Skip to main content

photo & video

Olympus E-M1 Fast Start

Lesson 4 of 12

Segment 4 - Button Layout: Back Side Part 1

John Greengo

Olympus E-M1 Fast Start

John Greengo

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2000+ more >

Lesson Info

4. Segment 4 - Button Layout: Back Side Part 1

Lesson Info

Segment 4 - Button Layout: Back Side Part 1

working our way around to the back side of the camera. One of the things I just showed you was the little accessory port, and what this was designed for is accessories like the macro arm light, one of the more unusual macro lights I've ever seen. These air on flexible little arms that reach out so that you can take a light and move it around and pointed at your subject that is right in front of your camera. There is an Olympus Pen Pal system that was mostly designed for a different Siris of Olympus. This camera does have WiFi enabled into it, so you probably are not going to need this. But what it does is it transmits images to a computer or smartphone that can be then uploaded onto the Web. We're gonna get into wireless a little bit later on in this class. You can also hook up. Olympus is microphone set in here, and it's got power and enables you to get better quality sound. It's about $55 we'll give you stereo sound right on the top of the camera. Talk a little bit about the viewing ...

system in the cameras So we do have our LCD in the back of the camera, there is a custom menu where you can go in and control kind of the style and look of the way things appear on the back of the camera as well is in the E V f. You can go in and control. Some of the looks are gonna talk about this in just a moment. There is an eye sensor that automatically picks up when you hold the camera to your eye so it'll automatically switch back and forth between the IV E, f and the LCD. And then there is simply a monitor switch that will turn the monitor in the back of the camera on and off. And one of the complaints that I have with this camera is that it goes from monitor on to know picture the monitor is actually still on. And let me just show you on the back of the camera. So if we turn the monitor on, we'll see what the camera is pointed at so we can see a live view of what were pointed at here. And if we press the monitor button, that's off. But the fact of the matter is, Is it just? It's no longer showing the picture, but it's still on its got all this information on, and it's using a battery power, and there should be 1/3 position where it's actually turned off. And so I don't know if this is really saving any power or not, because we're still seeing all this. I can still see that the LCD has turned on, and I I wish they had another option on it. Maybe they'll add it someday in future firmware. So when you are looking at the back of the camera, they elect are the electronic viewfinder. There are three options in styles of view, and there is a choice you need to make, and that is what is more important to you, a bigger picture or picture without clutter over it. And that's a really hard choice ID like big pictures, which is style three. But I prefer style, too, because there is nothing overlapping onto the composition of the image style one. If you like the color blue, I like the color blue. I just don't like it in my viewfinder. I like to keep things very neutral in colors because the more you look at colors that affects the way you look at everything else in the way the colors look so my preferences on style to I don't like the smaller image area, but I just really don't like clutter on top of my composition. And if you want to change this, you can go into your custom menu, and we will cover that when we get into the menu section on the camera and on the option of how much information you see in there. One option is to look on Lee at the pure image. And if you press the info button on the back of the cameras, where you'll be able to change this, you can add some information like your shutter speed aperture exposure information along with ah horizon tilt level that tells you if you're tilting the camera or not an additional information about other settings on the camera, which in my opinion, are not necessary for most settings. Other than that, I s so I do like to see where that is set at. And then there is a history Graham option, which is going to show you a graphic display of the brightness tones of the image, which is a great way for judging how how well your picture is exposed. If it's too bright or too dark, it's a very easy graph toe look at once you learn how to use them. Now, if you dive into the custom menu, you'll be able to select which one of these options you get to see. And in general, I like to have them all as an option that I can cycle through. I don't need to keep it up, but at least I can get to it very easily by just happening that info button to bring up the different screens. Now in the viewfinder itself, you're going to see a whole bunch of information along the bottom, so let's just quickly go through what's going on. There's a quick battery level tester or check in there. There is an indication if you have hooked up the external battery grip that will be talking about in a little bit. If you have a flash on and it's ready to fire, it'll indicate very simple little autofocus confirmation light that turns on one of the options on the camera that I have already turned off is the beep. One of the little things that drives mean that's on a camera is Thebe Peep that lets me know I'm in focus. It's kind of nice when you first get the camera to understand how it's working. But once you figure it out, I like to go into the stealth mode. And this is one way for you to get that information but not be making a nuisance of yourself, especially in a quiet environment. It'll show you what mode you're shooting at. So once you get good at this camera, you won't need to take the camera away from your eye to change from aperture priority to manual. You'll be able to just hold it up to your I can be able to flip it and see it right there in the viewfinder. Next my set. We're gonna get up to my set pretty soon when we get into the menu setting, and what's going on here is that this camera has literally hundreds of controls on it, and you can configure the camera exactly the way you want it to be set and save it as a preset favorite and I think there's like five different preset favorites that you can set, and this just lets you know which one of those settings it has been set to. If you have the exposure lock button pressed on the back of the camera, this will let you know. Obviously, we have our shutter speeds and apertures when they're in yellow. That means you are making manual selection of it. Exposure. Compensation is letting us know if we're overexposed or under exposed. And then our graphic light meter will show us the standard light meter on the bottom half and our flash light meter or exposure compensation on the top side of that, we'll get into that section a little bit later in the classes. Well, that highlight shadow control that we looked at a little bit earlier. You would see here if you had made an adjustment to it, are white balance setting R. I s O setting and finally