Olympus E-M5: The Menu System (Part 3)

OM-D E-M5 menu system

Now that you know everything about the basic operation and auto-focus features of your camera, let’s delve into the details of the menu system and see how to take full advantage of everything the E-M5 (and most of what the E-M1) has to offer. Admittedly this is a long-winded and time-consuming project, but you’ll have to do it only once, so brew a cup of relaxing tea and continue reading. 😉

In general Olympus did not do a very good job of naming most menu items. I’m quite sure you and I could easily come up with more intuitive names, which would instantly make the camera easier to understand and operate.

Anyhow, if you press INFO while browsing the menus, you’ll get a short sentence explaining what the currently selected item does (like in the image above). Even those texts are not optimal, but they do help sometimes.

So let’s start, shall we?

Shooting Menu 1

Shooting Menu 1

Function Subfunction Suggested Setting(s) Explanation
Card Setup All Erase Don’t use this option for emptying your memory card. “Erase all” only makes sense if you’ve previously protected some images on your card and now want to delete all unprotected images. This is a desperate action, probably because you’ve run out of storage space, so it should be quite rare in real life.
Format I use only “format.” For a general discussion of “erase all” vs. “format,” see “General Recommendations” on this page.
Reset/Myset Reset Full Brings all settings (except the date, time, language and copyright texts) back to the factory defaults. I’ve never had to use this, but if my camera were behaving funny, I’d do a full reset.
Myset1 The idea behind the four Mysets is very simple: set up the camera for a particular shooting situation and store all settings into a set. When you encounter a similar shooting situation again, simply restore the settings from the set and shoot away. Unfortunately the buttons you have to push for storing and restoring are very similar and the wording chosen by Olympus is not intuitive at all, and instead of storing your carefully prepared settings, you might end up overwriting them.

  • To store the current camera settings to a set: choose the destination Myset >> press the right arrow >> confirm the “Set” operation with OK.
  • To restore the settings from a set and overwrite the current camera settings: choose the source Myset >> press OK >> select “Yes” >> confirm with OK.

There are several other shortcomings of the way Olympus implemented these Mysets:

  • There is no way to rename the Myset to a descriptive name, so how are you supposed to remember if the settings for “Indoor portrait” were saved into Myset3 or Myset4?
  • It would be perfect if there was a way to store the Mysets to the memory card or import them from one. This way you could give your settings to a friend or transfer your settings to a loaned body while yours is being repaired, etc.
  • Finally, Mysets do not store and overwrite the copyright texts so there is no way for two photographers to share a camera. The language setting does not get stored or overwritten either.
Picture Mode Don’t set the value here, use the Super Control Panel instead.
Image quality Still Picture Don’t set the value here, use the Super Control Panel instead.
Movie MOV FullHD F Full HD resolution (1920×1080), fine quality, AVC/H.264 (best format for watching on a TV).
M-JPG HD HD resolution (1280×720), best for editing and showing on a computer
Image Aspect Don’t set the value here, use the Super Control Panel instead.
Digital Tele-Converter Off It’s better to crop in post-processing.

I only use this menu for formatting my memory card and in fact, I wish Olympus would add the format function to the SCP, so I wouldn’t have to come here at all.

Shooting Menu 2

Shooting Menu 2

Function Subfunction Suggested Setting(s) Explanation
Drive Mode Don’t set the value here, use the Super Control Panel instead.
Image Stabilizer Don’t set the value here, use the Super Control Panel instead.
Bracketing AE BKT 3f 1.0 EV Of all the functions that can be bracketed, automatic exposure (AE) seems most useful — for creating images to be combined into a HDR image at a later time. Even though some people recommend making lots of images at very close intervals, I find that 3 or 5 images at 1 EV steps is usually enough for a realistic-looking HDRs.
5f 1.0 EV
FL BKT 3f 0.7 EV I’ve experimented enough with fill flash to know that -1.3 EV is a very good starting value for achieving a pleasing balance between flash and ambient light. But if you are unsure, set the flash to underexpose by -1 EV and fire off 3 shots with a relatively small bracketing step.
Multiple Exposure Off Because of the much greater degree of control possible, I’d always combine frames in post-production instead of in the camera.
Flash Exposure Compensation Don’t set the value here, use the Super Control Panel instead.
Flash RC Mode Off Use the on-camera flash as a light source.
On Use the on-camera flash as a remote control for other off-camera flashes.

