Corrected: Olympus OM-D E-M1 (and E-M5II) Back Button Focus

Some reader’s questions enlightened me to the fact that I didn’t have all of the necessary information in this post, so I’ve tried to rectify that.  Sure hope it helps.  🙂

“Back Button Focus” refers to a way to engage autofocus (AF) on your camera separately from the shutter button, and is the preferred technique for many photographers.  The big benefit (for me) is that it allows me to stay in Manual Focus (MF) while retaining the capability to AF if I want to.  In practice, it allows you to use AF and then automatically revert back to MF so you can refine if necessary.  Then, you can expose, compose, and shoot without worrying about the focus changing when you take the shot.  Plus, it enables you to tweak the focus if necessary.  It’s also handy in the studio, so you can focus on your subject and then not worry about possibly changing the focus point every time you press the shutter button.

The beauty of the way I set up my E-M1, is that with just a flick of the Lever, I can easily get back to full AF with the shutter button.  So here’s one way to do it … there are probably others.  Go into the Custom Setup (Gear icon) – Menu B (Button/Dial/Lever) – Lever Function and set it to Mode 5.  The first 4 modes essentially change which dial or button is used to change WB and ISO.  I prefer to do that in either the SCP (Super Control Panel) or set my Right and Down Arrow Keys for those functions.

There are also two other settings required for this to work.  First, you must keep the AEL/AFL Button configured to AEL/AFL:  Custom Menu B – Button Function – AEL/AFL Function – AEL/AFL.  Second, go to Custom Menu A – AEL/AFL, press the OK Button, select MF and press OK again.  Now, set MF to mode 3 and press OK one more time.  If you also like using Back Button Focus when in S-AF, then set S-AF to mode 3, also.  BUT, if you set S-AF to mode 3, you lose the AEL functionality of the AEL/AFL button when the lever is in position 1.

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My Digital Experience … The Madness Continues

Image from Sony.Net
This is what seduced me “this” time … the Sony A7RII.
Full Frame
42 Megapixels
and 5-axis SteadyShot INSIDE.
I think I’ve finally found a possible long term cure for my G.A.S. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome), but first some background.
A funny thing happened on the way to my next attempt at “temporary sanity”.  I had both of my favorite cameras in hand, the Olympus OM-D E-M5II and the Sony A7II, and loved them both.  But, I needed to get rid of one of them.  Every time I would think about putting one on Amazon for sale, I’d have regrets and change my mind … I just couldn’t decide, and that’s unusual for me.  I flew airplanes professionally for 33 years and quick decision making was part of the everyday business of getting from point A to point B, safely and expeditiously.
So I did what any rational person would do.  I decided to let the market decide for me, and put both cameras for sale on Amazon.  Perfect!  Whichever one sold first, I’d just keep the other one.  What could possibly go wrong.  🙂  What was that quote, “The best laid plans of mice and men …”?  Yeah, that is true wisdom, and of course, by now you’ve probably guessed what happened.  Both cameras sold the same day!

For a couple of weeks, I just took a break and lived with my great little Ricoh GR, but for most photography work I really like to have image stabilization and an EVF.  I’d been looking longingly at the Fujifilm X100T ever since it was released, so I finally decided to take the plunge and there is not much to find fault with that wonderful little camera.  However, at age 66 my hands just aren’t as steady as I wish they were, and I’ve learned to truly appreciate a camera with built in image stabilization.  That has become my must have feature, with everything else being just icing on the cake.  The X100T is headed back to mother Amazon at this very moment.
I’ve also been looking at the Sony A7RII and reading the reviews (mostly glowing, some not), but thought the high resolution combined with its much improved shutter, excellent EVF, and 5-axis In-Body Image Stabilization (Sony calls it “SteadyShot INSIDE”) would make it an excellent candidate for long term ownership … an unusual thing for me, and only time will tell.  But I feel confident that it will be the case This time.  Wish me luck!  🙂
PS:  I’m thinking of changing my website name from to … what do you think?  🙂

For great ebooks about your favorite camera, if it’s a Sony, Olympus OM-D, or Fujifilm, be sure and take a look at

