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Sunday, 01 October 2017


Longest post ever for a single link. Anyhoo, I liked that section of Thom's review. Did I say that?

In case you thought "OM-D E-M1 Mark II" was a dumb name. Not even!

Seems a reasonable, meaningful name to me.

The designation of the original OM range (which the 10 and 5 resemble) was made up of the initials of Olympus and the man who designed the range - Yoshihisa Maitani.

I would guess the D stands for Digital and the second M for Model.

No idea about the E though.

The last Olympus I used was the original E-M5, but I always thought Olympus menus were great! You can (could?) set pretty much EVERYTHING up how you liked it, and once you'd done that the first time, that was it, set up forever. No need to go back to the menus almost ever.

That said, I don't remember any emojis, only words :-)

As for car names, Life Dunk is a terrible name for a car, given you can die in a car if you drive the wrong way...

A dash of misalignment between Japan and the West?

For us Rhineland-Europeans the Japanese are often easier to understand than the Anglo-Saxons. Even when their information might not always be easily accessible, Japanese manuals are always precise and correct. That cannot be said about the average technical handbook produced in the US. I am not saying that you all should go metric tomorrow or start calling a billion a milliard. No, only try to be more organized and stop inventing technical nonsense like the naming of the sizes of sensors or 4K and 8K for screen resolutions. And not only in photography. You will find sloppiness in almost all technical areas.

For spanish speakers, like myself, no car name beats the Mazda Laputa.The Nissan Moco and the Mitsubishi Pajero complete the podium.

[Google Translate says moco means "mucus." You'll have to help me out with the other two. --Mike]

That's an interesting angle on Olympus's Achilles Heel. I've lost count of the number of reviews I've read in which Olympus's menu interface has been criticised. Yet, in contrast to companies like Fuji who go oout of their way to foster a reputation for responsiveness to feedback, Olympus seem blissfully unconcerned about the issue. Perhaps cultural difference is part of what's going on, but if that's the case why are other Japanese manufacturers' menus so much better?

I'm sure I'm not alone in having avoided Olympus for this reason, despite the obvious attractiveness of some of their cameras in other respects.

Thom Hogan's critique is true, but if you're a single body shooter it's not that bad. If, on the other hand, you're a camera reviewer using and switching between multiple bodies and brands, I can see how trying to remember the settings from a camera that you use only for testing could become maddening ...

" ... just don't work for the casual user." This is probably true, but I don't know how many "casual users" will shell out the price of the EM1 MkII plus a selection of lenses appropriate for the body.

When I first saw GRMN, and an association with a vehicle, I immediately thought Garmin, the GPS navigation company. I wondered if Toyota and Garmin had collaborated on a self-driving car? Lol.

As for Olympus, and as an Olympus owner and user over the past four years, I think they are stuck with such a complicated menu system. Their cameras are customizable in literally hundreds, if not thousands, of ways and include almost every conceivable function, that a more simplied menu system would be impossible. As someone else commented, after taking time to really learn the features then setting your menu as desired will result in having to very seldom go back and make changes.

"I'll be honest, I have a love/hate relationship with the Olympus m4/3 cameras," Thom Hogan says in his review. I feel the same.

Olympus has caused me more frustration than any other camera brand I've ever used. Hogan and I are in agreement on the Olympus menus yet while Thom says he likes the handling of the new Olympus, I truly hate how my older OMD E-M1 (I) handles (I also hate writing "OMD E-M1"). I can't see any real difference in the two models as far as exterior controls (other than button placement) are concerned, except they've now put the right hand strap lug in an awkward position that almost certainly interferes with the ability to reach the nearby buttons and dials. But those buttons and dials are always in the wrong place anyway so it's probably not a great loss.

At the same time I face frustration when handling the camera, I love some things about my OMD E-M1 (I). First is the ability to use my older Olympus 4/3 zooms (with adapters) and maintain decent AF. I have several of these lenses and they've always been favorites. Second, when it comes to color palette, Olympus simply gets it right IMO. Better than Fuji to my eyes. And finally, Olympus IBIS is outstanding. I'm almost 70 now and my hands seem to get more unstable every year. In most situations, I'm fine without IS but it sure helps expand the range of those situations.

