EM5ii too complicated?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Jfrader, Sep 27, 2015.

  1. Jfrader

    Jfrader Guest

    I just saw a post on the Olympus Digital Camera and Photo Enthusiasts Facebook group from an irate individual. He had seen all the good reviews about the OMD-EM5ii and gone out to buy one that very day. He expressed in his post his extreme dissatisfaction and stated his intention to take it back the next morning, less than 24 hours later, because there "is no excuse" for the complexity of the menu system. He compared it to the "elegant simplicity" of the OM1 and couldn't understand why Olympus would abandon that, forgetting "where they came from."

    I saw that a few folks were trying to calm him down and explain the fact that Oly menus are actually very information and feature-rich, very customizable and actually pretty well laid out. A few were offering to help him get started, suggesting that the vast majority of the menus can be ignored by someone simply setting up P or iAuto mode and forgetting the rest. I started to jump in but held my peace as I just don't know how to begin to explain that comparing a simple, all mechanical, all manual film camera from the 70's to a modern, feature-rich, professional-grade digital camera with full automation, extensive customization and many advanced functions is simply neither fair nor reasonable. Rather it seems astonishingly silly. It felt like comparing a modern automobile owner's manual to that of a single-speed bicycle.

    How about it? Is it even worth the effort in such a case? How would you approach it? Or would you? I just decided that life is too short.
  2. Sounds like he just wants an OM-1 with a digital back. If he values simplicity to that level, I would suggest that he avoid most modern cameras. Especially any with a touch screen, anything with soft keys, multi-function dials, endlessly configurable function buttons. There are a few that would suit - e.g. some Leicas, LX100, Fuji, DF. The main thing would be to go for ones with fixed dials controlling aperture, shutter, ISO/exposure compensation. Those cameras are made for people like him. As a system, I think Fuji X would suit him rather well.
  3. Bebop

    Bebop New to Mu-43

    Sep 27, 2015
    Interesting! I have just joined this forum, because I think(!) I'm about to buy an OM-D-M5II as a travel camera. I have a Canon 5D3 which I love and will keep, but one of the things that attracts me to the m5II is the fact that it seems so customisable. I am slightly nervous about getting to grips with a new menu system, but I do enjoy getting stuck in and trying to get the most out of my camera. I think it is probably his failure to do his research that is the problem. (sincerely hoping I don't have to eat my words soon :)  )

    I had considered the Fuji system too, so I am intrigued by your comment. (edit: I've just realised this is because the controls are on dials on the camera rather than in menus - sorry, I didn't read it properly)

    I was leaning more towards the M5II because of the custom buttons, the size, weight, reasonably priced lenses, and finally, some fantastic pictures that I've seen on here. Oh and the articulated screen!
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2015
  4. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Says it all really. As good as the OMDs are, they're not perfect for everyone!
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    You can just set the thing on manual and pick an iso and you have an old film camera. I'm not saying that Olympus couldn't do it better, but with many features comes many controls. You can have simplicity or many features. Even Apple would have reduced the feature set before making a fabulous interface.
  6. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    call me Arg
    Ask him to press the 'OK' button. Then he will feel 'OK'. :2thumbs:

    Given his stated needs, he will never need to dig deeper. Perhaps he hasn't discovered it yet?

    It's OK to press OK. :rolleyes-38:
    • Like Like x 2
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  7. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    Most Olympus users are either familiar with the menu system, or just don't make much use of it, and at worse find it quirky. People who use different brand cameras all the time, like professionals, like the Olympus images and cameras and detest the menu system. It's a workable menu system only if one has an a priori knowledge of where things are and what they do.

    Now, anyone who wants, or expects, a literal OM-1 digital camera should probably stick to what they know, keep shooting film and let us kids enjoy digital. (I'm only 62.)
    • Agree Agree x 2
  8. tyrphoto

    tyrphoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2014
    Seoul | NYC
    The Olympus menus can be described in this quote:

    "The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense." - Thomas Edison
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. siftu

    siftu Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 26, 2015
    Bay Area, CA
    Not to mention 5 axis IBIS, high res mode, live comp and a billion other features. The em5 ii is an excellent travel camera.

    Back to the OP's question. I wouldn't try convincing him, his mind is already closed to it.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  10. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    If he's not willing to learn how to use the camera then he should probably get a different one.

    I'm not being glib. The Oly "menu system" is there to customize the camera, not be the primary user interface. Once you've got things set up you can access everything you need from dials/buttons on the camera or the SCP, with only a few presses of arrows or "OK". It's easy.

    However, setting up the camera is a fairly involved process; you won't be able to do it intuitively. It's an investment in time that will pay dividends once you've become familiar with the way the camera works and have customized it to exactly how YOU want it to work.

    So if you're not willing to invest that time in customizing the camera and getting familiar with it, you shouldn't get an Oly m43 camera. 'Nuff said.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. GBarrington

    GBarrington Mu-43 Top Veteran

    I'm using the E-M10. I too felt lost even though I merely transitioned from the E30 to E-M10. I think many people try to dive in too deeply into the detailed controls too quickly. I know I did. I got too bogged down in the minutia of controlling the camera immediately rather than let my organic use of the camera control how I learn to use the thing.

    The OMD series cameras work just fine on full auto. Had I been smarter, I'd have started on full auto and let my subsequent needs determine how I learn the control user interface. I should have let my skill grow according to my immediate needs rather than trying to learn everything at once. Modern cameras, of any brand, are just too feature laden to let that occur. Once I realized I was trying to eat the entire pizza in one gulp and then went back to eating that pizza one slice at a time, things got a LOT better.

    It's been about a year and a half, and I'm starting to get some photos I'm really proud of. (See two below) I still don't know everything about the E-M10, but I know how to get the photos I want.

