5 Features Olympus Quietly Removed

There are some interesting features that Olympus had in their older OM-D cameras which have been removed from their newer releases. We have no idea why these features were removed or changed from the current line-up of camera iterations but my guess is the lack of popularity among Olympus users. None of these features made any major changes or affected the shooting process, so image quality and camera performance wise were not compromised even in the slightest bit. However, I do find a few of these features to be helpful in some situations, so I want to explore and discuss them in this article. I also made a video, because, why not, YouTube is all the rage now. 


1. MOVIE + PHOTO MODE
In cameras older than E-M1 Mark II, there is a movie + photo mode. When the video is being recorded, the camera can capture an image in RAW when you press the shutter button. The video recording is paused momentarily to allow the image to be shot, and after the capture the video then resumes recording. You will lose about 2-3 seconds of video recording time. I find that this can be the perfect method for me to show some video tutorials on photography - for example how I compose my images, or what I look for when I am doing street photography. You get the first person, or shall I more accurately say, camera's view. You see the video footage as I see my camera screen framing my images, before I press the shutter button, and after. You see my images being taken in real time. Unfortunately this feature is not available in E-M1 Mark II or any camera newer than that. 

2. SMART DISABLING OF AUTO EVF SWITCH
In the original OM-D E-M5 (2012) when Olympus first included an EVF in their Micro Four Thirds camera, some users gave a feedback that when the LCD screen is used to review images, since the screen was touch operable, when the finger went too near the EVF, the auto switch will disable the LCD screen. The interruptions, and LCD screen blackouts was annoying, and counter-intuitive considering Olympus camera was one of the first few to have a touch screen! Olympus then fixed this issue in E-M1 which was released about a year later, and the quick fix was a very smart move. To disable the EVF auto switch, all you have to do is to pull out the tilt screen a little, and as you place your finger near the EVF, the sensor won't trigger the blackout of LCD screen. It took other brands many more generations of camera making to figure this out and implement it, but Olympus had it down in the second OM-D camera they made. Quite impressive if you ask me. For some strange reasons, they removed this in the newer cameras! E-M5 Mark III does not have this smart EVF disable feature, when the LCD screen is swiveled out, the Auto EVF is still fully functional. E-M1 Mark II, which originally had the smart disable, had this feature removed after the Firmware 3.0 update! Olympus, bring this back please. 



3. HAND-HELD STARLIGHT MODE (SCENE MDOES)
One of the rarely used features in OM-D and PEN cameras, the Starlight Hand-Held mode, found in the scenes mode, can be helpful in high ISO shooting. If you subject is perfectly still, using this mode, the camera takes 8 images and composited them to reduce high ISO noise, all done with just one press of a shutter button, fully automated with minimal effort. While I don't use this method a lot, I would like to have it, just in case extremely high ISO is unavoidable and the situation is right. The hand-held starlight mode is taken out, together with ALL other scene modes in both E-M1 Mark II and E-M1X. Thankfully we still have this in E-M5 Mark III. 

4. ISO CAPPED AT 6400
I personally have not much issue with this particular one, but this seems to bother quite a few people, as I found out from my video comments recently. Before E-M1 Mark II, the auto ISO was uncapped, meaning we can set it as high as 25,600 (upper limit), and let the camera decide to go as high as the limit, if needed. However, in E-M1 Mark II, E-M1X and now the E-M5 Mark III, the high Auto ISO upper limit is restricted to 6400 only. For some reasons this drove a lot of people nuts, throwing complains to me (please guys, I can't magically make changes to the cameras, I don't have that kind of power. Venting your frustrations on the camera TO ME won't make your cameras better. Maybe it makes you feel better, but please, how does it make me feel, when SO MANY people complain about the things they don't like about their cameras to me? I am only human and there is only so much negativity I can absorb. Please be more  understanding I beg you). 

5. MYSET/CUSTOM MODE NERFED 
This happens in E-M5 Mark III specifically only. Previously, Olympus allows at least 4 different Myset settings in OM-D cameras, and the mysets can be assigned to dedicated C settings on the mode dials, ressigned to i-Auto and Art Filter modes, or directly accessed by a press of a customized  Function "Fn" button. I am not sure why Olympus removed all this altogether, remaining with only ONE C mode on the mode dial.  You cannot use any of the Fn buttons to access the saved mysets, or reassigning any other modes on the mode dial to do so. I hope I am wrong, and I wish there are ways to cycle through the different saved Myset preset modes through the C mode on the mode dial. If someone has a solution, I would like to hear them and update this post accordingly.

What are your thoughts on the features that are removed and nerfed in the newer Olympus OM-D cameras? Do let me know!


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Robin Wong's OM-D Cheat Sheet - Updated 2019 Version

Coinciding with the arrival of Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III to the market soon, I am releasing the improved and updated version of my OM-D Cheat Sheet. This was a refresh for my original Cheat Sheet which I have created and published in 2014 (click here). Nothing much has changed ever since, and the core of the recommended settings and suggestions remain unchanged over the years. Olympus did some minor tweaks on their menu system, they have not reworked it and those shooting Olympus since the earlier OM-D camera models should find the menu system in the latest cameras quite familiar to navigate through. Nonetheless, the original Cheat Sheet was my most popular blog article to date and I have received tonnes of request to update it. So here it is, finally!

I also made a video version on YouTube!


Some important disclaimers first:
1) These are my recommended settings, but there is no one universal fixed best camera setting for all cameras. We customize the camera for different shooting scenarios. When I shoot a wedding, the camera settings will  be different than when I use it to shoot birds. If I am shooting portraits, certainly the same setting will not be the same when I am doing astrophotography. 
2) There is no right and wrong, just recommendations. I will explain my choices of the settings I suggested, but feel free to disagree with me and choose the settings that work best for your own shooting. We do different photography and we are different people. 
3) This is not a complete guide or "how to" use an Olympus camera. I am not going through every single settings and functions on the camera, this is not that kind of tutorial or getting started kind of article/video. I am merely sharing how I set up my camera from scratch. 
4) I am skipping flash settings and movie recording settings, because flash is a different topic, and I am a noob when it comes to video. You won't want my recommendations, trust me. 
5) Everything shared here reflects my own opinion, and they are not recommendations from Olympus. 


With that out of the way, let's begin! The order of the list of settings are based on the sequence of the camera menu of the latest Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III.  Some locations of the settings may vary slightly in different OM-D cameras. 

Bear in mind this OM-D Cheat Sheet is updated for current OM-D models, such as E-M1X, E-M1 Mark II, E-M5 Mark III and E-M10 Mark III. If you are using older OM-D models such as E-M1 Original, E-M5 Mark II and E-M10 Mark II, you may refer to my older OM-D Cheat Sheet here (click). 

