Customizing the Olympus E-30

Making the camera truly yours without mess and confusion

My other articles related to the Olympus E-System cameras.

It is easy to get confused by the plethora of user preference settings and other options in the E-30. The camera can, indeed, be tweaked extensively to better fit the photographer's taste, preferences, and working habits, but complexity is a price which has to be paid for this. This is why you may need this article.

If you are coming back to this article just to revise your E-30 setup, you may be better of using just my quick cheat sheet, suitable for printing as a quick reference.

Table of Contents


The settings and preferences available can be roughly divided into three groups; to make my job easier and to avoid repetitiveness in the text, I'm going to color-code them as follows:

  • Red: General preferences and some settings which would usually be set just once and then left alone.
  • Yellow: Some picture-taking settings which may be adjusted for a given shooting session (or, rarely, a part of it), but not really often.

    It is essential that you develop a habit of resetting these to defaults as soon as they are no longer needed, and to check them every time you turn the camera on; otherwise you may experience some surprises. (Examples: drive mode, white balance.)

  • Green: Shooting parameters likely to be adjusted quite often, sometimes from one frame to another.

    These do not really customize your camera, but it is handy to keep some reasonable defaults stored in one of the reset slots, so that your camera is more or less ready when you do a reset.

  • Blue: These are just menu entries unrelated to preferences or camera settings; they are listed here so that you know I haven't missed them by accident.

Unavoidably, there will be some overlap between the first three groups, so my color coding is just a general guidance, not a rule.

Quite a few parameters affect only the process of converting the raw image into RGB (a JPEG file) after the picture has been taken, bit before a JPEG is saved to the memory card. These will be tagged as [JPEG]. They also will be applied if an image is saved as a raw (ORF) file and then postprocessed with Olympus software with "as shot" settings.

Another tag indicates whether the setting is stored in Custom Reset and/or My Mode slots. This is shown as (CR) or (CR/MM) — there was no need for the (MM) tag alone.

NOTE: Upgrading the firmware will revert all your camera settings to factory defaults. You will have to repeat the customization process every time you do that.

In this walkthrough I will follow the order in which the preferences or settings are listed in the menu system. This may be not a most task-oriented assignment, but it will save you a need to traverse the menu tree.


Default Shooting Parameters

Most of these do not really customize your camera; they may be frequently changed during a shooting session, sometimes from one frame to another. Still, it is good to have some default values for a quick custom reset.

There are accessed from two menus: Camera 1 and Camera 2, but some of them are not accessible from the menu system.


Settings Not in the Menu

These settings are not available from the menu system (which makes the menu structure simpler; I would like some others to go as well), but you may want to adjust them, so that they are saved as a custom reset or one of My Modes for a quick recall.


Exposure Compensation (CR/MM)

This may change from one frame to another, but you need a default value to be used after a quick custom reset. Zero makes best sense here. (If you tend to shoot generally darker, use Exposure Shift to adjust for that.)


Flash Mode (CR/MM)

Unless you are planning to use the built-in flash as a focus aid even in flash-less shooting, I would set this to (always On). You don't want the camera to decide when to use the flash, do you?

Read here about the choice available here.


Drive Mode (CR/MM)

This is used to activate the sequential mode (high- or low-speed), infrared remote receiver, or self-timer. If mirror lock is enabled, there will be also a mirror-locked version of each mode available from here.

As a default, single frame is most practical here.

What the "low" sequential speed means is set from another menu.


Image Stabilization (CR/MM)

This setting has four positions: Off, IS1, IS2, and IS3. IS1 means stabilization in two dimensions, while IS2 and IS3 — in one (vertical or horizontal, respectively, with the camera in landscape mode).

While the feature may be used quite often, I believe it is better set to Off by default.

This setting screen also allows you to enter a focal length of a legacy, manual lens you may be using with image stabilization. While the setting is irrelevant until you actually mount such a lens, you may enter here your most often used value if you wish. This focal length is ignored when any Four Thirds lens is mounted on the camera.


Live View

This should rather default to Off: you do not want the camera to enter Live Mode on a reset. (It is possible that you may want to have it enabled, though, in one of your My Mode presets or in the second reset slot.)


The Camera 1 Menu

Except for the two first entries, this menu deals with the parameters of the imaging engine. Of these, only ISO and Noise Reduction affect raw images; the rest are just stored as values in those, so that they can (but do not have to) be used "as shot" in the raw-to-RGB conversion in postprocessing.

The menu item images below have been converted to monochrome for better readability in printed copies.


Card Setup

Not a setting: used to erase all images from the currently selected card or to format it.


Custom Reset

From this sub-menu you can define, reset, or recall a camera setup. This function will be discussed in a separate section.


Picture Mode [JPEG] (CR/MM)

This sub-menu allows you to modify a number of Picture Modes, each being a set of image processing parameters. From here you can also select the mode for the camera to use. Both functions can be accessed more conveniently from the Control Panel.

There are four color Picture Modes, one monochrome, and one — user-defined.

  • Three "traditional" Olympus Picture Modes (named Vivid, Natural, Muted); each stores its own combination of contrast, sharpness, and saturation. In the default configuration, these decrease gradually in this order, see the table below.
  • The Portrait mode offers and stores the same adjustments. It also moves up the mid-tones and shadows. In addition to that, it is possible that colors are tweaked here to provide better skin tone rendition, although I haven't checked this.
  • The monochrome ["Monotone"] mode has contrast and sharpness adjustments, plus a Filter setting, similar to using a filter of a given color in B&W photography. The choices are Yellow, Orange, Red, Green, or Neutral (i.e., none). In particular, the first three darken blue skies (red being the strongest).

    Images in this mode can be tinted to Purple, Blue, Sepia or Green, or left black-and white (Neutral). I recommend postponing this to the postprocessing stage, if ever.

  • To set or adjust the Custom (user-defined) Picture Mode, you first choose a "parent mode" from the above, and then adjust image parameters.

    Unlike other Picture Modes, Custom also stores the Gradation setting.

The contrast, sharpness, and saturation values you choose for a given mode are not absolute; they are applied on top of a base offset assigned by the designers to each mode.

This table shows the undocumented base values in the first column, and then my recommended adjustments (Adjust), followed by the resulting absolute settings (Total).

If you are also using an E-3 or E-510/E-410, be advised that some of the base values have changed from both cameras (I'm not sure about E-520/E-420). This is not so important, because even the same values may be implemented differently, as the sensor and imaging pipeline are different in the E-30 than in any previous E-System models).

Picture Mode Parameter Base Adjust Total
Vivid Contrast 0 0 0
Sharpness +1 -2 -1
Saturation +1 0 +1
Natural Contrast 0 -1 -1
Sharpness 0 -1 -1
Saturation 0 0 0
Muted Contrast -1 -1 -2
Sharpness -1 -1 -2
Saturation 0 -1 -1
Portrait Contrast 0 -2 -2
Sharpness -1 -2 -3
Saturation 0 -1 -1
Monochrome Contrast 0 -1 -1
Sharpness 1 -2 -1
Filter - Red
Picture Tone (tint) - Neutral (none)

The Custom mode inherits from its parent the base (offset) values, but not any adjustments. In my setup it is identical to Natural with Auto gradation enabled (see below), but this may still change.

