Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Robin Wong's OM-D Camera Cheat Sheet

I have often been asked what settings have I applied on my camera when I do my usual shooting. My answers have been consistent, there is no fixed setting that I follow, I will change my settings as the need arises. However, most people were not happy with that answer hence I am compiling a long list of camera settings, specifically for Olympus OM-D cameras (true for E-M5, E-M10, E-M1 and the new E-M5 Mark II). I shall also describe my practical reasoning behind my choice of settings as well as how I use them where applicable. 

The new-comers to Olympus system may find the settings and menu system a huge challenge to go through. Therefore this blog entry serves as a quick guide on how to set your camera, and make the best out of it. Kindly take note that my recommendations and suggestions are based purely on my own experience shooting with Olympus cameras since 2008 (E-410 was my first Olympus camera), and there is no right and wrong in this matter. 





Please do read the following disclaimers:
1) These set of settings are my own preferences only, they work well for me, but should not be regarded as the absolute must follow guides. You may change the settings as you see fit, for your own shooting purposes. 
2) There are some settings in newer OM-D cameras that may not be available in E-M5 or E-M1. 
3) There is nothing wrong with shooting everything in Auto. Same with all other alternative methods used to achieve the same goal: capturing images. 
4) This does not serve as a complete guide or encyclopaedia for Olympus cameras. There is too much to cover and I do not intend to cover everything. I only pay attention to important settings and frequently used functions of the camera. 
5) All that is written in this blog entry only represents my own personal opinion, they are not recommendations from Olympus. 

Here are the settings in OM-D cameras that I use, in no particular order of importance:


1) SUPER CONTROL PANEL


Olympus may not have the most user-friendly menu system, but there is one particular feature Olympus has done right since even the DSLR days: the Super Control Panel (SCP). 

SCP is a one page summary layout of all the most frequently used settings of the camera. I find the SCP to be extremely helpful especially to have one quick glance of my current camera settings and make sure I did not screw up or forget to change some settings. The frequently checked settings I have done quickly through SCP are RAW/JPEG, ISO, as well as the Image Stabilization. At the same time, you can immediately access these settings directly and change them accordingly. I make sure I have a quick look at the SCP from time to time between frames just to make sure I did not accidentally change any settings. This is one of the best implemented shortcut menu system, ever, and has been COPIED (yes you heard that right, Olympus came up with this SCP concept FIRST) endlessly by other manufacturers. 

For E-M5 Mark II, the SCP is enabled by default. For E-M1, E-M5 and E-M10, you can enable it by going to Go to custom menu (Dispay) --> Control Settings --> P/A/S/M -> Live SCP ON 

I personally disable the Live Control since I do not find it useful.

To access the SCP, you need to press "OK". If you have different views on the main screen, you need to toggle the "INFO" button repeatedly until you find SCP. That is another reason I disabled the Live Control, I can access the SCP immediately. 


2) JPEG SUPER FINE

By default, the JPEG compression settings available are only Fine, Normal and Basic (corresponding compression ratio 1/4, 1/8, and... I don't even know what the compression ratio is for Basic and honestly I do not care). There is a hidden setting buried deep, deep inside Olympus menu system, which is SUPER FINE, having the lowest compression setting of 1/2.7. If you want the best image quality when shooting JPEG and you want to squeeze everything out of the Olympus JPEG Engine goodness, you should set your image quality to Large SUPER FINE. 

To find this setting: Menu --> Gear Icon --> "triangle shaped icon"/Color/WB --> "triangle shaped icon" Set --> Change from F to SF. 

This hidden setting needs only to be changed once. Subsequently you can select your image quality settings in SCP. 

An important note, I shoot mostly RAW now on Olympus cameras, and I process my RAW files in Olympus Viewer 3. 


3) NOISE FILTER = OFF

There are two separate Noise control settings in Olympus cameras, Noise Filter and Noise Reduction. We will talk about Noise Reduction after this. 

Noise Filter is simply software based processing to filter out the noise (ugly grains caused by high ISO shooting) in the JPEG image. There are 4 levels of settings: OFF, LOW, STANDARD, HIGH. I highly recommend the Noise Filter to be set to OFF. Even when Noise Filter is OFF, the camera still does apply processing to control the image noise, and with the Noise Filter OFF, I find there is almost no trace of Chroma Noise (Color Noise), yet maintaining high level of useful fine detail even at ISO6400. 

If you are OCD about noise appearing in image and cannot tolerate grain, then I recommend Noise Filter LOW, which applies stronger noise control, at the expense of some fine details. I sometimes use Noise Filter LOW, in situations when I know the majority of my images will be shot at ISO3200 and higher. 

Avoid Noise Filter STANDARD and HIGH at all costs. They will successfully get rid of al traces of noise but at the same time destroy every fine detail there is. The resulting images will look soft and appear smudged. 

The default Noise Filter setting for all Olympus camera is "Standard". Kindly turn it OFF or set it to LOW. 

The location of Noise Filter/Noise Reduction settings vary from camera to camera but should be easily found under "Exp/ISO" area. 