Playback Menu

Playback Menu

Function Optons Explanation
Slideshow Play or configure a slideshow of images on the memory card.
Automatic image rotation Off Vertical images are always shown in horizontal orientation. You have to rotate the camera 90 degrees to see the image properly, but the image is shown in full-size. I prefer this behavior.
On Vertical images are shown vertically, but smaller and with thick black stripes on the left and right.
Edit I’ve never felt the need to edit an image directly in the camera.
Print I’ve never felt the need to print an image directly from the camera.
Reset protect If you’ve protected any images on the memory card, here you can disable the protection of all images at once. However why would you want this? Probably because selecting “Erase all” does not erase the protected images. But if you don’t want those good images on your card, you probably do not want any. So instead of lifting off the protection, then erasing all images, just format your memory card.

I spend a lot of time in Lightroom sorting out and post-processing my images, so I have no interest in most of the functions in this menu. I  think that no one ever needs them, so the camera manufacturers should not waste resources implementing stuff that we don’t need. However if anyone does need them, the functions are grouped nicely in one screen, and you can edit your best images here, delete the rest, then make a slideshow in camera or print directly to your printer.

Custom Menu

Custom Menu


Function Subfunction Suggested Setting(s) Explanation
AF Mode Still Picture MF More information about my favorite AF setting.
Movie MF Continuous AF is prone to hunting, which ruins any movie in a hurry, so I prefer to select a wider DOF or even do manual focus (but I have to practice a few times before taking the actual movie).
Full-time AF Off AF is plenty fast, so there is no need to waste the battery even faster by fcusing all the time.
AEL/AFL S-AF mode1 Expected behavior: press the shutter half-way to focus and lock exposure; press fully to take a picture; Fn1 = exposure lock
C-AF mode2 Press the shutter half-way to start continuous focus, press fully to lock exposure and take a picture; Fn1 = exposure lock
MF mode3 Press the shutter half-way to lock exposure; press fully to take a picture; Fn1 = single AF. More information about my favorite AF setting.
Reset Lens Off I prefer to save the battery power.
BULB/TIME Focusing Off Don’t want to mess up focus during long exposures.
Focus Ring Counterclockwise Set the direction of the focusing ring (when looking from behind the camera) towards infinity to clockwise. Matches Canon, Leica and Olympus.
Clockwise Set the direction of the focusing ring (when looking from behind the camera) towards infinity to clockwise. Matches Nikon and Pentax.
MF Assist On More information about my favorite AF setting.
[•••] Set Home Choose your favor AF area or a group of 9 or all 35 AF areas. If you assign the function “[•••] Home” to any button (see further down) and then press that button, the AF area(s)  chosen here will get activated.
AF Illuminat. On The orange light will be illuminated when the camera needs to auto focus in dark situations. Makes the AF faster and more precise, but might disturb your subject.
Off The AF might become slower or less precise in low-light conditions, but this might be preferable to disturbing your subject with the bright orange AF light.
Face Priority 🙂 i Whenever a face is detected, the camera focuses on the closer of the two eyes. If you’ve never used this feature before, you might be surprised how well it works.

B. Button/Dial

Function Subfunction Suggested Setting(s) Explanation
Button Function Fn1 Function AEL/AFL More information about my favorite AF setting.
Fn2 Function DOF Preview My preferred setting on the E-M5. On the E-M1 there is an extra button, so you’ll probably choose a different function.
Magnify Useful for assuring proper manual focus when a longer manual lens is mounted via an adapter. Press once to magnify, press again to return to normal magnification.
Rec Function REC Press once to start recoding a movies, press again to stop recording.
right arrow Function [•••] inactive These three menu items are ordered in the wrong way, so let’s start with the third one. It lets us define the function of the four arrow buttons.