Larger sharpness adjustments I'm using in Vivid and Monochrome are intended to bring the absolute sharpening to the same level as in Natural. I found that higher settings can produce visible artifacts.

Treat my preferences largely as a matter of taste, possibly a starting point to your own custom setup. Still, it is unlikely that you will need to adjust any parameters up.

After the Picture Modes have been defined, you have a choice of the one to be set as default after a custom reset. I chose Natural.


Gradation [JPEG] (CR/MM)

The choice is between Normal, Auto, Low Key, and High Key.

Low Key and High Key move the central part of the tonal curve down or up, respectively, therefore making the mid-tones darker or lighter (with smaller impact on tonality near the ends of scale). This is not the same as just decreasing or increasing the exposure. This can be equally well done in postprocessing, even if you store your images as JPEGs. For this reason I do not use these options.

The Auto uses what Olympus refers to as Shadow Adjustment Technology; it extracts more detail from shadows by lifting the part of the tonal curve to the left of mid-tones. This may be useful when photographing bright scenes with large areas in shadows, which otherwise could become unreadable.


File Format and Compression [JPEG] (CR/MM)

You can choose between the Olympus raw format (ORF) and one of the four JPEG size/compression combinations (which are, in turn, defined in the Settings 1G sub-menu).

This means that if you would like to use a combination not "out of the box", you will have to define it there first, before you choose it here.

Two presets I use most often are Large/Superfine and Large/Fine; unless you are using the raw format, the real choice will be just between them. Actually, I find the former sufficient for all I'm doing; just for the peace of mind you may set this to Large/Superfine (which uses 50% more storage space, but card memory gets cheaper every day).

Changing this setting "on the run" is rather a bad idea, as it is easy to forget to set it back as needed.


White Balance [JPEG] (CR/MM)

This menu item offers access to various WB presets (including Auto), but it also allows for introducing persistent corrections to these settings.

As a default for a reset slot I prefer Sunny (5300°K), although Auto should work quite well on the E-30, as this camera has an external WB sensor. Your pick.

Every preset available here (except for Custom WB, defined as color temperature) may have its own correction entered, and that correction will be used every time this setting is used. I never had a real need to do it, but after using the camera for a while you may want to apply these individual tweaks.

This adjustment is done separately in two dimensions: amber-blue and green-magenta. It will override, for that preset, any global WB adjustment defined previously.

If you really like tweaking the color balance, you will be probably saving raw images anyway, and in such a case all this becomes irrelevant.

The E-30 also allows you to define one custom white balance (CWB) setting. I've put 2500°K in that slot, as this is useful when shooting under lower-wattage bulbs, for which the standard incandescent (3000°K) setting is too warm. The color temperature for this setting can be entered directly from this menu, or through the Control Panel (by pressing the Exposure Compensation button when CWB is selected).

The Reference WB setting can be activated from here, but the only way to define it is by using the [Fn] button, to which this functionality must be previously assigned.



This sets the image sensor gain, or, roughly speaking, its responsiveness to light. I prefer to do it manually, with the default at ISO 100, moving to higher values only when needed.

If you leave this at Auto, the camera will move the ISO up when it considers the required shutter speed too slow for safe handholding (the upper limit of this adjustment is defined elsewhere). Better depend on your own judgement, unless you are routinely using the Program AE mode.   


Noise Reduction (CR/MM)

This option turns on the low-light, static noise reduction which is done by subtracting a "dark frame" from a taken picture (again, see my noise article). This can be set to On, Off, or Auto. In the last case NR will be activated only at longest exposure times (usually above one second, depending on the ISO setting). The Auto setting makes sense as a default.

When you switch to the sequential drive mode, noise reduction will become temporarily disabled, to avoid the extra delay between frames.

Anyway, this setting is relevant only if you are using those long exposures.


Noise Filter [JPEG] (CR/MM)

This removes the random (non-static) noise from recorded images during the raw-to-RGB conversion. It always leads to some detail being lost, even if the result may look more pleasing than the original.

The process should not be confused with Noise Reduction, described in the previous section. For more on the difference, refer to my Noise in Digital Cameras article.

There are four values to choose from: Off, Low, Standard, and High. The first one does not disable the filtering entirely, just sets it to some base value. How these presets work also depends on the ISO setting: my results clearly show that at ISO 400 the filtering becomes more aggressive, even if NF is set to Off.

As the noise level is greatly affected by ISO and by the sharpening applied, the filtering should be set depending on these parameters. (See my article discussing that for the E-3.) Then, adjusting the noise filter every time those are changed is cumbersome and error-prone, so some compromises should be made here for sake of simplicity.

This is why on the E-30 I've set NF to Low, which seems to work best for my adjusted Natural mode and never change it for anything else. The default Standard setting is too fuzzy for my taste. My advice: start from that combination, adjust it to your liking, make that your reset default, and forget about it.


The Camera 2 Menu

This menu groups the actual picture-taking options, therefore the choices made here will affect images stored as ORF (raw) and JPEG files.

Even if some of these settings may be probably adjusted on the session basis (sometimes even frame-by-frame), this will probably not happen often.


Metering Pattern (CR/MM)

This will be probably used only for choosing between ESP (matrix) and center-weighted metering, and usually you do not switch between those two, this being rather a matter of general preference than a choice for a particular scene or situation.

The choice is available via a direct button anyway, but even that one will not be much (if at all) used in my recommended setup: set the metering pattern default to either ESP or center-weighted (depending on which one you prefer to use), and assign the spot mode to the autoexposure lock.

If you decide (like most users) to stick to ESP, you may make the process to assign more weight to the area near to the currently used AF sensor; the choice is done by selecting ESP+AF from a submenu here.

Neither the spot mode, nor its highlight and shadow variations, make good candidates for the default mode set here during camera customization.


RC Flash Mode (CR/MM)

Unless you are using a remote setup of multiple (compatible) flash units, keep this setting at Off and forget about it. If you are using such a setup, you may activate this just before the multiple-flash shooting session.


Flash Compensation (CR/MM)

Start from zero (remember that my preferred way is to apply the flash compensation on top of the "regular" one, not instead). You may want it adjusted if your flash tends to under- or over-expose on a regular basis, i.e., if your default exposure compensation with flash is different than without. Once you do that, keep it there, and adjust exposure the same way as without a flash, i.e., with the plain control.


Focusing Mode (CR/MM)

The choice here is between Single AF, Continuous AF, and Manual Focus (two more modes, S-AF+MF and C-AF+MF, use AF in conjunction with MF). Usually the selection will not be done from the menu, as the two other ways to do it (Control Panel, direct button) are more convenient.