(Important Note: If you shoot RAW and process your files outside of Olympus Viewer 3 (Lightroom, Photoshop, etc) then Noise Filter is irrelevant to you. However, Noise Reduction is a different story. Read on below.) 

4) NOISE REDUCTION = AUTO

Unlike Noise Filter, which is a software based processing, Noise Reduction is a completely different thing. 

If I were to give a direct feedback I would say, to not confuse the end-user, this setting should be called "Hot Pixel Reduction" instead of Noise Reduction. I am sure MANY Olympus users have been confused by Noise Reduction and Noise Filter. The Noise Reduction is employing the "Dark Frame Subtraction" method to minimize Hot Pixels, generated during long exposure shooting, typically longer than half a second shutter speed. The camera will take another frame of image while the shutter remains closed (after the first shot was taken) to map out the locations of the hot pixels, and the two captured images will be superimposed to erase the hot pixels found at identical spots in the image. For those of you who are not familiar with this technique please read Wikipedia explanation here (click). 

By default, the camera Noise Reduction is set to Auto, which means the Noise Reduction mechanism will be engaged when shooting 0.5 second shutter speed or longer. And when Noise Reduction is activated, the total time to capture an image will be double of the shutter speed used (say, a 10 seconds shutter speed image will require 10 seconds actual frame and 10 seconds dark frame, resulting in total of 20 seconds capture time). 

Therefore, DO NOT turn Noise Reduction ON at all times, leave it to AUTO. The consequence if you leave it ON? You will have laggy camera performance as the shutter works TWICE slower. You will notice immediate latency from shot to shot. 

On the other hand, I do not recommend this setting to be turned OFF. You can try it, and when you shoot a long exposure image, say a 30 seconds image, you will see the ugly hot pixels everywhere in your image. 



5) WHITE BALANCE: KEEP WARM COLOR OFF

I generally find the White Balance setting in Olympus cameras to be pleasing and rather reliable at most times. There is a hidden setting (buried deep inside the menu, again) that controls the "warm color". 

This setting: "Keep Warm Color" is applicable to extreme cases when the source of light is extreme on the hot side of Kelvin Scale. Typical scene would be candlelit room, or dim tungsten lighting source, that to the eyes, everything looks "warm" and "orange/yellow". You have two choices on how the Auto White Balance of the camera tackles this situation: either by maintaining the warm cast of the color, hence producing a more natural looking image as the eyes see it, or the camera can try its best to "neutralize" the warm colors and present them as accurately adjusted White Balanced color as possible. 

To adjust this setting: Menu --> Gear Icon --> Color/WB --> Keep Warm Color --> ON/OFF

I am not going to say which works better, you will have to experiment on this to find out what works for you. I turned mine OFF. Also worth noting is that, while I do rely heavily on camera's white balance engine, I will not hesitate to override the white balance settings in post-processing, since I shot mostly in RAW. 

6) PICTURE MODE: NATURAL

There are many picture mode settings to choose from, perhaps too many. I suggest avoid using I-Enhance and Vivid, as these two settings would render unrealistically over-saturated and high contrast images. I-Enhance may over-cook the skin tone and make it too "pink" or "orange". I highly recommend the use of either 'Natural" or "Portrait". Go for Portrait if you want more dynamic range captured in your photograph, the contrast is tamed down a little in comparison to "Natural". I personally use Natural, because I like the pop and punch in the image, yet still looking pretty much, natural. 

7) SHARPNESS, CONTRAST, SATURATION = 0

I do not see the need to increase or decrease any of these settings. Do take note that even when the sharpness is set to "0" in value, the in camera JPEG engine is applying quite a fair bit of sharpening to the images, often resulting in some sharpening artefacts. I do not mind this and I do not find the artefacts to be intrusive at all, but some people may be overly particular about this issue, and if you are one of them, I suggest you lowering down the sharpness value to "-2". 


8) GRADATION = NORMAL

I set my gradation setting to NORMAL. I discourage setting the gradation to "Auto". While it expands the dynamic range by brightening up the shadow areas of the image, you will see ugly noise being brought to life even shooting at low ISO settings. I find even at gradation normal the dynamic range of the images is good enough.


9) AUTOFOCUS SETTINGS

I use SINGLE AF. I do not use Continuous AF in my shooting style. 

I use SMALLER AF POINTS for more accurate focusing. You can make the focusing box smaller. While you are controlling the location of the focusing area (by pressing any arrow button/pad), the size of the focusing box can be changed by pressing the "Info" button. The smaller focusing box works better when I need to focus accurately. I believe this is called "SPOT AF", which was first introduced in E-PL5/E-P5. 

I do not trust the facial recognition of the camera, hence FACE DETECT AF I turn it OFF. 

I do not use the AF Illumination light. I think it is annoying and even when it is turned off, in rather dark condition, the AF works just fine. 

RELEASE LAG TIME is set to Short. If you set this to Normal, you will experience a tiny bit delay between what you see on the EVF and when you press the shutter button. The response is immediate (much like using Optical Viewfinder) when setting Release Lag Time to Short. 

