Speed up GPS signal recognition

In opposite to cellphones, cameras have to rely on the GPS signal for localization. The connection to satellites can take longer and therefore it could happen that the location information is not available when you take the image. That’s why the E-M1X supports the so Called assisted GPS (A-GPS). A-GPS saves the rough satellite position of the region in the camera. This helps the camera to find the satellite position and can locate the camera easier and faster.

Download A-GPS data

Olympus offers software for your home PC/Mac which is called “Olympus A-GPS Utility”, but I prefer to use it on my mobile OI.track as this allows me to download and transfer the A-GPS data at any time. OI.track is available on the Play Store or App Store, depending on whether you are using Android or iOS mobile phones. You can download and install the A-GPS data as flows.

1 Start OI.track and open settings by clicking the gear wheel in the upper right corner.

2 In the settings you find the button “Update GPS Assets Data”.

3 A dialog opens to start the download…

4 As soon as the data. is downloaded, start WiFi on your camera. When your camera is recognized by OI.track the software asks you whether you would like to use the newly downloaded A-GPS data. Please accept by pressing “Transfer”.

5 As soon as the A-GPS data is uploaded to the camera you have to restart your camera once. Afterward, you are ready to use them…

Correct use of AF limiter

As the adjustment spindle could be quite long in lenses with long focal length, focusing speed is slower than with shorter focal length lenses. Therefore those lenses do have often the possibility to limit the area in which the lens should focus on. In most cases, you can choose between total range, close distance, and far distance. This limits the adjustment spindle and makes focusing faster. Are you shooting for example wildlife, which you are not able to approach close, you can choose only the far distance setting. The lens is then able to focus faster. This possibility is, as already mentioned, only available for long focal length lenses and is limited to three settings.
OM-D cameras have the possibility to set the AF limit via software, which can be used for any lens. You can save three different settings, which you can use at any time. How to use this function I would like to show you as follows.

1 The settings for AF limiter are located in the Menü A (in case of E-M1X it is A3, in case of E-M1 Mark II/III it is A1) Here you can make your basic settings.

2 To make the basic settings press the arrow keys three-time right. Then select one of the three settings and press the arrow key right again.

3 Use the arrow keys to adjust the close and far limit. As soon as you have finished press “OK” to confirm the settings.

* Please keep in mind those values are not exact values. Therefore you can ignore the value behind the comma.

Here you also can change your settings while you are shooting. However, this is quite complicated and is not fast enough. Therefore it makes more sense to program a function key. Then you have direct access to the limiter. I personally use the L-Fn button of the Pro lenses. In case you don’t have Pro lenses or the F-Ln button is already used for something else you also can use another function button.

4 The fastest way to reach the button settings is the Super Control Panel. Just press “OK” and choose the gear wheel.

5 Here you can directly program the function keys. Choose your favorite function key and select AF limiter.

6 Pressing the selected function key allows you to switch the AF limiter on/off. To switch between your three basic settings just press and hold the function key. The selection Menü opens and you can select one of your basic settings.

I hope this tip helps you to make better images. I’m happy when you leave a comment.

Adjust image picture modes

There are many picture modes in Olympus cameras, which influence how sharpness, contrast, gradation, and saturation looks like in JPEG files. Saturation for example is in the picture mode “Vivid” stronger than in the picture mode “Normal”. For my personal taste, I like the picture mode “Normal” very much, but this is a matter of taste and therefore the photographer could change the settings up to a certain degree. This could be done in the Menu. I prefer the Super Control Panel, as you can reach the settings there faster und adjustments could be done directly.

1 You reach the Super Control Panel by pressing the “OK” button.

2 In the upper right corner picture modes can be selected. Directly below you can adjust settings like sharpness, contrast, gradation, and saturation for each picture mode.

3 To change a Value just select a value by touch screen or use the arrow keys. Use the forefinger wheel to change a value.

In case you selected an Art Filter instead of a “normal” picture mode, you can adjust extra Art Filer functions instead of sharpness, contrast, saturation, or gradation. in some of the Art Filters, you could change a frame for example. Important to know is that those settings influence only the JPEG files. RAW files are not affected at all.

My first experiences with the Olympus 150-400mm F4.5 Objektiv

With the M.Zuiko Digital ED 150-400mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO Olympus released a unique lens, which is not available from other manufacturers. Its focal length area covers the equivalent field of view of a 35mm lens with 300-800mm and weights only a bit more than 1800g. Therefore the lens is very mobile and you can shoot handheld without a tripod. With 35mm lenses is this for sure not possible, as those are much bigger and heavier. As you don’t need a tripod you save also the weight of this in case you are on location.
In addition, the lens has the best image stabilization on the market, which works in conjunction with the image stabilization of the camera. This ensures that you can shoot also with a long focal length with our blurring the image.

