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Premium picture quality and superb performance come easy with this comfortable to handle digital SLR. At a time when we want complex things to become simple, the EVOLT E-500 succeeds in doing so with a sleek, lightweight design for impressive portability and advanced controls and options that can be accessed with minimal effort. Bursting with speed and producing spotless pictures with exceptional color and detail, the EVOLT E-500 is tailor-made for anyone to use while capturing the imagination in the process.



(Click on any image below for an enlarged view.)

Topics Covered:

  • Inserting the battery
  • Removing and attaching lenses
  • Powering up the camera
  • Focusing
  • Inserting the media card
  • Setting the Record mode
  • Setting ISO
  • Setting the White Balance
  • Available Exposure modes
  • Setting exposure in Manual mode
  • Setting the Aperture
  • Setting the Shutter Speed
  • Downloading images to your computer
  • Shooting portraits outdoors

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In this lesson we will be covering the basic startup and a couple of features of the new Olympus EVOLT E-500 digital SLR camera. Lets get started!

 

Inserting the Battery

The EVOLT E-500 comes with a Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery (BLM-01) (figure 1). We always recommend having an extra battery for those unforeseen occasions, such as when you are shooting all day or you are traveling and away from AC power to recharge the battery. But even with one battery, you can expect to capture around 400 pictures per charge, and around 200 if you are continually using the LCD to review and edit your images.



Figure 1

 

To install the BLM-1 Li-Ion Battery Pack to the EVOLT body, first make sure it is fully charged and then follow these steps.

Depress the locking latch to open the battery bay door (figure 2). Properly align the battery with the contacts on the battery facing the battery bay (figure 3). Insert the battery into the camera (figure 4). The battery will click into position.

 



Figure 4

To remove the battery you will need to release the red catch and the battery will pop back out.


Close the battery bay door and press the locking latch to secure.

Removing and Attaching Lenses

The EVOLT E-500 is a traditional SLR design that allows you to use all FourThirds format interchangeable lenses. Yet, the EVOLT is unique in that it utilizes Olympus Zuiko Digital "Smart Lenses" to create a fully integrated digital system that produces amazingly high quality images. Here, we demonstrate how to remove and install the 14-45mm zoom lens. Olympus recommends turning the camera off when removing or attaching the lens.

To remove a lens from the EVOLT E-500 body, first locate the lens release button on the front of the camera near the base of the lens mount (figure 5). Press the lens release button with one hand and turn the lens counter-clockwise as far as it will go (figure 6).

Release the lens release button and remove the lens from the camera (figure 7). The lens is now ready to be stored with the appropriate lens caps.



Figure 7

 

To re-attach the lens, align the red dot on the side of the lens with the red dot on the lens mount on the camera body. When the lens feels evenly aligned on the lens mount plate, rotate the lens barrel clockwise until you hear the lens lock into place (figures 8 and 9).

 

 

Once the lens is attached, use the zoom ring to zoom in or out (figure 10). The focus ring, set toward the front of the lens, can be used to focus the lens. The EVOLT menu allows you to select the direction for the focus ring and works when the focus mode is set to Manual, Single AF + Manual (S AF+M) or Continuous AF + Manual (C AF+M) in the AF mode menu (figure 11).

 

Powering Up the Camera

Now that we have installed the battery and a lens, we are ready to power up the camera. The power switch is found on the top of the camera to the right and just under the Mode Dial (figure 12). Push the tab to the "On" position.



Figure 12


Focusing

There are five focus modes in the EVOLT E-500: Single Auto Focus (S-AF), Continuous Auto Focus (C-AF), Manual Focus (MF), Single Auto Focus + Manual Focus (S-AF+MF) and Continuous Auto Focus + Manual Focus (C-AF+MF). The Auto-Focusing modes allow you quick and accurate focus, and are the most popular focusing methods in today’s SLR photography.

There are however, situations where you may wish to adjust the focus point for a more artistic view. Manual Focusing enables you to be very precise in choosing your point of focus. When using the S-AF+MF or C-AF+MF, you can use the camera's auto-focusing system to quickly focus on the subject and then, using the front focusing ring on the lens, fine tune your focus to achieve the exact image you want.

There are two ways to change the Focus mode. You can either set the mode in the main menu screen, or you can access the menu screen for focusing modes only and choose your option. Both options are valid and you will find one that works better and faster for you as you use the camera.

  • Method A: Press the "OK" key, then use the arrow pad to highlight the Focus field in the menu screen. Then rotate the Control dial to select Focus mode. Press OK to set. (figure 13).

  • Method B: Press the "AF" key to open the AF menu. Use the arrow pad or the Control dial to select the focus mode. Press OK to set. (figure 14).

