Auto ISO hidden shutter setting on Olympus E-PL1 (and I guess other PEN's?)

Started Oct 6, 2011 | Discussions
jakeman Junior Member • Posts: 41
Auto ISO hidden shutter setting on Olympus E-PL1 (and I guess other PEN's?)

I just recently got this camera as a second camera to my D80, which I never really bring along anymore. Really liking it so far; the LCD is kinda poor and the buttons feel pretty cheap but the image quality is great and the customization and settings available are pretty awesome. Considering it cost almost half of the E-PL2 here I'm really happy with it.

One thing that annoyed though me was that when shooting in Aperture priority the Auto ISO would pick the highest ISO I allowed it when I could handhold (with the Image Stabilization on) as much as 5 times as slow shutter times. Well in the "F" submenu of the "Gears" menu there's a "Slow Limit" that seems to be (and is according to the manual) the slowest shutter time you want before it uses flash. Apparently the camera also uses value this when calculating which ISO to use; if you put a fast shutter time here the camera will choose ISO 1600 every time, put a really slow shutter time and you'll get lower ISO's but slower shutter times.

I don't know if this was common knowledge but it makes Auto ISO a lot more usable in my opinion, and Auto ISO now seems to work way better than on my old D80 where I never used it. I'm very impressed with the customization and settings that are available, though the menu structure feels pretty random (especially with weird hidden stuff like this) coming from the D80. Right now I'm just using the kit lens but I'm gonna have to pick up the 20mm f/1.7 as soon as possible.

tedolf
tedolf Forum Pro • Posts: 28,011
Re: Auto ISO hidden shutter setting on Olympus E-PL1 (and I guess other PEN's?)

Jake, this camera has all the goodies of an Oly E-3 dSLR stuffed into it and burried in the menus. The degree of customization is unheard of in a camera at this level. Even quasi useless features like mirror lock up! Howerver, the manual stinks and a lot of stuff has to be figured out here. Even the E-pl1 for Dummies Book misses a lot of the secret stuff.

Someone here made a post of a lot of secret stuff that many here have book marked. Ask Bob Tulllis if he knows what the link is.

And welcome to the club. If you have some legacy glass you will be astounded at what this camera is capable of producing.

The only thing that is really missing is a remote release.

Gluteus Maximus Decimus Tedolphus

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Guy Parsons
Guy Parsons Forum Pro • Posts: 35,000
Re: Auto ISO hidden shutter setting on Olympus E-PL1 (and I guess other PEN's?)

Good find! I'll experiment some more to see what happens.

The low limit can be set from 1/160 right out to 30 seconds.

An aside is that with auto ISO the base is 200 but as needs must the auto will go down to 100 if the settings are a bit off and you don't notice.

Regards........ Guy
E-PL1 info... http://homepages.tig.com.au/~parsog/olyepl1/01-epl1-menu.html

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johs Junior Member • Posts: 49
Re: Auto ISO hidden shutter setting on Olympus E-PL1 (and I guess other PEN's?)

jakeman wrote:

One thing that annoyed though me was that when shooting in Aperture priority the Auto ISO would pick the highest ISO I allowed it when I could handhold (with the Image Stabilization on) as much as 5 times as slow shutter times. Well in the "F" submenu of the "Gears" menu there's a "Slow Limit" that seems to be (and is according to the manual) the slowest shutter time you want before it uses flash. Apparently the camera also uses value this when calculating which ISO to use; if you put a fast shutter time here the camera will choose ISO 1600 every time, put a really slow shutter time and you'll get lower ISO's but slower shutter times.

Doesn't look like it works like this on the E-P3, unfortunately.

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Gregm61 Forum Pro • Posts: 15,765
Re: Auto ISO hidden shutter setting on Olympus E-PL1 (and I guess other PEN's?)

I will have to check my E-PL1 to see if it's the same (I'm pretty sure it is), but that exact same menu item is also in the E-P3 menu system and that is only telling the camera what minimum shutter speed to use when using flash, be it the built-in flash or an external unit.

