Skip to main content

Top Deck: Mode Dial

Lesson 4 from: Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Fast Start

John Greengo

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

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.

Lesson Info

Top Deck: Mode Dial

All right, so let's get started. First off, the basic controls. Obviously, you need to have the camera turned on. Now, the Image Sensor, when you turn it on, has a supersonic wave filter that kind of knocks off dust that is naturally on it. And so, you're not likely to have too many dust problems with the sensor. If you do need to clean it more seriously, I will talk about that later in the class. But there are ways that you can clean it. So, you press down on the Shutter Release to take a photo and wake the camera up. Of course, the Front Dial and the Rear Dial are dials that we're gonna be using for changing shutter speeds, apertures, Menu settings, and a whole bunch of other stuff. And so, these are just kind of general purpose dials. Get used to working with them because they are the steering wheel to the camera, using the analogy of the car. That's what we're trying to say. All right, on the back of the camera, we have an up, down, left, right. I sometimes will forget the exact na...

me of it because every company has a different name for it. It's called the Arrow Pad here, but I call it the mouse or the up down on the back of the camera. And then we have an OK button, which is equivalent to the Enter key on a computer board. So a lot of times, and I have made this numerous times and I will make it at least, make the mistake at least three times in this class, I'll go in, I'll select and highlight something for the camera to do, I will then exit, and the camera will not do it because I forgot to press the OK button. And so, you have to press the OK and kind of confirm this is what I want to do when you get into the Menu section. We're gonna start on the top deck. And we have our Shutter Release. And a number of things happen when you press halfway down on the Shutter Release. It activates the metering system, it activates the focusing system. If the camera was asleep, which it will do after about 30 seconds, it wakes the camera up. And if you're in the Menu, anywhere in there, it's gonna return the camera to the shooting mode. Now, the camera has a touch screen on it, which allows you to touch for focusing and touch for shooting. So let's go ahead and do a little demo right here and now. Let me get it trained up on our, okay, so we've got something going on on the focusing that I wasn't planning on right now, and that's because I'm in the iAuto. I'm gonna flip my camera to the Program mode and, why is it doing this? I'm gonna turn off, for the moment, the Face Priority, because I don't want it to try to pick up a face right now. And so, for focusing, I can just simply touch on the camera and it's going to focus and shoot a photo because over here on the left, you see that little green finger? That is, you touch and you take a picture. If I press it again, it turns off the touch screen. So if you don't like the touch screen, you can turn it off. If I touch this again, it's touch with a box, which means I can focus on something. And I'm gonna move just a few things around here on the desk. Gonna move this a little bit closer to you guys, because I want to have something in the foreground to focus on, so I'm gonna open up a little color checker chart, and put this a little off to the side here. Right about there, okay. So now, I can focus in the foreground, I can focus on the background, right there, and you can see that it's focusing very quickly. Now, if I actually want to shoot photos, I could just come up here and take a photo. Focus over there and take a photo. Or, if I want to do everything on the back of the camera, then I can turn it into touch and shoot, so it focuses and it's focusing and shooting really quick. And so, that is the touch screen on it. And so, we'll talk a little bit about the touch screen. Some people are very pro touch screen. I am very anti touch screen. I don't like touch screen. And if I had to justify it, I don't like fingerprints on the screen because that's where my images are and it's hard to see things when you're putting your finger directly on top. And so, if you don't like the touch screen, everything is controllable with the rest of the controls in the camera. And so, you don't have to use it. It's just perfectly an option for you to use. All right, the big dial on the top of the camera is the Mode Dial, and it has what I think is the perfect click lock in the top of the Mode Dial, and that is, it works like a pen where you're clicking it on and clicking it off. If you click it and it's in the downward, kind of in the lower position, it locks in the Mode Dial so that you can't turn it no matter what. And then if you press it in, you can see it comes up a little bit higher, and then you can rotate it very, very easily, put it where you want it, and lock it in, and it won't turn. I usually leave it unlocked because this has some very nice, definitive click stops that's just got the perfect tension. You don't want it too loose, you don't want it too stiff. So for right now, general purpose in the camera, I'm just gonna leave it in the Program mode. And so, that's the little lock pin right there in the middle. Now, the Mode Dial controls the shutter speeds and the apertures, which is kind of the most primary important way of working with the camera. So let's take a look at the many different modes that we can use in this case. All right, starting on the simplest level. The iAuto Intelligent Auto mode is where the camera will choose shutter speeds, apertures, and