User Guide: Getting the most out of the Olympus E-M5
Modifying camera functions
The EVF's eye sensor is part of what makes the E-M5 shooting experience so seamless when you switch between electronic viewfinder and rear display panel. However, there are times it can be a little over-sensitive. Triggering the sensor will switch the camera straight to shooting mode, which is great if you want to quickly grab a shot, but slightly frustrating when you're trying to show someone a photo and it disappears as they point at it.
There's no way of adjusting the sensitivity of the sensor (and it's sensitive enough that you'll want to switch the camera off when it's hanging 'round your neck, to avoid burning through the battery by having the eye sensor keeping the EVF on). However, you can easily access the menu setting that disables and enables the function.
Hold down the live view button on the right-hand side of the viewfinder hump and you'll be taken straight to the 'EVF Auto Switch' menu option, usually found in Custom Menu J.
There are three settings that affect the behavior of the Auto ISO system and allow it to be fine-tuned to your needs. The first thing to do is define an upper limit - the E-M5's image output is very usable a long way beyond the ISO 1600 limit that's set by default. We were entirely happy for the camera to choose an ISO up to 6400, which can be set in Custom Menu E - 'ISO-Auto Set.'
By default, Auto ISO is concerned about camera shake and will push the sensitivity up when it reaches 1/Effective Focal Length or 1/60th, whichever is faster. However, the lower limit threshold can be raised, for instance if you're trying to retain fast enough shutter speeds to freeze action. The 'Flash Slow Limit' setting in Custom Menu F effectively sets this threshold. It's not a documented feature, but it's worth knowing.
For the first time in an Olympus, the E-M5 has the option to stabilize the camera's preview, rather than just engaging IS at the point of capture. This means you can gain the benefits of image stabilization when shooting with long lenses (which can be awkward to compose and focus with, given the way they exaggerate any camera shake). Changing the Custom Menu C setting 'Half Way Rls With IS' to 'On' means that the preview will be stabilized when you half-press the shutter button.
...and for legacy lenses
If you want to retain this stabilized view, even when you're manually focusing legacy lenses, there's another setting you'll need to change. 'LV Close Up Mode' on the second page of section D of the Custom menu defines whether half-pressing the shutter cancels live view magnification. Changing this setting to 'Mode 2' allows you to combine the camera's magnified live view with its image stabilization.
Don't forget, before you race to set 'Magnify' to one of your function buttons, it is already quickly available by holding the Fn2 button and spinning the control dial. Once selected in this way, Magnify can be engaged just by tapping the Fn2 button, making it easy to change its function if you're swapping between Micro Four Thirds and legacy lenses.
Finally, it's worth knowing that stabilization is, by default, disengaged when shooting continuous bursts of images. To enable it, you need to use the '[Continuous] + IF Off' option in Custom Menu C and set it to 'Off.'
The E-M5 offers a high-speed, 120Hz live view refesh rate, offering a smoother live view experience. However, our testing suggests it also gives improved AF acquistion times. The view is slightly more pixelated but not to a degree that's troubling. The setting can be found in Custom Menu J, and involves setting 'Frame Rate' to 'High.'
There's a price to pay, of course - in low light, you more quickly lose the ability to correctly simulate exposure compensation (the most Exp Comp. brightness you can represent drops progressively as light levels fall, until you can only show up to +1EV), and, in extreme low light, you can lose the ability to find focus at all. Until you reach that extreme autofocus is faster but, for working after dark, you might prefer the reliability brought by reverting to the 'Normal' refresh rate.
Optimizing JPEG settings
Having tested the noise reduction and sharpening settings as part of review, we felt that the E-M5 applied more noise reduction than was really needed, then added rather over-enthusiastic sharpening to crisp things up again. We'd suggest changing 'Noise Filter' (which is what Olympus calls high ISO noise reduction) down to Low or Off. This setting is the second option in Custom Menu G.
Once you've turned the noise reduction down, it's worth easing up on the sharpening, too. This can be adjusted from the Super Control Panel and we'd recommend a setting of -1.
|JPEG - Fine||JPEG - SuperFine|
Olympus offers a uniquely low-compression JPEG option on its cameras, called 'Super Fine'. Compared side-by-side with 'Fine' JPEGs, there's no appreciable difference indeed even performing a 'difference' comparison in Photoshop, you'd be hard-pressed to see what's changed. Generally we feel that, if you want to retain maximum editability, you're better-off shooting Raw, rather than larger-than-probably-necessary JPEGs. However, if you do wish to do so, '[IQ] Set' on the second page of Custom Menu G will allow you to specify the size and quality settings available when shooting.
Some people have complained that the Auto white balance produces images that are a touch too 'warm' and orange. Obviously you could apply a little white balance fine-tuning, applying a little negative correction to the Amber axis (the E-M5 will remember a different adjustment for each preset - which is excellent, so long as you remember you've applied it). But, there's also a menu option to change the behavior of Auto WB. Custom Menu G - '[WB Auto] Keep Warm Color' can be set to 'Off' if you want less of an orange tint to your images.
