Changing the size of the AF focus box on the Olympus EP-1 and EP-2

Leo with Flat Stanley "Cate"

Key: R20110410-105027

One of my main peeves using the Olympus EP-1 (the original “digital pen”) was that you couldn’t seemingly change the size of the AF focus box, like you can with many other cameras including the Panasonic m4/3 series.  Well, it turns out there may be a workaround that you can use.  It’s pretty clunky, but so far it seems to be working for me.  I found the answer in a forum thread here.

I think these directions will work for both the EP-1 and the EP-2 (be sure to upgrade to the latest firmware):

  • Go in shooting mode is to go to the screen with the green square in it by hitting info multiple times.
  • Hit the Ok button to get the magnified view and scroll with the top scroll wheel until you get the 10x magnification.
  • Hit Ok again to get to the normal view.
  • Now, with the arrow keys you can move the focus area area to where you want to AF. The green square at 10x is smaller than the square at 7x, and it appears to focus only within the green square.
  • If you hit info you will leave the screen and go back to the normal 10 large focus squares. I don’t know if the magnified focus screen disables face detection and multi-point AF within the screen or not (I imagine it does). If you hit info enough times you will get back to the magnified focus screen and the smaller square.
  • In the magnified focus screen area, you do lose the ability to go to the super panel, since the Ok button does the magnification.

The saving grace for this klunky workaround is that it survives a power off.  When you turn the camera back on again the small focus box is still there.  The downside is that you cannot use any of the other info screens in conjunction with this (e.g. framing lines, histogram, etc.).  This would be a pretty easy fix in an Olympus firmware upgrade, but since we are now 3 generations past the EP-1 I sort of doubt that will ever happen.  In any case, just having the workaround has made the camera much more useful to me, as I now feel like it is not slowing me down. Without the AF accuracy I would have to chimp heavily (with magnification) to make sure I got focus and possibly take additional frames if I didn’t get it the first time (something I rarely feel I have to do with the GH-1).  As I said in this post, I don’t mind manually focusing once in a while, but I generally want to do that only because *I* want to do that, not because the camera made me resort to that.

IMPORTANT ADDENDUM: see my updating findings here.


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