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Is my XXX defective, broke, or does not work right?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Clint, Sep 20, 2015.

  1. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    Clint
    Why does the first question so often seem to be, 'is my equipment defective' etc., vice 'what am I doing wrong'?

    Maybe it is a worldwide issue of not reading manuals. For quite sometime techs used to like to use the response "RTFM" (red the bleaping manual) because there typically is a lot of information in them for high tech gear which answers a great many questions. (Applicable to Olympus and Panasonic m4/3 gear!)

    On the other hand, many have no issue with iOS or Android apps that seem to have no apparent reason or rhyme into how they work, but people are willing to spend the time to experiment. And there is no FAQ or manual!!!!

    Go figure!
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2015
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  2. CWRailman

    CWRailman Mu-43 Top Veteran

    564
    Jun 2, 2015
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Denny
    I agree with what you have outlined and thought about it myself from time to time. The new cameras have gotten extremely complex compared with what was sold just ten years ago and I think one of the issues is that the manual included with the camera does not answer many in depth questions. Consumers are less likely to download the complete manual that is on the CD included with the camera because they do not want to have to sit in front of their computer and that stuff is very difficult to read off of a cell phone screen. Another issue is that many of these cameras are purchased from on line or from big box stores where the sales people are not familiar with the products they are selling. In many respects, forums such as this are taking the place of trained and informed sales staff and I think camera manufactures have gotten to rely on such communities to compensate for the lack of information in their manuals.
     
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  3. dwig

    dwig Mu-43 Top Veteran

    622
    Jun 26, 2010
    Key West FL
    Ego, an unwillingness to admit fault.
     
  4. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    Many manuals are very poorly written. They spend pages and pages on how to change the battery or aim the camera, and then compress the thousand tiny features in 5 pages of dense tables which use "creative" names for camera functions.. It's hard to even do a search since you need to type in something specific. You can't easily look up a problem that is due to an unknown setting being set to the wrong unknown setting. The question is really "Is my camera broken or should I spend another hour looking for something of which I've never heard?"

    Not that I have strong feelings about this of course. :mad:

    The point Clint in the OP makes about apps is spot on, however. These apps are intuitive enough or simple enough for most folks to succeed by fiddling, which is one reason many prefer cellphones to dedicated cameras. For whatever reason, the app makers are succeeding and camera makers are failing.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2015
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  5. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    I agree that modern cameras have many more options, but I would argue that they are fundamentally no more complex than they used to be... they are still just boxes with a lens to focus and controls to adjust exposure. Even the more 'complex' functions break down into features that are common to every camera, eg focus, video etc

    The auto everythings, which are wonderful to have, tend to encourage people to pass on the responsibility of the image to the camera, and not to take ownership of the process themselves. Understand the basic principles of photography, and the camera becomes less complex. Learn to recognise/analyse why the camera is not giving you the image you wish, and then remedy it either by adjusting the camera or your technique or indeed expectations.

    the manuals are universally awful... badly written, badly laid out and woefully lacking in explanations of why a feature exists and how you would use it.

    Maybe I am a little out of the norm, as I spent most of my working life dealing with new technologies, learning what they did and then working out ways communicating them to potential customers. Maybe I come from a mindset that is 'I know what I want this device to do - let me dig around the various options and see what I can find that will help me'

    It usually takes me 5-10 minutes to get familiar with a new camera, to work out how to focus and set exposure, everything else is bells and whistles that I can learn at my leisure, or just ignore entirely. I usually go through every menu just to see whats there, but tend to find that most are irrelevant to me. But at least I am aware that they are there

    just my rambling thoughts

    K
     
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  6. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    A manual only provides information on operating a device (a camera in this case); not photography fundamentals. It used to take 15 minutes to learn what all the controls were on a camera, but a long time to learn how to effectively use them.

    Another thing that I've noticed is that people tend to crowd source questions instead of doing research. Remember when you wanted to learn about photography and bought a photography book, or a photography magazine (magazines had articles on both gear and making photographs)?. A basic difference between the two is that writers for books and magazines were paid, and generally only people who actually knew something would get paid. 99.3 % of what's on the internet is people regurgitating something they read on the internet. If you don't know the answer to your question, you don't know if the answer someone posted is correct.
     
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  7. Carbonman

    Carbonman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 10, 2014
    Vancouver BC
    Graham
    The Olympus E-M10 manual is really poorly written. A new digital CSC user can't make sense of a lot of the information until they've fumbled around with the camera for a few months; at that point the explanations begin take sense. The in camera menus are so deep that it also presents a problem finding and using the features effectively, or at all.
    I've been involved in photography for over 4 decades but am still on a steep learning curve.
     
