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Camera Reviews

Date: 27/01/2016 | By: Mathieu

First impressions of the Olympus Pen F

E-M1, 1/15, f/ 28/10, ISO 400

First impressions of the Olympus Pen F

The Pen F was originally an interchangeable film camera that used the half frame format (18x24mm). It was a vertical format meaning you could capture two portrait oriented images in a single frame of 35mm film and as a result double the number of images on a single roll. Olympus produced three models between 1963 and 1970 along with 18 lenses.

olympus pen f review
The original Pen F film camera

When the first digital Pen (E-P1) came out in 2009, it lacked a built-in viewfinder and since then, only an external EVF option has been made available. Recently photographers have been asking for a Pen model that incorporates an EVF, an addition that would effectively put it on the same level as the OM-D series. This kind of feedback, as well as the success of other cameras such as the Lumix GX7, GX8 and Fujifilm X-E series, probably convinced Olympus that it was time to release a version that would meet all these requirements.

olympus pen f review
The new Pen F

We could summarise the key features of the Olympus Pen F as follows: it has a built-in EVF positioned on the left (like the original Pen F) and a new sensor which is the same Sony 20MP chip found inside the Lumix GX8. But there are two other important aspects to highlight.

First there is the design and we can really see that Olympus put a lot of effort into perfecting it. Second there is all the most advanced technology the company has developed for the most recent OM-D cameras: 5-axis stabilisation, High Res shot, better video capabilities, amongst other things. It is not an entirely new camera if we analyse the entire Olympus Micro Four Thirds line-up but an important one nonetheless:

The new Pen F is both a tribute to 80 years of camera history and the most advanced Pen camera to date.

The Olympus Pen F Main Specs
  • Sensor: 20 megapixel Live Mos Sensor
  • Lens system: micro four thirds
  • Weatherproof: No
  • Internal Stabilisation: Yes (5-axis)
  • Autofocus: Contrast detection AF with 81 autofocus areas
  • Continuous shooting: 10 fps (AF-S), 5 fps (AF-C), 20fps with electronic shutter
  • ISO Sensitivity: 200 – 25600 ISO (pull 80)
  • Shutter Speeds: 1/8000 to 60 seconds, 1/16000s with electronic shutter
  • Viewfinder: XGA OLED electronic viewfinder with 2,36k dots, approx. 100% FOV coverage and 1.23 (0.62x for 35mm format) magnification
  • LCD Screen: articulated 3″ touch sensitive LCD monitor (1037k dots)
  • Movie recording: Full HD up to 60fps
  • Built-in Flash: No
  • Extra Features: WiFi, 4K time-lapse, High Res Shot, Focus Bracketing, HDR, Multiple exposure
  • Dimensions: 124.8 x 72.1 x 37.3mm
  • Weight: 427g (including battery and memory card)

The Beauty

The new Pen F slogan is “This Beauty is a Beast” and I admit that the first time I saw it, I immediately thought: “Wow, this is indeed a beautiful camera.”

From a purely aesthetic point of view, I think that the silver version is a little gem.


The black version is less attractive in my opinion. The silver finish really makes a difference here, perhaps more than any other Olympus digital product.

The camera body feels very robust. The bottom plate and the various dials are made of aluminium while the top and front are made of magnesium. An interesting characteristic of the camera is that there isn’t a single screw visible, not even on the bottom of the camera. However, the body is not weather-sealed.

A beautiful camera is a nice thing but how does it feel in the hand?

olympus pen f review

I only had the chance to see it at the press event so while my first impressions are positive, I admit that my feedback is limited. I found it more comfortable than other Pen camera (the E-PL7 and E-P5 included) mainly because of the re-designed thumb grip on the rear. It is slightly heavier however.

olympus pen f review

The Pen F features lots of dials and buttons and that can be somewhat overwhelming at first especially for someone who is not familiar with Olympus cameras. On the front we can notice a function button near the lens mount but the most interesting addition is the Creative dial inspired by the shutter speed dial on the original Pen F film camera.

olympus pen f review
The new Creative dial on front lets you control various Colour and Effects profiles

It is easy to access, turn and allows you to control four different Creative modes. You can select the Art Filters as well as the Color Creator introduced with the E-M1 (it changes Hue and Saturation). The other two modes are brand new and are called Profile controls:

  • the Color Profile Control allows you to change the saturation level (+-5 steps) with 12 different colours.
  • the Monochrome Profile control allows you to choose 8 filters (Red, Orange, Yellow, Yellow-green, Green, Cyan, Blue, Magenta) with 3 levels of intensity.

