"the horrendous Olympus E-PL3"?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by applemint, Mar 13, 2012.

  1. applemint

    applemint Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 24, 2012
    "I specifically did not touch any of the mirrorless camera manuals. I wanted to see which camera is the easiest to use and whether I need to invest time in learning the cameras before I use them. So far, the Nikon V1/J1 cameras are the easiest ones to use and operate, followed by the Sony NEX-5n and lastly by the horrendous Olympus E-PL3.

    Boy, I have come to hate that Olympus micro four thirds camera. It does take good pictures, but it has a crappy layout, really bad (and I mean really really really bad) menu system that is very hard to understand and operate. Its menu system feels like it was written by the open-source community (no offense) and as if all they cared about was putting tons of useless or hard to understand crap to make everything look overly complex and confusing.
    Quote from: Nikon 1 V1 Mini-Review

    Obviously this is just one guys opinion (but so is any review) - but is it really that bad? I must admit the E-PL1 can be frustrating at times as it's not always obvious what all the menu symbols mean and when you have to go hunting through the menus to try and change something (and don't have the manual with you) you can end up giving up even though the answer is probably obvious. The Nex 5 also involves a lot of menu hunting/button pushing for more commonly used functions but I don't find it as bad as some people say (or maybe I am just used to it). :smile:

    The E-PL3 is (currently) my preferred upgrade to my E-PL1 but is it's UI really worse than the Nex and E-PL1?

    (I am not interested in buying the Nikon though - just came across the review while looking for something else). :wink:
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  2. Vreeke

    Vreeke Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 20, 2011

    I had a NEX camera, its like playing with my kids ps3. The Oly menu
    system is much better. I now have an EPL3.
  3. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Real Name:
    It sounds like his objection is primarily the menu system. If your first experience with Olympus is the E-PL3, you are going to be pretty confused.

    Since Olympus in their infinite wisdom did not choose to enable the Super Control Panel by default, his complain about settings is also understandable.

    But I think that with a little customization, the E-PL3 is actually one of the better handling mirrorless cameras out there and certainly superior to the E-PL1.

  4. starlabs

    starlabs Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2010
    Los Angeles
    Olympus' menu is indeed very convoluted. It's not for beginners. But it's VERY powerful. TONS of options for you to customize. I'm glad that Olympus has made so many things available for me to change/modify.

    If that dude wanted simple, he should stick to a point and shoot.
    • Like Like x 2
  5. bryan

    bryan Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 27, 2012
    Money quote from that review: " I specifically did not touch any of the mirrorless camera manuals."
  6. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Real Name:
    I think the problem is more that the defaults are bad, like disabling the SCP and setting the AWB bias to 'warm'. It's good to have options, it's not nice to have to sort through tons of them to do something simple and ordinary.

  7. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Real Name:
    I personally think the NEX is worse. But the Olys are pretty bad.

  8. M4/3

    M4/3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 24, 2011
    I have a 2003 model E-1, a 2005 model E-500 and a 2010 model E-PL1, I find Olympus menus are remarkably similar across all those years. So if you have already mastered the E-PL1, then it won't take long to learn the E-PL3.

    My impression is that Olympus cameras give the owner more potential functionality via a wider variety of possible manually selectable camera settings than other compact camera system brands. So the Menu system is unavoidably more complicated.
  9. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 5, 2011
    I think almost all of these modern cameras, mirrorless or otherwise, reward a read, and re-read, and re-re-read of the manual. All of these cameras have complex, non-intuitive menu and control systems. Some menu and control layouts will seem more natural to some people, based largely on what they're used to. A system that's different than anything a person has used before is going to seem more complicated than one that's similar to something used before.

    He's right about the manual though. Oly (and Panasonic) manuals truly suck.
  10. Bhupinder2002

    Bhupinder2002 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sorry folks ..I have to agree here. This was one of the reasons I returned EPL3. I didn't like the Menu, My EPL2 handles much better .Now I disagree that NEX UI is friendly .Its equally horrible and frustrating to change Menu settings on it .
  11. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Real Name:
    Promit Roy
    Candidly, anyone who thinks the NEX menu system is done better than the Olympus one is an idiot, end of story. Which is not to say either is good -- both are trash. The UI design and engineering people at both companies are bad at their jobs and I hope they read this and feel bad.

    But the Oly is a damn sight better than the NEX.
  12. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator Staff Member

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    +1. Some people hate the Oly menu system. I personally don't like it much. However, it's not a big deal to me. Once I have things set up the way I like them, there's almost never a reason to wade into the menus.
  13. I think he gives away the game right there. Olympus is noted for a dazzling array of adjustments, more than most users will need. But those users who are interested in them love to have them. To dismiss the options as useless :mad::tongue::eek::frown: is to demonstrate one's own limited interests. He will be better off with the Nikon.

    It remains true that Olympus menus still remain daunting — however, I see ever so gradual improvement in that area. Fortunately their lenses and cameras shine better than their manuals!
  14. Laurentiu Cristofor

    Laurentiu Cristofor Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 9, 2012
    I guess the menus are really complex compared to the V1 camera. But I don't see any reason to go through them more than once. The settings menu is easy to use and once you map the functions you want to the customizable buttons, the camera is very easy to use. I didn't find it much different than the E-PL2, although I liked the body design of the E-PL2 better.
  15. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Real Name:
    Promit Roy
    Ahem -- bracketing? That has been bothering me. Why isn't it in SCP...
  16. drewbot

    drewbot Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    I don't think the NEX nor the Oly menus are easy. The NEX seems too P&S, and the Oly settings have too many layers.

    The Panny menus are way more straightforward, just like their Plasma TVs. I found that the GF1 can be picked up much faster than the PL-3.
  17. MrDoug

    MrDoug Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Sep 5, 2011
    Boise, Idaho
    I need to chime in.. I am a TOTAL dummy.. but the OLY menu is not that complicated at all.. very easy I think.. you make me feel smart.. :smile: maybe my brain works differently..
    • Like Like x 4
  18. applemint

    applemint Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 24, 2012
    Yes, having used an E-PL1 menu should be an advantage when switching to the E-PL3. I do love the ability to customise your camera via the Olympus menus but I do sometimes find it hard to find how to change some settings without digging into the manual.

    Actually the 'E-PL1 for Dummies' book was a big help - much better than the manual - a pity that no further "for dummies" books have been produced for the more recent models.

    Just read his review of the Nex and he does say of the E-PL3 "Granted it has many more options than the Sony NEX-5N, but I have not seen a menu system this confusing and ugly. Olympus seriously needs to hire a better GUI designer and simplify its menu system. "
    Sony NEX-5N Review

    So I think he acknowledges the customisation options and that they are a good thing to have, it's more the actual user interface that he has an issue with?
    • Like Like x 2
  19. mr_botak

    mr_botak Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 4, 2011
    Reading, UK
    Real Name:
    Actually I basically agree. Without SCP it's not exactly intuitive. The first day I had my e-pm1 I was debating whether I could live with it. Then I saw the first OOC jpeg and everything was forgiven :)
  20. Minniesmum

    Minniesmum Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 2, 2012
    I've found the menu system of the E-PLN1 " challenging". I had the Dummies book before the camera arrived and have found it useful. It's the most complex but also the most customisable camera I've encountered in my over 45 years of being a camera user. Nought wrong with challenges.