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  8. Harvey Melvin Richards

    Harvey Melvin Richards Photo Posting Junkie

    Feb 15, 2014
    Southwest Utah
    I have asked questions about my E-M10 on this forum because I haven't known what to call the issue I've had, so no idea where to even start looking. I can describe the problem in a thread, and someone familiar with the system is able to respond.

    I tried describing my issue to the camera's manual, but I got no response.
     
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  9. a_hit_of_meth

    a_hit_of_meth Mu-43 Veteran

    243
    Jan 7, 2012
    Most of the time it's because of an issue or setting not included or clearly stated in the manuals. Sometimes it can be a user not bothering to learn or not having the time to keep up with the advances in their new gear, and other times it's because there is actually something wrong with it.

    I don't see a particular problem with all the what's wrong questions, I've seen posts from newbies and long term users asking the same things. I remember the long discussions from all those people trying to figure out how to get bracketing on their E-m5's.

    Based on what I've read about customer service in some countries, it's much easier and quicker to post a question online than it is to deal with call and wait and sometimes not be given a clear answer on camera problems. Many people who start with those type threads end up becoming long term members and go on to make lots of contributions to the forum, so I don't really mind them as much as some of the smartass answers given to people asking those type questions by people who think they know everything.
     
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  10. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    I generally agree with this except for the practical side of the last comment. If it's a setting issue, you can just try it and see if it works. The bigger problem (as you note) is a basic understanding of photography, especially camera shake and shutter speed and/or subject movement and shutter speed.
     
  11. Carbonman

    Carbonman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 10, 2014
    Vancouver BC
    Graham
    The salespeople at the store I bought my E-M10 at are useless. The "Olympus expert" that has had an E-M5 for ages is no help when I've spoken to him regarding settings or figuring things out. His suggestion is usually to recommend resetting everything to factory default and starting over - no help at all.
    I now deal elsewhere and have no customer loyalty to them.
     
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  12. budeny

    budeny Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 4, 2014
    Boulder, CO
    200% agree.
    Example: it takes quite a time on google to figure out why LCD and EVF "Frame Rate" is greyed out in EM1 (or OMD's in general) menu. You will never read it in manual or guess the reason: because focus Peaking assigned to one of the buttons and no matter if it is enabled or not!
    Another example: I still cannot figure out why my EM1 doesn't focus in Live Composite - I'm just waiting for another firmware update to reset all settings.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2015
  13. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    x
    I just learned something :-O
     
  14. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Northumberland
    I just like the novel use of the word "tropically" ... while applauding the thread and its fundamental question.

    In a year or so the Olympus manuals will be using A.I. to chat to confused users the world over,
    so expect a lot more of these threads.
     
  15. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    theres an old sales adage that ultimately people don't buy features... they buy benefits.

    Some companies get this, like Apple and oddly enough Leica ( disclosure I was in Apple Marketing for close to 10 years.. I am now retired :) )

    Many others don't, and cameras manufacturers are amongst the worst offenders. They cram their crappy menus with endless features without explaining the benefit

    K
     
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  16. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    I've never read any of the manuals that came with my Oly u43 cameras. Nor have I bought any of the 3rd party books available either. Instead, I charge a couple of batteries and spend several dedicated hours going through every single menu and setting until I know what they all do. This helps to build a picture in my mind as to what's going on. Traps like the interdependence between frame rate and focus peaking can be a bit more tricky, but a couple of focused and uninterrupted sessions with the camera BEFORE it's used in earnest will probably pick up a few of these too. Then there's always Google for the edge cases.

    These things are complex and they haven't had the usability investment in their UIs that iOS etc has had - the solution is to put the graft in and LEARN it!
     
  17. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    I suspect I would find an Apple camera frustrating at first since it would behave so differently from what I'm used to. Apple does have an "adjustment" curve. Their devices do have a certain elegance when you get past this point. I wonder if apple would ever make a product with as many features/options as an E-M1
     
  18. tyrphoto

    tyrphoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2014
    Seoul | NYC
    ㅇtㅈyㅅr
    [​IMG]

     
  19. tyrphoto

    tyrphoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2014
    Seoul | NYC
    ㅇtㅈyㅅr
    FWIW, I've never read a camera manual from start to finish. I spend an hour or two going thru each menu item with a brand new camera. Then I just go out shooting with it and spending enough time with it to familiarize myself with all of the menu items that pertains to my shooting style.

    IMO, the world we live in today is an instant gratification world. Instead of problem solving and slowly learning our way around a new camera, computer, phone, tablet, etc... sometimes thru trial and error, we want instant answers via Google, via forums, via customer service, etc...
     
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  20. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    Not successful, I guess. Still, this is before they became the company they are today. Their current camera (iPhone) is doing really well.