Product Support

E-3

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How do I update the firmware in the E-3 camera body and Olympus E-System lenses?

Firmware updates of Olympus E-System digital SLR bodies and Zuiko® Digital lenses are performed using OLYMPUS Master® or OLYMPUS Studio® software. Each version of the software has an Update Camera function that is used to initiate the update procedure.

Below are the locations of the update functions in the various software versions:

  • OLYMPUS Master 2.x: In the Browse window’s toolbar, click on Update/Language.
  • OLYMPUS Studio 2.x: In the Browse window’s toolbar, click on Update/Language.

Before updating, mount an Olympus Zuiko Digital lens to the camera body and set the camera body’s USB MODE to STORAGE. Connect the camera to a computer via its bundled USB cable. The computer must be connected to the Internet because the download and installation are managed online from an Olympus server. The camera battery should be fully charged. The LCD screen on the camera should be facing outward. When these prerequisites are met, launch the software and click on the update function.

The update process will first poll the camera and lens to determine what firmware versions are currently installed. It will then ask if you want to search for a newer version. If it finds a newer version, you will be prompted to perform the update. Step-by-step instructions will guide you through the process.

Follow the on-screen instructions carefully. If you deviate from the instructions, the firmware installation may not complete and the firmware may become corrupted. If this occurs, the camera will have to be sent to an Olympus Repair Service Center to have its firmware replaced. Do not do a firmware update during a storm or when there is a risk of losing power because this will also cause a corrupted firmware installation.

Once the firmware is updated, it is not possible to go back to a previous version.

You can check the firmware version of your camera and lens at any time when the camera is not connected to a computer. Open the camera menu, go to the menu, scroll to FIRMWARE and toggle right. The LCD will display the firmware version for the camera body and the currently mounted lens.

Lenses can be upgraded individually using the same update process even if the camera body already has the most current firmware. Mount a different lens on the body and repeat the update process as though you were updating the camera body.

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How can I download the images in the camera to a computer?

Complete instructions may be downloaded by clicking here.

Adobe Reader® software is required to view the file. It is available as a free download from Adobe's web site. Click here to download the latest version.

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Where can I find the documentation for this camera?

The E-3 is packaged with a printed Quick Start Guide and Instruction Manual. The documents can also be downloaded in PDF format by clicking here.

Adobe Reader® is required to view the PDF files. The software is available as a free download from Adobe's web site.

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How do I insert a memory card into the E-3?

To insert the memory card into the E-3, power off the camera and then do the following:

  1. Slide the card cover door lock in the direction shown below.
  2. Open the card cover door on the right side of the camera.
  3. Orient the card as shown below. For CompactFlash™ media, hold the memory card so that the contact area is on the card’s left, pointing into the card slot, and the CF Mark is in the upper left corner of the card. For xD-Picture Card™ media, hold the memory card so that the gold contact area is facing the front of the camera and the notch is facing down.
  4. Insert the card into the card slot. Push the card gently straight in until it clicks.
  5. Close the card cover door and slide the lock back to its original position.

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Is it possible to view the Live View image on a computer?

The E-3 has a VIDEO OUT jack that can be used to display images on a television screen. When the E-3 is connected to a computer in the CONTROL USB mode, the VIDEO OUT can be enabled using the Camera Control option in OLYMPUS® Studio 2.0.

In the Shooting/Camera Settings column on the right side of the Camera Control window, the last item in the Camera Settings list is VIDEO OUT. Setting this option to ON opens up a video output of the Live View image. The bundled Video Cable is used to connect the E-3 to a television or secondary computer monitor to display the Live View image in real time.

The Live View display option can be useful in studio setups, teaching and scientific or engineering applications in which the E-3 is mounted on instruments such as microscopes or bore scopes.

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How is the Enlarged Display operation used in Live View?

The Live View Enlarged Display option provides an enlarged view of a selected area in the image to facilitate fine manual focus.

When Live View is enabled, pressing the [INFO] button reveals a green target area that is to be enlarged in the center of the LCD screen. The target area can be repositioned on another area of the image by using the arrow keys on the camera back. Pressing the [OK] button causes the target area to be enlarged.

