15 Tips & Tricks For Your Olympus Pen E-PL7

UPDATE: My  podcast series Phototalk With Stylonylon discusses photography & Olympus Pen – go subscribe! So I’ve had my lovely little Olympus Pen E-PL7 (new model is Pen E-PL8) for several months now and I’ve been getting to know my way round it quite well. Needless to say, I have a few tips and tricks I’d like to share with you… Update: These tips all apply to the new Pen E-PL8!

These are the ones I always find myself falling over myself to tell blogger pals because really there’s so much this little camera can do and there are lots of ways to optimise your experience and get the most out of it.

This menu gives you access to all sorts of things!

1. Bring up your Settings Menu

[Skip this step for the E-PL8 as the Settings Menu is already visible!] One of the handiest things I found is to set your Settings Menu to show (the one with the little cogs icon). This allows you to do things like assign functions to buttons, get into Movie settings and access the Super Control Panel – more on that in the next point!

To do this: Press the Menu button, scroll down to the spanner icon and click on that. In that menu scroll down to Menu Display with the cogs icon and go in and turn the cogs Menu display to On.

Voila! Now when you press Menu the cogs icon will display and you can go in there and have a look at the things you can do!

This is what the Super Control Menu looks like… so useful!

2. Bring up the Super Control Panel

This is something you can do on all the Olympus cameras but you have to turn it on. It’s a full-screen menu that allows you to easily access all you camera settings like ISO, aperture, white balance, manual focus and so in. It’s much better than using the sidebar menu that you’ll currently have set up.

To do this: Press Menu. Go to your (now showing) Settings Menu (cogs) and go to D. Disp/PC and then go to Control Settings. In Control Settings first select P/A/S/M, click in and tick Live SCP and untick the other boxes. Do this for iAuto and ART and SCN too if you want to. Depends what mode you usually shoot in.

Now, back on your main camera screen, press OK and the Super Control Panel will now show across your whole screen with little touchscreen buttons for ISO, WB, S-AF and so on.


3. Turn off Face Priority 

Now that you’ve got the SCP working, the first thing I would do is turn Face Priority off, as I find this often conflicts with where you’re trying to focus the camera. But do have it on if you want to easily focus on faces.

4. Tap the screen to focus

I’m a bit old-fashioned when it comes to selecting my focus point – I use the round control to do that. Much easier is to tap the screen. To do this, get familiar with the little on-screen tap icon in the bottom lefthand corner. If this isn’t showing, press Menu and then go back to your active camera screen. If the finger tapping a rectangle is showing, then you can tap by focussing. Tap the icon and it changes to finger on two lines, that means by tapping you’ll take the picture (which tbh, I find a bit annoying as I always like to see my focus properly first!) and tap again to turn off, the icon will go white.

Use 1:1 for taking square Instagram shots!

5. Change your aspect ratio

This is so useful, mainly because you can set you camera to square to take shots for Instagram. Quite telling that my camera is practically always set to square these days! To access, bring up your SCP and find it on the bottom line. Yours may be set to 4:3 or 3:2. For square set it to 1:1. I quite like using 16:9 to change things up every now and then!

You can select Blur Background on the iAuto setting

6. Use Blur Background

If you are new to your camera and still using iAuto then you can use the Blur Background button. I wouldn’t say this is the magic answer to getting great blur, but it’s helpful if you’re just using the kit lens. To do this you need to make sure the Live Guide box is ticked for iAuto in Display Settings (see point 1 for how to access this). Then on your live camera screen, press OK and a sidebar with coloured icons will come up. Blur Background is the fourth one down – select with your finger or the controller and a slider will come up which you can move to make more blurry.

This lens is brilliant for beautiful blur…

7. Buy a 45mm 1.8 lens

However, if you’re really after some beautiful blur in your backgrounds, then I would advise buying the 45mm 1.8 lens. Such a little beauty and really the first step towards creating stunning, professional blog photography.

8. Change your highlights & shadow settings

One way to introduce a bit of contrast and depth to your photos is to play around with the highlights & shadows settings. Above the OK button on the back of your camera is the + & – symbol which is your shadows and highlights. Click that, then press INFO. You can now change the 0 value of your shadows (highlighted in green) up and down by 7 each way. Press INFO again, and you move to your highlights value. I set mine at -3 and +3 for extra contrast in my photos. But play around with the values and see what suits you.


9. Set your button & dial functions

The  dial on top of your camera should be pre-set to change your aperture. So if you roll this you can see your aperture, highlighted in green at the bottom of the screen change from its lowest to highest. For the kit lens, 3.5 is the widest your aperture will go – the wider your aperture, the shallower your depth of field. ie more of your photo will be blurry, which is great for more artistic type shots. But if you want to assign particular functions to your dial and buttons, press Menu, go into the cog Settings icon and go to B Button/Dial. You can pretty much choose what you want to do, e.g. I have my Fn button set to select my focus point, so it brings up a grid and I can navigate where I want the focus. And I have the magnify button set to WB so I can access that easily, which I always useful when you’re in changing light situations like showrooms at press days.