At some point my frustration is likely to overwhelm my affection for Olympus. I suspect that will come about when Fuji begins to offer IBIS. At that time, I'll probably sell off all my Olympus gear and put the proceeds toward upgrading my Fuji camera bodies.

I am using Olympus cameras, the cheapest OM, the M10. I like it, except, things change randomly. So it is back to the menus, and the frustration. I make settings, it works for awhile, then one day I pick it up and, ugh, back button focus no longer works, or I have no focus anywhere. I am not sure this is so much an Olympus problem as a problem in general as cameras become computers. I often wish my nice little OM 10 just had aperture speed and film speed.

La Puta should be easy to figure out. I have no idea what the problem is with Pajero. Pajaro Dunes (near Santa Cruz, CA) sounds like it, but pajaro means a bird or a cautious person in my dictionary.

It's easy to see why Laputa would appeal in Japanese, if you are familiar with the films of Hayao Miyazaki, like Castle in the Sky.

In a world where some people write from left-to-right, and some people write from right-to-left, maybe hieroglyphs and/or emojis make sense.

Texting has brought us phonetic spelling, and it seems that everyone understands it. Maybe a phonetic menu + some hieroglyphs is all we need for camera menus.

Would a reincarnated James Joyce write Ulysses phonetically? Just the thought boggles the mind.

I greatly prefer the Olympus menus to Sony. The Olympus problem goes away pretty quickly once you have set up all your shortcuts for easy access. Sony makes you dive in repeatedly for certain things, and doesn't give you as many ways to recall those deep menu items quickly.

Hi, Mike:
I didn't want to be too explicit, but here I go:
Laputa = Thewhore
Moco = booger
Pajero = Wanker/Tosser (they actually changed the name of the car in Spain, as nobody would have bought a Pajero)

Queer names for cars? It would be hard to beat BMW's cryptic naming convention for their current USA models.
740e xDrive iPerformance
The only thing here that makes sense is the 7 in 740, which means the big sedan. The 40 has nothing to do with engine displacement. iPerformance? Is that like iPhone? Does a lower-case "i" mean some sort of electronic perfection? I am waiting for "digital" or "nano" in their next model.

On the little pictures rather than actual labels. Might be because I am older but have a lot of trouble with this. Clear labels work for me. The pictures - I can't remember them from one day to the next. On/Off works for me and 0 ir - doesn't. I can never remember which is on and which is off.

A lot like trying to figure out car engines. I know what a 357, 409, 427 is immediately. But a 3.2, 3.8 or 5.4? Was not raised on metric stuff. If so I would probably be better at it.

The late Stefan Bellof is *still* the Master of the Ring.

Sounds like a loco logo.

This may well be apocryphal, but I've been told that at one time Japanese manufacturers were legally prohibited from giving their cars and motorcycles aggressive-sounding names — at least as far as domestic sales were concerned. Thus a high performance motorcycle might marketed as the Suzuki X-6 Samurai in the U.S. but sold with a name like "Bluebird" in Japan. (I think "Bluebird was an actual domestic-market Honda motorcycle). This, along with cultural differences, could explain why Japanese model names stuck with just letters and numbers (Z1000, GS750, etc.) and generic names like "Civic" for so long.

Eduardo, I think the real reason Mitsubishi didn't use "Pajero" as a model name in Spain is that Porsche had already trademarked that word for automotive purposes. <rimshot>

By the Way, you can copy your M1 Mark II Settings to a second body with your computer. Works also with EM5 II and Pen F. Good for People with two bodies, you have only to setup one. And: A Fish is a very good Sign for Underwater related Menu-Settings when you have the housing. And aren't there people enjoying the Super Control Panel?

Thanks Peter Gilbert for the S-Cargo. Never knew that a real-life analog to the old joke had come along. Delicious! According to wikipedia, the name alludes to a popular nickname for the car that inspired the design--the French Citroën 2CV. Further, it's one of several boldly retro/minimalist designs from NIssan's Pike Factory that evoked iconic compacts of the 1940s and 50s. Is Nissan the Fujifilm or Olympus of car makers?

