Product Support

E-420

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What differentiates the E-420 from the EVOLT E-410?

The E-420 and EVOLT E-410 share some of Olympus' groundbreaking features, including a Live View LCD monitor – the first of its kind on a consumer digital SLR camera; a powerful, 10-megapixel Live-MOS sensor; the patented Supersonic Wave Filter (SSWF™) dust-reduction system that makes it easy to change lenses anywhere without worrying about dust ruining a shot; the stunningly fast TruePic III™ processor; and a high-resolution, 2.7" HyperCrystal II® screen for superior visibility at wider angles (even in direct sunlight).

Of course, they are each also precision-engineered to work perfectly with Olympus' Zuiko® Digital Specific Lenses™ for pixel-perfect, edge-to-edge clarity.

The smaller EVOLT E-420 features a Digital Image Stabilization shooting mode that boosts the light sensitivity of the imaging sensor and increases the shutter speed in order to reduce blur, particularly in low-light situations. This technology not only minimizes distortion due to camera shake, but it also is capable of freezing a moving subject.

Both cameras offer a Scene mode with a variety of preset Scenes calibrated to produce excellent shots in a variety of shooting conditions. The EVOLT E-410 has two additional underwater Scenes, the better to use with the optional PT-E03 underwater housing.

The cameras are each powered by one Olympus BLS-1 rechargeable lithium-ion battery.

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The E-420 features Live View. What is it, and how does it work?

The Live View feature allows you to use the LCD monitor as a viewfinder to compose shots or to shoot while viewing an enlarged display on the monitor.

Live View uses one of three available AF systems to determine when and how focusing is performed. Selection of the AF system is made via the following menu: > AF/MF > LIVE VIEW AF MODE. The characteristics of the Live View AF systems are as follows:

  • IMAGER AF—Autofocus is acquired via contrast detection, which is the same process used in many point & shoot digital cameras. The camera searches 11 AF targets to find the one that contains the greatest contrast and focuses on it. Typically, this will identify the subject nearest the lens.

    The shooting sequence is as follows:
    1. Pressing the shutter button halfway activates contrast detection using the image on the sensor.
    2. Pressing the shutter button all the way down closes the shutter and drops the mirror.
    3. The shutter fires, and the image is captured.
    4. The image is displayed on the LCD screen.
    5. The shutter reopens, and Live View is restored.

    IMAGER AF is the factory default Live View AF mode, which means the camera will use it if it can. However, IMAGER AF can only be used with Zuiko Digital lenses that have compatible firmware.¹ When using a lens that is not compatible with IMAGER AF, the camera will use HYBRID AF instead.
  • AF SENSOR—Autofocus is acquired via phase difference detection. Three AF targets are available. This mode works with all Olympus Zuiko Digital lenses.

    The shooting sequence is as follows:
    1. Pressing the shutter button all the way down closes the shutter and drops the mirror into place.
    2. The camera auto focuses using phase-difference detection.
    3. The shutter fires, and the image is captured.
    4. The image is displayed on the LCD screen.
    5. The shutter reopens, and Live View is restored.

    Pressing the shutter button half way does not lock focus in AF SENSOR mode. If you wish to prefocus,² press and hold down the [AEL/AFL] button.
  • HYBRID AF—This is a combination of the IMAGER AF and AF SENSOR systems. It uses a virtual sensor area that emulates the AF target to approximate focus, and then after the shutter button is pressed it uses the AF targets to fine-tune the final focus. HYBRID AF works with all Olympus Zuiko Digital lenses.

    The shooting sequence is as follows:
    1. Pressing the shutter button halfway activates contrast detection autofocus.
    2. Pressing the shutter button all the way down closes the shutter and drops the mirror.
    3. Autofocus is fine-tuned using the AF target sensors.
    4. The shutter fires, and the image is captured.
    5. The image is displayed on the LCD screen.
    6. The shutter reopens, and Live View is restored.

In all Live View AF modes, it is possible to preselect a specific AF target. Doing so reduces shutter lag because the camera does not need to search for a subject in all AF targets. When selecting an AF target, choose one that contains an area of contrast. If the camera is unable to detect contrast (for example, if the selected AF target is directed at a stark white wall), it may not be able to take a picture.

To select a specific AF target, while the camera is in Live View mode, press the [OK] button to access the Super Control panel. Use the arrow buttons to select the AF Area icon.

When LIVE VIEW AF MODE is set to IMAGER AF, the icon looks like this: When LIVE VIEW AF MODE is set to HYBRID AF or AF SENSOR, the icon looks like this:

While in Live View mode, it may be desirable to enlarge the display of the subject on the LCD monitor. This is especially useful when using MF (manual focus) because it makes focus confirmation and adjustment easier.

To view an enlarged display using Live View, press the [INFO] button repeatedly until a green box is displayed in the center of the monitor. Use the arrow buttons to move the box around the screen, select the area to enlarge. Press the [OK] button to enlarge the selected area by 7x. Press [OK] again to return to normal magnification. Press [INFO] to exit the enlarged display function.

¹To view a list of compatible lenses, click here. Depending on the date of purchase, a compatible model may require a firmware update in order to support IMAGER AF. In the future, Olympus may add IMAGER AF support to other Zuiko Digital lenses via firmware updates.

²When composing shots using Live View, the shutter lag will be slightly longer than it would be when composing shots using the optical viewfinder, although the delay can be minimized by acquiring and locking the autofocus prior to pressing the shutter button. Live View is not recommended for photographing fast-moving subjects and where a quick response is required. Continuous AF is not supported when Live View is enabled.

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Does the E-420 support the Olympus wireless RC flash system?

Yes. The camera’s built-in flash acts as a controller that sends data commands to the (optional) FL-36R and FL-50R electronic flash units.

The system can control up to three groups of flash units. The camera and flashes have four control channels to choose from so the flashes and camera will not receive signals from other Olympus wireless RC flash systems operating nearby. The photo below shows the main setup screen for the wireless flash system in the E-420.

The flash group, channel and settings are then set up on the flash units. When the camera shutter is tripped, the camera’s built-in flash emits a very high-speed burst of data in a pre-flash that commands the performance of the flash units.

This diagram shows a placement of three flash groups using the Olympus wireless RC flash system:

For details on the operation of the wireless RC flash system operation, please refer to the manual for the FL-36R or FL-50R.

Olympus wireless RC flash system flashes can be purchased from authorized Olympus dealers or online directly from The Olympus Store. To order the FL-36R (Item #260115), click here. To order the FL-50R (Item #260116), click here.