Single AF makes a good default, as it works best in most cases, except for rapidly moving subjects; then the actual choice can be bade as needed via a direct button.


AF Point Selection (CR/MM)

This menu entry offers a choice between the full 11-point array, a five-point cross pattern (referred to as Dynamic Point), and a single spot. Suit your preferences here; I've settled down on the cross as a reset default, but some will prefer one of the other settings.

The spot and cross patterns can have an AF point location assigned from here. This should be left at the center as a default.

The single-spot mode may use one of two available sizes of the sensitive area; this is defined in one of the Settings sub-menus.


Mirror Lock (CR/MM)

To avoid camera shake caused by the mirror travel, some cameras allow for an extra delay to be introduced between that and the actual exposure (i.e., opening the shutter). This is referred to as mirror lock (Olympus uses the term Anti-Shock). The feature can be useful in critical applications, when a tripod is being used.

The length of this delay can be set in the E-30 from 0 (no delay) to 30 seconds.

Once the mirror lock delay us set to a non-zero value, the sequence of drive modes (accessible by pressing the dedicated button) doubles in length, including mirror-locked versions of all; this is denoted by a small diamond shown next to the drive mode icon (or the icon blinking in the top info panel).

Some of these "mirror-locked" modes do not make sense at all: for example, any of the sequential ones. These should be simply ignored until Olympus sorts out the mess and removes them.

If you are planning to use the mirror lock often, a delay value of 2 or 4 seconds is long enough for such vibrations to die out; if not — set it to zero to avoid scrolling through a sequence of 14 drive modes, and change that setting only when needed.


AE Bracketing (CR/MM)

Out of four kinds of bracketing provided by the E-30 this is the most useful; in critical applications you will possibly use it a lot. Set the default to Off, activating as needed.


WB Bracketing (CR/MM)

Off by default, and pretty useless in shooting, too,


Flash Bracketing (CR/MM)

In some situations this can be used instead of exposure bracketing to change flash-to-ambient light ratio. Set this to Off, to be activated only as needed.


ISO Bracketing (CR/MM)

This is autoexposure bracketing by means of changing the ISO only. Again, Off by default.


Multiple Exposure (CR)

This enables superposition of multiple exposures in one image — something you set for a single shooting session, or even a single picture. In the default setup it should be, obviously, Off.

Note: Not stored in My Mode.


Settings and Preferences

Here we come to actually customizing the camera, making its work your way. There are more than sixty options to set here (plus some housekeeping operations), so the list may seem overwhelming at last. Luckily, most of these settings are in the Red group: set once and forget.

The Settings 1 Menu

This menu contains more options than all others combined, so for easier navigation it branches into nine submenus: Settings 1A to Settings 1I.

Technically, these are not submenus, as after reaching the end of one, further scrolling moves you to the next submenu; this works more like bookmarks in a flat list.


Settings 1A: Focusing

Here you set almost all of your preferences related to focusing, except for focus lock, which is in Settings 1B.


AF Illuminator (CR/MM)

From here you can enable or disable the autofocus aid light, used when the available light is not bright enough for reliable autofocus. This light is provided by the built-in flash (when raised) as a series of weak discharges, or by an external unit (when turned on) as with a dedicated LED (?) illuminator, much less intrusive.

In either case, the setting allows to turn the AF aid off. It is irrelevant if the flash is not raised or if the external flash is turned off.

I prefer to have this feature enabled. It may have to be turned off for use with slave flash units, to avoid premature triggering.


Focus Ring Direction (CR)

This allows you to choose in which direction you will have to turn the manual focusing on Olympus Four Thirds lenses in order to change the focus towards infinity, so that you can stick to your habits acquired with manual lenses.

The choice does not affect lenses with mechanical focus coupling, like the 12-60 mm ZD; one more reason to leave this alone.


Continuous AF Lock

This is a protection against the camera refocusing in the C-AF mode every time something crosses the field of view (like people passing between the camera and the subject). It simply disables the focus adjustment if the change would be large and sudden. For most users the On setting makes sense here.


AF Point Indicator

You can disable the red blink in the viewfinder, showing the AF point used in a successful focus estimate. Most of us will want to keep this On.


AF Sensitive Area

This changes the effective area of the AF sensor used in the single-point mode: Normal or Small, the latter denoted by [.]s in displayed indicators. I don't see much difference between both settings, so I'm keeping the Normal default.


AF Point Selection Sequence

This option is used to choose how turning the control dial (while the AF point selection button, [...], is pressed) moves from one such point to another. There are three possibilities:

  • Off: the point remains stuck after reaching the edge of the pattern;
  • Loop: it jumps to the other end of the same row;
  • Spiral: the sequence is like in reading a book, with a jump to the other end of the page.

In Loop and Spiral, an extra step of selecting all points is inserted before the jump.

Play with the camera using all three settings decide what you like best; it is personal. I found Spiral practical, but I do not use it much anyway.


Lens Focus Reset

If this is activated, turning the camera off will reset the lens to infinity. The lens becomes shorter, and (in most cases) more ready for the first frame at the next power-up. Set this to On.


Bulb Focusing

Here you can disable the focus ring for the time when the shutter stays open to avoid an unintended defocusing in one of the MF modes (or with a lens where the MF ring is coupled all the time, like the 12-60 mm ZD).

Most probably, you will want this at Off.


Live View AF Mode (CR/MM)

The E-30 is capable, when in the Live View mode, of using the imager for autofocusing, instead of the dedicated AF sensor (which requires the mirror to be down). This uses the contrast detection method, which is slower and (probably) less accurate than the phase detection used in the "regular" mode.

The major advantage is that activating the AF during live preview does not cause an interruption due to the mirror action. The final focusing (just before the picture is taken) may be a bit faster, as the AF sensor does not need to be used, but the mirror still goes down and up for unclear reasons.

There are three operating modes to choose from:

  • Imager AF, where the imager is used for both the preview and final autofocus. This requires a CD-AF compatible lens (see Lenses in my review); with others the mode will automatically switch to Hybrid AF.
  • Hybrid AF — the imager is used for preview AF, but the main AF sensor for the final focusing. This will work with lenses without the CD-AF capability, albeit often with some hesitation.
  • Sensor AF. Here "sensor" means "AF sensor": it is used even for preview focusing, so that the mirror action is needed.

Using Live View only for tripod work, I still not have a preference between the first two options, as I have only two lenses working with CD-AF, and I do not use them a lot. Even with such lenses there is no practical difference between both, as the final mirror trip cannot be avoided anyway. I use Hybrid just for the sake of predictability.


Settings 1B: Buttons and Dials

Here is where most of the camera's controls are customized.

Changing these preferences too often may lead to confusion and erratic camera behavior, so setting them once and leaving alone after some initial experimentation would be my sincere recommendation.

If you are using two or more different Olympus cameras, you may try to make them respond to controls in a similar way — at least as much as it is possible.


