Function Lever and the E-M1mkII

I was in conversation with someone the other day and it brought some thing up I hadn’t really paid attention to prior.  The function lever on the new E-M1mkII has a lot of added functionality, but the way it interacts with menu items has changed too.  I figured this post might be helpful to a quite a few of us!

A lot of people use the Function lever in “mode one.”  This allowed the dials to change aperture and shutter in Position 1 and white balance and ISO in position 2.  If you can customize this even more on the Mk II…but there is a weird catch to how it operates.

1.  Custom Options – B – Fn Lever Settings – Fn Lever Mode – Mode 1

2. Custom Options – B – Dial Functions – Pick your mode (PASM) – Now select what each dial adjusts for each lever position.

Basically the front and rear dial can have their own functions for lever position 1 and separate functions for lever position 2.
If you want in Position 1 to change Aperture and Shutter, and Position 2 to change WB and ISO… you just have to select those values in this menu.  Just remember that this is based on each of the shooting modes, P, A, S, M, and also stores into custom settings.  So make sure you do it for whatever mode you use.

So…that is how it works.  In use however, if you are in position two and rotate the rear dial for white balance… when the WB menu comes up BOTH dials will navigate the menu.

If you are in the general shooting screen and then rotate your dial for ISO…the ISO selection screen will come up and then BOTH dials will navigate that.

Olympus made a strange choice about this.  If you customize ISO/WB to a custom button then both options are available at the same time and each dial adjusts the respective wb or ISO and you can change them together with each dial.  THIS is the screen that logically you would think the Function level option would call up…but it doesn’t.  I think it is just a weird user oversight on their interface designers.  I would love to see this changed for smoother operation.  The custom button version of ISO/WB adjustment is much faster in operation.
Personally I recommend setting Fn2 button to ISO/WB.  (Custom Options -B – Button Functions).
Then I set the Function lever to Mode 2 AF Drive Selection or Mode 3 Video.
In Mode 2 you can set the lever to position one and to position two and go into the super control panel and set your focus points and drive style for each.  That means position 1 can be single point Single AF with Face recognition and position 2 can be CAF+Tr 5 point AF.
Mode 3 sends you right into movie mode.  Sometimes I use this if I know I am making quick clips between shots.  Mode 2 is by far the most useful mode in my opinion.  It removes the need for the most number of inputs to get the function of changing AF drive done.
What’s your preference?  Has anyone been using the new function lever as a power switch?

14 responses on "Function Lever and the E-M1mkII"

  1. Hi Tony
    I like having the ability to face detect with the flick of a switch, some weeks ago I tried setting it up in the same way, but I also tried to combine it with back button AF, but I found that the face detect mode “sticks” and will not change when the lever changes from position 1 to 2, even if all the other AF settings will behave as expected ( High vs low frame rate, silent vs EFC vs mechanical shutter, focal point group and position, AF mode)

    Something else to fix in new firmware I think.

    • Yeah you are correct… I believe I misstated with the face detect. It does not actually change. It is strangely not linked directly to the focus mode. I would love to see that changed in firmware.

  2. Very helpful information – thank you. Mode 2 works for me switching between S-AF and C-AF with pattern without effort.

  3. Very helpful information – thank you. I’m using Mode 2 to switch between single and continuous AF – effortless.

  4. I think I’m a little confused.

    I want to set lever to Mode 2, like your suggested set. Which of the three options do I pick? Then, I set single focus point with lever 1 position and multi points for lever 2 position?

  5. Great Tip… I mostly use my EM1 II for travel pics. Setting the function lever to mode 2 is incredibly efficient for changing AF settings. I also set my bottom front button to HP (center focus Home). My little finger naturally falls there, and I never inadvertently change settings, and it allows me easily bring the focal point to center.

  6. Hi Tony,
    Enjoying your blog information and your nice clear writing style.
    My two cents on settings –
    I don’t understand why people don’t set the four-way pad to Direct Function.
    1. It gives you two more customizable hard function buttons.
    2. You don’t have to worry about inadvertently moving your focus point.
    3. A press of the left button puts you directly into focus point control –
    just like the other setting – so you don’t lose that functionality at all.
    4. I set the right button for ISO/WB, freeing up buttons elsewhere on the camera –
    for instance the 2-way lever, which I use for focus mode switching.
    I set the bottom button for drive mode select.
    The top button is hardwired to control exp.comp. and shutter/aperture.
    It seems like it gives the camera more customization options w/o any downside.

    • Hi Stephen, upsides and downsides are all relevant. Your points are excellent. Especially number 3. I think a lot of people keep this as a 4-direction focus point selector because they are coming from other cameras with a joystick for AF points or similar control. It’s basically what worked before so this is replicated here. Between the SCP and all the customizable buttons on the E-M1… it gets to be overkill at times for some people too. At some point you just don’t need all the direct access if you don’t use the features. I personally wish Olympus would let us customize all 4 directions on the D-pad instead of just two. Why have the top button be exposure…we have two dials that do that. Unless we change them too. But that option is actually a slower option in use. The beauty of these cameras is that we can really make them personally unique and tailored to what we shoot. A lot of people have never thought about camera setup this deeply as few cameras allow for such depth. I find I change my button setups depending on the work I am doing.

      I also like the fact that we can turn buttons off.
      Thanks Stephen!

  7. Hi Tony,

    Thanks for documenting this. It seems both odd and somehow handy at the same time.
    I’ve also found on my E-M1 Mk II two additional quirks with the FN Lever.

    FN Lever Settings —> mode1
    Dial Function —> M —> ISO (rear) and exposure compensation (front)
    That is, exposure compensation is assigned to the front dial for Manual mode, Lever position 2. This setup doesn’t work. The front dial does nothing. The exposure compensation doesn’t change. Oddly, when shooting in one of the custom settings (C1, C2, C3) in M mode and the Lever settings described, it does work!

    The second odd behavior is this: in regular mode (not C1, C2, C3), if you have Fn Lever setting = mode1, and front/rear set to ISO/WB for example, moving one of the dials brings up the bar of values at the bottom of the viewfinder or LCD. But in C1, C2 or C3 mode, that bar doesn’t appear. In Lever position 2, the ISO and WB values on the left and right side of the viewfinder or LCD show in green and rotating the dial changes those values there. This is very inconsistent — the same actions should show the same screen views.

    So, has anyone else noticed these behaviors? Or do I have something strange set and/or a bug in the firmware? Any advice would be appreciated.

  8. I noticed that in order to use front dial while using the rear one you have to half press the release button otherwise both dials will do the same job. Is it normal or am i missing something. I don t remember i had this problem on my mk1

    • If you are activating the function via the dial, both will then adjust ISO or WB. I no longer use this method to adjust. I just keep both ISO and WB on my Fn2 button that way I can use both dials respectively for the functions at the same time.

  9. Thanks so much for clearing up the mystery of using the function lever to toggle between aperture/shutter and ISO/WB. Been trying to make this happen on my MKIII. I was halfway there after setting Fn Lever Function to mode 1. But I don’t think I would have delved into Dial Function without having read your article. At last, success. Thank you!

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