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Can I preview the adjustments I make to camera settings on the Live View LCD monitor?

While setting up a shot, changes you make to the Exposure Compensation and White Balance (WB) settings are previewed on the Live View monitor so you can see their effects before shooting. The effects are previewed in all shooting modes, including those in which the camera automatically adjusts exposure and/or white balance, such as Scene mode. If LIVE VIEW BOOST is enabled, the effects of exposure compensation adjustments will not be displayed on the LCD screen and the image color will diminish in low-light situations.

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Is the E-420 body splashproof?

No, the camera is not designed to be used in severe environmental conditions. The Olympus E-3 would be more appropriate for use in severe conditions.

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I’ve read reviews that say the E-420 does not have image stabilization, but the Olympus web site says it does. Does it?

Yes. The E-420 features Digital Image Stabilization via DIS Mode. When the Mode Dial is turned to SCENE, the Scene Select menu is displayed on the LCD monitor. Use the arrow buttons to select DIS Mode, and then press the [OK] button.

When DIS Mode is activated, the camera boosts the ISO sensitivity of the sensor as well as the shutter speed in order to minimize blur due to camera or subject movement. This is particularly useful in low-light conditions when the camera would otherwise set a longer exposure in order to let more natural light reach the sensor. The downside of long exposures is they offer more opportunity for camera or subject movement. With DIS Mode, it is possible to minimize or eliminate blur because the shutter is open for a shorter duration.

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How can I download the images in my 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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What is the origin and meaning of the Supersonic Wave Filter (SSWF™)? Where does the dust go?

The filter is so named because it shakes dust off the sensor by using supersonic wave vibrations. The dropped dust is affixed to a dust-collection component under the Supersonic Wave Filter. There are also dust-collection components on either side of the filter to catch dust when the camera is turned on in a vertical orientation.

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Is it necessary to clean or change the dust-collection components?

It is not necessary to clean or change the dust-collection components under normal use for several years. The dust-collection system can easily deal with the particles that are a result of the dust-reduction system. If the camera is used constantly in severe conditions, Olympus recommends that the camera body be sent to an authorized Olympus repair service center approximately at an interval of three to five years. As part of Olympus' normal camera service maintenance, the dust-collection components are replaced.

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What are the advantages of lenses that are designed specifically for digital camera usage?

Although the small size of the individual pixels in CCD, CMOS and Live MOS image sensors enables them to capture even more detail than film, the sensitivity of the sensor elements is highly directional. That is, they respond best to light that strikes the elements straight on. With lenses designed for use with film, the light rays passing through the periphery of the lens strike the image sensor at an angle, and this tends to degrade picture quality at the periphery of the image area.

On the other hand, lenses developed specifically for digital camera use are designed to match the imaging characteristics of CCD, CMOS, and Live MOS sensors, ensuring high image quality at both the center and the periphery of the frame.

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Can I use my OM- Series 35mm SLR lenses on the E-420?

Olympus OM- Series lenses can be mounted on Olympus E-System DSLRs with the optional MF-1 OM Lens Adapter. OM- Series lenses are unable to communicate with the firmware in E-System camera bodies. Therefore, their use in this fashion has the following restrictions:

  • Autofocus is not available.
  • OM- Series autofocus lenses cannot be manually focused.
  • Stop-down metering is used.
  • Spot metering does not work properly.
  • Although it is possible to use the A (Aperture priority AE) shooting mode in auto exposure, the aperture display is not available.
  • The aperture display in the M (Manual) shooting mode is not available.
  • In P (Program AE) or S (Shutter speed priority AE) shooting mode, the shutter releases, but the auto exposure control does not work.
  • The distance scale on the OM- system lens may not indicate the actual distance. Always use the viewfinder or Live View for focusing.

Because the OM- Series lenses were designed for use with film rather than with a digital sensor, the image quality may not equal that produced by Zuiko® Digital lenses.

The MF-1 OM Lens Adapter is available from authorized Olympus dealers and online directly from The Olympus Store. To purchase the MF-1 (Item #260231), click here.

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How do I update the firmware in the E-420 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. 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 newer versions. If a newer version is found, 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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I don't own an E-System camera body. How can I update the firmware of my E-System lens?

Olympus Imaging Corp., Panasonic Corporation and Sigma Corporation offer a joint firmware update service that makes it possible to download and install firmware for one another's Four Thirds System-compliant lenses when the lenses are attached to any of the companies' Four Thirds System-compliant cameras. Therefore, the lens firmware can be updated by mounting the lens to a Panasonic camera body.

To update the firmware of an E-System lens when mounted to a Panasonic camera body, refer to the Panasonic support Web site.

For more information on the joint firmware update service, visit the Four Thirds System Web site.

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Can I use the E-420 to update the firmware of any Four Thirds System-compliant lens?

The answer depends on what company manufactured the lens.

Olympus Imaging Corp., Panasonic Corporation and Sigma Corporation offer a joint firmware update service that makes it possible to download and install firmware for one another's Four Thirds System-compliant lenses when the lenses are attached to any of the companies' Four Thirds System-compliant cameras. The service is not available for Four Thirds System-compliant lenses manufactured by other companies, such as Kodak, Fuji and Sanyo.

Panasonic/Leica and Sigma lenses mounted to an Olympus E-System camera body can be updated using the software packaged with the camera. Click on the appropriate link below for complete instructions.

Update using OLYMPUS Master 2.x.
Update using OLYMPUS Master 1.x/ OLYMPUS Master Plus 1.x.
Update using OLYMPUS Studio 1.x / OLYMPUS Viewer 1.x.

For more information on the joint firmware update service, visit the Four Thirds System Web site.

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What are the purposes of the different Record Modes?

Record modes allow photographers to quickly and conveniently vary the quality settings used to capture and save images in-camera. While it is possible to always shoot at the higher-quality settings and then process the images down into smaller file sizes later with a computer, it may be more convenient in some situations to use other than the higher-quality settings. For example, it may be preferable to shoot using a lower-quality setting when the shots are intended for use on the Internet, where small file size is more important than rich detail.

Record modes can be selected using either the Super Control Panel or the Camera Menu. The E-420 offers nine record modes, whose benefits are outlined below.