Dial Functionality (CR)

The two control dials in the E-30 are used not only in conjunction with direct buttons (about that, read here), but also alone, controlling the basic exposure parameters. How do they exactly function in the latter capacity is adjusted from here.

Obviously, the adjustable parameters (and therefore dial functionality) depend on the exposure mode you are in. The available options include (if only applicable) exposure compensation, flash compensation, program shift, shutter speed, and aperture .

Exposure mode Factory defaults My recommendation
Rear Front Rear Front
Program (Auto) Program shift Exposure compensation Exposure compensation
Aperture Priority Aperture Aperture
Shutter Priority Shutter speed Shutter speed
Manual Shutter speed Aperture Aperture Shutter speed

My assignment was intended to provide exposure compensation without using the button, and also to disable program shift. The former turned out to be safe (no accidental adjustments), while for the latter I do not have a need, using aperture priority instead. This worked well for me on the E-3, and I expect it to work with E-30 as well.

My reversal of factory settings in Manual mode is due to the fact that I'm using the aperture priority AE most of the time; this makes operation in both modes more consistent.

There is one more setting here, defining how the wheels work in menu navigation. I left it at the factory setting: the front dial duplicates the Up/Down arrow functionality, and the rear one — that of Left/Right.


Dial Direction (CR)

Out of the box, the E-30 dials increase the shutter speed or F-number when turned to the right. This default (shown as DIAL1 in the setup screen) can be inverted (DIAL2), which affects both dials and both parameters at once.

The inverted direction will make sense for many: it will make the exposure parameter adjustment consistent with exposure compensation; the right direction means increasing exposure (at least in the manual mode). The default cannot be, however, changed in other E-System models, so I decided against doing it, to keep things the same in all cameras.


AE/AF Lock (CR)

This is actually a sub-menu used to define how the camera's AE and AF functions behave when the [AEL/AFL] (or Lock) button, right of the finder eyepiece, and/or the shutter release are pressed.

This choice is made independently for each focusing mode: single, continuous, and manual. In each case you choose one of the pre-packaged combinations.

Switching between SAF, CAF, and MF is not done from here; you can do it either from the Control Panel or with use of a direct button.

The factory-default presets here make good sense. Still, if you know what you want, they may be worth changing to your taste. (Another option is to follow my advice, skip the details and jump straight to my recommendations, which are not much different.)

Here is the complete listing of available options, completely re-worked since similar ones I wrote for other E-System cameras (it should be easier to navigate around).

In the table below, [Lock] means pressing the [AEL/AFL] button, and [Release] — pressing the shutter release half-way down (be it intentionally or on the way to a full press). "Not locked" means that the function (AE, AF) continues to update the readings until the exposure, i.e., until the mirror goes up. Factory defaults are shown in bold.

Focusing Mode Autoexposure Autofocus
Single AF S:1 Locked with [Lock], otherwise with [Release] Locked with [Release]
S:2 Locked with [Lock], otherwise not locked
S:3 Locked with [Release] Established with [Lock] and then not active
Continuous AF C:1 Locked with [Lock], otherwise with [Release] Tracked while [Release] is half-down; not locked
C:2 Locked with [Lock], otherwise not locked
C:3 Locked with [Release] Tracked while [Lock] is down, then not active
C:4 Never locked (updated until exposure)
Manual Focus M:1 Locked with [Lock], otherwise with [Release] Not active
M:2 Locked with [Lock], otherwise not locked
M:3 Locked with [Release] Established with [Lock] and then not active

Note that options S:3, C:3, and M:3 are almost identical: the camera stays in manual focus mode, with AF "on demand", activated when [Lock] is pressed. (C:4 is an additional flavor of this, with AE updating till the end.) The only differences are that in C:3 (and C:4) the focus is tracked while [Lock] is held down, and that the focus ring on the lens will be operational only if one of the "+M" modes (or MF) is active, or if the given lens has an all-time, mechanical focus coupling (like the 12-60 mm ZD).

Another pattern is that the autoexposure is handled identically in S:1, C:1, and M:1; this is also the case between S:2, C:2, and M:2, as well as between S:3, C:3, and M:3.

A closer look shows that the arrangement is not arbitrary, and all these options can be useful for some users in some situations.

It makes sense to choose, for each focusing mode, the option best fitting your needs and working habits, and then forget about it. Changing the lock arrangement on the fly seems like a bad idea, as it would inevitably lead to confusion and unintended camera responses.

Recommendation: The factory defaults, [S:1 C:2 M:1], make good sense, so does keeping them. My personal preference is [S:1 C:1 M:3] which makes SAF and CAF modes similar, and which allows me to use AF on demand by simply switching to the MF mode. I found the latter option very useful, especially for tripod work.


AE Lock Memo (CR)

When this is activated, the Lock button will act as a toggle: the first press will turn the AE lock on, the second — off. The reading will stay locked also after the picture has been taken. (This has no effect when the Lock button is used for focusing purposes.)

The feature is useful when the exposure has to be identical for a number of frames (like in panorama sequences), but it is too easy to forget that the lock is active, and keep shooting with the locked exposure forever (or until the camera is powered down). There is no indication in the external displays that the lock is on, which makes such snafus harder to avoid.

This is why I would strongly recommend keeping the Lock Memo at Off, and using the metered manual exposure mode when a series of pictures has to be exposed identically.


Function Button (CR)

The Function, or [Fn] button can be assigned to just one of a number of available functions. The available options are:

  • Off: The Function button is entirely disabled
  • Face Detection The button toggles the Face Detection option on and off (the toggle also includes some other settings: single AF, matrix metering, multi-point AF, auto gradation). While Face Detection works only in Live View, these extra settings are toggled in either case.
  • Depth of Field preview: The aperture will close to the selected (by you or the AE system) value, so that DoF can be evaluated in the viewfinder. This duplicates the functionality of the DoF button at the lens base.
  • Live View DoF Preview: The camera will switch, if needed, to Live View (while the button is down), stepping down the aperture to the working value, so that DoF can be previewed on the monitor.
  • Reference WB (marked as in the menu). Pressing the shutter release when the [Fn] button is held down and camera aimed at a neutral surface will take a reference WB reading, which will be memorized and can be recalled at any time. More useful than it may seem.
  • Restoring the AF target (shown in the menu as [...] HOME) — the button can be used to bring the AF target to the predefined "registered" position (default: center).

    This "registration" is an option in the AF pattern and point selection.

  • Manual focus: While in the AF mode, the [Fn] button will act as a toggle between auto and manual focusing.

    (For E-3 users: the glitch present in that camera, where the camera was stuck in MF with the toggle no longer active, has been fixed in the E-30.)

  • Raw : [Fn] will act as a toggle between Raw+JPEG and JPEG alone.

    Holding [Fn] down and turning a control dial will switch between various types of output.

  • Test picture: Pressing the shutter release with [Fn] down will take a picture and show it on the monitor, without the image saved to the card.
  • My Mode: While [Fn] is down, the camera will switch to a custom My Mode setup. When you let go, the it will revert to settings as they were before.

