Olympus PEN-F Review – Micro Four Thirds MASTER!

Join me as I review the Olympus Pen-F and shoot the suburbs! I look after my daughter in the morning on weekends to give my wife a well earned break. To combat the boredom of spending time with a screaming toddler and to avoid rethinking my life decisions I picked up this camera and have been shooting it solidly since purchasing it.

I don’t get out much, so the content I’m producing isn’t spectacular or special in any way – much like me in many respects. Most of the time I’m just wandering around the suburbs near my house, pushing my daughter around in her pram and shooting stuff in between trips to the park. Much wow, v exciting. Welcome to the suburbs! The Pen-F handles this with ease and then some!

Do I love this camera? Yes. I’m super biased cause its almost everything I want in a camera minus some quirks. Every camera has them but there aren’t any show stoppers here for me. I honestly can’t recommend this camera enough if you’re shooting your kids or just doing general every day shooting have a look at the Pen-F!

Video

I have this camera setup in a way that it’s a pretty easy to handle snap shooter. Let’s face it, I’m not making art here – it barely passes for photography let alone snapshots some days. I’ve added the optional grip which is unreal and I feel like it’s a must have for this camera.

I pretty much only shoot in shutter priority mode and rarely go below 1/40th with a max of about 1000ish depending on the light. Auto iso is always on cause I’m super lazy and damn is it great to not have to care about setting my ISO or bathing.

I’ve also pimped the dials a bit, but I’m not unique or anything – this just works for me. This dial does shutter speed, this one does iso, this dial is on/off, this button allows the quick change of focus point which is reset by tapping this. Finally on the front, I don’t use this weird filter dial thing cause it’s lame because it only works for jpgs and I’m a raw shooter – you can’t reassign it which a bit of a bummer and this button does mf to af.

Let’s talk downsides because there’s a few.

  1. Video. Click option wheel to video Olympus put it in the camera but it’s an after though like an appendix or your little toe or my self esteem. It’s there but it’s pretty useless. It shoots 1080 just fine but they left off a mic input so it’s not going to serve you well as a main vloging camera if you don’t have a way to record audio separately.
  1. Menus. Some footage of the menu system They’re truly dogshit, especially if you’re in a hurry — there is no hurry with these menus. Quit your life, google the answer because if you need to change a setting you rarely use it’s buried, in fact just forget about the whole thing. The menus are usable but you need much patience and a steady hand. When I first got this thing it took me ages to figure it all out and actually consulted the manual a few times. Yep, the manual.
  1. The filter knob. I’m sure this is a huge selling point for some but I personally don’t care. I use presets in Lightroom like an adult dammit and don’t shoot jpg. Basically this little knobby thing let’s to set your jpg preset and fire away. I’m sure it’s useful for the no edit jpg crowd. But, not for me – I need to edit my photos because they’re usually shit straight out of the camera. You also can’t re program it, which is endlessly annoying. It’d make a nice little manual iso dial, if you know what I mean. And finally I bump it a bit which changes my lcd screen view option mode and makes baby Jesus cry.
  2. High ISO performance. Micro four thirds cameras generally struggle over 1600 iso. Why you need to shoot in complete darkness I don’t know but be aware you need to seek out available light when it’s dark to keep ISOs down. Above 1600 is a noisy mess if you’re out late.

And now, the highlights.

  1. Size – small but not tiny. Just right.
  2. Small lenses and this camera are like peas and carrots (if you know your Forrest Gump references)
  3. Image quality – stellar 20 megapixel sensor
  4. AF speed – super fast
  5. The grip – adds better purchase to the camera and look at this! Battery AND SD access, I’ll be damned that’s innovative.
  6. Customisation is good, minus the stupid filter knobby
  7. Manual nature of the dials is a callback to its half frame history and makes the pen f really tactile, if you’re into that kind of thing. I am, I like to change settings with a dial not a button, so this camera is basically perfect for me.
  8. The EVF is unreal, is placed on the left which gives it a nice rangefindery feel and is perfectly usable.

Results

Below are all the images from the video (and a few more that I failed to get footage of). Nothing spectacular by any means, just a normal day out shooting – sometimes you come home with a bag of winners, sometimes one, sometimes none!

Categories: Episodes, ReviewsTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

JC

I've been taking terrible street shots on and off since around 2014. I started this site in a attempt to better understand the process of photography and write about it at the same time. While I’m obsessed with gear like pretty much all photography nerds, I’m also obsessed with good photographs that make us feel something. I hoping that through this site my photography will develop into something that makes you feel something (other than complete disappointment, of course).

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