My favorite descriptive car name was Nissan Cube. I saw one with license "RUBICS".

Gee, I thought GRMN meant German.
Then there is Toyota's truck with TRD on it. I always think they left the 'u' out of the word for feces.

Laputa was the destination of Gulliver's third voyage. It's a satire on science and scientists, for whom Swift had no respect whatsoever.

I've been shooting Olympus and Nikon, sometimes simultaneously, for quite a while, and I'm a bit surprised to hear that being a Nikon user would predispose you away from the understanding the Olympus menus. They seem reasonable enough to me -- not much better or worse than the Nikon menus, which are also insane.

I'm not, at this precise point, shooting Olympus any more though. I sent my OM-D EM-5 in for a repair (shutter was sticking closed and being fussy about re-opening), and it came back "beyond service life". This model was announced in 2012. So I'm a little annoyed about that right now.

Some years ago, an innovative Swiss firm introduced a bunch of very colourful watches, named Swatch. Swiss watches.
Then they started producing lamps, named Slamp. Swiss lamps.
Then they started producing cars, but they did not call them Scar, Swiss cars.
They called them Smart, Fortwo and Forfour.
Very Smart of them.

KInd of harking back to the thing about film photography, I recently acquired an Asahi Pentax Spotmatic F, and have fallen in love with its interface. Twist the ring about the lens to set the aperture. Turn the knob on the top plate to set the shutter speed. WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED?

Speaking of Nissans, not only is the NIssan Figaro one of the sweetest retro cars, but it was only this year I came across the Nissan Pao, which is absolutely gorgeous https://flic.kr/p/VYj3SY

"I would have thought at least it would have shot TIFF"

TIFF and DNG aren't file formats , they are standards for describing file formats. They are literally Meta Formats. Thinking of TIFF or DNG as a format for the actual data of an image is like saying that the language of a book is either hardbound or paperback.

BTW TIFF files have a big problem , well a big endian vs little endian problem not to mention the horrible hack necessary to have a file size larger than 4GB.

In my experience the only people who think TIFF and to a lesser extent DNG files are a panacea either have no idea what sort of recursive hairballs hide inside their shiny exteriors or have figured out a way to make money translating them.

DNG is based on TIFF/EP which is based on TIFF except that "There are no major departures by the TIFF/EP standard from the TIFF standard, except that many of the TIFF tags are ignored."

The old saying about standards "Everybody loves standards. Without adhering to common standards nothing would work. That's why there are so many of them!"

Eduardo brought to my mind some odd facts I'd rather forget, but I can't. Some 50 years ago Portugal still lived under a mildly fascist dictatorship. Our regime was quite zealous with preserving public morals, so some products were renamed in order to avoid sexual connotations. 'Rexona' was changed to 'Rexina'(*) in order not to rhyme with a rather blunt slang term for the female genital tract. The same with the poor Opel Ascona automobile, which was renamed 'Opel 1604' so not to generate mischievous puns.
Now you know why people will giggle if you order Kona coffee in Portuguese-speaking countries.

(*) Curiously, 'Rexina' rhymed with the aforementioned tract's technical name. We were allowed to be rude, as long as we used anatomically accurate words.

I use both the Fuji X and Olympus OM-D systems and found that the DPReview setup guide for the E-M5 made all the difference in setting up the camera. I recently picked up a used E-M1 V.1 and find it is quite easy to use too. The 2 position switch on the back make it very fast and easy to change the triad of ISO, shutter and aperture without having to take my eye off the viewfinder. Going between the two systems has not been a challenge, although I do find the E-M1 a nicer camera to use than the E-M5 V.1 that I also own. Thom's review of the first gen version of the EM1 is quite accurate, although firmware updates have made it even better than it was when he wrote that review.

