Thom Hogan's E-M! Review is Up

zlatko-photo

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I completely agree with this point by Thom:

"One can’t ignore the elephant in the room. Olympus’s menus are still the same-old mess and their names for options not always decipherable on first glance, plus the camera doesn’t always do what you think it does. It’s long past time for Olympus to address this unnecessary complexity on what are otherwise fine cameras. As I’ve written before, my head hurts every time I have to set up a new Olympus m4/3 camera the way I want it to be."

I hope that Olympus will update the firmware to allow exporting and importing of all camera settings. After months with the camera, I still find ways to tweak the settings, and I would hate to have to manually re-enter all of those settings on another E-M1. A simple export feature would make the E-M1 a more professional tool and would encourage photographers to buy additional E-M1 bodies. Such a wonderfully customizable camera, but no way to export the customizations!
 

lightmonkey

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agreed about the menus. huge tech geek here and im still lost in the menus when trying to access what it is that i want. thing is, its the easiest thing to change!!! no physical constraints to work around and easy update to push to everyone!
 

OzRay

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The Olympus menus are complex because they allow you so much customisation, you can't really have it both ways. However, Thom has never said exactly how to make the menu easier for him to use. The only menu issue I had to research in more detail was the MySets, as for the rest, the SCP is so easy to use that I can't really see why there's a problem. And he often contradicts himself in various ways (he needs two aperture dials?):

...Okay, some more explanation: I rarely use exposure compensation, though I’m aware that a lot of amateur photographers seem to dial in a different value for every shot. So my bias is that I don’t like exposure compensation that can be easily changed by brushing up against something ...
...so if I make both dials change aperture while shooting, something I’m always looking at, how do I get exposure compensation when I need it?...
RTFM...

The thing Olympus still needs to do is take all that flexibility and make it simpler to approach and understand.
...or, explain exactly what you want (and please, not a Nikon style menu).
 

tuxxdk

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Funny... I find the menu easy and I love the way I can costumize everything.

Certainly no head ache - and I'm a Nikon man also - as Thom is. Go figure the disagreements :-/
 

zlatko-photo

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Funny... I find the menu easy and I love the way I can costumize everything.

Certainly no head ache - and I'm a Nikon man also - as Thom is. Go figure the disagreements :-/
I love the way I can customize everything too, but the menu system is not designed to make that easy or to give a way to export those many customizations to a 2nd camera. The screen is horizontal, but the menu system starts with a vertical list and has most settings bunched together. Having the menu button always open the home screen often leads to unnecessary extra steps; it should open where you last left off. And many descriptions/icons are not as clear as they could be.
 

Y2K

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I don't find menus complex either. It is true that some of them require to look in the manual or do a little research to understand what they do, but that's because there is so much that can be customized as others pointed out. I think the layout is pretty logical... and it is not a problem for me that there are some same things that can be done in different ways. How is it a negative? If there would be only one way people would complain that they want to do it differently and would want to have a choice.

I agree with everything else in the review though.
 

AlexH

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Funny... I find the menu easy and I love the way I can costumize everything.

Certainly no head ache - and I'm a Nikon man also - as Thom is. Go figure the disagreements :-/
I'm not overwhelmed or confused by the Olympus menus. I actually tend to like them. Then again, there's probably a reason why I'm not designing UIs for camera systems...

On a somewhat related tangent, I love the new Leica T menu system (at least from watching reviews), and I'd like to see some of those UI elements make their way into other camera systems.
 

lightmonkey

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easy-to-use and flexible/comprehensive does not have to be mutually exclusive.

computers today are 100x more feature filled than those of yesteryears. but they are also easier to use.

that's what Intuitive systems are: they make the complex natural and easy. olympus software have room to be much much more intuitive.

areas of improvement:
-more representative iconization
-better grouping of controls
-same level of depth of menus

for example:
-i want to control what displays are cycled through on image playback. yet this is not in the Menu group labeled "Playback"????
-formatting card is under utilities for any camera, any operating system.... why is it under "Shooting Menu 1"
--you'd figure Filename settings would be next to formatting... but its hidden under Gears instead?
-what IS the difference between Gears and the Wrench/Spanner icon??? both imply utilities
-there is a "gears" icon and submenu under the Wrench/Spanner menu... figure that out
-there is Utilities submenu under the Gears menu...
-submenu called "EVF Adjust"... why not call it "EVF Brightness/Contrast"
---under submenu "EVF Adjust" is a further sub-submenu called "EVF Adjust"

etc etc etc

dont tell me theres no room for improvement from the status quo
 

piggsy

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Personally I love the SCP but the best demonstration of how completely awful the rest of the menu system can be is ... enabling the SCP in the first place.

Have you ever looked at what you need to do to enable it on a camera that doesn't ship with it turned on? It's mind blowing.

https://web.archive.org/web/20130429064858/http://homepages.ihug.com.au/~parsog/olyepl1/53-epl5-scp.html

Fresh out of the box the E-PL5 menu looks like this.

(Press the Menu button to get this far).

Hey, no Custom Menu, so let's turn that on first.
Either use the Down button a few times to go to the wrench/spanner setup menu item, or the Up button will wrap top to bottom in this case and save a few finger presses.
Press OK or go Right and then Down a few times to get to the line shown.