our remaining amount of space on the memory card, both in video time and in shots remaining. Next up on the back of the camera is the A E l button and a F L button, which is for locking the exposure or locking the the focus. Now, as I said before in the focusing section, that standard focusing mode is a F s, which is single focusing, which means the focus locks when you press halfway down on the shutter release. So for most people, this button on the back of the camera is gonna be about locking exposure. And this is only gonna work in aperture Priority shutter priority program Automated moans where the camera is figuring out the final exposure. The most common reason that you would use this is if you were gonna photograph something and there was a very bright light source say, for instance, a sunset. What you would do is let me put my camera in just a program mode. If you're gonna take a picture of a sunset, you would if you just took a picture of the sunset. What what happened is that the sun would be very bright, and it would cause your picture to be very dark in many cases. So what you do is you point your camera a little away from the sun, you would press in on the A T l button on the back of the camera and holding on it, and it would lock the exposure in away from the sun. You would bring the camera back into composing with the sun and then take the picture. You would see that the shutter speed and aperture would lock in when you press that button button. And so this works, as I say in the semi automatic modes of P A and S. If you use the camera in the manual mode, you may not ever use this button at all. Now you can also use this as a focus lock. It's less common, but it can be used for that when you were in the continuous focusing mode. And if you want to go in and customize this button to do something different again, you can in the custom menu under the button dialled lever option, and we'll get into that a little bit later. I have reprogrammed mine in order to do what's called back button focusing because I like to take the focusing off the shutter release and do it with the back button, and this allows me to do it. Ah, little complaint on the camera is that the button is a little bit off far to the side, and it's a little hard to reach for focusing. And so I don't like that little extra stretch of the thumb, and, uh, it could be in a little bit better position. And if you wanted to do that, you would go into the custom menu under autofocus and manual focus, and you would select a L F L to what's called Mode three. And you could do that. We either with the single focusing, continuous focusing or manual focusing. And for me, I like it in M three, which means that when I put the camera in manual focus, I can still override an auto focus with this back button, which is a great option on the camera. So I'm gonna highly recommend that when we get again back into the menu section. Sorry about keep referring to things that were going to talk about. But there's a lot of things on this camera that air in multiple areas, and we're gonna just talk about him twice. Repetition is good for learning. All right, Next up, we have kind of a unique Olympus feature. It's a lever. It has a one in to position. The normal shooting position is number one, which means the front dial and the back dial do the normal things that we've talked about, controlling shutter speeds and apertures. But if you flip this style into the lower number two position, it switches what those dials do. The dials now have direct control over I s O and white balance. And so, flipping it down, turn in front. One changes, Theis. So So let's talk about I s So we have a range of 202. 25,000 on the camera. We also have a low option of 100 generally the lowest number is going to be the best quality. But in this case, 200 is the native sensitivity of the sensor, and that's going to get you the best image quality. You generally don't want to go down to 100. The only reason that I would want to go down to 100 in this camera is if I'm really trying to get to probably a lower shutter speed. So if I'm trying to shoot a picture of a waterfall and I'm at 1/2 of a second and I think it would look better at one second, I could make a change from 200 to 100 which is gonna let in half assed much light. I could then go from 1/2 2nd 21 2nd which lets in twice as much light. So I've kind of made an even light tradeoff there to get down to 100. But that's about the only time that I would do it. There is a slight downside that you will not have as much dynamic range in a picture at I s a 100. So try to keep it. I so 200 for most of your work, it's pretty rare that you'll go toe 100. But it's quite frequent that you will have to go up 248 1600 depending on the conditions. Of course, there's auto Auto, I s O. And that'll be where the camera is going to select the I S o for you. When it does that, what it's doing is it's mostly looking at the shutter speed to see if in its appropriate shutter speed for hand holding the camera, it has no understanding if you were on a tripod so auto I eso on a tripod makes no sense at all. It's a simple mode for setting up the camera. But once you learn how to work with I sl, you're definitely gonna want to start setting it at 200 then making adjustments as you go from there. So I did a little test with the I S O decided to shoot my little standard test shot and blow it up to see how clean it is. And so here is some results from it. If you have a hard time seeing your screen or it's just small on your computer, I'll just let you No one here that 25, is very noisy or grainy. So is 12,800. Really? Don't recommend using them. I think the camera is exceptionally clean through I s 0 800 then it very it starts a slow fall off 1600. I really wouldn't hesitate too much to go to. And you're starting to really get a little bit of chunk when you get into 3200 and 6400. But as with eso goes, you, you'd use what you have to use you always try to keep it as low as possible. Now, the other option with flipping that dialled into the number two position and turning the back dial is where you get to change the white balance. And this is the color of light source that you are working under What color of lights are in your room? Is the sun outside? What time of day is it? And so if you're getting funky color, this is the first place that you want to go to. Probably try to fix that. So there are three standard options for natural daylight situations, and then the one that is probably the most different is incandescent light. The lights that a lot of us have in our homes in our living rooms is that very orange light. So if you have very orange scone as skinned, toned, orange tinted skin but that, uh, then you're gonna want to set your camera to the incandescent or tungsten setting, you also have the option of manually going in and setting your own custom white balance, which is any specific number on this Kelvin scale that you want. Another option is to photograph something that is pure white, say a white sheet of paper, and the camera will figure out what color light source you are working under and can set that color temperature for you. Or you can have the camera figure it out