10) IMAGE PREVIEW OFF

This may not be the best setting for everyone, but do hear me out first. I turned the image preview after each shot is taken OFF, so that the camera can perform faster and there is less lag/stopping time between shot to shot. Your eyes and attention should be on the subject, and your focus should be getting the images, even after you have shot your image. Checking and previewing your images EVERY single frame is not a good habit. You do not need to do this AFTER every single shot. 

Do not get me wrong, I am not asking you to stop chimping. Checking your shot (focus accuracy, white balance, exposure, etc) is crucial. Doing this after every single shot will slow the camera down (because the camera is paused and shows the image display). I turned the preview off and only press the "play" button to review the image when necessary (when there is nothing crucial happening and no need to shoot immediately). 

I believe this is an important tip to always be ready, and you will have lower chances of missing photography opportunities. 

You can set the preview on or off at: Menu --> "Wrench icon" --> Rec View




All other note-worthy settings:

Image Stabilization setting: S-IS 1
Use Mode 1 for enabling image stabilization at ALL Axis. When using tripod, turn this OFF. Mode 2 and 3 will disable certain Axis for smooth panning, but to be frank if you want to do panning images it is easier to just turn the IS off. 

Anti-Shock 0 second
For some of you being overly critical about shutter shock, you may set the Anti Shock setting to "0" seconds. However, this option is not available for E-M5 (2012 version). The 0 second anti shock basically used First Curtain Electronic Shutter. 

2x2 Switch Disabled
As smart and convenient the 2x2 switch is, I do not like it after I have used the E-M1 and E-M5 Mark II extensively. Yes, it is easy to switch it to a different mode that allows the dials to have controls over different parameters, but what gets me is the need to switch it back to original position to get back to the original controls. That additional step is troublesome for me, and may work against me in some situations when I forgot to switch the controls back. For example, instead of being able to adjust the exposure compensation quickly before I snap a shot, because I forgot to turn the switch back, I accidentally adjusted the ISO or White Balance. The wrong adjustment of ISO, will require me to FIX this setting, and then set the switch back to the right setting, and finally I get to adjust the exposure compensation. See what happened there? One mistake and I needed 3 steps before I can take a photo. Thankfully the switch CAN be disabled. 

Flicker Reduction = 50Hz (Malaysia)
Have you been annoyed by the live view on the camera screen or the Electronic Viewfinder, flickering when shooting indoors with fluorescent light? There is a Flicker reduction setting and by setting this correctly you will not have this issue any more. In Malaysia, set to 50Hz. There are only two settings, 50Hz and 60Hz and try either one to get it to work. 

Make the Red Record Button useful
I rarely record video, and the video record button is placed at such an auspicious position. You can customize it to do something useful, as a shortcut. For E-M5, E-M10 and E-M1, I set it to ISO shortcut. I can therefore control ALL 3 important parameters within the reach of two fingers on my right hand: dual dials for shutter speed/aperture/exposure compensation and that record button for ISO setting. For E-M5 Mark II, you can also set it to mimic the 2x2 switch function, eg by pressing the button you can then adjust ISO on the front dial and white balance on the rear dial. 

Shooting Modes
I shoot mostly in either Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority. When depth of field is important (say I want to isolate my portraits) I use Aperture Priority, and adjust the Aperture (F-number) accordingly. When I want to play with creative motion (slow down shutter speed for motion blur, or panning) I use shutter priority. When I shoot with flash, I use full manual exposure with TTL on flash. I set my ISO manually, and trying my best to use lowest ISO possible, as far as the minimum shutter speed can tolerate while shooting hand-held. 

Metering
I use pattern/evaluative metering, with flexible adjustments of exposure compensation. Yes, I adjust the exposure compensation a lot, by judging my exposure via the electronic viewfinder/live view screen. I rarely adjust more than +/- 1 EV. 


Do you agree or disagree with my list of settings and recommendations for Olympus OM-D cameras? Or did I miss anything important out? Do you have additional tips and tricks to share? Please voice up in the comment section!

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131 comments :

  1. Hi Robin, we almost have the same settings. Some things i have set different on my E-M1:

    Since i always have fingers around the grip i never have to 'search' for these buttons:
    - I use the DOF preview button as AF home. Easy way to put the focus point back in the center in one press, and i never use DOF preview anyway
    - I have the button above that, the one touch whitebalance, set to ISO. I never use one-touch WB

    - I use the REC button to switch between manual / auto focus.
    - In manual focus, Fn-1 functions as back-button focus

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    1. Thanks for sharing Jochem. I think one of the great things about OM-D is the ability to customize the many function buttons to whatever we need.

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    2. Hi, Robin, very useful article. As usual. Thank you! And thanks to Jochem as well, his tip to set REC button as MF switcher is really good idea!

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    3. Glad you find it useful Chorche!

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  2. Hi Robin, Trying to get my Super Panel but I can't find 'Control Settings" Why is it missing? omd em5

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    1. Go to custom menu D (Disp) -> Control Settings -> P/A/S/M -> Live SCP ON

      Then exit everything (quick way, half press the shutter button). To access the SCP, press the button "OK". If you do not get it right away (means you have the default "Live Control", press "INFO" button to switch between SCP and Live Control.

