of an em5 and epm2, I would prefer the focus area on the em5 could be locked in to the smaller size (like the epm2).However, I have configured the f2 button for the multi function and the first press changes directly to the 14x focus point size - same as the epm2.

    I just don't find it to be a big deal for me, although it would be a welcome firmware change.
  18. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    I hardly every bracket on the E-M5. But only because it's hidden away annoyingly. On my 5DII, C1 is set to bracket, manual exposure, and I use it quite extensively, because it's easy to use. The E-M5's bracketing implementation is actually better than the 5DII (5 shots!), but so annoying to reach that I only use it infrequently.

    None of this stuff is a deal-breaker, but there are some little niggles.

    (and like the OP, I like things ungripped)
  19. Neftun

    Neftun Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 15, 2012
    Patrick Kristiansen
    I tried bracketing for the first time in a while, a kinda tricky landscape shot. Yes, quite a few buttonpresses. It was fun to just shoot away, 9fps and 1ev spread on the 3shot bursts, but I found when the images was imported, that there was three times as many shots to go through, not any more keepers than it has been when not bracketing, and I cemented for me the notion that I don't really like the hdr look enough to be bothered with it anyway.
    With an evf show live histogram, spot-metering, aperturepriority and exposure-lock on the thumb, it is really easy to nail exposure almost every dang time. Won't be bracketing again any time soon:)

    Patrick K
  20. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 5, 2011
    Camera feel is a very personal thing. I owned an OM-D, and never did get comfortable with it. The GH3 felt nearly perfect the first time I held it. And I find the menus on the OM-D to be nearly bizarre. I don't expect everyone else to have the same opinion.