10. Flip out your screen

I’m sure you know this one, but just in case, the Pen E-PL7 screen flips both ways. It flips up which is useful for surreptitiously shooting from the hip and it flips all the way down for selfie taking – tap the screen to take the shot, you have a couple of seconds to pull you hand away. The most useful, I find, is flipping it out about halfway up to take food shots without having to stand up. This is also great for any kind of flatlay situation. To release the screen down, don’t pull but first nudge the left-hand corner down a smidgen and then pull.


11. Get the Olympus Share app

I’m assuming you’ve already done this but just in case you haven’t go straight to the App Store and download immediately! Being able to transfer pictures straight onto your phone is life-changing!

Troubleshooting Tip: If you find the connection is not working properly, turn everything off and re-make the connection again. I’ve had this a few times, it always ends up working again. If for some reason your photos aren’t loading up properly, check you haven’t got you images only set to RAW in the SCP as they need to be Jpeg files to show up on your phone.

12. Use your phone as a remote

In all honestly, this was one of the main reasons I bought my first Olympus camera. I wanted to be able to take pictures of myself with my tripod. Using my phone as a shutter release, but also being able to see myself on my phone screen and access all the settings was life-changing!

Shooting tip: Set the self-timer to 6 seconds to give you time to hide your phone and pose! And for all you vloggers out there, a new software update in the next couple of months will allow you to trigger the record button from your phone too!

13. Edit on your phone

Practically all my Instagram shots are ones taken on my camera. Once I’ve uploaded a photo, I edit mainly in VSCOcam (sometimes Snapseed or Afterlight) and then share. The great thing is that the photo file sizes aren’t compressed so the images are large enough to stick straight up on your blog too, which I do when away from my laptop, using the WordPress app.

14. Get involved!

I love photo challenges and hashtag projects and come across them on Instagram all the time. From Instagram’s own Weekend Hashtag Project (announced every Friday) to #mystillsundaycompetition by Kim Klassen and #mymonthofsundays by Me & Orla. And I’ve just started my own Instagram hashtag #PENInPractice in conjunction with my monthly Olympus Pen In Practice column – I’m choosing my fave photos each week to feature on the @olympusUK account, so do and join in!


15. Get a new strap!

And last, but by no means least, add a little leather chic to you Pen with a lovely new strap! Find my new collaboration straps and pouches over at mimiberry.co.uk – I hope you love them! (So sorry, but the Sail Handmade straps pictured are no longer available.)

So, I hope that was more useful than confusing! And leave any questions in the comments below… The Pen E-PL7 pictured is still available second hand (Read my introduction to it here) but the latest model is the Pen E-PL8 – find out all you need to know about the new model here. Also check out my Pen In Practice posts, also here in the Photography section.

Stylonylon is a UK Olympus ambassador 

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Leave a Comment


  1. I actually squeaked with happiness whilst reading this post – so many good tips and tricks! Thank you so so much for sharing. Looking forward to setting up my new camera tonight ready for my holiday 🙂 x

    1. Oh that’s lovely to hear 🙂 have a great hol & happy shooting… xx

  2. This post is an absolute god send! I just bought a Pen and you’ve honestly made it so easy to navigate around each section. Thank you!

    Katie. X

  3. Thank you so much for these tips! I really want to get a camera this fall to throw in my bag and take better pictures with but shopping for a camera is like shopping for jeans; there are just WAY TOO MANY options! This one is a tad pricey but seems to be really good for blogging so I’ll definitely put it on my list of possibilities and I’m bookmarking this post for all your great tips!


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  4. Hey! Thanks so much for sharing these little tips. I would like to say that it was because of your recommendation that I bought the Olympus Pen El7! I absolutely love it. I also took your advice and got the 42mm lens which is great. Now i Just need to save up for the 17mm. I have an old OM10 and put my 50mm lens on too with a converter – its great but the manual focus is tricky when shooting children 😉 but the lovely soft blur or ‘bokeh’ you get is awesome.

    1. Ooh that sounds interesting re the 50mm & adapter, would love to see the results! It’s great to see a little camera getting great blur – one of the reasons I love it! Yes manual & children don’t really go together haha! Great stuff, and the 17mm well worth it. Between that, the 45mm and a lovely old 50, you’ll really covered! :))

  5. Can’t tell you how glad I was to read these tips! Recently bought a pen, but couldn’t figure out the menus at all – and googling just brought up …. photographers …. this was a perfect introduction, thank you very much. My instagram has gone a bit insane this last week, hoorah!

    Also, the tip about the 45mm lens? Perfect. thanks so much!
    Get Lippie recently posted…A Parosmic at the (An)OsmothequeMy Profile

    1. Oh I’m so glad it’s been useful! Hope you enjoy & yay to the 45mm, you’ll love it! :))

    1. Hmmm. Are you unchecking the boxes that say Live Guide and Live Control? As I think this will override the Live SCP. And have you done it for the mode you are using? Either Auto or P/A/S/M. I know other readers have managed so I don’t think I’vd left out anything vital. But there might be a more helpful You Tube video if you google ‘setting up Super Control Panel on Olympus Pen’… Hope that helps. If you’re really stuck, email me on stylonylon@gmail.com 🙂

  6. I’ve seen this camera a lot since I started blogging a few months ago, now I want one! Not only is it a sexy retro look but you’ve convinced me it has all the substance too! I’m still not where I want to be with my images, I’m a bit hit & miss with bokeh & they’re definitely not as sharp as I’d like. I’m using a Nikon 50mm lense & still getting a handle on using the remote control, it’s definately an exciting challenge taking the pics myself 😉
    Thanks for a great post x
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    1. It definitely has the substance! Glad this was helpful. In the end, it just takes practice and l000s of photos, I’m still learning! 🙂 x