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  3. Hi Robin - One small mistake in your article. 0 second anti-shock is available on the E-M10. It came with the new TruPic VII processor that I beleive is also on the EP5 and EPL-7.

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    1. E-PL7, yes. E-P5, after a firmware upgrade. E-M10, no. I have just checked.

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    2. Hi Robin! Long time reader, first time poster :)

      I have an E-M10 and after updating to firmware 1.1 today I can confirm that 0-second anti-shock is now available.

      Thanks for the very informative post and your work on this blog in general!

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    3. Hi Robin,

      The Shuttershock = 0 option is also available for the E-M10 after the last firmware update. In my case I have enabled by default for any shot. When it would be convenient to disconnect or change its value?

      Congratulations, and at the same time, thank you very much for your work. Since I discovered his blog, it is fixed to consult every day.

      Best regards

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    4. Thanks guys for pointing this out. I shall rectify the error as soon as I get home. Didn't realize the em10 I had was not having the latest firmware.

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    5. I have revised the blog entry. Thanks for letting me know guys. I myself am learning something too.

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  4. Thanks for your sharing.
    1) I found that the multiple exposure features in Olympus camera were just seldom people talk about nor their uses being illustrated, do you think this feature is an out of date / redundant feature ?
    2) For those Olympus camera users occasionally who just want to share their photos more instantly on Fb via mobilephone, what might be your suggestion on the workflow? OLYMPUS Image Share seems to be so lack behind for photo editing and processing compare to the other phone apps available.

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    1. Teoh,
      Answering your questions:
      1) there are many features in Olympus camera, so many that you can write books and books based on the features. I would not say any of them is redundant or out of date. I don't use most of the features, surely I do not use the multiple exposure. Hence I do not write about it
      2) Olympus Image Share, as the name implies, is about sharing images. It is NOT an image editing app, nor does it try to be one. The purpose of the app is to transfer the images wirelessly from your camera to your mobile devices. Once you have the images in your mobile phone you may use any of the favourite image editing apps to process your photographs

      I hope that helps. .

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  5. > 2x2 Switch Disabled
    I don't really like the implementation of this button. Think it could be really useful if you were allowed to switch whatever you want. I for example switch between S-AF and MF, but would be really really happy to be able to switch between face recognition on or off. At least I haven't found another solution for this problem. The way to do this via SCP is too slow.

    Regards
    Wolfgang

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    1. Well for AF to MF you can customize any other buttons for that. Yes I don't like the 2x2 switch either after extensive use. Its usually more trouble than convenient.

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    2. > Well for AF to MF you can customize any other buttons for that
      That's interesting: Jochem, too, already wrote: " I use the REC button to switch between manual / auto focus.".
      How do you guys do that? I don't see how to do this without offering two Mysets. And I thought I did know my OMDs quite well ;-)

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    3. I don't have a camera near me now but do read this up it should help you http://olympusomd.net/custom-functions/how-to-custumize-the-fn1fn2video-buttons/

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    4. Sorry, that doesn't help. I know everything that is written there. But with all the many possibilities to customizue a function button, there is absolutely no "MF" choice or whatever AF-choice.
      Have a look at it, when you have a camera. I will stay tuned :-)

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    5. @Wolle:

      I have it in both my E-PL5 and in my E-M10. In the Gear Menu, select A. AF/MF, then AEL/AFL. This is normally set to S1/C2/M1 - set it to S1/C2/M3. You can do this with selecting MF, and then set that to mode3.

      Hope that helps,
      from another Wolfgang

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    6. Dear Wolle, I have just verified with both E-M5 Mark II and E-M10. Any of the function buttons can be set to "MF". Then by quickly pressing the assigned button you can quickly switch between AF and MF. This feature has always been around I am not sure how you have missed it.

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    7. Hi Wolfgang and Robin,
      thanks for your answers. I am getting confused here. For you it seems very clear, for me here with my E-M1 it is not.
      - Wolfgang: when I set S1/C2/M3, this allows me to make a quick S-AF WHILE I am in MF-mode, that is something else than I was looking for
      - Robin: I really try hard to find an MF-option when customizing a function button. I have dozens of possibilities but NO "MF"
      ........
      OMG I have found the solution!!! I had the 2x2 switch in mode 5 (where you can select the different AF-modes. This makes that the function "MF" is no longer available in the customization of a function button. Clever software, too clever for me :-(

      Okayx thank you both for your ideas, ithey made me think and try more possibilities :-)

      Kind regards
      Wolfgang

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    8. Glad you have sorted that out Wolfgang. Now that is another reason I do not like the 2x2, makes things complicated!

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  6. Robin, great article! One thing puzzels me. When I flick to manual focus using the focus ring on my 17mm lens, it won't use magnify or peaking even though they are turned on in the menus. Seems they can only be used when you set SF/M. This is a shame as I like the quick flick to manual focus ring. Have I set up some tv wrong?

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    1. Hi Antoine,
      To work around this I guess the quickest way is to assign one of the function buttons to peaking/magnify to get them to work.

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    2. Thanks Robin, that is what I do with my manual Voitlander lens but it slows me down pressing buttons. Shame that a M.Zuiko lens cannot go straight into the focus assitance when the manual ring is turned.

