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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 16th December 2013
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E-M1 viewfinder

I've been using the E-M1 for about a month now - done three and a half rugby matches and a little bit of general stuff. I'm still coming to conclusions about it and hadn't really cleared my thoughts enough to start a thread but a more or less throwaway comment about the viewfinder on the thread about lockups seems to have provoked quite a response, so I'll start this thread.

I don't do very much "normal" photography, specially at this time of year when it's dark and cold. My main subjects are sport, mainly rugby, and live music, usually in badly-lit pubs. I appreciate that this means my requirements may be a bit unusual - low-light performance and weatherproofing being two things which are key for me and irrelevant to many other users. So these comments come from that context.

I am beginning to have serious reservations about the viewfinder (the EVF, not the LCD back panel) in the E-M1. For sure it's beautifully clear and has nice colours, and side-by-side with the E-M5 it looks a lot prettier. But I have found that it has trouble keeping up with action - even with our rugby players who are not the fastest creatures on the planet. The movement seems jerky and I am finding it difficult to really pick out the moment that I want to shoot (I never shoot sequence - a relic from using film and being broke, probably).

I found the E-M5's EVF took a bit of getting used to but following advice from the forum I changed the refresh rate to Fast and upped the brightness and found it quite manageable. I've made the same changes with the E-M1 but it still seems to be quite a step back from the E-M5 in this respect.

On Saturday the conditions were really challenging - it was a gloomy day at a ground which is pretty gloomy unless the sun is out anyway, as there is a line of tall trees shading the south side of the pitch. We kicked off half an hour late, and by midway through the second half I was using ISO 6400 at f/2 - and the viewfinder image looked like a stop-motion animation! OK, I realise that the camera has a lot of work to do in those conditions. I also realise that I have spent an awful lot of money on it, and I expect it to be up to the job. I felt that the E-M5 was a big step in the right direction and expected the E-M1 to be better, but on experience so far it isn't.

I've done some other stuff with it, like a party, and it was fine. And I haven't been to the right sort of music gig with it yet so I can't comment on how it will fare. But for the other part of its main job I am struggling to get used to it.

Ciao ... John
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Old 16th December 2013
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Re: E-M1 viewfinder

have you tried it with the Live View Boost on in those conditions John?
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Old 16th December 2013
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Re: E-M1 viewfinder

The live view frame rate will reduce with the ambient light and this affects both the LCD and he EVF. Live View Boost may help but this will not show a wysiswyg display (accurate preview of the consequence of any exposure or colour settings, for example). There is also a high speed frame rate option, which does reduce the quality of the display but may fix the lag problem.

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Old 16th December 2013
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Re: E-M1 viewfinder

For the dark days external shooting / studio work I always have Live View boost on + high frame rate and use the EVF as I would on a DSLR, with the "exposure meter bar" showing to check my exposure levels

I used exactly the same settings with my EM-5 and maybe its because of this I see the EM-1 EVF as a significant improvement?
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Old 16th December 2013
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Re: E-M1 viewfinder

There is no doubt in my mind that the M1 EVF is a considerable leap in performance from the M5 and I take quite a lot of photos of fast moving subjects and not all in good light at this time of the year. There is the undisputed fact that for this type of photography the EVF is less suitable than an OVF but the M1's is the best I've used.

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Old 16th December 2013
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Re: E-M1 viewfinder

Thanks all for your comments.

Brian - I hadn't thought of using Live View Boost for this. I've used it with external flash on the E-M5 and it seemed good so I could try it. No more games until January though There is the risk of switching it on and forgetting then and judging exposure by eye, but I also have the histogram displayed so that should warn me if it's way off.

Sudden think - if I switch histogram off, will that spare more CPU cycles for refreshing the display?

Ian - thanks for the Frame Rate suggestion - I learnt that one with the E-M5. I was going to say that I had set it to Fast, but I've just checked and now I am totally confused - in the menu (Cogs - D) the option is greyed out and I can't set it. Any idea what might have caused this? is there a conflict with any of the other options?