1) TURN OFF DIGITAL TELE CONVERTER
Starting off at menu tab 1 (camera symbol), I do not change anything here but may I remind you firmly to turn the digital teleonverter off. If you have this turned on, you are using digital zoom, which effectively reduces the overall resolution of your image. For example, instead of getting a full 20MP image from the camera, you only get 5 MP, and that can appear much worse than the image quality from your smartphone. 

Menu --> Camera tab 1 --> Digital Teleconverter --> OFF

2) ANTI-SHOCK SETTING "0 SEC"
Anti-shock prevents shutter vibration issues caused by movement of physical mechanical shutter. This problem is amplified with smaller and lighter camera bodies, which are less effective to dampen vibrations. Set the delay setting to "0 Sec" so we don't have any lag while shooting. Also, in case you are wondering, the Anti-Shock is Electronic First Curtain Shutter.

Menu --> Camera tab 2 --> Anti-Shock/Silent --> 0 Sec

For E-M5 Mark III, you cannot turn off the Anti-Shock, it is permanently enabled for all images shot at shutter speeds of 1/320 sec or slower. For all other OM-D cameras, you have to enable it in the menu.

CORRECTION (Updated 16 November 2019): There is Anti-Shock setting in E-M5 Mark III but it is disabled by default and deeply hidden in the menu. To enable Anti-Shock for E-M5 Mark III, go to Menu --> Gear Tab --> D1 --> Burst/Timer Icons Settings --> CHECK the Anti-Shock option. 


3) DEFAULT AF MODE S-AF
I admit this may be subjective depending on what photography you do, some may prefer to use C-AF if they do a lot of sports shooting or anything that moves a lot. Also, those using plenty of manual lenses may want to have the focusing mode at M. However, I do mostly people  and events shooting, so my default mode for AF would be Single AF mode. I will change this as necessary, but I want the confidence of knowing that S-AF is the default, it is by far the most reliable and fail-proof AF method on any Olympus cameras. 

Menu --> Gear Tab --> A1 --> AF Mode --> S-AF
Alternatively can be accessed directly at Super Control Panel

4) AF AREA POINTER ON2 FOR CLUSTER AREA AF
For sports shooting, or even moving animals (or vehicles) having the cluster area AF can be beneficial, leaving the C-AF tracking full time on for the camera to handle, and all I have to do is to ensure my subject is within the frame and composition as intended. The OM-D camera is intelligent enough to find and follow the subject tightly. I have used this cluster AF (you need to enable ALL focusing points in AF area selection) shooting tennis tournaments, racing cars and even MMA fights/Muay Thai and the OM-D nails the shots with extremely high keepers. 

Menu --> Gear Tab --> A2 --> AF Area Pointer --> ON2
(To enable to cluster AF, your AF selection must be turned to ALL AREA.  Also, for E-M10 Mark III, you have cluster AF area but it is not applicable for C-AF). 

5) AF TARGETING PAD ON
This is an extremely convenient feature to have turned on. With AF Targeting Pad On, while shooting through EVF, you can use the LCD screen as a track pad. Tracing your finger on it can quickly change the focusing point, allowing for precise AF. For E-M1X user, you may find the joystick AF more suitable for you, but I somehow still prefer using the AF Targeting Pad over the joystick, it works more efficiently. Well, choose whichever works for you.

Menu --> Gear Tab -- A2 --> AF Targeting Pad -- ON
(You can double tap the LCD screen while shooting through the EVF to enable and disable the AF Targeting Pad,  for those of you with larger nose, having trouble rubbing the screen). 

6) AF ILLUMINATOR OFF
The AF assist beam is one of the most annoying thing that can be shooting out of the camera, especially in super dark environment. The OM-D cameras work so well in low light, we don't need the AF beam, so please turn it off!

Menu --> Gear Tab --> A3 --> AF Illuminator OFF

7) FACE PRIORITY AF OFF
I never trusted the face detect AF on any camera. Let me be crystal clear - I am NOT saying Olympus face detect AF is not good. It works well, but I just don't like it and I don't use it. Serious wedding and portrait shooters have no issues quickly navigating the focusing points around manually to ensure pin-point sharp AF on people's face. The face detect (on any camera) to me is a gimmick and I'd not have it interfere with my AF operation. 

Menu --> Gear Tab --> A3 --> Face Priority --> OFF

8) SET ISO SHORTCUT TO ANY OF THE SHORTCUT BUTTONS
This is not applicable to E-M1X and E-M5 Mark III. For E-M1 Mark II (my main camera now) I'd assign the ISO/WB shortcut to the video record button (red button) so I can call up the setting by the press of the button. There is a dedicated ISO shortcut at the arrow key pad of E-M10 Mark III, so you may access the ISO directly from there. 

Menu --> Gear Tab --> B --> Button Functions --> Assign ISO/WB to any of the Fn buttons

9) FN LEVER FUNCTION OFF
The Fn Lever 1/2 is a convenient feature that allows multiple possible quick switching of functions, eg movie/stills or AF/MF. It can also be remapped as the power on/off switch, which will be covered in item 10 next. However, I find that the Fn Lever tend to accidentally switch positions while being in the camera bag, which can be frustrating when I am doing something critical, missing crucial shots as I turned on the camera to the wrong fn lever position. I recommend this to be switched off, but you can decide what works for you. 

Menu --> Gear Tab --> B --> Fn Lever --> OFF
(Not applicable to E-M10 Mark III)

10) FN LEVER AS POWER ON/OFF (OPTIONAL)
A lot of people complained about the awkward position of the power on/off switch on some OM-D cameras being away from the reach within the fingers of the right hand when using the camera single-handedly. Some may not know that you can remap the power on/off switch of the camera to the Fn Lever switch.  If you are a single hand operator, you may find having the power switch closer to your right hand beneficial to your shooting process in the field. This is only applicable for E-M1 Mark II, E-M1X and E-M5 Mark III. 

Menu --> Gear Tab --> B --> Fn Lever/Power Lever -->  Power 1 (or whichever option works for you)

11)  ANTI-FLICKER 50HZ (MALAYSIA)
Shooting under artificial light can cause flickers to be shown on screen (electrical interference), and having the right setting in Anti-Flicker can ensure a smoother and less headache/nausea inducing experience shooting through the EVF or LCD screen. Find out which setting works in your country (there are only two settings, 50Hz or 60Hz, in Malaysia, it is 50Hz). 

Menu --> Gear Tab --> C1 --> Flicker Reduction -> 50Hz/60Hz (depending on countries)

12) ANTI-FLICKER SHOOTING (USE WHEN NEEDED)
This setting helps when dealing with LED screens or projections that are flickering when very high shutter speed is used. Typically, under such conditions, we experience banding (uneven color and exposure appearing in lines across the screen). Anti-Flicker can significantly reduce this. Do not switch this on all the time, as the setting will cause slight lag to the shutter release. 

