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Camera conference General and model-specific E-System camera chat.

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  #16  
Old 9th November 2016
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Re: So are Olympus cameras too complicated?

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Well, Leica manage it with the digital M. It's probably the fastest street camera when set to zone at f8; there's no thinking about technology and more thinking about capturing the moment. Can be slow if you want to manually focus however.
No disrespect meant, but digital Ms are the absolute minimalist of digital cameras - no automatic aperture control, no autofocus and very much more limited options for shooting rates and exposure modes. Granted, the M Typ 240 gets spot metering and live view, but compared to even basic mainstreadm digital cameras the operational controls available are very limited. Leica Ms are the perfect cameras for a certain type of photographer doing a certain type of photography, but that scope is quite limited.

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  #17  
Old 9th November 2016
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Re: So are Olympus cameras too complicated?

Agree with that Ian. My ownership came from a long standing itch that I had, and I scratched the itch at some expense!
It's not for sport, bird photography, limited in the range of lenses available or indeed practical to use. The Typ 240 does have live view and off the sensor metering, but I don't use it. If I have a need for fast accurate focus and metering, I pick up my EM5. But for street photography, and that's what I do most, the M is unrivalled for the task in hand.

And I might add the Leica M240 does have its share of issues, such as shutter failures, (sensor corrosion on the M9). But fair to Leica they resolve the issues irrespective of the camera's age or whether you're the second, third or n'th owner.
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Old 9th November 2016
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Re: So are Olympus cameras too complicated?

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Originally Posted by Bikie John View Post
One thing that could definitely be improved is the documentation. The manuals do list the menu options in full, but the explanations of many functions are terse and there is no guidance on the real effects of many of the choices.
I completely agree with this, I have the E-PL5 and the E-M10. I don;t find the menus that complex but I do find understanding what the settings might do (and how they interact) quite frustrating.

The M10 arrived with a thick book which on closer inspection is the "basic manual" and actually only has 7 pages in each language.

I have the full PDF in iBooks on my iPhone but it's hard to read on a small screen and hard to search in a hurry. The same PDF renders horribly on both my eInk readers so is useless on those.

In the summer I found myself in Washington DC in front of the Washington Monument after dark. I really wanted to take a portrait that showed my partner and daughter and the Lincoln Memorial in the background. Not something I've done before - after 5 mins of trial and (all) error and vainly hunting in the menus I gave in. I'm sure it was possible, I just hadn't worked it out ahead of time.

It occurs to me that with OI Share on my phone it could have been a much simpler process.
It might be technically possible to use a wizard on the phone to choose the settings for the camera and then use the WiFi connection to set up the camera for the shot.
e.g.
Q1 Are you shooting indoors/outdoors?
Q1 Are you shooting in Sunlight/Overcast/Sunset/Night? or Fluorescent/Tungsten/Unknown?
Q2 Are you shooting Single Portrait/Group portrait/Still Life/Scenery/Architecture...

Unfortunately no one ever made great PR from a simple menu structure or from comprehensive documentation so I guess it will sit at the bottom of the Product Manager's priority list.
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  #19  
Old 9th November 2016
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Re: So are Olympus cameras too complicated?

There isn't much argument that Olympus allows almost unparalleled configuration access to settings. This is welcomed by those of us who feel comforted by the fact that we can use these settings if we need to. But some of the same people, as well as others, definitely have problems finding what they need to adjust. The Super Control Panel is an excellent 'front door' to camera settings, but the frustration I detect from users not happy with Olympus menus mainly stems from finding settings beyond the SCP. Does anyone, incidentally, like or prefer the Live Control alternative to the SCP?

I'm particularly interested to hear from Olympus users who are also used to rival systems and their UIs.

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  #20  
Old 9th November 2016
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Re: So are Olympus cameras too complicated?

I am both a long standing Canon user and now an Olympus user as well. I have the EM-1 and when I first got it found the menu extremely complicated and confusing. Why is it to enable certain things you have to go to several places scattered all over the place? I noted that there were quite a few posts on this forum asking questions like "I want to enable X but the option is greyed out-help"
The other thing is that there are many settings that even the full manual does not really help with explaining what they actually do or when best to use them. Some of the terminology is meaningless too. As an example the EM-1 mkII with it's tight and loose for C-AF locking. I had no real idea what that meant in practice until that link to the Australian site was put up. My Canon 7D mkII has the equivalent settings alongside an in camera explanation with examples of when to use them.
Things have got easier with use and familiarisation of course and I love my Olympus gear apart from the poor C-AF which I am fervently hoping the EM1-mkII will fully address.
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  #21  
Old 9th November 2016
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Re: So are Olympus cameras too complicated?

My canon 70D allows me to store the menu options I use most on a user configurable menu page. That is the one I use every time and I rarely look at other options now - but you can change much more if you want to by going to other menu pages. The words they use do seem to be a bit more helpful and the UI uses the touchscreen well. Plus all day to day settings are available from quite simple buttons and a control wheel which you can use without taking the camera from your eye and with my use it seems far quicker than the control panel way. The Canon was also set-up to work really well from out of the box - so the first shots I took were really good and gave me confidence. Plus John Lewis were willing to take it back if I didn't get on with it. But I did.

