E-M1 First use, Set-up, and 4/3s lenses

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Clint, Nov 1, 2013.

  1. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    I hope I cover some things not seen in other postings or online reviews, so you will not see what is typically mentioned. This is more about my initial set-up, 4/3s lenses and some other things I noticed. Background - I'm used to the Olympus 4/3s E-5, E-30, and the m4/3 E-M5 with the HLDR-6 which I have pretty much left the horizontal portion of the grip on all the time. I also regularly shoot the D800 and D7100 and make over 45,000 photos a year. My primary interest in the E-M1 was for a few primary reasons; to enable my use of the 4/3s 12-60mm and 50-200mm lenses (both have SWD), for better ergonomics and to get away from the nuisances of the E-M5.

    Interesting to note is my E-M1 came with 209 actuations and the flash was fired 9 times according the camera. The only reason I checked is the screens that normally come up first time, to set time and such, did not do so. The camera was immaculately packed like factory fresh though so I did not see this as an issue.

    The first thing I noticed about the E-M1 was the near E-M5 size! After mounting the 12-60 I was surprised that the camera didn't have the same feel as the E-M5 with HLD-6 horizontal grip. I measured the cameras today and the E-M1 is .165" (about 5/32") (4.2mm) shorter than the E-M5 with the horizontal grip. And after using both the 12-60mm and 50-200mm lens for two days I am really surprised at how much that 5/32" makes a difference. The E-M1 is also .36" (nearly 3/8") (9.15mm) longer yet was harder to notice the difference.

    Next on my puchase list is the Really Right Stuff L Bracket! This should even up the dimensions and satisfy the way I'd like the camera to feel with these lenses.

    On set-up of a camera I'm inclined to keep as many buttons at the default settings if there is no way to save my custom settings, which I do not know of a means with the m4/3s. If I have to reset the camera I don’t want have to make the numerous changes before I start shooting again. But here are a few things I ran into right away.

    I set up the Super Control Panel (SCP) to show when pressing the OK button, Custom Menu D, Control Settings, P/A/S/M, check Live SCP (I also uncheck the Live Control). Since first using the E-410 the Super Control Panel (SCP) is great! However as I used the E-M1 the SCP is not nearly the benfit it is on on previous Oly cameras due to the controls on the E-M1, but it is still really handy.

    I also wanted to find out the size of the small AF targets and see if I wanted to use them. Wup, sure do. Note- About the same size or a little smaller the 14X focus targets on the E-M5. Press the Info button when you have the AF target selection screen up (if in default settings press the Fn1 button), press the Info button, then the up or down buttons till you see the [.]s at the bottom of the left hand corner of the LCD. It is interesting to note that I could not find a way to select a group of small AF Targets so this may not work well for all shooting conditions.

    I've kept the focus beep on to ensure I know what the camera is doing. I'll turn off the Focus Beep once I'm accustomed to how the camera focuses. Custom Menu D, Disp/PC, the speaker icon (second form last in the D menu), Off

    I also noticed as I was shooting that the colors seem to be saturated and in Auto ISO (which works pretty dam good and something I'm not accustomed to using) the pictures were a little warm. The camera comes preset with Natural Picture mode. I tried a few other modes and have attentively settled on Muted and turned off Keep Warm Color - Custom Menu G, WB Auto Keep Warm Color, Off.

    In keeping with the idea of using as many as the default settings as possible here are some things I have not seen mentioned. These and the rest of the defaults seem to make a lot of sense.

    HDR Button - pulls up to 2 sets of options and viewed in either the EVF or LCD, whichever you are using.

    Top (Controlled by the front dial) - HDR-1, HDR-2, 3F 2.0 EV, 5F 2.0EV, 7F 2.-0 EV, 3F 3.0 EV, 5F 3.0 EV (any of these selections also sets the camera in High Speed Sequence shooting) Coool - Preset bracketing, with high speed sequence engaged with one button!!!!

    Bottom (Controlled by the back dial) - Single, Hi (Speed Sequence), Low (Speed Sequence), 12s (delay), 2s (delay), Time/# of Pictures (1 sec, press Info button to select 1-10 images)

    AF Button

    Top (Controlled by the front dial) - ESP, Center Weighted, Spot Highlight, Spot Shadow

    Bottom (Controlled by the back dial) - S-AF, C-AF, MF, S-AF and Manual, C-AF Tracking

    Fn2- Multi select, Press and hold the Fn-2 button while rotating the back dial to select from Highlight and Shadow Control, Color Creator, Magnify (which it does not seem possible to use this to change the AF Target size as on the E-M5), or Image Aspect Ratio

    On the front of the camera
    Front top button (the one with the depression) - One-touch White balance

    Front bottom button - Preview button (this would probably be the first button I'd change)

    AEL/AFL - default is Exposure Lock

    Lever by the AEL/AFL button, Default is Mode 1 or Off (I'm not sure which is the default as my camera arrived with the lever option set to Off, but the manual states Mode 1 is the default) , Custom, Group B, Lever Function (5 modes of operation - for now I'm thinking of the KISS principal)

    Position 1, Dial functions defined by assigned dial functions

    Position 2,
    Front dial: ISO
    Rear dial: White balance

    So with the few changes I made I found the camera very capable and can change all necessary settings with one button except ISO and WB, which is still very accessible by the flick of a lever! The ergonomics, ease of use, and resolving the negative nunces of the E-M5 were all achieved with the E-M1! And for making common changes on the camera, I'd say the E-M1 equals the D800 and maybe exceeds it.

