Custom Functions / settings

Considering the E-420 is an entry level DSLR it offers an amazing amount of customizable functions. The menu structure and many of the options have been taken over from Olympus' flagship DSLR - the E3; and just like on the E3 you'll find seemingly endless pages of menus and sub-menus on the E-420. This approach certainly makes the E-420 the most customizable camera in its class.

On the downside the sheer number of options can sometimes be a little overwhelming. It can be difficult to find what you are after and if you don't change settings on a regular basis you'll probably not even be aware of the existence of some of the options. This is unfortunate because some of the stuff in here (auto ISO options, focus options, white balance tuning and so on) is actually very useful.

Custom Menu 1

This menu is enormous and offers eight pages ('A' to 'H') of options grouped into fairly logical sections covering everything from autofocus to image quality settings and button behavior. The menus are navigated using the up and down buttons, with the right arrow opening menus and the left arrow taking you back one level.

Actually this isn't always the case; there are some levels you cannot exit by pressing the left arrow (you have to press 'Menu' again), which is not only inconsistent but also slightly annoying. In this case the shutter button doesn't cancel the menu either.


Option Values / Actions Notes
AF Illuminat.  • Off
 • On
Uses the internal flash to assist auto focusing in low light.
Focus ring  • Counter clockwise
 • Clockwise
Defines the direction in which the manual focus ring operates.
Reset lens  • Off
 • On
Refocuses to infinity when the camera shuts down.
Bulb focusing  • Off
 • On
Defines whether focus can be altered during exposure in bulb mode.
Live View AF Mode  • AF Sensor
 • Hybrid AF
 • Imager AF
Selects the AF mode in Live View

B: Button/Dial

Option Values / Actions Notes
Dial Function  • P
Program shift
Ev comp
 • A
Aperture value
Ev comp
 • S
Ev comp
 • M
Shutter speed
Aperture value
Allows functions to be assigned to the control dial in different shooting modes.
Dial Direction  • Counter clockwise
 • Clockwise
Defines the direction in which the control dial operates.
Mode 1
Mode 2
Mode 3
Mode 1
Mode 2
Mode 3
Mode 4
Mode 1
Mode 2
Mode 3
Allows the selection of modes that dictate the behavior of exposure and focus at shutter-button half press, full press and AEL/AFL button held.
 • On
Toggles whether AEL/AFL button needs to be held to retain AEL.
Left Arrow Function  • Face Detect
 • Preview (DOF)
 • Off
 • One touch WB
 • Preview B (DOF in Live View)
 • Test Picture
Assigns a function to the left arrow button.
Remote control / Self-timer /
Sequential shooting button
 • Remote/Timer/Cont.
 • AF Area
 • AF Mode
 • WB
 • Metering
 • ISO
Normal includes the area around the AF point for focusing.

C: Disp/Beep/PC

Option Values / Actions Notes
Beep  • Off
 • On
Decides whether the camera beeps upon obtaining focus lock
Sleep  • Off
 • 1 Min
 • 2 Min
 • 3 Min
 • 5 Min
 • 10 Min
Sets the period of inactivity before sleep mode is engaged.
Backlit LCD  • 8 Sec
 • 30 Sec
 • 1 Min
 • Hold
Selects the period for which the LCD remains lit after a button press.
USB Mode  • Auto
 • Storage
 • MTP
 • Control
 • Print Easy
 • Print Custom
Defines the behavior of the camera when connected by USB. Auto brings up a selection menu each time a connection is made.
Live View boost  • Off
 • On
On brightens screen for visibility, Off mimics brightness of exposure.
Face Detect  • Off
 • On
Enables Face Detection in Live View
Frame assist  • Off
 • Grid
 • Golden section
 • Scale
Chooses the composition guides that can be shown in live view mode.

D: Exposure/Metering/ISO

Option Values / Actions Notes
ISO-Auto set  • High limit
ISO 100 - 1600
Sets the upper limit used by Auto ISO mode.
ISO-Auto  • P/A/S
 • All
Selects which modes ISO-Auto is active in. All includes Manual mode.
AEL Metering  • Auto
 • Center weighted
 • Spot
 • Spot (Highlights)
 • Spot (Shadows)
Selects the metering mode used when the AEL button is pressed. Auto meters using the mode currently selected.
Bulb timer  • 1 - 30 Min Sets maximum exposure in bulb mode.

E: Flash/Custom

Option Values / Actions Notes
Ev comp + Flash comp  • Off
 • On
When enabled flash comp is added to Ev comp
Auto Pop Up  • Off
 • On

F: Record mode/Color/WB

Option Values / Actions Notes
All WB comp  • All Set
Amber (15 steps)
Green (15 steps)
 • All Reset
Applies a correction to all WB presets. Or resets that correction.
Color space  • sRGB
 • Adobe RGB
Sets the color space used in JPEGs.
Compression set  • JPEG size/quality 1 set
Large / Compression
Medium / Compression
Small / Compression
• JPEG size/quality 2 set
Large / Compression
Medium / Compression
Small / Compression
• JPEG size/quality 3 set
Large / Compression
Medium / Compression
Small / Compression
• JPEG size/quality 4 set
Large / Compression
Medium / Compression
Small / Compression
Selects the image size (Large/Middle/Small) and compression settings (SuperFine/Fine/Normal/Basic), that the camera uses for shooting JPEGS.
Pixel count  • Middle
3200 x 2400
2560 x 1920
1600 x 1200
• Small
1280 x 960
1024 x 768
640 x 480
Defines the sizes of 'Middle' and 'Small' JPEGs.

G: Record/Erase

Option Values / Actions Notes
RAW + JPEG erase  • JPEG
 • RAW
Dictates which components of a RAW + JPEG shot are deleted when deleting images individually.
Filename  • Auto
 • Reset
Auto continues numbering onto new cards Reset starts again.
dpi settings  • Auto
 • Custom
Applies print resolution based on image size or a chosen output res.

H: Utility

Option Values / Actions Notes
Cleaning Mode   Raises the mirror for cleaning

AEL/AFL modes (S-AF & MF)


Shutter half-press

Shutter full-press AEL/AFL button
mode 1 AEL & AFL Exposure AEL
mode 2 AFL AEL & Exposure AEL
mode 3 AEL Exposure AFL

AEL/AFL modes (C-AF)


Shutter half-press

Shutter full-press AEL/AFL button
mode 1 AEL & AF Start AFL & Exposure AEL
mode 2 AF Start AEL & AFL & Exposure AEL
mode 3 AEL AFL & Exposure AF Start
mode 4 None AEL & AFL & Exposure AF Start

Custom Menu 2

Custom menu 2 is what we'd normally see referred to as the 'setup' menu; here you'll find menus for a range of camera (rather than shooting) options, including basics such as date/time and video output format. Why Olympus chose to lump so many options into menu 1 that could be here is inexplicable (how often do you change the print dpi, USB mode or backlight timer, for example?).

Option Values / Actions Notes
Date / Time  • Date Format
 • Date
 • Time
CF / xD  • CF
 • xD
Select which media to store images (if two cards inserted)
LCD Brightness  • -7 to +7  
Language  • English
 • French
 • Spanish
Video Out  • NTSC
 • PAL
Record View  • Off
 • 1 - 20 sec
Amount of time record review is displayed.
Color space  • sRGB
 • Adobe RGB
Adobe RGB - Filename prefix now _ (DCF 2.0) and EXIF colorspace tag.
Pixel Mapping  • Start  
Firmware  • Show Displays current firmware