Oly Menus: What would you suggest?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by WT21, Sep 7, 2012.

  1. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    I've seen lately a spate of complaints about Oly menus. "Ghoulish" and "unfathomable" and other comments. This is understandable, as new folks try out Olys who had never used them before (given the EM5 popularity).

    For those of us used to these menus now, it might be hard to remember how much of a learning curve they represented. When I started with an EP1 in mid-2009, it took me about 6 months to really get comfortable, and I think I didn't hit my stride until I got an EPL2 with the menus improved!

    But for newbies, I would say this -- this is singularly the MOST flexible camera I have ever used. Yes, they are extensive, but they are actually not complicated. That is, they are not complicated just for the sake of complication!

    So, I would ask for those of us who know them, and those who are critical -- what would you change?

    Behind the gears menu, are a bunch of submenus (and not just scrolling pages ala Panasonic, Nikon or Sony). How else would you work it? The sub-menus are labeled "AF/MF" and "Display" and if you press the info button, you get help? Are the labels bad? I just checked through them, and you could, for instance, change "AF/MF" to "Focus" but would that help?

    One thing I can think of -- a number of basic settings (for instance, are you shooting AF or MF) are in the gears menu. This forces even basic shooters to the gears menu, with it's very advanced controls along side the easy stuff.q

    I'd almost want to see the SCP controls in their own, basic menu, and leave the gears menu for the advanced stuff (like button assignments, etc.).

    What do others think?
     
  2. LeoS

    LeoS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    517
    Aug 6, 2012
    I'd leverage the the profiles (myset) system.

    Let users name the profiles, give more profiles slot, let users download\upload\share and exchange profiles\presets. Maybe even have a PRFL directory next to DCIM, so you can associate certain profile collections on certain SD card.

    One of the problem of diving through the deep menu system is when you need to change things on the field and have to wade through the options one by one. Having an effective profile system may alleviate this.
     
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  3. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    Interesting, but what would you have to change in the field that isn't chaneable in the SCP? I find the advanced settings (like button and dial behaviour) I change once to my liking, then other things, like color, style, aspect ratio and of course PASM are all do-able without menu diving (unlike the Panny and NEX) because you can use the SCP.

    I agree, in general, with better myset (or C mode) implementation. That is sorely lacking, but would have to do with speed of getting to a group of settings, and not as much clarifying the menu system.
     
  4. crsnydertx

    crsnydertx Mu-43 Top Veteran

    995
    Dec 31, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Chuck
    Latest Panny models don't require "menu diving" for essentials you've listed. Q menu, Panny's version of SCP, can be customized to include most or all of what one needs. SCP has more items, I believe, but both approaches work well.
     
  5. LeoS

    LeoS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    517
    Aug 6, 2012
    Yes, I agree. The SCP is done right.

    Other than that, they really need to work on (re)grouping the menu items. The current groupings are redundant and unclear:

    - shooting menu 1
    - shooting menu 2
    - Playback menu (this one is ok)
    - custom menu
    - setup menu

    I'd change it to... (just thinking on my feet, may change in later posts):

    - Shooting menu
    - Image settings (resolution/aspect ratio, IS, NR, picture mode)
    - Video settings (resolution/aspect ratio, frame rate, IS for video)
    - Advanced settings (bracketing, multiple exposure, etc)
    - Custom Menu (can't think of a better name for this just yet)
    - Camera setup
    - Initial settings (date, time, timezone)
    - Interface (display setup and button mappings)
    - Card setup (format, delete all pics)

    I looked at Sony's (rx100) menu, and they've done away with the text labels for the groupings... just icons. That's one way to go :)
     
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  6. I don't really get what the big deal with the Oly menus is. In the case of the E-M5 it is probably one of the most complex cameras that you could own and it is going to take some time to learn how it works and how to make it work best for you. The Gears menu itself is no different to any multi-page menu, except rather than the pages being called 1, 2, 3, etc they at least have some form of descriptive name. Since setting the camera up initially I rarely need to go back into the menus, and the main reason that I do is to format a memory card. Luckily, it just so happens that the format option is literally the first option available.

    If I was to change anything it would be to make the SCP customisable, although I guess to enable that the camera would require even more menu options...
     
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  7. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    I guess that's what I mean. It's sort of an exasperated question "OK, what would YOU change?"

    I find the gears menu pretty clearly laid out and very, very powerful. Maybe the issue is that some (if not many) folks just want a simple camera? The over-customization and control of the OMD is a little much for some needs???
     
  8. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    I agree, the Q menu and SCP are functionally the same.. I was thinking more of the advanced options.

    With most other cameras, you just get "page 1, page 2" of options. With the OMD, you get sub-menus and clear labeling, though there are SO many options, it could certainly be overwhelming.
     
  9. crsnydertx

    crsnydertx Mu-43 Top Veteran

    995
    Dec 31, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Chuck
    For me, most of the advanced options are set once and forget - if I can even comprehend what they do. One could argue to just accept the defaults, but some of the manufacturers' choices are a bit suspect - like SCP=OFF. So at least one painful session of considering and adjusting options is inevitable. After that..no worries!
     
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  10. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    Tom
    The system has two issues: (a) the menu system you need to navigate to change the camera's settings; and (b) how to quickly access frequently used setting using the camera's buttons and dials. To me these issues can't be separated.

