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Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Fast Start

Lesson 5 of 32

Mode Dial: Exposure Control in P Mode


Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Fast Start

Lesson 5 of 32

Mode Dial: Exposure Control in P Mode


Lesson Info

Mode Dial: Exposure Control in P Mode

Alright, getting back to the regular photography stuff. Switching over to the P mode. The P mode stands for Program, which means the camera is gonna set shutter speeds and apertures for you, and unlike the Auto mode, it does not have the child safety locks on a bunch of the features and the menu system and throughout the camera. So now you can get in, and make all sorts of changes on the camera. So first and foremost, it's setting shutter speeds and apertures for you, and you can see those shutter speeds by looking in the viewfinder, and you will see along the bottom of the camera a little bit of information. On the left, it tells you the exposure mode. It then tells you your shutter speed, your aperture, and then it's gonna give you exposure information, how far off you are. Are you underexposed or are you overexposed? But with the program mode, you should be getting even exposures to start with. And so you can change the program, which shutter speeds and which apertures you're gettin...

g, by turning the back dial on the camera. You can change the exposure compensation, which is the brightness of your images, by turning the front dial. So each dial has it's own unique operation, and in Program that's how these work here, but in other modes, they may be different. So the exposure compensation is great when you want to lighten your images or darken your images, and so you can dial it up to three stops to make it darker, or you can go up to three stops brighter and you will see that right there in the viewfinder. Which is what's nice about these electronic viewfinders is you can see the actual brightness of your image as you are composing it, and so that's simply done by having the camera in the Program mode and turning the front dial. So let's go ahead and take a look at how that works on our camera here. So I've got the camera in the Program mode right now, and if you'll look down here at the bottom, we have our shutter speed at a 60th of a second at F/2.8, and I can see a problem right now before I encounter the problem I'm gonna fix the problem, as I wanna show you these numbers moving properly, and I have the camera in auto-ISO, 'cause I did a full factory reset. So I am gonna go change the ISO on the camera, and I'll explain what I'm doing more close a little bit later on, and it's not super super bright in here, so I'm gonna set the ISO at 1600 for right now, and now what I really wanted to talk about with this was the shutter speed and aperture, and if I said, you know what? I would prefer more depth of field. I can turn this dial on the back of the camera, and now I have more depth of field at F/22, and if I said I want less depth of field or a faster shutter speed, I could go to the other side and you can see that it becomes a PS anytime I've done this program shift. If there's no S, that's kinda the standard place the camera would recommend, and why does the camera recommend this? It wants you to have a shutter speed fast enough to handhold the camera, it doesn't know if it's on a tripod or not. It has no idea what your photographing, but it just figures, eh, that's a pretty good place to just generally keep it. Now, you'll notice that we have a number over here in green. That is the front dial. We can choose to make this picture a little bit brighter, or we can choose to make this a little bit darker if we want and so we can actually go beyond the three stops all the way down to five, but our light meter doesn't show it down here, and so we have a visual graphic on the right, and the numbers right there on the left. By default, you probably wanna leave it at zero, unless you're specifically wanting to make it brighter or darker. But the Program and the Program shift mode allow you to get to virtually any combination of shutter speed, aperture and brightness quite easily, and so it's a good quick shot mode, a very simple way for somebody who does know about photography to have the camera automatically assisting them, and then they can jump in and manually adjust a lot of things if they need to. Next up, is the Aperture Priority mode. I'm gonna switch my camera, and switch your camera at home as well. So Aperture Priority is great when you know that you want more or less depth of field, and so when you're in a landscape or a cityscape type scene where you want everything from the close foreground to the distant background to be in focus, you could stop down to F/16 or or whatever the case needs to be. But if you wanna show shallow depth of field, if you have one of those faster lenses that goes down to F/1.4, great time to use that, dial it down to F/1.4 for the shallow depth of field. Like the Program mode, the front dial is used for exposure compensation, so you can brighten things up. But the back dial is used for controlling the apertures, and once you put it into the Aperture Priority mode, you will see that aperture become green, the numbers in the back. So that green means that you are manually setting, and you have manual control over that particular feature. Very similar to Aperture Priority is Shutter Priority, and so obviously in this one you get to change the shutter speeds, and one of the things to watch out for is a blinking number. That means that you do not have an aperture bright enough for shooting at that particular aperture. It's kind of a conflict, a problem that you might have. So if you need fast shutter speed, for capturing an eagle going into the river, that's gonna be around maybe a thousandth of a second. If you want to blur these scarves blowing in the wind, you might want to use a slow shutter speed like one full second. Now, Shutter Priority is not my favorite because it's very easy to get out of range. So let me change my camera over to Shutter Priority and just show you on my camera. Right now, I have the camera at 250th of a second, and you can see my lens is blinking at me at F/2.8 saying it is not bright enough to do a picture at 2.8. So I'm gonna change this back dial so that I get down into a number that is not blinking. So I can shoot a picture at 250th of a... well, let's see. Let's go down to 200th of a second, and I can get a nice normal shot here. Let me play that back and so that's my normal exposure. But if I just, said you know what, I really need a fast shutter speed. I'm gonna shoot a picture at 1000th of a second, and I wasn't paying attention to that 2.8 blinking which will also happen up in the viewfinder, I'm gonna get that picture back and it's gonna be too dark, and so, do be aware of the little blinking warning that your lens is not bright enough, and make sure that's not blinking. Generally, on a camera, anything that blinks is a warning. Something is not totally right when it blinks. So keep aware of those.

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.