Update: Exposing Olympus OM-D E-M10 (and E-M1/E-M5II) Myths – HDR and the EVF

Note:  There are a couple of great books available from The Friedman Archives that cover all of the features in great detail for both the Olympus OM-D E-M1 and E-M5II
Olympus OM-D E-M10 (and E-M1/E-M5II) Feature Clarifications: HDR and EVF settings.
Okay, there are a couple of myths floating around the Internet that are bothering me. In the last couple of days, I’ve read blog posts (and reviews) that either neglected to mention or complained about what they “perceived” as problems with these OM-D cameras.
Myth #1: The E-M10 is not good for HDR work. I disagree because Olympus gets it. Bracketing and HDR really are separate issues. We bracket to ensure we get a correct exposure. We use HDR to expand dynamic range of an image. So Oly has separated these two features. And while Bracketing does limit the number and range of options, the HDR setting is great, allowing up to 5 exposures with 3 EV spacing and 7 exposures with 2 EV. Plus, it automatically puts the Drive Mode to Continuous H. Nice!: -)
Myth #2: Some seem to have an issue with using flash, generally in a studio. Sometimes, it’s necessary to use high shutter speeds and/or small apertures to make sure you get a dark background. Normally, the EVF tries to show you what your image will look like with your current camera settings, so in this case you get a very dark (or black) view in the EVF, making it impossible to frame and focus. To avoid this and have your EVF behave like an OVF (i. e., show you what’s in front of the camera unadjusted for settings), just turn Live View Boost (Custom Menu D) “ON”. And “voila”, problem solved. Maybe even create a flash preset with this setting (and others, of course).
Now, go take some pictures!: -)
UPDATE:   Readers +Paul Amyes and +Eric Lawson  offered this idea:  Set one of your buttons to DOF Preview and it will accomplish the same thing as turning Live View Boost ON.  My guess is that it temporarily does just that when you press the button, giving you an OVF like look at your scene.

E-Book for the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II

There’s a brand new e-book already out, all about the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II.  Professional photographers Gary L. Friedman and Tony Phillips have collaborated to quickly release this new book, and it’s another good one!  You’ll find it provides the shortest learning curve for this infinitely configurable camera.

The book is very well written in the usual easy-reading style you find in all of the camera books from The Friedman Archives.  In its 430 pages, there is great coverage of virtually every button and function on the camera, with lots of photos, examples, tips, and tables.  Speaking of tips, here are a couple of good ones straight from the book:

I’ve read several camera books by both of these guys and always appreciate the thoroughness and depth they provide.  I highly recommend this book for new (and experienced) E-M5II shooters.  Plus, with the money-back guarantee, you really don’t have much to lose.  So head over to The Friedman Archives for all of the details.

And don’t forget to look around while you’re there.  Gary has many outstanding images, and there are books about virtually all of the recent major cameras from Olympus, Sony, and Fujifilm.

What You Need to Know about Your Olympus OM-D’s Weather Sealing

We all know that our Olympus OM-D cameras (all except the E-M10) have excellent weather sealing.  But did you know all of the various components that affect the level of this sealing?  Most are fairly intuitive, but still it never hurts to be reminded of what all needs to be in place to help keep the insides of our cameras nice and dry.

For the E-M1, Olympus produced a small manual that covers all of this and more, and it can be found here:

Essentially, this manual tells us that all of the covers need to be in place and free of any debris that might interfere with the sealing.  Sure, we all know that … right?  Of course we do, but some might be easy to overlook or just forget about in the “heat of battle”.  Those might include the Power Battery Holder Connection cover, X-Sync Socket cover, Accessory Port cover (E-M5 and E-M1), and Hot Shoe cover.  And someone might yell at me if I forget to mention the battery door, SD card slot door, and various input port covers.
They go on to say that the camera may be damaged if lenses that are not Weather-Proof are used, and warn against submerging the camera or rinsing it under running water.  Also, you’ll find additional recommendations for cleaning the exterior of the camera.
And finally, you’ll find this notice at the end:

Service Advisory:

Product damage caused by sand or liquid contamination will void the original warranty and any extended warranties if applicable. In most cases Olympus service will not be able to repair the camera. In these situations, the camera would be deemed beyond reliable repair and returned without servicing.

Bottom Line:  Be careful out there.  🙂

Did You Find the Olympus High Res Raw Conversion Plug-in for Adobe Photoshop?

The link to this critical plug-in for converting the new High Res RAW files produced by the E-M5 Mark II is here:

The hard part (at least for me) was finding where the Plug-In was after I installed it on my Mac, and the instructions provided by Olympus didn’t help much.  Sorry Windows users, I can’t offer any help for you.  😦

So after a lengthy search, I finally found the plug-in living in a Plug-ins folder in my Mac’s Applications folder.  Needless to say, Photoshop didn’t know it was there.
I just copied the OlympusHRS_ORF.plugin file to the Adobe Photoshop CC 2014 Plug-ins folder, and then Photoshop was able to find the plug-in and convert the High Res RAW files.  🙂
Once you’ve properly placed the plug-in in the appropriate folder, run Photoshop and go to the File menu > Import > High Res Shot Raw File Plug-in.  The Plug-in will open and allow you to make some basic adjustments before opening the file in Photoshop.  From there, do your magic in photoshop and then you can save the image anywhere in any format you want.
Hope this helps …