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Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II The second Micro Four Thirds camera that offers phase detect focusing so you can use Four Thirds DSLR lenses normally as well a Micro Four Thirds lenses.

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Old 27th February 2017
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Lockups with the E-M1 Mark II?

I am almost ready to spring for an E-M1 Mark II, while my Mark I's still have a bit of trade-in value. One thing that concerns me greatly is that a few people have reported that their cameras lock up during use.

I had awful problems with this when the E-M1 Mark I came out and I am extremely keen not to repeat the experience. How are things now that the bodies have been out in the field for a while?

I have seen some suggestions that the lockups might be due to incompatibility with some types of memory card. The manual just says consult the Oly website for details of which cards are recommended, but I haven't yet been able to find any. Can anyone point me in the right direction please? And once we find it, is anyone having lockups while using cards on the recommended list?

(I have sent much the same questions to Oly support so it will be interesting to compare the "official" line with the experience that real users have had.)

Thanks in anticipation ... John
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Old 27th February 2017
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Re: Lockups with the E-M1 Mark II?

Most of the problems seem to have arisen with Lexar cards, specifically (and unfortunately) mainly with the 2000x UHS-II one that breezed to victory in the recent speed test. I'd bought one, but I have now exchanged it for free (Lexar are being good about this) for one with updated firmware, since when no problems.
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Old 27th February 2017
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Re: Lockups with the E-M1 Mark II?

This is where you will find the list of recommended SD cards. http://cs.olympus-imaging.jp/en/supp...en_2016_04.cfm

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Re: Lockups with the E-M1 Mark II?

Thanks both.

John
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Old 28th February 2017
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Re: Lockups with the E-M1 Mark II?

I have had 3 lockups in total so far, including 1 with a recommended card. No big drama, just remove and replace the battery.
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Old 28th February 2017
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Re: Lockups with the E-M1 Mark II?

Thanks Andrew.

"No big drama" - unless it is just as we are scoring our only try of the game!

It was a real pain with the Mark I because I used it with the battery grip (so I wouldn't be caught out if the battery ran out mid-game - the Mark I's battery gauge is so unreliable that I never trusted it) and had to remove the grip to get the body battery out. Not much fun in driving rain.

John
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Old 28th February 2017
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Re: Lockups with the E-M1 Mark II?

John, you mention the MkI suggesting a similar lock-up situation in the past. What was the fix, other than performing a hardware reset (battery out)?

If you've dabbled in programmable electronics you will know that solutions exist, such as watch dog timers, and ultimately a switch to remove power, effectively equivalent to removing the battery. But with good design this should not be necessary.

If the internal buffer is isolated from the reset signal, then it could be possible to write when normal operation is restored. There could be layered resets maybe with a combination of key press to perform a general reset if everything goes tits-up.
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Old 28th February 2017
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Re: Lockups with the E-M1 Mark II?

Hi Steve, I am not really sure what the "fix" was. It problem defeated all my best efforts at problem determination!

It seems that some bodies were more prone to it than others and unfortunately my original E-M1 was one of the susceptible ones. Eventually it got so bad, seizing up half a dozen times or more during one game of rugby, that I persuaded Oly to exchange it for a new one.

At the same time, various firmware upgrades were coming out and by the time I got the replacement body and put the latest firmware on, it all seemed OK. Until I got the 300mm f/4 and tried continuous AF, when it started locking up again - but that seemed to fixed with another firmware upgrade last autumn.

There are a lot of posts lurking around on the subject. Despite pooling everybody's experiences we never isolated what settings or behaviours made it happen. My own theory, derived from the gut rather than the head, is that the body was simply more hungry for power than the battery could cope with and this caused something to get out of synch and into a classic deadly embrace. But I have no evidence for that - and it's not really practical to photograph a game of rugby in the rain while plugged into the mains!

John
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Re: Lockups with the E-M1 Mark II?

Electronic components have a tolerance for things like switching speed, slew rates etc so two cameras off the same production line can have a different response. The design trick is to make the system insensitive to the differences within the tolerance band of the individual and the collective. Synchronous design is part of the solution, but other factors are at play. However when you throw into the mix the behaviour characteristics of memory cards, it maybe an idea for Olympus (as an example) to design and manufacture their own SD cards, leading to a complete system solution within their own control.
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Re: Lockups with the E-M1 Mark II?

Having been a developer in real time embedded systems in my early career I can promise you all that the likely problem is software (firmware) bugs. Real time software (and your camera is a complex real time computer) has to deal with lots of hardware I/O, multiple threads, interrupts etc - and all done in a machine with limited memory and a lightweight OS. It's a much more demanding programming discipline than writing standard data processing apps on desktop or server computers.

