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.