E-PL5: am i the only one who cares there's only 1 dial?

Started Oct 4, 2012 | Discussions thread
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spacenegroes Regular Member • Posts: 135
E-PL5: am i the only one who cares there's only 1 dial?

i just read the robin wong review, and it doesn't seem like he minds at all that there's only the one spinny dial on the camera. it doesn't seem like anyone really minds it, except me. i'm not sure whether i'm shooting wrong or what, but i prefer at least two dials--ideally the fuji method of physical aperture controls on the lens + 2 more dials on the body, but even just the two dials of the E-M5 or NEX-7 would be sufficient. does it really cost that much more to put a vertical thumb dial like the one on the E-P series on the camera? how much space does that really take up? how much more electronics is really needed? maybe $10's worth of electronics more? i would pay $100 more for the E-PL5 to get a second dial.

  1. need the first dial for aperture. i almost never shoot shutter priority (DOF control is too important for me to leave it up to the light meter calculation), always aperture. so i need to be able to set my aperture instantly.
  2. need the second dial for ISO. i select the ISO based on what the light meter calculates the shutter speed to be. depending on the action i anticipate and my focal length, sometimes i'm willing to go down to 1/4 of a second--so i'll keep dialing down the ISO until shutter speed passes 1/4, then i'll take that. or if i'm using the 45mm, i don't want to go under 1/100, so i'll dial down the ISO until it gets to about there. i'm always trying to get the best ISO given my shutter speed restraints.
  3. prefer a third dial for +EV. this is when i don't like the results that the camera light meter comes up with. but i don't use this all that much, so i'm willing to deal with pressing instead of spinning for this.

aperture on the lens, EV on one dial, ISO on the other dial, that would be my ideal setup. aperture dial and ISO dial would be the acceptable 2-dial setup.
anyone who's okay with just 1 dial, can you explain how you would take on the following situation: it's inside a bar. you're using the panny 20mm for candids, set to base ISO 800 and f/1.7 on aperture priority. people aren't posing, but nor are they dancing or moving a whole ton. i decide somewhere between 1/15 and 1/30 is my acceptable shutter speed. different areas are illuminated differently though:

A. one group of friends is under a light, so f/1.7, ISO 800 gets you about 1/60s.

  • with the "ideal" 3-dial setup, i would twist the ISO two stops (fraction of a second) and get 1/15s, then twist the EV dial 1/3 to 2/3 of a stop to get something in the 1/20-1/25s range.
  • with the accetable 2-dial setup, i would skip the EV step and keep it at ISO 400 1/30s. snap instantly.
  • with only one dial, i would have to press 3 buttons before i got even ISO 400, and 8 buttons to get the EV change also.
  • with only one dial, and using auto-ISO, the camera would stick with ISO800 or something, because the camera values fast shutter speed way more than i do; it doesn't ever like dropping below 1/60s

B. another group is in a darker area, so my camera now set to f/1.7, ISO 400 only gets me 1/5s.

  • with 3 dials, i'd push down EV 1/3-2/3 stop, and push up ISO to 1600. that'd get me 1/30s or so again, sacrificing 2 stops of ISO quality from the previous shot.
  • with 2 dials, i'd push the ISO to 1600, see 1/15 (too slow), make a snap judgement call that im not willing to take ISO 3200 on this shot, and then press buttons to change the EV. (or maybe i'd make a different choice and take the ISO 3200.)

C. third shot is in a REALLY dark area, so my camera set currently to f/1.7, ISO 1600 shows 1/4s. i know there's no way to get a sharp picture--or if there is, ISO would be at such a high setting i wouldnt want the picture anyway. so i decide to set the camera down on a surface and get some motion blur into it, showcasing the action and liveliness of this whole seating area of the bar, people sitting in their booths, drinking, laughing, etc.

  • with either 3 dials or 2 dials, i'd push the aperture to f/4 to get enough DOF to show a few rows of booths, then ISO to 200 for best quality, and check out what the shutter speed is. it looks like the camera computer calculates it at 8s. probably too much motion for me. i push the ISO back to 400, and i get 4s. perfect. i take the shot.
  • with 1 dial, every ISO change would be pressing buttons. and auto ISO here would be a complete fail. the only way it would work is shooting in manual mode, setting f/4 and 3s, and choosing auto ISO, but that requires even more button presses.

D. fourth shot is back in the bright area, but two friends are flirting and play-hitting each other. there's much more motion blur now. i need to capture this exact moment. no time to waste. current settings of f/4 and ISO 400 shows 1/6s.

  • with 3 dials, i can twist aperture to the minimum with my left hand at the same time i spin the ISO dial to 1600, my personal maximum. i take the picture on a prayer. it ends up being 1/120s. good enough. slight motion blur in the girl's hand play-slapping the guy, which in hindsight, adds to the photo.
  • with 2 dials, i have to do the two changes sequentially. maybe i miss the shot.
  • with 1 dial, after spinning aperture, i have to select the ISO with buttons. shot is gone. fail.

E. fourth shot is outside. we leave the bar, and we need a group shot. it's in the afternoon, so it's quite bright. current settings of ISO 1600 and f/1.7 get me overexposed by a stop or so. yet again i hae to twist down ISO and stop down the aperture. and yet again it takes forever with the buttons and no time at all for the dials.

Olympus PEN E-PL5 Sony Alpha NEX-7
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