  7. Oh my god,thank you so much for the tips and tricks!i’ve been using Nikon all these years and got the Olympus PEN E-PL7 last week.I was confused for a while until I see your blogpost!You’re a lifesaver!can’t wait to use this for my upcoming trip! <3

  8. Your Instagram comment has sent me over to this post… Thank you so much!! I have just bought the Olympus Pen E-PL7 and this will definitely help me get to grips using it quickly.
    You have also answered my question on if to purchase the addition 45mm lens… It will be purchased this weekend!
    Talisa x

  9. My epl7 crop and aspect function decline, “the images cannot be edited”. Is it camera faulty or settling fault?

    Appreciate your advise.


    1. That dose sound strange. So you’re just going into the SCP and pressing the aspect ration button and it’s coming up with that message? I’ve never seen that before, I must admit. Might be worth taking into your local camera shop and getting them to take a look. Sorry not to be more helpful, hard without having the camera in my hands to see… I will mention it to the tech team as well as see what they say….

      1. I am also getting the same error. I cannot seem to edit any of the photos I have taken. Any news from the tech team? Thanks for the help! 🙂

        1. Hi Clarissa! Is it possible you are you shooting in RAW and not jpeg? Xx

    2. grietje zegt:he jullie daar het zou leuk zijn denk ik als we voor een keer even weer bingo konden speleneen paar leuke prijzen sponseren en dan voor het goede doel een potje bingoheel veel oude bingo spelers zou je daar een plezier mee doenen diegenen die het maar niks vinden die luisteren dan maar even niet groetjes grietje

    3. I enjoy you because of your own hard work on this web site. My daughter loves conducting investigations and it is simple to grasp why. A number of us notice all relating to the compelling form you produce useful tips via the blog and therefore improve contribution from visitors on the issue so our favorite child has always been understanding so much. Take pleasure in the rest of the new year. You’re the one performing a stunning job.

  10. I just bought the PEN EPL-7, thought it would be a good step up from a point in shoot without having to commit to a real DSLR. I love your tips. I ‘ve been reading that this camera can be customised to bring it to the next level. I’ve been playing around with it and I noticed that when I’m in certain modes, for example the A mode, in dim lighting once I take a pic the screen goes blank for like 5 secs then the memory card icon will flash and the picture will basically show up completely white. Is it normal that the screen goes blank? I’m wondering if it’s because not enough light is present so it’s taking time to capture the image?I’m slowly learning about the Apenture and shutter modes. Slightly more complicated than a point and shoot.
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  11. Hi, I just wanted to say a huge thank you for this post! I’ve only just started blogging and have been having to use my iphone. I’ve been wanting to learn photography and improve my blog images and have been looking into cameras. I was pretty sure this was the one for me, but your post and all your tips have made me definitely decide on it. I’m lucky enough to be getting it as a Christmas present and I can’t wait. I was wondering though if you could please recommend a tripod? Does it work with any? X x

    1. Fab news! Yes, fits with any tripod, it’s a standard fitting. I just use an old battered one and a travel one tbh. 🙂 do check in end of next week tho as I’m launching a 25% discount to buy the camera through my site!! Xx

  12. Hey,

    Great post, I really enjoyed reading it, and if I do purchase one of these cameras, I will definitely be back here, reading up on how to use it, so thank you!

    I just have another question, the blurred background… Are you able to create that effect on videos, so the face is focussed and behind is slightly blurred, and would that work on just the normal kit, or would you need to buy a specific lens?

    I’m going to stroll through the questions, so apologies if it has already been asked, but I look forward to your response.


    Chanelle xo

    1. Ah, great! Yes, you can get the blurred effect in video, but it is mainly down to the lens… I would recommend the 45mm 1.8 – although you do need to have space for this lens, you need to be further away to get full picture in xx

  13. NICE POST 🙂 Thanks for sharing! Useful tips to explore for my EPL -7. Understand that you had recommend 45mm F1.8. How about 25mm F1.8 len?

    1. Glad you enjoyed! Ah, I don’t have the 25mm, but I understand it’s a lovely lens, and on my wishlist! The most similar I have is the 17mm 1.8, which to be honest, I pretty much have on my camera as a default as it’s easier to shoot with in close quarters than the 45mm (which requires a bit of distance). My 2nd most used lens is a 25mm tho, but the Panasonic one (25mm 1.4) which is gorgeous, if a little heavy for the E-PL7. This is usually on my Pen E-P5 which is slightly bigger.

  14. I just gifted myself to this beauty (in black/silver) and since it arrived, I am raiding the internet for tips and tricks. That´s when I came across this post (Thank you so much!) and I basically didn´t leave your blog since then, browsing your Photography archives like a crazy person 🙂

    I have two questions still, and hope you will see this and help me out 🙂

    1. I looove the thin camera strap you designed with SailHandmade and was about to order one but then the different lengths confused me. In the product gallery is a photo of you in a striped shirt wearing the camera around your neck and to me that´s the perfect length! I just don´t know if you´re wearing a 110cm or 115cm there. Would be great if you could tell me!