    E-30 has two My Mode slots; one of them can be designated as "current", i.e., accessible like this with the Function button. There is no other way to use either of My Modes.

  • Level Gauge: With [Fn] pressed, the level gauge will be shown in the viewfinder and top-deck status display.

That's actually ten different functions competing for just one poor button. The real choice is, however, between just two: My Mode access and Reference WB; all other options are either redundant or offer access to features of marginal usability (just check for yourself if you can evaluate the depth of field using [3] or [4]).

Having this choice, I assigned [Fn] to Reference WB, which I use quite often. (Actually, this was the original purpose of that button when it was introduced in the E-500.)

If you wish, you can swap the Function button with the Lock one, see below.


My Mode Setup

The functionality of this menu item is described elsewhere. Leave it alone until you have all other settings tweaked to your needs and taste.


Button Timer

You can adjust the length of the grace period, within which you may use a control dial to adjust the setting assigned to a direct button. The available options are

  • Timed length of 3, 5, or 8 seconds;
  • Off: the dial has to be turned while the button is being held down;
  • Hold: the period is indefinite; the button has to be pressed again to disable the dial functionality.

While in the beginning, still gaining familiarity with the camera controls, you may want to use a time-out of 5 or 8 seconds, after a few weeks you will probably want to set it to three seconds.

A friend of mine, using the E-3 for most of his work, prefers to have this at Off, to avoid accidental changes to directly accessible parameters. It is possible that you will prefer that way, too.


Lock/Function Button Swap (CR)

The Lock and Function buttons can have their functionality swapped, if you prefer it this way for ergonomic reasons. After some trying, I settled down at Off (no swap).


Cursor Key Function (CR)

The cursor keys can be set for AF point selection in a short period (30 seconds or so) after the shutter release was half-pressed, without a need for pressing the AF point selection button first.

In the beginning I thought I will use this feature, quite useful for shooting from a tripod. Then I found myself changing the point by accident from time to time, so I now keep this at Off. Check it for a week or so and decide.


Settings 1C: Release and Drive

This group includes only three functions; I'm surprised to see the mirror lock placed in a different group.


Release Priority S (CR/MM)

Here "release priority" means that the camera will fire the shutter regardless of whether it is ready (autofocus done, flash charged, if applicable) or not.

From here you decide if release priority will be used in the S-AF (single-focus) mode.

In this mode keeping it at Off (default) seems to make more sense.


Release Priority C (CR/MM)

Similar to the above, but for the C-AF (Continuous AF) mode. Because of the predictive autofocus and because in such situations it is better to risk an out-of-focus frame than no frame at all, the default On setting makes sense here.


Low FPS (CR)

Here you define what "low speed", available as one of the drive mode options, actually means: from 1 to 4 frames per second. My preference is 3 FPS, being different enough from the high-speed rate of 5 FPS.


Settings 1D: Display

All these are options of rather minor significance, and they can be well left at factory settings. If you wish it this way, you may safely skip this section for now.


Beep On/Off (CR)

You can enable or disable the beep the camera makes when autofocus is achieved.

It is a matter of personal preference (unless shooting in a quiet zone), but I'm used to keeping it On


Sleep Time (CR/MM)

This defines the period of inactivity after which the camera will enter the low-power sleep mode, disabling the LCD and all controls. When any control is used, the camera will almost instantly (with just the dust-off delay) spring back to life.

This time-out can be set to Off (never), 1, 3, 5, or 10 minutes. I prefer 3 minutes; not that it matters much.

The infrared remote receptor is disabled in the sleep state; if and when using the RM-1 or RM-2 for tripod work, you may want to disable the sleep feature.


Backlit LCD Time (CR/MM)

Similar to the above, this defines how soon will the monitor backlighting go off to save battery. The choice is between 8, 30, and 60 seconds plus Hold. While getting more familiar with previous Olympus cameras, I moved from 60 down to 8 seconds.

Even at the Hold setting the monitor will go off when the sleep time comes.


Four-Hour Timer

After the camera goes to sleep, its internal clock still keeps ticking, and the camera will turn itself off for good after four hours. To be activated again, it has to be turned off and on again.

This feature can be disabled (set to Off) from here, but I prefer to keep the default On.


USB Mode

This is the mode in which the USB interface is turned on when the camera detects the connection. Here are the options:

  • Auto is not really automatic: it will just ask you to select one of the other options.
  • Storage makes the camera's currently used memory card accessible as an external disk drive from the host computer, under any current operating system. No special drivers or other software has to be installed on Windows XP or Vista.

    This is also the mode used to upgrade the firmware via Olympus Master or Olympus Studio.

  • Control sets the camera for remote control from a computer (this is done with Olympus Studio).
  • MTP allows the Windows Vista to access the camera as an "image source". This is one of the Vista features I find rather useless.
  • Easy Print and Custom Print: how often do you print your pictures straight from camera?

The default Auto option is a safe choice, but if you never operate the camera remotely, Storage will be more convenient.


Live View Boost (CR/MM)

With this if set to Off, the Live View display will be accounting for the picture-taking parameters i.e., it will approximate the resulting picture. In the ON position, the display may be brightened for better visibility.

The live histogram does not work right in this mode, so you just have to ignore it.

By default I prefer to keep the Live View Boost off, except when shooting in infrared; in that case this may be the only way to make the preview visible.


Live View Frame Rate (CR/MM)

You can set this to Normal or High, with the latter providing a faster screen refresh at the expense of some display quality. I really do not see much difference, but using the Live View only for tripod work, I prefer to keep this at Normal.


Live View Face Detection (CR)

If you are planning to use the Live View for snapshots, you may enable this feature, other wise keep it at Off.

Enabling Face Detection is not quite free: in some of my macro sessions it kept detecting other detail (like digits on a clock face) as human faces. This introduces a degree of unpredictability into the process: the camera will set the focus and exposure using some unspecified rules, which may be "good enough" for party shooting, but not for the task at hand. Off.


Display Information (CR)

Repeated use of the [Info] button in image review or in Live View scrolls between various information (usually) overlaid on top of the image. Many users will prefer to limit the choice to shorten the scrolling sequence. Most of these options can be excluded from this menu option, which branches into two lists:

Image review (see here for screen shots):

  • Image only — obviously, I would keep this On.
  • Overall: this includes, in addition to a reduced full frame, RGB and luminance histograms, high/low warnings, exposure and imaging parameters, and file data; the only way to tell how a picture was shot, definitely On.
  • Histogram: a large luminance histogram on top of the image. This duplicates the previous display, so you may want to disable it (still, I feel better keeping it On).
  • High/Low warnings (clipped highlights and shadows blinking in red and blue): this allows to catch them better than in a histogram, but, again, it duplicates a similar, smaller display [2]. Your pick; I keep it Off.

Actually, the only display I would really have disabled is the full frame with file data overlay, but there is no such option.

