Firmware 2.0 for the Olympus E-M1 Mark II

Olympus has announced firmware upgrades for their OM-D E-M1 Mark II, E-M5 Mark II and PEN-F cameras. Olympus Malaysia provided me with the early version of Firmware 2.0 for my E-M1 Mark II about a week ago and I’ve had some time to test it out. There are no major changes but there are small yet relevant improvements that can make a difference. In this article, I explore the improvements that firmware 2.0 brings to the E-M1 Mark II, and how it affects my photography.

Olympus has made the following feature additions or enhancements to the E-M1 Mark II via the firmware upgrade:
– Smaller AF target area for both Single-AF and Continuous-AF
– Focus Stacking compatibility for M.Zuiko 12-100mm F4 PRO lens
– Indication of 1 to 1 magnification view on image reviews
– Improved buffer of Pro Capture Mode to 35 pre-burst frames from previously 14 frames only.
– In camera fisheye lens distortion correction (de-fishing)
– New Flicker Scan Aid function allows for easier removal of flickering when using electronic shutter.
– New Art Filter added: Bleach Bypass

I welcome the addition of smaller focusing points in the E-M1 Mark II. I have always used the smaller target area option in all OM-D and PEN cameras that I have owned and reviewed. The smaller focusing box ensures better focusing accuracy and it works more efficiently for my shooting. Strangely, this option was not available on the E-M1 Mark II when it was launched, but is now included with the new firmware upgrade. I did not test the smaller focusing area on C-AF, since I shoot everything in S-AF. I have found S-AF to be more confident in acquiring focus, especially in extremely challenging and low light conditions.

1 to 1 view during playback is shown next to the 5x magnification. Previously, I always assumed that the 100% magnification was at 7x magnified view, but I guess I was wrong. 100% magnification is shown at 5x magnification on the E-M1 Mark II. You can have a quick one-touch or one-turn scroll of the dial to zoom into full 1 to 1 magnified view during playback.

In camera focus stacking is only available on select lenses, and obviously Olympus prioritizes their PRO lenses. The M.Zuiko 12-100mm F4 PRO lens, a popular lens choice for the E-M1 Mark II is now compatible with the focus stacking feature, and I shot the Robin Lego Brickheadz to test it out (thanks Allen Ang for the awesome gift!).

When the focus stacking was used, the camera went into electronic shutter mode and took multiple images at different focusing zones which were then stacked in camera to achieve greater depth of field. The biggest benefit using the focus stacking is not having to stop down the aperture to the point of severe diffraction. While many people may find this useful for product shoots, I am hesitant to use focus stacking for my insect macro shooting because I need to mount the camera on a sturdy tripod to mitigate any movement.

Image was taken without focus stacking at F4, focus was on the Lego head.

Focus stacking was used in this shot, using F4 aperture.

A new Art Filter, the Bleach Bypass was introduced in OM-D E-M10 Mark III and is now also available for the E-M1 Mark II. However, I am not really a fan of this art filter. I personally prefer the Pop Art, Grainy Film, Dramatic Tone (used in some situations) and all the Vintage Art Filters.

No fisheye lens was available for loan so I could not test the in camera distortion correction for fisheye lenses. I was unable to find the option for the flicker scan aid. I shall find my ex-colleagues in Olympus Malaysia soon and once more information is available, I will update this article accordingly.

Bleach Bypass Art Filter

Firmware 2.0 for E-M1 Mark II was a minor upgrade. There was no rework of features or huge improvements. Unlike the multiple firmware upgrades for the original 2013 E-M1 that fixed the shutter shock issue, better burst sequential shooting from 6.5 fps to 9 fps, silent shutter option, better video functions (options to shoot at 24 and 25p) and the introduction of important game-changing features like live composite.

Personally, my wish-list of improvements for the E-M1 Mark II in future firmware upgrades are as follows:
1) Ability to group the burst sequential shots together in a folder, and enable quick selection during playback to decide which images to keep, and an option to delete the entire lot of unwanted batch of images at once.
2) Improved in-camera software correction and image optimization for non-Olympus Micro Four Thirds lenses. Come on, show some love for Panasonic lenses!
3) A quick shortcut for Live View Boost ON/OFF as a customization option for the Fn buttons on camera. I found myself switching back and forth from live view boost on and off from time to time, especially when I deal with flash photography.
4) Automatic switch to use of electronic shutter for shutter speed faster than 1/8000 sec. It is troublesome having to manually set this when needed. Now that there are plenty of F1.2 prime lenses available, to make full use of these lenses shooting wide open, higher shutter speed up to 1/32000 using electronic shutter can make a huge difference.

