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Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II: User Interface Problems, No Choice but to Disable the TouchScreen

See my Micro 4/3 wish list at B&H Photo.

See Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II First Look: Initial Comments.

I still cannot figure out how to activate AF separately from the shutter (I’ve read the manual and spent 90 minutes in the menus so far). I guess it cannot be done. Basically I want an AF-ON button as on Nikon or Canon or Sony cameras. UPDATE: thanks to readers... use Gear menu => A1 => AEL/AFL = Mode 3 with S-AF. See also page 123 of the E-M1 Mark II user manual.

I was feeling incredibly frustrated to the point of being infuriated with the E-M1 II.

For example, the camera was popping up controls while I was composing an image, or going into modal states where instead of aperture and/or exposure comp, it was ISO and white balance with no obvious way to make it stop. Very dangerously stupid design—suddenly I’m at ISO 25600 WTF for example. Pros had better be careful and deprogram all this dung lest a crucial shoot be destroyed. [I am left-eye dominant, so my face presses against the rear LCD]

I don’t have all the design idiocy of the E-M1 II figured out—some things still are confusing me with no obvious solution—but I’ve finally figured out what is going on in part: it’s the Evil Touchscreen!

That is, I’m composing/shooting using the EVF, but my nose or face are pressed partly against the rear LCD as per ideal handheld technique. The problem is that the contact of my nose or face on the touchscreen activates whatever is touched on the rear LCD, even while using the EVF. It makes the camera annoying to unusable.

Surely this is a bug; if the EVF is in use, the touchscreen makes no sense at all. Whether a bug or simply by-design by morons, it leaves me no choice but to disable the touchscreen:
Gear menu => J1 => Touchscreen Settings = OFF

See the E-M1 II user manual.

I dislike camera touchscreens anyway: hands greasy with sunblock or water or grit/dirt from climbing on class 4 rocks, gloves, etc. I suppose a touchscreen has its uses at times, but not for me in the field and I can’t see those 4 pixel icons anyway, and my fingers are not small.

Another useful setting is:

There are other usability problems; an uncluttered shooting view even when not possible even when so-configured to be free of all detritus as per the setting above: at a minimum the camera overlays the focal length on the screen as soon as the shutter is pressed, near upper right ("25mm" or whatever). This is distracting every damn time I press the shutter. As if I don’t know which lens I have on the camera. Little things like that are a real stumbling block to liking the E-M1 II. I expect some adult design judgment in a pro-priced camera, not just a technology grab bag, impressive as that technology is. Still, like the sound of passing trains, I’d probably not notice it after a few hundred shots.

For these and other reasons, I give the E-M1 II the blur ribbon for worst menu and controls design EVER in a digital camera, that is, until reprogrammed—then it is merely unlovable from the perspective of elegant operation. The lack of a My Menu to compensate for the horrible 4-level-deep menu system (for certain controls) is atrocious given the massive menu system. It is sad to see this flagship camera marred by poor judgment in user interface design. It makes me want to pick up my Leica M240.

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II

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