Buying an E-PM1 tomorrow!

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by pake, Feb 28, 2012.

  1. pake

    pake Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 14, 2010
    So, there's a ridiculous one day offer in a Finnish camera store tomorrow - E-PM1 kit for 349€ (normal price here is ~450€). I'm definitely buying one (and I'll probably sell the kit lens for 100-150€). I guess that will keep me busy until I can get my hands on the E-M5 which I'm also buying... :rolleyes:

    Could someone list the most important settings I should change immediately when I get the camera in my hands? :biggrin:

    - Noise Reduction -> Auto
    - Noise Filter -> Low (or off?)
    - Keep Warm Color --> Off
    - Rec Button --> Manual Focus (or magnify?)
    - ???

    FYI, I've been using E-PL1 for almost 2 years and I always shoot in RAW+JPG but I rarely use the OOC-JPGs. I don't use the Super Control Panel since I mainly use the menu to change ISO value and it's quicker without the SCP. But maybe I'll give it a new try with the E-PM1 since it has the control dial to make things easier/quicker...

    And I guess I'll have to start browsing for a grip now. Damn, I'm excited... :2thumbs:
    • Like Like x 1
  2. sokar

    sokar Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 30, 2011
    I suggest reading WT21's review of this camera on this forum. The SCP is beneficial on this camera as there are not that many buttons for access. A great little camera in a small package.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    Turn SCP on as it is off by default
    I found having the video record button to be magnify was very convenient
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Aegon

    Aegon Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 3, 2011
    Portland, OR
    I recommend setting the "Record" button as delete when reviewing pictures. The button is on a separate surface as the rest and won't get hit accidentally, and it comes in handy.

    I also frequently link to this: Olympus PEN Mini / E-PM1 Review: Digital Photography Review
    I follow their suggestion to turn the noise filter off and sharpening at -1. I'm shocked at how much of a difference it makes at only ISO 400, as shown in the photos of the girl's hair.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Yes, this will only activate the NR on long exposures of over 1 second.



    Magnify. Manual focus through the record button is senseless if you ask me. Simply don't turn manual focus off in the first place! Set your AF mode to S-AF + MF instead, and you can use manual focus whenever you want... or don't use it if you don't want. You don't need a separate button to tell you when you can and can't turn the focus ring.

    The Manual Focus button function however, does have its use for those times when you need to restrict the camera from doing its AF function at the touch the shutter. However, there is a much better solution to that called "back-button focus", which I will explain at the end of this post... This is the only way which I use AF, so I never have a problem with the camera focusing at will.

    On the E-PM1, since there is only one Fn button, I have two presets (MySet)... one uses the button as Magnify for manual lenses, the other uses the button for back-button AF when using AF lenses.

    Here are some more basic setup tips for 3rd Generation PENs (including the steps for some of the ones we've already mentioned)... for the E-PM1 I would also add what Aegon said about using the record button to delete images, since the E-PM1 does not have a trash button for playback.

    Go into Setup => Sprockets => Color/WB => Keep Warm Colors and turn that OFF. As long as you leave that off, then your camera can automatically adjust for indoor lighting and you won't need to resort to the incandescent preset.
    If you don't see the Sprockets menu, then first go to Setup => Wrench => Menu Display and turn the Sprockets ON.

    Also, in order to access your shooting options quickly go to Setup => Sprockets => Disp/PC => Control Settings and for every mode turn Live Guide and Live Control to OFF, then turn SCP (Super Control Panel) to ON in every mode.
    When you return to shooting, you will then be able to press OK and get a one-screen quick menu of all your essential shooting options. If another menu pops up (ie, like Remote Commander, Art, or Scene menus) then just press INFO and it'll cycle you back to SCP.

    You might also want to unlock your turn dial by going to Setup => Sprockets => Button/Dial => ۞ Lock and set that to OFF.

    If you want sharper images, then go to Setup => Sprockets => Color/WB => Noise Filter and set that to OFF.

    Also, you might want to take a photo and compare the monitor brightness of the same photo on your camera's playback screen and your computer monitor. The E-PL2 and newer tends to have an over-bright monitor so the images may look alright on the screen but come out underexposed when you open the file on your computer. So if the image doesn't match your computer screen, you can adjust your camera's screen brightness by going to Menu => Wrench and look for an icon that looks like this: View attachment 193078
    I actually have all my PEN cameras set all the way down to -7 to match my print-calibrated computer screen.

    You may also want to consider Back-Button AutoFocus, which is a setup I've used on every digital Olympus camera I've had from DSLR to PEN.

    Rather than me explaining the advantages of back-button focus I'll link you to a handy Canon article on the matter (Canon actually made the first camera which was capable of this): Canon DLC: Article: Back-Button Auto Focus Explained
    The key points are that it allows you to pre-focus without the camera re-focusing on shutter release (which many cameras have a tendency to do even if you use the half-press of the shutter) giving you faster and less frustrating AF, and it separates AutoFocus, AutoExposure, and Shutter Release into 3 separate functions so you have full control over each. This way you don't have to meter off the same subject you focus on.

