Olympus OM-D E-M1 Top Dials
Olympus / OM System,  Photo Gear

The Professional Controls on the Olympus OM-D E-M1

In my Opinion, one of the features that sets the Olympus OM-D E-M1 apart from other Compact System Cameras are its professional controls.

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 has two control dials and a two position lever that allow you to change the settings of the camera while still keeping your eye on the viewfinder.   The controls for these dials are customizable but the factory settings are set to the features that I change most frequently:  Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO, Exposure Compensation, and White Balance.

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Top Controls

These settings vary based on the shooting mode (Aperture Priority, Manual, etc.), and they are also customizable by the shooting mode.

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 also has a knob attached to the on/off switch that has two buttons.  The front button controls the HDR/bracketing and Sequential Shooting /Self Timer settings while the rear button controls the metering options and the autofocus selections.

When these menus are displayed, the selections are made using the front and rear control dials.  A really nice feature is that all these selections can be made while looking in the viewfinder.

The combination of the physical dials and buttons on the Olympus OM-D E-M1 and the ability to make the changes right in the viewfinder can save valuable time during your photography settings.  If you consistently use and memorize these external controls, they can be really handy for night photography as well.

3 Additional Settings You Need to Make on Your OM-D E-M1

There are 3 additional settings that I would also make to the Olympus OM-D E-M1 to make the camera even more flexible and usable.

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 comes with 2 customizable function buttons (Fn1 and Fn2).  I would set one of the buttons to Zoom and the other for Focus Peaking.  If you do any macro photography or manual focusing, these settings are invaluable.

For me it has also opened up a whole new world of manual focus only lenses (such as the Rokinon) as the zoom and focus peaking features help to ensure the photo is in focus.

The Fn1 and Fn2 buttons can be set in the Gear Menu by going to the following sub-menus:

Gear Menu –> Button/Dial/Lever –> Button Function

Olympus Super Control Panel

 Super Control Panel

The other change I would make is to enable the Super Control Panel.  The Super Control Panel is a quick menu on the LCD to access most of the settings on the camera.  The Super Control Panel is activated by pressing the OK button on the back of the camera.

For some reason, the camera does not come with the Super Control Panel Activated.  Visit my blog for instructions on how to activate the Super Control Panel.

Written by Martin Belan

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Tips for Using the Rokinon 7.5mm Fisheye Lens with the Olympus OM-D
Long Exposure Photography Using the Olympus OM-D E-M1
The Olympus OM-D E-M1 is now my Go To Camera for Landscape Photography

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  • Martin

    Thanks so much for your well understandable suggetions, Programming Fn1 and Fn2 makes manual focussing so much easier for me.

    My E-M1 came with firmware 2 and had the super control panel already active. Still is active now with firmware 4 although I lost some settings (including the Wifi connection wiht my smartphone) while updating. 

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