it will also go in and set your camera up in a bunch of other metering and focusing ways that you're not gonna be able to control other things on. And so, there are child safety locks when you get into this mode. And I'm kind of hoping that anyone who buys this expensive and nice of a camera does not use the iAuto mode on the camera. This is a perfect mode if you're gonna hand the camera to a friend or family member that doesn't really know how to use the camera. It'll keep things very, very simple and put the child safety locks on all the important controls that you've adjusted yourself. Now, there are a few options if you get in here. The first is that you can move your focusing area with the little arrow keys on the back of the camera, and you can change your focusing target up on top. So let's go ahead and do a little demo about how this works right here. And so, make sure my camera is turned on. I'm gonna put my camera in the iAuto mode, and let's just get pointed at something decent here. And so, if I go left and right, you can see that all the focusing points have been turned on, and so, I actually have to jump ahead and I'm gonna show you this. I have to jump in on the focusing system because the focusing system, ah, it's in the, see, I have forgotten for the moment. So I'm gonna have to switch it out of this. It has somehow been put back into the Face Priority, which I'm gonna want to turn off. If I go back into Auto, this is why I don't like facial recognition, is the camera thinks it's recognizing a face over here for some reason. But we can go in here and we can hit any one of these buttons over here, and then I can turn the Front Dial, and you can see over here on the left, it has a Front Dial indicator, and I can change this to a single point, a group of five or nine or all of them, and then what I can do is I can move the focus point around to the different areas if I want to focus. And so, if you want to adjust the focusing points, the key is just to hit any one of these side portions, and turn the Front Dial right here. And so, that'll allow you to move that focusing point and change that focusing point around. Now, if you press the OK button in the middle, it's gonna turn on what's called a Live Guide, which is also available for those of you who like the touch screen. And this is gonna allow you to go in and make some very, very simplistic changes on the way the camera is recording the pictures. Now, this is really gonna have an effect with JPEG images. It changes the color and the contrast, allows you to do a few tweaks. It just doesn't allow you to get in there and be a real photographer, in my mind, just because it's very limiting on what it does. But let me go ahead and show you real quickly on the back of the camera here. Let's add a little foreground here so we can have something else in here. So, if I want to open up the door, I can open up the door over here, and then I can come in and I can select a particular feature, so Warm and Cool, and I can make this cooler, meaning more blue, or I can warm it up, more yellow, in that case, and then when I'm done, I can hit the OK button, I can open this back up and we can go to Contrast, and we can have it, or actually Brightness, excuse me, we can have it bright, we can have it darker. Now, we're not having specific control over shutter speeds and apertures, but that's what's happening kind of behind the scenes. And so, there's all sorts of things that we can get into. You can use the OK button to go in here and navigate up and down. And for goofy little things, you want some shooting tips, we've got some shooting tips in here. All right, let's see. You want shoot tips for a child photo, pet photo, whatever you want to have some little tips with, you can find out some information. Let's find out how to take pictures of pets. Get closer to a pet and take a picture from its eye level. So there you go, folks. You've just had your class in pet photography right there. Thank you to Olympus. And so, you can go through and see those. And so, there's a few goofy things in there that we're not gonna totally dive too far into. But if you do want to use the iAuto mode, it allows you to play around with photography in a very simple environment, and that's about as much time as we're gonna spend on it for right now. All right, the Art mode allows you to shoot JPEG images that have a very distinctive look to them. All right, so up in the upper left corner of the screen, that JPEG Only sign, you are gonna see that throughout today's class, and that means that it only affects JPEG images. If you are shooting RAW images, you're gonna get the original information off of the RAW censor, no matter how it's set in the camera. It may look a particular way to you, but when you get the final image, you would get the RAW image. But with JPEGs, it is affecting them. And so, let's take a look on how we control this. We're gonna hit the OK, where we can turn the Art Filters on and off, and then to figure out which filter we want, we're gonna go left and right. But that's not all we can do. We can choose different types of filters that have different effects by going up and down. Now, what do these Art Filters do? Well, anyone who uses Instagram will know about filters in a moment. It provides you a different saturation, contrast, sharpness to your photos, and so, they have put in here a couple of dozen different ways that you can get your photos to look. Now, this is kind of fun. It's not something you want to do with most important photographs. But if you want to have a photograph that looks distinctly different than everyone else's, or you're trying just for an artistic effect, well you can see all of this in the