    2. My new Oly Pen and I are just in the beginning phase of dating, you know, it´s a little bit wonky but with a huge crush on each other, ha! I love how tiny it is and that I can and will actually take it with me wherever I go (something I never did with my bulky Canon DSLR). The only thing that worries me a bit is that I can´t hide the screen when carrying in my bag and therefore it´s not save from scratches. How do you protect the screen? Do you use a special screen protector like you would for your phone or an extra case? I mean, I´d love to just “throw” it in my bag with my keys and wallet and everything but I don´t believe the screen would tolerate that long enough!

    Thank you! And keep the Pen tips coming! Sooo useful!

    xo Martina
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    1. Hi Martina! That’s fab to hear 🙂 Ok, yes, I’m wearing the longer 115cm version and as for second question, yes, constant problem! I have to admit I’ve been pretty lax and just toss in my bag – although if big bag I protect in a woolly hat, but I have lots of smaller shoulder bags that my Pen sits quite safely in – but Olympus have a new line of accessories out including camera pouches, either available now or very soon, on their site! ??

      1. Thank you for the super fast response, Julia!

        Then the 115cm it is 🙂
        I know, I love those small bags too but usually I am wearing a big bag with my whole household in there – ha – and that´s when I would feel bad for the screen. I do believe it´s not easy to scratch though, seems built pretty durable to me, but still I don´t wanna chance it! Thanks for the woolly hat tip, I will use that for now and look out for the new accessories 🙂
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    1. Yes, that is true. But you can get a little slider gadget that can fix this. Let me find out what it is exactly and will let you know … But it does work, as have seen it in action. Also software update soon on the app is meant to add Record function, so you’ll be able to see yourself on phone and trigger the remote from there too…

  15. Thank you so much. Spent a week with the stupid camera manual download and was unable to find a setting method for ISO. You did it in 1!!!!!

  16. LOVE THIS POST!! I was wondering what tripod you use babe? I want to buy one so I can get some photos when my poor brother isn’t around haha! Thank you xxx

    1. Hi lovely! Ah I have a very shonky old one and a newer mini travel one – the Slik Sprint Mini II GM Tripod which is good if a little short, but great for travel xx

  17. Thank you so much for this!
    I was going nuts because I couldn’t find how to change the ISO myself and I was afraid it wasn’t even possible. But thanks to you I finally have it figured out and gotten a bunch of other great tips as well 🙂
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  18. Great tips! I’m considering getting this. Do you think this camera works as well when taking landscape/scenic photos? Or more for people photos since it blurs the background. Is it right we can switch off the function?


    1. Great for scenic & landscape too! To get the blurriness you really need certain lenses you need to shoot in a certain way – low aperture, close to subject with distance behind. Fir scenic you ideally want the kit lens or wide angle and to set your aperture to something like F11. It’s all about adjusting the settings to get the type of shot you want. If that makes sense. On Auto there is a blur option, but you need to turn it on, it’s not on by default…

  19. I am smiling like the Cheshire cat, thank goodness for your tips and tricks. I just treated myself to the Pen E-pl7 and am thrilled with it. Thank you for providing such an interesting and colourful site. I have taken on board all your comments and hope to add some photo’s to Olympus very soon. You already made me braver in the menu section.
    Many thanks again.

  20. Hi!
    I want to ask for number 6 and 8.
    For number 6 : i did’t find blur background..can u more explain to me?
    For number 8 : i didn’t find the higlights too…i see the symbol S +/- ..is it the symbol of the highlight?
    Cause when i used that..it’s only have 1 choice to decrease or increase the number..so, can you give me a solution?

    Last question, i like to take a food pictures and sometimes it’s looks like a warm and i don’t like it and also i feel it’s a less sharp…i need your solution..

    Thank u

    Please reply me

    1. For blur background, you need to be set on iAuto. Press OK to bring up the righthand sidebar Menu. Scroll through that menu with the wheel dial and you find Blur Blackground.
      For 8 – press the +/- on the wheel dial. Then immediately press Info, this highlights the shadows value which you can adjust by 7 each way, then press Info again to access the highlights (it’ll light in green).
      For food, are you shooting in artificial light? Natural light by the window is best. I think maybe the sharpness is to do with good light quality?

      1. Sory for my lately reply but Thank u for answer me…
        Your blog really help me to understanding my camera.

  21. Great blog post, really informative thank you!
    I really want to get one – which lens would you recommend for starting out the 14-42mm kit lens?
    And what difference does the Pancake Zoom lens make, is that one better for blurred background etc?
    Also when does your 25% link up discount start? I just missed one with inthefrow which finished last week, v annoying!
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    1. Hi Maggie – glad you enjoyed it! Both the 14-42mm kits lenses do just the same thing – only difference is the Pancake is smaller and automatic. For real blur, you want to look at the 45mm lens. Drop me a line on stylonylon@gmail.com re discount 🙂

  22. I just purchased the same camera for taking action shot of my kids playing waterpolo. Any suggestions on what would be a good settings? I have tried the default by selecting the SCN but it does not seem to give me a clear pic.


  23. Delighted to find your page but I just tried your recommendation for the super control panel several times but nothing changed – not sure what I am doing wrong!

