Selfie with Olympus Pen-F
I have been testing the Olympus Pen F and 17mm f/1.8 lens in Dalat, Vietnam for the end few days, and I am blown away .

It is credibly one of the best digital camera I ’ ve always shot with. The autofocus is laughably fast and accurate ( I ’ vitamin d give it a 9.5 out of 10 ), the image timbre is superb ( I love the Mono 2 dress in JPEG ), and the design is empyreal ( reminds me of an old-school film rangefinder ).

Why the Pen-F?

Olympus pen-f
I have a good supporter Chu Viet Ha in Vietnam, and he introduced me to his ally, who is an Olympus/Leica distributor in Vietnam. I was interest in the Olympus Pen-F ( by and large for the plan, and curious how it was for street photography ), so I asked to test out the Pen-F .

Initial impressions of the Pen-F

olympus pen-f top
First of all, the Olympus Pen-F is a superbly-built television camera. It is solid, has a good weight ( not besides big and light ), and from the outside, it is pretty indistinguishable from most old-school film rangefinders. The Olympus Pen-F borrows design from the original Pen-F. Great design never dies .

The joy of turning the Pen-F on/off

The dials on the Pen-F feel feel phenomenal. The on-off switch is located on the leave side of the television camera, where the movie rewind knob traditionally was .
When I turn the camera on/off — it literally feel the lapp as when I am rewinding my film on my movie Leica MP television camera .

The dials

The dials are built solid. There is the arrant sum of tension in them, so you won ’ triiodothyronine incidentally bump the dial and change the set. nothing I would change .

1. Exposure-compensation Dial

The exposure-compensation dial is solid, fast, and easily to change with some feat ( while not slowly to unintentionally change while in your camera cup of tea ) .
Changing the exposure-compensation dial

2. Innovative front dial

There is an advanced dial in the front, which promptly allows you to change your JPEG settings from discolor, black and white, and some early ‘ art filters ’ ( which I find a bite gimmicky ) .
Using the dial was surprisingly fun, particularly if you switch between shooting color and blacken and white .

3. Changing the top shooting dial

The dial on top ( to change from aperture-priority to manual, etc ) is besides well-built .
not entirely that, but there is a button on lead that allows you to lock the settings .

The flash

I tested the little miniskirt Olympus flaunt ( FL-LM3 ) and I am a huge fan. It is bantam, powered by the television camera ( you don ’ t need batteries for it ), and not only that— you can change the direction of the flash. You can bounce it off the ceiling, and besides swivel it left/right and up/down .
olympus pen-f
The ultimate minimalist flash .

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Black and white

I shot the camera this entire workweek fair in the “ Mono Profile 2 ” manner for blacken and white in JPEG+RAW. Looking at both the JPEG and RAW processed with my movie simulation preset, I prefer the JPEG .
Which made me wonder— if I had a television camera like this, should I just give up RAW all together ? I probably would .
Why not equitable shoot everything JPEG if it already looks amazing ? It makes life easier. It simplifies your work flow .
not only that, but there is a little dial in the front of the television camera, which is reasonably playfulness to change your settings from black and blank to color, to some other modes. It borrows the design from the old-school PEN-F movie camera ( it used to be an ISO dial I believe ) .
When shooting the “ Mono Profile 2 ” modality, I added a “ low ” film granulate effect— which I felt front pretty good. When I put it to “ high ” film grain effect, the effect looked a bit excessively fake and digital .

Settings

When shooting on the Olympus Pen-F, I shot everything in “ P ” ( plan ) mode, ISO 1600, center-point autofocus, and -2/3 exposure compensation. The files and imaged looked phenomenal in JPEG outright of camera ( Mono Profile 2 ) .
The menu on the Olympus are a annoyance in the american samoa. besides a lot choice. My suggestion to Olympus for their future cameras : simplify their menu. Try to imitate the ipod — make the menu dim-witted and easy to use .
I besides recommend shooting the aspect proportion at 3:2 ( which is standard for most cameras ), alternatively of the default option 4:3 aspect ratio .

Why the micro 4/3rds sensor is ideal for street/travel photography

I think the micro 4/3rds system is ideal for street/travel/general photography— because you get more depth of field with the 2x crop soundbox .
That means shooting at f/4 is like shooting at f/8 on a full-frame detector. That means you are more likely to have everything sharp and in-focus .
I think bokeh is overrated in photography. so if you want a television camera that gives you super-epic bokeh, I wouldn ’ thyroxine recommend getting a micro 4/3rds system .
I know a bunch of street and photojournalists who shoot with the micro 4/3rds system, and love it. apparently a set of Magnum photographers used to shoot with the Olympus OM-D series cameras as well.

Olympus 17mm f/1.8 lens

I tested the Olympus Pen-F with the Olympus 17mm f/1.8 lens ( after the 2x crop set, it becomes roughly a 35mm full-frame equivalent focal length ). It is the perfective lens. very sharp, minor, covenant, autofocus is identical fast and accurate, and it is a commodity size and weight unit. It absolutely complements the body .

LCD or EVF?

