Questions about E-PL5 controls

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by stw, Jul 24, 2013.

  1. stw

    stw Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 23, 2013
    Good morning,

    First off, this looks like a great forum. I appreciate active forums like this to exchange ideas and information.

    I am looking for a new camera. We have an infant who isn't quite a year yet. As I look through pictures of him, I see lots of poor to mediocre many of the pictures have been taken with iphones in poor lighting.

    I started off looking at some DSLRs. A friend let me use his D7000 for awhile. I loved it and was able to get some great shots with it. He has a ridiculous amount of lenses for any situation. I love the granular controls of it - dials that let you control all aspects of a shot without having to look at a menu. However... I know that I want a camera that is far more portable than that. The best camera is the one you have with you, eh?

    This search led me to things like the E-M5, others in the Oly PEN lineup, Sony NEX series, and a few other options. I keep circling back to the Olys - partially for sentimental reasons, as I learned on an old aperture priority OM-2.

    After pouring over reviews, I was pretty sure that I would end up getting the E-M5. After spending some time with one at a local photography store, I decided it was a bit too bulky (sadly, they did not have the E-PL5 or E-P5 when I went in). I would like to be able to throw a prime on one and put it in my pocket, and no way to do that with the E-M5. So that led me to the E-PL5 and E-P5. The E-P5 has pretty much everything that I want, except for an in-camera EVF that is placed similar to the NEX6/7. It has great control dials. is hard to imagine paying essentially double the price of the E-PL5!

    OK, wow, this note has gotten out of hand. So my questions about the controls of the E-PL5... If you want to go full manual with it, what all is involved? Is it *all* menu driven? I found a thread about custom settings.

    A blurb from that thread:
    "Dial function - I switched this so aperture is the default adjustment and exposure compensation is accessed by (shocker) pressing the exposure compensation button."

    So you can set the dial to aperture or shutter or ISO, but then is everything else through the menu? I might yet bite the bullet and get the E-P5, but if it is reasonably easy to control the E-PL5, I would prefer to spend less and get it.

    Whew, can you say "rambling post"? Thanks for listening.
  2. AceAceBaby

    AceAceBaby Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 21, 2013
    The dial also functions as push buttons. In manual mode (no custom settings) you can press up or right to choose to adjust shutter speed or aperture. Or just spin the wheel to change shutter by default. So you press the right side of the wheel to set the wheel to change aperture (which generally you'd change less than shutter I guess), no menu digging necessary. Whichever of the two settings is currently adjustable will be shown in yellow in the viewfinder/OSD.

    This can all be changed via custom settings, for sure.
  3. OhWellOK

    OhWellOK Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 4, 2012
    Brooklyn, NY
    I have both the E-PL5 and OM-D - of the two I much prefer the additional top control wheels of OM-D for manual camera settings, the rear wheel on E-PL5 works but is somewhat fidgety and not as direct and instantaneous as controls on OM-D. I generally shoot in A aperture Priority, so it's workable for me. Might be deal breaker for someone with large hands or if you're shooting in M Manual 100% of the time, although I guess you could get used to it.

    Another thing to consider is the lack of built-in EVF on E-PL5, the VF-2 became an essential add-on for me, but that bumps the price(and size) of the camera up into OM-D territory.

    That being said I really like my E-PL5 with a Pan 14, or 20 pancake in my daily commute bag as a nice take anywhere camera, is serving as my backup body now while my OM-D is getting serviced.
  4. stw

    stw Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 23, 2013
    Thank you, Ace and OhWell, for the comments. I'm glad to know that there are options for control other than menu digging. It doesn't sound ideal, but at least is possible.

    As I've researched different cameras, I see this same 'dilemma' over and over. One camera is most of the way there in terms of the controls I want. But to bump up to the next level and get whatever feature you want, you also have to get a lot of other stuff, and at a high cost.

    OhWell, do you find yourself frustrated using the E-PL5 after the E-M5? Or does the smaller form factor make up for the clunkier controls? Good point about the EVF - that was one thing I appreciated about the NEX6. It's similarly priced to the E-PL5, and the EVF is built-in and does not protrude up like on the E-M5.
  5. monk3y

    monk3y Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 14, 2013
    in The Cloud...
    Real Name:
    stw, Welcome to the forum. :smile:

    I had both the E-M5 and E-PM2(which has fewer buttons than the E-PL5). I found the E-PM2 to be very intuitive and don't feel the lack of buttons to be difficult at all.

