What’s On The Menu?

One issue that crops up fairly frequently on various photography blogs and forums, for those new to Olympus cameras, relates to the Olympus camera menu system. Some get it and others have the devil’s own time trying to decipher what it’s all about. Admittedly, the menus can be complex, but that’s mainly because they allow so much camera customisation, especially with the E-M1, that it needs the depth in order to allow all of those options. What makes things worse, is that the Olympus camera manual is pretty poor when it comes to explaining all of the adjustments available, which doesn’t help people from seeing the entire menu system as a car wreck.

Abandoned car - Blackwood Victoria

Abandoned car – Blackwood Victoria

Sadly as well, Olympus always chooses not to implement by default, the most comprehensive and simple to use menu option available for the camera, and buries it’s activation in a somewhat convoluted fashion in the Custom Menu section. This menu is called the Super Control Panel (SCP) and allows the user, at the simple press of the OK button, control just about every shooting parameter on the one screen, which makes it a very powerful tool.

Apache Eurocopter Tiger Helicopter - Avalon Victoria

Eurocopter Tiger Helicopter – Avalon Victoria

Fortunately, there are numerous resources available on the internet to help you work around the complexities of some of the menus, where the manual fails to provide. It’s probably not the ideal solution, but that shouldn’t discourage anyone from enjoying the system. Once you get the SCP enabled, the difference in operation of the camera is like night…

Moonrise - Mallacoota Victoria

Moonrise – Mallacoota Victoria

…and day.

Sunrise - Mallacoota Victoria

Sunrise – Mallacoota Victoria

The Olympus menu system has been much the same since the introduction of the E-1 and has been carried over to the Pen and OM-D systems; so for long-time Olympus users, it’s all familiar territory. However, as new users come into the system, they seek the familiarity of other systems, especially mobile phone interfaces, and demand change to reflect such interfaces. Sometimes you have to be brutally honest and reject such ideas, and suggest people learn to appreciate what they have.

Some mothers do 'ave 'em - Mallacoota Victoria

Some mothers do ‘ave ’em – Mallacoota Victoria

Personally, I think the SCP may well be one of the best camera controls systems about, especially as ‘everything’ is available in the viewfinder, if that’s how you like to work.