I’m lucky and had already the opportunity to test the lens and would like to share my experience with you. My very first impression at the moment I touched the lens the first time was, wow that lens is light. Sure it is heavier than lenses with shorter focal length. It is the biggest lens in the Micro Four Thirds family. In case you take it into your hands the first time you will be surprised how light the lens despite its size is. To achieve this Olympus decided to use Aluminum Alloy only on the parts, which are responsible for stability. All other areas are made out of carbon reinforces polycarbonate. Anyhow the lens feels very solid. In addition, the lens hoof is also made out of carbon, this ensures a very good balance between lens and camera body (in my case the E-M1X) also when the lens hood is used.

Handling

As already written above is the balance between lens and camera body excellent. Regarding the handling, there is a lot more. The lens offers a bunch of switches to adjust the focusing area, image stabilization, focus method, and the behaviour of the L-Fn buttons. Those switches are very good to reach and you find them also when you are looking through the viewfinder. The switch to activate the built-in 1.25x teleconverter is placed in the perfect location and can be easily reached in portrait as well as landscape shooting. Focusing and zooming are easy and very precise and without big efforts usable. Very useful are the L-Fn buttons which can be used to focus to a predefined distance or you can activate a predefined function. The predefined focusing distance can be set with a small button close to the switch for the built-in teleconverter. This is a very helpful function, in case you would like to come back to a certain focusing distance when disturbing objects are between you and the subject you would like to focus on. An example would be in case you would like to shot animals behind tries and the branches are in the way.
In opposite to 35mm lenses Micro Four Third lenses do have a very short closest focusing distance. In the case of the M.Zuiko Digital ED 150-400mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO it is 1.3m, also when you are using the built-in or external teleconverter. This makes the lens also a mark lens, which is very useful to shoot butterflies or dragonflies. The long focal length enables you not only to keep the needed distance to shy animals but also gives you a nice unsharp background.

Image quality

As you expect from such kind of lens the lens is in each area top. Sharpness full-fills all professional needs. Even when the built-in teleconverter is used there are no complaints, which also is the case when using MC-14 or MC-20. In case you are using the MC-20 the lens reaches an unbelievable focal length of 1000mm, which is equivalent to 2000mm in 35mm cameras. As the image stabilization is so good also in this configuration shooting handheld is not an issue at all. The tripod you can leave at home. This makes not only your travel luggage lighter but you could also shoot more agile as you can react to changes much faster.
Autofocus is working in all configuration fast and precise, which is also very helpful when you are shooting fast-moving objects. Issues like distortion, vignetting, or chromatic aberration are not present.

Comparison with the M.Zuiko Digital ED 100-400mm F5-6.3 IS

I know this comparison is unfair as the 100-400mm is far less expensive than the 150-400mm lens. The 150-400mm lens is bigger, but delivers also much more speed and is in all-optical areas at least one class better. Also, usage is more flexible as it has a built-in 1.25x teleconverter, which can be switch on / off without releasing the lens. Therefore you can react much faster in case you need a bit more focal length, which is a real benefit especially when you are shooting wildlife or sports. Besides, the AF speed is much faster and more precise. Don’t misunderstand me, the 100-400mm lens is, having the price in mind, a brilliant lens, but the 150-400mm in comparison is much better.

Results

Enough written. It is better to show you images taken with this lens. In case you have questions write a comment I’m more than happy to answer.

Links to other experiences

Andy Rouseused the lens in UK and shares his thoughts here.
Petr Bambousekshot with the lens in Costa Rica and share experience here.
Scott Bourneshows his first experiences with the lens and nice images here.
Imaging Resourcenice background information about the technical details of the lens here.

Adjust grid colour

Why useful?

Gridlines are very helpful to compose images. Therefore OM-D cameras have the option to use different grid lines. In the standard settings, the grid lines are grey. They can be adjusted as in some situations grey grid lines are hard to see. Therefore OM-D cameras do have the possibility to adjust the gridline color.

Standard grid line are hardly visible.
Red grid lines are better visibile.

1 Go to „Custom Menu“ „D3“ and choose
„Grid Settings“ and press “OK”.

2 Choose „Display Color“ and press „Arrow Key Right“. Press again „Arrow Key Right“ and choose „Preset 1“. Press once again „Arrow Key Right“. 

3 Mix your color with the three values „R“ (red), „G“ (green), and „B“ (blue) and set transparency with α. Press „OK“ to confirm settings. Press „MENU“ to cancel settings.

Tip:
In case you would like to have a second grid color you could program it on preset 2.

Short cut to switch on / off the automatic eye sensor

Why useful

OM-D cameras do have an eye sensor, which detects when you are looking through the viewfinder and switching on the viewfinder. This is very useful, as you don’t have to think about switching LC display and viewfinder when you would like to use the viewfinder. In some cases this function is unwanted. Switching the automatic sensor with the menu is time-consuming and might be the reason why you are missing a shot. Therefore there is a shortcut to change the behavior of the eye sensor quite fast.

1 Press end hold the „Monitor“ (LV) button.

2 The „EVF Auto Switch“ menu opens and you could change the eye sensor on or off.

3 When the eye sensor is switched off use the „Monitor“ button to switch between the back monitor and electronic viewfinder