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Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Fast Start

Lesson 32 of 32

Camera Operation


Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Fast Start

Lesson 32 of 32

Camera Operation


Lesson Info

Camera Operation

Camera operation. So now that we learned how all the individual parts work, what are some big-picture things I would think about? So before I go on a big trip, before I have a big shoot, I'm gonna charge my battery. Being a mirror less camera and all, I probably want to have a spare battery. Make sure you got your memory cards, you've got them formatted, you got them set to the image quality that is appropriate for what you are doing. I'm not gonna make a judgment on what you have set. You know what you want. You may want to take a quick perusal through some of the menus just to see if there's anything that you were playing around with that won't allow you to do something like having your camera set to the Pro Capture mode or the High-Res Mode, that doesn't allow you to get into continual auto-focusing, and so kind of give your camera back to its setting mode. And if you're gonna go to Africa on a big safari shoot, I'm actually gonna be doing that in a couple months here, I'm gonna mak...

e sure that my sensor is perfectly clean before I go to Africa because when I'm out on the plains in Kenya, that is not the time and place to be trying to clean a sensor, and so make sure that's all clean by shooting a test photo of a white object at F and looking for little black dots that you might have, and if you do have that, you can get one of those Rocket air blowers for blowing the dust off the sensor. All right, the key settings on the camera. Yeah, there's a million settings, but the key ones are gonna be the ones controlling exposure, so the dials on the camera, the mode dial on the top, and then on the back of the camera, using that, the buttons on the top, there's a lot of combinations in here to get the drive and the focusing modes, and then if you want to flip it into the number two position, we can get into the ISO and the white balance settings, and so these are the types of things that you're gonna get to and need on a regular daily shooting basis. So here they are with all of their options available to us. So where would I set this camera up for different types of scenarios? Let's first think about what I call a super simple, like almost if I'm giving the camera to somebody who doesn't know about shooting photos. In this case, I would put the camera in a Program mode. The camera's gonna figure out shutter speeds and apertures, so I don't need to worry about that. I'm not a big fan of Auto ISO, but in a Super Simple mode, it's gonna do a reasonable job and it's fine. Make sure that exposure compensation is set to zero so that your pictures are not too bright or dark unless it is necessary for that scene. White balance, Auto works very well most of the time, and so that's where I'm gonna start, and if I need to make an adjustment, I'll change it from there. For focusing, Single-Auto focus is where the camera will focus on a subject and then lock in so that you can recompose your subject for basic subjects that are not moving. For focus area, all targets will look at pretty much the entire scene and choose whatever is closest, which works in most cases, at least as far as super-simple cases. For the drive mode, shooting one shot at a time should be fine for a very, very simple mode. Let's look at some more specific situations. Landscape mode. So in this case, depth to field is really important. We want to have a lot of things in focus. There's nothing really moving in there, at least not much moving. And ideally we'd be shooting from a tripod for a situation like this. In this case, the first setting is, I would want to be in manual exposure. So that I could take a series of photos and they all had the same consistent exposure to them. I also have a little more time to figure things out. First setting that's most important to me is to have the lowest ISO setting. And so 200 is the lowest native setting on the camera. So that's were I'm going to want to be. I know there's a 64, but that's not going to get you as much dynamic range. And so 200 is the best setting. Next is I'm going to want a fair amount of depth of field. So 8, 11, 16, something in that range is going to give you pretty good depth of field. And then our shutter speed is really going to depend on the light. If you choose to stop your aperture down a lot, it's probably going to be a bit of a slow shutter speed and this is why you might need a tripod, or be very thankful that the camera has very good stabilization, as you might be able to hand hold it. We don't use exposure compensation, because we are in the manual mode. White balance, I'll keep at auto, unless it needs to be changed. For focusing, I'm going to be in single focus, because there's nothing moving and I want to be very precise about the camera focusing and then stopping. And I do want to be very precise about where I focus. So I will choose the single point and I might move it around, depending on where I think it is. I'm not going to have it be on the nearest subject. I'm not going to have it be on the farthest subject, something slightly in between. As far as the drive mode, there's a couple of options that I can see. The anti-shock single modes that there is no movement within the camera, or the two second anti-shock mode which would be really good. That uses the electronic shutter release as far as the first current, but it's a mechanical second current. There's no movement so there's no worry about sort of jello affect or image distortion because there's no movement, but that's going to keep the camera as still and as vibration free as possible. Let's try a little portrait photography. And so in this case I'm ditching the tripod. I'm using hand held technique. I'm wanting the shutter speed fast enough to stop their action and my action. And I'm probably shutting with a shallower depth of field. And so in this case, a little different set of priorities. I'm going to continue to be with manual so that I get consistent results under consistent lighting. Here's where I probably want to have shallow depth of field, 1.4, 2, 2.8, depends on what lens you have available to you. I'm going to want a reasonable shutter speed. Probably 125th of a second, that will stop most basic human motion pretty well. And I'll probably try to get that ISO was low as possible. If I need to bump it up I will if necessary. We'll go ahead and keep it on auto white balance. And as long as my subjects