    1. Check out the latest edition of Olympusmag.co.uk – there’s a whole article in there. 🙂

      1. Hi,

        what is your preferred focus mode when filming? In my opinion C-AF is pumping a lot, producing bad results. Better is S-AF+MF, I think.

        1. Yes, I have to admit I’m always on S-AF as very rarely shooting anything moving and feel more in control with it…

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  25. Hola! I’m so glad I read your post on tips & tricks with the Olympus Pen E-PL7. I’m a newbie and still on the learning ropes thus you would help a lot with how to change ISO on the camera. I’ve been trying to find the settings to change ISO but can’t figure it out and I’m starting to feel real dumb. lol

    1. Hi! Ok, easiest way is to come off Auto, switch to A, and use tips 1 & 2 above to set up the Super Control Panel. Then when you press OK you will bring up all the settings including the ISO. If you don’t want the SCP, come off Auto and access the menu along the right hand side by using the round control on back of camera…

  26. Hi there! I have been reading up on your photography blog but still having some issues with my camera shooting on a white background, every time I do I get a hint of gray instead of bright white? any advice of what I may be doing wrong. I usually shoot on “A” and have my settings at ISO 100-200 w/ exposure of .7-1 & F/3.5 (as I only currently have the standard lenses). Should I try setting my shutter speed manually or is it my lighting? I am still very new to all of this so Its been trial and error but still need some extra help.

    1. Hi Andrea, it’s quite easy. When shooting on a white background (or a snowy landscape, etc.), every camera will set the shutter speed too short for correct exposure. So you have to adjust the exposure compensation: Choose “+” to make the picture brighter (+1.0 should be ok, just try it with various values).

    2. You could also choose mode M and set the shutter speed longer to slightly overexpose the picture

    3. Hey there! Another option is to set your custom white balance to get a really good white. I wrote a post on this if you look through my photography section. But upping your exposure value is good too. But your best result is going to come from natural light and white surrounds, so shoot on white next to a window. Also check what’s surrounding you, is it reflecting darker colours onto your subject. Some people set up a white reflector or piece of white cardboard next to what they’re shooting to brighten the white up. Hope that helps! 🙂

  27. Thank you so much for these tips! These have been much more useful to me than the manual 🙂
    Without this post I never would have known how to make the SCP appear and it has been sooo much easier for me to learn and use with the control acess like this. I’m not only learning how to use the camera but also digitial photography from scratch – I’ve just got to grips with what ISO, Aperture and Shutter speed do!

    I do have one question that I would be so grateful if you could help me with as I can’t seem to find anything in the manual or online: The Spot Metering on the Pen EPL7 – does this just spot meter from the center of the screen or is it spot metering from the focus point? I’ve read it can be either with DSLR’s but I can’t seem to find any info on how the PEN EPL7 does this? (If it is from the center then how do you spot meter when your subject is off center?!)

    Many thanks!

    1. So so glad! Yes, with E-PL7 it’s just centre weighted, but on the new Pen F it moves with the focal point. Something I need to use more tbh! You’ve inspired me 🙂 and sounds like you’re whizzing ahead so have fun!! 🙂

      1. Thanks for the pointer! Once pointed in the right direction I did a bit of further investigating/experimenting and just in case anyone else wants to know as it is not clear in the manual:

        1)Set the metering mode to Spot. You get a little circle in the center of the view showing you the meter spot.

        In Manual mode:
        2) Move the view until the circle is over your subject. Change your ISO/aperture/shutter speed as desired until meter is showing correct exposure for your subject. Half press down the shutter button – this locks both focus and exposure. Keep pressed halfway down and move viewer to required composition. When in place fully press down shutter button.

        In A/S/P modes:
        2) Move the viewer until the circle is over your subject. Camera automatically changes settings (excluding your mode setting, you can control this yourself) so subject is in correct exposure. Half press down the shutter button – this locks both focus and exposure. Keep pressed halfway down and move viewer to required composition. When in place fully press down shutter button.

        Really useful for when taking backlit photos and your subject is dark and it is the background that is being correctly exposed, not your subject! By spot metering your subject you get your subject exposed correctly and the background gets overexpsoed instead.

  28. hello 🙂 you helped me a lot in the descision of buying the e-pl7!
    now i want to buy a cute pouch for the camera (“Ink Couture”) .
    do you know if the camera with the pancake lens ON fits into the camera pouch (not lens pouch)?
    greets from germany <3

    1. Yes, I have this pouch! Yes, it fits the camera with pancake lens attached. 🙂 Julia

    2. Ah yes, I have this pouch and it does fit the camera with lens! 🙂

  29. Hi, This post is brilliant and it’s what I’ve used to set my camera up, however i’m struggling with the blur part. I’ve got my Live Guide ticked in iAuto but the sidebar doesn’t come up. I’ve managed to work everything else out except this 🙁 Thank you Claudia

    1. Hi Claudia – have you got the Live SCP unticked? I think that needs to be the case. Live Guide: ticked. SCP: unticked. Then should work! best, Julia

      1. Hi Julia, thank you for your quick reply. The sidebar is now showing but the blur options isn’t. Sorry I’m so useless, I was doing ok with it and now I’m more confused. Claudia

        1. Ok, that’s strange. Is it not sitting just below black & white square (change brightness)? If you email me on stylonylon@gmail.com I can maybe help with a screenshot! 🙂

    2. Is live SCP unticked? Hopefully that should fix it! 🙂 x

  30. Great tips! May I know is there any difference in image quality between the e-pl7, e-p5 and pen f (if all using the same lens says 45mm f1.8)? I’m looking to upgrade my e-pl5, looking at the above choices more on the first 2. TIA 🙂

    1. Jeg forstÃ¥r ikke folk som spiser Grandiosa i det hele tatt – kanskje derfor det er derfor vi stadig mÃ¥ fylle fryseren med det her hos osverossaF?t er for øvrig truende nær for vÃ¥r nest yngste.