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  7. Good stuff Robin :-)
    Late tonight, will follow up tomorrow. I took a biofos spreadsheet, added my stuff. Work in progress, always.People can copy to Google Sheets or Excel, add your recommendations. https://sites.google.com/site/olycameras/home
    Will follow up tomorrow.

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    1. Indeed it is a long read. I did not cover everything, just the the settings that I thought are important

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    2. Ananda the Brain settings for the EM-1 made my brain explode. So much information in a free flowing chart. Thanks!

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    3. Ananda, You said that we could copy your spreadsheet to our own Excel, but I cannot figure a way to do that. My old brain gets in my way I guess. Can you point me in the right direction, please? Thanks, Rob

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    4. Rob, here is the link. Do File > Download As > Excel

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  8. Wow, I just read this out of curiosity thinking I had the important stuff under control. But I totally missed the SF JPEG setting you unveiled. I was puzzled before where was "SF"? Even after 3 years these Olympus menus reveal secrets!! Thanks. Great article.

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    1. There is always something new to learn, even for me! That is the joy of photography and using cameras.

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    2. I found my E-PM2 also had this SF setting after reading your article. Thanks!

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    3. I have the OMDEM10 but I dont' have the option of Super Fine-only Fine Large-Is there some other trick to get this setting?

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  10. Thank you for sharing.
    Very useful for a newby Olympus user.
    On Panasonic cameras you just need to press the Delete button once (Litter can symbol) to center the AF box with one click.
    Is there any way to do the same with one click on EM-5 Mark II?
    I mean, if one need to change the AF box to the corners of the frame and then want to quickly center the AF box again.

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    1. Try Custom Menu Cog A, Set Home to choose which AF Home position. Then assign a button to Set Home.

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    2. Thanks Ananda for filling in!

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    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    4. Thank you Ananda!
      I'm going to check that as soon as I can :-)

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    5. You can also hold down the 'OK' button for about a second to re-center the focus point on the EM1

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  11. Great post, Robin. thanks for sharing.

    One thing folks should keep in mind: setting Anti-Shock to 0 seconds disables the Sequential H and the Sequential L shooting modes. This happened to me on my EM-1; I suspect is may also affect other models as well.

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    1. On the E-M1, there become two icons next to the diamond Zero. These diamond H and diamond L are dimmed, disabled. However, if you scroll some more, you will see plain H and plain L - these are not disabled. Don't know why.

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    2. This is true for E-M1 because the camera did not have Electronic FIrst Curtain Shutter during the release, and the Antishock 0 Second was added via firmware upgrade, hence the limitation. In E-M5 Mark II, you can do sequential H and L with Antishock 0 or fully electronic shutter (silent).

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  12. Thank you Robin. Looking forward to trying out your recommendations to get the best from my OM-10.

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    1. No worries, always a pleasure to share.

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  13. Thank You Robin. I have had an em-10 for about 8 months now, and love it. But I didn't know some of these setting existed either. I am only a recent follower of yours after trying to find out more about the camera on the net and came on your blog by accident. Best thing that happened that day. More like this will help me immensely. Thanks again Robin

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    1. Hi David, I am glad to be able to help. Do explore the E-M10 more, it is a great camera.

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  14. I can't seem to change the "Noise Reduction" parameter to Auto as suggested above on my new E-M5II as that option is greyed out (on the second option on the E gear wheel). Am I missing something?

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    1. You must have enabled a setting which in turn disabled the function of noise reduction. Many settings can cause this to happen, eg HDR, shooting in sequential H or L burst, etc.

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    2. Yes, I figured that one of my settings caused this to grey out, but the user manual didn't tell me which one. It was the sequential shooting - I changed that to single, and viola!, I can now set the noise reduction to auto. Thank you!

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  15. There are a number of lockouts - where if you choose one menu item, then another menu item in a different branch is dimmed. One of the lockouts frustrated me for a long while - so I took the time to list the lockouts I know about. Lockouts here

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    1. Thanks for sharing Ananda

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    2. No worries, mate. Better to light a candle and spread the news than to keep it to oneself. Oh, if you could ask Olympus for red colour on focus peaking on the E-M1

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    3. At this point I don't carry much weight in anything that I say. Have you been manual focusing much? I still find myself using the magnify to confirm focus accuracy.

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    4. Every little whisper helps. I saw a report that the Olympus execs added red and yellow peaking for E-M5 Mark 2 because of feedback. I sometimes use MF Samyang Fish and legacy film Minolta lens (250mm f/5.6 mirror). Magnify is better of course, but in various circumstances, the magnify loses time and peaking is near enough to be ok.

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    5. True, for near estimate the peaking is good enough (street photography). For precise focusing magnify works best (macro, product photography, etc).

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  16. Hi Robin,
    Thank you for sharing, especially good tip about noise filter.