The degree of magnification can be changed to 7x or 10x by turning either the main dial or the sub dial. Pressing [OK] will return the image on the LCD screen to the normal viewing size.

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How can I set up FRAME ASSIST on my LCD screen?

FRAME ASSIST superimposes ruled lines on the image in Live View. The purpose is to assist in composition of images for the purposes of square alignment, centering and compositional balance. The options are:

  • Off: No ruled lines are selected.
  • Grid: Horizontal and vertical lines are displayed. These are useful in copy and architectural photography to correctly align the image.
  • Golden Section: This pattern is used to aid composition using the “Rule of Thirds.”
  • Scale: Cross hairs with graduations are displayed. This is useful in centering subjects within an image.

To select which ruled lines will be used when FRAME ASSIST is activated, do the following:

  1. Open the menu and use the arrow pad to select .
  2. Press the Right Arrow on the arrow pad to enter the submenu.
  3. Select FRAME ASSIST.
  4. Toggle right to show the options.
  5. Select an option.
  6. Press the [OK] button to set the option and exit the menu.

To display the superimposed ruled lines over the Live View image, press the [INFO] button repeatedly. Each time it is pressed, the display will change until the ruled lines appear.

The ruled lines do not become a part of captured images when the photographs are taken.

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Sometimes when I turn off the E-3, I feel a slight vibration or hear a noise. Why is that?

When the camera is powered down, slight vibration and noise occur as the Supersonic Wave Drive (SWD™) motor resets the image sensor to its default position. The E-3 takes this action when shooting with the Image Stabilizer function set to I.S. 1 or I.S. 2. In either mode, the camera moves the sensor during shooting in order to counter the effects of camera shake. When the power is turned off, the camera moves the sensor back into the default position.

When Image Stabilizer is set to OFF, the sensor does not move during shooting and so does not need to be reset. However, if shooting with a zoom lens, some noise may still be heard when the camera is powered off as the lens resets its focus to infinity.

If both Image Stabilizer and Lens Reset are set to OFF, the camera will power down in silence.

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What is the difference between the I.S. 1 and I.S. 2 image stabilizer options?

In I.S. 1, the Image Stabilizer corrects for camera shake on both the horizontal and vertical planes. In I.S. 2, the Image Stabilizer only corrects for vertical camera shake. This is to allow a photographer to use a low shutter speed and pan horizontally for creative effect. Situations in which this technique can be applied include tracking rapidly moving subjects such as flying birds, running wildlife, racing cars and athletes with the intention of blurring the background for a visual effect in the image. The result would be a sharply defined subject against a blurred background that might otherwise appear cluttered.

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I have a lens from another manufacturer that has built-in optical image stabilization. Will I get more image stabilization if I mount it on the E-3 and enable its Image Stabilizer?

In such a scenario, it is recommended to use one or the other, but not both image stabilizers simultaneously. If both lens and body image stabilization are being used at the same time, the combination may be counter-productive because the camera image stabilization would be trying to compensate for the lens image stabilization and not be able to arrive at a stabilized image.

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What are the P, A, S and M modes and how are they used?

The P, A, S and M modes are exposure modes. These exposure modes allow the photographer creative flexibility by enabling more control over shutter speed and f-stop settings while shooting. The exposure modes enable total access to the menu options, unlike the AUTO and Scene exposure modes found in Olympus consumer DSLRs. They are also the modes required for use with E-System flash accessories.

Briefly, the exposure modes and their applications are as follows:

  • P (Program shooting) – This mode allows shooting using an aperture and shutter speed set by the camera. However, the Program Shift function allows some creative control. When powered on with this mode selected, the E-3 displays P in the upper left of the Control Panel screen. Rotating the main dial or the sub dial changes the P to Ps, which is Program Shift. This permits the selection of a shutter speed or aperture other than the default while maintaining the same exposure. If a higher shutter speed is selected, a wider aperture will be set. If a slower shutter speed is selected, a smaller aperture will be set. In effect, it is an AUTO mode that accepts input from the photographer.
  • A (Aperture Priority shooting) – This mode allows the aperture to be set manually, thereby giving the photographer control over depth-of-field. This mode also uses Program Shift, so the photographer can select any aperture in the range of the lens by rotating the main dial or sub dial. The camera compensates for the exposure by changing the shutter speed automatically as the f-stops are changed. If the shutter speed/aperture combination will result in under- or overexposure, the exposure values in the viewfinder and on the Control Panel screen will blink.
  • S (Shutter Priority shooting) – This mode allows the shutter speed to be set manually, thereby giving the photographer control over stopping action or reducing camera shake. This mode also uses Program Shift, so the photographer can select any shutter speed in the range of the camera body using the main dial or sub dial. The camera compensates for the exposure by changing the aperture automatically as the shutter speeds are changed. If the shutter speed/aperture combination will result in under- or overexposure, the exposure values in the viewfinder and Control Panel screen will blink.
  • M (Manual shooting) – This mode allows the photographer to set the shutter speed and aperture independently. Program Shift is not applied in this mode. Manual mode is invaluable to photographers using studio electronic flash systems and manual hot shoe electronic flashes because it allows the user to set the correct sync speed for flash and set an f-stop determined by a flash meter reading or testing. It also allows for use in exotic photographic situations such as scientific and engineering photography beyond the parameters of the camera firmware. In the Manual shooting mode the shutter speed is set using the main dial and the aperture is set using the sub dial.

Note: When [] is set to , two additional exposure modes are available: Underwater Wide and Underwater Macro. Press the [Mode] button while turning the main dial to select these exposure modes. To use the E-3 for underwater photography, attach a commercially available underwater housing. While using either underwater exposure mode, the following functions are not available: CUSTOM RESET, PICTURE MODE and MY MODE SETUP.

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The E-3 has five focusing modes. Which should I use?

The five focusing modes are provided to offer the photographer greater flexibility in setting up the camera for diverse shooting situations. Any of the focusing modes that have an MF in their designation allow the photographer to adjust the focus by turning the focusing ring on the lens.

  • S-AF (Single AF) – Every time the shutter button is pressed halfway, the camera focuses. This mode is suitable for taking pictures of still subjects or subjects with limited movement.
  • C-AF (Continuous AF) – The camera continuously refocuses as long as the shutter button is held down halfway. When the subject is in motion, the camera focuses on the subject in anticipation of its movement using Predictive Autofocus technology. When shooting in the Sequential Shooting Drive mode, Continuous AF resumes after a burst of images when the shutter button is returned to the halfway position.
  • MF (Manual Focus) – The lens is focused manually by rotating the lens focus ring. Still life and landscape photographers may prefer this focus mode as it allows more creative control. Manual Focus must be used for accurate focus when the EC-25 Extension Tube is mounted between a lens and camera body.
  • S-AF+MF (Simultaneous use of the S-AF and Manual Focus) – This mode allows the photographer the option of fine adjusting the focus using the lens focus ring after the shutter button has been pressed halfway and autofocus has been locked. This mode allows the photographer more creative control over the autofocus to focus on a specific area the autofocus may not have selected.
  • C-AF+MF (Simultaneous use of the C-AF and Manual Focus) – This mode allows the photographer to manually focus before pressing the shutter button halfway to enable C-AF. It allows the photographer to pre-focus the lens closer to a focus zone to provide the autofocus with a more rapid response in situations such as sports or wildlife photography.

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The subject I want in focus doesn’t line up with any of the AF frames in the viewfinder. How do I get the camera to focus on the subject?

The Focus Lock function enables the photographer to prefocus on a specific subject, lock the focus, and then re-compose the image and shoot the picture.

  1. Position the AF frame on the autofocus subject and press the shutter button halfway until the AF confirmation mark lights up. The focus will be locked.
  2. While holding the shutter button in the halfway position, recompose the image and press the shutter button all the way to shoot the picture.

At first this may seem cumbersome, but with practice it can become a fluid movement.

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What is the difference between NORMAL and SMALL AF SENSITIVITY?

NORMAL AF SENSITIVITY is used for most shooting situations. In this setting, the camera uses a focusing area (focusing point) that is slightly larger than the area indicated in the viewfinder. SMALL AF SENSITVITY focuses only within the selected AF area. This setting can be useful in situations such as wildlife photography where it is necessary to photograph animals through tree branches in the foreground. Using a more precise AF area will reduce the chance of the autofocus system becoming confused by the branches.

