What have we E-M5 owners done to you, Olympus, that you NEVER give us a firmware upgrade?

I got my E-M5 in May 2012. They were fairly new at the time. I paid € 1.099 for the body which was the standard pricing of the day. So far, so good. From day one, the camera had its great performance, but also its ergonomic limitations and a few quirks in the firmware. Nothing that a good firmware update could fix, though. Could!

Do you know how to set up small AF points for added accuracy with the E-M5? There’s no menu point or something that says “small AF points” or the like. Instead, you have to fool the E-M5 by going into viewfinder loupe mode, select maximum magnification, and then the camera will use that small portion of the image as AF point. To make it at least a little bit manageable, the camera can be set up so that you have viewfinder lupe on an Fn button, you press that and voilà: small AF point. But this is a workaround, not a real feature of the camera, and you will notice that all-too-clearly when photographing. For example, there are several actions that put the camera back in standard AF mode with too big AF points. Then, if you like to focus manually and would prefer a smaller-than-maximum loupe magnification for that, you always have to switch magnifications when going from manual focus to AF. Last thing: The way to move that small AF point around is very cumbersome.

2012 wonderland: Olympus E-M5.
2012 wonderland: Olympus E-M5.

Okay. That was May 2012. I knew about this when I bought the camera. Why rant? Because in September 2012, Olympus put two much cheaper cameras on the market – the E-PL5 and E-PM5 – that both offered a true, beautiful improvement to that AF point stuff. You could just select the size of the AF points in menu once, and you were done.

Now we have August 2013. Olympus brought another new camera, the E-P5. But still, they did not manage to give us a firmware update for the E-M5? Why? Do they really think that E-M5 owners will happily go and buy another second cheaper camera without integrated viewfinder, just to get smaller AF points?

It’s not only better configuration of AF points that is missing in the E-P5 firmware. It’s also focus peaking, but this, at least, only came to Olympus cameras at all with the brand-new E-P5. Yet still, I feel a bit fooled by Olympus. And trouble for you, Olympus, is that competition is catching up. The E-M5 is no longer the only mirrorless camera with integrated viewfinder, body IS and all that stuff. And that means that E-M5 owners might be moving elsewhere, at some point.


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