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Operation and Displays

The E-M5 has two main methods of changing shooting parameters: the compact-camera-like 'Live Control' and the interactive 'Super Control Panel' that puts all the camera's key settings on a single screen. Super Control panel is certainly our favored system and it's been improved by being made touch-sensitive. Oddly it's not switched on by default - we'd suggest this as your first move when you take the camera out of its box (it's accessed via the 'Camera Control Settings' option in the Custom D menu).

The default control system for the E-M5 is the rather compact-camera-like 'Live Control' interface.
We'd recommend engaging the touch-sensitive, all-in-one 'Super Control Panel' instead.

Here you can simply press the setting you wish to change, then spin a control dial to change the setting, making it pretty quick to operate.

In its iAuto mode, the E-M5 also has Olympus' simplified, results-orientated 'Live Guide' control system first seen in the PEN series. This allows adjustment of exposure compensation, shutter speed and white balance through a series of terms such as 'Brightness, Express Motion or Color.' Only one such setting can be changed at a time, which rather reduces its usefulness. Ultimately, though, we'd be surprised if it gets a lot of use on a camera this sophisticated.

The E-M5 also offers the simplified 'Live Guide' interface but we doubt it'll see much use.

Display screens

The E-M5 has a selection of live view displays that can be engaged in the Custom menu, then cycled through, using the 'INFO' button. As a step forward over older models, the E-M5 allows gridlines (which used to be one of the view modes) to be chosen separately, so that they're overlaid on top of whichever view you're currently in. Although we generally like the compositional guide of a rule-of-thirds grid, we'd recommend movie shooters should consider the 16:9 guides which mark the crop that the camera's movies are shot in.

There are a series of live view displays available, with this being the default. Extra options, such as 'Image Only' can be engaged in the Custom menu.
The options, cycled through using the INFO button, also include a live histogram. There's also a dual-axis level gauge to help with camera alignment

Probably our favorite screen mode is the 'Highlight & Shadow' mode that indicates under- and over-exposed regions by indicating them in bright blue and red. This is arguably more intuitive than trying to interpret a histogram, and continues to be comprehensible in bright light. Better still, it's possible to define the thresholds at which the camera indicates the under- or over-exposure.

Shadow&Highlight shows under and over-exposed regions... ...and continues to show results when you're adjusting the JPEG tone curve.

The Highlight & Shadow mode continues to be available even when you're adjusting the JPEG tone curve, making it easy to interpret the effect of your changes.

Focus point selection

There are two ways of selecting focus points with the E-M5: the main one being the four-way controller (either directly, at the default setting, or by pressing 'left' to enter AF point selection mode if you've chosen to customize the four-way's operations). The other is to press on the touch screen, which can also be set to select focus and trigger the shutter if you wish.

You can either select from one of the E-M5's 35 AF regions, which are quiter large, but generally precise enough for most subjects. ...alternatively, you can touch the screen to select a region. This region can then be refined with the slider on the right, or magnified.

If you switch face detection on, the camera will prioritize any faces it finds, ahead of your chosen AF point. If it can identify eyes within that face, it will try to focus on the eye, and you have the choice over whether it should choose the left eye, right eye or whichever is closest. The system works pretty well, making it easy to get well-focused portraits, quickly.

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Total comments: 12

Hello, is there anyone who would like to share video-film experiences about Olympus Om-T E M5? how is the possibilities to make short fiction and dokumantaires film and especially with different cinematic lenses in work..?


I have been using the OM-D EM5 for two years now, as a hobbyist, and it has brought the joy back for me in photography. A beautiful, light, strong camera, easy to use and produces great pictures. However, I have had a few niggles - the rubber eye-cup has come off both bodies I own, as well as the dial cap on the right hand side. In one body, the mode dial keeps switching between Auto and SCN. Olympus needs to look into these and some other flaws mentioned by users.


Great camera for travel and I have owned the OM-D E-M5 for already 3 weeks. I love the retro stye of it as it remind me of the OM4 which I still own.

