Saturday, August 4, 2012

Olympus OM-D Day 2 - It's the little things.

You knew it was coming, folks!  

For anyone that actually knows me (or has read this blog any), you may have noticed I can be rather opinionated at times.  The OM-D doesn't escape my critical eye, so here we are.

While I really like the OM-D so far (so spare the hate mail), here are a few things that seem to agitate me, to varying degrees. Most of these are minor to me, but I thought I would mention them.  Not having to pander to any manufacturer or vendor is fairly liberating!

These are issues dealing directly with handling of the camera - operational "stuff" comes later.


The EVF sensor - it's too sensitive.

I, like a lot of people,  occasionally use the camera at waist level -- it's a great way to nab some candid shots or just shoot lower than normal without having to squat.

Now, most people on the web have been praising the OM-D's EVF sensor - they like the fact it doesn't require one's eye to be right against the EVF to activate (yeah, I'm looking at you A77, or NEX-5N from what I've heard).  By the time you've raised the camera to your eye, for the most part, the EVF is ready and waiting.

If you're one of those people that never really use the camera at waist level, then stop right now and carry on - this gripe doesn't apply to you and you can continue pretty much unimpeded.

If, however, you're someone that shoots from the waist, be prepared for the Random Incidental Blackout Syndrome (RIBS).  Essentially, the OM-D's EVF sensor can be sensitive enough to interfere with both waist-level shooting and occasional touch screen operation.

The primary cause of RIBS is the relatively enormous range of the EVF sensor - I measured it at 3 inches from the face of the EVF cup.

Three inches doesn't sound like much (insert joke here), but in this situation it's quite a bit.   It's enough that often I find the rear LCD cutting itself off when shooting from the waist.  When this first started happening, I would start half-pressing the shutter frantically, thinking the camera had magically turned itself off rather quickly.  After a while, I figured out what was going on.

RIBS can also be caused by touch screen operation - again, mostly against a waist level shooter.  For a "normal" shooter, with the LCD probably flush against the camera body, RIBS isn't an issue (except rarely), as the finger is usually perpendicular to the LCD during operation.

For waist shooters, though, one is going to have the rear LCD tilted upward, meaning (if you're like me), one's finger is going to be operating the screen from above the camera (usually it's my thumb).  If you happen to cross the hair-trigger of an EVF sensor, BAM!  RIBS!

The way to completely avoid this is to shut off the auto-switching behavior - hold down the "screen" button on the right side of the base of the EVF, and you're presented an option to enable or disable auto-switching.

Thankfully, this little button is in a relatively nice place - it's pretty easy to hit with the right hand while  shooting, so disabling auto-switching isn't really too much of a burden, as it's fairly trivial to manually switch screens.

As a side note, RIBS can occasionally act up even when attempting to shield the LCD from the sun for viewing - yeah, it's that sensitive.


The camera's standard grip -- almost, but not quite enough.

Now this one isn't really a surprise to me or anyone else that's been reading about this camera for months, but I thought I would mention it.  I mean, there are much worse examples out in the wild, but for such an expensive (and dense) camera,  I think Olympus should have beefed up the front part of the camera's grip.

The camera's rear "grip" is actually very nice - a 'wedge' of rubber that sits very nicely under the right thumb, providing an extremely secure resting spot / hold.

Rear thumb grip - near perfection

The front of the camera, though, suffers a little -- the protruding 'bulge' just isn't protude-y or bulge-y enough.

Front body grip - near worthless

I realize the actual battery / add-on grip solves this issue (and I've got one incoming), but I really wish Olympus would have gone maybe 2mm more outward on the body's bulge - the camera's profile would still have been thinner than any lens mountable, and the grip would have been much more secure.  I'm not expecting the NEX-5N's grip (as the rather deep NEX-bulge really wouldn't fit the OM-D's aesthetics), but something a wee more substantial would have gone a long ways to providing a bit better handling.  Oh well, just make sure you have a wrist strap at least.


Speaking of straps, the strap loops annoy some people. 

I really wish Olympus would have made this removable, but it is what it is, and for some people, is = annoying.

While this particular nuisance actually doesn't affect me, I thought I'd give it some press time, as I can see how some people would be affected by it.  Here's the culprit:

Am I in your way?
I adapted to this 'feature' rather quickly, though, so it's really of little consequence for me.  Behold, 'the Smitty grip' --

Annoyance avoidance


Blah-blah, blah blah, blah blah.  Some OM-D fans are probably imaging me saying this right now.

Worry not, folks - I consider most of these issues fairly moot.  The biggest annoyance is the weak body grip - I just cannot fathom what the designers are thinking when they design the features like this (unless it's "hey guys, here's how to get them to buy our $300 grip!")  It's certainly not unusable - far from it - but the camera mounted with the PL 25mm 1.4 was weighty enough that I was a bit nervous carrying the combo without a wrist strap (sorry, I hate neck straps for walkabouting).

The other things, though, are pretty minor to me.  I mean, if the strap lug really bothered me, I'd just remove it completely.  And while I wish the EVF sensitivity could be modified, it's an easy enough quirk to overcome, and thankfully Olympus placed the EVF/LCD button toggle in a logical spot.

Next post - the good stuff!

No comments:

Post a Comment