  • RAW: This is the highest-quality record mode available in the E-420, and it allows the photographer the most creative control in post-production. Images are saved to the memory card from the camera sensor with minimal image processing. Factors such as white balance, sharpness, contrast and color are unchanged so they can be modified later on a computer. Some photographers prefer to shoot RAW all the time for all subjects, while others may shoot RAW in situations that pose complicated exposure problems, such as wedding photography.

    Each camera manufacturer has its own version of RAW tailored to its cameras; therefore, special software is required to process RAW files and convert them to other image file formats such as JPEG and TIFF. OLYMPUS Master® and OLYMPUS Studio® contain RAW processing and conversion software for the Olympus RAW format, which bears the file extension *.orf. Third-party imaging software and operating systems may use RAW plug-ins or upgrades to process Olympus RAW files. Without them, they would not be able to read RAW images from Olympus digital cameras. Most photo kiosks, printers and photo labs cannot read unconverted RAW images.

  • JPEG: Four record modes in the E-420 create compressed JPEG image files. When the camera processes a captured JPEG image and saves it to the memory card, it uses algorithms to discard some of the data to make the file size smaller. The process of mathematically reducing a file’s size by discarding some of its data is called compression. The greater the compression ratio, the more data will be discarded and the smaller will be the file size. When the image is opened on a computer, the JPEG algorithms reconstruct the discarded data.

    The E-420 allows photographers the option to customize the four JPEG record modes by mixing and matching their quality settings. The factors that define a JPEG record mode are image size (determined by pixel count -- that is, literally, the number of pixels in the image) and compression ratio.

    The table below shows all of the combinations of image size and compression ratio available in the E-420.



    Customization of the quality settings is performed via the option, which is found in the menu. Pixel counts are expressed either as L (Large), M (Middle) or S (Small). The PIXEL COUNT menu item, also in menu , further customizes the M and S settings by offering a choice of display resolutions.

  • RAW+JPEG: Four record modes in the E-420 save both a RAW and a JPEG image when a picture is taken. This can be advantageous when shots are intended for use in multiple media or when the medium in which the images will ultimately be published has not been determined.

    The quality settings used to process the JPEGs in the RAW + JPEG record modes are tied to the quality settings defined for the four JPEG record modes. The first RAW + JPEG record mode uses the JPEG settings of the first registered JPEG record mode; the second RAW + JPEG mode uses the JPEG settings of the second registered JPEG mode; and so on. Changing the JPEG quality settings via the and PIXEL COUNT menus affects both a JPEG record mode and its RAW + JPEG record mode "counterpart."

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Why isn’t there a TIFF Record Mode like in my other Olympus cameras?

TIFF files are very large files that take longer to write to the memory card and fill up the memory card more rapidly than RAW or JPEG files. A TIFF file in the E-420 would be about 30 MB. It is more efficient to shoot in RAW and save the RAW conversion as a TIFF file in the OLYMPUS Master® or OLYMPUS Studio® application.

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What is the purpose of the Scene mode?

The E-420 has a Scene mode that optimizes the camera settings for specific shooting conditions.  All of the settings applied in the 18 available Scenes can also be applied via controls in the camera menu, but applying them manually can be time-consuming.  In addition, amateur photographers may not have a deep enough knowledge of photography to select the appropriate settings for some situations that advanced amateur and professional photographers would employ.  For example, here are the settings applied by the FIREWORKS Scene:

  • F11
  • 4 seconds
  • ISO 100
  • Saturation 0
  • Contrast +1
  • Sharpness –1
  • Exposure Compensation –1.0
  • White Balance 5300K
  • Gradation Normal
  • Manual Focus

These are the optimum settings for shooting fireworks.  Selecting the FIREWORKS Scene sets the camera up with appropriate settings tailored to the subject matter, all in one step.

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Some scenes can be selected directly from the Mode Dial and also via the Scene Select menu in Scene mode. Is there a difference?

Whether a scene is activated via Easy Shooting mode (by turning the Mode Dial to its respective icon) or via the Scene mode (by turning the Mode Dial to SCENE and then using the arrow buttons to select it from the Scene Select menu), the camera initially applies the same default settings, optimized for the selected scene. However, Easy Shooting mode offers additional options for the most frequently used scenes.

In Easy Shooting mode, the Super Control Panel remains active so that the photographer may change certain settings. The Super Control Panel is accessed by pressing the [OK] button.

In Scene mode, most settings are controlled by the camera and so are fixed. The Super Control Panel is not available. Instead, pressing [OK] invokes the Scene Select menu so that a new scene can be selected.

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In the White Balance (WB) menu, what do all those numbers followed by a "K" mean?

The color balance of different light sources in the color spectrum is rated numerically by color temperature in the standard Kelvin (K) temperature scale.  A color temperature value is expressed as a number followed by a "K," for Kelvin.  The chart below shows approximate values of different light sources in the E-420 White Balance menu:

The E-420 White Balance menu displays icons to the left of the color temperature values to illustrate the relationship of the type of light to its Kelvin value.  The Custom White Balance (CWB) settings in the White Balance menu allow photographers to select more accurate color temperature settings.  Many commercially available lamps are labeled with color temperature ratings that fall between 3000K and 4000K, so a photographer is able to set up the camera for more accurate color rendition.

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With so many White Balance settings available, why and when should I use One-Touch White Balance?

There are many light sources and situations that are not covered by Auto White Balance or the other settings in the White Balance menu.  There are many noncontinuous light sources that do not have all of the colors of the spectrum, such as fluorescent, mercury vapor, and sodium vapor lights.  There are also situations in which many different types of lights are used in one environment.  These do not neatly fit into what the camera firmware knows about white balance, so it is necessary to “educate” the camera about the specific light balance by shooting a white reference subject such as a white card and saving the data in the White Balance menu as a One-Touch White Balance.

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In the PICTURE MODE > MONOTONE menu feature, what is the purpose of the B&W Filter options?

In black-and-white film photography, different colored filters are placed in front of the lens to modify the tones in the final image.  These are called contrast filters.  One popular effect created with contrast filters results in a landscape photograph with majestic clouds against an almost black sky.  This effect is obtained by shooting through a deep red filter, which makes the blue in the sky darker.

A general rule of thumb regarding the use of contrast filters is:  The filter makes its own color lighter in tone and its opposite color darker in tone.

The E-420 is able to create these effects without using physical filters by modifying the performance of the red, green and blue color channels in the MONOTONE mode.