All the following images were taken with the E-M1 Mark II (firmware 2.0 of course) and M.Zuiko 12-100mm PRO IS lens. I shot the Kuala Lumpur Performing Art Centre’s (KLPAC) latest stage show “Men in Heels”, and the smaller AF targeting area was used.

What are your thoughts on the latest firmware? Are you missing some important features or improvements? What do you wish for in future Olympus firmware upgrades? Let us know!

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II is available from B&H
The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 12-100mm F4 PRO lens is available from B&H


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Images and content copyright Robin Wong 2018 onwards. All rights reserved



  1. My wish list would include focus assist (focus peaking & magnify) on legacy & manual focus lens where it would be most effective & useful

    • Perhaps I misunderstand you, but my E-M1.2 already does this.

      Or did you mean that it automagically comes on when it detects a manual-focus lens? If so, I have asked them for that! (See my long comment near the end.)

  2. By the way: Updated manual with addendum for firmware 2.0 is up on Olympus’ website as well.

  3. I’m a bit late to the party – thank you for your overview Robin!

    It looks like the final version 2.0 does show 1:1 at 7x magnification – but only when you have the dial set to “Equally Value” in Menu D2.

    I too want to chime in with a few improvement wishes (but actually right after a fresh “major” firmware update is probably a bad time – who knows how long it will be until the next one?).

    Mine come mostly from professional use, inspired by “professional” DSLRs, but they all are pretty handy:

    1. a direct button (or two-button) press to format the SD cards. It’s annoying having to dive into menus for that.

    2. a more advanced Auto ISO with a selectable formula based on focal length. Currently when “Lowest S/S Setting” in ISO-Auto Set” (Menu E1) is set to “Auto” the camera uses the formula 1 / 2x focal length (for instance 1/100 s for 50 mm)
    Especially with such potent image stabilization this often is a waste resulting in much too high ISO values.

    3. full size previews in RAW images. I can’t believe that in 2018 some manufacturers still embed anything other than full size previews.

    4. clock settings with time zones and daylight saving.

    5. a sensible name for SD cards when they are formatted. “Untitled” is not very informative. How about the camera name? 😉

    6. more characters for the file names. Space, dash, underscore etc. Again, it’s 2018 … we’re no longer on MS-DOS.

    7. lock shutter release without memory card(s)

    8. a button setting to suppress flash while pressed

    • Robin Wong says:

      While I agree on most of the items, I would want to leave number 1 as it is. I do not mind diving deep to format the SD card. If the steps are too short, I am afraid for someone as clumsy as myself I would accidentally format the card!

      • Oh, of course it needs to be foolproof (I am a clumsy klutz myself!).

        Nikon DSLRs:
        press two buttons simultaneously – display blinks “FOR”
        press the two buttons again – card is formatted

        This is super fast and easy and VERY hard to execute by mistake.

        • I agree Thomas. Also, I cannot believe you can’t set the camera not to work with no cards inserted. I am moving from Nikon where I can do just that and, whilst we should know when we have cards loaded, sometimes mistakes happen. I passed that particular request on to Olympus’ NZ reps this week, in fact.

  4. Philipp says:

    Good Update, but there is one “bug” – when chosing 4:3 image ration and small AF points, the yellow-highlights when chosing a specific AF point do not match up perfectly with the non-highlighted ones. Seems a UI glitch (the highlighted square is 2-3 pixels off the grid – both horizontally and vertically – but not dramatic – just looks a little bit strange. Other than that – perfect update.

    • Philipp says:

      Whoops – typo -> should mean – any other image ratio than 4:3 🙂

      • Robin Wong says:

        Hah, I was wondering too, since I only shoot with 4:3 ratio and did not find anything wrong! Thanks for highlighting, and I shall alert the guys at Olympus Malaysia about this.

        • Philipp says:

          Thanks Robin. When I saw your pictures from the review of the firmware and noticed you did not have it, I though a reset would do it. Indeed it was gone – suddenly during config it was there again … took me some time to find out, that it’s the display ratio 😀

        • No sure, if you read These responses still. Wondering if you forwarded this bug to the guys @ Olympus last year. Couple of minor firmware updates and almost a year later, it’s still not fixed. Not, that it really matters as it’s a pure cosmetic issue – it’s just somehow annoying ;-). Seems for Olympus it’s just too minor to fix it. Thanks anyways, Philipp

  5. Frans Richard says:

    One thing I would like, for any Olympus camera, is the ability to save its settings to an SD card and the ability to restore them from an SD card when needed. The ability to restore compatible settings to a different camera would be the cherry on the pie!