Live View (again, see the screens here):

  • Histogram (luminance) — keep it On only if you depend on this to adjust the exposure.
  • Zoom allows to magnify a fragment of the preview for critical focus evaluation; keep it On only if you adjust focus manually.
  • Multi View is quite useless, definitely Off.
  • Image Only — most probably you will want it On, as I do.
  • 3×3 grid or 6×4 grid as a framing aid. I find the latter more useful, so I enabled only this one.
  • Crosshair with scale — unless you want to scroll through it every time you change the display, turn it Off. It can be enabled on a session basis, if needed.

Another overlay in the sequence, the Level Gauge is enabled from the next menu option, see below.


Level Gauge (CR)

This is an ingenious device, and I decided to keep it enabled, at least until the novelty wears off. If enabled, it will be added to the viewfinder and status displays, to the LCD screen (accessible with the [Info] button), and to the Live View display (ditto, as an overlay on the image).

You may also decide to disable the Level Gauge here, but assign it to the Function button. This way, however, holding that button down will show the gauge only in the viewfinder and status display, and limited to the left/right roll. Additionally, this will not allow you to use a different [Fn] assignment.


Settings 1E: Exposure, ISO

This group of settings changes how the exposure is metered and adjusted. Clearly, once they are set, you will never have to revisit this menu again (unless your preferences and/or needs change).

Surprisingly, there are only six settings here.


EV Step (CR/MM)

This is the step used in exposure compensation, and in manual setting of shutter speed and aperture. It can be set to 1/3, 1/2, or 1 EV.

While 1 EV would be OK for shutter or aperture (except in metered manual mode, where you set both, and then 1 EV would not provide enough exposure accuracy), exposure compensation requires more precision: 1/3 EV is just fine (unless you've migrated from a camera with 1/2 EV adjustments and want to stick to the acquired habits).


ISO Step (CR/MM)

This is the step with which the ISO (sensor gain) can be adjusted. It can be chosen as 1/3 EV (ISO 100, 120, 160, 200...) or 1 EV (ISO 100, 200, 400...). The 1/3 EV step has no real advantage, so 1 EV would be my choice. (Some people, though, like to adjust ISO finely, so they will be glad to have such an option, even at the expense of tripling the length of the scrolling sequence.)


Auto ISO Range (CR)

This is actually not one setting but two related ones.

  • High Limit defines how high will the camera go adjusting the ISO value automatically, if the Auto ISO setting is used. This limit can be defined anywhere between ISO 200 and 3200.
  • Default sets the lowest ISO value used in Auto ISO, raised only when needed to achieve handholdable shutter speeds. It can be set from ISO 200 to 3200 again.

If you ever switch to Auto ISO I would recommend setting the high limit to ISO 800 and the base value to ISO 200. Higher gains should be used only with photographer's approval, not a decision left to the camera.


Auto ISO Use (CR)

This is the choice of AE modes in which the camera will allow for the Auto ISO setting to be used. Two options are available:

  • P/A/S: used in program, shutter and aperture priority modes;
  • All: including also manual exposure.

In the latter case, the manual exposure mode is really no longer manual: you set the aperture and shutter speed, and the camera tries to adjust the gain to get the exposure right, if possible within limits set. This effectively becomes a shutter-and-aperture priority mode.

In such an auto mode, however, you will not be able to dial in any exposure compensation (with or without using the compensation button); the design is somewhat inconsistent.

Note that there is no option to limit Auto ISO to program mode only. The way things are, either setting is OK here; I keep it at All just to be able to play with all options, not for real use.


AE Lock Metering (CR)

One of the most meaningful customizations of this camera, this assigns the metering pattern which will be used when the exposure is locked with the [AEL/AFL] button (not with the shutter release).

  • Auto — the same pattern as the one used without the lock button.

    That pattern can be changed from the Control Panel or with use of its own direct button.

  • Center-weighted — always the center-weighted mode, regardless of the pattern used without the lock.
  • Spot — always spot-metering.
  • Spot-Highlight and Spot-Shadow — as above.

Spot metering makes most sense for me here, such an arrangement makes the spot genuinely useful. I never take the camera off the ESP matrix metering; to use spot I just lock the exposure.


Bulb Time Limit (CR)

Here you set the time limit after which the shutter will close even if you are still holding the release depressed (or used the release lock on the remote).

This can be set as high as 30 minutes, but the default of 8 minutes seems just right: when was the last time you have used an exposure longer than that?


Settings 1F: Flash customization

Another short sub-menu; this one groups the preferences associated with flash use. This is relevant only to dedicated flash units (including the built-in one), which communicate with the camera via the proprietary Olympus interface.


Flash Sync Time (CR/MM)

This is the fastest shutter speed which the camera will use with flash. It cannot be raised above 1/250 s (which is the default limit), but you may lower it to any value down to 1/60 s.

Longer speeds increase the input of the ambient light to the final result, softening the harsh flash light a bit, but possibly causing WB problems in mixed-source light.

I would recommend leaving this at 1/250 s. If longer shutter speeds are needed with flash, use shutter priority.


Low Flash Shutter Limit (CR/MM)

Here you can set the slowest shutter speed which will be used with flash in program and aperture priority AE modes (i.e., in cases when the camera sets the shutter speed). This limit can be set anywhere between 1/30 s and 1/250 s. It will be ignored if you use the flash in one of the Slow flash modes, as camera meters ambient light then.

If you would like to have flash as the sole source of light indoors, set this to 1/250 s, equal to my recommended high limit. For softening the flash with ambient light, set this low; the camera will usually stay close to that limit, so this will effectively become your indoors flash shooting speed. I'm using 1/60 s which is fast enough to avoid camera shake at focal lengths mostly used inside.


Additive Flash Compensation (CR)

You can choose how the dialed flash exposure compensation is applied:

  • On — the dialed flash exposure compensation is added on top of the general exposure compensation;
  • Off — only the explicitly defined flash compensation is applied to flash pictures.

I find the On option more intuitive, but some users may prefer to keep these values separate.


Auto Pop-Up (CR)

Like a point-and-shoot camera, the E-30 may decide by itself if and when to raise the built-in flash to provide extra light. Mercifully, this feature can be disabled.


Settings 1G: Image, Color and WB

The preferences in this group control some aspects of the raw-to-RGB conversion, directly affecting generated JPEG files, but not raw ones.

Still, the values set are being remembered in raw files, and can be used in postprocessing by invoking the "as shot" option.


Global WB Adjustment [JPEG]

This applies a color correction shared by (almost) all WB settings, including Auto and Reference, but excluding the custom °K setting. The correction has two dimensions: Amber/Blue and Green/Magenta. .

This will override any corrections previously defined for the individual WB settings (if you need those, define them after this one).

The adjustment is done in steps of undocumented size.

Unless you think the E-30 colors need to be shifted overall in a given direction, leave this setting alone.


Color Space [JPEG] (CR/MM)

A choice between sRGB (used by practically all computer displays and printers) and Adobe RGB, said to provide a wider color gamut. If you are not 100% sure what Adobe RGB really is and how you can benefit from it, just forget about it and use the default sRGB.


