The Leica Q has been on my wish list since I first read about it when it was announced on June 10, 2015. Why? Well first, it’s made by the renowned German camera maker, Leica, plus it has a full frame sensor, fast Leica Summilux lens, excellent EVF, and for me the image stabilization is important. I kept trying to get the same general features but at a lower cost by using different cameras, and I thought maybe the Ricoh GR would scratch that itch since it had the 28mm lens and an excellent APS-C sensor. It didn’t. In the end, I think it came down to the fact that I had never used a Leica and I just wanted to … Continue reading “The “Q” … My First Experience with a Leica”
Let me reiterate … this is not an HDR function, and the camera saves all of the images for you, with no in-camera merging.
The menus of the Olympus OM-D E-M1 provide a deep, but fairly well organized hierarchy of almost all of the functions and settings that can be changed on this camera, and there are many. Some of you may feel that it is too complicated, but I think this complexity is what allows us the ability and freedom to customize this camera to our own personal taste, and that is where much of its power derives. So while it may take a while to figure out exactly how to set it up to your liking, it’s worth the effort.
I won’t go into all of the available settings, but will cover mainly just the ones that affect the various, customizable buttons that make using the E-M1 a bit easier and faster. So here are the buttons with my settings and reasoning for it. It’s been said many times that “opinions are like noses” and everybody has one, so I’d be amazed if any of you set your camera exactly like I set mine … these are just a few of the possibilities. (Speaking of which, how about one of you math whizzes telling us how many permutations/possibilities there are with six buttons and about 22 available settings for each one. 🙂 Okay, while we wait for the answer to my pop math quiz, let’s get started.
Fn1 Button = [—]HP. I generally keep my focus set for single target AF since I prefer to choose what I want to focus on instead of letting the camera do it. Of course, sometimes I need to move this AF point around and this setting gives me an easy way to get it back to center. (Assuming that Custom Menu A -> [—] Set Home, is set to Single Target AF.) If I mount an adapted lens that has only MF, then I repurpose this button to Peaking.
Fn2 Button = RAW. Most of the time, I shoot in RAW. However, there are some camera settings that require a JPG setting, like Monochrome for instance. So with this button setting, I can quickly switch from RAW to RAW+JPG and back.
Movie Button = Myset 3. Okay, this could be any of the Mysets, but #3 just happens to be my HDR preset. A few of the other HDR settings this will bring up for me are Aperture priority, ISO 200, RAW, and Continuous H. I know, it’s so easy to get HDR settings from the front of the dial over the On/Off switch, but it doesn’t automatically change your shooting mode, quality, or ISO from whatever they may be set on. One very nice thing that you E-M5 shooters will appreciate is that this is a toggle switch so you don’t have to hold it down while taking the shots.
AEL/AFL Button = AEL/AFL. Imagine that … a button that actually does what it says it will do! 🙂 I like this because in an AF mode, it acts as an AEL button and locks the exposure. If you’re in MF, pressing it will temporarily turn on S-AF and then revert right back to MF as soon as you release it. This is commonly known as “Back Button Focus” and can be a very nice way to shoot, even better than S-AF+MF IMHO.
Front Buttons on the right side of the lens:
Top Button = Multi Function. By pressing and holding this button while turning either the Rear Dial or the Front Dial, you can cycle through four different settings: Highlight and Shadow Control, Color Creator, Magnify, and Image Aspect. I like this setting for a couple of reasons. First, the Highlight and Shadow Control can’t be found anywhere else. Second, when I mount an adapted MF only lens, this gives me easy access to Magnify as a focusing aid. The other two settings are nice but are also available on the Super Control Panel.
Bottom Button = Digital Tele-converter. This setting gives you a 2X magnification of the actual image as long as you have JPG or RAW+JPG set. With just RAW, you will see the magnification in the display, but the recorded file will be normal. And while the tele-converter function works pretty well (almost as good as OnOne’s Perfect Resize), I actually prefer to use it as a MF assist function since it only gives 2X instead of the minimum of 5X with normal Focus Assist.
Arrow Pad = Direct Function. I’ve set the “Arrow Pad” keys to Direct Function. The default setting for these arrow keys is to move the AF point around, but they are “hot” all the time and I kept inadvertently moving them with my thumb. The Direct Function setting allows me to use the Right Arrow to bring up the Flash Settings menu for quick changes, and the Down Arrow to change the ISO, which I frequently use. Also in Direct Function, the Left Arrow will activate the AF point selector so you can move the focus point around. Lastly, the Up Arrow activates the ability to set Exposure Compensation using the arrow keys … but this is a waste for me since I always use the Front Dial for this. There are only seven settings available for the Arrow Pad keys: Drive, Flash, Touch Panel Lock, Electric Zoom (for lenses that support it), ISO, WB, and Exposure Compensation.
Update Feb. 19, 2014: I forgot to talk about using the Arrow Key for ISO. Yes, I know … this is normally easy to access by putting the Lever to Position 2 and turning the Front Dial. However, I too often forgot to flip the Lever back up and ended up changing ISO and WB when I was wanting to change Aperture and/or Exp. Comp. So, in Custom Menu B – Button/Dial/Lever, I’ve set Lever Function to Mode 5, which changes the focus setting between AF and MF as you flip the Lever up and down.