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Is there a way to shoot if I don’t want to wait for autofocus to lock or the flash to recycle?

Normally, the E-3 will not shoot while autofocus is operating or the flash is charging. However, situations may arise where the photographer would want to override the camera and force it to fire under marginal shooting conditions when the camera may not be ready to shoot.

The Shutter Release Priority function will permit the camera to shoot even though normal shooting requirements are not met. The function is found in the  menu under Custom Menu 1. Two options are available:

  • RLS PRORITY S: Set to ON to enable the camera to fire immediately, without waiting for focus confirmation, in the S+AF autofocus mode.
  • RLS PRIORITY C: Set to OFF to force the camera to secure focus before firing in the C+AF autofocus mode.

Be advised that overriding the camera creates special considerations. Shooting before the flash has recycled may cause images to be underexposed if ambient light is insufficient to illuminate the subject. Shooting before autofocus has locked may result in blurry images, particularly when the subject is in motion. To compensate for the loss of autofocus, increase the depth of field by shooting with the smallest aperture that is practical for acquiring the shot.

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In the CARD SETUP menu, the options are ALL ERASE and FORMAT. What is the difference between these settings?

ALL ERASE deletes all of the images from the memory card directory except for those that have been protected. FORMAT deletes all of the images from the memory card directory and overwrites the directory. In both cases, the actual digital images are still on the memory card until new images are shot that overwrite the old images. Therefore, if images are inadvertently erased or formatted, it may be possible to retrieve them via image recovery software.

If ALL ERASE is used exclusively to delete images, over time a buildup of artifacts in the directory may corrupt the memory card. The FORMAT option is recommended to preserve the integrity of the memory card and extend its useful life.

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When and why should I use the camera’s Eyepiece Shutter?

During normal shooting, the photographer’s face and the camera’s eyecup work together to shade the viewfinder and prevent light from entering the camera's metering system through the viewfinder. When the camera is on a tripod or Live View is enabled, light can enter the viewfinder from behind the camera because the photographer may be standing away from the camera. This is most likely to happen if the sun is low and behind the camera or the photographer is shooting a night shot and street lighting is shining into the viewfinder. In both cases, this extraneous light can shine into the metering system and can skew the exposures, resulting in underexposed images. Closing the Eyepiece Shutter blocks extraneous light from entering the viewfinder so the exposures will be more accurate.

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How do I use the different metering modes?

The E-3 provides several metering options that allow the photographer to have greater creative control over exposure.  The metering modes can be set in the Control Panel screen or the camera menu.  Descriptions and applications of the metering modes are detailed below:

Digital ESP metering is recommended for general use.  The camera measures and calculates the light differences in 49 separate areas of the image. The mode can be changed to ESP+AF in the menu to center the metering on one of the three AF frames seen in the camera viewfinder.
Center Weighted Averaging metering provides average metering between the subject and the background lighting, placing more weight on the center of the frame. Use this mode to prevent the light level of the background from affecting the exposure value of the main subject.
Spot metering meters an area of about 2% of the frame around the center AF frame. This mode can be used to meter a backlit subject. Spot metering must be used very carefully because the brightness of the subject area that the metering spot is centered on can dramatically influence the final exposure.
HI Spot metering performs the same as Spot metering but compensates toward overexposure, allowing accurate white reproduction. For example: with normal Spot metering, snow would be captured as grey rather than white. The HI Spot Metering compensates so that the snow would appear whiter in the exposure.
SH Spot metering is the inverse of HI Spot metering and compensates toward underexposure to keep dark areas from exposing lighter toward grayness. An example would be photographing a black cat on a light background. SH Spot metering would underexpose the cat so that it would expose as black rather than gray.

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What is the purpose of Exposure Compensation?

Metering systems in cameras measure light but do not have a way of determining what the subject matter is, so the exposure decisions the metering system makes may not always be appropriate for the subject matter. This phenomenon is called subject failure. As with Spot metering, the human touch may be required to arrive at correct exposures. Exposure Compensation allows the photographer to set up the camera to under- or overexpose in specific situations.