  • My preference is the default one: move the active AF area around. Push this area “off the edge” and you activate all AF areas, push it again in any direction and you return to a single AF area. Since you need all four arrow buttons for this functionality, it is not possible to assign alternative functions to the right and down arrows, and they are greyed out.
  • The second possibility is to choose “Direct Function” for the four arrow buttons, then assign alternative functions to the right and down arrow buttons. You can still move the active AF area around with the left and up arrows, but since all of the possible functions for up and right are easily available from the Super Control Panel, I don’t see any reason to choose this slower and much more complex setup.
down arrow Function [•••] inactive
four arrows Function [•••]
B.Fn1 Function Same as Fn1 Same functionality on the rear of the battery grip when the camera is in vertical orientation.
B.Fn2 Function Same as Fn2 Same functionality on the rear of the battery grip when the camera is in vertical orientation.
L-Fn Function DOF Preview DOF seems to be the most intuitive choice for a button on the lens, but I’ve never had such a lens, so I’m guessing here.
Dial Function P Ps / Exp. Comp. Default setting: Rear dial for program shift. Front dial for exposure compensation.
A FNo. / Exp. Comp. Default setting: The rear dial controls the aperture. The front dial controls the exposure compensation.
S Shutter / Exp. Comp. Default setting: The rear dial controls the shutter speed. The front dial controls the exposure compensation.
M Shutter / FNo. Default setting: The rear dial controls the shutter speed. The front dial controls the aperture.
Menu up-down / left-right Default setting: Rear dial scrolls through the menus. Front dial goes into the selected item or returns back towards the main menu. I normally use the arrow buttons for navigating the menus, but if you try using the dials, it’s quite intuitive.
Playback Magnify / Previous/Next Default setting: Rear dial magnifies. Front dial scrolls through the images.
Dial Direction Dial2 With this setting we control if rotating the control dials in P/A/S/M makes the aperture wider or narrower and the shutter speed longer or shorter. Since the dials have different functionality in the different modes, it might seem like a daunting task to remember all combinations. It is however quite easy: If you choose “Dial 2” for this setting, if rotating the front or rear dial has any effect on the brightness of the image, then rotating the dial to the right always makes the image lighter.

C. Release/Drive

Function Suggested Setting(s) Explanation
Rls Priority S Off In single AF I definitely want the camera to achieve focus before the shutter is released, so I do not want to give priority to the release event.
Rls Priority C Off By turning the release priority off for continuous shooting, you are telling the camera to first achieve reliable focus and only then release the shutter. Choose this option if correct focus is more important to you than a constant frame rate.
On Choose this option if a constant frame rate during continuous shooting is more important to you than correct focus on every image.
L fps 2fps With these two settings you are telling the camera how many images per second to make in low-speed and high-speed continuous shooting. Since I don’t shoot any sports, I am not interested in the highest-possible frame rates. Instead I prefer to fill up my image buffer at a slower rate and thus have a chance to capture a longer-lasting image sequence. Choose higher rates if you disagree.
H fps 5fps
Continuous Shooting + IS Off Off With this horrible formulation Olympus is asking you if you want to turn off image stabilization during continuous shooting. I like IS, so I turn off the turning off of the IS 😉 Why couldn’t they just write “IS during continuous shooting” and make “On” the default answer?
Half Way Rls With IS Off The readable version of this question is this: “Do you want IS while the shutter is pressed half-way?” You might feel otherwise, but I’d rather save my battery, so I choose Off.

D. Disp / Beep / PC

Function Subfunction Subfunction Suggested Setting(s) Explanation
HDMI HDMI Out 1080i I’ve never attached my camera directly to a TV, but if I did, I’d want the highest quality and the possibility to control it from the TV set.
HDMI Control On
Video Out NTSC The North American video standard
PAL The European video standard
Control Settings iAUTO Live Guide On The shooting parameters of your camera (ISO, WB, aspect-ration, etc.) can be inspected and modified through various control screens. Some screens are easier to understand but give you access to less information, others manage lots of parameters but can be a bit intimidating. In this section you decide which control screens are available in which operating mode. You can activate up to three different screens, but I suggest to keep things simple and choose a single control screen per operating mode.

  • As I wrote previously, iAUTO, ART and SCN are targeted at non-photographers, so let’s activate only the simplest control screen for each of those modes.
  • In the same article I also praised the Super Control Panel for general shooting, so let’s turn the SCP on and the LCP off in P/A/S/M.