    Another thing I would like is a better implementation of the Reset/Myset menu. It should be very clear when you are *setting* or *recalling* your settings. Also the ability to give settings a meaningfull name would be nice. And how about giving us more than 4 sets of settings?

    • Robin Wong says:

      This ability to save settings is available, but to a connected PC via USB cable over the Olympus Viewer 3 software. Only for E-M1 Mark II though, not other Olympus cameras.

      • Robin Wong says:

        And yes, I want the saving settings to SD/PC available to all cameras too. And wow, how many custom/mysets do you actually need????

        • Frans Richard says:

          Well, I have mysets for
          – general photography
          – tripod use
          – remote flash
          – moving subjects
          and I can think of several other uses I would like to be able to recall specific settings for. So, two or three more would be nice. More than that would probably exceed the capacity of MY memory to remember what they are for. As long as Olympus does not allow giving them a meaningful name, that is.

      • Ken Wong says:

        When I updated my EM5.2 to v4.0, Olympus Viewer 3 prompted me to save my settings to the PC and then restore them after the update, because the update reset the camera’s settings, according to its notes. Or is this a different/additional settings backup that only the EM1.2 has?

  6. Bernd-Michael König says:

    Hi Robin,
    I’m an ongoing fan of your great blog since I bought the EM1 in 2014. Regarding the 1:1 information, you probably have been right in your assumption that 7 times magnification corresponds to 1:1 (or I am completely wrong now). In my German version of Firmware 2.0 for the EM1 mark 2 the 1:1 info pops up at the magnifacition of 7*. This meets my rough calculation before.
    Best greetings from cold Germany

    • Robin Wong says:

      Thanks Michael for the visits to the site, appreciate that heaps. I have always thought the 7x is 1 to 1 ratio, and have been zooming in to 7 times in all my “chimping”.

  7. Jay Yocis says:

    Having been an Olympus user pre 43rds days (still have the 7070).
    Question regarding fisheye correction. I have the 43rds 8mm, can that be corrected? Can the Panasonic 8mm be corrected (this takes filters). I use the 43rds 8mm because it works, slower than newer ones, but that is fine.

    • Robin Wong says:

      I am afraid the fisheye correction is only applicable to the Olympus 8mm F1.8 fisheye lens. I hope I am wrong. If I am not, then I hope they will make the correction available for the 4/3 lens and Panasonic fisheye too in the future

  8. Requested feature for future update:
    When I am shooting using the viewfinder, the captured image is shown in the viewfinder for an adjustable period of time. But we are not able to review images in the viewfinder after the initial capture. It would be very useful to be able to do so, especially when shooting in bright light when it is impossible to see the monitor LCD adequately.

    • It is possible to view the image also in the EVF, at least when the LCD is turned all the way around. It was possible also in older models, but you would need to have the eye sensor disabled and manually switch between LCD and EVF if I recall correctly.

      • Thank you Mikko, I did not know this. I think it would be good if Olympus puts this in the manual (perhaps it’s there but I haven’t found it).

    • Frans Richard says:

      I don’t know about the EM-1, but I would assume it works similarly as the EM-10. On the EM-10 you can review any image in the viewfinder just by pressing the play button while you keep looking through the viewfinder. You just need to find the button by touch. No need to disable the eye sensor.
      Also, you can set the Rec View option in the Setup Menu to Auto Play, this will show the last picture taken in the viewfinder indefinitely as long a you don’t half press the shutter button or take your eye from the viewfinder.
      As a matter of fact, you can use the viewfinder in a similar way as the backscreen to scroll through all your images, zoom in and out and even use the info and delete buttons if you know how to find them by touch. Just don’t half press the shutter button or take your eye from the viewfinder.

      • Robin Wong says:

        Mystery solved! Crowd sourcing for information is effective here! Thanks guys for the feedback. I rarely review images in viewfinder (unless under bright sunlight condition).

  9. Jay Yocis says:

    Thank you for all your work. If it wasn’t for you and J. Andrzej Wrotniak I would likely not stayed with Olympus. Well, the lenses kept me as well. It has always been a love/hate thing. Olympus support folks in the US are great, knowledgeable and honest, which has kept me around.
    Feature request:
    Would like to delete files in camera base on calendar day, in review mode. I will sometimes keep files on cards until I know they have been processed. But then I go out for a shoot and run low on card space in the middle of the shoot. Delete a days worth would be nice.

    • Robin Wong says:

      That is a brilliant suggestion! Especially when I have transferred the images out, backed them up, but forgot to format the card. Imagine the card is almost full, and I need to continue shooting. Being able to delete images from specific day can be super helpful in this situation!

