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Olympus OM-D E-M1 The first 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 18th November 2013
Angus Angus is offline
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E-M1 mystery noise (and battery life) issue

Hi all,

I just received my lovely OM-D E-M1 and 12-40 f2.8 Pro zoom. My first Olympus, my first MFT camera and this is my first posting on this site

The build quality on the camera seems sublime but there is something troubling me and I’m not sure if it’s a problem/defect or not...

I can hear “NOISE 1”: a gentle “wooosh” (= a fan-like noise) from the image stabiliser which starts when the shutter button is pressed and stops moments after it is released. The sound is predicable and very consistent - exactly what I would expect from the IBIS.

HOWEVER, there is another noise which seems more erratic and disconcerting: “NOISE 2” is ‘scratchy’ sounding – like an old modem connecting or an electrical ‘shorting’ . Moreover, there seems no rhyme to reason to when NOISE 2 it starts and stops - sometimes it stops when the shutter button is released but other times it seems to randomly continue after NOISE 1 has stopped – i.e. when I no longer have any buttons pressed.
NOTES:

(i) Image Stabiliser settings: S-IS is set to AUTO and to activate IS on half-press of shutter button].

(ii) Neither noise seems to be affecting the performance of the camera in image-taking terms.

(iii) Both sounds are similar in volume yet distinct - neither is loud per se, but in a quiet room I can discern either/both when I hold the camera away from my body around waist height (i.e. the camera does not need to be up to my ear to be audible).

(iv) At first I assumed both sounds came from the IBIS system, but I have now started to wonder if NOISE 2 could actually be coming from the 12-40 lens (NB: these sounds occur in Single AF and MF modes, so it’s definitely not the sound of the AF motor). But I can’t be sure because it is hard to localise the exact source of NOISE 2 even when I listen up close and.

(v) I also seem to be getting a LOT less than the claimed average 330 shots from a fully charged battery and of course I’m wondering if there is any link between this and the whatever mechanical/electrical activity is going on inside the camera or lens when NOISE 2 is evident... maybe just coincidence but I do wonder.
Unfortunately my dealer is not local so it’s hard to pop in to maybe compare to another camera (and it would be tricky with the background noise in a retail context). I tried calling Olympus UK Support but predictably I didn’t get far with this one (I think I have been spoiled by Apple! :-)

So I’d be very interested to hear the comparative experiences of other owners of the E-M1 and 14-40 Pro combo....

Cheers!

Angus

PS: is it possible to attach an audio clip to this post?... I could record the sounds.
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Old 18th November 2013
jamsa jamsa is offline
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Re: E-M1 mystery noise (and battery life) issue

I have the same kit but do not recall hearing the second sound as described. I have not taken that many images as of yet but think you should pursue the matter with Olympus just in case.
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Old 18th November 2013
bilbo bilbo is offline
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Re: E-M1 mystery noise (and battery life) issue

My EM-1 has Noise 1. It's normal. But not Noise 2. Doesn't sound right.

Register for Service Plus at the myolympus website and call the hotline number.

https://myolympus.olympus-consumer.com/

DESIGNATED HOTLINE
Service Plus hotline number. Call to speak directly with an expert specially trained in Olympus E-M1 technologies.

PERSONAL PICK-UP SERVICE
In the unlikely event that your registered E-M1 needs to be checked or repaired, we will come to collect the camera personally. Simply call the special Service Plus number you have been given and arrange the pick-up.

FAST-LANE REPAIR
You should never miss a photo opportunity with your camera. That's why if something doesn't work perfectly, we will endeavour to make sure that your registered E-M1 won't spend longer than 3 days* at your repair centre.