A control screen is turned on and off by pressing the OK button. If you do activate more than one screen per operating mode, you can switch between the screens using the INFO button. The camera will even remember which screen was shown last and will display that one when you press OK next time.

Live Control Off
Live SCP Off
P/A/S/M Live Control Off
Live SCP On
ART Art Menu On
Live Control Off
Live SCP Off
SCN Scene Menu On
Live Control Off
Live SCP Off
Magnification/Info Settings Playback Info Image Only On Here you can evaluate the entire image without any distractions.
Overall On Shows you all the information you might ever need, including an R/G/B/Overall histogram.
Histogram Off Shows a large histogram, but its not a pretty screen, and since you already have a histogram in “Overall,” I turn this screen off.
Highlight & Shadow On Shows the overexposed areas in orange and any blocked up shadows in blue.
Light Box Off I don’t need “Light Box” because I rarely need to compare images side-by-side in camera.
There is something funny going on here. In playback mode, between “Image only” and “Overall” the camera displays an extra screen, which is not listed in the menu. This screen shows only the creation time, aspect ratio, image format and file number. It is not particularly pretty or useful, but since it is not listed in the menu, it cannot be disabled.
LV-Info In live view mode (the normal shooting mode) there are also various information screens available, including a nice one with lots of information, which is not listed in the menu, so it cannot be deactivated. In addition, you can enable or disable any of the following screens:
Histogram On Very useful for setting optimal exposure.
Highlight & Shadow On Very useful for judging which areas are overexposed and which ones are completely black.
Level Gauge Off Shows you if you are holding the camera perfectly horizontal, but since my viewfinder displays a grid all the time (see below), I turn the gauge screen off.
Image Only On Perfect for composing without any distractions.
Magnification Settings 4 On Choose which screens you want to see in playback mode when you zoom out such that several images are visible at the same time. I like 4 and 9 images per screen, so I turn them on. With 25 or 100 the individual images are way too small, so I turn these two screens off. The “Calendar” screen shows you a calendar and next to each date the first image shot on that day. If you select a date, the camera shows you the images shot on that day.Note that here you don’t switch between the screens with INFO, but by zooming in and out (with the rear control dial). Even though this is inconsistent with playback and live-view, it is very intuitive nonetheless.
9 On
25 Off
100 Off
Calendar On
Displayed Grid 5×4 I was very excited when I first saw the 3×3 grid icon, but very disappointed when I activated it and found out that it does not divide the screen according to the rule-of-thirds. So I use the 5×4 grid, which helps me keep my camera horizontal.
Picture Mode Settings I don’t use any of these. If you do, the Super Control Panel offers a much faster way to change the active mode.
Histogram Settings Highlight 255 Decide from which brightness level the camera starts coloring pixels in orange (only visible in the Highlight & Shadow information screen). You can choose a lower value, but I find that there is usually enough headroom in the RAW file, so I only want to be warned by 100% white.
Shadow 3 Same as above, except the camera colors the pixels in blue if they are darker than the selected value. The E-M5 has some shadow noise, so I want to be warned a bit earlier than “dead black.”
Mode Guide Off If set to “on,” the camera briefly displays an explanation text when you rotate the control mode dial. I suspect no OM-D user needs this.
Live View Boost Off If set to “on,” the viewfinder maintains constant brightness regardless of the exposure settings, so it’s easy to see your subject when shooting in low ambient light. This is actually a good thing,  but you lose the visible feedback when setting exposure compensation, so I prefer to turn this feature off.
Art LV Mode mode1 I don’t use the art filters, but if I did, I think I’d want to see them continuously, therefore I suggest “mode1.”
LV Close Up Mode mode1 “Mode1” means that when the close-up mode is activated (one of the functions of the Fn2 button, see “B. Button/Dial” above) the image will be shown magnified (so you can focus properly), but when you press the shutter button half way, you will see the entire image and can frame properly.
Info Off Hold The camera’s metering system is kept on the entire time and and the information screen (showing aperture, shutter speed and so on) is displayed continuously. This probably uses a bit more battery power, so I prefer the next option.
10sec Every time you press the shutter (half-way or fully), the camera’s metering system and the live-view information screen are activated. After 10 seconds the metering system is turned off and the information screen disappears. All you see is the live-view image without any distractions.
Backlit LCD 8sec After 8 seconds the rear display is turned off. Press any button, and the display is turned on again. The rear display requires a lot of power, so I use the shortest possible setting.
Sleep 3min The sleep mode uses less power, but waking up the camera (by pressing any button), takes about 1-2 seconds. So I choose the middle setting, even then, whenever I anticipate an interesting situation, I instinctively press the shutter release half-way to wake up the camera ahead of time.
Auto Power Off 30min If no operation is performed in the selected time-preiod, the camera switches from sleep mode to completely off. The only way to turn the camera on again is to move the main switch to “off” and then back to “on” again. On the one hand I want to save power, so I want the sleep mode as short as possible, on the other hand, I hate the off/on thing, so I’ve settled on the middle value of “30min”.
Beep Off The camera beeps when it has achieved proper auto-focus. I find this totally annoying, so it’s the first thing that I turn off.
USB Mode Auto I never connect my camera directly to a computer (for image transfer or for printing), so I don’t bother with this setting. If you do, try out “auto” first.