Menu --> Gear Tab --> C1 --> Anti-Flicker --> ON when necessary

13) IMAGE STABILIZER S-IS 1
There are multiple modes of Image Stabilizer settings. OFF, clearly means the IS is disabled, S-IS Auto means one or  more of the 5-Axis IS will be disabled as decided by the camera, while S-IS 2 and S-IS 3 will disable horizontal or vertical axis to produce smoother panning results. I personally will stick the IS setting to S-IS 1, which enables ALL 5-Axis IS at all times. 

Menu --> Gear Tab --> C2 --> Image Stabilizer --> S-IS 1

14) LIVE SUPER CONTROL PANEL ON
Except for latest cameras E-M1X and E-M5 Mark III, the live super control panel is turned off. Super control panel is a convenient way to have all important settings laid out in a single page for quick adjustments, or simply a glance for inspection to make sure nothing too crazy is happening. At that one page we get important info like RAW/JPEG, AF mode, WB setting, Metering mode, etc. I would highly suggest having this set as a default, instead of Live Control. 

Menu --> Gear Tab --> D1 --> Control Settings --> PASM --> Live Super Control Panel (CHECK)

15) LIVE VIEW BOOST OFF 
For some unexplained reasons, live view boost is turned ON for most Olympus cameras during M manual mode shooting. E-M5 Mark III is the exception (I am not too sure about E-M1X, I don't have one to verify). When live view boost is turned on, we lose the WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) advantage, meaning the exposure setting changes (shutter speed, ISO, aperture) won't  be simulated live on LCD screen/EVF. This is counter-productive to what a mirrorless system has to offer - especially when shooting full manual, I want to be able to have live preview of my exposure changes before click the shutter button. Hence I highly recommend disabling this right from the start, and only dive into the menu to enable it when you need it. 

Menu --> Gear Tab --> D2 --> Live View Boost --> Manual Shooting --> OFF
(E-M5 Mark III has this OFF on default). 

DISPLAY GRID (OPTIONAL)
To assist in framing, there are a few grip patterns to choose from. I personally would enable the typical overused rule of thirds grid, sometimes. 

Menu --> Gear Tab --> D3 --> Grid Settings --> Displayed Grid --> Choose as desired

16) AF CONFIRMATION BEEP OFF
Please turn off that annoying AF beep! I know a lot of people are addicted to hearing the "teet-teet" sound, or are psychologically dependent on that to be assured of locking AF successfully. The OM-D locks AF reliably and we don't need the beep to tell us it worked! 

Menu --> Gear Tab --> D4 --> First Item (icon of sound wave) --> OFF

17) NOISE FILTER OFF
If you shoot JPEG, do pay attention to the Noise Filter settings. My best recommendation is to turn it off, giving you the best detail capture in the image without the excessive smearing of digital processing to artificially get rid of noise. I do not mind the presence of some noise, I just want my image to look natural, not like an oil-painting.  I also understand if you are allergic to high ISO noise, that a slight sight of the noise grain can cause your eyes to bleed, then you may crank up the noise filter. 

Menu --> Gear Tab --> E1 --> Noise Filter --> OFF

18) NOISE REDUCTION AUTO
Nosie reduction is actually dark frame subtraction method, an effective technique to get rid of hot pixels, not noise. While hot pixels appears very similarly to what high ISO noise is, they are very different altogether. Hot pixels happen when long exposure is used (typically shutter speed slower than 1 second) and the image sensor heats up, causing some pixels to become "hot pixels". The position of the hot pixels are fixed, hence the pattern can be easily identified by capturing a dark frame. The camera then uses this information to get rid of the hot pixel. You may read more about Dark Frame Subtraction here (click). I'd leave this to Auto, and let the camera switch this on automatically when needed. 

Menu --> Gear Tab --> E1 --> Noise Reduction --> Auto

DO NOT TURN IT ON at full time, your camera will take two images each time you click the shutter button, and this will slow down the camera significantly, delaying your shot to shot time. 

19) ENABLE LSF FOR JPEG
LSF, Large Super Fine is the best compression setting for Olympus JPEG. I don't know why Olympus likes to keep this hidden. For cameras older than E-M1X, the highest default available select-able JPEG setting is LF (Large Fine). You need to dive deep into the menu to find and turn this on. Then you can quickly find it again and select it from the super control panel. 

Menu --> Gear Tab --> G --> SET (first tab) --> LSF
(The LSF is already available by default on E-M1X and E-M5 Mark III)

20) WHITE BALANCE KEEP WARM COLOR OFF
This is an option for white balance when shooting in very warm lighting condition (eg tungsten/candlelight), the camera may either tries the hardest to neutralize the warm cast, or keep the warm cast. I prefer my colors to be more neutral, with more flattering skin tones which usually look worse with destructive warm light, but I admit this is a personal choice, and you may choose which works for you. 

Menu --> Gear Tab --> G --> Keep Warm Color --> OFF
(this can also be accessed quickly from Super Control Panel's WB setting). 

21) RECORD VIEW OFF
I need speed and efficiency when I operate the camera, so I always keep my record view (preview/playback) OFF. I know chimping is fun and important but that quick half a second preview of an image I have just shot may block my view from what is happening in front of me currently. In event/wedding/street photography, that half second can either make or break your shot. Being ever ready with no interruptions, even from that instant playback after each shot, can save lives.   

Menu --> Wrench Tab --> Rec View --> OFF

FROM THE SUPER CONTROL PANEL
Go to the live view LCD screen, press OK. 

22) PICTURE MODE NATURAL
This is another subjective suggestion. I deal with a lot of people/human portraits so skin tone is very important to me. I find that Natural picture mode gives me the best looking skin tone. I would avoid using 1-enhance or vivid modes, these will oversaturate the images, rendering very ugly/fake looking skin tones. You may select white mode works for you. If you ask for my recommendation, Natural it is. 

23) SHARPNESS, CONTRAST, SATURATION = 0
I find that the camera at Picture mode NATURAL produces just the right amount of contrast/sharpness/saturation levels, and of course this is applicable only if you shoot JPEG. I shoot RAW mostly, so these settings were adjusted to 0 by default, for preview purposes only when I am inspecting the images I have shot. If you are shooting exclusively JPEG, you may want to dial back the sharpness setting, as the Olympus JPEG files are usually oversharpened and you may find some artifacts in the files. 

24) GRADATION NORMAL
Gradation, when set to Auto, is "shadow adjust", with the camera artificially lifting the brightness in the shadow region of the images. This will amplify high ISO noise especially if your image has a lot of dark regions, hence I recommend it to be set to NORMAL> 

 25) ASPECT RATIO 4:3
Shooting in RAW, all the aspect ratio setting makes  no difference. If you shoot in JPEG, the 4:3 will ensure you maximize the use of the entire image sensor.  Anything else (3:2, 16:9, etc) will be a crop from the original 4:3. 

That's all I have to share in this Cheat Sheet!

I hope the recommended settings are useful, and they should get you started with your OM-D. Go out and shoot more, experiment with the camera, know it inside out, and you may tweak the camera to your own personalized use. 