yourself much of the time. As much as I dislike auto, I use auto white balance because first off, it does a pretty good job, and I'm fairly happy with the results. If I One of the great things about a muralist camera like this with an electronic viewfinder is that if you are getting wacky color, you're going to see it in your viewfinder before you take the picture. And so just when you hold the camera up to your I just take a look at the colors on screen and see if they seem normal. And if they don't flip that, switch down to the two position and try a different white balance. Also, don't mind auto white balance on this camera because I mostly shoot raw, in which case, if you shoot raw, you will be able to adjust white balance later on without negatively harming the image in any way. You do have to go on and change it, so that's always an argument for getting things right as early in the process of possible. So if you do see funky color, flip that to number to adjust the white balance for the conditions that you're in. But give auto a try. I think it's a good start and as you see those funky colors than change it for those particular situations. And so this number two position on the lever, of course, can be adjusted. There's gonna be lots of customizing that you can do to this. But these air to pretty common controls that people want to change quite a bit on DSO the ISO on Dwight Melons. Nice quick access. Just flip it down to number two and then flip it back up to number one for making their for shooting regular pictures. The function number one button on the back of the camera controls focusing. And let's take a look at what we could do with the focusing system here. So focusing options on this camera, the camera can focus like many mirror less cameras over a very wide area. There's 81 different focusing bracket areas, but it's basically almost the entire frame of the area in order to activate thes. The first thing that you want to do is press the function one button, and then you can go up and down or left and right to move. You're focusing point around. If you want to change the style of your focusing point, you can hit the info button and then go up and down and you can change between a single point, a larger single point, a group of nine or all the focusing points, and you also have the option of doing face detection modes. They do a live demo of this and just kind of show you working around the system. So let me get my camera set up here. Sure, it's turned on, turned on the display, and we'll hit the function number one button and you can see that I have one area selected right here so I can go left and right and I can move this around. If I go up to the top, it hits the ghost, it turns it automatically to all of them and then goes back down to one. If I hit the info button, I'm going to see a little indicator over here in the left hand side. If I go left and right, I can change the face detection mode. And in case you're wondering what the little letters mean, the I means it's gonna focus on the I. And not just the front of the nose off. Obviously means it's gonna turn. It's not gonna use face detection, and I are, and I l means it's gonna look for the right eye or the left eye. Eso very particular. But I prefer to leave face detection off. But if you go up and down, you can see here how we're going to change between a standard focusing point, a very small point, a group of nine or all of them. I like to work with either the small or the normal size point for basic photography, because I could be very selective about what I choose to focus on. If I'm going to shoot action photography, sports, dance, things like that, I would probably go with nine focusing points. You have more focusing points for the camera to grab on to. It will better be able to track the focusing. In that case, I don't like using all of the points. It's just a little too simplified. The standard system that the way these cameras work is that whatever is closest to you is what the camera will focus on. And so, in the case that we're in, as I haven't pointed right here, if I get it into let me make sure all of them are activated. It will sometimes choose what it thinks it wants to focus on, and it kind of jumps around a little bit as to where it's choosing to focus. And it's It's hard to direct, which is why I don't like it s so I prefer to go and select that as maybe a single point or maybe a small point, so I can be very precise about what I'm focusing on. And so it depends a little bit on how careful you are in using your camera as's to where you want to have it set up. But I highly recommend the single point for basic photography, using the nine points for doing sports photography. And of course, you'll you'll be able to go in and you'll be able to set the function of this button to something other than focusing. I think it's really valuable leaving it where it's at. But if you want to report, program it, you can. I did want to know a question from Norman when hand holding the camera and using that magnify function like you were showing us earlier when you released the magnifying to reframe. How do you know that the camera won't then refocus Boo hoo! I'm trying to think on that one. Well, uh, I think you have to leave your finger halfway down on the shutter release in order to make sure that it doesn't refocus. Which is one of the reasons why I've chosen to do back button focusing so that I could focus with the back button of the camera. And then when I take my finger off, I'm done focusing that that task has been accomplished, and now it's just a matter of composing and shooting the picture and so potentially by separating those that might make it easier to work. Great. Um, another question about focus from T Donald and I'm gonna read this lily cause it's kind of long, but okay, so T Donald is focusing on a spot using the selected focus area on the focus screen and you press the focus button and there's a green box that shows on the screen and then it may move about, moves around. What? What is happening? Is that showing what is in focus? Or does the selected square remain in focus? Or is the green OK? So I think what they have is they have all focusing points selected. And that's where the camera is choosing the focusing point. Because if you choose a focusing point, it should not be changing on you unless you're touching the screen and you have it in the in the in that mode or you're moving it around with the tab. So once you select the point, so let me do to see if I just do a quick live demo here. And so first off, let me make sure that I have a single point selected. And just to make this extreme, I'm gonna go off to the right hand bottom right hand corner, and so it's always going to focus on whatever is in the right hand corner that should not move, and if I want to move it, I can move it. But if I go to all the focusing points, then it kind of moves around as I moved the camera. It's trying to decide what I want, and this just drives me nuts. Stop doing that. Stop doing that. Stop doing that. Uh, and that's why I choose a single focusing point. Aiken, I know what I want to focus on. I'm gonna choose it. I'm gonna focus on gonna be done with it.