Light Fall-Off Compensation [JPEG] (CR/MM)

Every lens, especially wide-angle, has light fall-off (vignetting) towards the corners. The camera can compensate for that, brightening the corners during raw-to-RGB conversion. This process uses lens information passed from it to the camera, so that the effect is applied as needed.

This function can be turned on or off. I see no reason not to have this set to On.


JPEG Presets [JPEG] (CR)

Here you define the four JPEG resolution/compression presets which then will be available for a quick recall from the menu (or from Control Panel). Each of these presets gives you the choice of two factors:

  • Image size (pixel resolution): Large, Medium, and Small; while Large is the full (native) sensor resolution, the others are defined as a separate option, see the next section.

  • Quality (inverse of compression ratio): Super Fine (1:2.7), Fine (1:4), Normal (1:8), and Basic (1:12).

Every preset will be shown as abbreviation in the relevant user interface; for example, LSF standing for Large+Superfine.

I never had a need for more than two such combinations: one for more and one for less critical uses. Certainly, the first two presets have to be LSF and LF; while the other two do not really matter (for me at least), I've set them as LN and MN, just in case of running out of card space.


Small/Medium Pixel Count [JPEG] (CR)

This is where you define what Medium and Small, used above, mean. The following choices are available:

  • Medium: 3200×2400, 2560×1920, or 1600×1200m pixels (8, 5, and 2 MP);
  • Small: 1280×960, 1024×768, or 640×480 pixels (1 MP, XGA, VGA).

If you are not using non-native resolution files, these choices do not matter; just in case, set the largest sizes available: 3200×2400 and 1280×960.


Image Aspect [JPEG] (CR/MM)

You may have the camera crop the image to one of predefined aspect ratios. This does not make much sense, as it can be done better in postprocessing. I would ignore this feature, and it makes even less sense as a reset default. Leave the aspect ratio at the native 4:3.

Raw images are always saved full-frame, regardless of this setting.


Aspect Shooting [JPEG] (CR)

This option defines whether the (non-native) aspect ratio defined above will be used in all picture-taking or only in the Live View mode. The choice is irrelevant if the native ratio is being used, but, just in case, I would set it to Live View only (as only in that mode you can see that in the preview).


Settings 1H: Record and Erase

These are preferences regarding card file system access. Some related ones can be also found in the Settings 2 menu.


Quick Erase (CR)

Setting this to On allows you to delete the currently viewed image with a single press on the red trash can button, without any confirmation.

This may be dangerous, therefore I would keep this at Off, but setting the Priority Set [sic!] to Yes; deleting a file would then require a confirmation with just one extra button press.


Raw+JPEG Erase (CR)

If you save images in duplicate (ORF+JPEG), this option defines which is being erased When the Delete (trash can) button in viewing. the camera may delete just one or both versions, depending how this preference has been set. To avoid confusion, I've set this to both, i.e. RAW+JPEG.


File Name

This defines how the numbers in file names (see Edit File Name), are assigned when an empty card is mounted. There are two choices:

  • Reset — the numbering starts anew from 0001;
  • Auto — it continues from the last value.

I prefer Auto, as it provides images with ordinal numbers regardless of the date, folder, and card used.

If the card is not empty and contains, in the currently used folder, a file with a serial number above the current counter, the latter will be moved up.

A good rule to follow is to assure that a card inserted into the camera does not contain any images; this will allow to avoid surprises.


Priority Set

This cryptic name refers to an option defining the default (highlighted) answer to a Yes/No query on file delete. If this is set to No, then deleting a file requires pressing a cursor key in addition to the [OK] button. I found this a bit annoying, therefore my cameras have this set to Yes. (I still have to delete an image by accident.)

This double protection seems too much to me; I prefer the Yes setting, where I need to press just [OK] after the Delete button to confirm the operation.

This choice does not affect other confirmation screens; for example resetting the camera to a the custom preset.


DPI Setting

This setting is does not affect the images or mean anything at all; just leave it alone.


Settings 1I: Utility

This menu is a grab bag of random options, plus some housekeeping operations. The best thing about it is that you will be very rarely, if ever, accessing it.


Cleaning Mode

This operation (not a setting!) puts the camera in the cleaning mode: the mirror goes up and the shutter opens, so that the dust barrier in front of the image sensor becomes accessible for cleaning after the lens is removed.

If the battery gets low during that time, the shutter will close, with the mirror returning down; one or both may suffer a damage.


External WB Detector (CR/MM)

The E-30 has an external light receptacle, placed between the grip and lens mount, and used to help the Auto WB function. I would leave it On, which is the default..


Autofocus Adjustment (CR/MM)

Another maintenance function: adjusting the AF sensors, if you are feeling that your camera suffers from a focus shift. This is a separate subject, and I'm going to leave it alone until I feel a need to use it.


Exposure Shift (CR/MM)

Exposure compensation can be easily dialed in for every individual image, if and as needed. The E-30 allows to add an extra amount of it, which will be applied to all frames and not shown in the compensation value displayed. This should be really understood as a calibration of the camera's AE system.

For most users the camera is calibrated just fine right from the factory, so that the exposure shift does not need to be applied. Some, however, may like their images generally a bit darker or lighter than the factory calibration provides. Those may want to add a slight shift here.

The applied value can range from -1 EV to +1 EV in 1/6 EV increments, which makes sense, as this should be a fine tweak. It is defined independently for all metering patterns: matrix (ESP), center-weighted, and spot, and the values are stored in custom reset slots.

This adjustment is not something I would recommend doing right after you've got a new camera. Use the factory zero setting to take pictures for a month or two, and only then decide, carefully.

With the E-500 and E-510 I used an exposure compensation of -0.3 EV for subjects without areas which would need protection from highlight wash-out; this means the factory settings were a bit too high for my taste. The E-3 was toned down a bit: no compensation was usually OK for such subjects. The situation seems similar for the E-30. At the moment I'm still not sure, but I think that after my reports and sample images of this camera are done, in a few weeks, I will probably apply an exposure shift of just -1/6 EV, as the final step in tweaking the E-30 to my taste.


Battery Type (CR/MM)

This setting is relevant only for AA batteries used with the HLD-4 grip/holder. Three types (named with numerals 1, 2, and 3) are to select from, and the only information provided in the manual is that Type 1 (default) should be set for alkaline, lithium, and Oxyride (a new chemistry, used by Panasonic) batteries. There is no reference to the rechargeable NiMH type.


Battery Warning Level

You can adjust the level at which the camera displays the low-battery warning. If you think your E-30 shows it too early or too late, you may fix it here. I left this at the default setting.


Level Gauge Adjustment

Another tweak, allowing the user to memorize the current camera orientation (on a tripod, of course) as the reference, from which any deviations in two dimensions will be measured. Use this only if your E-30 is not calibrated properly out of the box. You can also cancel all adjustment and return the camera to the factory state.