Happy shooting everyone!


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5 Small Improvements Olympus Made in E-M5 Mark III

I managed to get my hands on a loaner E-M5 Mark III again from Olympus Malaysia, and I intend to shoot a bit more with the camera, and do a few more videos on YouTube. I made one exploring a few things that Olympus quietly changed in the camera which I believe no one has mentioned about yet. These minor changes may not be gamechangers and are certainly not worth making a big fuss about, but I do welcome any small incremental improvements, especially on menu and operational side of things. 


1) ANTI SHOCK IS NOW AUTOMATED
1) ANTI SHOCK IS HIDDEN (CORRECTED)
Shutter vibration is a real issue, any camera with moving physical shutter mechanism will induce shutter shock to a certain degree. The smaller build and lighter weight of E-M5 Mark III amplifies this issue, having less weight and bulk to dampen the vibration caused by shutter movement. An effective method to mitigate shutter vibration is to enable anti-shock on Olympus cameras. Anti-shock is the option to use electronic first curtain shutter, meaning that the opening of shutter involves no physical shutter movement, and the image sensor "turned on" digitally, hence successfully preventing any possible vibration caused by the shutter. Previously in any Olympus camera, this is an optional setting that can be switched on and off.

However in E-M5 Mark III, the Anti-Shock setting is now permanently turned on, hence any image taken at shutter speeds of 1/320 sec or slower will be shot with Anti-Shock (electronic first curtain shutter). Anything faster than 1/320 sec, E-M5 Mark III employs the normal shutter mechanism. This makes perfect sense because at 1/320 sec or faster shutter speeds, there should not be any vibration recorded in the image.

CORRECTION (Updated 16 November 2019): There is Anti-Shock setting in E-M5 Mark III but it is disabled by default. To enable Anti-Shock for E-M5 Mark III, go to Menu --> Gear Tab --> D1 --> Burst/Timer Icons Settings --> CHECK the Anti-Shock option. 

2) LIVE SUPER CONTROL PANEL IS ON BY DEFAULT
Super control panel is one of the best things in an Olympus camera, allowing quick adjustments of important settings, all laid out neatly within a single page. For some unexplained reasons, Olympus hid the option of Live Super Control Panel which is off by default. For most Olympus cameras, you need to dive deep into the menu system to turn it on. For E-M5 Mark III (and E-M1X), the Live Super Control Panel is now turned on by default, and can be called up by pressing the OK button while shooting via the Live View on LCD screen or EVF. 

3) LIVE VIEW BOOST IS OFF BY DEFAULT DURING MANUAL SHOOTING
Yet another one of weird decisions by Olympus in most of their previous cameras, the Live View Boost is turned ON by default when Manual shooting mode is engaged. When the Live View Boost is turned on, you lose the advantage of WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) while shooting. Typically, when live view boost is turned off, when we adjust the ISO, aperture or shutter speed, the exposure changes are simulated live on the LCD screen or EVF, allowing us to have live preview of the exposure as we shoot. This allows us to get the best exposure setting possible, preventing over or underexposed shots. Olympus disables this, for no apparent useful reasons, for most of their cameras. Thankfully in E-M5 Mark III, they had the sense to have the Live View Boost switched OFF by default when shooting manual. 



4) LSF JPEG SETTING IS NOT HIDDEN ANYMORE
For all Olympus digital cameras since the beginning of time, they have taken great measures to hide their best possible JPEG compression setting, which is the LSF (Large Super Fine) setting. To enable it, you need to dive deeeeeeeep into the menu to find it. In the current new cameras, E-M1X and also now the E-M5 Mark III, LSF is no longer hidden. It can be accessed as an option for JPEG quality directly from the super control panel. 

5) NEW "B" MODE FOR BULB, LIVE TIME & LIVE COMPOSITE
Olympus introduced a new item in their mode dial, a "B" mode which has the 3 settings Bulb, Live Time and Live Composite shifted there in a dedicated slot. Previously, to activate Bulb, Live Time and Live Composite mode, you need to turn the camera to M (Manual), then scroll the shutter speed dial to the slowest 60 seconds setting and then turn it further to reach Bulb and subsequent settings. This was quite troublesome and honestly, not a very convenient way to activating some of the most useful and advanced features in Olympus cameras. Olympus knew this, and they made a quick workaround in E-M10 Mark III and E-PL9, shifting the Live Composite mode to AP photo mode (Advanced Photo). For E-M1X and now the E-M5 Mark III, Bulb, Live Time and Live Composite modes can be accessed directly from the dedicated B mode on the mode dial. I wish this is the same for all other Olympus cameras from now onward. 

Another change worth mentioning, which I have noted in my earlier review article/video of the E-M5 Mark III, is the removal of the "Fn" buttons. In all previous Olympus cameras, there are Fn labels, marking Function Buttons which can be customized to feature shortcuts. The labels all over the camera would be Fn1, Fn2, Fn3, and so on. This may not be a huge thing, but taking out the Fn labels resulted in a cleaner, more simplistic design and I love the less cluttered look of the buttons without the labels. Minimalist is the way to go, a cleaner and leaner look is surely more modern and sleek looking. At the same time, you don't  lose anything, you can still fully customize all the buttons and reassign their functions to whatever other features you prefer. 

I do appreciate the small efforts Olympus did to improve their cameras, but hey, I also believe they should rework their entire menu system and utilize more touch operated controls for quicker access and more simplistic use of the camera. I really wish they have included the MyMenu option from E-M1X, but I guess I can only dream for now. 

What do you guys think of the small changes made in the E-M5 Mark III?


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Shooting Live Music With Olympus OM-D

Last weekend I was privileged to be shooting Bihzhu, a dear friend performing in her own live mini concert show "Bihzhu: In Bloom", and I thought why not use this opportunity to share my experience and some tips on shooting live music using Olympus OM-D System? Typically in stage shows, the lighting is often far from deal and dealing with low light shooting, use of ISO6400 and above is unavoidable. Most people would hesitate and doubt the capabilities of Olympus OM-D or any Micro Four Thirds camera, having smaller image sensor, having to raise the ISO numbers. I am here to tell you that the camera is good enough and the Olympus OM-D performed admirably throughout the shoot. 

Special thanks to Bihzhu and band. Do check out their awesome music!

Of course, I also made a video about how to shoot live music on YouTube, since YouTube is all the rage now.


The stage was set up outdoors, with LED lights not shining on the performers directly, with plenty of back and side directional lighting. There was no bright white or warm light to neutralize the skin tones, so I was dealing constantly with shifting heavy color casts of blue, yellow, red, purple, green, you name it, all colors being destructive to what we normally consider ideal for stage photography. Nonetheless, my job was merely to document the event and capture the performance as true to what it was on stage, so I was not too concerned about color accuracy.

