Good IQ, but horrible ergonomics and unreliable AF, overpriced

Started Jan 24, 2013 | User reviews
Lupti
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Good IQ, but horrible ergonomics and unreliable AF, overpriced
Jan 24, 2013

I used the OM-D E-M5 for a time now and decided to send it back. Why? There are several reasons that make the high price-tag questionable.

Yes, the IQ is very good. I was impressed with the high-detailled and vivid coloured photos. And the high-ISO noise performance is impressive for a 4/3 sensor.

However I found AWB horribly unreliable. Shooting under fluorescent light gave me yellowish pictures - I shot RAW but this bothers me with extra work in PP that shouldn´t be necessary. My old GH1 was way more reliable here.

The AF is claimed to be good but under some circumstances it isn´t reliable. Under average light the AF missed some shots - static objects, not moving ones. The AF-C is just pretty unreliable, even with slow-moving objects.

The menu is horrible! Too many unnecessary abbreviations while there would be enough space for the words written out. The order of the menu points doesn´t seem logical - there is no sensible arrangement of them. Finding a menu point is awkward and often it´s necessary to look in the manual - which isn´t supplied in printed form.

The screen has good viewing angles but sharpness could be better. There are higher resolution screens in cheaper cameras, why not here? Sometimes the frame on the screen seems to be in focus but it isn´t.
The tilting mechanism is ok for me.

The buttons feel cheap and are mushy to press, maybe due to weather-sealing. Questionable for this price-tag.

IBIS seems to work good but in some situation it fails - I shot at 1/20 at 14mm and the image was blurred due to shake. I expected better performance here.
There is a loud hissing noise coming from the IBIS which was reduced in loudness with firmware 1.5.

Video mode could have been nice but it´s crippled. It´s not a dedicated video camera but others do better for cheaper prices. While the IBIS provies a nice stable image it also produces a noticeable whirring sound when the camera is moved, even when only slightly. You can use OIS lenses, but only ones with OIS switch.

There is no mic input, I don´t see a reasony why it wasn´t included. You can use the SEMA-1 adaptor but this occupies the hot-shoe and so a microphone can´t be attached, only via a grip with cold-shoe - which increased the size of the cam so it isn´t compact anymore.

Video IQ is okayish but the low bitrate gives a bit muddy image. Moire and aliasing are visible.

AF for video is unusable, AF-C gives worst focus hunting I´ve ever seen. You can switch to AF-S and then focus before starting the recording but this is a poor solution.

The kit-lens is too large because it has an unnecessary motor zoom. You can use manual zoom but this feels a bit stiff.
I don´t see why this camera needs motor zoom with this crippled video mode.

Grip could be better, the cameras form isn´t that ergonomic to use. I rather have a usable design than a retro-styled camera.

Overall this camera is a flawed jewel. The retro design spoils the ergonomics which also have other flaws. It could have been a really good camera but for this keen pricetag I expect better performance.

Lupti's score
3.0
Average community score
4.5
bad for good for
Kids / pets
weak
Action / sports
bad
Landscapes / scenery
okay
Portraits
acceptable
Low light (without flash)
acceptable
Flash photography (social)
mediocre
Studio / still life
acceptable
= community average
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1
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systemBuilder
Junior MemberPosts: 48
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Re: Good IQ, but horrible ergonomics and unreliable AF, overpriced
In reply to Lupti, Jul 9, 2013

However I found AWB horribly unreliable. Shooting under fluorescent light gave me yellowish pictures - I shot RAW but this bothers me with extra work in PP that shouldn´t be necessary. My old GH1 was way more reliable here.

The AF is claimed to be good but under some circumstances it isn´t reliable. Under average light the AF missed some shots - static objects, not moving ones. The AF-C is just pretty unreliable, even with slow-moving objects.

Overall this camera is a flawed jewel. The retro design spoils the ergonomics which also have other flaws. It could have been a really good camera but for this keen pricetag I expect better performance.

At the outset, let me say I'm a new E-PL5 owner, it's only my second Olympus, and the E-PL5 is basically the same camera without a viewfinder and with slightly weaker optical image stabilization.

I cannot argue with either of the two above complaints (auto white balance doesn't work, and focus tends to hunt, especially in low light), however, the auto-white balance can be completely disabled in the menues and I believe that 100% of knowledgeable users do this when they first get the camera

As for the focus hunting, I think this is a longstanding Olympus issue. In half-decent light it's extremely fast to focus. In low light there is basically not a better camera on earth, but to get that performance, you have to wait a while for the focus and lens to work their magic, and sometimes they simply fail. Is that tradeoff worth it? By the time I've missed 50 shots (which happened quickly with our old Olympus Camedia C-700), I'll probably be DONE with this camera, but so far, so good ...