  10. The firmware upgrade made one change that is annoying: when shooting in C-AF mode before, the C-AF Lock feature (now renamed C-AF Sensitivity) was part of the SCP display. This was very convenient, as you could change the settings of the C-AF Sensitivity directly from the SCP, without needing to go through the menu system. Now the C-AF Sensitivity feature is no longer part of the SCP.

    • Robin Wong says:

      I won’t be able to comment much, because I don’t do C-AF much. But I can see why that is annoying.

  11. If it wasn’t for you and Andrzej Wrotniak I don’t know that I would have stayed with Olympus, thanks. Oh, the lenses have kept me around as well.
    It would be convenient to be able to delete a date/days of images in calendar preview mode. I will keep an event on the card until I know they are processed and then need to delete to make room right now.
    Will the fisheye correction work with 43 8mm, or the Panasonic 8mm. The 43 8mm is slow to focus at time but I’m not in a hurry when I use it. The Panasonic 8mm takes filters.

  12. 1. PIP view for zoom, with option of auto PIP zoom view in manual when touching the screen to focus
    2. Auto switch from mechanical to electronic shutter when over 1/8000 s
    3. Multiple auto ISO presets, with adjustable minimum shutter speeds
    4. Custom settings where you can select if you want exposure parameters locked or not -now they lock really everything….
    5. Handheld multi-shot noise reduction
    6. Auto focus stacking with selection of the stacking area using touch screen
    7. Pop up that automatically shows up with camera on when a manual lens is attached, to quickly update or confirm the focal length and the EXIF of the lens being used
    8. Zoomed view that automatically turns off x seconds after half pressing shutter button or AF button
    9. Zoom point linked to focus point, and not decoupled like it is now. They can keep it decoupled in the review mode, but having it decoupled in the shooting mode is frustrating.

    • AND customizable super control panel, with larger buttons… not everyone has tiny lady fingers. And some of the items in the SCP have just no real reason to be there….

      • Robin Wong says:

        I can see that you have used your OM-D so extensively that you have all these requests! I only hope Olympus actually listens.

        • Unfortunately i don’t think they listen. It took olympus one year to implement the small focus points back in the em1 Mark ii, and have absolutely no hope in seeing any of those changes implement. And now I’m shooting with Fuji – and honestly happy with it.

        • One “bug” not addressed by this update is the stupid functioning of the IS switch on the lenses that have it. Why on earth does the lens switch also shutdown the IBIS? Who thought that was a good idea? Accidentally knocking the lens switch (easy to do, especially with gloves on) leaves you with no IS at all.
          A sensible arrangement would be:
          Body on, Lens on = Sync IS
          Body on, Lens off = IBIS
          Body off, Lens on = OIS
          Body off, Lens off = No IS

          Perhaps the next update might fix this.

  13. Stephen Hood says:

    Is this the first time that Olympus has implemented a “square” small AF box? I believe all previous bodies had rectangular boxes.

  14. Number 4 on your list seems like an easy fix and a logical one as well. Number 1 may be harder to implement but again is logical.

    • Robin Wong says:

      Panasonic cameras can do number 1, and that feature is also available in a number of current smartphones. Smartphones!!!

      • Frans Richard says:

        Yes, the greatness of smartphones! If only Olympus would merge the body of an OM-D with the guts of a smartphone…

  15. Good job Olympus, keep them coming! Here is my wish list for the future, maybe Robin can pass a few requests on? 🙂 I’ve contacted Olympus support about these also, but not sure how well those requests go through.

    1. More choice in AF target area selection. 3×3 grid is often too small. 5×3, 5×5, 7×3 and 7×5 would be very useful.

    2. Ability to give more priority to central focus points in the AF target group. Now it seems to give equal priority to all. It often seems to catch something in focus right at the edge of the area when I’m actually expecting to get focus closer to the center.

    3. Focus confirmation dot that works when manually focusing. Similar to a DSLR. Should be possible with contrast detect? The reason is that peaking sometimes is not visible enough and magnification is not feasible with moving targets.

    4. When AF limiter is activated, give possibility to adjust minimum and maximum distance on the fly. I would implement this so that when keeping the AF limiter button pressed, user focuses at an object at the desired minimum distance and then to an object at the desired maximum distance. Release button and those would then become the AF limits.

    5. Ability to assign video recording volume controls to buttons

  16. “I am hesitant to use focus stacking for my insect macro shooting because I need to mount the camera on a sturdy tripod to mitigate any movement.” I was successfully using focus stacking with my E-M1 + 12-40/2.8 handheld, why not to try it with E-M1 II + 12-100/4 ?