    About 4/3s Lenses

    I used the 4/3s lenses the first night and two days now shooting about 300 photos. Initially in decent light I was happy with the focus speed, but when it comes to dim light - the E-M1 is no match even for the E-30 with 4/3s lenses. By dim I'm talking about shooting where an exposure is in the area of ISO 200, F/2.8 at 1/25 or about 8EV. The camera prefers high contrast focus areas and probably averages bout 1/2 sec to lock focus. My trials were in a room with a few incandescent bulbs, tonight just after sunset, and trying to capture a few pictures of Halloweens on our dark street. I could not even lock focus on the headlights of a car driving by about 20mph. I'm interested to see how it does in night street scenes and other situations. But if I was going to use this camera for events in dim areas professionally, I'd definitely be using m4/3s lenses. BTW- the focus illuminator did not seem to make anything quicker, maybe in darker situations. So for now I've turn it off as it is annoying - Custom Menu A, AF Illuminat, Off.

    I went out for an afternoon walk around and was really amazed at the number of time the camera and 4/3s lenses would not lock focus. I was using the small focus targets and did notice that the outside focus targets locked focus better than the center targets. Amazing! Even in full sun and lots of contrast. The camera also locked easier on subject matter with vertical lines than horizontal and it didn't take much to seem to confuse the focusing to some degree. I'll have to try the larger AF targets and see if that makes a difference. At his point I'm not thrilled with the 4/3s lenses AF abilities.

    Well I don't know what I just did, but I locked the WB settings so it could not be adjusted. So here comes my first Reset!

    Initial thoughts about the E-M1

    Overall it is a step up from the E-M5 which makes it an extremely good camera.

    If you have high grade or super high grade 4/3s lenses, I think you will may be somewhat dissatisfied compared to an E-5, E-30, or E-3. I'd suggest borrowing or renting one before buying. However it is far better than using these lenses on the E-M5 but I'm disappointed I sold the E-30.

    If you have an E-M5 and thinking about an E-M1, it is an expensive upgrade for what you gain. Yet worthy if you want or need the additional capabilities of the E-M1 and/or dislike the buttons and ergonomics of the E-M5 layout. Many seem to like the E-M5 without the HLD-6 grip in which case the E-M1 is not significantly larger than the E-M5 and will not require any larger cases. However if you do like the horizontal portion of the HLD-6, the E-M1 presents a mix bag. The grip portion is great but the camera lacks the small bit of height of the HLD-6 horizontal grip provides.

    If you are coming from a dSLR, it will be some growing pains with all of the options and how things may work differently than you are used to. But the size and weight difference, and the dSLR like capabilities make it worthwhile. I will caveat that by saying that my D800 is not being replaced!
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  2. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Your findings basically mirrored my experience with the E-M1, 14-54/2.8-3.5 I, 12-60/2.8-4.0 SWD and 50-200/2.8-3.5 (non SWD).

    Horizontal lines are a problem, but even in situations where the lines aren't entirely horizontal, you'll see some focus failures. I had this happen a number of times with buildings, water scenes and horizons. I also saw a number of cases where the camera wrongly confirmed focus (when it wasn't even close).

    Others have reported better results, but my suspicion is that this is a reflection of the subjects and lighting they used, rather than sample variation (also, differing expectations).

    I'd say that if you're patient and careful, you should be able to work around these issues - focus/recompose for the horizontal lines and chimping for the false AF confirm (the EVF is large enough that chimping is often not necessary). For my part, I decided that it wasn't worth the extra hassle, so I stuck with the older E-M5 and will move over fully to native lenses as they become available.
  3. Coder33404

    Coder33404 New to Mu-43

    Jul 27, 2013
    Nice write up, thanks. I find it interesting that your camera came with shutter actuation's flash usage. I bought a new EP5 from Adarama not long ago and the super control panel and gear menus were already activated. I thought it was odd but wasn't sharp enough to check the shutter actuation's. The light bulb came on when I read your post and if I had to guess my EP5 was originally a return or demo of some type.
  4. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    I've now also shot with the 50-200mm lens quite a bit with similar results. I really wished this would have been much more documented by others before I had purchased the camera!

    The 12-60 will be replaced with the new 12-40. Partly becasue of size but mostly is that I depend on the camera/lens to lock on what I want, when I want, otherwise I'd miss quite a few shots.