In the meantime, I am astonished to get the low-light performance of the E-PL5 with 2 different zoom lenses (14-42 and 40-150) at a ~$620 price point with all the father's day specials and olympus rebates applied.

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s_grins
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Re: Good IQ, but horrible ergonomics and unreliable AF, overpriced
In reply to Lupti, Jul 12, 2013

Lupti wrote:

I used the OM-D E-M5 for a time now and decided to send it back. Why? There are several reasons that make the high price-tag questionable.

Yes, the IQ is very good. I was impressed with the high-detailled and vivid coloured photos. And the high-ISO noise performance is impressive for a 4/3 sensor.

However I found AWB horribly unreliable. Shooting under fluorescent light gave me yellowish pictures - I shot RAW but this bothers me with extra work in PP that shouldn´t be necessary. My old GH1 was way more reliable here.

The AF is claimed to be good but under some circumstances it isn´t reliable. Under average light the AF missed some shots - static objects, not moving ones. The AF-C is just pretty unreliable, even with slow-moving objects.

The menu is horrible! Too many unnecessary abbreviations while there would be enough space for the words written out. The order of the menu points doesn´t seem logical - there is no sensible arrangement of them. Finding a menu point is awkward and often it´s necessary to look in the manual - which isn´t supplied in printed form.

The screen has good viewing angles but sharpness could be better. There are higher resolution screens in cheaper cameras, why not here? Sometimes the frame on the screen seems to be in focus but it isn´t.
The tilting mechanism is ok for me.

The buttons feel cheap and are mushy to press, maybe due to weather-sealing. Questionable for this price-tag.

IBIS seems to work good but in some situation it fails - I shot at 1/20 at 14mm and the image was blurred due to shake. I expected better performance here.
There is a loud hissing noise coming from the IBIS which was reduced in loudness with firmware 1.5.

Video mode could have been nice but it´s crippled. It´s not a dedicated video camera but others do better for cheaper prices. While the IBIS provies a nice stable image it also produces a noticeable whirring sound when the camera is moved, even when only slightly. You can use OIS lenses, but only ones with OIS switch.

There is no mic input, I don´t see a reasony why it wasn´t included. You can use the SEMA-1 adaptor but this occupies the hot-shoe and so a microphone can´t be attached, only via a grip with cold-shoe - which increased the size of the cam so it isn´t compact anymore.

Video IQ is okayish but the low bitrate gives a bit muddy image. Moire and aliasing are visible.

AF for video is unusable, AF-C gives worst focus hunting I´ve ever seen. You can switch to AF-S and then focus before starting the recording but this is a poor solution.

The kit-lens is too large because it has an unnecessary motor zoom. You can use manual zoom but this feels a bit stiff.
I don´t see why this camera needs motor zoom with this crippled video mode.

Grip could be better, the cameras form isn´t that ergonomic to use. I rather have a usable design than a retro-styled camera.

Overall this camera is a flawed jewel. The retro design spoils the ergonomics which also have other flaws. It could have been a really good camera but for this keen pricetag I expect better performance.

Tell me please why should I trust your review? What are your credentials?

Edited: OOPS, sorry for the post. I did not realised that this is old and cold poop.

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SaltLakeGuy
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How very strange
In reply to s_grins, Jul 12, 2013

I've had my OMD now over a year. I've used it for paid professional portrait work and tons of landscape and event shooting. One of the things that blew me away off the get go was it's almost infallible white balance and focus speeds. The focus speed and accuracy in less than good light has proved to be as good if not better than a pro DSLR I've owned prior to this. As for the stabilization it has far exceeded my expectations. For the most part unless I'm trying to shoot in the dark it nails the shots every time without fail. I know how to stabilize myself for the shot so not sure how much that has to do with anything. as for the "squishy" buttons the few that are a bit like that don't bother me at all as they are reliable in regard to actuation so I don't care really. For me the overall performance regarding feature set and size and ergonomics work out well for my medium sized hands. Perhaps I wish it were possible to have had a built in pop up flash instead of the add on, but I'm over it. Frankly with it's amazing higher ISO performance I don't use flash very much. The movie performance is more than ample for what I use it for especially with the near Steadicam like performance of the 5 axis stabilizer. Typically if it's half way important I shoot in RAW anyway and process in Lightroom 5 which I'm finding takes no time at all to get the jobs done. Sorry your experience has been quite the opposite of mine. It is an amazing tool with very few faults IMHO.

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s_grins
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Re: How very strange
In reply to SaltLakeGuy, Jul 12, 2013

What do you mean under "how very strange"? Please point anything in my post that made you so very strange?

