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Olympus OM-D E-M5 issues, deficiencies and suggestions for improved firmware

firmware updates

  • version 2.0 (Jan 2014):
    • added small AF region capability
    • added ISO 100 (“LOW”)
  • version 1.5 (2nd Oct 2012):
    • removed the IS acoustic noise so it is now only heard when IS is activated for AF or magnified view (not during actual shooting though)
    • image stabiliser now functional for legacy lenses in movie mode as well as still mode (remember to set the focal length!)

suggested firmware improvements

  • firmware improvements which I would love include:
    • add a lower shutter speed limit for autoISO
    • perhaps an “intelligent” auto ISO mode as with the Panasonic - determines subject motion speed and factors that into the equation
    • improved 3D tracking AF algorithm
    • add 24/25fps HD video mode
    • HDR mode
    • increase exposure bracketing from +/- 2EV to +/- 3EV
    • sweep panoramic stitching mode
    • “peaking” manual focus aid
    • improve movie audio mode functionality, at present 3 audio levels only and no audio level meters

firmware bug fixes needed

  • when LCD is inactive and EVF auto-switching is disabled, or the EVF is active, pressing PLAY should display the photo in the EVF NOT on the LCD screen!
  • when putting PASM dial into movie mode, ensure the REC button is assigned to record (in case user has assigned it to something else) otherwise there is no means of starting a movie
  • improved versatility of the rear arrow buttons
    • allow more functions to be assignable to each of the Fn buttons and arrow buttons - why can't we assign to the up arrow?
  • there are reports of banding in shadow areas of images taken at ISO 1600 or higher with the Panasonic Lumix 20mm f/1.7 pancake lens and some E-M5 cameras.
  • sound syncing seems out in movie mode when played back on Quicktime and RealPlayer but seems almost there in Lightroom v4.1

user interface improvements needed

  • if you hit play button and then put your eye to the EVF with EVF sensor active or the LCD is inactivated, the EVF SHOULD display the image just as the LCD would normally do
    • the clunky workaround to this which unfortunately still pushes display 1st to the LCD screen is:
      • Disable the eye sensor by holding down the LV button on the side of the EVF for a few seconds and selecting the desired option in the dialog that appears.
      • Press the green play button and now the image is on the LCD.
      • Press (but do not hold) the LV button to switch it to the EVF.
  • the menu system for displaying shooting information is AWFUL what were the Olympus software engineers smoking when they designed this??
    • OK, to be fair, Olympus DO NOT INTEND you to actually use the Menu System much, you should be activating either their Live Guide, or their Super Control Panel which is activated by hitting the OK button and which displays nearly everything you need, even in the EVF so you can change most settings without ever taking your eye off the EVF.
  • EVF eye sensor could be a bit faster to switch the EVF on

other tips to improve usability

  • if you plan to use it with the larger lenses or Four Thirds lenses, strongly consider getting the HLD6 grip, which can really transform the camera handling and hopefully will also alleviate the issues with the rear buttons being in the way of your palm resulting in accidental changes of the settings.

limitations as designed

  • image stabiliser and C-AF does NOT work in high burst rate mode (9fps)
  • exposure metering limit in very dark scenes is such that when using aperture priority with aperture f/2.0, ISO 200, max. shutter speed will be 8 secs (at f/4, it is 30secs)
    • if EVF frame rate is set to HIGH, the exposure metering limit is reduced so that when using aperture priority with aperture f/2.0, ISO 200, max. shutter speed will be 2 secs!
  • AF may not be possible with:
    • fast moving subjects
    • very low contrast subjects
    • BUT it will AF on bright stars against a dark sky if using an f/2.0 lens and camera is mounted on a tripod
  • flash sync of 1/250th sec only available with the newer flashes (eg. FL-600R)
  • fastest shutter of 1/4000th sec and lowest ISO of 100 may require a polarising filter or ND filter be used in bright sunlight at wide apertures of f/1.8 or wider when one is trying to get shallow depth of field (DOF)
  • as with all Olympus cameras, the aperture ring on Panasonic lenses will be ignored by the camera
  • as with all mirrorless cameras, TTL flash introduces a shutter lag as the camera must first measure the light output of the preflash on the main sensor, not a dedicated light metering sensor as in dSLRs
  • bundled flash or add-on flash fires when used in RC mode even if the flash is set to OFF - this is because there is no IR transmitter in the flash so it must fire a burst of light which is very annoying if you don't want it!
  • no easy way to go to a My Settings mode - Olympus has addressed this in later cameras by adding this to the PASM dial

physical design faults

  • a range of the E-M5 cameras have a manufacturing fault which results in a tiny crack in the bezel around the display screen near one of the screws. This does not appear to affect usage or stability of the camera, however, Olympus has recognised this as a fault and in certain regions is offering free repair for the serial numbers that were affected:
    • the affected range of serial numbers officially sold in Europe is:
      • BEK501001 – BEK508887 (black)
      • BF4501001 – BF4503865 (silver)
  • the eyecup design is a real nuisance as it tends to come off easily, and worse, fall apart - at least you can buy spares.
  • some users have issues with the rear dial on top of the camera falling off due to an adhesive issue:
photo/olympusem5_issues.txt · Last modified: 2015/10/02 21:44 by gary1

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