The functions of the B&W filters are described below:

  • NEUTRAL - This creates a normal black-and-white image.
  • YELLOW - The yellow filter darkens the blue in the sky so clouds separate from the sky without producing the dramatic effect of the red filter.  Many black and white photographers routinely keep a yellow filter on their camera because the effects appears more natural than using other filters.  In copy photography of old documents, the yellow filter brightens the look of yellowed paper.
  • ORANGE - The effect of the orange filter falls midway between that of the red and yellow filters.
  • RED - The red filter darkens blues and greens and lightens reds.  In landscape photography, it produces dark skies that make clouds look more dramatic. The red filter can also cut through atmospheric haze to some degree. It can be used in portraiture to diminish skin blemishes on light-skinned people.
  • GREEN - The green filter lightens plants in images.  It will also make red subject matter darker and add contrast to sunsets.

The B&W Filter effects can be previewed on the Live View screen before shooting.

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Is it possible to take time-lapse photo sequences with the E-420?

The E-420 can take time-lapse photo sequences when connected to a computer running the optional OLYMPUS Studio® 2 application software. Unlike built-in intervalometers found in some digital cameras, OLYMPUS Studio 2 offers very detailed computer camera control over preset time periods.

To use this functionality, connect the camera to a computer using the USB cable bundled with the camera. Set the camera’s USB Mode to CONTROL. In the application, open the Camera Control window and choose Time Lapse from the menu or click on the Time Lapse icon on the Camera Control window’s toolbar. The following dialog will be displayed:

Configure any or all options, and then click the Start Shooting button to begin the time-lapse sequence. The images will be saved on the computer – not the memory card.

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Can Shadow Adjustment Technology be applied while I'm shooting? How?

Yes. Shadow Adjustment Technology (SAT) can be enabled for shooting by selecting the AUTO option from the > GRADATION menu.

When AUTO is selected, the image is divided into detailed regions of brightness and the brightness of each region is adjusted separately. This is effective for images with long contrast ranges in which the highlights may appear too light and the shadow areas too dark.

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My 35mm SLR had a mirror lockup to let the camera vibration settle down before the shutter tripped. Does the E-420 have this?

The E-420 has an ANTI-SHOCK function that diminishes camera shake caused by vibrations when the mirror flips up. This feature can be useful in astrophotography, photo microscopy or other applications where a very slow shutter speed is used and camera vibration needs to be minimized. The interval between the mirror flipping up and the shutter opening can be preset from one second to 30 seconds via the menu.

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Does the E-420 have a programmable custom function button?

Both the Left Arrow button and the Remote Control/Self-Timer/Sequential Shooting button can be programmed with alternate functions.

To change the function assigned to the Left Arrow button, do the following:

  1. Press the [MENU] button.
  2. Press the Down Arrow button three times to select the Custom 1 menu. This menu is identified by the following icon:
  3. Press the Right Arrow button once to enter the submenu.
  4. Press the Down Arrow button once to select .
  5. Press the Right Arrow button to enter the submenu.
  6. Press the Down Arrow button repeatedly to navigate to and select the custom function menu item. It looks like this:
  7. Press the Right Arrow button to view the submenu. Use the Up or Down arrow button to scroll through the functions that can be assigned. The available functions are:
    • Fn FACE DETECT – With this option selected, pressing the Left Arrow button toggles FACE DETECT on and off. When set to ON, the camera will detect people's faces in the frame and automatically focus and meter on them. Also, GRADATION will be set to AUTO; LIVE VIEW AF MODE will be set to IMAGER AF; and AF MODE will be set to S-AF.
    • PREVIEW – This option lets a photographer check the depth-of-field while looking through the lens. Press the Left Arrow button, and the camera will stop down to the selected f-stop.
    • OFF – This option disables function allocation.
    • (ONE-TOUCH WHITE BALANCE) – This function is useful when you need a more precise white balance than preset White Balance can provide. When this function is registered to the Left Arrow button, the optimum white balance for the shooting conditions can be saved in the camera by shooting a white piece of paper under the light source that will be used in the shot. While holding down the Left Arrow button, press the shutter button once. Press the [OK] button to register the white balance. The setting is retained until a new custom white balance is registered by repeating the procedure.
    • LIVE PREVIEW – This lets a photographer check the depth-of-field preview on the LCD monitor using Live View. Press the Left Arrow button, and the camera will stop down to the selected f-stop.
    • TEST PICTURE – This enables a photographer to shoot a picture and see it on the monitor without saving it to the memory card. This can be useful in a studio situation where it would be desirable to shoot setup tests and not use up space on a memory card. Simply hold down the Left Arrow button while shooting.
  8. Press [OK] to activate the selection, and then press [MENU] to exit the menu.

The default factory setting for the custom function button is Fn FACE DETECT.

The Remote Control/Self-Timer/Sequential Shooting button is located on the left-top of the camera. It looks like this:

To change the function assigned to the Remote Control/Self-Timer/Sequential Shooting button, do the following:

  1. Press the [MENU] button.
  2. Press the Down Arrow button three times to select the Custom 1 menu. This menu is identified by the following icon:
  3. Press the Right Arrow button once to enter the submenu.
  4. Press the Down Arrow button once to select .
  5. Press the Right Arrow button to enter the submenu.
  6. Press the Down Arrow button repeatedly to navigate to and select
  7. Press the Right Arrow button to view the submenu.
  8. Use the Up or Down arrow button to scroll through the functions that can be assigned. The available functions are:
    • Sequential Shooting/Self-Timer Shooting/Remote Control Shooting - This function, the default, is used to set options for these popular features.
    • AF Area - Opens a screen on the LCD to select the autofocus frame area.
    • AF Mode - Opens a screen on the LCD to select the autofocus mode.
    • WB - Opens a screen on the LCD to select the White Balance.
    • Metering - Opens a screen on the LCD to select the metering mode.
    • ISO - Opens a screen on the LCD to select the ISO sensitivity.
  9. Press [OK] twice to enable the selection and exit the menu.

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Where can I find the documentation for my camera?

The E-420 is packaged with a printed Instruction Manual.  The document can also be downloaded in PDF format by clicking here.

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

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What does the optional OLYMPUS Studio 2 software do, and how can I get it?

OLYMPUS Studio 2 is imaging software for personal computers that allows photographers to speed up organizational and post-processing tasks associated with the photography workflow, such as examining and selecting the best shot from a large number of images; searching disparate folders and albums for a desired image; comparing similar images side-by-side on a virtual lightbox; batch processing edits and print jobs; etc. It also has a camera control function that lets photographers operate Olympus E-System cameras remotely or save images directly to a computer instead of a memory card. (These operations require that the camera be connected to the computer using its bundled USB cable.) The software can also be used to update the firmware of Olympus digital cameras or to change the language of the camera's menu system and LCD displays.