My gear set up was rather simplistic. I was using my Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II with M.Zuiko PRO lenses, 7-14mm, 17mm, 25mm, 45mm and 40-150mm. The 40-150mm f2.8 PRO was the most used lens of the night, followed by 45mm F1.2 PRO.  All the other lenses were rarely used and stayed in the bag just in case.


Reasons To Go For Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm F1.2 PRO

Olympus F1.2 prime lenses have been the subject of question when it comes to what Micro Four Thirds stand for - a camera system that is truly compact and small. The Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm F1.2 PRO is a lot larger and heavier than the F1.8 counterpart, and priced significantly higher too. Is the heftier price tag and the bulkier build justified with the better optics, F1.2 bright aperture, feathered bokeh and weather-sealing? I am exploring this in my latest video on Youtube. 


If you are a street photographer, or buying a camera for travel and you want to shave off as much weight as possible from your gear, the M.Zuiko 17mm F1.2 is obviously not for you. The F1.8 smaller compact form factor is a perfect fit to any Olympus OM-D or PEN camera and being so light and tiny, it does not add much weight and bulk to your luggage. If you want to keep your gear minimal, the F1.8 primes is the way to go. 

However, if you are a professional photographer like me who shoots for a living, and intend to provide the best possible results from my Olympus OM-D for my clients, then the F1.2 lens makes perfect sense. The optical construction is superior, rendering images that are looking super sharp yet having the "feathered bokeh" characteristics which the F1.8 lenses do not deliver. The feathered bokeh is also what sets the Olympus F1.2 PRO prime lenses apart from other alternatives such as Panasonic 15mm F1.7 or Sigma 16mm F1.4, both amazing lenses that I have tested, reviewed and written before in this blog. The feathered bokeh renders beautifully smooth background and giving that 3D pop to the images.



Also the brighter aperture of F1.2 make a huge difference in comparison to F1.8, giving one full stop of advantage when it comes to high ISO shooting. The weather-sealing allows me to shoot in the rain, which happens a lot in this tropical weather. 

Some people voiced their complaint that the 17mm F1.2 PRO (and other Olympus F1.2 PRO lenses) is too bulky, and is counter-productive to what a  Micro Four Thirds system is. Here is the kicker - you cannot have a small F1.2 lens, if you do, then there will be some compromise, the images will not be sharp wide open, horrible soft corners, annoying purple fringing, heavy vignetting, etc. I'd rather have an F1.2 lens with great image output, with PRO grade build, than a sub-par lens just with the label F1.2 opening. There is just no other way to go around it, the lens has to be this size. If you are against the size, why attack the lens? You have the F1.8 version. 

Also, I never found the size to be difficult to manage. The 17mm F1.2 is about the same size as the 12-40mm F2.8 PRO which was designed to match E-M1 and E-M1 Mark II perfectly. It was such a good combo, handling was balanced and the lens does not feel front heavy at all.  The 17mm F1.2 being slightly smaller and lighter, surely has no issue with camera handling. 

Are we expecting PRO level lenses to be extremely tiny? We can't have everything can we? But the good news is, we have options. And choices are always good. 

Do you own an Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm F1.2? What are your experiences using that lens? I would love to hear from you!


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The Best Vlogging Camera - Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III?

So the last thing I did before returning the loaned Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III was testing it for vlogging. It is something that I do not do really, I don't call my videos vlogs, I think they are just videos with content that I have planned carefully and with clear ideas and messages that I wanted to convey. I think vlogs are just random people recording videos of themselves doing random things, or ranting about their lives, which can be fun an entertaining, but my life is nothing but random, and I don't think I am that fun. Therefore, the general vlogging format does not suit my approach in doing video, but I acknowledge a majority of content creators, YouTubers and social media influencers (oops did I just say the word influencer out loud?) have come to love and use the vlogging method as a part of their content and routine. I made this video, and extension to that, this article to discuss the use of Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III as a vlogging tool. 


The 5-Axis image stabilization on the E-M5 Mark III is probably the single, most stand-out feature and capability of the camera against any other competitors in the market. Like seriously, did you see how amazingly smooth and steady the footage from E-M5 Mark III is? It is like having a mini gimbal or steadycam. Ok truth to be told the level of stabilization is nowhere near what a true gimbal can do, but still it is the best we can get at the moment in the market on a camera and the image stabilization can make a lot of difference for small creators, YouTubers or cinematographers starting out using minimalist and simple gear setup. It just freaking works!

Walking around with the E-M5 Mark III, holding it with my hand, was not fun. I do not enjoy doing videos this way. The multitasking is real - hold the camera with one hand, walk, make sure not hit by car or motorbike, or walk into an open drain (we have a lot in Malaysia), think of what to say, and make sure you are within the frame.  The amount of brainpower required to execute the typical vlogger style video is insane. It is not only dangerous, but not easy to execute! Massive respect to all vloggers out there. As for me, after this video, I will resume my simpler video shooting style, have the OM-D camera rested on a tripod and just talk without having to worry about 10,000 things while I do that.



The Autofocus was fantastic. I tested the AF on 3 lenses, 17mm F1.8, 12mm F2 and 45mmm F1.8. The AF had no issue locking  onto my face without being easily distracted by people moving within my frame, or any other subjects. Even under severe backlit, the AF worked extremely well, staying on my face. It stays on me throughout the duration of the video, and the AF did not even fail one. Bear in mind that if you use Panasonic lenses, the AF effectiveness will dip a little, and if you use an even older lens from Panasonic, the AF reliability will drop. If AF is priority when shooting video with E-M5 Mark III, just use Olympus lenses. It is not like they lack choice. There is plenty to choose from!

I saw a  YouTuber complaining about the inability to do auto-exposure on E-M5 Mark III while on video. I am not sure what happened to his E-M5 Mark III or what settings he did to the camera, my auto exposure worked perfectly, with no issue. If that was his number one complain as a dealbreaker from buying the E-M5 Mark III as a vlogging camera, then do not panic, the auto exposure works perfectly fine.

What else do you need from a Vlogging camera? There is a microphone input, which I used my lavalier microphone to record my own voice. There is no audio monitoring, which is a bummer, but if you want to do any serious video production, go to E-M1 Mark II and E-M1X guys, they even have the OM-LOG400 profile which is missing from E-M5 Mark III.

But hey, I am not the typical vlogger. But in terms of image stabilization, C-AF during video tracking face, clean, sharp footage and having that cinematic, amazing colors and look straight out of camera with minimal work necessary, the E-M5 Mark III may just be for you! 