The Settings 2 Menu

Another grab bag of seemingly unrelated settings, which should rather be distributed among the Settings 1A..1I sub-menus.



This is rather a housekeeping function. If the clock is set properly, your image files will be correctly time-tagged.

The clock does not automatically switch to the daylight savings time, neither does it switch between time zones. This is understandable; any such adjustments have to be entered by hand, but I would advise against it.

For consistent time stamps, set the clock once to your home time zone without DST, and leave it there, adjusting once a year if needed.


Card Selection

There is a 99% chance you will be using a Compact Flash card (faster, larger capacity, less expensive), keeping an xD-Picture for emergencies only. The choice, however, is not stored in Custom Reset slots.


Edit file name

This allows the user to change the first one or two characters in the Olympus file naming convention.

By default, the first character is fixed as 'P' (except when the Adobe RGB setting is in effect, when it becomes an underscore, '_'); and the second denotes the month (1..9,A..C, with 'A' standing for October, etc.). This is followed by a two-digit day of the month, and a four-digit frame number — all fits into the old DOS 8.3 naming scheme, for example, PA210099.JPG.

Either of the first two characters (Adobe RGB: only the second one) can be changed to a fixed letter or digit. There is no real reason to do it, except for assigning the first letter differently for each of Olympus cameras you may own, so that a quick look at the card directory will tell you from which camera the images come. The second character is best left at the default (month) setting, shown in the adjustment process as Off.


Monitor Adjustment

The monitor brightness can be adjusted, and so can be its hue (color temperature). I'm OK with the default settings here, but you may want to adjust them to your liking.



The camera comes with 34 (!) languages to choose from. Choose one and stick with it, although you may be better off with English while reading this article.


Video Standard

This is the signal standard used when the camera's monitor output is sent to a TV set. You may choose between NTSC and PAL, depending on your country.


Rec View (CR)

Here you define for how long the just-taken photograph is displayed on the LCD monitor (if it is active). This time can be set to any value between 0 and 20 seconds, with 0 disabling the review.

There is also an Auto setting, — in which the camera will switch into the full image review mode with all image review options accessible (including file delete). At first I thought I might like it, but this was not the case.

3 to 7 seconds seems to be a reasonable choice here (I'm using three seconds).


Pixel Mapping

To be used occasionally to map out the few bad pixels which may show on your sensor. In addition to doing it every three or six months, it may be a good idea to take a test picture (with the lens cap on) before any major shooting session, to avoid cloning out the buggers in postprocessing.


Firmware Version

Displays the installed firmware version for the camera body, lens, and external flash (if mounted and on).

A more detailed information on firmware, including the minor version digits, can be looked up in the EXIF data. For example, my E-30 shows Version 1.0 in the camera, and 1.004 in EXIF (you have to look in the MakerNotes section for that).


Storing and Recalling Setups

The camera setup, including almost all parameters discussed here, can be saved in one of two available Custom Reset slots or in one of two My Mode ones.

While both ways are similar, there are some differences in how they are used and how they work; these will be discussed later. In either case, restoring (or switching to) a setup by one of these methods is faster and easier than setting everything by hand again.

Quite a few of the preferences or settings are not stored in Custom Reset or My Mode slots, some for good reasons and some not. The (CF) or (CF/MM) tags in the headers of individual descriptions above indicate if they are.


Custom Reset

There are two Custom Reset slots, defined in (and accessible from) Custom Reset in the Camera 1 menu. Defining a Custom Reset requires going through the following steps.

  • Highlight Custom Reset and press the right arrow button.You will see a screen reading like this:




    Instead of NO DATA, lines two and/or three may show SET; this means that a slot has its custom reset defined already.

  • Use the down-arrow to highlight RESET 1 or RESET 2. (Do not press the [OK] button!)
  • Press the right arrow button. Two options will show: SET and RESET. Highlighting SET and pressing [OK] will save the current camera settings in the selected slot. Done. (Choosing RESET instead will clear the slot.

The stored custom setup can be activated at any moment from the same menu (a more direct way is also available, see below):

  • Highlight Custom Reset and press the right arrow button.
  • Select the slot you want to activate, press [OK], and confirm. Done.

Pressing [OK] when the (top) RESET option is highlighted will reset the camera to factory defaults. This does not clear the contents of your Custom Reset (or My Mode) slots.

A quicker way to perform a custom reset is by holding the ISO and exposure compensation buttons down for two seconds, and using a control dial to choose the slot before you let the buttons go.


My Mode

This feature is not as useful as it could have been, because it can be accessed only if the [Fn] button has ben assigned to it previously. If you have assigned that button to anything else, this description becomes irrelevant and you may just skip it.

Pressing the [Fn] button when it is assigned to My Mode activates one of the two available My Mode slots. These are used to store the preferences in a way similar to Custom Reset.

Out of two such slots, one is selected to work with the [Fn] button; the manual refers to it as executed [!]. The other remains inaccessible unless you change the selection, see below. Don't blame me if this is a bit convoluted.

Storing a camera setup as a My Mode is similar to defining a Custom Reset:

  • Go to the Setup 1B submenu and highlight My Mode Setup. As a part of this menu item, you will see which, if any, of the My Modes is currently assigned to [Fn]. Ignore this information.
  • Press the right arrow key. Without any My Mode presets defined, you will see a screen like this:



    Here NO DATA means that the mode has no camera settings assigned. Instead of that, you may also see SET (which means the mode stores such settings already) or CURRENT (that it is preselected, or "executed", for use with the [Fn] button).

  • Highlight the My Mode to define and press the right arrow. (Do not press the OK button!)
  • Select from SET or RESET and press [OK]. SET stores the present camera settings in the selected My Mode slot; RESET erases the contents of this slot.

Pressing the [OK] button instead of the right arrow in point [3] will preselect ("execute") the highlighted My Mode for use with the [Fn] button, if and when that button is set so.

The confusion which may arise here is due to the fact that the word SET is used in this menu in three meanings: (i) to assign the current camera settings to the highlighted mode, (ii) to denote that this mode has settings assigned, and (iii) to preselect it for use with the [Fn] button. Therefore it may be better to follow the above instructions literally than to rely on what the screens say.

Note that My Mode also stores the current exposure mode (P/A/S/M), unlike a custom reset slot. This will be temporarily active while you keep the [Fn] button down, if so assigned.

As I've already said, all this does not rally matter unless you decide to sacrifice the Function button to My Mode, and this seems rather unlikely.



I just hope the time you've spent reading this lengthy piece will pay itself off by providing you with a camera beter suiting your needs, habits, and convenience.

One final piece of advice: do not change these preferences too often: this will leave you no time to get used to the way in which your customized camera operates.


My other articles related to the Olympus E-System cameras.

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This page is not sponsored or endorsed by Olympus (or anyone else) and presents solely the views of the author.

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Posted 2009/02/10; last updated 2009/02/22; touched up 2013/11/04 Copyright © 2009 by J. Andrzej Wrotniak