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Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Fast Start

Lesson 2 of 32

Camera Overview


Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Fast Start

Lesson 2 of 32

Camera Overview


Lesson Info

Camera Overview

Now for those of you who are new to Olympus, Olympus is, of course, a very old name in the world of photography. They've been around for a long time. If I had to give them one attribute as to their style of camera, is they make high-quality, small cameras. And so portability has been kind of a key, defining characteristic of a lot of their cameras. The Pen camera, very, very small camera for the time. The OM series was among the smallest, high quality SLR's on the market. They actually got to market, the first really sellable digital camera for the consumers. It was a .3 megapixel camera. Sold for $1,000, if you want to know. In 2003, they decided to get into the interchangeable lens world. The Four Thirds, which is something we're gonna talk right about here in this beginning part, and so they had interchangeable lenses, with a digital sensor, and then they reduced the size, and they came out with their Micro Four Thirds system, with their Pen cameras, which this is part of a series o...

n. And so this lens mount system has been in existence since 2009. Now, this Four Thirds, versus Micro Four Thirds is very important for anyone to understand who owns this system, because it's gonna determine what type of lenses you can get, and their compatibility issues. Now, the Four Thirds sensor is notably smaller than the full frame sensor, or the 35 millimeter frame sensor, that has kind of been the standard in photography for about the last 50 years. So it is a smaller size sensor, with pluses and minuses that go along with it. And so, the Four Thirds is in reference to the system it uses, it's also to the aspect ratio, and so it's a little bit more boxy, if you will, than the traditional 35 millimeter frame. Now the lens mount on these cameras, is a little different than other cameras. And so there is a lens mount, and we'll talk a little bit more about this right here. The original Four Thirds cameras were an SLR design, and they have their own Four Thirds lens system. And so, you gotta be aware, because, for instance, we have a 14 to 42 lens, and we have another 14 to 42, but these are very different lenses. The one on the right is a Micro Four Thirds lens, and it's designed for this particular camera. And so, if you're picking up a lens at a garage sale, or on Ebay, or someplace like that, you really gotta make sure it's a Micro Four Thirds, unless you are going to be adapting it with some sort of adapter. Now, if you do use the older Four Thirds, which you can on this camera with the correct adapter, there's a number of restrictions, and you may wanna take a look at the instruction manual if you plan to do that. So the original Four Thirds system, not this camera, the original Four Thirds system from Olympus, which was back, 2009, or I think, 2003, excuse me, used a traditional SLR system, where it was bouncing light through a prism system. The downside is that the flange distance, where the lens mount to the image sensor was, was fairly large, and the original Four Thirds cameras were not that much smaller than regular full frame, 35 millimeter cameras. And so people were like, why do I wanna buy a camera with a smaller sensor, if the camera is the same size? And so Olympus came up with a new idea, and that was to take the mirror out of the camera, take the prism and that whole other viewing system, out of the camera, reduce the flange distance, and use an electronic viewfinder. And they were able to reduce the size of the lenses, and reduce the size of the camera, notably, to where these cameras are now, notably smaller than a lot of the larger cameras that use larger sensors in 'em. And so, we went from Four Thirds, to Micro Four Thirds, and so there is a notable difference between those two systems. So, the difference between the Four Thirds, and the Micro Four Thirds, first off they have the same sensor, as far as the size and the shape of the sensor, the lens mount is the same lens mount, but what's different about them is that there's a different flange distance, which means that there is a different lens for them. And so they have a different set of lenses, and there is some things in common, and some things that are different from them. Now if you do have those older Four Thirds lenses, you can get the MMF-3 from Olympus, and that's gonna sell for about $160, and that will allow you to adapt Four Thirds lenses onto the Micro Four Thirds camera. And if you are interested, there's a bunch of aftermarket manufacturers, that will make adapters to get almost any imaginable lens onto this camera, which you can use. Now, it's probably not going to be an auto focus, and it's probably gonna have a number of other limitations, as far as what the camera can do, and we'll talk a little bit about that as we go forward today. Now, there is also something from Metabones called a Speed Booster, which will reduce the size of the image circle, so that you're not losing your wide angle capabilities, with wide angle lenses, from larger format lenses. And so, if you are interested in using aftermarket and third party lenses, take a look at some of these adapters. They range in price, quite a bit