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Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Fast Start

Lesson 1 of 32

Class Introduction


Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Fast Start

Lesson 1 of 32

Class Introduction


Lesson Info

Class Introduction

Got a big class for us today, actually I, just a minute ago, I came up with a name for this class, a little motto. This is the taming of the best. (class laughter) 'Cause anyone who knows about this camera knows that when you get into the menu system and the features, there are a lot to choose from. And prove us right, this is my 48th class, I've done classes on the professional Nikons and Canons and so forth, and it's hard to quantify, but this camera, and this class, was one of the biggest challenges I've had to date. 'Cause it's got so much stuff. Part of the class is a PDF that comes with it, and what I'd like to do in the past, is I'm a very visual person, as I imagine most photographers are. And the menu system is just this complex maze. I'm gonna show you that maze later in the class. I have a very, very cool slide that shows you the menu system in a visual layout. But I like to have the entire menu system on one page, and my computer won't let me put that much stuff on one page...

. Now that's probably because I don't know how to use my computer real well, but it gets to be really small font. So this is the first camera, of 48 cameras, that I've had to separate out and put on two pages, everything in the menu system. So on one page, is the basic menu, and then digging in a little bit, then we have the custom menu, and as you can see in the custom menu, there are a lot of items on here. So in this class, what we're going to be doing is I'm going to be going through all the features and functions of the camera so if you own this camera, if you're gonna use this camera, if you're thinking about buying this camera, you will know what it does, how to do it, and how to set it up. Now I have gotten very poor reviews from a couple of people in my classes, because they thought they were reviews of the camera. And reviews of the camera are very different than instructions. I don't care how this camera compares to anything else out on the market. That's not what we're doing today. We're learning how this camera works. Inevitably, something else will come up about, talking a little bit about how this performs in general, but I don't care about the image quality versus X camera and sensor, or how this compares with the other Olympus cameras in many cases. This is all about learning how to use this camera. And I know a lot of you, especially those of you who own it and have had it for a couple of months, you know how to work half or three quarters of it. I don't know what you know. So we're gonna start at the beginning, and we're gonna go through everything that this camera has to offer. Alright, so let's get started on the class. Alright, so we're on to the keynote, so the E-M1 Mark II Fast Start, everything in that, in those letters, means something, and we'll talk about that during this class. So here's kind of the plan for the day. I want to go through a little class overview, just introduce the camera to people who are maybe new to Olympus. We are gonna talk very briefly about a few photo basics, just to make sure everybody's talking on the same plane, you might say. A great majority of the class is in the camera control section. This is where we go through all the buttons and dials on the outside of the camera. We're just gonna take a tour, starting on the top, and working our way around. Every control on the camera. And then we get into the menu functions, and that is, of course, the other big section of the class, and that is where we're gonna go through every item in the menu system. We're not gonna spend a lot of time on it, but I'll give you some recommendations on where to set it at, for different types of reasons, and then we'll finish the class off with some suggestions and ideas on camera operation, of how I would set the camera up for different types of scenario. So if you're very familiar with photography, or you've been with Olympus for a while, feel free to jump ahead to the camera control section. But if you want to watch the other stuff, it's not a bad review at all. So let's get started. First up, the camera comes with a reasonably large instruction manual. It's gonna take you a few hours to get through. It's not the clearest thing in the world. Now if you've read every page in the instruction manual, and you're like, "John, I still don't "understand the camera," I would consider you normal. I was actually, last night, just brushing up for the class today, and there was a feature that I wasn't 100% clear on. So I went to the instruction manual, and it made it more confusing for me. It took me a while, I finally figured it out, so I'll have some good answers for you today. And so it is a good source of extra information, and specifications. It's also good for compatibility. If you're dealing with some of the older Olympus lenses, or you're adapting flashes and other equipment on there, it will give you additional information. I'm not trying to replicate everything in the instruction manual in this class. I'm trying to provide useful information for actual users of the camera. The next thing is, if you are new to photography, you might be saying, "Hey John, what about composition and lighting? "Isn't that important just like everything else "in the camera?" And it absolutely is. We just don't have time to address it in this class. And so if you're looking for a photography class, there is a bunch of them here at CreativeLive. I have a couple of good ones. If you want a nice, short, simple one, I've got a three-hour basic class, or if you want to get a more in-depth understanding of photography, my Fundamentals of Photography has about 27 hours of information in there. And so you can take a look at those for more generic photography. In today's class, we are focusing straight in on the Olympus 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.