For me, I preferred barely shooting with the LCD. Easier to use, quite than putting the EVF ( electronic finder ) up to my eye .
But a cool thing you can do — flip the LCD screen backwards, so you are less likely to “ chimpanzee ” ( look at your LCD screen all the time ). It becomes super-zen, merely like shooting a movie television camera .

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Shooting with the LCD

The LCD was large, brilliantly, and very well shooting in bright daylight. I love shooting with the LCD, as it helps me “ pre-visualize ” the scenes I was shooting in black and white .
Because I was besides largely shooting JPEG, “ what I saw is what I got. ”

Shooting with the EVF

I besides spent some time testing out the EVF ( electronic finder ), by swiveling the LCD gore in the back, to hide it .
Shooting with the EVF was a fully-immersive feel. When you ’ rhenium shooting with the EVF, the rest of the world suddenly doesn ’ metric ton exist— merely what is in your finder .
It is a queerly zen-like experience. not lone that, but you see the world in black and white ( as I was shooting in Monochrome 2 mode ) .
furthermore, by having the LCD screen flipped backwards, I was less likely to “ chimpanzee ” ( to constantly check my photos after I shot them ). Almost precisely like shooting with a film television camera .

Going back to the design

I think more or less, the design of the Pen-F is perfect. only thing I would get rid of is the television recording button on the top-right of the television camera. I figure the user-base for the PEN-F are street photographers or travel photographers, who never shoot video. There is besides a television dial you can change ( if you ever used it ) .
furthermore, I would change the purpose of the television camera thus there is a consecrated ISO dial .
But once again, the design of the camera is classic and will never die. It looks good, feels good in the handwriting, and performance-wise, has blown me out of the water system .
The double quality is phenomenal for micro 4/3rds ( I can ’ t detect much of a difference between this and most APS-C sensors ). There is besides barely any shutter-lag, and the cushion focal ratio for processing the photograph after you shoot is non-existent. I would actually say the design of the PEN-F reminds me more of a movie television camera than most digital Leica cameras .

Do I recommend the Pen-F?

Hell yes. Congratulations to Olympus for hitting a home-run with this television camera. I never have very played with Olympus cameras in the past, but constantly knew they had the best autofocusing systems in the commercialize .
Some personal thoughts on the Pen-F :

  • Image quality: 9.5/10
  • Autofocus: 9.5/10
  • Design: 9.5/10
  • Menus: 4/10

I never missed a single shot ascribable to the autofocus of the Pen-F being dull. It is always fast and accurate .
Will I personally buy the Pen-F ? No. I already am satisfied with the Ricoh GR II I already own, but I would highly recommend the Pen-F for any street/travel photographer— or even any general photographer. The autofocus is ace fast, so I ’ five hundred imagine it is good for photographing your kids, family, and pets .
It is besides a capital television camera to travel with, if you want a compact, light, camera system with interchangeable lenses .

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Micro 4/3rds vs other formats?

Moving forth, I want to study the Micro 4/3rds design some more. For me, it fits in with my “ minimalist ” life philosophy — opting for smaller sensors ( rather of bigger sensors ) and so-forth .
however I am a bite implicated that the Micro 4/3rds detector international relations and security network ’ t going to be “ future-proof. ” In the consumer marketplace, people are constantly going to want bigger sensors. It is because we are simpletons and think that “ more megapixels = better persona quality. ” But I personally believe that more megapixels means more problems .
If you want the best “ bang-for-the-buck ” Micro 4/3rds apparatus, I recommend checking out the Olympus OM-10. It is little, brassy, and a great value. I briefly played with my supporter ’ s OM-10, and liked it a distribute .

Moving to JPEG?

Another takeaway from shooting with the Olympus Pen-F — I hope to start shooting more JPEG. The black and white JPEG ’ s out of the Monochrome 2 mode were incredible. quite film-like, and pleasing to my eyes in terms of the aesthetics .
The benefit of shooting with JPEG was it helped simplify my work flow. I imported the JPEG images, quickly chose them in Lightroom, and made humble exposure adjustments to some photos .
Because I was handling JPEG images in Lightroom ( not RAW ), the photos loaded faster, and besides took up less storehouse space. And I besides believe the benefit of shooting JPEG is that you have less control how to process your photos after you shoot it. It felt more like shooting film for me, and fair playing with my scan images .
RAW is amaze, and affords a fortune more customization. But in today ’ randomness worldly concern, where we have barely enough fourth dimension to shoot, I think JPEG will suit more photographers with a feverish schedule. I am trying to figure out ways to simplify my life/photography workflow— and shooting more JPEG might be one of these simplifications .
I outline some more thoughts in the article : 8 Reasons Why You Should Shoot in JPEG

Concluding thoughts

eric kim street photography dal at

It seems the swerve for new digital camera is going to the past. To harness classical plan from the past. To simulate the count of old film cameras, both in terms of how the television camera look, and how the photograph expect .
I see a great future in film-simulation JPEG presets that are built in-camera. not merely that, but I hope that future cameras will subtract excess buttons, dials, and complicated menu. I hope to besides see more digital television camera that help you hide the LCD screen, good how the Pen-F allows you to swivel it backwards, of the Leica M-D which wholly doesn ’ triiodothyronine have an LCD screen .

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