The software is supported on the following operating systems: Windows 2000 Professional, Windows XP Home Edition, Windows XP Professional (32-bit), Windows Vista (32/64-bit), Windows 7 (32/64-bit, but please see these caveats), and Mac OS X 10.3 ("Panther") through 10.5 ("Leopard").

To download a free, 30-day trial of the latest version of OLYMPUS Studio 2, please click on the appropriate link:

For information on obtaining a permanent license key, please send an email to e-slrpro@olympus.com.

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How do I insert the memory card into the camera?

To insert the memory card into the camera, do the following.

  1. Power off the camera.
  2. Open the card cover 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 as shown. Push the card gently straight in until it clicks.

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

Using the Olympus Software Development Kit, Pinetree Computing LLC has created software that provides computer camera control and the ability to view the Live View image on a second computer monitor or on a television screen.

To use this software with the E-420, set the camera’s USB MODE option to CONTROL and then connect it to the computer and second monitor or television using the USB AV/PC-2 “breakout” cable.  The cable (item #200874) may be purchased online from The Olympus Store by clicking here.

The Pinetree Computing Camera Controller can be purchased online and downloaded at http://www.pinetreecomputing.com/camctl.asp.

Instructions and technical support for the Pinetree Computer Camera Controller are provided by Pinetree Computing LLC.

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How do I activate image stabilization in the E-420?

The E-420 offers image stabilization via the DIS Mode scene. DIS Mode reduces the blur caused when the subject or the camera moves during image capture.

To activate image stabilization, do the following:

  1. Turn the Mode Dial to SCENE. The Scene Select menu will be displayed on the LCD.
  2. Use the Up and Down arrow buttons to select 10 DIS Mode.
  3. Press the [OK] button to activate the selection.

To choose another Scene after shooting an image in DIS Mode, press [OK] again to access the Scene select menu. Use the arrow buttons to make another selection, and press [OK] again to activate it.

Exit Scene mode at any time by turning the Mode Dial to any other icon.

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

The P, A, S and M modes are the Advanced Shooting modes.  These are essentially non-AUTO modes that allow the photographer more creative control by enabling more control over shutter speed and f-stop settings.  The Advanced Shooting modes also allow total access to the menu options.  They are also the modes required for use with E-System flash accessories.  Briefly, the Advanced Shooting modes and their applications are as follows:

  • P (Program shooting) – Allows shooting using an aperture and shutter speed set by the camera.  However, the Program Shift function allows some creative control.  When the camera is turned on, the control panel shows P in the upper left of the Control Panel screen.  If you rotate the Control Dial, the P changes to Ps, which is Program Shift.  This permits selecting a shutter speed or aperture other than the default while maintaining the same exposure.  If a higher shutter speed is selected, a wider aperture is set.  If a slower shutter speed is selected, a smaller aperture is set.  In effect, it is an AUTO mode that accepts input from the photographer.
  • A (Aperture priority shooting) – 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 using the Control 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 over-exposure, the exposure values in the viewfinder and on the Control Panel screen will blink.
  • S (Shutter priority shooting) – 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 Control 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 over-exposure, the exposure values in the viewfinder and Control Panel screen will blink.
  • M (Manual shooting) – Allows the photographer to set the shutter speed and aperture independent of each other. Program Shift is not applied in this mode.  This 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 Control Dial, and the aperture is set using the Control Dial while holding down the Exposure Compensation button.

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When the Mode Dial is set to AUTO, why are some of the menu options deactivated (grayed-out)?

In the AUTO shooting mode, the camera operates with a minimum of input from the user.  Many shooting functions are controlled entirely by the camera; the photographer cannot change their settings.  Therefore, the menu options that control those settings are deactivated (grayed-out) in AUTO mode.

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The E-420 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.  If you are 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 when the EC-25 Extension Tube is mounted between a lens and camera body for accurate focus.
  • 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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My 35mm SLR had a depth-of-field preview button so I could check the focus before shooting. How can I preview depth-of-field on the E-420?

The E-420 lets you preview the depth-of-field either by looking through the viewfinder (PREVIEW) or by using Live View (LIVE PREVIEW). To use the preview functions, they must be assigned to the Left Arrow button via the Camera Menu.  To do so:

  1. Press the [MENU] button.
  2. Press the Down Arrow button three times to select the Custom 1 menu. This menu is identified by the following icon:
  3. Press the Right Arrow button once to enter the submenu.
  4. Press the Down Arrow button once to select .
  5. Press the Right Arrow button to enter the submenu.
  6. Press the Down Arrow repeatedly to select the menu item, and then toggle right.
  7. Using the Up or Down arrow button, select PREVIEWto preview the depth-of-field in the viewfinder or select LIVE PREVIEW to preview it on the LCD monitor.
  8. Press the [OK] button to set the selection, and then press [MENU] to exit the menu.

The left arrow key will then become the depth-of-field preview button. Holding the button down will close the aperture to the set f-stop to provide a view of the depth-of-field. The image will appear lighter or darker in relation to the set f-stop. Enlarged Display is not available in Live View when using the LIVE PREVIEW function.

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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 pre-focus 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, re-compose the image and press the shutter button all the way to shoot the picture.

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

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When and why should I use the Eyepiece Cover that came with my camera?

During normal shooting, the photographer’s face and the camera’s eyecup work together to shade the viewfinder and prevent light from entering the metering system of the camera through the viewfinder. When the camera is on a tripod, 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 under-exposed images. Removing the viewfinder eyecup and replacing it with the eyepiece cover 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-420 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 weighting on the center of the frame.  Use this mode when you do not want the light level of the background to affect 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 that you 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.  Higher ISOs, such as 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 would be used where there are very low light levels, such as indoors or at night.

The AUTO mode and Scene mode automatically set the ISO.

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How does the E-420 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-420 combats noise with two methods: NOISE FILTER and NOISE REDUCTION.

The NOISE FILTER is found in the Camera 1 menu, represented by an icon of a camera followed by the number 1. The noise filter function 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.

NOISE REDUCTION can also be enabled from the Camera 1 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 is also 12 minutes 30 seconds, for a total exposure time of 25 minutes.