David - good to hear that it works for you. I imagine we face similar challenges, specially at this time of year. This, plus other people's comments about how good the EVF is, makes me wonder if I am doing something fundamental which is inhibiting it. But there were other comments in the lockup thread echoing my concerns. Hopefully we can work out between us how to get the best behaviour from it.

Ciao ... John
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Old 16th December 2013
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Re: E-M1 viewfinder

Quote:
in the menu (Cogs - D) the option is greyed out and I can't set it. Any idea what might have caused this? is there a conflict with any of the other options?
welcome to the club, let me share some knowledge that I learnt from another really clever person here (can't remember who - but thanks)

you probably have focus peaking set on, which blocks the High frame rate setting - totally confused me

Quote:
There is the risk of switching it on and forgetting then and judging exposure by eye
I still make that mistake (did a couple of days ago when shooting kite surfers off a very dark, dank Avon Beach, only spotted it when I chimped a couple of shots ) but I'm sure practise will, eventually, make perfect
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Old 16th December 2013
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Re: E-M1 viewfinder

Thank you for this thread... I thought I was imagining the slowing of the frame rate at a gig the other day and thank you for a possible solution Ian.
this camera is certainly not plug and play, steep learning curve compared to previous Olympus cameras but once we understand it I am sure it will have a crown of being a professional tool

BTW: peaking off but frame rate still greyed out
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Re: E-M1 viewfinder

Thanks for the suggestion Brian. I actually tried focus peaking for the first time this afternoon, by assigning it to the "record" button as I never shoot video. When I saw the frame rate option greyed out I wondered if that was the cause so I re-assigned the rec button back to its default - and the frame rate option is still greyed out.

I've got a vague memory there was a thread about this a while back so when there is a bit more time tomorrow I'll go hunting for it. of course, if any kind soul sees this and posts the solution before then I will be grateful (and I'm sure Chris will be too).

Ciao ... John
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Re: E-M1 viewfinder

If time and ability permits we could do with a conflicts list for the EM-1... got one in the service centre Olympus??? ...otherwise we will have to do our own
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Old 16th December 2013
Olybirder Olybirder is offline
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Re: E-M1 viewfinder

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bikie John View Post
Thanks for the suggestion Brian. I actually tried focus peaking for the first time this afternoon, by assigning it to the "record" button as I never shoot video. When I saw the frame rate option greyed out I wondered if that was the cause so I re-assigned the rec button back to its default - and the frame rate option is still greyed out.
Have a look at Menu Cog A. Have you got MF Assist set to Focus Peaking 'On'? If so, try switching it off and see if that helps. It worked on mine.

Ron
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Old 17th December 2013
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Re: E-M1 viewfinder

Thanks Ron, that's the setting that sorted mine out too
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Old 17th December 2013
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Re: E-M1 viewfinder

Just subscribing to the thread.

Thanks for starting it John - lots of food for thought here.
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Old 17th December 2013
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Re: E-M1 viewfinder

Thanks for the comments.

Ron - when I reset MF assist to remove Focus Peaking it gave me back Frame Rate High. Thanks for the tip. Just enabling Focus Peaking anywhere appears to disable fast refresh, even when Peaking is not in use, which is a pain.

Of course, this raised more questions:

1. I don't think I had any Peaking options set when I was using it on Saturday, so I should have been on fast refresh and still had a problem with jerky movement.

2. I can quite understand that the combination of a fast refresh rate and focus peaking will make more demands of the processor, and it is a reasonable restriction to not allow both at once. But it should be documented.

3. It seems a bit off that by enabling any options which might invoke peaking, we disable the fast refresh. Clearly the refresh rate is something that can be changed on the fly, so it should be able to change it as required. Perhaps we can hope for a firmware update to sort this out.

As for the original problem - next time I'm shooting action I will double-check to make sure I've got high frame rate set. I will also experiment with Live View Boost to see if it helps.

Thanks again all for your comments,
John
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Old 17th December 2013
Olybirder Olybirder is offline
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Re: E-M1 viewfinder

I am glad we have managed to stumble towards a partial explanation to the problem John. It does seem odd that enabling Focus Peaking, even if you are not using it, should affect the refresh rate. It hasn't been a problem for me as I have yet to graduate to manual focusing.

Ron
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