It's very hard to test all the likely scenarios in the lab. Things like one thread or an interrupt handler dumping over a data structure that is being used by another thread (but only in certain hard-to-reproduce cases) is the sort of thing that happens. It mighty only happen one in 10000 times - and with a small test user base that might mean it's never really discovered. Sell the camera to tens of thousands of early users though and it'll happen once a day somewhere. Unfortunately, it becomes a statistical chance that it will happen and reproducing it on any one camera is very hard.

I'm sure Olympus were aware of the E-M1 crashes, as they will be of the mark II issues (although these seem at a much lower level) and I'd guess that they're running cameras with test users that have fancy logging added to drill down into the problems. They'll fix them - you'll just have to wait for a firmware update! It was that which fixed the issues with the E-M1 in its early days.
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Re: Lockups with the E-M1 Mark II?

I have had deep and meaningful discussions with the bods at Oly and they have covered all of the "normal" things and any of the scenarios I experienced were questioned to the nth degree. I gave them as much info as I could but none of my 3 seemed connected in any obvious way. As you say I'm sure they will fix it with a FW update, when they find out what it is!
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Re: Lockups with the E-M1 Mark II?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pdk42 View Post
Having been a developer in real time embedded systems in my early career I can promise you all that the likely problem is software (firmware) bugs. Real time software (and your camera is a complex real time computer) has to deal with lots of hardware I/O, multiple threads, interrupts etc - and all done in a machine with limited memory and a lightweight OS. It's a much more demanding programming discipline than writing standard data processing apps on desktop or server computers.

It's very hard to test all the likely scenarios in the lab. Things like one thread or an interrupt handler dumping over a data structure that is being used by another thread (but only in certain hard-to-reproduce cases) is the sort of thing that happens. It mighty only happen one in 10000 times - and with a small test user base that might mean it's never really discovered. Sell the camera to tens of thousands of early users though and it'll happen once a day somewhere. Unfortunately, it becomes a statistical chance that it will happen and reproducing it on any one camera is very hard.

I'm sure Olympus were aware of the E-M1 crashes, as they will be of the mark II issues (although these seem at a much lower level) and I'd guess that they're running cameras with test users that have fancy logging added to drill down into the problems. They'll fix them - you'll just have to wait for a firmware update! It was that which fixed the issues with the E-M1 in its early days.
What's the phrase, something along the lines if you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen.
What camera companys are attempting is difficult, but not impossible, however they shouldn't use the consumer to be part of the development team.
I've also written real time code and once had to use machine code to meet the exacting machine cycle budget and the available rom. But cameras can't be so extreme, and good structured s/w tools are available. And as you know, the system response is only as good as the requirement specification, the interface and timing specs, etc. Good or bad requirement specs can make or kill a product's development and it's widely acknowledged that the written language is not precise enough to express the needs adequately and unambiguously. How many times have I commented on a spec, saying great, but what if...
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Re: Lockups with the E-M1 Mark II?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ricoh View Post
What's the phrase, something along the lines if you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen.
What camera companys are attempting is difficult, but not impossible, however they shouldn't use the consumer to be part of the development team.
I've also written real time code and once had to use machine code to meet the exacting machine cycle budget and the available rom. But cameras can't be so extreme, and good structured s/w tools are available. And as you know, the system response is only as good as the requirement specification, the interface and timing specs, etc. Good or bad requirement specs can make or kill a product's development and it's widely acknowledged that the written language is not precise enough to express the needs adequately and unambiguously. How many times have I commented on a spec, saying great, but what if...
You're right Steve. Most computer systems these days are hugely complex with millions of lines of code. My own company's relatively modest presence in the retail industry now has a product set that's approaching 7 million lines of code. Understanding all that and being able to 100% predict what it will do in all scenarios is, frankly, impossible.

I'm guessing that the code in the E-M1ii extends to a million or so lines and probably contains stuff that goes back years (e.g. the "tracking" focus still seems to do what it's always done and generally to be a waste of space).
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Old 28th February 2017
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Re: Lockups with the E-M1 Mark II?

Olympus have been using paying customers as beta testers since the OM4 was released (1983?). Since then I've never considered a new model until it has been in the hands of early adopters for at least 6 months.

You'd have thought Olympus would have taken note of the Nikon F3 and made sure that the OM4 wasn't launched with similar problems as they were still chasing the pro market in those days.
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Old 1st March 2017
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Re: Lockups with the E-M1 Mark II?

Having had severe lock-ups problems with my first copy of the EM-1 (replaced under warranty) I am delighted to report that after 57k+ shots I have had not one case of lock-up with the mk2

(I've been using the Lexar 128gb 1000X card and the Sandisk 64gb 300mbs cards in slot 1 )
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