I had a couple of coments about maybe making a snappier, ie succinct, version of the blogs on custom settings for the E450. One nice enough to motivate me to do it.
Okay, so what are my top ten tips?
1) avoid VIVID, set colour to NATURAL. ( NB Vivid is default factory setting. When set to natural etc, it is however, over-ridden in SPORTS and SNOW/BEACH for example, where saturation is maybe desirable. )
2) To automatically try out three different exposures to get the best or just experiment: Set AUTO BRACKET (BKT) : in the menu> camera 2> (above metering)>AE BKT [left arrow]>3F 0.7. Then you can toggle this on and off by using the shooting mode, button on the top LHS of the camera behind the flash up button.
NB! You need to watch what Exposure Compensation you are on in individual frame shoot, because it advances 0.0, +0.7, -0.7 if that is the one chosen.
NB! AE BKT will also adjust the ISO upwards, so set a limit on auto, 200 for finer shots, 400 for general.
3) Experiment with SPOT meter AE exposure on the control panel, and get an understanding for Spot- Highlight and Spot-Shadow. Spot metering will enhance your ability to make the object stand out from the surroundings in addition to or substittion for short depth of field- It will definetly add a lot to your photography and you will capture some much more impressive, eye catching images.
4) Set up the left arrow as a one touch during view finder use, to either WHITE BALANCE or TEST SHOT.
5) Complex but worth it, you can actually have a LOCKED focus Lock! Useful to just set the focus, and then wait for something to happen, "fingers free". It actually retains the focus between shots too unless you press the AFL/AEL and refocus. The button works on-off, S-AF seeks a taget and peppes/circle is fast when it finds something.
This is by setting the AFL/AEL button to lock the focus in menu, moving from default MODE2 to MODE3 : this overrides the usual half-way-down shutter-release button we are all so used to, but it stays locked once focus is acquired: VERY useful when you struggle to focus or want to set a range for say, a racing car to come into ( C-AF is not very good on oly'). My next experiment will be this PLUS MF : ie S-AF:MF mode, where you capture a near by object or part of the close up and then manual adjust. See last blog on actually finding this obscured but darn useful setting. It saves slippy fingers and frustrations when you take a shot by accident.
6) Power Saving:
i) the camera seems to use less power when left ON in the course of a two hour shoot/walk. Boot up must be quite intensive.
ii) Secondly, take the flash setting to the manual method : ie pop up on button press (see 7.), then it is ON! and switch off the "night focus assist" which uses a lot of power. You can switch off the external flash synchronisatin if I remember right: this is in a spanner settings IIRC; and saves a little bit of power from not transmitting when you use the flash.
iii) Also NR reduction uses time which therefore uses battery, and NR can be done in "post" ie software on the PC/Mac.
iv) There are also settings for screen off and sleep, which save a bit but as long as it does go off or hibernate after 10, 20 mins then you can live with the up-time.
v) Using LIVEVIEW a lot will use up a lot of power.
7) Manually Actuated Flash: Is not a default on the camera oddly enough: the flash will maybe fire either on AUTO, which pops it up when "needed" or when you press the silver button on the top of the camera. BUT that doesn't mean it WILL fire: So you want to select the flash not Auto Pop Up in the menu, and then "fill in" or actually ON on the control panel
8) Set a limit to AUTO ISO. You should set a limit of 400 if you want okay quality, and 200 if you want the best. See in menu. This helps reduce noise and keeps your expectations of an entry level camera on handheld realistic, hence encouraging you to take a tripod or at least monopod out with you. The olympus E450 and E420, do not handle high ISO well: okay if grain is nota n issue. The 520 is not so hot either, but has IS so you can live with ISO 200 in more situations.
9) Switch off NR: Noise reduction uses time and locks further images once the buffer is full. All the post processing software can achieve it. As above, you should be realistic about what this camera can do, as against the E3 or 5 and say the mid range Nikon D90.
10) Choose Image Save mode set which suits your style and occaisions, especially for memory and time saving in combining RAW with a choice of jpeg sizes : We will all have RAW occaisions, where we can squeeze ( or get someone to squeeze) out a little more quality for printing, However, getting real again, most of us will pop most of our images up on the net, so even 1000x1800 is big at 72dpi or 110dpi for mac users. Do we want to resize all the time? The camera has a RAW + VGA quality ( 640x860 pixels) you can select in the Meny as one option on the set of 4 which appear on the Control panel for easy toggeling.