E. Exp / Metering / ISO

Function Subfunction Suggested Setting(s) Explanation
EV Step 1/2 EV By how much should the exposure change when you rotate the control dials one click? I like the middle value as a good compromise between fine control and quick adjustment.
Metering Don’t set the value here, use the Super Control Panel instead.
AEL Metering Auto A totally unnecessary separate setting for the metering mode to be used when you press the exposure lock button. “Auto” causes the camera to use the currently selected metering method.
ISO Don’t set the value here, use the Super Control Panel instead.
ISO Step 1EV I like to simplify things whenever possible, and 100, 200, 400, etc. is fine enough for me.
ISO-Auto Set High Limit 3200 I don’t like the Auto ISO implementation in the E-M5, because it forgets to take the in-body image-stabilization into account and thus raises the ISO value too soon. So I set my ISO value manually, but 200 — 3200 is the ISO range that I feel comfortable with. Actually I find the noise at 3200 too high, so I go to that setting only in extreme situations.
Default 200
ISO-Auto P/A/S If you allowed Auto ISO in M, the camera would respect your choice of aperture and shutter speed, but would raise or lower the ISO value in order to achieve “average” image brightness. This defeats the purpose of the M mode, where you want to set the brightness explicitly. So if you use Auto ISO, use it only in P, A and S.
BULB/TIME Timer 30min Maximum length of a BULB or TIME exposure. Why limit anything? Let’s allow the longest possible value.
Live BULB 4sec This is great! While shooting in BULB or TIME mode, your camera displays the image at a regular interval, as it gets formed. In this menu item you decide how long this interval is. Here too, I aim for a compromise between being in control and not using too much battery power.
Live TIME 4sec
Anti-Shock Off Anti-shock adds a delay between you pressing the shutter button and the camera opening the shutter. This delay allows all vibrations to die down and can be varied between 1/8 sec and 30 seconds. By turning anti-shock shooting on, you double the entries in the drive-mode menu: they are listed once as normal and once with anti-shock (indicated by a small diamond shape in front of the drive-mode’s icon). While anti-shock sounds like a good idea, it’s basically a 2-second self-timer, except that the delay is variable. To keep clutter to a minimum, I turn anti-shock off and use 2-sec self-timer instead.

F. Flash Custom

Function Suggested Setting(s) Explanation
X-Sync. 1/250 Short synchronization speeds help you freeze action, so select the shortest possible value.
Slow Limit 1/10 Slow flash synchronization allow ambient light to accumulate and become visible in the overall exposure. 1/10″ is about the longest shutter speed I am able to hand-hold, so that’s the value that I choose.
Flash Compensation and Exposure Comp Off The question here is this: Should the flash exposure compensation act as overall exposure compensation? And my definitive answer is “no.” If I want general exposure compensation (which affects both ambient and flash), I’d do so by rotating the front dial. Whenever I apply flash exposure compensation, I want to change the ratio of ambient to flash, which is a very different (and desirable) thing.