* Excluding transportation times

6 MONTHS EXTRA WARRANTY
Your E-M1 will receive an extended warranty.
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Old 18th November 2013
brian1208 brian1208 is offline
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Re: E-M1 mystery noise (and battery life) issue

just a thought, check you don't have Full Time AF selected, that can produce the effect you are describing as the lens makes seemingly random attempts to focus on something (anything)
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Old 18th November 2013
Angus Angus is offline
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Re: E-M1 mystery noise (and battery life) issue

No unfortunately I don't think it's the AF. As I mentioned I get the same noise in Single-AF and MF modes, and without the shutter button depressed.

Wish I had another MTF lens for comparison - would help to rule out whether its the lens or the body causing the second noise.

Either way I fear a bit of a saga starting here... sigh :-(
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Old 18th November 2013
brian1208 brian1208 is offline
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Re: E-M1 mystery noise (and battery life) issue

Sorry, I missed the point about MF,

(just for info, the shutter button doesn't need to be pressed when you have Full Time AF pressed, that's what led me astray )
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Old 18th November 2013
catkins catkins is offline
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Re: E-M1 mystery noise (and battery life) issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by Angus View Post
Hi all,

So Id be very interested to hear the comparative experiences of other owners of the E-M1 and 14-40 Pro combo....

Cheers!

Angus

PS: is it possible to attach an audio clip to this post?... I could record the sounds.
I think that this may be a case of how sensitive you are to the noise and to what it is being compared. I've come from the Oly E-30 and my first impressions were probably slightly similar to yours.
There is a slight whirring noise which is fairly constant when using the E-M1 and I presume that this is the Image Stabiliser at work, as this disappears when the IS is set to Off.
The second sound that you seem to describe is also present with my 12-40mm Pro and is I presume the focus mechanism - it is a deeper slightly coarse noise and only happens when focusing. It is easier to be more precise when the IS is set to off.
Both noises vary in deepness or tone depending upon where you put your ear -for the focus noise it sounds more bassy or slightly coarse when you put your ear to the rear of the camera compared to putting your ear to the lens!
Obviously, if you listen deliberately in a quiet room the sounds may be more pronounced because the camera body is acting as a very mini boombox, but if outside you should be less aware of the noises.

If you are more aware also outside or if you feel that the noise is excessive then it may be that there is a fault, but what you mention seems consistent with mine. I tried recording the sound with a reasonable sound recorder but the sound is almost indistinct, so in my camera's case I think it is just a case of allowing my ears to attune themselves to the new sounds of the E-M1. Also if you hear a squeal as the lens focuses rather than a 'dull' low noise then it is worth trying to record the sound and check with Oly support.

[Edit: I now see your update so will check
. . .
Yes, with AF off and my ear close to the camera there is a strange (in that I'm not sure what is creating it) noise. But it seems to have stopped after a little while. I noticed that when it was still making the noise the Live View image was sometimes disappearing to be replaced by a mass of noise, so I wonder if it is some of the electrics and focusing of the sensor itself - I'm not a techy so not sure of the mechanics of the sensor itself, but perhaps the mechanism that allows four thirds & micro four thirds lens to be used includes movement of the sensor? Also, have you as well as selected MF on the Super Control Panel or elsewhere also pulled the manual focus lens ring back? If so, is there still the sound? Intriguing but as said but hopefully it is just a product of the amazing technology stuffed inside the E-M1]


Regards
Chris
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Old 18th November 2013
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Re: E-M1 mystery noise (and battery life) issue

It sounds just like mine and I think it's normal IBIS noise. At least I'm not worried about it until it stops working! My EM5 made a similar noise and that never resulted in failure. Remember the IBIS on the EM1 is a totally different setup to the E30.

