The Olympus EM5: Finally, a perfect camera?
Not quite, but we are closing in..
This is an open letter to the Olympus design team:
I have used every analog film format. 110, 35mm, 120, 4X5. Sinar, Hasselblad and Mamiya for work. Minolta for pleasure.
With digital – it has all been Olympus. With the superior optics and handling the four-thirds system and the E1 was the way to go. The E3 disappointed. The EP1 was exciting but it was the EP2 with the add-on viewfinder that made me, after 40 years, sell out my DSLR-system.
Then came Olympus EM5 – my best camera ever – by far.
I love the double dials, the image stabilization, the image quality (finally Good Enough), the build, the handling, the not built-in flash, the way they still name each image with both month and day.
And the most sexy shutter sound ever.
This camera is so good that it makes the perfect one within reach.
So Olympus, please listen. Here are the points you should fix (almost all are easy) before you come up with the next (pro?) camera in this range. Most of them can even be handled with a firmware update only.
This is not a camera review, I can only state that the pixels produced are good enough (cfr. DPReview for a thorough review). My views are all about camera usability, a topic not often covered in the camera press (two notable exceptions are Thom Hogan and Steve Huff).
So what is not perfect?
First the Firmware (the easy part):
- Still no DNG. This is a non-brainer. Do I have to buy a Leica?
- No focus peaking. The focus peaking as seen in the Sony NEX-7 is superior to the magnified view in the OMD. As a minimum the focus should shift to manual when you try to focus manually – at least make this an option.
- There is no choice of bracketing in the Super Panel. This is one of the most important options and it should not be necessary to delve into the too complicated main menu to achieve this.
- There is no possibility to assign the face recognition on-off feature to any button. Come on Olympus! Myself, I would be happy with only one, centered focus point and then the face recognition for when my grand-children turn up.
- Please turn the arrow buttons OFF as a default setting. It is far too easy to accidentally activate any of these buttons when you wear the camera over your shoulder.
- There is no possiblity (please tell me if I’m wrong) to assign the same filename to photos shot in the color-spaces SRGB and AdobeRGB. This makes a mess of my workflow when I import the photos into Lightroom.
To explain: I love the way Olympus includes both the months and the day in the filename. This makes it very easy to sort and search the file listings. All I have to do is attach the year to the start of the name and the date for each photo is included in the file-name. This way a DNG-file will turn up with a beautiful like 2012_531xxxx.DNG (today). The trouble is that the SRGB-files have to be treated in a separate import process. The SRGB-files does not start with an underscore but with a P. And even after this import #2 I end up with something like 2012_P531xxxx.DNG. Why?
But I am a big fan of simplicity. So, do I end up with adding still more complexity to the interface of this camera? That may be. But there is one solution to this:
- Please add a separate, simpler Super Panel for RAW-shooting.
Lots of the options in the SP have no functions in RAW-mode and only serve to confuse the users. Besides, this would make a worlds-first …
Why do I have to have all the options that only applies to JPG available when I am shooting RAW only?
Now to the hardware, still easy to fix:
- There are too many loose parts to lose when you want to attach a flash or one of the other accessories.
- The tripod screw is centered only with grip#1 (HLD-6). This makes it unnecessary complicated to build perfect panoramas at close distances.
- There is no flash/pc synch (this will certainly come with a Pro version)
- There is no extra battery supplied with the camera body. This should be a standard with all cameras – especially when the supplier is still not able to supply any spare battery on camera launch …
- Why these bad and cheap camera straps that come with all cameras? Just take a look at the after-market for this important accessory. And take a special close look at the Upstrap camera strap.
- There are still no weather resistant primes, please make the coming(?) black versions weather resistant
And now the hard part:
How is it possible name a camera or any product) “OM-D EM-5”? Even double hyphenated?
This is lousy product naming (and Olympus shares it with the rest of the camera industry).
Have you learnt nothing from Apple?
(please read Insanely Simple by Ken Segall, there is a whole chapter on product naming in there).
I know this is difficult, but at least skip the hyphenation!
Right now I own an Olympus EM5 – and is very happy about it.