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    1. No worries Peeter. Glad I could help

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  17. For the strangest reason, I can find where to change the sharpness setting. I looked everywhere under the menu but can't find it.. please help

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    1. Here, access the super control panel http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-JQslz412860/VaSU1sMpUbI/AAAAAAAAmHQ/mcSO_9MUZ7s/s640/20131122_OEM50299.jpg

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  18. Same thing with the "Gradation" setting. I don't see anything like that anywhere in my E-M1's menus

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    1. Glenn, same deal with the Gradation setting - in Robin's photo it is the small box with the word NORM

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  19. Many thanks Robin! I finally got my settings right! And my pictures got better as well!
    This was very useful for me. The camera settings of Olympus is a huge challenge.

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    1. No worries. Glad you find the post useful.

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  20. Hi Robin,

    Thanks a lot for sharing a very useful article, especially noise filter and noise reduction.

    Please let me know your standard setting for OV3. What are "noise correction" (trapezoid & parallel) and "noise reduction" (NR).
    I shoot always in RAW and never use the flash even at night.

    Paul Tirajoh

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    1. I think I have explained the difference between Noise reduction and Noise filter very well.

      I have done a video on Olympus Viewer 3 and explain my whole post-processing steps. http://robinwong.blogspot.com/2014/01/my-post-processing-for-blogging-purposes.html

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  21. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  22. Hi Robin, first of all, what a great site! Learned much already regarding my E-M10 thanks to your blogs! And since in the comments here also Olympus Viewer 3 got a mention I was hoping maybe you could answer a question.. When I shoot RAW+JPEG (L-quality) straight out the camera the JPEG is roughly 7MB in size. (Just learned aboud the LF setting, will try immidiatly!) But when I Process a ORF-file to JPEG (After making some changes) the JPEG-file ends up roughly 5- maybe 5,5MB. Can't find a setting in the software to adjust JPEG output quality.. Can you help?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I dont think you have to worry about the files being different in size. there are many factors involved in generating the final file size. nonetheless if you use L SF your file size should be larger than all other sizes. Olympus Viewer 3 only exports L F.

      Delete
  23. Hey. First time reader and commenter. I am an E-M1 user with many 4/3 lenses. I have to agree with your settings as 80% of mine are exactly the same. I, too, have a photo blog though it's nowhere near as extensive as yours.....yet. Feel free to comment if you wish:) www.patrickrh80.com

    ReplyDelete
  24. A quick Q, what aspect ratio you normally use for your photo? 4:3 / 16:9 / etc?
    This is a very handy guide for a new Oly user like myself.
    Thanks alot and love your work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The best aspect ratio for Olympus MIcro 4/3 system would be 4:3, it is the native aspect ratio and produces full 16MP file. any other aspect ratio is just a crop from the 4:3 16 MP image.

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  25. What do you see as an advantage in processing Raw files in OV3 over Adobe camera raw?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You get Olympus JPEG, identical to the camera's JPEG engine.

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    2. Where is there an ov3 tutorial

      Delete
    3. Bob, here it is http://robinwong.blogspot.com/2014/01/my-post-processing-for-blogging-purposes.html

      Delete
  26. Hi Robin, thanks for all your helpful suggestions. I do disagree with your one observation though: "some of us being overly critical of shutter shock" is, with the greatest of respect, an understatement of the extent of this problem. I've both an E-M5 and E-M1. At least one in four of the images from my E-M1 are unusable (if the shutter speed is <= +-1/500) unless I enable the 0 second anti shock to use First Curtain Electronic Shutter. Had Olympus not provided this firm-ware work around this the camera would have had to be returned. Regrettably Olympus haven't (either can't or won't) enabled this fix in anything other than single exposure mode. So my advice to E-M1 users would be: If you think you're somehow shaking the camera, or, if you think "wow, how could I have missed focus so badly ?!", then please set 0 second anti shock and select the single-frame with the diamond. It makes a very noticeable difference (between a sharp and totally blurred image) with some bodies. As for me .. i'm shooting more with my fantastic trusty E-M5 and a little less with my E-M1.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have to respectfully disagree with you. This problem has been over-exaggerated. Shutter Shock has ALWAYS been around in any cameras with mechanical shutter, including ALL DSLR. Just pin-pointing the problem on Olympus is NOT fair. The problem exists virtually everywhere.
      I have used the E-M1 and E-M5 extensively and did not find any issue at all. Even if the shutter shock happened, it never cause any huge impact that would render my image useless. I have published thousands of photographs on my blog, and each and every one of them I made sure were perfectly sharp and free of shake of any kind.
      I am not saying that we should not innovate and solve this issue, it clearly will be addressed since it has been blown out of proportion. Nonetheless, I do not see how his is better or worse than other cameras. I have friends using Canon, Nikon, Sony and all sorts of cameras and they all admit there are incidences of shutter shock. Did that stop them from taking awesome photos? Nope.

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    2. The latest example I can give you is using the 75-300mm II. Full blog entry here: http://robinwong.blogspot.com/2015/07/a-day-at-frasers-hill-with-mzuiko-75.html

      I used E-M10, which has identical shutter mechanism as the E-M5. Completely no shutter shock encountered. I made a mistake of assuming that the firmware was upgraded but it has not, hence there was no AntiShock "0 second" function (which is the electronic first curtain shutter) available. Did it make me less confident? No, I went all out and shot almost a thousand images. Not, even a single shutter shock issue. Maybe there is. It is sometimes not easy to spot (it does take trained eyes to spot the problem). Honestly, viewing my images at 100% from that entry, with the bird photos showing all the fine details of the feathers, even if there was slight shutter shock, it was completely fine.
      This brings me back to my original comment on "being overly critical". The problem may be there, I am not denying it, I never did, but overemphasising on the problem is also a problem on its own, which I have observed in lengthy forum discussions.