Do note that the Lumix 20mm f:1.7 lens is not 100% comparable with the OM-D E-M5 when you leave the switch ON and the camera goes into sleep mode. It hang, Sometime It cannot wake up when you press the shutter button, you need to reset the camera by removing the battery for it to reset. Even when you OFF and ON back the switch is of no good.

1 upvote
Henry Richardson

That was an early problem with the E-M5 and 20mm, but was fixed in a 2012 firmware update. I had the problem back then until the firmware was fixed and then no more problems.


It is the only one listed in the camera feature search with a viewfinder as waterproof,but it appears to be only weather resistant, ie don't dunk it in water(or clipped to your life jacket while whitewater kayaking).


OLUMPUS OMDE5 appears to be an interesting camera - I am specially attracted to its weathersealed body and lens ( which I think is very essential in a country like I NDIA) - that was the reason why I had purchased PENTAX K10D years ago. One thing which is bothering me is its made in China tag. I am an architect and basically interested in landscape and nature photography - I travel a lot . Can I am have some inputs from those who are using OLYMPUS OMD E5?

Comment edited 34 seconds after posting

As a hobbyist, I have been using OMD EM5 for more than an year now and I love it. Here are some of my clicks. There are mostly landscapes and outdoors sports shots.


I recently got E-M5 and very happy with it. By no means I'm pro photographer but with my new 12-40mm F2.8 Pro lens is great combat and have been talking great picture. I use Toshiba Flash Air to use with my iPhone/ipad too. I mostly to landscape photos and it has not let me down.

1 upvote

It is an excellent little shooter.
THe EVF is quite good and KILLS OVFs in low light. THese were taken with one ..


The CaNIKSon shooters told me that they got VERY few 'keeper' pics with their FF sensors. I get a few 'looks' while shooting, but they soon shut up when RESULTS are compared.

Anywhere it's really dark, you'll appreciate being able to SEE.

I also own the EM-1 and have yet to put it through its DIM light paces.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
Chad Hogan

I'm on the hunt for a new camera and weighing up my options just now.. I'm fairly new to the game though and a bit naive in all honesty! Is the EM5 much better than the Canon EOS 7D as this comparison...

suggests? What features make this camera great and what one would you go for?

Thanks, Chad

Comment edited 14 seconds after posting
1 upvote

Hi, I didn't see any answer yet, so I asume nobody saw your post yet. I'll try to help you (maybe you didn't choose yet). This comparison isn't very good in my opinion (for example, it compares 9 fps vs 8, but you have to take in account that is with fixed focus. With continuous focus is much slower and less accurate...). I had a 60 D (same sensor, and image quality as the 7D with different features) and I have now the EM-5. I can tell you it has some advantages (if you think smaller and cheaper very good lenses are important advantages; for me, it is essential), but you will have to sacrifice some speed and easyness of handling. The best way is to read the full review of both cameras and to determine what are YOUR priorities. Don't forget to look at the sample images, as the two cameras have different outputs and it's important if you don't like to spend time in post processing. You will find very nice and helpfull reviews on this site (in my opinion, one of the best). Good luck!


I sold my 7D and lots of expensive L glass after buying the E-M5. The E-M5 is much smaller, it's images are sharper (no anti-aliasing filter), while the 7D has a very strong anti-aliasing filter (much stronger than any of the other Canon cameras with 18MP sensors) and the E-M5 has more dynamic range. It's also not nearly as prone to banding as the 7D is when pulling details from shadows. The 7D is a bit more ergonomic, but it's much larger, and it's lenses are significantly larger. And the reason i sold it is because it's so heavy. The E-M5 is very fast focusing, but for indoor sports (subjects moving towards or away from the camera) the 7D wins. Both cameras are metal bodied and weather sealed. Both have 4 channel, 3 group remote flash triggering. The E-M5 also has tilt screen and touch screen (touch point to focus and take image.)

Total comments: 12