Controls and customization

The E-M1X's user interface will be immediately familiar to anyone who's previously used an Olympus camera. If you haven't previously used an Olympus camera, be prepared for a bit of a learning curve. The E-M1X can be extensively customized, and so it's best to take your time to set it up just how you want to use it.

Key takeaways:

  • The user interface will be familiar to Olympus users
  • A combination of buttons and touchscreen make it easy to access most settings
  • A high degree of customization lets you reduce clutter and improve direct access
  • The machine-learned 'Tracking Subject' modes can only be accessed via the menu
  • No quick way to dis/engage Face/Eye detect or Tracking Subject modes

Super Control Panel

Beyond the camera's extensive and customizable buttons, the next level of user control is achieved through the Super Control Panel: a dial and touchscreen-operated interactive control panel familiar from generations of Olympus cameras.

Menus

The menu structure is an updated version of the system Olympus has used for many years. Like several recent Olympus cameras, there's no 'index' page for the Custom Menu: the options are separated into sections labelled A to J, but there's no page to explain what each section denotes and no quick way to get to section G without scrolling past all the other options.

And just as we lamented with the E-M1 II, the menus have abandoned the color coding that used to help you remember your place in the Custom menu. Without these cues, the E-M1X's menus become much harder to navigate and learn, especially for users who aren't familiar with the Olympus way of working.

My Menu

My Menu showing options assigned with both 1* and 2* values, creating a groups and ordered list.

An excellent addition to the menu system is a customizable 'My Menu' tab, in which you can store the options you regularly need to access. But, this being Olympus, it's a bit cleverer, and more complex, than that. To add an option to My Menu, you simply press the [Rec] button when you're viewing your chosen menu option. When you do so, a sub-menu pops up, letting you rank the importance of the selection (1 to 5 stars). The menu option will now appear in My Menu, arranged with other selections you've given the same star rating, meaning you can group and prioritize the options within My Menu.

Customization

The front of the camera body offers several customizable buttons.

As you'd expect for an Olympus, the E-M1X is extremely customizable. The extensive array of dedicated buttons reduces the need to adjust the setup, but the camera still allows you to customize just about every button on the camera (with the option to have the portrait orientation buttons perform different functions from the landscape version of the same button).

14 buttons in total can be customized, rising to 16 if you set the four-way controller to change individual functions (left and up directions are fixed as Exp Comp and AF Area Select if set to 'Direct Function'). By default the 4-way controller moves the AF point, as do the two 8-way joysticks. These can both be disabled if you prefer.

There are so many customizable buttons on the E-M1X that we've had to list them over two columns. Despite this, all settings in the lower part of the table can be assigned to any button in the upper half. LO: Landscape Orientation (camera right way up), PO: Portrait Orientation (camera turned 90 degrees).

Re-assignable buttons:
  • [LO] Exp Comp
  • [LO] ISO
  • [LO] [REC]
  • EVF button
  • Fn (inset in 2-way lever)
  • [LO] AEL/AFL
  • WB
  • Four-Way cardinal points (defaults to AF area select)
  • [LO] Upper front button
  • [LO] Lower front button
  • [PO] Exp Comp
  • [PO] ISO
  • [PO] AEL/AFL
  • [PO] Upper front button
  • [PO] Lower front button
  • L-Fn
Functions:
  • Exposure Comp
  • Digital Tele-converter
  • Keystone Comp
  • Fisheye Compensation
  • Magnify
  • HDR
  • BKT
  • ISO
  • WB
  • Multi Function
  • Peaking
  • Level Disp
  • View Selection
  • S-OVF
  • AF Limiter
  • Lens Info Settings
  • IS Mode
  • Flicker Scan
  • Live ND Shooting
  • Off
  • AF Stop (L-Fn Only)
  • AEL/AFL
  • Preview
  • One Touch WB
  • AF Area Select
  • AF Home Point
  • Raw/JPEG settings
  • Test Picture
  • Custom Mode C1
  • Custom Mode C2
  • Custom Mode C3
  • Custom Mode C4

One thing that's noticeably absent is the ability to assign the 'AF Subject' setting to a button, meaning you have to do a full menu dive (made easier by My Menu) to activate the feature or change the type of subject you're shooting. Similarly there's no way to engage or disengage the Face/Eye detection mode that over-rides all other AF choices.

As we've already mentioned, these settings are not retained if you set the 2x Lever on the back of the camera to switch between AF modes, which is an odd inconsistency that slows down a camera designed to be quick to use.