Inserting the Media Card

The EVOLT E-500 accommodates CompactFlash™ (CF) cards, Microdrives and xD-Picture cards with storage capacities up to and above 4GB to store and transfer images shot with the camera, and can be used over and over again (storage rates will vary on type of card purchased). No more film and processing costs!

The EVOLT E-500 will also experience a performance boost when using High Speed CF cards such as the Lexar Platinum or 133X Pro cards. Each type of media card needs to be inserted a particular way, so refer to the manual to make sure media card is oriented correctly.

NOTE: Always turn off the camera before removing or adding a memory card.

The media bay door is located on the right side of the camera (figure 15). Pull the door open.

There are two media docks available in the media bay. The larger dock receives CF Type I or II cards and Microdrives. The smaller dock receives an xD-Picture memory card. There is a diagram on the inside of the media bay door showing proper card orientation for both docks (figure 16).

 

A CompactFlash card is inserted with the pin receiver (edge with the holes) edge in and the label side facing out (figure 17). Press the card into the dock until seated securely (figure 18). The card can be removed by pressing the gray tab.

 



Figure 19

The EVOLT E-500 will also accept xD-Picture cards in the additional media slot.

Olympus xD-Picture Cards are the only xD cards that support the Panorama function found on most Olympus digital cameras. In addition to this feature, they are extremely small and durable. Available in sizes up to 1GB, xD-Picture cards are great storage media that are even more compact than CompactFlash cards!

An xD-Picture card is inserted with the curved edge out (away from the dock) and the label side facing out. Press the card into the dock until seated securely (figure 19). The card can be ejected by pressing the card and then removing.

Setting the Record Mode

The EVOLT E-500 offers a variety of Record mode settings that ascend in both image size and quality. They are:

  • SQ Standard Quality -a flexible JPEG setting ideal for web quality images at 640 x 480 pixels to 2560 x 1920 pixel files for printing. This is the only quality mode in which the number of pixels and the level of compression can be adjusted. Offers the greatest number of shots in the burst mode.

  • HQ High Quality - a full quality resolution JPEG with higher compression good for print quality images. This setting offers the maximum pixel count with high or medium compression.

  • SHQ Super High Quality - the least compressed JPEG format, great for print, write time to card is faster than in TIFF or RAW formats. This setting offers the maximum pixel count with a minimum of compression.

  • TIFF Tagged Image File Format - this format is designed expressly for print, applies no compression, but images take more time to write to card and file sizes can be quite large.

  • RAW Olympus Raw Format (.orf) - because there is no compression applied to an image in this format, Image Quality is optimal and sometimes noticeably better than with the TIFF format, the write time to the card is slightly faster and file size is somewhat smaller than with the TIFF format, these files can be displayed with the Olympus "Master" or "Studio" software. Other optional software can also display the .orf files.


NOTE: There is also a mode that allows you to shoot in both JPEG and RAW quality settings simultaneously, as well.

 

If you prefer the added quality of shooting in either TIFF, RAW or RAW + JPEG modes, we recommend purchasing CompactFlash cards or Microdrives of at least 1GB or larger. The largest CompactFlash card to date is 8GB, but this number is ever changing. The following figures show the steps to select the resolution settings for the EVOLT E-500, and the approximate number of images you can store on a 1GB Compact Flash card at the selected setting (figures 20-28).

 



Figure 20

Figure 20 shows how to access the resolution menu from the main menu screen.

Press the OK button, then scroll to the Resolution field of the main menu screen using the navigation arrow pad. With the Resolution field highlighted, rotate the Control dial to select the desired record mode. The number of images that can be recorded at that resolution to the free space available on the card will display at the bottom right of the menu screen.

 

It is also possible to enter the Resolution settings from within the Resolution menu. In the main menu, press OK, then use the arrow keys to scroll to the Resolution field. Press OK to enter the Resolution menu. To select a Resolution mode, use the arrow keys or the Control Dial until the desired resolution is set. Press OK.

Figures 21 through 28 show the Resolution menu with various resolution modes highlighted.

 

 

*These resolution modes have different compression rates that can be set in another menu (page 30 in your manual). The number of pictures that can be stored will depend on the compression rate and pixel dimension chosen. SQ has six different pixel dimension settings each with four different compression rates. HQ has three different compression rates for the same pixel dimension. Be sure to use the appropiate resolution size for your end result.

 

 

ISO

Film photographers may remember when this was called ASA (American Standards Association), an acronym representing an organization devoted to developing technical standards for all sorts of disciplines. After World War II, the ASA merged with 25 other countries and formed the ISO (International Organization for Standardization). The ISO maintains over 15,000 technical standards with the cooperation of 156 countries, so no matter where you go, ISO 400 speed will be the same in every language!

ISO, in photographic terms, measures the speed or sensitivity of film or a digital sensor. The higher the ISO rating the faster the film/sensitivity is, and fast film/sensitivity affords better exposures in low light situations. The tradeoff is that the faster the film/sensitivity gets, the more the grain size increases. We have found that higher ISO numbers in digital cameras result in increased "noise" or the digital equivalent to grain.