aren't walking or moving towards or away from me, I'm going to keep it on single auto focus. For focusing area, I'm going to want to be very precise in focusing on their face, their eyes in particular. And for the drive mode, you can have in continuous, but probably the single mode will be fine in most situations. Next up, let's look about action photography. So there's a lot of changes we're going to make. Obviously we need faster shutter speeds and we need a focusing system that can capture and track subjects that are moving in an eradicate manner in many fashions. So looking at the options available for this. I'm going to stick with manual if we are under a consistent lighting. If lights are not chancing, its outdoors consistent lighting I want to get consistent results. In this case the shutter speed is really important. I'm probably going to be at 500th of a second or faster. This is where a lens goes down to 2.8 is a very good value. And so those are some valuable lens for sports and wild life. Now I would prefer to be at the lowest ISO possible, but the reality is with those faster shutters speeds we often need to bump the ISO up. And so 400 is just the start, if it's indoors or it's fairly dark out you'll be at 16 or 3200 very, very quickly. I'll keep auto white balance, change it if necessary. And one of the most important changes is into continuous auto focus or perhaps the continuous auto focus with the focus tracking option. Which one is best, it depends a little bit on what type of subject you're shooting and how much control you want over it. Both are worthy of a try if you have the time and opportunity. A single point will be a little bit too small. Potentially either the five point or my favorite the nine point target is going to give you a little bit more target to get on top of that subject. It will be a little bit easier to track their movement. Now as far as shots per second, I know you can get faster than the sequential high speed or the sequential low speed, but that is where you get auto focus tracking and a live view of the image between the shots. If you went to the pro capture mode, that's a possibility for certain types of things. But remember on something like that there is no focus tracking of those subjects moving back and forth. And so that's the same thing to be true, with the heart H silent mode, which is the completely silent electronic shutter. We're going to get a distortion because images are moving so I would be careful of any of the options with the heart in it because that is the completely silent shutter. And that most highest of the silent ones does not auto focus as well. So there's a number of perimeters that you got to be careful with. So go back and check out that drive section if you want to be reminded of those issues. Finally let's leave the class with basic photography. This is you know, you just don't know what you're next shot is going to be. It could be something simple. It could be something moving a little bit. You want to be ready for whatever may be around the next corner. This is where I do appreciate a little bit of automation. And so in this case, I'm going to take a little bit of aperture priority. I like that because I can quickly change from one end of the spectrum to the other. And so normally I'm going to put it pretty close to the middle, but maybe a little bit wider open. Which gives me a slightly faster shutter speed. If it's not the right combo I'll simply dial in a new shutter or new aperture and get a new shutter speed to match. I like to lead the camera set to the lowest ISO and then I kind of bump it up as my shutter speed dictates the needs for it. So I'll start off at and as the situation gets darker or faster action I will then bump it up. Exposure compensation, I'll leave it at zero, unless it needs to be some place else. Yup, I'm going to choose auto white balance again. As long as my subjects aren't jumping around a lot, I'm probably going to choose single auto focus, but I'll be pretty quick to switch it over if it starts to be going into the realm of action photography. And I like to be pretty precise about where I'm focusing so I'm going to choose the single point. The five point is kind of nice too if you're not as smooth on the hands, as far as holding the camera steady. But single point allows you to be very, very precise about where you're focusing. And if nothing special is going on, single mode works very well. The anti-shock single mode is also another good option that I would say for basic photography. So there you go, that's who I would set the camera up. And if you have stuck with us throughout this entire thing, congratulations. You are now an expert in what may be the most complicated camera ever to hit the market. So nice job on that. Fantastic, do we have any questions, any final thoughts John? Well I guess I got a couple more slides. I always have a couple more slides on that. So this was part of the fast start series, number 48 in the series. If you are watching this and you don't own this camera, well thank you for doing that. I do have classes on other cameras in case you're interested. So pretty much any camera that has interchangeable lens and has a view finder I'm trying to have a class for it. And yes, down there in the right hand corner I am going to try and make some classes for Leica cameras coming up here soon. And so all the cameras, I either have a class or it's possible I haven't created a class yet, but it's on the plans. And so there's some new cameras like we have classes coming up for the EOS M5. I'm working on that class right now. We have scheduled classes next week for the Sony A6500, and then the Nikon D5600, and then in July we'll be doing classes on the Canon T7I and the 77D. And then after that will be the M and then after that will be the Leica. And then there's a Fuji XT that is in route to my house at this time for making a new class for that one. If you are interested in photography, and you like visuals and you like my explanations on photography check out the photography starter kit or the fundamentals of photography. I also have classes on nature and landscape as well as travel photography. And then for those of you are shooting Canon and Nikon, I have specified classes for you. And for those of you using an Olympus that are interested in lenses, we are in works for putting together a lens class that deals with Olympus lenses along with Fuji, Panasonic, Sony and some other one. It's more of a generic class, but we will be looking at many of the Olympus options out there available as well. And so that folks is your E-M1 mark two, fast start class. Thank you.