    • Robin Wong says:

      I have tried with the 60mm macro before, with very high chance of failure shooting hand-held. Insect macro requires extreme magnification, a tiny bit of movement, either by hand-shake, or the wind on the leaf, will result in unusable images.

      • I’ve found it works fairly well handheld with the camera doing a very good job of compensating for small movements between shots. The main problem I’ve had is remembering to take account of the crop factor for the finished image.
        The TG-4 is also very good at stacking, sometimes with more success than the EM-1 Mk2, and doesn’t crop so much either.

        • Robin Wong says:

          Here is the problem, for extreme macro (try doing 1 to 1 magnification with the 60mm macro lens), the movements when hand-holding are NOT small. even a 1mm movement can throw the entire image off. I was speaking exclusively for insect macro shooting.

          • Petr Karlach says:

            True, for any hand held macro shooting. My (our) point is, there is no ultimate need to use sturdy tripod for focus stacking. When you are used to shoot macro hand held, why not to try it with focus stacking, too?

            • Robin Wong says:

              Have I not mentioned in my first reply, I have tried, but with “very high chance of failure’? It just does not work. Besides, I need to use flash, which creates a whole new problem with the focus stacking that uses electronic shutter.

  17. John Thomson says:

    Thanks for the above review; I look forward to implementing it. I would like to see Panasonic and Olympus give their cameras the opportunity to take advantage of lens plus body stabilisation when using the other company’s lenses.
    John Thomson

    • Robin Wong says:

      I would also love for that to happen, but in this case it is not as simple as just a firmware upgrade to have full compatibility for image stabilization. Fundamentally the design process for how the IS works must be consistent for both parties. Olympus and Panasonic use different ways of implementing dual IS systems.

  18. Here is what I sent cs DOT support AT it DOT olympus DOT co DOT jp, in November and December of 2017. Apparently, my requests didn’t make it in to this firmware update. 😦

    Dear Sir or Madam,

    As one who uses many legacy lenses all the time on my OM-D E-M1 Mark II, I’d like the “Lens Info Settings” facility enhanced:

    • with a “bottomless,” numberless list. Surely, these things don’t take up much RAM in the camera?
    • with the ability to sort the list by time of last use, title, focal length, or aperture.

    Anyone who has more than a few manual lenses and a focal reducer needs many more slots than the ten we now have — plus, better ways of managing them! In addition, I would like to be able to add to the list things like my tilt adapter or extension tubes. The combinatorial makes for a huge list!

    Ordering an infinite list by “last used” would be enough to keep me happy, and is probably a lot more easy for you to do than allowing different sorts. For one thing, this option would not require any changes to the menu system UI.

    Also speaking as a legacy lens fan, I’d like focus peaking to be more “sticky.” At present, it seems to take every opportunity to “go away.” I have my camera set up for maximum battery life, which means that not using it for a relatively short period turns focus peaking off!

    So, how about a global mode that you can set or unset that will make focus peaking the default whenever a manual lens is detected?

    Also, some viewfinder indication whether it is on or not would be helpful, especially if you can’t make a new global default for it. The way things are, I am never quite sure if it is on or off unless it is already in focus! When system events (like power-on time-out) cause it to be automatically turned off, I often toggle it back and forth several times, trying to focus each time, before being assured it is on. This is time-consuming and frustrating!

    Thank you so much for considering these request to make a GREAT camera even greater!

    Dear Sir or Madam,

    I have another request that I think is simple to implement, and that would be useful to a variety of people.

    I am currently “scanning” film strips with my new OM-D E-Ma Mark II, and it would be very useful to be able to see in the viewfinder how negatives would look when they are printed, and then to have them saved as positives. This would mean not only that one would not waste time copying unsuitable negatives, but that one could perform adjustments on them before saving.

    For black-and-white negatives, this would be a simple matter of reversing the slope of the transfer curve. You already allow three points of adjustment (at 1/4, 1/2, and 3/4 tone); if you allowed the end-points of the curve to be adjusted, end-users could easily shoot B&W negatives, saving them as B&W positives.

    For colour negatives, the orange mask would have to be subtracted, which it seems to me would be very simple to do via the mechanisms you already have for adjusting white balance, as long as it could be done AFTER the transfer curve reversal. (In which case, it would be a blue tint adjustment.)

    This may seem rather specialized, for a very small audience, but I could see this effect being popular as an “Art Filter.” (In fact, the closest I ever got to Art Filters was to search them for a “negative effect” filter!) Especially in combinations — a new “negative effect” art filter, combined with monochrome conversion and film grain, might be very attractive to those who use Art Filters!

    Thank you for listening! I am loving this camera!

    Jan Steinman

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