Class Description

Master the functions of the Olympus® E-M1 in this comprehensive course on this powerful SLR-mirrorless camera.

The Olympus E-M1 is one of the most customizable, portable cameras available – ready to learn how to tailor it to your needs as a photographer? Join John Greengo for a one-day course that will guide you through the features, buttons, and menus of your camera. You’ll learn why the Olympus E-M1’s rugged, the weather-resistant design makes it a perfect choice for photographers who shoot outdoors. John will guide you through hands-on exercises that will equip you to capture stunning images in any shooting circumstances.

This advanced-intermediate course will help you capture professional-quality images.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Course Outline

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes



John does an excellent job of making the OMD E M1 understandable. His knowledge of the camera and relaxed style clearly and painlessly walk you through the maze of buttons, menus, and functions. He objectively points out the strengths of the camera as well as those things Olympus could of done better. His opinions of the camera are consistent with other knowledgable reviewers, and are consistent with my own (limited) experience. The manual tells you every little thing the camera CAN do. John helps you understand what is important to get the best use of the camera in most situations.

user e35335

Three simple words, " Thank you John " I have really enjoyed the course. The OMD EM1 is a wonderful camera, and with the clear guidance of this course I feel instantly at home with all its capabilities. Clear concise instructions delivered in a faultless manner. A joy to watch.


John is a very good teacher, and this is indeed a useful class. Class material is excellent as always. But I don't think this is his best work. He seems to be too conflicted with Olympus' menu systems and design decisions (which I admit, are a bit strange) to give the students a clear picture of the full potential of their new gear. He also fiddles/struggles with the camera a bit too much in all the live demonstrations. I would recommend this class only to absolute photography beginners and not really to people with any experience.