    So if you decide that's for you, then here are the steps to set it up:

    Go to Menu => Sprocket => Button/Dial => AEL/AFL. There you can set Single AF, C-AF, and MF modes. Mode 3 is the one that assigns any of those AF types to the back-button. If you set MF to Mode 3, then that will still give you MF capabilities with the focus ring, but will add S-AF capabilities to the back-button. If you set C-AF to Mode 3, that will give you continuous AF as long as you hold down the back-button. You can also set S-AF to Mode 3, but in my opinion this is senseless if you have MF set to to Mode 3. You get S-AF + MF by using MF Mode 3 anyways. I just leave S-AF to the default Mode 1 just in case I ever for whatever crazy reason want to go back to shutter-focus. But I never do. ;)

    Next, after you have your AF modes set, all you need to do is assign your AFL button, which will be your back focus button. On the PEN cameras this is in Menu => Sprocket => Button/Dial => Button Function, but this is the one part that can vary between models. For instance, on my old E-System cameras there was only one AFL button but it could be swapped to the Fn button so you had two choices instead (if I remember, I think the E-P1 was the same). With the newer PEN cameras your possibilities are much more expandable! The E-P3 has the most customizable buttons yet. On my PEN cameras I set the big red Direct-to-Video button to AFL as my back-button.

    Of course, you then need to go through your regular control panel to set your camera to use one of the AF types that you have set to Mode 3, or use Menu => Sprocket => AF/MF => AF Mode to do that.
    • Like Like x 9
  6. WolfBane

    WolfBane Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 13, 2012

    I'm trying to understand the bit about the back button and setting it to AFL. I've currently got it set to Magnify on my E-PM1. I tried setting it to AFL, but (obviously) I've then lost the quick access to magnify.

    Is that correct?
    If so, how do you quickly get the back button working as magnify when you swap over to a legacy lens?
  7. WolfBane

    WolfBane Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 13, 2012
    Oops, I see that I missed the myset part of your post :rolleyes: - that's what you do to switch the function of the back button.
  8. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    That's right. :) Here's a bit more detail on how I set mine up...

    MySet 1 (for legacy lenses): Record button set to Magnify, AF modes set to Mode 1 (default) so that if I happen to toss an AF lens on it'll still AF with the shutter, Info-Zoom turned OFF, MF Assist turned OFF.

    MySet 2 (for AF lenses): Record button set to AFL, AF modes set to Mode 3 (for C-AF and MF, anyways), Info-Zoom turned ON (so I can still manually magnify if necessary, though this is a clumsy method), MF Assist turned ON (so I still have auto-magnify when manually focusing AF lenses).

    Then I have two similar settings but with Live View Boost on, which is just for using manual flash. :) Then I go as far as having a second Mini body set to IS off for using multiple legacy lenses (so I don't have to manually change IS focal length) and for shooting sports. Since I don't have enough MySets, I just switch bodies, lol. :D

    This is certainly the one drawback of the minimalistic nature of the E-PM1 though. The E-PL2 and E-PL3 both have enough buttons that you can have both Magnify and AFL together. The E-P3 has even more buttons, which you can set to stuff like ISO, Reference WB, faster access to MySet, etc. Sometimes it takes an extra step to do stuff on the E-PM1, but it's still totally manageable.
    • Like Like x 2
  9. pake

    pake Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 14, 2010
    Thanks a lot, Ned! I'll read the Canon article after my meeting (I'm at work atm). Sounds interesting.
  10. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Yes, that is called MF Assist. Setup => Sprockets => AF/MF => MFAssist.

    This will work on any Micro Four-Thirds or Four-Thirds lens.

    No problem. :)
  11. pake

    pake Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 14, 2010
    Initial thoughts...

    - Buttons could be a bit larger/higher. I have to use my nail to press e.g. play-button. A bit uncomfortable.

    - Faster autofocus is really nice. Though I've only tested the Lumix 20mm but it's THE lens for me anyway. And now I don't even have to click the zoom-button everytime I turn on the camera since the auto focus is still much faster than using the old E-PL1 trick to change the focus area.

    - The camera could be a bit taller so I could get all my fingers around it (for a more firm grip). But I think I will get used to it.

    - I need a custom grip. I thought they'd sell Franiec and Flipbac grips here in Europe but no - I'd have to pay ~30$ just for the shipping if I bought it from US! Hints anyone?!

    - WB is spot on everytime. Image quality compared to my E-PL1 is insignifficant - as suspected.

    - The dial makes changing aperture & shutter sooooo much easier/faster.

    - Another fn-button would be great.

    - Built-in flash would have been great also.

    In overall I'm satisfied. I honestly don't know what to do with these two cameras after I've bought the E-M5. One of them has to go I think but which one - only time will tell... :cool:

    EDIT: Just noticed that I can get the Flipbac G4 for 14$ (inc. shipping) so problem solved :D
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    3M Safety Walk, as discovered by oldracer...

    Here's my setup from the Safety Walk he sent me... The third PEN which I used to shoot this photo was also using the Safety Walk.
  13. Flipbac

    Flipbac New to Mu-43

    Mar 1, 2012
    Dear Pake,

    We will send a Flipbac camera grip anywhere in the world for US$2.99. Total cost for a Flipbac grip is US$12.98- 13.98 including shipping. Many people have found our grips a good solution for the lack of grip on the EP cameras.

    See this link: Camera Grips - FLIPBAC INNOVATIONS

    Take care,

    Flipbac Innovations
  14. mnhoj

    mnhoj There and back again

    Dec 3, 2011
    Los Angeles
    John M
    I really like mine. On top of an Aki-Asahi 4040 skin.
    • Like Like x 1
  15. deodeo

    deodeo Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 13, 2011
    Me too!

    Attached Files:

    • Like Like x 2
  16. pake

    pake Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 14, 2010
    Ordered the Flipbac G4 yesterday. I hope it arrives soon... :)
  17. WolfBane

    WolfBane Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 13, 2012
    I had this working then it stopped working after I played with settings :rolleyes: , so to help anyone with the same problem:

    you also need to set
    Setup => Sprockets => AF/MF => AF Mode to S-AF + MF
  18. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Yush, you can turn off MF if you don't choose MF or a "+ MF" focus mode. You can also access this change through the Super Control Panel or Live Control Panel as well, without going into the menu system.