May 30, 2014
Dec 4, 2014
Nov 15, 2014
May 5, 2015
|_MG_5100 by tim and jan|
from Welcome to the Saloon!
|The Grimm 11 year old by Ryan Gardner|
from Trick or Treat
|Heron with fish by APenza|
from A Big Year - birds
Read the story behind this gorgeous wedding photo captured at Trolltunga in Norway by husband and wife duo Priscila Valentina Photography. The 14 hour hike in the rain that preceded this shot was TOTALLY worth it.
Go behind the scenes with filmmaker Nick Arcivos, who recently created a beautiful cinematic short film in Paris using only the iPhone X, a couple of gimbals, and a few lights. The results are very impressive.
A Bay Area startup offering a pay-by-the-photo camera service cleverly addresses the pain points photographers experience when they pick up their first DSLR. But can it survive the smartphone?
It's been a big year for software innovations, dual cameras and huge displays. Take a look at our picks for the top smartphone cameras and why we think they stand out.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. At the #7 spot is the ready-for-any-weather Olympus Tough TG-5.
By combining his skills as a time-lapse filmmaker and an engineer, Julian Tryba created this out-of-this-world creative 'layer-lapse' of New York City that alternates between night and day in time with the music.
Canon Japan's new lineup of novelty camera-themed gifts was just revealed online, including a lens mug and lens thermos, two retro camera-themed USB drives, and a picnic mat.
The Profoto A1 most certainly isn’t for everyone [...] But for those who are used to using the Profoto systems, and want something that pairs seamlessly with the strobes you already have, there is no better companion.
Fujifilm has asked a US district court to clear it of any wrongdoing, after allegedly being threatened with trademark litigation by Polaroid.
While a couple of our reviewers are out testing the Sony a7R III in Arizona, back in Seattle we slapped the camera in front of our studio scene to get a close look at its image quality. See how it stacks up against the competition.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017, and the #8 ranking belongs to the Nikon D7500.
B+W has announced a new aluminum filter holder that offers three slots so users can use multiple filters at the same time. The holder goes with the 2mm thick 100mm square filters it launched earlier this year.
8K video is coming a lot faster than you think, and Blackmagic is ready for it. Meet the DeckLink 8K Pro, a new high performance PCI-E capture and playback card built to handle 'real time high resolution 8K workflows.'
"Glass is everywhere in photography. From Eugène Atget’s reflective vitrines to Lee Friedlander’s sly self-portraiture, photographers have long been in thrall to the visual complications glass can inject into a composition."
Former Apple Aperture lead developer Nik Bhatt has designed an iOS app called RAW Power that lets you edit raw photos from your professional camera using your phone and tablet.... color us intrigued.
Advertising photographer Blair Bunting got his hands on the new Microsoft Surface Book 2, and it blew him away. Bye bye MacBook Pro...
The OnePlus 5T retains many of the 5's features and specs, but comes with an edge-to-edge display and a dual-camera that is optimized for low light.
Sony's recently announced IMX461 backside illuminated medium format sensor will bring 100MP resolution and almost 2x the speed to the next-gen Fuji GFX and Hasselblad X1D.
With the ‘Rent a Hasselblad’ camera equipment renting program, the camera makers is aiming to give enthusiast and professional photographers easier access to its medium-format photography products.
They say seeing is believing, and that's exactly what happened when one DPR staffer took the Google Pixel 2 out for an afternoon shooting under challenging conditions.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. At the #9 spot we have the Fujifilm GFX 50S, a medium-format camera that took CP+ 2017 by storm.
Instagram is testing a new feature that lets you follow hashtags in addition to people, making it possible to keep track of your favorite #landscapes or #portraits without leaving your home feed.
Despite the gigantic volume of second hand film bodies in existence, it seems there is still a demand for new 35mm SLRs with a retro feel. The latest is a remake of the Ihagee Elbaflex from the 1960s, but with a Nikon F mount.
The Polaroid Insta-Share Moto Mod straps an instant printer directly to your Moto Z smartphone, so you can print your photos as soon as you've captured them.
The Mitakon Speedmaster 135mm F1.4 lens is being relaunched in 7 different mounts, including: Sony A, Sony E, Canon EF, Nikon F, Fujifilm G, Pentax K, and Leica L. Got an extra three grand lying around?
In January, Kodak announced it would bring back the beloved slide film Ektachrome. The timeline has been pushed back a bit, but Kodak says you can expect to purchase Ektachrome again in 2018.
Instagram popularity is threatening some of the most beautiful landscapes in the US, as hordes of 'nature lovers' trample over the same spots over and over again in search of the same exact shot.
You’d have to be pretty brave to immerse your $50K RED cinema camera underwater. But if you've got the guts, Gates just released a new housing you can be pretty sure won't wreck your unbelievably expensive toy.
Adobe has released a 'Lightroom Downloader' app for Windows 10 and macOS High Sierra that allows you to download all of your images from the Adobe Cloud, all at once.
After releasing a popular 4K action cam and an affordable mirrorless M43 camera, Chinese camera maker YI is diving into yet another market: 360° VR. Meet the YI 360 VR: a powerful little two-lens camera that can shoot and stream in 4K.