I know it works when shooting flash because I set mine to 1/125 and as a result never get a shutter speed below 1/125 second when using my FL50R. I do not think it's going to help you with ambient light/non-flash shooting.

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Gregm61 Forum Pro • Posts: 15,765
Re: Auto ISO hidden shutter setting on Olympus E-PL1 (and I guess other PEN's?)

Gregm61 wrote:

I will have to check my E-PL1 to see if it's the same (I'm pretty sure it is), but that exact same menu item is also in the E-P3 menu system and that is only telling the camera what minimum shutter speed to use when using flash, be it the built-in flash or an external unit.

I know it works when shooting flash because I set mine to 1/125 and as a result never get a shutter speed below 1/125 second when using my FL50R. I do not think it's going to help you with ambient light/non-flash shooting.

Just confirmed in looking at the E-PL1 settings. The "F" cogs menu is only related to setting the shutter speed range when using flash. That's what the "F" menu has the lightening bolt next to it. It's only a flash photography-related setting.

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ttan98 Senior Member • Posts: 2,407
Re: Auto ISO hidden shutter setting on Olympus E-PL1 (and I guess other PEN's?)

Hi,

I am in the same situation like you, I owned a D80 and replaced it with an E-PL1 which really giave me very good images surpasses those from D80. I don't experience the same behavior like you do from this camera, i.e. choosing the highest ISO. I like to suggest you reset it to factory default and try again.

This model of Olympus has certain quirkiness which were spelled out in many posts here like,

1. image blurring at certain speed and IBIS on
2. difficult to focus in difficult lighting conditions
3. Poor LCD

4. Low shuttle speed with certain features switched on, e.g. anti-shock switched on when trying to fix the blurring image.

5, Trying to understand and use the camera's features via the manual is very difficult.

I have to live with them and you will find out soon enough. When you understand these limitations you will find a way around them if you decide to keep the camera. I spent a lot of time trying to find a way to get around them. If you come from an Olympus background it would be much easier I don't.

Olympus seems to solve most of these problems from their latest models like E-PM1/EPL3/EP3 if you wish to spend more money. Having said that enjoy your camera. Cheers.

OP jakeman Junior Member • Posts: 41
Re: Auto ISO hidden shutter setting on Olympus E-PL1 (and I guess other PEN's?)

Gregm61 wrote:

Gregm61 wrote:

I will have to check my E-PL1 to see if it's the same (I'm pretty sure it is), but that exact same menu item is also in the E-P3 menu system and that is only telling the camera what minimum shutter speed to use when using flash, be it the built-in flash or an external unit.

I know it works when shooting flash because I set mine to 1/125 and as a result never get a shutter speed below 1/125 second when using my FL50R. I do not think it's going to help you with ambient light/non-flash shooting.

Just confirmed in looking at the E-PL1 settings. The "F" cogs menu is only related to setting the shutter speed range when using flash. That's what the "F" menu has the lightening bolt next to it. It's only a flash photography-related setting.

Did you try it yourself? It doesn't say anything about auto ISO in the menu but I'm very sure that it works that way. If I put 1/40 there and shoot with Auto ISO in dim lighting, the camera uses down to 1/40 or 1/50 shutter time with the lowest possible ISO before increasing the ISO (instead of switching up to max ISO allowed whenever it can't go under 1/150 or whatever before). If I put 1/150 it goes down to that shutter speed before increasing the ISO. If it can manage something a bit faster than your lower limit and ISO 300 or 400 instead of 200 it'll still do that too, it pretty much adjusts the ISO exactly as I did myself when using my D80.