Class Description


  • Adjust your camera's exposure
  • Take sharp photos with a solid understanding of the autofocus system
  • Use the camera's advanced modes, like High Res and focus stacking
  • Customize your camera's controls
  • Easily find different options in the complex menu system
  • Uncover the camera's hidden features


The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II is one of the best lightweight Micro Four Thirds cameras on the market -- but the menu system is one of the most confusing and the camera's advanced tools can be hard to decipher solo. Ditch the instruction manual and maximize the potential of the E-M1 Mark II by learning from expert photographer John Greengo.

The Fast Start class covers the camera's controls, features, menu system and more. From basics like taking your first picture to advanced topics, by the end of this class, you'll be able to expertly use the E-M1 Mark II's many features. Learn how to use the advanced features like the High Res mode and in-camera focus stacking and find shortcuts for the most frequently used settings.

Customize your camera to your shooting style by setting custom controls and settings. Walk through the different options and learn John's recommendations for each setting. Finally, set up a pre-shot checklist and learn how to adapt the camera to different types of images.


  • Photographers just picking up the E-M1 Mark II for the first time
  • Self-taught photographers that want to see what they're missing
  • Photographers considering purchasing the E-M1 Mark II



John Greengo is a travel and landscape photographer with more than 30 years of experience. When he's not traveling and shooting, his straightforward teaching style helps new photographers learn the basics and become better acquainted with their gear. He's taught dozens of Fast Start classes on different interchangeable lens camera systems, including the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II, the E-M10 Mark II, and Olympus PEN F along with cameras from Nikon, Canon, Sony, and Panasonic.


  1. Class Introduction

    The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II is a top Olympus camera -- but it also has one of the more confusing menu systems. In this short lesson, learn what to expect from the class.

  2. Camera Overview

    Get a jump start on learning your Olympus camera with a brief overview of the company and the Micro Four Thirds system. Learn what lenses are compatible with the camera, the difference between Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds, and just how weather-sealed the camera is.

  3. Photo Basics

    Pick up some essential photography basics in this lesson, starting with how a mirrorless camera works. Brush up on a few basics like shutter speed and a proper camera grip.

  4. Top Deck: Mode Dial

    Begin deciphering the camera's physical controls, starting with the top of the mirrorless camera. Learn how to use the mode dial and the mode dial lock, as well as what each mode means.

  5. Mode Dial: Exposure Control in P Mode

    Dive into adjusting the camera's exposure beginning with the Program Mode. Learn how to adjust the settings inside this mode, as well as how to use exposure compensation.

  6. Mode Dial: Manual Exposure

    Full manual control allows you to carry out for creative vision consistently with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II. Dive into manual exposure settings, including bulb and live time, in this lesson.

  7. Top Deck: Shooting Modes

    Continue exploring the top deck of the camera by looking at the Function 2 button with the Multi-Function tool, the record button, the high-speed sequential shooting options, and the HDR button. Then, learn the pros and cons of the different shooting modes, like the Pro Capture mode.

  8. Top Deck: HDR & AF Mode

    This Olympus camera makes HDR easy using bracketing. Learn how to easily bracket to shoot HDR. Then, jump into the camera's different autofocus modes and when to use each setting.

  9. Top Deck: Metering and Flashes

    That same AF shortcut will also control metering with the front dial. Learn how metering modes can help get the best exposure. Then, learn how to pair the camera with a flash, from the included FL-LM3 to more powerful flashes, which are sold separately.

  10. Backside: Viewfinder Display

    Navigate through the LCD monitor as well as the electronic viewfinder on the OM-D E-M1 Mark II and learn how to customize what you see on those screens. The digital camera offers three different styles for the electronic viewfinder.

  11. Backside: ISO Controls & White Balance

    Moving to the back of the camera, learn how to quickly switch the control wheels to adjust ISO using the lever. John shares the best ISO settings to stay away from. Find the camera's white balance shortcuts to ensure accurate colors.

