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Camera Overview

Lesson 2 from: Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Fast Start

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

2. Camera Overview

Get a jump start on learning your Olympus camera with a brief overview of the company and the Micro Four Thirds system. Learn what lenses are compatible with the camera, the difference between Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds, and just how weather-sealed the camera is.
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Lesson Info

Camera Overview

Now for those of you who are new to Olympus, Olympus is, of course, a very old name in the world of photography. They've been around for a long time. If I had to give them one attribute as to their style of camera, is they make high-quality, small cameras. And so portability has been kind of a key, defining characteristic of a lot of their cameras. The Pen camera, very, very small camera for the time. The OM series was among the smallest, high quality SLR's on the market. They actually got to market, the first really sellable digital camera for the consumers. It was a .3 megapixel camera. Sold for $1,000, if you want to know. In 2003, they decided to get into the interchangeable lens world. The Four Thirds, which is something we're gonna talk right about here in this beginning part, and so they had interchangeable lenses, with a digital sensor, and then they reduced the size, and they came out with their Micro Four Thirds system, with their Pen cameras, which this is part of a series o...

n. And so this lens mount system has been in existence since 2009. Now, this Four Thirds, versus Micro Four Thirds is very important for anyone to understand who owns this system, because it's gonna determine what type of lenses you can get, and their compatibility issues. Now, the Four Thirds sensor is notably smaller than the full frame sensor, or the 35 millimeter frame sensor, that has kind of been the standard in photography for about the last 50 years. So it is a smaller size sensor, with pluses and minuses that go along with it. And so, the Four Thirds is in reference to the system it uses, it's also to the aspect ratio, and so it's a little bit more boxy, if you will, than the traditional 35 millimeter frame. Now the lens mount on these cameras, is a little different than other cameras. And so there is a lens mount, and we'll talk a little bit more about this right here. The original Four Thirds cameras were an SLR design, and they have their own Four Thirds lens system. And so, you gotta be aware, because, for instance, we have a 14 to 42 lens, and we have another 14 to 42, but these are very different lenses. The one on the right is a Micro Four Thirds lens, and it's designed for this particular camera. And so, if you're picking up a lens at a garage sale, or on Ebay, or someplace like that, you really gotta make sure it's a Micro Four Thirds, unless you are going to be adapting it with some sort of adapter. Now, if you do use the older Four Thirds, which you can on this camera with the correct adapter, there's a number of restrictions, and you may wanna take a look at the instruction manual if you plan to do that. So the original Four Thirds system, not this camera, the original Four Thirds system from Olympus, which was back, 2009, or I think, 2003, excuse me, used a traditional SLR system, where it was bouncing light through a prism system. The downside is that the flange distance, where the lens mount to the image sensor was, was fairly large, and the original Four Thirds cameras were not that much smaller than regular full frame, 35 millimeter cameras. And so people were like, why do I wanna buy a camera with a smaller sensor, if the camera is the same size? And so Olympus came up with a new idea, and that was to take the mirror out of the camera, take the prism and that whole other viewing system, out of the camera, reduce the flange distance, and use an electronic viewfinder. And they were able to reduce the size of the lenses, and reduce the size of the camera, notably, to where these cameras are now, notably smaller than a lot of the larger cameras that use larger sensors in 'em. And so, we went from Four Thirds, to Micro Four Thirds, and so there is a notable difference between those two systems. So, the difference between the Four Thirds, and the Micro Four Thirds, first off they have the same sensor, as far as the size and the shape of the sensor, the lens mount is the same lens mount, but what's different about them is that there's a different flange distance, which means that there is a different lens for them. And so they have a different set of lenses, and there is some things in common, and some things that are different from them. Now if you do have those older Four Thirds lenses, you can get the MMF-3 from Olympus, and that's gonna sell for about $160, and that will allow you to adapt Four Thirds lenses onto the Micro Four Thirds camera. And if you are interested, there's a bunch of aftermarket manufacturers, that will make adapters to get almost any imaginable lens onto this camera, which you can use. Now, it's probably not going to be an auto focus, and it's probably gonna have a number of other limitations, as far as what the camera can do, and we'll talk a little bit about that as we go forward today. Now, there is also something from Metabones called a Speed Booster, which will reduce the size of the image circle, so that you're not losing your wide angle capabilities, with wide angle lenses, from larger format lenses. And so, if you are interested in using aftermarket and third party lenses, take a look at some of these adapters. They range in price, quite a bit depending on the quality, and what they do as well. And so, some fun stuff out there, so it's a very, very adaptable camera. Currently, this is what the Olympus Micro Four Thirds family looks like. The Pen Series, which is their most compact in size. Now the Pen-F is the unusual one here, 'cause it's the one that has an electronic viewfinder. The