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Shooting Video with Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III

I released a short video "Robin In The City" yesterday on YouTube, if you have not seen it kindly check it out here. That video was filmed entirely on Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III in Kuala Lumpur. I am a noob when it comes to videography/cinematography, so I am reviewing the video shooting capabilities of the E-M5 Mark III from a newbie's perspective! I will explore the effectiveness of 5-Axis Image Stabilization for video, the C-AF capability while filming and also my general experience using the E-M5 Mark III doing the short film "Robin In The City". I made a video to share my experience here:


The concept of the short film was fairly straightforward - it was about me (Robin), being represented by a Robin Lego Brickheadz going about in Kuala Lumpur city. I came from a smaller city, Kuching which is situated in Borneo,  and having lived in KL for many years, it has never failed to awe me every time  I stepped into the city. I wanted to capture that sense of wander and grandeur, from a small town boy's perspective. The video also chronicles my daily journey, I commute on the LRT and the places and scenes shown in the video were places that I do visit. In the second part of the video, the city was caught in a thunderstorm, and yes, it rained a lot in this tropical weather. Sometimes I was caught unprepared and was drenched wet in the heavy rain. I wanted to show that too. There is nothing too deep or layers of meaning to peel from the short film, but one important emotion I did want to convey was a feeling of loneliness. I am not sure if you can see it, but yes, the theme was loneliness, though it was very subtle. 

Now coming back to the technicalities of filming the short video. 

1) Everything was shot on Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III, and I did this video alone, with no aid from anyone else. I wanted to ask a few friends to tag along for some behind the scenes footage, but I figured I have bothered too many people and asked too many favors from my previous review video, so it is not nice to trouble any of my friends further. 

2) It took me about 7 hours out on the street to get all the footage (I was out at 10am and finished the last raining shot at about 5pm). 

3) Everything was shot hand-held, with no use of tripod, gimbal or any sort of stabilization support. I used both Movie Stabilization 1 and 2 modes. For wide angle, uncropped scenes I used M-IS 2 mode. For everything else, M-IS 1. I may have accidentally used M-IS 2  when I was walking around, some wobbly effect was seen, which was not supposed to be present with use of M-IS 1. 

4) I used 3 lenses for this short video. The lens I used most was M.Zuiko 17mm F1.8, which covered 90% of the shots. For close ups of the Lego Robin and some scenes during the rain, I used M.Zuiko 45mm F1.8. I also used M.Zuiko 12mm F2 for wide scenery shots. 

5) I used C-AF for the entire video shooting. I tapped the screen to "pull focus". 

6) I used ND filters for all scenes before the rain. I had Variable ND 2-400 for both 45mm f1.8 lens and also 17mm F1.8 lens (17mm and 12mm shares the same filter thread). 

7) The whole movie was shot on Manual Exposure mode. Shutter speed was kept at constant 1/50sec, Aperture varies depending on situations (for blur background, I used wide open, for scenery shots, I used F4 or narrower), ISO was fixed at 200. I adjusted the ND filter to achieve correct exposure balance. 

8) The video was shot in "Natural" color profile. I decided not to use Flat Profile, because I did not want to do any color grading, and honestly, I don't know how at this moment. I relied on Olympus' superb straight out of the camera color profile, which I have come to love over the years. I did not do any other changes to the image profile parameters (contrast, saturation, sharpness, noise filter, all on default). 

9) White balance was set to Daylight. If there was a greenish/blueish tint, that was because of the ND filter (I used cheap no brand filters). It could have been easily corrected if I set the White Balance to Auto, but I wanted to maintain color consistency, hence I set to Daylight. 

10) The footage was all shot in 24p, on Cinema 4K, except the slow motion rain scenes, which were shot in Full HD 120FPS mode. 

11) Battery life was not great. I managed to get a total of about 30 minutes footage before the battery died. Do consider to get MANY spares if you want to shoot video with E-M5 Mark III. 



I am seriously noob in making video, so please do cut me some slack and forgive some of my mistakes if I did any. I figured I have to dive in now, and started doing something, else I will just remain noob forever. 

The stabilization works like a charm. You must know I am new to all this and I know not how to do "cinematic movements". I was happy with how shake free and stabilized the output was, and I have to say, this is the best that you can get from a system camera, the most capable image stabilization, without the use of gimbal. The gimbal or steadycam will still give you steadier results, but not everyone wants to carry more equipment. Not all of us are cinematographers, and I don't see myself venturing into making videos seriously. My passion is in photography, that will not change. So for someone like me, who does not intend to use a gimbal, who keeps the setup as minimalist as possible, the 5-Axis IS from Olympus is a Godsent. 

The Continuous Autofocus just freaking works! The one thing I worried the most while shooting the video was AF during filming. I had no idea what to expect since I lack experience from doing video work, and unlike shooting stills, I cannot zoom in/magnify my shots during preview to ensure critical focus. Inspecting all the shots, they were ALL, I repeat, ALL in focus. I was genuinely impressed. If the E-M5 Mark III works for someone as new to video as me, the C-AF is almost foolproof to anyone!

Overall I just love how small the camera is, and how well it handles with all the small prime lenses. I strongly suggest using the prime lenses, 12mm, 17mm, 25mm, 45mm and 75mm, these lenses can give you sharp footage with incredible shallow depth of field effect, low light shooting and super reliable AF during video. Yet they were so small and easy to move around with the camera. 

If you are a cinematographer I am sure you already know the kind of gear you are getting, the professional kind. E-M5 Mark III is not competing with that, instead it allows people like me, people with very limited knowledge and experience with video shooting to just pick up the camera and shoot. Yet I come home with very usable results! The image stabilization works and the AF is insanely reliable. Vloggers out there, I don't think there is other camera better than this! You get Cinema 4K at 237Mb/s, Flat Profile (if you want to color grade) and 120FPS Full HD slow motion!

I will do ONE more post/video about E-M5 Mark III, and I will be doing it the typical Vlogging style. It shall be out in a few days. Stay tuned!

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Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III Review

The much awaited and long overdue Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III is finally launched today, and thanks to Olympus Malaysia I have had a loaner to shoot with for the past almost 2 weeks. The E-M5 Mark III is a huge upgrade from the previous E-M5 Mark II, with overall performance and feature set matching the flagship camera E-M1 Mark II. The E-M5 Mark III has similar 20MP image sensor, Truepic VIII engine, 5-Axis IS capability, AF performance and video shooting features from the E-M1 mark II. In this article, I am exploring what the E-M5 Mark III can do when it comes to various shooting environment. 

Here is a video review I have done for Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III on YouTube! Yay, Robin Wong finally reviews cameras on YouTube!


Before diving too deep, here are some important disclaimers. I am an Olympus Visionary, an ambassador to Olympus brand. The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III was a loaner from Olympus Malaysia and will be returned shortly after this review. Olympus Malaysia did not ask me to do a review, so this review blog article and the video review on YouTube were made because I genuinely wanted to. This is not a technical review, there will be no graphs, charts or comparisons.  This is a user experience based review, I will be sharing lots of sample images shot with the Olympus E-M5 Mark III during the course of my testing period, and from the images I shall be drawing my conclusions on how the camera performed. For this article (and this video) I will only be discussing the stills shooting capability of the E-M5 Mark III. I have a separate article and video to explore the video/movie recording of E-M5 Mark III, which will be published several days from now. All images in this blog entry were shot in RAW, and minor post-processing (exposure compensation, contrast tweak, small white balance adjustments) were performed via Olympus Workspace.