And thanks for the link to that site Guy! I didn't have Super Control Panel enabled, that thing made changing settings a lot easier. Also it's good to know that the IS should probably be off when shooting during the day, and that the antishock is a good idea to put at 1/8.

rkeller Senior Member • Posts: 1,066
Re: Auto ISO hidden shutter setting on Olympus E-PL1 (and I guess other PEN's?)

jakeman wrote:

Did you try it yourself? It doesn't say anything about auto ISO in the menu but I'm very sure that it works that way. If I put 1/40 there and shoot with Auto ISO in dim lighting, the camera uses down to 1/40 or 1/50 shutter time with the lowest possible ISO before increasing the ISO (instead of switching up to max ISO allowed whenever it can't go under 1/150 or whatever before). If I put 1/150 it goes down to that shutter speed before increasing the ISO. If it can manage something a bit faster than your lower limit and ISO 300 or 400 instead of 200 it'll still do that too, it pretty much adjusts the ISO exactly as I did myself when using my D80.

Than ks for posting this! I didn't know that was what this feature was doing in A mode without the flash flipped up. But yes, you are exactly right with the exception that the E-PL1 appears choose the faster of the "Slow Limit" vs. 1/ lens focal length.

Additionally, the E-PL1 appears to do the following in A mode with auto ISO and the flash flipped up:

  • ISO always at default (typically ISO 200)

  • Auto flash mode: shutter speed set at X-Sync speed (max 1/160)

  • Fill Flash mode: shutter speed set at the faster of the "Slow Limit" vs. 1/ lens focal length

  • Slow/Slow 2 Flash mode: shutter speed set at whatever the camera meters the scene (at default ISO)

Cheers!
Rik

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assaft
assaft Senior Member • Posts: 1,443
Re: Auto ISO hidden shutter setting on Olympus E-PL1 (and I guess other PEN's?)

thanks for the tip!

it works on my e-pl2 with this reservation - the minimum shutter speed that the camera selects in A mode before raising the ISO is never below 1/35eq_focal_length. Even if I choose slow speeds like 5 seconds or even 30 seconds in the Slow Limit menu, it will stick to 1/35eq_focal_length as the minimum speed before raising the ISO. If I set a value faster than 1/35eq_focal_length in the Slow Limit menu then that value will be used for raising the ISO.

From what I tested I see this pattern:
With the 20/1.7, it is min{1/40,slow_limit_value}
With the kit lens at 14mm, it is min{1/30,slow_limit_value}
With the kit lens at 42mm, it is min{1/80,slow_limit_value}

(I believe that 1/30 and 1/80 are actually rounded values for 1/28 and 1/84 respectively)

So I guess that the formula for selecting the minimum shutter speed before raising the ISO is: min{1/35eq_focal_length,slow_limit_value}

Strangely enough, the IBIS on/off value doesn't seem to be taken into consideration.

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assaft
assaft Senior Member • Posts: 1,443
Re: Auto ISO hidden shutter setting on Olympus E-PL1 (and I guess other PEN's?)

You were quicker than me

I just posted something very similar. The only difference is that I think that it uses the effective focal length (i.e. 35mm eq.) instead of the lens focal length. So for the 20/1.7 it uses 1/40.

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mynakedsoda Contributing Member • Posts: 701
Re: Auto ISO hidden shutter setting on Olympus E-PL1 (and I guess other PEN's?)

I'll have to play with this more but on my EP-2 it doesn't seem to have any effect with me using legacy glass. Seems it should though so I really need to figure out what I'm not setting right. I've tried setting it anywhere from 8 to 1000mm and I am seeing no difference.
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JJJPhoto Senior Member • Posts: 2,584
Good and bad

Using the slow limit for flash as you described can be good and bad. On one hand, it allows you to use lower ISO at a lower handheld speed before the camera boosts ISO.

On the other hand, if you are using a fast lens and flash at the same time with the camera in program or auto mode you can with some nasty blur ... the flash freezes the motion but the aperture is wide enough to capture some of the image with available light and since the shutter speed is slow (because you changed the slow limit) you end up with a blurry image.

Of course, this is only an issue with flash. If you're only shooting with available light then feel free to change the slow limit.

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