Skip to main content

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Fast Start

Lesson 17 of 32

Olympus Lenses


Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Fast Start

Lesson 17 of 32

Olympus Lenses


Lesson Info

Olympus Lenses

We've been talking about the front of the camera and a little bit about lenses. So let's talk about the lenses for a moment or two. So this is the 12-40, it's one of the more popular lenses because it's a good general range, nice fast aperture, and well built good optical lens. With any of the zoom lenses you're gonna have a zoom ring, and most of the lenses will have a focusing ring, there might be an exception out there. So, as I said, a lot of their Pro lenses, and you'll see that says Pro down there in the bottom right hand side, they'll often have a Lens Function button. They'll all have an Alignment mark, some of them will have Distance Scales but not all of the lenses, in fact, most of them do not. The hood mount on there is for mounting up the specific hood for that lens, now, every lens has its own designated hood. It's, of course, highly recommended that you use that as much as possible, and make sure that you have the correct one for the correct lens. Most lenses you'll be a...

ble to hook up filters too, there will be a specific size filter that you'll need to get, they're not all 62 but this one is 62. If you don't like the way their focusing ring works. If you come from Nikon, if you come from Canon, the lenses focus in a different direction, as far as which direction you turn for infinity. So if you wanna customize the direction that the focus ring turns, yes, you can do that within the very depth deep field of auto focus customization that we are gonna be getting into, in an upcoming section. Alright, let's just look at a few of the lenses that I think are really good, that I think are notable lenses. The 12-40, as I say, is one of the most popular lenses, their new 12-100, is when they seem to have been subtlety pushing quite hard, it's an f/4 lens, which I like and has a very nice range, it has their Dual Image Stabilization compatibility, so that's when you're gonna get six and half stops of image stabilization, combining the stabilization of the lens and the stabilization built already into the camera. The other kind of main Pro lenses that you will see being used out there, the 7-14 ultra wide angle lens, it's so wide it does not accept standard screw and filters, so filtration is a little bit challenging on that, but fast aperture, good for after work, any sort of low light work, their 40-150 is an incredible telephoto lens, great range, fast 2.8 aperture, really good lens. Now you'll notice a number of letters like ED, and PRO, and each of these little letter designations in there has some sort of significance with Olympus, and this is just, kind of, a few of the more common letters that you're likely to see with any of the lenses. Now, a few of the other lenses that I wanna talk about are some of the other Prime lenses. They have an 8mm Fisheye, a normal superfast 1.2 25mm lens, and their new 300mm super telephoto lens, which it also has Dual Image Stabilization. These are some of the other really high quality lenses in their Pro style of lenses. But you don't have to stick just to their classification of Pro lenses, there's plenty of other very, very nice Sweet Primes as I like to call them. And so, the 12, 17 and 25, have reasonably fast apertures: 1.8 f/2. The 45, 1.8 is not a real fast lens, but you know what? It's a nice portrait lens, and it's really small and light weight. The 75 is a, I mean, I don't know if it's been out long enough to classify officially, but it is a legendary lens. It is a great super sharp optic, very good for portrait photography, if you have large working distance, so if you're working outside, that's a really good lens. But Panasonic also has compatible lenses and I really like a lot of the offerings from Panasonic. So they have their own fast normal lenses like the 12-35 and the 35-100. They also work with Leica, that have lenses that meet many of the Leica standards and they use a lot of their design ideas and techniques in their lenses. They're ultimately made by Panasonic but they have a lot of Leica influence in how they're made. So they have a number of very good options including a fairly compact 100-400, for all of you wild life shooters out there. I'm a big fan of the Panasonic Primes, they make some really nice fast lenses, the 25 1.4 I own, I'm really happy with. The 42.5 1.2 is kind of the ultimate portrait lens for the micro 4/3 system if you want that shallow depth of field, gives you that 85mm traditional focal length with a fast 1.2 aperture. And so those are just some of my favorite lenses and if you're gonna own this camera, my bet is that you're gonna own a couple of the lenses that I talked about on there, because these are the ones that most people are choosing.

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.