With that out of the way, let's have some fun with the E-M5 Mark III!

Here is a quick rundown of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III's specification highlights:

1) Small & Light build
The body is light, weighs at about 414g with battery and SD card, and 366g only without battery. To keep the build light, Olympus discarded the magnesium alloy construction and the E-M5 Mark III was made entirely of plastic.

2) Weather-Sealing, and Improved SSWF Dust Reduction. 
As with all other E-M5 iterations, there is full weather sealing against splash, dust and freezing (down to minus 10 degrees Celsius). The Supersonic Wave Filter (SSWF) Dust Reduction on the image sensor is not using the same one found on E-M1X, vibrating at 30,000 times a second, repelling dust much more effectively.

3) 20MP Image Sensor and Truepic VIII Processor from E-M1 Mark II/E-M1X
Similar image sensor and processing engine used in flagship E-M1 Mark II/E-M1X, hence the E-M5 Mark III is expected to deliver similar image quality in terms of resolution, dynamic range and high ISO performance.

4) 5-Axis Image Stabilization with 5.5 Stops Effectiveness
The rating of the built in 5-Axis IS is also similar to the E-M1 Mark II

5) Similar AF algorithm and capabilities with E-M1 Mark II
The camera features similar AF performance for S-AF, C-AF as well as movie AF as found in E-M1 Mark II.

6) Electronic Viewfinder at 2.36 Million Dot and 1.37X magnification
The EVF is smaller than what was found in E-M1 Mark II (1.48X), but it has very low latency of rated 10ms only, with high refresh rate of 120fps. The EVF panel is OLED.

7) Maximum sequential burst shooting - Mechanical H 10FPS, Silent H 30FPS

8) BLS-50 Battery
The previous E-M5 series cameras used BLN-1 battery,  however Olympus decided to go with the smaller capacity BLS-50, probably to shave off more size and weight to keep it truly compact.

9) WiFi and Bluetooth connection, with USB-Charging
USB-Charging yes, but sadly, no USB-C! It is 2019, and Olympus included Micro USB in the E-M5 Mark III. Why?????

For full specification, kindly visit the official product page here (click). 


Olympus OM-D E-M5 The Gamechanger - 10 Things Olympus Got Right

In modern times, the Olympus OM-D E-M5 not only became the turning point for Olympus but also shaped the course of what a mirrorless camera should be and was capable of. It was a camera no one saw coming, as deeply involved as I was with Olympus, even I was pleasantly surprised with what the E-M5 can do. E-M5 effectively set many new benchmarks for what the mirrorless system is, and the many new features and improvements found in the camera was subsequently incorporated into many other newer camera models from Olympus as well as other manufacturers. It was indeed an exciting time and I was glad I was involved with the initial review of Olympus OM-D E-M5 when it was launched. In this new video I am making, it is a little throwback to that 2012 released E-M5, and let's dive deep into what made that camera such a winner!


Here are the 10 things Olympus got right with their Olympus OM-D E-M5

1) WEATHER SEALING
At that time, mirrorless cameras were seen as mere toys, or nothing serious for photography use. Build quality were mostly plasticky and the cameras were small, unprofessional looking. However, the E-M5 was announced as the first mirrorless camera to be weather sealed. The splashproof and dustproof design sent a very loud and important message - this camera meant business, and was not just a toy. The weather-sealing allow the E-M5 to push shooting envelopes and be used in harsh operating environment. This was a bold but necessary move to change the public perception of what a mirrorless camera can do, and how it is the future, overtaking DSLR.

2) FAST & RELIABLE AF
All mirrorless cameras (not just Olympus) before E-M5 had sluggish, almost unreliable Autofocus. (with the exception of E-P3, which the E-M5 uses the same AF system). The contrast detect AF was accurate but too slow to acquire focus. Phase detect AF in DSLR system was already mature and the performance difference was obvious. Therefore, many professionals and serious hobbyists were reluctant to pick up a mirrorless camera due to the poor AF performance. Somehow, E-M5 managed to improve the AF based on contrast detect (at least for S-AF) to a point that it was matching the AF speed of even the fastest DSLR at that time. Then there was the touch shutter, shooting an image immediately by a tap on the LCD screen. I even shot weddings with E-M5 and the camera delivered, as expected.

3) NEW 16MP LIVE MOS IMAGE SENSOR
The new image sensor was a surprise. Not only having more resolution, which was necessary to catch up to competition, but everything else in the image quality department got a nice upgrade. Dynamic range was noticeably better and high ISO performance was improved drastically. The image quality came very close to even what the best APS-C DSLR at that time had to offer, and that is saying something coming from a Micro Four Thirds sensor. The ability to bridge the gap when it comes to final image output was a huge determining factor for a lot of photographers. The only way to have a huge margin of image quality difference is to go full frame, but that is a story for another day.

4) ELECTRONIC VIEWFINDER
Another reason that held a lot of DSLR users back from getting a mirrorless camera, was the absence of a viewfinder and having to use the camera back screen to compose (Kirk Tuck cutely named this "Stinky Diaper Technique"). Olympus added an EVF into the E-M5, with very little lag and the refresh rate was high enough to look very smooth, even if you jerk and pan the camera around viewing through the EVF. The colors were accurate and pleasing to look at (certainly much better than the OLED camera back screen, which was my biggest complain of E-M5). Having that EVF makes a world of difference, and it sets the path for future high end mirrorless camera models. In fact, the subsequent release from Olympus, PEN E-P5 which did not have an EVF built in was not well received by critics.

5) 5-AXIS IMAGE STABILIZATION
Olympus single-handedly changed the public opinion on whether image stabilization is necessary in a camera or not. There was a popular opinion that image stabilization is optional because it did not directly affect the outcome of the images, and also the effectiveness of older image stabilizers was questionable. Olympus broke those beliefs by introducing their 5-Axis IS, something that sounded so alien and cool at the same time. I was the first to doubt the effectiveness of the new image stabilization system when I was briefed privately by Olympus. You have to understand, I was an engineer, you can claim whatever you want on paper but I will only believe it when I can prove it myself. And that actually happened, when I was testing the E-M5, the benefits of the 5-Axis IS, though in the first iteration, was undeniable, and I knew immediately this was the future of imaging products. 5-Axis IS has become a standard for high end cameras, just take a look at all other cameras out there from Sony, Fuji, Panasonic, Nikon, their highest end flagship cameras, don't they all have 5-Axis IS? It began in Olympus E-M5!


6) NEW BATTERY
To ensure that the battery can sustain the drain of all the new technology and features added to the E-M5 (eg 5-Axis IS, EVF, fast AF, etc) Olympus used a new battery, BLM-5 in the E-M5. The upgrade was much needed, and I could confidently get 500-600 shots per single charge. Unlike some other mirrorless cameras from other brands that dies after less than 200 shots per charge. (we are talking about 2012-2013 period of course).