    The system of menu burrowing that Olympus uses is essentially the same thing every company uses, including Panasonic--except that there are more places to go because there are more things you can change. This is just the price for making the camera so customizable. The names of the subcategories are, to me, not very important--I typically just hit gears and start cycling through all of them looking for what I want. It's not efficient, but then I only have to do this very, very rarely so I don't mind (and it's not wasting memory resources trying to make sense of it).

    The bigger issue is making some of these functions quickly available. The SCP is a great idea, but ironically it's main flaw is that it's not customizable. Like everyone I'd like to see a AE bracketing button there. And I don't know about you, but I never--like NEVER--change my color space or my JPG contrast/sharpening settings. Why are these things cluttering up the SCP? It seems Olympus could go a long way to improving the interface by just giving people the freedom to select what appears on the SCP (and then make it the default system--that's another story). Panasonic does this with their Q-menu, but it's not as useful in my opinion as the the SCP (or what the SCP could be).
     
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  11. Mikefellh

    Mikefellh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    939
    Jun 7, 2012
    Toronto, Canada
    And if you come across something you don't know, press the info button for the help text to expain it.
     
  12. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Nov 7, 2010
    Add me to this list of folks who don't understand the pitchforks and torches response to Oly's UI. Yeah, with the E-PL1, pre-SCP, I was annoyed with the controls. But that is not relevant today.

    I agree with what many are saying here. Allow user to customize the SCP. And potentially separate the main menu in to configurable layers, where stuff you care about is on layer one and stuff you hardly ever touch in layer two. That way you don't have to wade through as much stuff to get to what you want.

    The problem I see is that those changes would likely just make some folks dislike the UI even more. Customization = Complication on some level, I suppose. For me it is certainly worth it to spend a little time and then have the camera how I want it.
     
  13. Hudsonhites

    Hudsonhites Mu-43 Regular

    82
    Jul 14, 2011
    NYC
    I've used olympus, nikon & panasonic cameras I won't say one menu was any better or worse than the other. Each has it's own nuisances which require time and effort to learn.

    A camera is a tool and every tool requires time & effort to master even a hammer
     
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  14. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Jason
    I really like the SCP. The only complaint I have is that bracketing is buried. I don't get this. Bracketing would be nice up front, I think.
     
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  15. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Nov 7, 2010
    Not sure if you meant nuisance or nuance, but both may fit equally well. :wink:

    I also have used a bunch of brands, and never felt going back and forth was an issue. But now that I've had the E-M5 for a few months I really find that I can't tolerate the Panny GF3. I'm still fine with the GH1, or Canon. Strange.
     
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  16. LeoS

    LeoS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    517
    Aug 6, 2012
    There's no reason why they can't implement a better UI system on these cameras. I suspect that's also one reason why (Nikon and Sony) are embedding Android into their cameras. The current layers-upon-layer-of-text menus cannot keep up with the ever advancing camera features.

    With bigger screens and capacitive touch screens on the cameras, there may be interesting UI development on the horizon... add a good haptic feedback system, they may even introduce a workable virtual buttons and dials on the touch screen.
     
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  17. drewbot

    drewbot Mu-43 Top Veteran

    702
    Oct 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    I was shooting a GF1 for some time before I picked up an E-M5.

    The GF1's menu is much simpler to understand, albeit not as flexible as the Oly menus.

    My only gripe now, once I got into the methodology of the Oly menus, is that the customization is not 100% there.

    What I mean is, why can I not assign my Fn buttons to ANYTHING I WANT?

    Why is underwater shooting a shortcut for Fn2, but not bracketing?

    On a side note, the Fuji X's can customize the live view and EVF view more than Oly or Panny. I find there's too much clutter when you don't want a blank view.

    Why do I want to see my picture mode is set to 3, IS 1, 3:2 ratio, Face detect intelligent, etc. all the time? That's what the SCP is for IMO. I just want to see ISO, shutter speed, Exp. comp, and aperture.
     
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  18. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    Tom
    This is a great point. Once again, I think the solution is more customization, not less, even though that will bring the inevitable howls of protest from people who just don't 'get' the UI.
     
  19. shizlefonizle

    shizlefonizle Mu-43 Veteran

    372
    Apr 21, 2012
    Only thing I can think of easier access to bracketing and mysets and more myset options
     
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  20. riverr02

    riverr02 Mu-43 Veteran

    258
    May 2, 2011
    New York
    Rafael
    All excellent suggestions, and I particularly would be enthused about customizing the SCP and clearing up the display from useless clutter.

    One thing that I believe would go a long way towards facilitating access is to PROPERLY implement a touch screen system. Panasonic has it on their QMenu system, where if you like, you don't have to press a physical button but can select options/suboptions on the screen. That SHOULD be made all the simpler by the use of a capacitative screen on the Oly. One might argue that it's a good idea to have to press a physical button to bring up the SCP since it is a capacitative screen in order to prevent accidental touches, but it'd be nice to have the option to call it up with a touch of the screen ala touch shutter- you could always have the option of disabling that and FWIW i haven't had the touch shutter accidentally go off. But even more importantly, why do we have to use physical buttons/knobs after selecting, say S-AF on the SCP, to change to MF? Seems silly and a waste of the touchscreen to me. Same could also make navigation of the nested menu system much, MUCH easier.