      Delete
  27. Great article Robin, I'll have to compare your article with my tweaked version of the BIOFOS spreadsheet that Ananda mentioned above.

    I agree with you, I highly recommend using Olympus Viewer 3 to process RAW files rather than LR or Adobe camera RAW (export to TIF if the images need further tweaking in another tool). Other PC based editors I've found to be pretty good are DXO Optics 10 and Capture One Pro 8.3, I'm tempted by the latter despite the price.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Thank you for taking the time to post this. This gave me the opportunity to go through the menus and check out other settings that I would have otherwise overlooked. I'm going to take your settings out for a spin this weekend and see if it suits my style.

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  29. Thanks, Robin, for this useful article. I have used many of your settings in my last shooting sessions, including "Noise Filter = OFF", but I have noticed something strange about pictures of landscapes: the sky appears to be made of several stripes of colour. To get rid of that, I have to set Noise Filter to LOW (I shoot in raw and use OV3), and then I get a "normal" sky. So now I have changed the settings of my camera (an E-M10). Regards.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Hi Robin, I realize your cheat sheet was from earlier this year but wanted you to know that I found it very useful. I just bought my first Olympus, an E-M10, and was uncertain where to start out with all the settings the camera has. I found your article a big help in giving me a starting point. Thanks much.

    ReplyDelete
  31. great cheat sheet! :) i think i read it somewhere but can´t find it anymore, how can a make my E-M5 Mk2 go to "myset 1" when i turn on the camera?

    ReplyDelete
  32. Hi Robin,

    I tried putting the noise filter to OFF. I can see the grains generated at High ISO in picassa. But in Olympus viewer, there are no grains, the image has some smudges when zoomed to 100%, as if it is processed. Can you tell how to get those natural grains in olympus viewer?

    ReplyDelete
  33. Robin, you seem to be well versed with the OMD EM1. Thank goodness. I have one on the way. My question is BackButton Auto Focus. Can this camera be set up to use this function? Push and release a button to focus and re-compose. Push and hold for continuous auto focus if needed. Shutter release button will be for exposure and taking the shot :). Thanks much.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Oh my goodness! I wish you had written this a couple of months earlier than you did. I bought an OMD Em5 early last year and returned it thinking it was faulty because of the awful hot pixels everywhere on the one night shot I tried with it. And now here you are saying it's common and there is a simple fix :-(.

    ReplyDelete
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  37. I have a problem and I am hoping someone can help. It is regarding focus lock, what I want to do is focus on subject, say a person, lock on an eye by pressing shutter half way, recompose then press shutter fully but I am not having any success, I have gone into settings and selected cog A AEL/AFL - S-AF- mode 2, thanks in advance

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I firstly wanted to compliment R.W. on his articles that are nice to read and inspirational, of which I own an OMD E-M5 (with two kits lenses, but now deciding between !advice please! the Panasonic 14-140 or Olympus 14-150) and am endeavoring to master my skills asap for ultimate visual gratification - I love tinkering and optimising wherever I can, and here is one example ...

      Hi Unknown. It seems everyone just goes along with the usual mantra of "half-depress Shutter Release button for Focus (S/C/M)", but I have found a better way ... (also, I don't like using the Fn1 button because is very hard-to-reach, so I use the Fn2 or Video buttons instead as they are 0.1 parsec away from Big Ol' Grand-Daddy :) !) ...
      - assign "Fn2 (or Video) button" to "SF" or "SF+M", so when pressed it stays locked in to the desired focus forever (and/or as you move the manual focus ring it will lock in there forever too)
      - assign "half-depress Shutter Release button" to something like AEL (or even nothing at all), so that you can either "hold-half-depress then recompose-and-full-depress" or just "shoot" to take your photograph with the still-locked-in-focus

      This method means you never have to worry about losing your carefully adjusted focus when you finally commit to the full depress of Shutter Release button for the shot you desire.

      Hope this helps. (I may end up assigning Fn1 to something else less critical, though SCP is easy enough to navigate so I can access most other functions like ISO/WB etc when needed.)

      Delete
  38. An abundance of thanks Robin! I at long last got my settings right! What's more, my photos showed signs of improvement too!
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  44. I'm not impressed by 2x2 too. Not intuitive at all.

    Trying all combinations, i ended up in Mode 5.
    And 2x2 + Power Lever Buttons (On).

    I can switch from any AF mode to any other AF mode with 2x2 Lever. Very handy during action, when you want to switch between S-AF/C-AF.
    At the same time in Mode 5, Power Lever Buttons change from AF/metering to Flash dual settings (more useful than flash mode only) and the other from HDR/Seq to Bracketing.
    A simple look at LCD/EVF tell me about S-AF (2x2 pos 1) or C-AF/MF (2x2 pos 2) so i know in witch position (and functions) i am.

