Olympus E3 Review

 
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Olympus E-3 Modes and Menus

Olympus E-3 Capture Mode

When powered on, the camera is automatically placed into Record mode. The Olympus E-3 doesn't have an Exposure Mode dial on top of the camera typically found on consumer models, but instead has a Mode button. Exposure modes are changed by press the Mode button and rotating the rear Control dial. The current exposure mode is shown in the viewfinder and on the LCD.

The following exposure modes are offered:

  • Program AE (Program Shift): This mode places the camera in control over both aperture and shutter speed, while the user has access to all other menu functions. Turning a Control dial cycles through a range of equivalent exposure settings, enabling the Program Shift mode. 
  • Aperture Priority: The opposite of Shutter Priority, this mode puts the user in control of the aperture setting while the camera selects the best shutter speed. (The aperture range varies with the lens in use.)
  • Shutter Priority: Allows the user to set the shutter speed, from 1/8,000 to 60 seconds, while the camera selects the most appropriate aperture setting.
  • Manual: Provides complete user control over the exposure, including both aperture and shutter speed settings.
  • Bulb: A Bulb shutter setting allows variable length exposures for as long as you hold down the shutter button. Bulb shooting can also be done with an optional remote control (RM-1 or RM-CB1), and there is also a Bulb Timer feature which can automatically end a bulb exposure after a specified period of time.
  • My Mode 1/2: You to save two individual sets of camera settings for quick recall. Useful when shooting an event with multiple light sources, these custom modes let you register camera settings for specific conditions and easily switch between them.
  • Underwater Wide/Macro: These are the only "scene" modes the E-3 has, with optimized presets for underwater shooting, both wide-angle and macro.

 

Playback Mode

The Playback button on the rear panel accesses Playback mode, where you can review captured images. The left and right arrow keys, as well as the up and down keys, scroll through the images on the card. You can enlarge captured images or display them in an index format for quick viewing.

 

Olympus E-3 Menus

Pressing the Menu button provides access to the camera's full menu system. The Olympus E-3's menu system is pretty straightforward, with a tabbed interface and navigation via the 4-way arrow keys, the OK button, and the Menu button. The right-arrow takes you into the sub-menus for each setting option, OK confirms a selection, and the Menu button itself backs out of any given sub-menu screen without making a selection. This last isn't unusual, but we find it a little counterintuitive: If the right-arrow takes you down into a sub-menu, why doesn't the left-arrow take you back out?

The following options are available in most camera modes as menu tabs at the left of the display:

Record Menu 1:

Record Menu 1 Options:
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level
Third-Level
Notes
Card Setup
- All Erase
- Format
Erases images from the memory card or formats the card.
Custom Reset
- Reset
- Reset 1
- Reset 2
You can register two sets of custom settings, ore reset to factory defaults (Reset option).
Picture Mode
- Vivid
- Natural
- Muted
- Portrait
- Monotone
- Custom
- Contrast (Lo to Hi)
- Sharpness (Lo to Hi)
- Saturation (Lo to Hi)
- BW Filter: Neutral, Yellow, Orange, Red, or Green
-Pict. Tone: Neutral, Sepia, Blue, Purple or Green
Select a preset for specific situations, or manually adjust each preset.
Gradation
- Auto
- Normal
- High Key
- Low Key
 
Adjusts overall brightness for higher or lower contrast.
Quality
- RAW
- LSF
- LF
- LN
- SB
- RAW + LSF
- RAW + LF
- RAW + LN
- RAW + SB
Select the image size and quality. LSF=Large SuperFine, LF=Large Fine, LN=Large Normal, SB=Small Basic (JPEGs).
White Balance
- Auto
- Daylight (5,300K)
- Shade (7,500K)
- Cloudy (6,000K)
- Tungsten (3,000K)
- Fluorescent 1 (4,000K)
- Fluorescent 2 (4,500K)
- Fluorescent 3 (6,600K)
- Flash (5,500K)
- One-Touch 1
- One-Touch 2
- One-Touch 3
- One-Touch 4
- Custom
All settings except Custom:
- Amber +7 to -7
- Green +7 to -7

Custom Setting:
- 2,000K to 14,000K
Select the white balance mode, or choose One-Touch to register up to 4 settings or Custom to select a Kelvin temperature.
ISO
- Auto
- 100
- 200
- 400
- 800
- 1,600
- 3,200

 

Select ISO sensitivity.

Step size can be 1 EV (shown) or 1/3 EV.

Noise Reduction
- Off
- On

 

Auto option activates NR when using slow shutter speeds.

On setting always activates NR, regardless of shutter time.

Noise Filter
- Off
- Low
- Standard
- High

 

Controls the level of noise processing.

 

Record Menu 2:

Record Menu 2 Options:
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level
Third-Level
Notes
Metering
- Digital ESP

- Center-weighted
- Spot
- Spot HI
- Spot SH
- ESP
- ESP + AF
ESP + AF links ESP with active AF target

Spot HI is spot metering with highlight control.

