manual frustration with the E-M5!

Whatever I do I can't get the bulb function to work and see the resultant image happening in the viewfinder or LCD screen.

Help Please


3 Answers 3


This is called 'Live Bulb' or 'Live Time' and you have to enable it in the setup menu. The number of refresh is limited, but you will see the image evolve at fixed intervals during a bulb exposure.


This only works in BULB or TIME mode, in case it is not obvious which seems the case from your comment. To do that, you have to set the time past 60" to when it says TIME or BULB. At that point you are in BULB mode and press the shutter to start the exposure and either hold it (For TIME) or press it at the end (For BULB).

  • thank you. bulb time in menu I have at 4 min, live bulb at 0.5 sec and live time at 0.5 and I still can't get to see the image evolve. yes I, m in manual and have set the time at 1 min. please help
    – user14279
    Dec 29, 2012 at 9:25
  • @user14279 - Wrong setting. You cannot set the time on the camera. See my edit for details.
    – Itai
    Dec 29, 2012 at 16:05
  • thank you for your clear explanation, it now works. why can not the manual be so clear? I have owned over 29 cameras and this one is the least user-friendly, but I do love the quality of the pics. happy new year
    – user14279
    Dec 29, 2012 at 19:58
  • 1
    @user14279 - Indeed. I've had hundreds of cameras and I agree that Olympus ones are among the most cryptic. The quality is great and the live-bulb feature of the E-M5 is wonderful for light painting. Do not forget to accept the answer so that other people with the same question will find it more easily.
    – Itai
    Dec 29, 2012 at 20:22

Setting up the Live Bulb and Live time:

  • Menu > Custom Menu > E Menu > Live Bulb: 0.5sec
  • Menu > Custom Menu > E Menu > Live Time: 0.5sec

Note: In order to use either function, you must put the camera in Manual Mode (M) and scroll the main dial until you see the option. Rotate shutter speed dial until way over 1 minute since those options are beyond that time threshold.

More reference on Live Bulb
Field Test Review of the Olympus OM-D E-M5

  • thank you, but it does not help. Not trying in 3D mode. I have the manual! Whatever we do we can not get the viewfinder or screen into a mode of seeing the image evolve in front of our eyes.
    – user14279
    Dec 29, 2012 at 1:35
  • Hope this helps now and dont forget to mark as accepted answer if it helped you :)
    – user981916
    Dec 29, 2012 at 12:51
  • Also, something just came to my mind: Did you, perhaps, toggle the EVF only button? If this is the case, perhaps, the live view won't be showing your pictures.
    – user981916
    Dec 29, 2012 at 12:57

You have it on HDR mode. Switch to normal mode (the small button next to the second wheel). HDR shot won't work together with bulb mode.

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