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When I use my mirrorless camera, an Olympus OM-D EM1 Mark II, in a dark room, the EVF shows the room as though it is fully lit, but the lens does not have the same brightness.

It's as though the EVF is at 32000 ISO or something like that.

Is this because the EVF has lower resolution, so they just crank up the ISO?

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You basically already told yourself. The EVF or electronic view finder is not limited to use the visible light as seen by the lens. It takes the sensor data which can be amplified to give you a brighter image.

Most mirrorless cameras have two modes:

  1. Simulate the exposure - this will lead to the evf show whatever the exposure settings will yield as image. This mode can be used for exposure preview.
  2. Non-Preview mode - this can be used when you use the camera in a studio setting with flash. Or during long exposures and astro photography. So basically this is the effect you see, where the camera just brightens the view finder to a comfortable level. This has nothing to do with the iso setting, however, as iso is just the same as sensor gain, this is very similar, but only for the evf.

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