The ON option enables Noise Reduction to be applied in all situations. Using the AUTO option activates Noise Reduction when the camera determines that an exposure is of a duration that will generate hot pixels.

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What do the fractions in the Manual Flash settings represent?

The photographer has the option of using different power settings in the Manual Flash mode to balance the fill flash with available light exposure.  You may have seen TV clips of celebrity and news photographers using fill-flash outdoors.  Fill-flash throws a little extra light into shadows to “open” them up to get a more pleasing image.  You can also use this technique 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 1/180 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-420 has a RAW data 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 toggle right. You will see the RAW image to be edited.
  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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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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Can I use my Olympus FL-40 external flash on the E-420?

The Olympus FL-40 external flash is not compatible with the E-420 because it was not designed to work with the TTL firmware in the camera.

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I have a third-party electronic flash. Can I use it on the E-420?

Flash units that are not part of the Olympus E-System may pose problems if used on the E-420.

Thyristor-type flash units can be used with the E-420’s Manual shooting mode as long as the sync voltage does not exceed 6 VDC.  Third-party TTL flash units will not have TTL capability because the contact pins in the camera hot shoe probably won’t align with the contacts on the flash.  In addition, the TTL communication with the E-420 may damage the camera circuitry or corrupt the camera firmware.

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How can I use the E-420 with my studio flash equipment if the camera doesn’t have a PC connector?

The E-420 uses an electronic rather than mechanical sync circuit that is rated at 6 VDC maximum sync voltage. Because some studio flash systems have a sync voltage that exceeds 6 VDC, a PC sync jack was not incorporated into the camera to prevent users from accidentally damaging their cameras.  In addition, the polarity of the studio flash sync pulse may be opposite the polarity of the E-420 sync circuitry.

Studio flash equipment should be connected to the E-420 using the Safe Sync Hot Shoe to PC Sync Adapter.  The adapter protects the camera from excessive sync voltage up to 400 VDC, and automatically corrects sync pulse polarity. This item (#200329) may be purchased from The Olympus Store.  To order, click here.

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Do I need a voltage converter to use my battery charger outside the U.S.?

The BCS-1 Battery Charger for the E-420 is rated at 100-240 V AC and automatically adjusts itself for the local electrical current. However, you may have to get a set of plug adapters for the different wall outlets used in foreign countries. Plug adapter kits are available at electronics and luggage stores.

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What size CompactFlash cards can the E-420 accept, and does it support the benefits of Write Acceleration CF cards?

The E-420 accepts CompactFlash cards up to 8 GB capacity and supports Write Acceleration CompactFlash cards. When the camera polls the card at power up, if it detects Write Acceleration technology it enables its own Write Acceleration firmware.

It also supports UDMA CompactFlash card technology.

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Can I use Microdrive™ storage media in the E-420?

Microdrive storage media that support the CF + Type II (CompactFlash extension standard) are compatible with the E-420. Because Microdrive media use a spinning hard disk drive (HDD) as the recording medium, they are susceptible to damage from impact, vibration, and strong magnetic fields – especially during recording and playback. Be sure to carefully read the instructions that come with Microdrive media.

Note: The data on Microdrive cards will not be erased completely even after formatting the card in-camera or deleting the data. When discarding Microdrive cards, destroy the cards to prevent leakage of personal information.

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What accessories are available to remotely control the E-420?

Two optional remote controllers are available for the E-420: The RM-UC1 Remote Cable Release (item #260237) and the RM-1 Remote Control (item #200597).

The RM-UC1 connects to the same USB port on the camera that is used to connect the camera to a computer. The RM-1 is a wireless controller.

Both devices remotely trigger the camera's shutter button, and both can be used for long (BULB) exposures such as night photographs. The camera can be set to release the shutter immediately or two seconds after the shutter button on the remote control is pressed. The response time is set by pressing the Remote Control/Self-Timer/Sequential Shooting button, located on the top of the camera to the left of the viewfinder, and then using the control dial to select the setting.

Both remote controllers are available online from The Olympus Store. To order the RM-UC1, click here.  To order the RM-1, click here.

The E-420 can also be remotely controlled from a computer using the bundled USB cable and the Camera Control feature of the optional OLYMPUS Studio® 2 application.

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How can I take long (BULB) exposures using the optional RM-UC1 Remote Cable Release?

The RM-UC1 has a sliding lock to lock the cable release for BULB exposures such as night photographs. When the lock is in the "Up" position, the camera shutter will remain open after the shutter button on the remote control is pressed. Slide the lock to the "Down" position to close the shutter.

The RM-UC1 is available from authorized Olympus dealers and also online from the Olympus Store. To order the RM-UC1 from The Olympus Store, click here.

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How can I take long (BULB) exposures using the optional RM-1 Remote Control?

The procedure is as follows:

  1. Set the camera's Mode Dial to the M (Manual) shooting mode.
  2. Using the Control Dial, set the shutter speed to BULB.
  3. Aim the RM-1 Remote Control at the Remote Control Receiver and press the [W] button on the RM-1 to open the shutter.
  4. Press the [T] button on the RM-1 to close the shutter.
Notes:
  • For best results, the camera should be set up on a tripod.
  • If eight minutes elapse after the [W] button is pressed, the shutter will close automatically.
  • The shutter will not be released if the subject is not in focus. The photographer should stand behind or to one side of the camera so that the autofocus does not focus on the photographer.
  • Under bright light conditions, the remote control lamp may be difficult to see, making it hard to determine whether or not the picture has been taken.
  • Zoom is not available on the remote control.

The RM-1 Remote Control is available from authorized Olympus dealers and online from The Olympus Store. To order the RM-1, click here.

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When attempting to install OLYMPUS Studio® on a computer running Macintosh™ OS X 10.5.x ("Leopard"), I get the following error: The current user does not have administrative privileges. Log on as an administrator. What should I do?

Download the latest version of OLYMPUS Studio by clicking here. Run the installer file (OS222EN.dmg). This will overwrite the previous installation of OLYMPUS Studio and allow you to use the application in your environment.

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When attempting to install OLYMPUS Master® on a computer running Macintosh™ OS X 10.5.x ("Leopard"), I get the following error: The current user does not have administrative privileges. Log on as an administrator. What should I do?

Download the latest version of OLYMPUS Master 2 by clicking here. Run the installer file (OM211EN.dmg). This will overwrite the previous installation of OLYMPUS Master 2 and allow you to use the application in your environment.

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When I look through the viewfinder, the image does not appear to be sharp. Why?