  12. Backside: Focus Area and Controls

    The Function 1 button adjusts the focus area. Learn how to adjust the focus area, move the focal point, and change the target size, as well as how to switch facial detection on and off. Control what you see on the screen using the Info button.

  13. Backside: Super Menu

    The Super Control Panel contains several different settings at a glance. Learn how to adjust the settings here, like the 5-axis image stabilization system, 4K video, flash, and various other settings.

  14. Backside: Playback Menu

    Review the images on the camera using the playback controls. Learn how the controls switch to a different shortcut specifically for the playback mode, and quick tips to help review your images.

  15. Left & Right Side of OM-D EM 1 Mark II

    Explore the camera's sides and dig into the camera's port options, as well as the controls that sit on some M.Zuiko lenses. On the right, you'll find the SD card slots and access for a remote trigger. John shares why the fastest card should always go in slot one and some tips on choosing a good SD card.

  16. Bottom & Front of OM-D EM 1 Mark II

    At the bottom of the camera, you'll find the serial number, tripod socket, and battery door. In this lesson, John also shares how to add the vertical battery grip accessory, an AC power adapter, and how to safely swap lenses.

  17. Olympus Lenses

    Pair the camera with a lens that's just as good. In this lesson, gain lens recommendations for the E-M1 Mark II, including M.Zuiko lenses from Olympus. Learn the different controls available on the lens.

  18. Camera Menu Settings Map

    Start deciphering the complex menu system by gaining an overview with John's menu settings map.

  19. Shooting Menu 1

    In the first tab of the menu, gain access to different shooting settings, from creating custom modes to adjusting image quality. Besides creating an overview of the complex menu system, John shares his recommended settings for the different menu options.

  20. Shooting Menu 2

    As the shooting menu continues, find features like bracketing, HDR, multiple exposures, keystone compensation and more. Watch a live demonstration of the camera's focus stacking feature.

  21. Video Menu

    Decipher the different options available in the video menu, including the default movie mode, quality settings, autofocus, and 5-axis image stabilization settings. In this lesson, John also explains the different video options available on the E-M1 Mark II, including frame rates, noise filters, and picture modes.

  22. Playback Menu

    Inside the playback menu, find the different options for reviewing images, including editing images in camera.

  23. Custom Menu A & B

    The Olympus Custom menu can feel very overwhelming at first. Here, John explains how the custom menu is organized, then dives into the first two sections of that menu.

  24. Custom Menu C1 & C2

    Walk through the different available controls inside the release, drive mode and stabilization custom menu, including suggested settings.

  25. Custom Menu D1-D4

    Inside the display menu, choose the different view options and settings for both the viewfinder and the LCD screen.

  26. Custom Menu E1-E3 & F

    The E menu adjusts different exposure parameters -- learn how to correct your metering if necessary, how to adjust the number of settings available for ISO and exposure compensation, and how to adjust the parameters of the auto ISO option. Then, dive into the F or flash custom menu.

  27. Custom Menu G

    The custom G menu on this Olympus camera covers image quality, white balance, and color. Learn the different options and find suggestions for where to set the different controls.

  28. Custom Menu H1-H2

    In this menu, choose the different record and erase settings for the SD card, like what card you are saving to, and advanced options like saving images to a folder on the card.

  29. Custom Menu I

    In the I menu, adjust the settings for the electronic viewfinder. Here, find controls for the eye sensor, brightness, layout and more.

  30. Custom Menu J1-J2

    Inside the utility menu, adjust a handful of settings, like setting time limits for the shortcuts made by pressing and holding a button. Here, you'll also find other options like touchscreen settings and other options.

  31. Setup Menu

    In the final section of the menu, find the setup options like formatting the card, adjusting the date and time, accessing Wi-Fi settings, adjusting monitor brightness and more.

  32. Camera Operation

    In this final lesson, prepare for any shoot with camera operation suggestions. Here, John shares a pre-shot checklist, key settings, and suggestions for multiple shooting scenarios.


a Creativelive Student

This is exactly what I was looking for - I really feel like I'm not able to control my camera, rather than the camera controlling me! :) I really learned a great deal - some of it was a great review, some of it was crucial information that will (hopefully) make me a better photographer. Thanks for a great class, John!!

Spyro Zarifopoulos

Great and very informative class.... John has done a fabulous job explaining all the simple and intricate details of the very sophisticated EM1 II. Thank you !!!

John Epperson

This is a great course on learning about the OM-D E-M1 Mark II. I have watched it many times to get to were I know it by memory the best I can. I like to go over it as much as possible because there is a lot to learn. I do wish that John would do an updated version since now it is up to Firmware 3.1. It is like a whole new camera with the new settings.