G. Image Quality / Color / WB

Function Suggested Setting(s) Explanation
Noise Reduction Auto I don’t see any reason to deviate from the default/standard/auto choice.
Noise Filter Standard I don’t see any reason to deviate from the default/standard/auto choice.
WB Don’t set the value here, use the Super Control Panel instead.
All WB +/- White balance fine-tuning. Don’t set the value here, use the Super Control Panel instead.
WB AUTO Keep Warm Color Off While I do like warm colors, I prefer to stay as close to real-life as possible.
Flash+WB Off The question here is this: “Do you want the camera to switch to Auto WB automatically when you attache a flash?”. While this might sound like a good idea, I can imagine situations where I want to achieve a special effect by intentionally setting the “wrong” white balance.
Color Space Don’t set the value here, use the Super Control Panel instead.
Shading Comp. On Let the camera auto correct for vignetting.
Image quality Set This setting only affects JPGs, and I don’t shoot JPG.
Pixel Count Set the pixel size for small and middle-sized JPGs. Since I don’t shoot JPG, I don’t care about this setting.

H. Record / Erase

Function Subfunction Suggested Setting(s) Explanation
Quick Erase Off When you press the “delete” button to delete an image you will be presented with a confirmation dialog. I like this option much more.
On Pressing the delete button deletes the selected image immediately. I find this option quite risky.
RAW+JPEG Erase RAW + JPEG I think that shooting RAW+JPG is a waster of space and time, but if you insist, with this menu you can decide which images get deleted where you press delete: just the JPG, just the RAW, or both.
File Name Auto The camera will number folders and files continuously even if you format or swap memory cards. This prevents filename conflicts if you shoot on different cards on one and the same day.
Edit Filename I have yet to find a good reason for naming the files anything other than the default. Maybe if you shoot with multiple bodies, but I’ve never needed this.
Priority Set Yes Set the default answer for yes/no questions to “yes”. The only place that I know of where this comes into play is the confirmation dialog when deleting an image, so setting “yes” turns image deletion into a two-button-press action instead of the default three-button-press.
dpi Settings If you really care about this value, you would not be setting in your camera but in Lightroom or Photoshop. The optimal value is always the native resolution of your printer driver.
Copyright Settings Copyright Info. On You definitely want to spend the time and enter your information here. This is useful in two cases:

  1. If your camera gets lost or stolen.
  2. If you want at least rudimentary security for your images.
Artist Name First-name Last-name
Copyright Name your@email-address.com

I. Movie

Function Suggested Setting(s) Explanation
Video Mode M Exposure mode while recording a movie. I like M because I want to set the aperture and shutter speed myself. I hate it when the camera makes the image lighter or darker in the middle of the movie depending on the position of the light source.
Movie+Stil Off I don’t understand the logic of this option. Why would I want to record a still image at the end of recoding a movie?!
Movie Microphone On I definitely want to record sound while recording movie, even if the sound is not that great.
Movie Effect Off If you enable movie effects, you can press the right arrow or the down arrow while recording a movie to turn on the multi echo or one-shot echo effect. But why would you want to?!
Wind Noise Reduction Standard I don’t have enough experience to have a reason to change away from the default/standard/auto setting.
Recording Volume Standard I don’t have enough experience to have a reason to change away from the default/standard/auto setting.

J. Built-in EVF

Function Subfunction Suggested Setting(s) Explanation
Built-In EVF Style Style 2 Shooting information is displayed below the image, so the two don’t overlap. While both are easier to see, the image is smaller than the viewfinder area. This is probably the better setting for the E-M1 with its larger viewfinder.
Style 3 The image fills up the entire viewfinder, but the shooting information is overlaid on top, which might be a bit distracting at times. On the E-M5 I (with its slightly smaller viewfinder) I still prefer this setting, and whenever I have the feeling that the shooting information is distracting me, I press INFO once or twice to see the image only.
Info Settings Histogram On These are the same options like in live-view shooting (see above D. Disp/Disp/PC), so I see no need to choose different settings. In fact, if I were Olympus, I’d remove these points here and simplify the menu system a bit.
Highlight & Shadow On
Level Gauge Off
Image Only On
Displayed Grid 5×4
EVF Auto Switch On Whenever you bring the camera to your eye, the camera automatically turns the rear display off and the viewfinder on. Take the camera away, and the opposite happens. This works very well except when you have your hand or your fingers close to the viewfinder. Then the camera thinks that it’s your face and turns the rear display off.