other models just have an LCD on the back of the camera. And then we have the OMD Series, which is more SLR-like. And when we say that, what we're meaning is that it has a viewfinder kind of top and middle on the back of the camera. And the EM1, E stands for electronic, M stands for mirrorless. Mark I stands for their number one best product, and this is the second version of it. And they have a couple of other junior versions, the EM-5, and the EM-10 Mark II's are both excellent cameras as well, with not quite as many features, and not quite as much performance as the EM-1 Mark II here. So when you dig into the instruction manual, you're gonna see all sorts of warnings about what you are not supposed to do with this camera. In short, they could probably just say don't be stupid with it, which should keep you out of most of the problems. One question that a lot of people have is about the weather sealing and dust proofness. And this is among the best on the market. And so if you do get caught in the rain, or very cold conditions, I would expect this camera to do quite well. I don't know that I would willingly go out into a rainstorm and be out there for a prolonged period of time. If you're gonna go shoot a football game that's gonna last for hours, I would probably look at a rain cover. But if it is lightly raining, I don't think you need to worry about it, other than the fact that you need to also have a weather proof lens. And not all of the lenses that you can put on this are weather proof. And so you want to make sure that you're looking at the pro lenses, or the lenses that are classified as having some sort of weather sealing, so that you have a completely weather sealed package on it. Now it is a very durable, very professional camera. The shutter, just out of curiosity, is rated to 200,000 firings, and so that's kind of the estimated lifespan that you can expect from the camera. The other question that people have is what about non-Olympus lenses, batteries, flashes, and other things that you could hook up to the camera? The Olympus cameras share a common lens mount in the Micro Four Thirds family with Panasonic. So you can get Panasonic lenses, and they're gonna focus, and they're gonna meter, and they're gonna do almost everything perfectly. There's a couple of key things on this camera, there's the focus stacking, and I'm trying to remember if it was the high-res mode, I think, the focus stacking was the main problem. Oh, it was the buffer, the pro capture mode on this camera, that you can't use the Panasonic lenses on it. Apparently, there's very special control of the lenses themselves, and so if you want maximum control, you want to get the Olympus lenses, but I really like some of the Panasonic lenses. And so, for my Olympus, I own a mixture of Olympus and Panasonic lenses on it. I tend to want to stick with the Olympus batteries, they tend to be overall better, better quality, last longer, get more shots out of 'em, but if you need a cheap backup, there are some aftermarkets that should not harm the camera in any way. I tend to want to stick with the original manufacturer's flash, just because it does a really good job and the communication is very easy. If you're working with a studio flash, or very simple flash set-ups, then pretty much anything is gonna work fine on it. So, going forward. So let's make sure that your camera, and my camera, is ready for today. We need to charge the battery, which I did last night. Takes about four hours. You should get around 440 shots, that's under, kind of, the normal testing parameters. You're likely to get much, much more than that. So, you need to have a lens on your camera, so make sure you have that. I've got one memory card in my camera. It doesn't really matter which slot you put it in, I've got mine in the top one, which is a little bit faster. I'm gonna go ahead and turn the camera on, and for now, it kills me to say this, put it in the auto mode, and go ahead and take a photo. I'm gonna take a photo of our little test scene over here, just to make sure my camera is working correctly, and I'm gonna add one more little quick live demo here, I wasn't planning on, but just in case you've been messing with your camera, let me show you how to reset your camera really quick. So, if we can make sure that we're looking at the back of my camera here, I'm gonna hit the menu switch here, and over on the left is the whole menu system that we'll be going through. But up at the number one, the first item is Reset, and I'm gonna say, okay, I'm gonna reset this camera, and I'm gonna hit OK again, and I'm gonna come up here and say Yes. And I am clearing everything out on this camera. Now, as we go through the day, there's a good chance I'm gonna forget about something on this camera, like how am I do, this, something's wrong with the camera, and, where is this? And that's because I love to customize the camera, and things get put in different places. And so, I apologize for that. It's a very, very sophisticated camera.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Olympus EM1II Recommended Settings

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

This is exactly what I was looking for - I really feel like I'm not able to control my camera, rather than the camera controlling me! :) I really learned a great deal - some of it was a great review, some of it was crucial information that will (hopefully) make me a better photographer. Thanks for a great class, John!!

Spyro Zarifopoulos

Great and very informative class.... John has done a fabulous job explaining all the simple and intricate details of the very sophisticated EM1 II. Thank you !!!

John Epperson

This is a great course on learning about the OM-D E-M1 Mark II. I have watched it many times to get to were I know it by memory the best I can. I like to go over it as much as possible because there is a lot to learn. I do wish that John would do an updated version since now it is up to Firmware 3.1. It is like a whole new camera with the new settings.

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