The unfriendliness of the O-MD EM-1 MkIII manual

peterwgallagher

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The Mk3 seems pretty clearly aimed at people who currently own a Mk2. It‘s an upgrade to a complex camera based (almost entirely) on a faster processor. That, in turn, entails some new capabilities in the camera software. These are likely to be valuable (even crucial) to someone already invested in OLY lenses, but less valuable to photographers who have no current commitment to the system.

There’s probably a large proportion of ’upgraders’ among Mk3 buyers. So SURELY Olympus could provide an upgrade-friendly user Manual.

The M3 Manual is available only as a downloadable PDF file. But it has no hyperlinked cross-references or indexes to help with navigation and discovery. Worse, it has no “What’s New” section that highlights the changes that have been made to the Mk2 software platform (although you can bet OLY has such a ‘diff’ list internally).

It seems that anyone who is upgrading from the 2 to the 3 is obliged to work through the ridiculously deep menus (with surprises and easily-missed changes possible in every corner) to re-construct a set up that replicates their old system without any hints from the Manual on where the ‘old’ and ‘new‘ systems differ.

Just a modest thought for the customer — or perhaps a glance at ANY modern software user guide — should have led OLY to break out of the Manual ‘mold’ and give us a guide to upgrading.

Why the hell didn’t they?
 

mcasan

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Same approach as in the manuals for trucks and cars. They describe what the vehicle is, not how to drive it. You can usually find good info on Youtube videos about the body.
 

SpecFoto

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The M3 Manual is available only as a downloadable PDF file. But it has no hyperlinked cross-references or indexes to help with navigation and discovery. Worse, it has no “What’s New” section that highlights the changes that have been made to the Mk2 software platform (although you can bet OLY has such a ‘diff’ list internally)

Just a modest thought for the customer — or perhaps a glance at ANY modern software user guide — should have led OLY to break out of the Manual ‘mold’ and give us a guide to upgrading.

Why the hell didn’t they?
I agree with the OP on this, the Olmpus manual is like reading a dictionary, except it is not done alphabetically! The lack of hyperlinks or even an index in this day and age is just appaling. Compare this to my Nikon D500 which came with a 400 page PDF manual with index and hyperlinks, plus a 200 page Menu guide and 3 specific situation shooting manuals of 40 to 60 pages each for Sports, Movies and a Tech guide, and all are pretty clear. Functions are not just mentioned as to which button turns the feature on/off, but fully explained from a technical point of view and with what to expect with the different settings. Such a HUGE difference vs. Olympus.
 
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retiredfromlife

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I agree it is one thing I don't get with Olympus. Nearly all reviewers comment on their menu's but they never try to simplify them. They must figure it wont cost them any sales.

Some people seem to pick up on what the settings mean really quickly, unfortunately I am not one of them. The upside for me is I don't use most of the features, would like to use a few more but I realise I will never get to know the menu system that well. Just good enough understanding to use the camera is all I hope for.

Also hoping someone does a good book on how to use the camera.
 

mcasan

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If you already had experience with I and II bodies, the learning curve for III will not be very steep. So very glad for My Menu and for 4 Custom positions on the dial!
 

3dpan

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I don't have an E-M1 III, but I can sympathise with the comments about the manual.
My biggest problem with Oly manuals in general is that they seem to have different names for things, so even their menu at the back of the manual is a mystery to search.
 

Matt Drown

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FYI, for people
PDF of EM1.3 manual (english)

It's a 333 page manual, the index starts on page 326.

There's no hyperlinks, so you need to enter the page number into the pdf viewer, I do wish they would implement this. If searching for things, ctrl-f or similar works fine, the PDF is searchable.

But yea, it's a not a "how to take photos", it's a "what do these buttons do" manual, and how they impact your pictures. Modern digital cameras are incredibly flexible, which makes them incredibly complex.

After using Canon cameras for awhile, this doesn't seem much different to me, but I've not a lot of experience with nikon, panasonic, sony, fuji, etc. Are there manual styles that people like?


BTW, on page 2 of the manual is a link to a "function guide" seems to only be for em1x and em5.3. This seems to be a little bit more of "how to do things".
 

pdk42

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I've never read a camera manual in my life! However, I do accept that non hyperlinked PDF docs are pretty pathetic. I've always found a couple of charged batteries, a cup of coffee (or two) and a few hours peace is the best way to learn a new camera.
 
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After using Canon cameras for awhile, this doesn't seem much different to me, but I've not a lot of experience with nikon, panasonic, sony, fuji, etc. Are there manual styles that people like?
Same for me (I had Canon gear before), and that's valid also for menus...
And Panasonic is no better (in my opinion).
I think everyone would like to see different things - or a different way to present them - in a manual... so it's seems very difficult to have something that people will like.

I've never read a camera manual in my life! However, I do accept that non hyperlinked PDF docs are pretty pathetic. I've always found a couple of charged batteries, a cup of coffee (or two) and a few hours peace is the best way to learn a new camera.
I generally download the manuals before buying (or not) a camera.
Because tests are not specific enough, so manual is the only way to be sure a specific function is present, or that a specific button can be assign for the function I want.
Of course I don't read the whole manual, I use word search to get to the parts I'm interested in.
 

retiredfromlife

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FYI, for people
PDF of EM1.3 manual (english)

It's a 333 page manual, the index starts on page 326.

There's no hyperlinks, so you need to enter the page number into the pdf viewer, I do wish they would implement this. If searching for things, ctrl-f or similar works fine, the PDF is searchable.

But yea, it's a not a "how to take photos", it's a "what do these buttons do" manual, and how they impact your pictures. Modern digital cameras are incredibly flexible, which makes them incredibly complex.

After using Canon cameras for awhile, this doesn't seem much different to me, but I've not a lot of experience with nikon, panasonic, sony, fuji, etc. Are there manual styles that people like?


BTW, on page 2 of the manual is a link to a "function guide" seems to only be for em1x and em5.3. This seems to be a little bit more of "how to do things".
I like the Panasonic manuals better as they have hyperlinks and use colour, and explain things a little better, just.
 

Growltiger

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I like the Olympus manuals. I like to read the appendices first, then start at the beginning and read the rest in order. I can't see the problem.
 

MichailK

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Hey, these are Japanese firms writing the manuals, you must first buy a ticket for their train of thought after you get a PhD in internal calmness so you do things like @Growltiger does, properly.

We should all be thankful they provide English versions, me even more for the Greek version, given the size of the Greek market.
 

exakta

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Not even hyperlinks for page numbers? My E-M10 manual has that.

Face it, PDF only is all we are going to get now. Every electronic device I have bought in the last 10 years came with only a basic starter guide while the full manual was PDF, including any supplements due to firnware updates.
 
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Face it, PDF only is all we are going to get now. Every electronic device I have bought in the last 10 years came with only a basic starter guide while the full manual was PDF, including any supplements due to firnware updates.
One good thing is that Olympus is providing fully updated manuals after firmware update.
 

DustyGeorge

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I just finished going through the menu on my Mark III matching it as close as possible with my Mark II. I found Darrell Young's book "Mastering the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II" to be an excellent reference on 98% of the Mark III menu.
 
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