Look on the right side of the viewfinder, and you will find a button labelled with |O|. When the EVF Auto Switch is set to “On”, this button toggles between (1) automatically switching between viewfinder and rear display and (2) the rear display is kept off, but the viewfinder is automatically turned on when you bring the the camera up to your eye (and turned off when you move the camera away). This mode is my favorite because it lets you save battery power.

Press the |O| button for about 2 seconds, and you get a menu, where you can turn the automatic switching off. If you do so, pressing the |O| toggles between (1) viewfinder only and (2) read display only operation.

Frame Rate Normal My preferred setting: normal refresh rate of the viewfinder and normal display quality.
High The documented effect of this setting is that the viewfinder image gets updated faster, so it reflects more closely the real world. Unfortunately the image quality in the viewfinder under dim light suffers, so I don’t like this setting.The undocumented benefit of this setting is that both single and continuous AF get faster. For some users this setting is the holy grail, for me the “normal AF” is fast enough.
EVF Adjust 0 / 0

Here you can adjust viewfinder’s brightness and hue, but I like it in the default setting best.

K. Camera Utility

Function Suggested Setting(s) Explanation
Pixel Mapping The camera detects dead pixels (always reading low) and stuck pixels (always reading high) and ignores them from the image processing. In their place it interpolates the signal of the neighboring pixels. Olympus recommends that you perform pixel mapping about once a year.
Exposure Shift Permanent fine-tuning of each metering mode. I feel no need to perform any adjustment.
Battery Warning Level +1 How early should the camera warn you that the battery is running low by displaying the blinking orange battery symbol? I like a longer warning period, so I choose +1.
Battery Priority PHB Battery I don’t use a battery grip, but if I did, I’d like to use the battery in the grip first, since it is easier to get to and replace.
Level Adjust Reset Remember the level gauge information screen in live view and in the EVF? Here you can reset the reading of the level gauge to factory setting.
Adjust Set the current camera position as being perfectly level.
Touch Screen Settings On I like using the touch screen, so I keep it active.

Setup Menu

Setup Menu

Function Subfunction Suggested Setting(s) Explanation
Date and time Set the current date and time.Unfortunately there is no possibility to set the time zone or turn daylight savings time on or off, so you’ll have to visit this menu item at least twice a year, or every time you travel to a different time zone.
Language English If you can read this article your English is good enough to operate your camera in English. And English is preferable, because the texts are usually better translated in English than in the other available languages. Furthermore English texts are up to 50% shorter than texts in other languages.
Brightness and color of the LCD monitor 0 / 0 Brightness and color adjustment for the (rear) LCD display. Usually no adjustment is needed.
Rec View 0.5sec How long should a picture be displayed in the viewfinder after shooting? Longer is better if you want to see what you just shot, but it blocks the live view through the viewfinder. A value of 0.5 seconds is a good compromise between seeing the image that you captured and not obstructing the view throught the viewfinder.
Menu display Detailed camera options menu display On Occasionally I need to change some custom settings, so I keep the Custom Menu enabled.
Accessories options Off I do not have any viewfinder accessories, so I keep the Accessory Port Menu disabled.
Firmware Displays the current firmware version of the camera body and the attached lens. To check if there are firmware updates available, or to update the firmware of the camera or lens, look here.

That’s it! Did anybody get all the way through? 😉 Now that you’ve set up your camera completely to your liking, do yourself a favor and save all settings to Myset1 (look all the way on top, in the Shooting Menu 1). If you ever mess something up or give the camera to someone else for a while, you can then easily restore your ideal setup afterwards.

PS: In the tables above I did not list and describe every possible menu choice. Instead I concentrated on those that I think are most useful. If you have a particular question or if my explanation of a specific item is not quite clear, leave a comment below, and I’ll give it a second try.