You may need to adjust the viewfinder’s diopter to your vision. To the right of the viewfinder eyepiece cup is the diopter adjustment dial. While looking through the viewfinder, rotate the diopter adjustment dial until you can see the AF target clearly in the center of the viewfinder.

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I can’t get a sharp image using NIGHT SCENE. What am I doing wrong?

The NIGHT SCENE and NIGHT+PORTRAIT scenes are meant to take time exposures of skylines and city streets by leaving the shutter open for several seconds.  Therefore, it is necessary to stabilize the camera by bracing it against something solid or – ideally – by using a tripod or camera clamp.

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After I attach a lens to the camera body, my camera seems unable to secure autofocus. This problem is intermittent but affects multiple lenses. Why is this happening?

If the problem occurs with every shot taken with every accessory lens, the camera may be broken. However, if the problem occurs sporadically -- and chiefly only after attaching or switching lenses -- then it is possible the lens(es) may not have been attached properly.

Remove the lens from the camera and look at the silver mount. Nine gold-colored pins are arranged below the mirror in an arc. These pins must make firm contact with the gold-colored touch points on the back of the lens. This happens naturally when the lens is attached properly, but if the lens is not locked into place then one or more pins may not receive sufficient pressure to maintain contact during use.

To attach a lens to the camera body, align the lens attachment mark (red circle) on the camera mount with the alignment mark (raised red knob) on the side of the lens. Then insert the lens into the camera’s body. Rotate the lens clockwise and listen for a click. The click is an audible indication that the lens lock pin has snapped into place on the back of the lens and has secured the lens in the proper position.  The lens lock pin is the small silver pin on the lens mount in between the mirror and the lens release button.

Do not press or hold down the lens release button while attaching a lens to the mount.  The lens release button forces the lens lock pin to retract into the camera so that the lens can be removed without breaking the pin.  If the button is held down while attaching the lens, it may not align with the hole on the back of the lens after the button is released.  This will result in a situation in which the lens is attached to the camera mount but is not locked into place.  It is possible that this condition will prevent the lens from making and retaining a firm connection to the camera.  This will inhibit autofocus and may increase the lag time between shots.

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Sometimes when I’m shooting in dim light I have difficulty getting the camera to focus. What can I do?

Digital cameras autofocus by detecting differences in the contrast between light and dark areas of the image projected onto the sensor. If the light is dim or the image has somewhat flat contrast, the camera may have difficulty focusing. The E-420 has an AF Illuminator feature that uses the flash to illuminate the subject just before the exposure is made, thereby assuring autofocus.

  1. Press the [MENU] button.
  2. Press the Down Arrow button three times to select the Custom 1 menu. This menu is identified by the following icon:
  3. Press the Right Arrow button once to enter the submenu. AF/MF will be selected.
  4. Press the Right Arrow button to enter the submenu. AF ILLUMINAT. will be selected.
  5. Press the Right Arrow button to enter the submenu, and use the arrow buttons to select ON.
  6. Press the [OK] button to apply the setting.
  7. Press [MENU] twice to exit the menu.

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When I’m shooting near subjects, I can hear the lens trying to focus and see it trying to focus through the viewfinder, but it does not secure focus. What can I do?

If the lens seems to be unsuccessfully searching for a focus point, you may be too close to the subject matter for that particular lens. Lenses have a minimum focusing distance, and zoom lenses have different minimum focusing distances at different zoom settings. If you back away from the subject, the lens will be able to focus.

If you intend to do macro or close-up photography, you may want to invest in a macro lens or the EX-25 Extension Tube.

The E-System has two macro lenses:

  • The Zuiko® Digital 35 mm f3.5 Macro has a 35 mm format equivalent focal length of 70 mm and focuses from 5.75” (146 mm) to infinity.
  • The Zuiko Digital ED 50 mm f2.0 Macro has a 35 mm format equivalent focal length of 100 mm and focuses from 9.45” (240 mm) to infinity.

The EX-25 Extension Tube mounts between the lens and the camera body and reduces the minimum focusing distance of E-System lenses by moving the lens 25 mm away from the camera sensor.  Lenses mounted with the EX-25 are not able to focus to infinity.  It is necessary to manually focus lenses mounted with the EX-25 for more accurate focus.  A table of the adjusted focusing distances of E-System lenses when mounted on the EX-25 can be found here.

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When I press the shutter button, the camera doesn’t shoot immediately. What can I do?

In the default AUTO AF target selection setting, the camera measures the distance to the subject using the AF targets in the viewfinder and selects the most appropriate AF target.  If the subject is complex or the camera is moving, it may cause the camera to take more time selecting which AF target to use. The camera will respond more rapidly if only one AF target is selected.

To change the AF target selection from AUTO to a selected AF target:

  1. Press the [OK] button to enable function selection in the Super Control Panel.
  2. Using the arrow buttons, navigate to AF AREA in the Super Control Panel.
  3. Press [OK]. Using the left and right arrow buttons, select an AF frame.
  4. Press [OK] to set the AF frame selection.

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When my images are displayed on the E-420’s LCD screen, there are blinking black areas in the image. How do I get rid of them?

What you are seeing is a part of the histogram feature.  In the lower right corner of the LCD screen, you will see a little box that says either SHADOW or HILIGHT. The blinking black regions identify areas in the image that have no detail due to overexposure (HILIGHT) or underexposure (SHADOW).

The blinking display doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with the camera. Like film cameras, digicams have a limited brightness range within which they can capture images. If the camera metering is weighted toward the highlights, there will be a lack of shadow detail. If the camera metering is weighted toward the shadows, there will be a lack of highlight detail. In bright sunshine, a picture may have areas lacking both highlight and shadow detail. On a grey, cloudy day, there may be detail throughout the image. The purpose of the black blinking areas is to give the photographer feedback about the exposures. If necessary, the photographer can apply options such as AE Bracketing or Exposure Compensation to reshoot the image.

The SHADOW and HILIGHT views are among seven options that can be selected by pressing the INFO button while displaying images on the LCD screen in Playback mode. Pressing INFO repeatedly cycles through the views, each of which displays different image information.

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When I try to use the AE Bracketing function, why do I only get one frame instead of three?

The camera’s Drive mode is set to Single Frame shooting. Configured this way, which is the default setting, the shutter button must be pressed for each bracketed frame. When the Drive mode is set to Sequential Shooting, pressing and holding down the shutter button will cause the camera to shoot all three bracketed frames in one burst.