  31. Thank you so much for this blog post. I just recently got the Olympus Pen 7 and I’m still learning how to use it. Can you tell me if you shoot in RAW? Also how often do you use the flash? I”m trying to learn how to not use the flash so much, but my pictures always come out blurry. Its really frustrating.

    1. I just shoot jpeg actually as happy with the results & RAW files are so big! I never use flash… I’m surprised your pictures are coming out blurry though. Is this shooting at nighttime? Always hard – you want your aperture as wide as possible (ie. Low number) ISO and hold the camera steady… There’s a #peninpractice post about shooting food in lowlight that covers this.

      1. Hay there,

        This is really helpful what you’ve written 🙂 I’d love to know what settings you use to capture your fashion shots as they look amazing. Similar to michelle i seem to be getting blurry shots to (daytime), when i’m looking for real detail. I shoot on the A setting, aperture is on 1.8 45mm lense, iso between .7-1. I use a tripod.

        Thanks so much

        1. The settings sound fine! Are you selecting your focal point? Is anything making the tripod shake?

          1. Hi

            Thanks for getting back. You mean focus point as in touching them screen before shooting so I am clear, or in the grid? If It’s grid I want my whole shot be be clear so haven’t done that. Thanks

          2. Ah that’s the problem then! You need to get the camera to focus or you get a general blur. If you want the whole picture in focus (large depth of field) then you need to change your aperture of 1.8 to a much higher number. 1.8 gives you a very shallow depth of field ie. only one part of the picture will be in focus. But if you don’t select a focus point the camera can’t give any kind of clear picture! So you can do this by touching the screen, or you can use the round control to the right of the screen to select the focal point on a grid that comes up when you press ‘9 o’clock’ on the round control if that makes sense!

  32. Thank you for the top tips. I bought this camera and am finding my way round and still getting to grips.

    How can you use the drop down ‘selfie’ screen with a tripod?

    And what bag do you use? I have so many bits and bobs and lens and caps. I think I’ll try and make one as the standard bags are too boring.

    I’m new to blogging and still finding my niche.

    Thank you for your inspiration.
    Cazza Goffey recently posted…Roisin Murphy Take Her Up to Monto and Sing It Back remixMy Profile

  33. Hi, just wanna ask if the update for the recording video using our phone is already out?

    1. Not as far as I am aware. Best bet is to tweet @olympusuk – they will prob know more…

  34. Thank you so much for this!! I just got mine yesterday, and the 45mm lens is coming today. Really excited to learn photography on this camera, and your posts (the 15 tips for the Pen also) have been a huge help.

    Thanks again! Happy snapping ?



    1. Do check out my settings post in this section too – should help a little ??

  35. Do you have any recommendations on what lens would be best for product photography? I want to use my Olympus Pen for taking pictures of various handmade crafts for my blog but I’m not sure the lens it came with is giving me the best results.

  36. Ah so glad! 🙂 yes you can get an adapter for your canon lens, only thing you won’t have automatic function, it will just work as a manual lens…

  37. Great info, thanks for sharing. I’ve just bought my Pen. Can you recommend a case…? Something neat and not bulky, ideally want to carry the camera in my handbag. Thanks Katy.

  38. I’m so looking forward to getting my grubby paws on this camera! As a very inexperienced photographer, I’m hoping that this can be my first “big girl” camera to start to learn the ropes! However I am unsure if I should order the kit with the pancake lens or the 42mm lens? What is the difference between the two?

    I am hoping to use the camera for travel photos – so a mix of close up foodie shots and landscapes. Which would you recommend?

    Thank you! I’ve been stalking your photography blog all night haha!

    1. Ah hope it’s been of some use! Ok, bit confusing, the pancake lens is a smaller, flatter, neater version of the 14-42mm. Just more expensive, but takes the same picture…

      1. Ahh okay I might go for the pancake lens then! Thank you so much! I saw a couple of comments above you were running discount codes – I know it was a while ago but are there any left? *crosses fingers*

        Thanks for all the help xxx

  39. Just bought an Olympus PEN E-PL7 as I wanted something smaller and lighter than my Canon DSLR to use when I’m out and about at events. Have had it a couple of weeks now and these tips are brilliant. I’ve found them so useful. Thanks for sharing. x

  40. OMG this blog post is something I have been searching for for weeks!! I just got the Olympus Pen for my birthday after dreaming about it for what seems forever. But since I got the camera I haven’t touched it haha. Mainly scared of hitting buttons and messing up the settings, but this has helped clear some questions I had like numbers 5 & 6. Think I will just have to get stuck in and experiment. Really want to kick start my own blog soon.
    Thanks for the tips

  41. Hi,
    I just wanted to thank you for this very useful post! I am very new to my camera (I know its a couple of years old now but its so pretty and practical!) and this has really helped me get the most of it.