 

Setting ISO

The shipping default ISO setting in the EVOLT E-500 is set to -A- (Auto), which will allow the camera to make an interpreted setting, depending on the availability of light, from ISO 100 to 400. We recommend setting the ISO to 100 (its lowest) for most situations, as this renders the best image quality.

As an alternate method to adjust this setting, simply press the OK button to access the main menu. If the ISO field is not highlighted, use the arrow keys to select the ISO field. Turn the Control dial until the desired ISO setting is displayed (figure 29). Another method it to press the ISO button to access the ISO menu. Turn the Control dial until the desired ISO setting is displayed (figure 30).

NOTE: Higher ISO ratings are available by activating the ISO Boost in the camera menus (Page 124 of the your manual).

Setting the White Balance

The EVOLT E-500 offers a variety of White Balance (WB) settings so that you can render natural-looking colors in your photographs.

  • AUTO
    You can leave it on AUTO and let the camera interpret the correct color temperature for any given situation. The camera is quite adept at determining the appropriate color temperature in most situations. However, there will be times when you will want to either choose a Preset WB setting or create a Custom/One Touch WB setting.

  • PRESET WB
    There are many different preset White Balance settings from which you can choose that will color balance such situations as sunny days, cloudy days, shade in daylight, and many different artificial lighting conditions. You can experiment with different color tones by selecting different preset WB settings.

  • Custom White Balance
    The Custom White Balance (measured in degrees Kelvin) allows you to fine tune your system. Up to 2800K can be set incrementally at 50K, from 2800K to 4000K by 100K, from 4000K to 7000K by increments of 200K and from 7000K to 10000K by 400K increments, and from 10000K to 14000K by 1000k increments. This allows you to get proper color representation no matter the situation, lighting requirements or time of day.
  • One Touch White Balance
    This setting is useful when you need a more precise White Balance than the presets can provide. In the One Touch setting, you can point the camera at a neutral gray card or sheet of white paper under the light source you want to use, and can capture the best possible White Balance setting. This can then be saved in the camera for future use. We recommend this setting if color reproduction is critical.

 

Follow these steps for setting the White Balance mode.

From the main menu, use the arrow keys to navigate to the WB field, located just to the right of the ISO field (figure 31). Use the Control dial to select the desired White Balance setting. Most of these settings are represented by an icon such as the sun for shooting in daylight, a cloud for shooting in cloudy conditions, and a light bulb for shooting indoors.

A more direct method to reach the White Balance menu is to press the WB button located directly above the OK button (figure 32). Use the arrow keys or the Control dial to set your desired White Balance setting.

 

 

Specific Kelvin color temperatures can be set within the "CWB" (Custom White Balance) field of the White Balance menu.

To set a specific color temperature setting in the White Balance main menu, use the arrow keys or the Control dial to highlight the "CWB" field at the bottom right of the White Balance menu. Then press and hold the +/- button (located next to the ON side of the power switch) and rotate the Control dial until the desired setting is shown in the CWB field (figures 33 and 34).

 

Available Exposure Modes

The EVOLT E-500 has many exposure modes available. Most of these modes are programmed modes and will set the exposure for the type of photo you are taking. The following images show the exposure modes available from the Mode dial on the top right of the camera.



Figure 35

Manual exposure mode allows for precise exposure control when metering the light source (figure 35). The user can manually adjust both the aperture and the shutter speed.



Figure 36

Shutter priority allows the user to set a fixed shutter speed to control motion by rotating the Control Dial. The camera will select the correct aperture value based on the level of light available (figure 36).



Figure 37

Aperture priority allows the user to set a fixed aperture to control how much is in focus by rotating the Control Dial. The camera will select the correct shutter speed based on the level of light available (figure 37).



Figure 38

Program is the most common type of automatic exposure selection. Ideal for quick snapshots, the camera will select both the aperture value and shutter speed based on the level of light available (figure 38).



Figure 39

Auto is a fully automatic program exposure mode. The camera sets the optimum aperture value and shutter speed according to subject brightness. The flash will automatically pop up in low light situations. Auto is ideal when you just want to shoot quickly in average shooting situations (figure 39).



Figure 40

Portrait mode will select an aperture that is typically good for shooting portraits and then select a shutter speed based on the available light (figure 40).



Figure 41

Landscape selects exposure values that are appropriate for shooting scenic shots (figure 41).

This mode features vivid reproduction of blues and greens.



Figure 42

Macro mode will select an aperture appropriate for holding good depth of field in close up shots and will select a shutter speed for good exposure (figure 42).



Figure 43

Sports/Action mode will set the fastest possible shutter speed for a given lighting situation, and then set the aperture for proper exposure (figure 43).