To change the Drive mode, first press the (Remote Control/Self-Timer/Sequential Shooting) button, located on the top of the camera to the left of the pop-up flash. Use the control dial to move the cursor and select either (Single Frame Shooting) or (Sequential Shooting). Finally, press the [OK] button to activate the new Drive mode.

Note: It is possible to assign alternate functions to the button. If another function is assigned to the button when you need to change the Drive settings, you must first set to (Sequential Shooting/Remote Control Shooting/Self-Timer Shooting).

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When I try to shoot in the PANORAMA scene, I get a message on the LCD screen that says “PANORAMA xD CARD REQUIRED.” Why?

The PANORAMA scene in the E-420 requires an Olympus xD-Picture Card™ memory card to function. When a series of panoramic shots are captured in the E-420, the images are “tagged” with information that the bundled OLYMPUS Master® software uses to Auto-Stitch the images together into an almost seamless single image. There is software in the Olympus xD-Picture Card media that is part of the data algorithms the camera uses to save the images to the card as elements in a panoramic image. Therefore, non-Olympus xD-Picture Card, CompactFlash™ or Microdrive™ media will not enable the PANORAMA Scene.

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When I put a formatted CompactFlash card in my E-420, the display shows a capacity of RAW files that doesn’t appear to be accurate. Why?

The manual for the E-420 shows that a RAW file is approximately 11 megabytes. However, this is just an average; the size of individual RAW files will vary widely.

When the E-420 saves a captured image and writes it onto the memory card, it performs complex mathematical calculations to convert the image to binary data that can be saved and later retrieved. One of the ways it does this is by sampling some of the factors in the image. Because images are unique, each calculation is unique and the product of the calculation will vary. For example, a winter landscape consisting of predominantly white snow and blue sky will produce a smaller data file than a scene such as Times Square at night. The richness of the latter scene will result in a larger file.

When the E-420 polls a formatted memory card, it is looking at a blank slate. It has yet to do the math for any images and is programmed to start out with a conservative capacity estimate. As the camera shoots more images, it recalculates the capacity as it “learns” about the image files it is creating. As the card fills up, the estimated capacity of RAW files on the display will become more accurate.

It is good practice to carry multiple memory cards in the event that the memory card in the camera should fill up. The E-420 also features an xD-Picture Card™ slot to hold a second card. If the capacity of the CompactFlash card is nearly exhausted, the photographer can switch to the xD-Picture Card media or can transfer files from the CompactFlash card to the xD-Picture Card media to free up more capacity on the CompactFlash card.

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After inserting an 8GB Hitachi Microdrive™ memory card into the E-420, the card access lamp blinks and I am unable to shoot. Why is this happening?

When using an 8GB Hitachi Microdrive cards in the E-420, the card access lamp may blink for up to two to three minutes the first time the card is inserted into the card slot. When the card access lamp stops blinking, the camera is ready to shoot.

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I went on vacation and used several memory cards. Now, when I’m downloading the images onto my computer and trying to save them, I get a message that says, “Image file_name.jpg already exists. Replace it with the new file?” What’s going on?

The E-420 has two settings for creating file names for the images it captures:

  • AUTO - Even when a new card is inserted, the folder numbers are retained from the previous card. If the new card contains an image file whose number coincides with one saved on the previous card, the new card’s file numbers start at the number following the highest number on the previous card. Put simply, the camera picks up where it left off when naming files.
  • RESET - When a new card is inserted, the folder numbers start at 100 and the file numbers start at 0001. If a card containing images is inserted, the file numbers start at the number following the highest file number on the card. If the card has been formatted, the file names will start with 0001.

In this scenario, if images from multiple cards are downloaded to the same computer, then at some point the computer will be asked to download an image whose folder/file name is identical to one that was previously transferred to the computer. When this happens, each duplicate file name will have to be renamed individually or else the like-named files will overwrite their predecessors when they are saved to the computer. The original images will no longer be viewable.

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On the E-420 LCD screen, I see the message “Internal camera temperature is too high. Please wait for cooling before camera use.” Then the camera shuts off. What causes this message to appear?

As a safety measure, the E-420 issues this message and shuts itself off whenever its internal temperature climbs too high. This may happen after frequent or continuous use of Live View or a shooting mode that captures many images in a short time, such as the Sequential Shooting drive mode. In these situations, the image sensor may not get a chance to cool off between shots. The heat of the sensor raises the camera's internal temperature. If it gets high enough, the camera must turn itself off. Once the camera has cooled for a few minutes, you will be able to resume shooting.

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My camera is connected to my TV with the video cable to play back my photos, but I don’t see any images.

TVs have AV (Audio Visual) input channels (usually found below Channel 2) to play images and videos from digital cameras and camcorders. Using the TV channel selector, move downward through the channels until you see the camera menu on the TV screen.

If the image quality on the TV screen appears to be distorted, the camera may be set to a video output format that is incompatible with your TV. In the menu, check the VIDEO OUT setting. In North America, the setting should be NTSC.

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I cannot control my camera with the RM-1 Remote Control although the camera is setup correctly for remote control shooting. Why not?

Other than the battery being exhausted, the frequency of the RM-1 may need to be changed for the remote control to be recognized by the camera. With the camera on, point the RM-1 at the Remote Control lamp on the front of the camera. On the RM-1, press the [CH] button and the [W] or [T] button simultaneously until you see the camera Remote Control lamp blink. The RM-1 frequency will then be compatible with the camera.

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Why doesn’t the flash automatically pop up when I shoot?

In its default operation, the E-420 flash will automatically pop up and fire in low light and backlit conditions when any of the following shooting modes are active: AUTO, Portrait, Night + Portrait, Children, Macro, Nature Macro or Beach & Snow. This functionality is governed by the AUTO POP UP setting.

If the flash does not pop up as expected, make sure the camera is in a shooting mode that supports AUTO POP UP. Then verify that AUTO POP UP is enabled. To set AUTO POP UP, do the following:

  1. Press the [MENU] button.
  2. Press the Down Arrow button three times to select the Custom 1 menu. This menu is identified by the following icon:
  3. Press the Right Arrow button once to enter the submenu.
  4. Press the Down Arrow repeatedly until CUSTOM is selected.
  5. Press the Right Arrow to enter the submenu.
  6. Press the Up or Down Arrow button to select AUTO POP UP.
  7. Press the Right Arrow button to enter the submenu, and select ON.
  8. Press the [OK] button twice more to exit the menu.

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