camera. The one that I actually like the most, especially for teaching classes on this camera, is that you can have the camera set to Art Bracket, where you shoot a single photo, and it gives you every version of every Art Filter out there. And I guess it's for the indecisive person who wants one of everything. It tends to work quite well for that. And so, you do end up with a lot of photos, and it takes awhile for the camera to kind of process all of those and save them all to the memory cards. But that is perfectly available to do right there. So, let's do a little demo here on the camera to show you. Make sure I put it in the Art mode. That always helps to have it in the right mode. And so, you'll see instantly on the bottom, we have our list along the bottom where we can go from left to right. But if that is not there, you just simply hit the OK button, it comes up, and we can choose any one of our different looks. Now, I'm gonna go to Grainy Film. I kind of like the way that looks. And if we go up, let's see if I can, over here on the right hand side of the screen, you can see that there's some effects that we can, oh, lost it, so I got to press the OK button. Now I can go up. And so, now I can go in and change some sub modes of this particular Art Filter mode about using different filters or making it different sepia tone. And I'll come back down. And then we also have different effects that we can add on top of the art. And so, there is, well, it's not infinite. But it is in the dozens and dozens and dozens of options range for creating these looks in the camera. Now, this is all something that you could totally do in Photoshop with not too much effort. But this allows you to do it in camera, you can see it as you're composing, and so, I always like to try to get things done in camera as early as possible. And so, if it helps the creative vision and it helps you get an image, great. But once again, if you're shooting RAW, this is not gonna be applied to those RAW images. Next up is the Movie Camera symbol. So we're gonna talk a little bit about shooting movies. This camera does a very good job at shooting movies, and we'll be talking about the movies and the aspect of shooting movie throughout the class today. So first off, there is a Record button with an orange dot on the top. That is your Record button for stopping and starting the record. There are a number of Movie Quality modes that you can set. Yes, you can shoot HD and yes, you can shoot 4K. There's actually a couple of 4Ks, and so, we've got more information to come on the different modes on this. And so, it is one of the best of the mirrorless cameras out there for shooting movies on. Now, we're gonna find out more about shooting movies when we get into the Menu section. So something else you will see in the first half of this class are these little Shortcut windows that will give you instructions on where to go find this, because I know a lot of you watching at home right now are very impatient and you do not want to wait for me to get to the Menu section, and you're like, I want to change that right now. Well, I know that, and I don't, I'm kind of the same way. And so, if you want to go change the Movie Quality mode, dive into the Menu, go to the Video Menu, look for Specification Settings, and then you're gonna see a little symbol that looks like that arrow, and that's their Quality Setting, and you can go in and change the Quality Setting that your camera is recording its video in. More about Video as time goes through the day. So, a few things on Video for right now. There are two different Video formats that the camera will shoot in, MOV and then an M-JPEG. M-JPEG is a little bit lower quality one. We have 4K, the DCI version and the UHD version, as well as Full High Definition and Standard High Definition. There are a variety of frame rates, but not all frame rates are available with all resolutions. There's a number of Movie Effects you can have. So the effects that we just saw for still images can also be applied to movies. And you do need to have that Movie Effect checkbox turned on, which is in the Display Settings under the Info Settings, buried inside the Video Menu. So we'll talk more about that when we get through to the Menu, when we get into the Menu section, so don't feel like we'll need to check that off right now. Also, there is the option for shooting time lapses and shooting fast motion with this camera by controlling the frame rate on the camera. And so, we'll talk more about that as we get into the Super Control Panel. You can use the touch screen to rack focus back and forth, which means a minimum of camera movement. It's easier than trying to turn the lens, in some cases. And the maximum file is gonna be four gigabytes or 29 minutes, I think it's actually 29, in minutes and seconds. And that is the largest file size. When you go over that, it's just gonna start creating a new file. And if you are not in the Movie mode, and let's just say you're in the Aperture Priority mode and you press the Record button on the top of the camera, the camera is automatically gonna switch to shooting movies in an Automated Program mode. And so, if you want to specifically set specific shutter speeds and apertures, what you want to do is you want to get in and set the camera up for Manual in the Video mode, which will be one of the options when we get into the Video Menu system on that camera. So obviously, the Menu system is gonna be very important for getting your camera set up properly for the way that you like it to work.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Olympus EM1II Recommended Settings

Ratings and Reviews

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.

Student Work