Spot SH is spot metering with shadow control.

Flash RC Mode
- Off
- On
Enables wireless flash shooting.
Flash Exposure Compensation
- -3 to +3
Controls the exposure compensation with flash.
AF Mode
- S-AF
- C-AF
- MF
- S-AF + MF
- C-AF + MF
 
Select the AF mode. S-AF+MF and C-AF+MF modes allow manual fine tuning.
AF Area
- All
- Single
- Dynamic Single
Sets the AF Area mode.
Anti-Shock
- Off
- 1 to 30 seconds
Sets the delay after mirror is raised before shutter is released, to avoid blurring.
AE Bracket
- Off
- 3 Frames, +/-0.3EV
- 3 Frames, +/-0.7 EV
- 3 Frames, +/-1.0 EV
- 5 Frames, +/-0.3EV
- 5 Frames, +/-0.7 EV
- 5 Frames, +/-1.0 EV
Activates bracketing or disables it.
WB Bracket
- Amber-Blue (A-B)
- Green-Magenta (G-M)
For either color range:
-Off
- 3F 2Step
- 3F 4Step
- 3F 6Step
Brackets the white balance setting in terms of color shifts in Amber/Blue and Green/Magenta, with 3 frames at either 2, 4, or 6 step increments.
Flash Bracket
- Off
- 3F 0.3EV
- 3F 0.7EV
- 3F 1.0EV
Brackets the flash exposure in three frames, at either 0.3, 0.7 or 1.0 EV increments.
ISO Bracket
- Off
- 3F 0.3EV
- 3F 0.7EV
- 3F 1.0EV
Brackets the ISO in three frames, at either 0.3, 0.7 or 1.0 EV increments.

 

Playback Menu:

Playback Menu Options:
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level
Third-Level
Notes
Slideshow
- Single image display
- 4 image
- 9 image
- 16 image
- 25 image
Slideshows can show a single image on-screen at a time, or show up to 25 frames in an index format.
Rotate
- Off
- On
Rotates images counter-clockwise 90 degrees.
Edit
- RAW Data Edit
- JPEG Edit
JPEG:
- Shadow Adjustment
- Redeye Fix
- Crop
- Black & White
- Sepia
- Saturation
- Resize
RAW Data Edit makes changes based on current camera settings, while JPEG mode lets you adjust each attribute independently.
Print
- Single Image
- All
 
Marks single or all frames for printing.
Copy All
- Yes
- No
Copies images between memory cards.
Reset Protect
- Yes
- No
Cancels all write protection marks.

 

Custom Menu 1:

Custom Menu 1 Options, Tab A: AF/MF
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level
Third-Level
Notes
AF Illumination
- Off
- On


The built-in flash can serve as an AF illuminator.
Focus Ring
- Counter-clockwise
- Clockwise
 
Controls the direction of focus ring.
C-AF Lock
- Off
- On


"On" prevents focus from changing even if subject distance changes suddenly in C-AF mode.
AF Area Pointer
- Off
- On


"Off" disables focus area illumination in viewfinder.
AF Sensitivity
- Normal
- Small


When "Normal", camera focuses using a range somewhat larger than the selected focus target.
Next AF Target Selection
- Off
- Loop
- Spiral


Selects pattern in which next AF target is selected.
Reset Lens
- Off
- On
 
Resets focus to infinity.
Bulb Focusing
- Off
- On
 
Enables focusing during Bulb exposures.

 

Custom Menu 1 Options, Tab B: Button/Dial
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level
Third-Level
Notes
Dial Function
- P
- A
- S
- M
- Menu
Controls the function of the two Control dials in each exposure mode.
AEL/AFL
- S-AF
- C-AF
- MF
S-AF:
- Modes 1-3
C-AF:
- Modes 1-4 MF:
- Modes 1-3
Controls the function of the Shutter and AEL/AFL buttons in each AF mode.
AEL/AFL Memo
- Off
- On
Off setting locks exposure only while button is held down.
Function Button
- One-Touch WB
- Live Preview
- Preview (DOF)
- AF Home
- MF
- RAW
- Test Picture
- P/A/S/M
- My Mode
- Underwater Mode
- Off
Assigns an action to the Fn button.
My Mode Setup
- MyMode 1
- MyMode 2
- Set
- Reset
Lets you register settings for MyMode
Button Timer
- 3 Sec.
- 5 Sec.
- 8 Sec.
- Hold
Sets how long a button's function displays after a quick press
AEL/Fn Button swap
- Off
- On
You can swap the functions of the AE L and Fn buttons.

 

Custom Menu 1 Options, Tab C: Release/Drive
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level
Third-Level
Notes
RLS Priority S
- Off
- On
If enabled, the camera will release the shutter before AF function is complete.
RLS Priority C
- Off
- On
If enabled, the camera will release the shutter before AF function is complete.
Continuous Low Rate
- 1 fps
- 2 fps
- 3 fps
- 4 fps
Sets number of frames per second in Continuous Low sequential shooting mode.