The Olympus menus get more and more complex and the terms used are often not as clear as they might be. You do need to set up the camera before you use it (although that was much better with the em5-2 - but still not perfect) as there are things that catch you out badly if you don't (do you want high quality jpgs and video for example) and I believe you need to chose to switch on the control panel as the other option is mind blowing confusion. And my first photos were not good. Which of course is not a good feeling and creates an instant worry that there is something wrong with the camera.

Despite not needing quite a lot of the 'features' they cannot be turned off, or a personal menu built so that what I do want is easier. So I have to try and remember where things are in a large stack. I also found out recently when Olympus reset the camera that I cannot remember them all. So I also seem to need a paper copy.

I think the reviewers are giving a very clear message. And if you combine that with the pressure of a short and intense opportunity to 'play' with a new system and then write a 'review' then it must be very frustrating because they will look foolish if their pictures are not right or they miss something. Because everyone on the Internet is an expert and often quite negative to everyone else.
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  #22  
Old 9th November 2016
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Re: So are Olympus cameras too complicated?

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Originally Posted by Ian View Post
There isn't much argument that Olympus allows almost unparalleled configuration access to settings. This is welcomed by those of us who feel comforted by the fact that we can use these settings if we need to. But some of the same people, as well as others, definitely have problems finding what they need to adjust. The Super Control Panel is an excellent 'front door' to camera settings, but the frustration I detect from users not happy with Olympus menus mainly stems from finding settings beyond the SCP. Does anyone, incidentally, like or prefer the Live Control alternative to the SCP?

I'm particularly interested to hear from Olympus users who are also used to rival systems and their UIs.
Whenever I've briefly tried Live Control, I hated it, but I suppose it might be easier for those coming from phone UIs if vastly improved. I've only used Oly since Sony F828 days I'm afraid. I agree with other comments that the manuals are very tersely written, presumably by engineers and translated from Japanese. A manual should be largely unnecessary with a full overhaul of the UI with full multi-touch control, with context-sensitive help / hints optional. There may still be a case for keeping two different approaches to suit experienced photographers and smartphone newbies.
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  #23  
Old 9th November 2016
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Re: So are Olympus cameras too complicated?

i) Certainly the biggest bugbear must be the documentation... and surely that is the easiest to fix. But there are some good points. Having had to navigate online only help systems that are task based, broken down into small sections, and with multiple links from one "page" to other pages, I find it very hard to learn the whole system as you keep following links with different names to pages you have already read and then you can never be sure if you have even read it all. The Olympus manual is a model of simplicity by comparison in the way it breakes down the different functions and then provides a comprehensive list of the "custom functions" and "menu directory" with links back to the full explanatory text. However why distinguish between these 2 sections. The custom functions section gives a nice brief explanation of each menu and sub menu item in the custom functions menu but you then have to turn to the menu directory section to see if the item has a default and is mappable to a myset. There is no similar level of detail for the non custom function menu options. The menu directory system offers no explanatory text but does at least list all the menu options. Why not combine the two?

ii) Unfortunately it is not as easy to browse the menu structure on the camera as it is in the manual. The pop-up help is nice but as you delve down the help becomes non-existant, especially for the actual settings; on-off might be self explanatory but tight-loose (to use a previous example)? The basic structure is fine but all my-settable items should be grouped seperately to the non my-settable items (perhaps everything in the my-sets should be under the custom menu function).

iii) The use of the info button to enter a sub-menu when changing settings is non-intuitive and inconsistant, especially as it controls the pop-up help. "info" should always bring up some help, perhaps even a full page of it on the screen when pressed. In the image stabilisation mode pressing the info button allows you to change the focal length used to stabilise manual focal length lenses. In other situations in may take you out of the setting altogether!

iv) my biggest pet hate - using the same name for two different things. Does "set" mean save the current ettings as a new my-set or use a my-set and overrride the current settings. How hard can it be.

v) Why can I not see the menu in the viewfinder? I can set the dioptre of the viewfinder so I don't need to use my reading glasses to take a picture or change some of the settings (SCP/Live Control) so why do I have to fumble for my glasses and take the camera from my eye to go through the menu?

vi) The SCP is great, but why is it not configurable and why does it not use the whole real estate of the screen.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian View Post
...the frustration I detect from users not happy with Olympus menus mainly stems from finding settings beyond the SCP. Does anyone, incidentally, like or prefer the Live Control alternative to the SCP?...
I often use the Live Control to change settings as it is easier to use with the camera to the eye as you can see the possible values of a setting along the bottom, and, you get all the settings. Navigating the SCP with the dials or the 4 way-pad whilst using the viewfinder is a little more tricky and you have to select each setting value in turn to see the next one. Obviously touching the SCP on the rear screen to select a setting is very convenient but you need to be able to see it (a glasses thing again) and then go back to dials to actually make a change as the touch options run out of selecting a new value.
Another reason for using Live Control is that I can not set button Fn1 to ISO. By using Live Control and leaving it at the ISO setting page I can quickly hit the OK button to change my ISO setting.