    Thank you!

  42. Just got a new camera and I looked on youtube and various blogs and your post has been so helpful! Cannot wait to start using my camera and using the hashtags!! Thank you.

  43. Hi, I’m finding your tips really helpful – but I can’t figure out how to turn the face priority off! The option is dull & gray in the settings menu, and I can’t press it. When I try to access it by pressing the left arrow button, and then info, I can choose my target area (which I’ve set to single target) but I can’t change the smiley face face priority option. What am I missing?!

    1. Hi Jordan! Are you in iAuto? You need to be in A, P or M for all the settings to be adjustable… let me know!

    1. Pretty fast, really good if using a fast prime like the 17 1.8 or 45 1.8 and low aperture I find… I shoot my fast moving little boy a lot like this!

      1. Thank you very much for your fast reply! Now I think I will buy this fine little cam along with a prime lens. I hope this little cutie will not let me down. :)))

  44. I have just bought an E-PL7 having moved away from using my iPhone, which was good but want my clarity of photo’s to better. Trying to get to grips with the settings but I’m finding your post extremley helpful.

  45. What lenses would you recommend for indoor product photos. My products are plant-based cleaning products as well as candles and room sprays.

  46. Hi, thanks for your post. I’m a fashion blogger and youtuber and i’m considering buying this camera but i want to know if the camera actually flips up because i ve seen some review where the camera only flips down. Because it would be a real problem to film with a tripod. Thanks.

  47. Thank you for your useful tips setting up the Olympus Pen E-PL7! I have been enjoying using the Art filters…is there a way to select 2 or 3 of the filters and not have to use the bracket function where you get all 14? I cannot seem to figure out how to do this. Your help would be appreciated!

    Thank you.

    1. Ok, there is an answer! From the lovely Olympus team 🙂 here you go… let me know how you get on!

      Stick the mode dial on P or A (just not Art or iAuto as that restricts the choices)

      – Press menu

      – Depending on the model look fro Bracketing (it is under Camera 2) menu and click left on the control dial (the one that shows the flash symbol)

      – Scroll down to Art, click on and click right again and as if by magic – there are the filters you can turn on or off

      Select the ones you want


  48. Hi
    Ive just got the EPL7 & its a great camera, your post has made it so much easier to use. There is just one thing I can’t figure out and thats how to shoot using the touch screen. I can get it so focus etc but not take the actual picture, any ideas what I’m doing wrong?
    many thanks

    1. Hello! Yes, you just need to locate the button in the left hand screen that lets you flick between using screen to just focus, focus & take pic and turning off the touchscreen function. So bottom left hand corner, it’ll be highlighted in green – finger in square is to just focus, finger on two blocked out lines is to take the pic! 🙂

  49. this has seriously been SO useful! thanks for posting! the only thing I’m having trouble with is the wifi… I’m sure I’ll get it sorted though 🙂

    Laura | roseandweston.blogspot.co.uk

    1. It can be a bit temperamental at first, usually settles down… so glad of use tho! Do check out my podcast too! Xx

  50. Hiya, I found this so helpful thank you so much. I am specifically looking to set up my blur background. I did step one to change my menu but am now struggling to find the live guide box to reclick iauto etc???

  51. Hi, really pleased that I found your post and have acted on the advice provided.
    I have the E-PL7 which was bought to cover our trip around the coast and fjords of Norway.
    Stunning camera taking stunning pictures of a stunning land and seascape.
    I want to turn off face priority but try as I may I cannot get it to off. Any suggestions please.
    I can get it in the SCP but what ever I do it will not change!

    1. Hey that’s great to hear! Ok, you really should have any trouble switching up Face Priority. Which mode are in? It won’t work if you are in iAuto. You need to be in A, P, S or M providing you have switched on the SCP for these modes. Then you just click on the face and select OFF in the little menu that flicks up at the bottom and press OK. Does that help?

      1. Yes that’s done it.
        I take it that face priority is always on when in Auto mode?
        Many thanks.

        1. Annoyingly yes! Enjoy your trip 🙂 If you’re on Instagram do join in with my new #mystoryoflight hashtag – and tune in Fridays for live photography Q&A session at 12pm or catch upon the podcast 😉 “Phototalk With Stylonylon” on iTunes

          1. Thank you.
            Sadly I have not caught up with Instagram but will look to the podcast.
            Currently we are at the top of Norway and the scenery in the fjords is breathtaking.

  52. Hi,

    I’m after some help changing highlights and shadows if anyone can assist, after selecting the +\- and INFO button the screen comes up with two bars, one along bottom one up the right but neither are highlighted green? And I’m not entirely sure how to amend the values!

    Any help would be amazing! Thanks! Xx

  53. Hi there,
    I used your great review to help me decide to buy this camera, and i love it, however I keep getting the error message – ‘please check the status of a lens’ – it normally corrects itself after I take the battery out and put it back in again, but getting the error message now without even touching the zoom, and didn’t go until I had let it ‘rest’ for a couple of days……eeek! can you help?
    currently working in Romania and can’t get to a dealer, or afford a new lens…which I have read is the problem, that the kit lens is useless.
    your thoughts appreciated, many thanks!