This mode captures fast moving action without blurring.



Figure 44

Night Scene and Portrait is for shooting both main subject and illuminated background in evening or at night. This mode uses a slower shutter speed than in normal shooting (figure 44).



Figure 45

Scene - “Scene Select” will allow you to select a specific exposure mode such as Fireworks or Beach Scene from a menu of presets program modes that are accessible by pressing the Up or Down arrow keys (figure 45).

When the Mode Dial is set to the Scene Mode, 15 additional preconfigured shooting situations become available. Displayed on the LCD screen will be a picture that demonstrates the particular situation and a description (figure 46).

These are very handy in terms of giving a clear visual of the intended scenario, making it easy to pick out which one will work in the scenario you are in. It should be noted that most camera functions can not be altered while in the Scene Mode.



Figure 46

Setting Exposure in Manual Mode

In order to have maximum control for your depth of field and your exposure, you need to manually adjust your aperture and shutter speeds. To be able to manually adjust your aperture and shutter speed settings, first turn the Mode Dial to M (figure 47).



Figure 47

Setting the Aperture

The most important thing to remember is that your aperture setting controls your depth of field. The smaller your aperture number, or "f/stop" (f3.5), the shorter your depth of field will be. Or in simple terms the less will be in focus. You can adjust the aperture number by pressing the (+/-) button and turning Control dial to select the desired aperture (figures 48 and 49).



Figure 50

Setting the Shutter Speed

You can adjust your shutter speed in the Manual mode by turning the Control dial until the desired shutter speed appears in the shutter speed field (figure 50).

 

Setting the Aperture and Shutter Speed in the Automatic Modes

When using the EVOLT E-500 in Aperture Priority mode, the Control Dial adjusts the aperture allowing you to control the depth of field or amount of focus in your photographs (figures 50 and 51).

 

 

When using the camera in the Shutter Priority mode, the Control Dial adjusts the shutter speed controlling the amount of action stopped in your photographs (figures 53 and 54).

 


In the Program mode you can adjust the exposure level by rotating the Control Dial while holding down the +/- key (figures 55, 56, and 57).



Figure 55

Downloading Images to Your Computer

When you want to transfer the images you've captured from your camera to your computer, you can do so in a couple of different ways.

One way is to connect the camera directly to your computer using the USB 2.0 cable that is included with the EVOLT E-500(figures 58, 59, and 60).The USB port is located behind a rubber flap on the left side of the E-500.

To access the USB port, pull the cover flap from the bottom. Then insert the properly oriented USB cable into the port. The other end of the cable inserts into the USB port on your computer. The computer will recognizes the camera as a drive. You can copy and paste the images into a folder on your computer.

NOTE: There is included with the camera a cable for viewing your images on a TV directly from your camera (figure 61).

 

An alternative method and the most popular method for importing the images onto your computer is to remove the media card from the camera and insert it into a media card reader on your computer (figure 62 and 63). Your computer will see the memory card as a drive. Just copy the image files from the memory card to a destination folder on your computer.

 

 

After images are copied from the media card, they can be erased. It is best to do this with the camera. With the media card inserted in the camera, press the menu button. Scroll to Card Setup, then to the erase menu. Choose Erase, then press OK.

In order to edit your new images on your computer to manipulate, email, or print them, you'll need to install the Olympus Master Editing software (included with the EVOLT E-500) onto your computer or use an alternate photo editing software.



Shooting Portraits Outdoors

Taking good portraits outdoors can be easy if you have some basic light modifiers on hand. A bright sunny day can render beautiful, vibrant colors but can also present a high degree of contrast: a primary concern when shooting portraits. To illustrate more effectively, we set up a typical backyard portrait set-up with our model. Once the camera was dialed in, we took a shot of her in a vertical crop (figures 64 and 65).

 

 

Here's the contrast we talked about. Notice how bright the model's forehead is compared to the sharp shadows cast from her nose and chin in this result shot. And since she had the sun in her eyes, she couldn't help but squint into the lens.

To reduce the contrast (and squinting), our assistant held a Photoflex 12" Translucent LiteDisc up to diffuse the sunlight falling on the model's head and shoulders. This eliminated the harsh shadows, but also decreased the overall light level by about 1 f/stop. To adjust for exposure, we simply opened the aperture a full stop from its original setting and took another shot (figures 66 and 67).

 

 

In the result shot, notice how much more we can see the model's eyes, and that the shadows have diminished drastically.

For a final touch, we had the model hold a 22" White LiteDisc just under her face to bounce sunlight up into the shadow areas. We took another shot and then viewed it on the playback mode of the camera (figures 68 and 69).

 

 

The shadows under the eyes and nose have been eliminated, and the bottom LiteDisc has created a nice "sparkle" in the model's eyes. For a full body shot using this technique, you would simply use larger LiteDisc reflectors.

 


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