7) TWO PARTER HLD-6 BATTERY GRIP
Olympus released battery grip to support the E-M5, and this design was the first in the world to make it two parter. There was the horizontal part only, to add beefier grip to the hand-holding area without the need of additional battery or bulk, keeping the camera as small as possible but with additional stability when holding the camera. Then there was a second part of the grip that added weight, bulk and another extra battery for longer shooting. The second part of the grip design is more DSLR battery grip conventional.

8) M.ZUIKO 12-50MM LENS
Olympus released M.Zuiko 12-50mm kit lens ahead of E-M5, which was weather sealed and has very capable macro shooting. There were no other weather sealed lens at that time, and having a weather sealed kit lens to go with a weather sealed body was crucial. I personally loved the 12-50mm lens, though I do admit the 12-40mm F2.8 PRO that came with E-M1 after that was a superior lens.


9) MAGNESIUM ALLOY BODY
If I remember correctly, the E-M5 was also the first mirrorless camera to feature a robust magnesium alloy body construction. The metal construction inspired confidence, and separated Olympus from the crowd. Only the highest end of DSLR cameras use magnesium alloy build, and having the same material construction placed the E-M5 at a different spot, bumping general perception of the camera that it was not a non-serious camera. 

10) TRULY COMPACT & LIGHT
All the above, the EVF, 5-Axis IS, new image sensor, fast AF, all packed into a small and light form factor of E-M5, this successfully demonstrated how a mirrorless camera should be. Small in footprint, yet capable to deliver professional quality results, and matching DSLR in terms of shooting performance. It paved a way for Olympus Micro Four Thirds system (many more cameras and lenses) to come. The small and light advantage was a big thing for Olympus, allowing the photographers to pick up the camera and shoot without worrying about neck strains or back pain!

I acknowledge the Olympus OM-D E-M5 was not a perfect camera, in my original review I did have my fair share of complains, but most of these shortcomings were fixed in the subsequent E-M1. Also Olympus never claimed the E-M5 to be a professional grade camera, it never was designed that way. Which hinted to the coming E-M1, but that camera deserves a spot on it's own.


I am sure many of you have owned an E-M5, or are still shooting with one. Is yours still alive? What are your experiences shooting with the E-M5? Share your story!


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MORE Hidden Olympus OM-D Tips

Since my previous videos on Olympus OM-D camera tips were proven popular, here is a new video showing some very rarely used and mentioned features that you may not even have known or heard of. A lot of these tips are not critical to shooting process and there are no serious consequences for not knowing them, but some of them are cool and can be handy in certain situations. Also, I made this video a while back, before I had a recent haircut, so hopefully that non-continuity in video was not too jarring for some. 


The Hidden Tips Mentioned in video are:
1) AF Target Area with Spot Metering - ability to spot meter at the exact location of the AF point placement on the framing
2) Audio Clip Recording with Image
3) Pixel Mapping in Camera - to fix dead pixel on image sensor
4) AF Limiter (for E-M1 Mark II and E-M1X only)
5) In Camera RAW Processing and development with extensive adjustments


I sure hope you have found something new in the video. If you have more tricks up your sleeve, please don't be selfish, share with everyone!

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Shutter Speed, ISO and Aperture Simplified

I made a short introductory video with simplified explanation of photography fundamentals - the exposure trinity of Shutter Speed, Aperture and ISO. In the video, I explained what they were, how they worked, what photography effects they individually produce and how to control them using Olympus OM-D cameras. This is a quick, dumbed down version of photography basics for beginners, designed for newcomers to Olympus system and this is not a complete beginner's guide or how to use a camera. I made it as straight to the point as possible, cutting out all unnecessary bloat, with the aim of getting you to go out to shoot as soon as possible, because photography happens when you click the shutter button. 


Why am I doing this video?

For newcomers to photography, there are many simple and basic questions, such as how do I blur the background, how do I get motion blur, or how do make sure the moving subject is perfectly sharp? There questions are common, and can be easily controlled if the photography spent some time studying the very basics of how the camera operates, There is no shortcut to photography, if you want to take photography seriously, then you must master the fundamentals - shutter speed, aperture and ISO. Knowing how these settings work, and what they can do, you probably can do almost everything with your camera! 

I acknowledge that the video may be oversimplifying some topics, but it was never meant to be a comprehensive step by step tutorial. There are thousands of such videos out there, with articles and you can also by reference books if you want to explore anything further and in depth. The purpose of this video was to get you off your feet and start taking some pictures. Learn as you go, and you must allow yourself to make some mistakes along the way. You learn faster as you shoot more and more. I am a practical person, you can only learn something fully by actually doing it yourself. The problem with a lot of photographers (especially newcomers) these days? They talk too much and don't shoot enough. 

To freeze fast action, use fast shutter speed

To capture motion blur, slow down the shutter speed

To blur off the background, use large aperture (small F-number)

Shooting in very dark environment, ISO needs to be raised. 

Use large aperture for blur background "bokeh" efefct

Sports shooting require very fast shutter speed

This moment would have been lost if shutter speed was too slow. Prioritize shutter speed in fast action shoots

For light trails, you need very slow shutter speeds, such as this shot, taken at 4 seconds long. 

If you have a friend starting out photography, share this video, hopefully they will take Shutter Speed, Aperture and ISO seriously! Because, they cannot advance too much further without properly understanding and mastering all these basics first. Tell them what I said - there is no shortcut in photography! Learn your basics. 


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Olympus 5-Axis Image Stabilization Explained

Olympus rocked the camera world with the original E-M5 in 2012, setting up a benchmark of how a mirrorless camera should be made, and breaking expectations of mirrorless and Micro Four Thirds system performance. An important feature introduced in E-M5 was 5-Axis Image Stabilization. Olympus shouted to the world how incredible their 5-Axis IS can be but not much explanation is made and not many people discuss or explain what it is, how it works, and why it is so important in practical shooting scenarios. So I made a video to cover all those points! 



This is one perfect example that video actually works better to demonstrate how a feature works, in comparison to a written article. There are no easy ways to explain in a simplified manner how all the different 5-Axis movements are. I shall not repeat those points here, and I did my best to make the video as short as possible for easy consumption. 

I do want to say that, having experienced the 5-Axis IS for so many years now, using it for both commercial shoots and personal projects, it is one critical feature in a camera that I cannot live without. If I were to migrate to another system (hey, anything is possible) a feature sitting high in the consideration list would be reliable image stabilization. The 5-Axis IS is not just a gimmick, as some would lead others to believe, it is an actual shooting feature that makes a world of difference in a plethora of environment. 

You may think that it is not a crucial thing to have in a camera at first (because some people keep shouting Megapixels and High ISO an Dynamic Range all over again) but what is the point of having that many Megapixels if you can't fully optimize each and every one of them?

Let me know what you think! 

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