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Old 18th November 2013
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Re: E-M1 mystery noise (and battery life) issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by catkins View Post
The second sound that you seem to describe is also present with my 12-40mm Pro and is I presume the focus mechanism - it is a deeper slightly coarse noise and only happens when focusing. It is easier to be more precise when the IS is set to off.
Love this forum - thanks everyone for chipping in with helpful comments (even if some not what I want to hear! )

Chris: This is interesting but I think there is a distinct difference between what you are decribing and what I am am experiencing. In my case as I mentioned above the offending sound happens sporadically even when the lens cannot be focusing (e.g. when in single-AF without the shutter button depressed and also in MF). And it's intermittent - sometimes I can hear it at the same time as I can here the "wooosh" (fan type noise) for the IBIS, but other times it is there separately even when the IS isn't running.
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Old 18th November 2013
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Re: E-M1 mystery noise (and battery life) issue

Just to reiterate too - I'm not being some OCD owner - straining to hear this with the camera rammed against my ear in the world's deepest cave :-) I can hear it for example when the camera is at waist level.
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Old 18th November 2013
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Re: E-M1 mystery noise (and battery life) issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by Angus View Post
Just to reiterate too - I'm not being some OCD owner - straining to hear this with the camera rammed against my ear in the world's deepest cave :-) I can hear it for example when the camera is at waist level.
if you are shooting in S, M, P or Auto modes try changing to A and see if you still here noise 2
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Old 18th November 2013
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Re: E-M1 mystery noise (and battery life) issue

Hello Angus,
welcome to the forum.
I would guess from your comments that you are blessed with acute hearing. Being hard of hearing I cannot help you regarding the noises as I never hear them.

However as regards the battery, I have noticed that the battery in the E-M1 did not seem to last very long between charges during my first week of use but now that it has had a few charging cycles it is doing much better. I think this is recognised battery behaviour.

Also you mentioned that you are new to Olympus so I suspect you spent the first few days exploring the menus and trying out various settings and checking the resulting images more frequently than normal, I certainly did, so this may have increased the drain on the battery. That said I do have the impression that battery life of the E-M1 is not quite as good as the E-M5.
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Old 18th November 2013
catkins catkins is offline
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Re: E-M1 mystery noise (and battery life) issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by Angus View Post
Just to reiterate too - I'm not being some OCD owner - straining to hear this with the camera rammed against my ear in the world's deepest cave :-) I can hear it for example when the camera is at waist level.
Don't worry, I think its just that we're trying different methods to see what we hear and in my case, the only reason I mention that I have to have it against my ear is due to the noisy computer which drowns out all known sounds (oh and the knackered hearing that was affected years ago by target shooting and minimal ear protection)!
Did you see that I edited my comments as extra info was added between writing and posting? I did get a non-focus/IBIS, non regular noise but have had difficulty replicating it but it was like something 'being moved' in the camera body and I was also having the Live View screen change to noise - that has not happened since although it did happen yesterday while trying MF.

Regards
Chris
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Old 18th November 2013
Angus Angus is offline
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Re: E-M1 mystery noise (and battery life) issue

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Originally Posted by photo_owl View Post
if you are shooting in S, M, P or Auto modes try changing to A and see if you still here noise 2
"A" is my usual and preferred shooting mode, so I'm 100% certain I have heard it in that mode.
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Old 18th November 2013
Angus Angus is offline
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Re: E-M1 mystery noise (and battery life) issue

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Originally Posted by ayewing View Post
Hello Angus,
welcome to the forum.
I would guess from your comments that you are blessed with acute hearing. Being hard of hearing I cannot help you regarding the noises as I never hear them.

However as regards the battery, I have noticed that the battery in the E-M1 did not seem to last very long between charges during my first week of use but now that it has had a few charging cycles it is doing much better. I think this is recognised battery behaviour.

Also you mentioned that you are new to Olympus so I suspect you spent the first few days exploring the menus and trying out various settings and checking the resulting images more frequently than normal, I certainly did, so this may have increased the drain on the battery. That said I do have the impression that battery life of the E-M1 is not quite as good as the E-M5.
Good points Archie especially the one about all the playing with the sessings I inevitably did do in the first days which obviously would drainn the battery faster than average. And I have also heard from other sources the idea that battries do improve over the first few charges. I'm not unduly worried by this yet (though I can tell already I'll need to buy an additional battery). But it's the noise I find more troubling.
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