    1. Oh no, not so sure about this! Am sure you have, but have you tried reattaching the lens so it’s firmly in place. Sometimes I don’t click it all the way round. Sounds like it def must be a technical problem. Is the same things happening with any other lenses (somebody else’s or at duty free in the airport!) if you have them to try?

    2. Yes does seem to be a problem that occurs – https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3828459
      Have to admit I have very little experience with the kit zoom as I don’t like using zooms… My advice would be to save up if you can for a nice prime 😉 much better build and gorgeous image quality xx

  54. This was such a great post and sooooo helpful. I’ve just been playing around with the settings and can’t wait to start taking photos for my blog. I’m still in the middle of constructing the site and hopefully I’ll launch soon xx

  55. Hello!

    Firstly, I love your blog/Instagram and think your photography is wonderful! 🙂 I was hoping for some advice?

    I am going to buy the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II (without kit lens) and I am unsure which lens to pick between the 17mm 1.8 and the 25mm 1.8. I already have a Canon 7D with a 50mm 1.4 lens which is my fave lens on that camera for bokeh and portraits. I’m wanting to get a micro four thirds camera for travel and that I can take everywhere with me as my Canon is a little bulky. Do you think the 17mm would be slightly better for travel than the 25mm? Sometimes I find the 50mm on the Canon is a little tight and I can’t always find the space to get everything I want in… so I’m thinking the 17mm would be the best solution on the Olympus? Are most of your photos taken on the 17mm? Any help would be much appreciated!

    Many thanks,

    1. Hi! Ah lovely to hear. It it were me I would go for the 17mm, it’s so comfortable for shooting I find, I use it for about 95% of my photography! And it is a gorgeous built lens. If though, you’re used to shooting with a 50, you’ll probably find the 25mm comfortable enough anyway though! I like the 17 because I can get in my top-down table shots very easily and outfit shots too on the go! And lovely for travel! xx

      1. Ahh okay cool that’s great, really good to know your thoughts! I think I will go for the 17mm then, as I think that slightly wider angle would be useful & it offers something slightly different to what I have on the Canon. I wanted a versatile lens to keep on the Olympus at most times when travelling, so it sounds like that’s the one to get first! Thanks so much for your help 🙂 xx

  56. thank you so much for these wonderful tips! it would be great if you could share on how you edit your pictures as well! 🙂

  57. Hi, I recently got myself the latest model and I’m trying to connect it to my phone however the wifi button which apparently is on the top left of the screen is not there .. do you know why?

    1. Try pressing Menu and then going back to the normal screen, it should pop up! 🙂

  58. Hi there! I just came across on this post on Pinterest. I’ve bought my epl7 last year but still I dont know how to explore the functions. Mostly I just used the auto fx and it doesn’t really satisfy me. I’m glad to have foumd this post. So i wanna ask how do use ur phone as a remote? Do you ise any app for it?

    1. Great stuff 🙂 yes you need to download the Olympus Share app to use the remote!

  59. I have been struggling to access the icons in the sidebar despite printing out the Olympus Manual and working through it. This page has been such a help especially with setting up the super control menu. Thank you very much.

  60. Hi!

    This is all very helpful, Thank you! But as I habe changed the Fn button to a different value (ISO) I am now not able to access the Blur slider anymore (point 6). Do you know which was the original value behind that Button?


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  62. You will most likely find a +/- button near the shutter. You can use this button to adjust the meter reading of the camera to compensate for the exposure. For instance, if you are shooting a very bright scene and the camera averages it to 18% grey, the result will be darker than what you expected it to be. You can compensate for it positively and get a brighter image as a result.
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  64. Hi there! I loved your post, it was very inspiring and helpful! What also inspired me was the leather camera strap! Looks so beautiful! Can you tell me where you got it from? X

  65. Thanks for sharing this the camera is literally insta goals! I was wondering does it allow you to take images at different aspect ratios eg 1:1 square, 4:3 as I find they work best for Instagram.
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  66. one batch of my photos won’t seem to transfer to my phone or computer. I thought this could be because I accidentally shot them as RAW (not sure how??) but I can’t seem to ‘RAW Edit’ these either (the option is greyed out) so it’s made me think they aren’t RAW after all? No idea why they won’t transfer – I’ve since taken more photos with no issues! It’s just that batch! Any ideas how to fix this?

    1. Raw won’t transfer onto your phone – & to open them on your laptop you need latest version of Lightroom or some software specific to Olympus as they are weirdly ORP files. You can convert them to jpeg in camera which should solve it too …

  67. I’m an old shooter I have the m1 and m5ii. I picked this camera up used, to take on trips. The contrast and highlight settings you offered are spot on. Love it and this post. Thanks.

  68. Hi there
    Please, could you help me. I got Olympus Epl 9 . I am trying to get photos with blur effects, but they look as normal photos. I have 17mn 1.8 Olympus lens . I use the A settings on 1.8 f stop and I removed the face priorities
    I am so confused what to do

    1. Hi! Are you selected a focal point on the grid and then half-pressing the shutter release to lock the focus? Also: Have you checked the 17mm ring on the actual lens is not pushed back to manual (although this would just make everything out of focus probably!). To get a blurry effect is also down to technique, you need to give your subject some distance behind it and come up fairly close to the subject itself on this lens…

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