    I do have to say the images using the 12-60 are really good compared with the Panasonic 12-35 and the 12-60 focal length is hard to beat. The 12-60 is still a great alternative for those that do not want to afford the Panasonic 12-35 or Olympus 12-40.

    I have been finding ways to work around the issues which is I why I spend quite a bit of time working with a new camera or lens - I want to know what I can depend on or what I have to do to get the shot. Which is the reason I'm keeping the E-M1 and the 50-200mm.

    Right now there is not another lens comparable with the 50-200 in either 4/3s or m4/3 format and the work arounds I have come up with should make the lens suitable for me to use.
  5. bcaslis

    bcaslis Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 3, 2011
    Wilsonville, OR, USA
    Brian Caslis
    FYI, mine did not have any initial setup screen like the clock either. However mine came from my local dealer and the black E-M1 box was still wrapped in a plastic wrap around the edges (looked like shipping protection for the fancy box finish) so I'm very certain it was brand new. I did not check the camera for initial shots.

    Just checked and looks like mine had around 120 shots and 50 flash shots before I took any pictures. Interesting but I would assume this was Olympus testing since I'm very certain the camera was brand new when I got it.
  6. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Unfortunately, everybody has different expectations, shooting scenarios and lenses, so it makes it really hard to get helpful advice from others unless you know that they're photographing the exact same way that you would.

    I do think that as annoying as it is, it's a lot less pernicious than the AF problems displayed by the E-3.

    I'm really hoping the 40-150/2.8 comes out quickly. That should fix things for good.
  7. Ross the fiddler

    Ross the fiddler Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Thanks for all the comments so far. I had ordered the E-M1 & was advised it was in, but I had my bags packed in case we had to evacuate from bush fires in our area & it made me rethink the need for the camera as I first intended to have it as a double for my E-M5 (& I wasn't selling the E30 either). The only two 4/3's lenses that would have been used on it would have been the 14-54 II & the Sigma 150mm macro lenses. I thought about my interests & have the 60mm macro & 75-300mm lenses for bugs & birds (generally) & then the kit still feels heavy when going to events like festivals etc., so when Olympus announced the Stylist 1 with the E-M5 EVF & 10.7 X zoom with f/2.8 constant aperture & seeing some nice photos from the same sensor in the XZ2, I thought this might just suit me to add to my kit instead. I won't rush it but I will see if I can try one first & maybe wait for initial price drops (as well as not being fearful of fires waiting to get us too).
  8. portadiferro

    portadiferro Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 26, 2013
    Thanks for the write up! There's interesting tidbits that I find useful.

    I just got my E-M1 kit too, and was testing it with Sigma 150mm f2.8 macro that I bought in anticipation of the new camera. I've read that it is really slow focusing even on native body and it certainly wasn't very impressive on my initial tests in a darkish room photographing some lego figurines. Sometimes it was hunting a lot, but using the limiter helped somewhat. But oftentimes it just wouldn't lock and had to keep trying several times. Still, the resulting images are pretty nice and sharp and probably will be using it in pretty static situations anyway so it should do just fine. I was just missing a longer lens and also macro lens, so that combined both the needs nicely and on top of that it was considerably cheaper than the Olympus 150mm f2.0. :biggrin:

    This is my first 'pro'-grade camera, moving up from E-P2 and there's heck of a lot to learn with it but I'm absolutely loving it! And the 12-40 lens is awesome too, after the 150mm, it just seems to focus instantly and with deadly accuracy! very impressive piece of optics!
  9. Ross the fiddler

    Ross the fiddler Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Be patient with that Sigma lens as it wasn't any rocket speed in focussing on my E30 either, but did give lovely sharp shots once it did. One of the things I experienced when using it with MF on my E-M5 was the delay when using an external flash (in Auto TTL etc) & with the aperture control. I'm still curious how the E-M1 handles that part though. Is the E-M1 (with that lens) responsive once focus is locked or is there some delay with the aperture set around f/11 & with a flash?
  10. portadiferro

    portadiferro Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 26, 2013
    Yeah, figured it's not for fast situations. I'll give it a shot with flash when I have time to see if there's noticeable lag.
  11. portadiferro

    portadiferro Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 26, 2013
    Took some shots with the Sigma using Metz 24 flash, but I didn't notice any unusual delay there. I did shoot in manual, since I had trouble getting a lock in the dim light, does that matter?
  12. Ross the fiddler

    Ross the fiddler Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    That sounds good then. There is a certain amount of delay or slowing down of fps in sequential shooting with a number of lenses as the aperture is closed down & the Sigma is noticeable in that application. Because the external flash (FL50R) is being used in TTL mode there is, I believe, a pre-flash & the delay in exposure in those circumstances (including MF & in Manual Mode) becomes noticeable on the E-M5 & I wasn't sure if the E-M1 suffered in the same way or not, so thanks for letting me know your experience.
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