Oh, and one more thing … remember that all six of those buttons have the same settings available (not the Arrow Pad keys), so you can set them up any way you want to. Lots of flexibility and choice.
There are so many settings on the E-M1 that I could expand this post to several hundred pages, but thankfully, I don’t have to. Gary Friedman at the www.FriedmanArchives.com has put together a comprehensive manual about every feature and function on the E-M1 with lots of detailed explanations and pretty pictures, too. If you’re interested, you’ll be able to order the book at his website.
A few photos for your viewing pleasure. 🙂
|HDR image using Nik HDR Efex and 5 exposures at 2ev.|
My biggest complaint with the various mirrorless cameras I’ve used over the last couple of years has been their rather anemic HDR (High Dynamic Range) capabilities. Generally they only offered to bracket 3 or 5 images with up to about 1ev spacing. They’ve been getting better, but now the Olympus OM-D E-M1 has raised the bar and given us extensive HDR functions.
The new E-M1 has an awesome HDR setup. Auto HDR is there if you want, but even better are the great options for bracketing your exposures with either 3, 5, or 7 frames at 2ev, or 3 or 5 frames at 3ev. Nice!
Out of the box, the default settings are to press the HDR Button and turn the Front Dial to choose your HDR settings. (The HDR Button is the front half of that button on the top left shoulder of the camera.) Olympus has gone even further by having the camera automatically set the ISO to 200 and Drive to Sequential Shooting so it will take all the desired shots with a single press of the shutter button … you don’t even need to hold it down for the full sequence.
The Auto HDR offers two settings called HDR1 and HDR2, with each of those taking 4 exposures and combining them in-camera to create your HDR image. If you’re in JPG only, you’ll just get one exposure, the HDR. However, if you have RAW+JPG selected, you’ll get an HDR JPG and a normally exposed RAW file.
I should mention that the E-M1 also offers an AEB (auto-exposure bracketing) mode in a separate menu (Menu > Shooting Menu 2 > Bracketing), for those who really just want to bracket the exposure of their images to make sure they get the perfect one. The options on that menu are much more limited than the HDR options.
The above image is a full HDR image, created by taking 5 exposures at 2ev spacing into Nik HDR Efex and then back through Lightroom 5. Below are in-camera HDR images, using HDR1 and HDR2, plus a normal exposure and a copy of HDR1 edited further in Lightroom5.
For more information about HDR with the E-M1 (and E-M5II), be sure and check out Gary Friedman’s excellent and very thorough books.
Available at: www.FriedmanArchives.com
|Normal Exposure – note the blown highlights out the window|
|HDR1 Edited in Lightroom5. Cut the highlights, enhanced the shadows, and added Clarity and Saturation|
- Function Settings 1 > Focus Settings
- Function Settings 2 > White Balance Settings
- Function Settings 3 > Creative Style Settings
- Function Settings 4 > Custom Settings
- Custom Settings 1 > DRO/Auto HDR (Having Auto HDR and Quality in Custom Settings means they are both accessible at the same place. And since I often shoot in RAW, this makes it easy to quick change to JPEG when I want to use Auto HDR.)
- Custom Settings 2 > Quality
- Custom Settings 3 > Picture Effect
- Function Settings Start > Previous (this just takes me back to whatever I had last changed)
- AF/MF Button > AF/MF control
- Right Key Setting > Flash Mode
- Soft Key B Setting > Focus Settings
- Soft Key C Setting > Shoot Mode
- Custom Settings > N/A unless you set Soft Key C to Custom Settings, then you will have several choice to add, here.
I ordered the E-P5 the day it was announced from Amazon and have been waiting for almost two months … nothing yet. Initially, Amazon showed a release date of June 21st, but then on June 21st they informed me the release had been delayed to sometime between late July and late August. So, what does one do …… Get the E-PL5 and stick the new VF-4 external EVF on it! 🙂
The E-PL5 is a very nice little camera but I miss the control dials that are on my E-M5 and coming on the E-P5. Image quality is of course pretty much the same as the E-M5 (same sensor) and the menus are nearly identical with just a few differences.
As for the VF-4, it is very nice! The higher resolution is a bonus and the larger view is wonderful. I don’t really like the look of the camera with the VF-4 sitting on top, but I much prefer a viewfinder for composing shots instead of using the rear screen, so I’ll make the sacrifice. It looks a bit fragile and vulnerable up there, but it actually attaches very securely, by plugging into the accessory port and also the hot shoe. Another nice feature is that it will rotate up 90 degrees, which can be a big help when composing shots with the camera close to the ground.
Hopefully, the E-P5 will show up in the next 3 or 4 weeks at which point I’ll be putting up my first impressions and images from the new camera.
Below are a few of the initial shots with the E-PL5. The first one is an HDR from 5 images at 2EV spacing and processed in Nik HDR Efex Pro.