    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. Drdave944

    Drdave944 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Feb 2, 2012
    The originator of the post should realize that the Oly M-5 Mkll is no more difficult than a Canon untitled (39 of 48). 5D-lll. Have you ever explored the Canon autofocus menus,all three of them? It is just different. I can't choose between them. I keep finding new delightful features on both of them but moan about the lack of as usable back screen on the Canon compared to the OMD. For example I was trying to take a picture of a bird. Fortunately the bird sat there forever,so I tried manual focus through the viewfinder and many other settings, It worked ,thanks to the cooperative bird. On an Oly there are several ways of simple one button magnification of subjects that take many steps to do on the Canon. Don't under any circumstances trust the center focus button on a Canon on a small object with angular objects in the viewfinder. This is a major problem which took months to solve and requires a very cooperative subject. If the D3 Canons had a decent touch screen and way to blow up objects in the viewfinder easily it would be a huge improvement. Their SL1 has a nice touch screen but forget about it in their old fogey high end cameras.
    The Canon has much better low light performance and speed of acquiring a moving subject.
    I recently lent my Oly EM-1 to my wife which she now uses instead of the Canon Rebel. Now she won't give it back. I am "stuck" with my Oly M-5 Mkll,poor me. However she appreciates me being around because there is indeed a learning curve. Even if you set it on a simple mode,you will inevitably bump some mysterious unknown button which will change the settings and you need to know how to get back. This is what i hear from newbys all the time. "This camera is too much for me. Give me back my point and shoot."
  13. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    I don't get it. If you want it to shoot like an old OM, why would you even need the menus?
    • Agree Agree x 4
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  14. fsuscotphoto

    fsuscotphoto Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 15, 2013
    St. Cloud, FL
    I disagree with it being as simple as a Canon. I moved from a 7D to the EM5. At first I thought I was going to go nuts. I still don't like how the menu system is laid out, but, I'm used to it now and have the new EM5II. I'm still learning though. Each camera still has things that it does better, but my Canon system is going away slowly and I'm all in for MFT. Just don't let Oly get the big head from all this praise as there are lots of things that they could do better. One example are the mysets. There is no freaking excuse for not having them on the dial like the Canon system, to be switched as easily as the PASM modes. And the battery life leaves much to be desired, especially when the technology is already out there to make it much better.

    I'm extremely happy with my purchases though and want to acquire the Pro lenses.
  15. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    I currently switch between Nikon D4 and Oly E-M1, quite often during a shoot and especially with food.
    Yes, the menus can cause a stutter in workflow, but in all honesty, I put that down to a lack of familiarity and expect that to change over time.
    The Nikon, I can make adjustments without removing the camera from my eye, whereas the Oly I can occasionally get weird results from automatic finger prodding.
    Doesn't mean the camera's design or layout is poor, just my knowledge of it.
  16. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    How complex and difficult is the E-M5 II? It all depends on how much control you want to have. You can set the Mode dial to iAuto or P and just use the camera as a point and shoot. It doesn't get any simpler than that.

    On the other hand, if you want a lot of control and flexibility and a wide range of features, then you need to have the settings to give you access to those features and the control and flexibility you want. It's pretty impossible to do that without an exhaustive menu system. You can argue about whether or not the menus are well laid out and whether or not you'd prefer them to be laid out another way but there's no way I know of avoiding an extensive menu system if you want lots of features plus lots of control and flexibility. The OM-D cameras provide lots of features and lots of flexibility and control but you have the choice of giving all that up and using them as a point and shoot if you want to. Just choose the right mode, aim and press the shutter button. It doesn't get any simpler than that. It can certainly get a lot harder.

    This guy has some choices. He can use the camera as a point and shoot and never use it any other way, he can start out by using it as a point and shoot and slowly learn to use the features he wants to use in order to have more control over his results and he can take as much time as he wants to take to learn what he needs to learn, or he can take the camera back and replace it with something else. If he's going to do that, then he needs to be very clear about what he's looking for and make sure he assesses the cameras he looks at against that list of wants. Cameras don't choose people, people choose cameras. It's the buyer's choice. It's not the camera's fault if the buyer gets it wrong.

    There are some bad cameras, and there are some bad camera choices. They're not the same thing. The E-M5 II isn't a bad camera but it can be a very complex camera. It can also be a very simple camera to use if you want to use it that way. This guy needs to start seriously thinking about what he's looking for and why he made the choice he did if he want's to be sure of making a good camera choice. If he doesn't do that he can take the E-M5 II back and he may well make another bad choice. When it comes to issues like this, it's usually not the camera that's the problem, it's the buyer.
  17. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    call me Arg
    I tend to feel more like: you can treat it like a complex camera or you can treat it like a simple camera, so why isn't he treating it like a simple camera?
    • Agree Agree x 2
  18. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    Usually people buy cameras to take pictures, and often work long and hard to take make pictures. It appears that people on photography forums buy cameras to demonstrate their ability to master poorly designed design interfaces. I guess mastering the Olympus menu system gives some people a great sense of accomplishment and superiority. Everyone's got to fell good about themselves somehow.
  19. dccase

    dccase Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 25, 2014
    Massachusetts, USA
    I think they should re-name the "OK" button to "Menu", and the "Menu" button to "Setup".

    If you could change My Sets from the OK button, I don't think I would ever use the Menu button.
    (After initial setup)
    • Like Like x 2
  20. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Just imagine all the buttons on the EM5 ii being replaced with emojis. It would like having an entire photographic staff at your finger tips.

    BTW, my EM5 ii should arrive tomorrow so I'm trying not to build up too much bad Karma posting snarky comments.
    • Like Like x 1
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