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Bassam Guy
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Re: Good IQ, but horrible ergonomics and unreliable AF, overpriced
In reply to systemBuilder, Jul 12, 2013

I cannot argue with either of the two above complaints (auto white balance doesn't work, and focus tends to hunt, especially in low light), however, the auto-white balance can be completely disabled in the menues and I believe that 100% of knowledgeable users do this when they first get the camera

I beg to differ. I shoot RAW; WB info is in the image meta data and can be changed later without any IQ loss whatsoever. Auto WB is often correct. Sometimes I need to adjust it. Disabling WB would only make it always wrong.

I believe that 0% of knowledgeable RAW shooters disable WB.

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sigala1
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In reply to Bassam Guy, Jul 12, 2013

Bassam Guy wrote:

I cannot argue with either of the two above complaints (auto white balance doesn't work, and focus tends to hunt, especially in low light), however, the auto-white balance can be completely disabled in the menues and I believe that 100% of knowledgeable users do this when they first get the camera

I beg to differ. I shoot RAW; WB info is in the image meta data and can be changed later without any IQ loss whatsoever. Auto WB is often correct. Sometimes I need to adjust it. Disabling WB would only make it always wrong.

I believe that 0% of knowledgeable RAW shooters disable WB.

I too always use AWB with RAW, it's more right than wrong most of the time. Changing it is often an aesthetic choice rather than because it's obviously wrong. It's a good a starting point as any.

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Just Having Fun
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I think he meant the OP
In reply to s_grins, Jul 12, 2013

s_grins wrote:

What do you mean under "how very strange"? Please point anything in my post that made you so very strange?

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You post isn't 6 month old, and the OP makes little sense to anyone who has use the camera for more than 1 minute.

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gazzajb
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Re: Good IQ, but horrible ergonomics and unreliable AF, overpriced
In reply to Lupti, Jul 13, 2013

Never ceases to amaze me how upset people can be with a tool. Personally, I find the E-M5 an amazing piece of development. Do I need to modify how I take photos? Of course I do. It is significantly different from my other tools (Canons) Should I be upset by these differences?. ummm.. no. It's just a bit of a learning curve to find the best methods to make this baby sing.

I am quite amazed by some of these criticisms here.

Unreliable autofocus on static objects?? really?? I find this autofocus about as good as it gets (though I don't use kit lenses which may make a difference, but they make a difference in any camera brand).

Low light hunting... again, I find this camera excellent in this regard. My other camera for low light is a 5DMIII which is renown as one of the best for this, and I think the Oly is comparable. I do a lot of low light work photographing bands in dingy pubs, and the Oly performs remarkably well when equipped with capable lenses (fast).

AF-C? I didn't buy it for that and I think any piece of research will tell you that this is not a mirrorless system's forte. Horses for courses.

The menu system? Yes, it is long and involved, but that's because there is just SO much you can do to personalise this baby. There is an easy way to simplify it - take out all the options and turn this into a P&S.

You don't seem to have found many good things about this camera, and if that's the case, I think you are right to send it back. I would be very interested to hear your review on your replacement camera to see how superior it is to this one. If you find one that does everything so much better than this in a package this size, I, for one, will be lining up to buy it.

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Alumna Gorp
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Re: Good IQ, but horrible ergonomics and unreliable AF, overpriced
In reply to gazzajb, Jul 13, 2013

Unreliable autofocus on static objects?? really?? I find this autofocus about as good as it gets (though I don't use kit lenses which may make a difference, but they make a difference in any camera brand.

Maybe he had the body cap lens fitted, or no lens at all

My only niggles is the 200 ISO minimum and 1/4000s max shutter speed, but these have all been added to the EP5 and I should imagine the next lot of OMD`s.

I find the focus just great and social flash portraits very good with the OMD, the gear needs to be fast and accurate for me needs.

Social flash, hit and run style

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Moti
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Sorry but that is not even a joke...
In reply to Lupti, Jul 13, 2013

This so called "review" shouldn't have been taken out of its grave because it is worth absolutely nothing. It was obviously written by someone who's knoledge and experience about photography and camera operation isn't up to something  and has absolutely no credentials in the field. I don't understand why some of you take it so seriously and bother to reply.

I don't read many reviews because most of them cannot be taken seriously or trusted in any way to put it mildly,nand as a principle, I'll never touch a review that isn't backed up by photos or one that contains the words horrible, terrible etc. in there days of modern digital cameras, there are no horrible cameras, only horrible "reviewers"

Cheers

Moti

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gazzajb
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Re: Sorry but that is not even a joke...
In reply to Moti, Jul 13, 2013

Moti wrote:

This so called "review" shouldn't have been taken out of its grave because it is worth absolutely nothing. It was obviously written by someone who's knoledge and experience about photography and camera operation isn't up to something and has absolutely no credentials in the field. I don't understand why some of you take it so seriously and bother to reply.