Press OK or go Right to get to the menu enabling screen.

First time into here out of the box these will be Off as shown.
Press OK or go Right again to the choice of Off/On selected by using the Up or Down buttons.

When you select On the diagram shows that the Gear Wheels Custom Menu is to be enabled.

Press OK to make that happen and take us back to the next screen below.
The above step puts us back here showing that the Custom Menu is now On but the Accessory Port Menu is Off.

To get this display we pressed Down and then next press OK or Right to get to the next screen below.
This shows that the Accessory Port Menu is Off and next we press Up or Down to get to the On choice.
When On is selected then the diagram shows that the Accessory Port Menu will be enabled, so press OK.

Back out after pressing OK by pressing the shutter button or the Menu button.
Now, next time we press the Menu button we will see this screen with all items present and correct. Here to save space and time we have already pressed Down a few times to highlight the Custom Menu items.

Next we need to face the task of getting the SCP to appear whenever we press the OK button in shooting mode.
Oh yes, nearly forgot, this is what the Accessory Port Menu looks like. If you attach the VF-2 or VF-3 viewfinders, then the last item becomes active and allows brightness and colour adjusts for the viewfinder. Presumably as other accessory port devices are invented then they will be added to this menu but most likely not in this model but in future models.
So from the main Custom Menu two screens above we need to go Right then Down quite a few times until we get to this Control Settings item in the D.Disp/Sound/PC sub-menu.
Press Right on the Control Settings line and we get this display listing the various modes of the camera.

Press Down once to get to the next screen.
Initially most people are concerned with the usual PASM camera modes and how they display so that will be the first thing discussed.

Press Right to get to the screen below.
Next we have the choice of Live Control and Live SCP so here we make the choice of On/Off for both, so we determine what shows when we press the OK button in shooting mode.

If both enabled then after pressing OK the Info button will cycle through the enabled choices.

Press Right to get to the next screen.
Here we have the On/off choice, press OK to store that choice.
If we go back (use the Menu button) and select Art mode to be customised then we have three screens that may be enabled or disabled, it's all up to you and how complex you need to make it.
You have got to be $%^#ing kidding me. Also note that you can STILL mess this up and end up with the 'live mode' SCP on, which will give you 'an' SCP, but not 'the' SCP. I have no words.
 

LowTEC

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I personally love all the customization of the menu provides (except shorting the long needed SA (M) mode with auto ISO + EV control, or the minimum shutter speed function), but I have to agree that the menu is not for novice or new user friendly at all. Specially the Myset, when you press SET isn't actually to set but to LOAD, you press right then press SET is actually a SAVE command, I lost count how many times I have accidentally chosen the wrong SET and wipe out all my settings within that memory slot. I mean who would name two completely opposite functions with the same name. Imagine you get in an elevator with both open and close button named DOOR.

Another classic example is the "Sequential shooting + IS Off" at ON means the IBIS actually off. I can think of a few more and these weird programming really frustrate any new Oly user IMHO
 

usayit

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I figured out all the menus on my EM5 just fine.

But I still have to agree, their UI and UX sucks. The Myset and "Sequential shooting + IS Off" examples that LowTEC pointed out had gotten me a few times and made me think "do they even have a designer for menu system?" I'm not new to this though... in the software world many companies let their engineers do the UI design and usually the results are terrible. Its a special eye/expertise to design a good UI and I bet Olympus doesn't have one.
 

piggsy

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I really do want to keep harping on this because it's by far the most ridiculous thing that has occured during my time with Oly cameras.

Buy a PM2.

Having heard about the SCP I try and turn this on.

The first reference to the Super Control Panel in the (table of contents-less) printed menu is on the 25th page.

This page shows you the SCP but contains absolutely no instructions on how to enable it, or how to even enable the menu that will allow you to enable it.

It contains a footnote to go to page 83 of the manual for more information.

There is no page 83 in english. At page 29 we abruptly switch to safety warnings and from then on we go to French, then Spanish language instructions. You know what we find out on page 83? "Operaciones basicas de reproduction". So helpful!

OK, so, download the english language manual, this will surely tell me what to do!

...

Page 83 is more extended information on using the Super Control Panel and again contains not one skerrick of information on how to enable it, or even how to enable the menu that will allow you to enable it on another menu.

"RTFM" indeed. The next person who says that should be sentenced for life to explain the inner workings of Olympus cameras in retirement homes.
 

OzRay

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"RTFM" indeed. The next person who says that should be sentenced for life to explain the inner workings of Olympus cameras in retirement homes.
I don't think I've ever come across any manual that is well written, that's why there are so many books written about so many of today's technology (how many idiot's Guides are there for Office, for example?).

The other thing is that the internet is a wealth of information on some of these inscrutable issues, because someone has had the same problem and found the solution. But I'll bet that no matter how the menu is changed, someone will complain that it's not right.
 

piggsy

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Right, the solution was staring me in the face the whole time - look up Some Guy's hosted homepage (that was down, and I had to go to archive.org to retrieve) containing instructions for a completely different camera and follow those. Should've been the first thing I tried I guess, I don't know why I didn't think of it earlier :D
 

OzRay

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I got stuck on the MySets and just did a Google search and found the answer in a minute or so. Remember, you have to include the camera brand and model for searches to work effectively. ;)
 

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