Is Nissan the Fujifilm or Olympus of car makers?
to answer robert e , i think it really is.
before the new retro fiat 500 and even the new vw beetle it came the second generation nissan micra at 1992 and awarded european car of the year for 1993 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nissan_Micra. it reminds me of the mini https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mini and i like this past related design more than either nissan's later versions or bmw's attempt of the new mini.

Wh n wr t rs om t th v w ls, r d rs w ll fll th m n f r th ms lv s.

Thus this silly name will be read, and pronounced, as "German."

In Australia, Subaru sells a car named the LEVORG. They don't seem to care that it's Grovel spelt backwards.

I have an OM-D-EM1 mk1, and I have to admit, I have never got to grips with the menus and switches. It works, and I get very nice pictures in spite of them, but ask me to do anything a bit more complex than leaving it in P and I'll be scratching my head. I wouldn't buy another Olympus when Panasonic does so well.

the Morini Camel, a 500cc trail bike, was called the Sahara here in the UK where saying that a bike that handles like a camel is a complaint, not a compliment.

PS: I forgot to ask - Oly's newest lenses have built-in IS which works in concert with the OM-D-EM1 MkII's sensor IS. Does anyone know whether this also applies to the Mk 1? I lust after the 12-100 PRO IS.

OK, now I want an S Cargo. It looks highly functional, and damn, it's cute!

Hi Mike,
Camera reviewers don’t use a camera for long enough, or they use multiple cameras. That’s not good as far as evaluating handling is concerned. There is something to be said about using a camera long enough so that you know it inside out. EM1.2’s menu system is complex but comprehensive, and customisable. And you do get used to it completely.

"Then they started producing cars, but they did not call them Scar, Swiss cars. They called them Smart, Fortwo and Forfour." -- Marco Sabatini

SMH wanted to call them "Swatchmobiles", but partner Daimler refused, per wikipedia. "smart" was an abbreviation for "Swatch Mercedes Art", the partnership's internal name for the car project. So, a smart compromise. (DaimlerChrysler is now sole owner of smart.)

Thanks for tackling my question, grigoris. It appears that there have been more sweet Micra models over the years, in addition to the 1993.

This all reminds me that there are entire classes of automobiles ("superminis" and "city cars") that I'm not familiar with because they were simply not marketed in the US. A shame, because there have been quite a few wonderful designs, both practical and easy on the eye. We have started to see a trickle over the last decade or two, though.

Where I live, in Holland, we use the brand 'Croma' to fry meat. Fiat once sold a car thus named.
Dacia sells a 'Duster', which remind us dutchies of a daytime/night gown, worn by an older generation of women.

As for the Olympus. Its menus is not more complicated than an that of an Ipad. Both can be cofigured in innumerable ways. Thing is, the budget of the marketing department of Apple is bigger than the gross national product of Japan, hyperbolicly speaking.


I’ll have to read Thom’s piece. I loved with an om-d em-1 for a couple of years and yeesh, the menus were terrible. I still had trouble quickly finding things after quite some time, and the vaunted customization was really hamstrung by some poor choices. Sure, you could customize nearly every button, but the features that you could assign were severely limited and largely didn’t overlap with the ones I needed quick access to.

I used it, things were fine enough, but I’ll never buy another Olympus again. There are just too many other options.

Responding to Mark Roberts' comment, is that why the Original Datsun (Nissan) Z car was called the Fairlady in Japan?

We make a bigger deal out menus when we encounter a new system, but if we stick to one system it becomes second nature. Is Nikon better than Olympus? Maybe not. I use Canons DSLRs for action photos. When visiting one friend, I was invited to an airshow/firworks event and all I had with me was my Oly e-m10. I really needed my Canon for the airshow and borrowed that friend's Nikon. I was having trouble setting it up. I handed it back to him and told him how I would use my Canon and he should set up the Nikon in the same way.

For me the Canon (left at home) and Olympus were better than the Nikon, but only because Nikon was new to me. As for Olympus, I don't go deep into the menu system often. I use the super control panel as those items that I'd change often (ISO, AF, etc) are always on top.

Remember That's cassettes, with the triangular design?

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