vii) As Ian as mentioned, Olympus cameras are one of the most configurable cameras on the market. But why can't you configure all buttons for all functions (with some safeguards so you can always undo something); see my example above about not being able to set Fn1 to ISO when you can set L-Fn to ISO. Why does the manual not list these restrictions when it would be so easy to do so? Its a documentation thing again.

viii) Saving/restoring my-sets to the PC is something we all wanted but is it really that difficult to add it to older models? Are the my-sets editable on the PC in an easy to use tick box grid? Can you quickly change one setting across all you my-sets? Can you save/restore change settings through OIS share? Sometimes the whole UI experience seems a bit last century.
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  #24  
Old 9th November 2016
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Re: So are Olympus cameras too complicated?

I have a Nikon DSLR and the menu is just as complex as the Olympus.
Its just different.

There is a learning curve with any new technology but practice makes things easier.
If you want simplicity then just leave everything on Auto. If you want control then you have to find your way around the menu.
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  #25  
Old 9th November 2016
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Re: So are Olympus cameras too complicated?

What we need is the facility to put a personal menu over the top of the camera menu. Something that can be loaded externally. Then people can write their own Nikon or Canon or Sony menu.
If done properly it will not damage the camera and is disposable with a reset

The those whose mind are closed to the menus of another system will instantly find what they are looking for without having to learn how flexible the Olympus system is
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  #26  
Old 9th November 2016
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Re: So are Olympus cameras too complicated?

I get a lot of people bringing cameras into our technology workshops asking how to use them. They nearly all say they are to complicated and the menus are confusing.

It's the same with smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc.. Once you have a little knowledge of one system, everything else seems more complicated. Several people have accidents in a new car as the controls are different and they have to look at them, where previously "muscle memory" altered the heater without a second thought.

This week I was asked to change the focus point on a canon to a single small area rather than have multiple boxes wandering around the viewfinder. Accessing the appropriate menus via buttons, wheels and "top hat" controls was for me more complicated than the system we have on the Olympus.

I find the Nikon quite easy to use, as is the Pentax. Fuji is simple for the everyday things but gets complicated for the lesser used facilities. Canon seems to me to be the most complicated.

Having had a long association with Olympus, I use them to do demonstrations and presentations with the camera streaming the rear screen to a TV or Projector. I often hear the comment that what I demonstrated looks easier to use and understand than the other cameras.

The old adage of "each to their own" is very apt for technology and cameras in particular.

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  #27  
Old 9th November 2016
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Re: So are Olympus cameras too complicated?

I would say yes.

I have both Nikon and Olympus cameras. I find the Nikon menus much easier to use, the logical flow is much more obvious.

Also on the Nikon I can rename the equivalent of My Sets - I used these on the Nikon all the time because I can flip from Tripod to Single to Action to Flash and know where I am. I do not use them on the Olympus as I cannot remember what 1,2,3,4 are for.

Another advantage of the Nikon is I can create a favourite top level menu and add which commands I use the most so I can find them quickly.

In summary with my Nikon using the four shooting modes and the favourite menu I can get my settings right in two clicks 99.9999% of the time, no need to delve into the long menus like I have to do all the time with my Olympus.
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Old 9th November 2016
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Re: So are Olympus cameras too complicated?

I don't think the menus are too complicated as such - because there are so many features to use.

Up until now the structure of the menus was very non-intuitive but, from my reading of the user manual, the structure seems to have been tidied - by putting similar types of setting into the same sub-menus.

However, I think the user documentation is dreadful and that this is the real issue which makes the menus seem unnecessarily complex. A specific gripe is that the options available in the lowest levels of the menus are frequently undocumented.

Just another thought - if the problem is excess complexity, why does a camera targeted at professionals etc. continue to waste mode dial space with settings such as Program, iAuto & Art?
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  #29  
Old 9th November 2016
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Re: So are Olympus cameras too complicated?

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Originally Posted by Invicta View Post
I would say yes.

I have both Nikon and Olympus cameras. I find the Nikon menus much easier to use, the logical flow is much more obvious.

Also on the Nikon I can rename the equivalent of My Sets - I used these on the Nikon all the time because I can flip from Tripod to Single to Action to Flash and know where I am. I do not use them on the Olympus as I cannot remember what 1,2,3,4 are for.

Another advantage of the Nikon is I can create a favourite top level menu and add which commands I use the most so I can find them quickly.

In summary with my Nikon using the four shooting modes and the favourite menu I can get my settings right in two clicks 99.9999% of the time, no need to delve into the long menus like I have to do all the time with my Olympus.
Having C1/C2/C3 on the top dial is now an improvement, though Panasonic has already been doing this for some time. It would certainly be better to be able to give them names, too, especially as you can now save and reuse them on your computer.

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Old 9th November 2016
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Re: So are Olympus cameras too complicated?

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............. - if the problem is excess complexity, why does a camera targeted at professionals etc. continue to waste mode dial space with settings such as Program, iAuto & Art?
Excellent point totally agree its a waste of button space that could be used for more user custom settings.
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