 

Custom Menu 1 Options, Tab D: Disp/Sound/PC
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level
Third-Level
Notes
Sound
- Off
- On
Turns the camera's beep sounds on or off.
Sleep
- Off
- 1 Min.
- 3 Min.
- 5 Min.
- 10 Min.
Sets the camera to go to sleep after a period of inactivity.
Backlit LCD
- 8 Sec.
- 30 Sec.
- 1 Min.
- Hold
Turns off the LCD backlight after a period of inactivity to save battery power.
4h Timer
-Off.
- 4 h
Sets the camera to shut off after 4 hours.
USB Mode
- Auto
- Storage
- MTP
- Control (from PC)
- Print Easy
- Print Custom
Sets the USB connection mode.
Live View Boost
- Off
- On
If on, boosts the LCD brightness for easier confirmation.
Frame Assist
- Off
- Grid
- Golden Section
- Scale
Enables helpful framing assistance tools.

 

Custom Menu 1 Options, Tab E: EXP/Point/ISO
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level
Third-Level
Notes
EV Step
- 1/3 EV
- 1/2 EV
- 1 EV
Sets the increment of EV adjustment.
ISO Step
- 1/3 EV
- 1 EV
Sets the increment of ISO adjustment.
ISO-Auto Set
- High Limit
- Default
- 100
- 200
- 400
- 800
- 1,600
- 3,200
Sets the upper limit of the Auto ISO setting, as well as the default.
ISO-Auto
- P/A/S
- All
Sets a shooting mode that automatically enables Auto ISO.
AEL Metering
- Auto
- Center-weighted
- Spot
- Spot HI
- Spot SH
Controls the type of metering performed via the AEL/AFL button.
Bulb Timer
- Up to 30 mins
Sets the maximum time for the Bulb exposure.

 

Custom Menu 1 Options, Tab F: Flash Custom
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level
Third-Level
Notes
Flash X-Sync
- 1/60 to 1/250
Sets shutter sync speed for external flash firing.
Slow Limit
- 1/30 to 1/250 (1/60 is default)
Sets shutter limit for the Slow Sync flash modes.
Flash EV Comp. + EV Comp.
- Off
- On
If on, flash EV comp. will be added to overall EV comp. and flash intensity control.

 

Custom Menu 1 Options, Tab G: Quality/Color/WB
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level
Third-Level
Notes
All (WB +/-)
- All Set
- All Reset
All Set:
- Amber -7 to +7
- Green -7 to +7

All Reset:
- Yes
- No
In All Set, you can apply the same WB compensation values to all WB modes at once.
Color Space
- sRGB
- Adobe RGB
 
Shading Compensation
- Off
- On
Enables a shading compensation that attempts to eliminate vignetting with certain lenses
Quality Set
- 1
- 2
- 3
- 4
L/M/S SF/F/N/B
You can combine three image sizes and four compression ratios and register those settings.
Pixel Count
- Middle
- Small
Middle:
- 3,200 x 2,400
- 2,560 x 1,920
- 1,600 x 1,200

Small:
- 1,280 x 960
- 1,024 x 768
- 640 x 480

Set the pixel size for the Middle and Small options.

 

Custom Menu 1 Options, Tab H: Record/Erase
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level
Third-Level
Notes
Quick Erase
- Off
- On

 

If on, allows you to immediately erase an image during post-capture display.
RAW + JPEG Erase
- JPEG
- RAW
- RAW + JPEG

 

Designates how JPEG+RAW files are erased.
File Name
- Auto
- Reset
 
Priority Set
- No
- Yes
 
Sets the priority of cursor display for Erase screen to No or Yes.
dpi Setting
- Auto
- Custom
 
Lets you set the resolution for printing images.

 

Custom Menu 1 Options, Tab I: Utility
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level
Third-Level
Notes
Cleaning Mode
- Start

 

If enabled, pops up the mirror for sensor cleaning.
Ext. WB Detect
- Off
- On

 

Lets you disable the dedicated white balance sensor, useful when local lighting is different from subject's.

 

Custom Menu 2:

Custom Menu 2 Options:
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level
Third-Level
Notes
Date and Time


Sets the camera's clock and calendar.
CF/xD
- CF
- xD
Designates the memory card in use.
Edit Filename
- Adobe RGB
- sRGB
- Off
- A-Z
- 0-8
Lets you rename files.
LCD Brightness
- Auto
- -7 to +7
Adjusts overall LCD brightness.
Language
- English
- French
- Spanish
Sets the menu language. You can download additional options with the included software.
Video Output
- NTSC
- PAL
 
Sets the video output signal.
Rec. View
- 1 to 20 Seconds
- Off
- Auto Playback
Controls a post-capture display and the display time.

Auto setting displays image then switches to Playback mode for quick deletion.

Pixel Mapping
- Start
Remaps bad pixels.
Firmware
Displays the current firmware version.

 

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