I don't read many reviews because most of them cannot be taken seriously or trusted in any way to put it mildly,nand as a principle, I'll never touch a review that isn't backed up by photos or one that contains the words horrible, terrible etc. in there days of modern digital cameras, there are no horrible cameras, only horrible "reviewers"

Cheers

Moti

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I didn't even realise it was pretending to be a "review"... I thought it was just someone's unfortunate opinion

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Erick L
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Re: I think he meant the OP
In reply to Just Having Fun, Jul 13, 2013

Just Having Fun wrote:

s_grins wrote:

What do you mean under "how very strange"? Please point anything in my post that made you so very strange?

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You post isn't 6 month old, and the OP makes little sense to anyone who has use the camera for more than 1 minute.

I have had mine for almost a year and I agree in part with the OP. The AF area is so large it often focus on the wrong spot. It gets a lot worse with long lenses.

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Martin.au
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Re: I think he meant the OP
In reply to Erick L, Jul 13, 2013

Erick L wrote:

Just Having Fun wrote:

s_grins wrote:

What do you mean under "how very strange"? Please point anything in my post that made you so very strange?

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You post isn't 6 month old, and the OP makes little sense to anyone who has use the camera for more than 1 minute.

I have had mine for almost a year and I agree in part with the OP. The AF area is so large it often focus on the wrong spot. It gets a lot worse with long lenses.

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Erick - www.borealphoto.com

Use the 14x focus box.

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Savas Kyprianides
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Re: Good IQ, but horrible ergonomics and unreliable AF, overpriced
In reply to Lupti, Jul 13, 2013

Guys, Lupti dropped his bomb of a post six months ago and you're all over it while he's gone elsewhere. Give it up and let the thread die.

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tt321
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Re: Sorry but that is not even a joke...
In reply to gazzajb, Jul 13, 2013

gazzajb wrote:

Moti wrote:

This so called "review" shouldn't have been taken out of its grave because it is worth absolutely nothing. It was obviously written by someone who's knoledge and experience about photography and camera operation isn't up to something and has absolutely no credentials in the field. I don't understand why some of you take it so seriously and bother to reply.

I don't read many reviews because most of them cannot be taken seriously or trusted in any way to put it mildly,nand as a principle, I'll never touch a review that isn't backed up by photos or one that contains the words horrible, terrible etc. in there days of modern digital cameras, there are no horrible cameras, only horrible "reviewers"

Cheers

Moti

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I didn't even realise it was pretending to be a "review"... I thought it was just someone's unfortunate opinion

The definition for review is a set of opinions.

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ryan2007
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Re: Good IQ, but horrible ergonomics and unreliable AF, overpriced
In reply to Lupti, Jul 13, 2013

Ha ha ha ha, Nice.

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gazzajb
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Re: Sorry but that is not even a joke...
In reply to tt321, Jul 13, 2013

tt321 wrote:

gazzajb wrote:

Moti wrote:

This so called "review" shouldn't have been taken out of its grave because it is worth absolutely nothing. It was obviously written by someone who's knoledge and experience about photography and camera operation isn't up to something and has absolutely no credentials in the field. I don't understand why some of you take it so seriously and bother to reply.

I don't read many reviews because most of them cannot be taken seriously or trusted in any way to put it mildly,nand as a principle, I'll never touch a review that isn't backed up by photos or one that contains the words horrible, terrible etc. in there days of modern digital cameras, there are no horrible cameras, only horrible "reviewers"

Cheers

Moti

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I didn't even realise it was pretending to be a "review"... I thought it was just someone's unfortunate opinion

The definition for review is a set of opinions.

Really? I always thought a "review" was generally accompanied by a series of technical data and factual information...  Perhaps I need to redefine...

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amalric
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Narcissit-depressive, very common occurrence...
In reply to Lupti, Jul 13, 2013

...in  a forum, full of pathological liars/clueless users. How to tell the difference? One should be a shrink even before being a photog.

Take an example: WB. In mixed lights it is one of the most difficult things to achieve. RAW-only morons tell you they dont' care. They might as well tell you they don't care about colour and exposure.

Oly designers, not being suicidal, have improved constantly WB performance. Having v. different lights, from tungsten to low energy bulbs, from speedlights to sunlight, I am amazed on how I can really on Auto WB most of the time, if I set off 'keep warm colour' which works better in natural light only.

Of course the colour signature is a trademark of the company so it's better be good from the start.

The E-M5 is an expensive camera, as it is not pro graded. However it has a technolgy mix almost no other has, from Live Time to Touch-shutter, and is a demon at nailing both exposure and focus.

OP must be really depressive...

Am.

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FrankS009
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Re: Good IQ, but horrible ergonomics and unreliable AF, overpriced
In reply to Alumna Gorp, Jul 13, 2013

The EM-5 doesn't suit me, but it takes great photos. Like these.

F.

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