A lot of people complain about the Olympus menus. I hear that they are too complicated, vague, too deep, overkill, complex, hard to learn, non-intuitive, etc… Yes, there is A LOT given to us. I have been thinking about this lately and I had an idea. We’ll get to that in a second.
First, let me spell out what I think are the benefits on the Olympus menu system.
-Deep functionality choices. We can adjust things no other camera allows.
-Combinations of options allow for unique setups and ways to achieve efficiency or usability that no other camera offers.
-Personal preference…you can make a very simple camera, a very detailed camera, or a very targeted camera setup and save them in Custom Sets to be recalled instantly.
-Storable and recallable settings and custom setups via Firmware updater. (I wish this could be done from the phone app too…)
-Super Control Panel eliminates the need to menu dive after initial setup most of the time.
So what are the downsides?
-Deep functionality choices. Options for things we never knew we needed.
-Combinations of options. When items conflict we don’t know why. And the choices are so vast!
-Personal Preference. Do we even know what we want? Sometimes limitations are more liberating.
-Super Control Panel. Makes us never need to go into the menus. So then when we do need something in the menus…we can’t remember where it is!
I love the Olympus Menu system. I like the deep options. I came from Leica…and had…No Options. I liked that too. As a working pro…the Olympus menu allowed me to make a camera that was right for me and work the way I wanted to work in any given situation. This is a huge benefit to me. Then again, I get paid to do this daily. I am a commercial photographer and putting food on the table means I need to be efficient with my time and productive in my work. It was in my interest to become VERY familiar with the menu system. That is not everyone’s scenario. And not everyone spends every day all day with the camera in their hands. I get that. If people did have that kind of time, we would all be menu masters. That’s why I had this idea. Maybe Olympus will listen. Probably they won’t. Who am I, ya know?
We need yet another option added to the menu. The option to select simple or deep.
This would narrow the options available down to a small select set of choices and also include the typical items we change. Back-button AF, Maybe a couple choices for the front custom buttons, fixed settings for the rest of the custom buttons, Touch screen on/off, sleep mode option, and a simple option for the function lever if the camera has it. That’s it. Everything else can be adjusted from the SCP. All the rest of the custom menu functions are not needed and can be hidden. Their default settings can be decided and set so they serve the majority of users.
This turned on would open up the camera to how we have it currently. All the deep functionality and custom menus and combinations would be available.
Would hopefully remember what menu style you are on as well. That way if you needed a deep customization for a specialty set you can have it programmed on C1 for example, and your simple menu setups on C2 and C3 if you wanted. Just an example.
Olympus had the options to hide certain menus on the E-M1 and their other earlier cameras. This disappeared on the E-M1mkII.
If your E-M1mkII simply had ISO/WB and record button on top, AF or magnify button on the back, two custom buttons up front and one on the rear, and the rest of the camera was the SCP and a couple typical options…I bet people would think it was fabulous. What do you think? I think something like this would go a long way for people who struggle with the menu system and the fire hose worth of options. I don’t think the problem is that we have too many options and how they are displayed…I think they are organized just fine. I think the problem is a lot of people don’t know what to do with them. Or don’t want the choices. Or don’t need the choices.
So why not add one more option to the mix… the option to Simplify.