    All three essential functions, namely Shutter speed, Aperture and ISO can be easily adjusted using that single rear wheel. In addition, I also set it up so I can move the focus point, choose shutter (single shot, burst, delay etc.) using the same wheel.

    Here's how I set it up:
    By pressing the wheel "UP" once, I can then turn to change shutter or press it up or down again to change aperture.
    By pressing the wheel "Right" once, I can access my ISO
    By pressing the wheel "Left" once, I can access my focus point
    By pressing the wheel "Down" once, I can access my shutter mode

    After the initial press you can then use the same wheel as a directional button.

    I dunno if it makes sense but if you have additional question I'd be glad to answer them.

    Also, don't forget you can turn on the Super control panel, it's the super easy control panel and since you have touch screen on the E-PL5, you can just touch the function you want and adjust it. :biggrin:

    It's not the difficult once you set it up properly.
  6. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    I have both an E-M5 and an E-PL5. The E-PL5 is a great camera and I'm sure it'll be great for your intended use. However, if you plan to do lots of manual exposure shooting, be aware that since it's only got one control wheel, it'll never be quite so quick and easy to use as a camera with two wheels. Having said that, I personally hardly ever use manual mode. The 'A' mode with exposure comp IMHO is much easier to use and used with the Shadow/Highlight feature on the finder gives fast and very accurate scene exposure adjustment.

    Finally, I'll must add that I think an EVF is almost essential for any serious shooting so consider getting a VF3 or 2.
  7. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Real Name:
    If you are considering a new VF2, I would recommend the VF4 instead for just a bit more. I own and like the VF2, but the VF4 really needs to be used to be appreciated.

  8. OhWellOK

    OhWellOK Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 4, 2012
    Brooklyn, NY
    Nope-as you said the smaller form factor/lighter weight makes up for shortcomings in the controls. I shoot in "A" mode 99% of the time anyway - use the wheel to adjust aperture and exposure compensation.
    "More important assignments" :smile: ie vacations, day trips, special projects, etc. I'll use the E-M5 with it's more robust controls-sometimes I'll even add the HLD-6 grip for enhanced handling. The E-PL5 is great to stick in my messenger bag when I just want to bring a camera and a spare lens along.
  9. glasslens

    glasslens New to Mu-43

    Jul 21, 2013
    Hi, I only just bought the E-PL5 last week, and I would say that it took me a good few days to get used to everything (but if you're new to photography, that's normal, right?), and I really enjoyed it. The menus could have been slightly less, how can I say, unnecessarily complex, but you do get the gist of them sooner or later.

    Anyway, about the controls, I can tell you now that the Super Control Panel is the best thing that happened to this camera in terms of how it goes about displaying settings. For some reason its turned off by default, but once you turn it on, all you have to do is press OK in live view, and all you will ever need to change for shooting will be available- and it's touch sensitive (unlike some other pull-out menus in live view), which makes it a whole lot easier to navigate.

    Just another thing to add, a lot of the menu digging is actually available through live view, such as the amount of times you want to zoom into your potential shot to manually focus precisely, or how you want to store your images (jpeg/Raw+jpeg etc), and other sweet things too.

    Yes, the E-PL5 doesn't have two wheels, but as you say, portability is a big thing, and I expect the whole design would have to be completely revamped to have a fighting chance to accommodate two wheels.

    Concerning the EVF, I was in your position- very attracted to what the NEX 6 had to offer. But, unlike other users on here, I find that I got used to not having an EVF, the screen is vibrant enough for me, and if I can't see it in the sun, I simply tilt it away from the sunshine and I can see exactly what I'm trying to compose again :) I didn't think it would be a big thing having a touch screen, either, but when shooting, it is so very useful, whether it be for guiding the camera in auto focus points or to swipe and zoom into photos on playback mode.
    It is of course your choice as to whether you go for the E-P5 or not, but I do very Mich recommend the E-PL5 :D.. Remember, you would be getting the same image quality of the OMD/EP5 at about half the price. That was the deal breaker for me, for sure.

    Also, if you're still pondering on the NEX line, do take into account that the micro four thirds lens lineup is of high quality, and from what I have seen, substantially cheaper than the equivalents of the Sony line up.

    Wow, didn't mean for this post to get this long.. sorry about that. I hope that amidst all the rambling you found something of interest in there :p