The Exposure Compensation scale is shown on the LCD’s control panel. It looks like this:

In the example, Exposure Compensation is set to underexpose one f-stop. The function can be set to under- or overexpose up to three f-stops in 1/3-stop increments.

It is important to set the compensation back to 0 before shooting subjects in other conditions so the subjects will be properly exposed. When the Exposure Compensation is set to 0, the scale is not displayed in the Control Panel screen.

The Exposure Compensation value is also displayed in the viewfinder.

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How do I select which ISO setting to use?

Think of the ISO values as film speeds. Low ISOs such as 100 and 200 are better suited to situations in which there is a lot of light – outdoors scenes. ISOs 400 and 800 would be used outdoors where there is plenty of light and fast shutter speeds are desired – sports and air shows, for example – or indoors for available light shooting. ISO 1600 and above would be used where there are very low light levels, such as indoors or at night.

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How does the E-3 combat noise commonly found at high ISOs?

Digital cameras vary the light sensitivity of the image sensor by varying the gain voltage applied to the sensor, much like turning up the volume on a stereo. When the gain voltage is increased, as it is when shooting with higher ISOs, the sensor becomes hot. Hot pixels perform differently under extreme conditions. The result is a graininess known as “noise.”

Noise occurs whenever sufficient heat has built up on the image sensor. Therefore, it can also be seen in images with long exposures, such as night photographs, due to the additional heat generated by charging the sensor for an extended period of time. All digital cameras include technologies to minimize the effects of noise. The E-3 uses a new sensor that dramatically decreases noise. In addition, it combats noise with two methods: NOISE FILTER and NOISE REDUCTION.

The NOISE FILTER function is found in the menu. It has four options: OFF, LOW, STANDARD and HIGH. The majority of digital cameras have a default noise filter that is always on. Some photographers feel that this reduces detail, so Olympus has included the option to not use a noise filter at all.

If NOISE FILTER is set to OFF, it is recommended to set the SHARPNESS setting to –2. If  SHARPNESS is set to 0 it may exaggerate the noise when no noise filtering is being applied.

The NOISE REDUCTION function can also be enabled from the menu. After the first exposure, the camera makes a second exposure of equal length with the shutter closed. It then, in effect, overlays the two images, finds the hot pixels in the second image (essentially, any pixels that aren't black) and deletes the corresponding pixels from the first image. This doubles the shooting time. If the first exposure is 12 minutes 30 seconds, the second, black exposure will also be 12 minutes 30 seconds for a total exposure time of 25 minutes.

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What do the fractions in the Manual Flash settings represent?

The camera gives the photographer the option of using different power settings in the Manual Flash mode to balance the fill flash with available light exposure. Celebrity and news photographers use fill-flash outdoors to throw a little extra light into shadows to “open” them up and get a more pleasing image. This technique is also used in landscape and travel photography to show a little more detail in the shadows of foreground subjects.

The fractional settings (FULL, ¼, 1/16, 1/64) allow the photographer control over how much light is needed to fill the shadows at varying distances. The sync speeds used are between 1/60 and 1/250 second.

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I shot in the RAW format and I need a JPEG image, but I’m away from my computer. How can I convert the RAW files to JPEGs in the field?

The E-3 has a RAW editor in the camera menu that allows the photographer to not only convert the RAW file to a chosen JPEG record mode, but also apply white balance, sharpness, contrast and color adjustments in the converted JPEG image.

To edit a RAW file in camera:

  1. Press the [MENU] button. Select the menu, and then select the PICTURE MODE, RECORD MODE and WB (White Balance) settings to be applied to the RAW image to be edited.
  2. Exit the menu by pressing [MENU] again.
  3. In the playback mode, select the RAW image to be edited.
  4. Open the menu, select the third tab (Edit), select EDIT and then toggle right. The RAW image to be edited will be displayed.
  5. Press the [OK] button.
  6. In the RAW DATA EDIT screen, select YES and then press [OK].

A JPEG copy of the RAW image that reflects the settings selected in the menu will be saved to the memory card. The RAW image remains unchanged.

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