depending on the quality, and what they do as well. And so, some fun stuff out there, so it's a very, very adaptable camera. Currently, this is what the Olympus Micro Four Thirds family looks like. The Pen Series, which is their most compact in size. Now the Pen-F is the unusual one here, 'cause it's the one that has an electronic viewfinder. The other models just have an LCD on the back of the camera. And then we have the OMD Series, which is more SLR-like. And when we say that, what we're meaning is that it has a viewfinder kind of top and middle on the back of the camera. And the EM1, E stands for electronic, M stands for mirrorless. Mark I stands for their number one best product, and this is the second version of it. And they have a couple of other junior versions, the EM-5, and the EM-10 Mark II's are both excellent cameras as well, with not quite as many features, and not quite as much performance as the EM-1 Mark II here. So when you dig into the instruction manual, you're gonna see all sorts of warnings about what you are not supposed to do with this camera. In short, they could probably just say don't be stupid with it, which should keep you out of most of the problems. One question that a lot of people have is about the weather sealing and dust proofness. And this is among the best on the market. And so if you do get caught in the rain, or very cold conditions, I would expect this camera to do quite well. I don't know that I would willingly go out into a rainstorm and be out there for a prolonged period of time. If you're gonna go shoot a football game that's gonna last for hours, I would probably look at a rain cover. But if it is lightly raining, I don't think you need to worry about it, other than the fact that you need to also have a weather proof lens. And not all of the lenses that you can put on this are weather proof. And so you want to make sure that you're looking at the pro lenses, or the lenses that are classified as having some sort of weather sealing, so that you have a completely weather sealed package on it. Now it is a very durable, very professional camera. The shutter, just out of curiosity, is rated to 200,000 firings, and so that's kind of the estimated lifespan that you can expect from the camera. The other question that people have is what about non-Olympus lenses, batteries, flashes, and other things that you could hook up to the camera? The Olympus cameras share a common lens mount in the Micro Four Thirds family with Panasonic. So you can get Panasonic lenses, and they're gonna focus, and they're gonna meter, and they're gonna do almost everything perfectly. There's a couple of key things on this camera, there's the focus stacking, and I'm trying to remember if it was the high-res mode, I think, the focus stacking was the main problem. Oh, it was the buffer, the pro capture mode on this camera, that you can't use the Panasonic lenses on it. Apparently, there's very special control of the lenses themselves, and so if you want maximum control, you want to get the Olympus lenses, but I really like some of the Panasonic lenses. And so, for my Olympus, I own a mixture of Olympus and Panasonic lenses on it. I tend to want to stick with the Olympus batteries, they tend to be overall better, better quality, last longer, get more shots out of 'em, but if you need a cheap backup, there are some aftermarkets that should not harm the camera in any way. I tend to want to stick with the original manufacturer's flash, just because it does a really good job and the communication is very easy. If you're working with a studio flash, or very simple flash set-ups, then pretty much anything is gonna work fine on it. So, going forward. So let's make sure that your camera, and my camera, is ready for today. We need to charge the battery, which I did last night. Takes about four hours. You should get around 440 shots, that's under, kind of, the normal testing parameters. You're likely to get much, much more than that. So, you need to have a lens on your camera, so make sure you have that. I've got one memory card in my camera. It doesn't really matter which slot you put it in, I've got mine in the top one, which is a little bit faster. I'm gonna go ahead and turn the camera on, and for now, it kills me to say this, put it in the auto mode, and go ahead and take a photo. I'm gonna take a photo of our little test scene over here, just to make sure my camera is working correctly, and I'm gonna add one more little quick live demo here, I wasn't planning on, but just in case you've been messing with your camera, let me show you how to reset your camera really quick. So, if we can make sure that we're looking at the back of my camera here, I'm gonna hit the menu switch here, and over on the left is the whole menu system that we'll be going through. But up at the number one, the first item is Reset, and I'm gonna say, okay, I'm gonna reset this camera, and I'm gonna hit OK again, and I'm gonna come up here and say Yes. And I am clearing everything out on this camera. Now, as we go through the day, there's a good chance I'm gonna forget about something on this camera, like how am I do, this, something's wrong with the camera, and, where is this? And that's because I love to customize the camera, and things get put in different places. And so, I apologize for that. It's a very, very sophisticated camera.

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.