    I set Direct Cross right to WB and Cross down to ISO (and so, no more need for 2x2 WB/ISO).

    This is the best combination i found to use 2x2 instead of being Off ;)

    ReplyDelete
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  47. I am a great admirer of your pics and I am Olympus through and through. I now have some pro lenses as well. What is the secret of your amazing sharp focus on your birds, tigers etc. I can never really get it like that

    ReplyDelete
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  49. Question about #2 Super Fine:
    Olympus Tech Support said poor battery life in the Olympus OM-D-E-M10 II is due in part to setting the camera to super fine. They said it takes more juice to write to the card when using the Super Fine setting. I'm getting about 100 shots per battery with the 14-42 pancake zoom. Wondering if their advice is accurate or are there other reasons for poor battery life too.

    ReplyDelete
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  51. great article Robin!! I thought i have read the manual cover to cover but obviously i left quite some bits out. thanks! :)

    ReplyDelete
  52. I'm looking at moving from the EM5 to the new EM5ii. I use the FN1 button as a back button focus on the EM5 but I see that that button has changed on the new model. Do you have a recommended way to set up back button focus on the new model? Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Rebekah. I have the EM5II and I have split the AF from the shutter button. I tried it on various function buttons and obviously the choice of button will be dependant on size of hand and personal preference and comfort. The only one that allows "Back Button focus" is Fn1, but it's so ridiculously small, and quite a stretch for my thumb from my natural camera hold position: I found it frustrating and annoying. I also tried Fn4 (to the left of the Shutter button) - it was OK, but a bit of a stretch from my natural camera hold position. I found Fn2 (to the right of the Shutter button) better and I initially settled on this. BUT THEN I realised the PREVIEW Button (front of camera next to lens) is also a Fn button. I now have my AF set to this button; I press the button with my ring finger and, for me, I find this by far the easiest and most comfortable of the options. So I have FRONT BUTTON FOCUSING. I must say that I found this to be a very difficult issue to get an answer for online. None of my searches were fruitful and I finally fumbled my way through it. For anyone looking to try to separate their AF from the shutter button, in the list of possible functions that you can assign to other buttons, the AF(Auto Focus) is under AEL/AFL, where AEL=Auto Exposure Lock and AFL = Auto Focus Lock. You can adjust AEL/AFL settings in Menu > Settings (with gear icon) > AF/MF > AEL/AFL.

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  53. Hi Robin, just got my E-M5ii four days ago and have been struggling with the menu. This was very helpful to get started!! Thank you

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  56. Thank you Robin. Very useful and helpful.

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  57. Hey Robin. I've had my EM5II for a couple of months. I joined a Camera Club and am doing a 6 session Beginners course through the club. Before I started the course I found this posting of yours and found it so helpful. I've also seen your post of EM5II with 14-150mm zoom lens (MY SYSTEM), so I know that my system is capable of brilliant images. However, I'm just not happy with the images I'm getting - so much blur and fuzz. I continue to learn about new settings and make changes - it's got more settings than my car! I just returned to this post to recheck settings since I have a bit more knowledge. Somehow, I had my NOISE FILTER set to HIGH. I just followed your recommendation and turned it to OFF - unbelievable difference. So disappointing - I was sure I had made this change weeks ago when I first read this post. Alas....
    Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge
    cheers.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Oh my, this is exactly the information that I needed to get my new camera set up and feeling like I understand it enough to begin shooting. Thank you so much for posting!

    ReplyDelete
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  63. Thank you Robin, am Filipino working here in Jeddah & before I had almost zero knowledge in Photography and it all started when my family (me, my wife & daughter)decided to go for vacation in Palawan; of course couple with the decision to buy MFT or DSLR camera... believe me its a big decision mostly we have only only point & shoot camera. Until I stumble your blog and read it and follow it (fyi) most filipino photography club here (Jeddah) uses DSLR and 2% or sometimes nil for MFT.. of course MFT was viewed as inferior compared to tbe big body DSLR.
    Thanks for your blog.. my OMD-EM10 is blessing and slowly and but surely I become inform from zero knowledge to amateur photography. I prayed with God helps (JESUS) name I will be a professional photographer (because dreaming is free)

    ReplyDelete
  64. Robin, please help me to decide on which lenses best suited for me since I bought Olympus 45mm with F1.8 apart my bundle 14mm to 42mm

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not Robin but if I may suggest, M.Zuiko 12-40mm f2.8 is a great, great investment. It's the first lens I paired with EM-10 as I made a switch from DSLR. Practically the most versatile lens which goes with me when travelling. Don't be intimidated by DSLR. I never touched my DSLR again, because EM-10 + 12-40mm pair is very liberating --> great performance on low light (no tripod needed), lightweight, and compact (compared with the equivalent 24-70mm lens on DSLR). Photography is about practise. Bring the camera everywhere and take plenty of shots. I chose OMD for this reason, and it serves me very well that I'm saving up for EM1 Mark II :) All the best!

      Delete
  65. Hi Robin, thank you very much for the cheat sheet. The JPEG Super Fine and Noise Filter tips make tremendous difference to my EM-10 result!

    ReplyDelete