Concerning the Monochrome Profile, additional options are also available. You can choose three levels of grain and colour tone (Sepia, Blue, Purple and Green). For both colour and monochrome modes, you can program 3 presets with your favourite settings.

olympus pen f review
The new Monochrome Profile control
olympus pen f review
The new Colour Profile control

Once you select the Profile Control you want with the front dial, you can use the two main dials on top to quickly adjust the colours and tones with the help of the dedicated graphic on the LCD or EVF. The lever on the rear (under the Shooting Mode dial) can help you switch between the different modes available for each Creative mode.

From both a design and “ease of use” perspective, this new front dial is an excellent idea. However if the user is not interested in these Creative profiles, the dial can rapidly become a useless decoration and nothing more.

I wonder if integrating an ISO dial instead (or perhaps even the original shutter speed dial) might have been a better idea. To pass final judgement, however, we need to try these new Creative profiles in-depth to see how effective they are and how spontaneously one might use them on a daily basis. I can imagine that once you save your favourite presets, the process of selection becomes much quicker and for someone who likes to switch between colour and black & white, it can be a handy feature.

olympus pen f review

On top of the camera we see another welcome addition: the exposure compensation dial. I use it a lot on other cameras (Fuji X and Sony A7 series) and I’m glad to see it on the new Pen F. Given the design of the camera, a proper shutter speed dial could have been a perfect addition as well. However I can understand why Olympus decided to keep a similar interface to the one found on other Pen and OM-D products. They probably did not wish to copy the competition either (Fujifilm in particular).

olympus pen f review
The shutter release button is threaded.

The Shooting Mode dial has a lock/unlock button and four Custom settings (C1 to C4) that refer to the My Mode function (Myset on other Olympus cameras). You can save 4 different shooting settings and access them directly from the Mode dial instead of an Fn button.

One of the two exposure dials has a threaded shutter release button at the centre. This means you can screw a soft release button such onto it. There a movie record button whose function can be customised and a nice vintage switch dial to turn the camera on and off.

olympus pen f review
The nice On/Off switch shows the attention to details.

You can really see that every little detail has been carefully designed.

On the rear the first thing you will notice is that the LCD screen is a multi-angle type like that of the OM-D E-M5 II. Olympus decided to go for this solution because the Pen F has the same video capabilities as the E-M5 mark II. They therefore wanted to make the product more suitable for video shooting as well. Personally speaking, I would have preferred a tilting screen like that of the E-M10 II and E-M1. Despite the specifications, this camera strikes me as a stills camera first, so the tilting mechanism would have been enough. The LCD is touch sensitive and has the same AF Targeting Pad option as the E-M10 II.

We can notice the usual button layout (arrow pad, playback button, etc.) on the rear. There are two Function buttons (one on top of the thumb grip) and a magnification button. On top there is a smaller dial that can be used for exposure (shutter speed or aperture). The horizontal lever under the main shooting mode dial can be used to vary highlights/shadows, as well as change options with the Creative controls. The latter is the only thing I didn’t really like as I found my finger accidentally touching it when turning the mode dial.

olympus pen f review

A final word about the EVF. It has the same characteristics as the E-M10 mark II (1.23x magnification) and I found the overall performance to be the same. I admit I find it small compared to the one found on the E-M5 II. Focus peaking and magnification are present and the S-OVF mode is available too.

The Beast

The Olympus Pen F becomes the second Micro Four Thirds camera to sport a 20MP sensor. It lacks a low pass filter and the ISO range remains the same (200 to 25600) while the extended pull value now reaches 80 ISO. We weren’t allowed to take pictures with the camera at the press event since they had pre-production models only. We hope to get a full working sample very soon.

Olympus told us that they were waiting for a new sensor with enough dynamic range and low light capabilities before upgrading from the 16MP chip.

I suspect Panasonic had a similar reasoning with the GX8 (20MP as well). Personally I don’t expect to see substantial improvements with the new sensor except the obvious 1/5 increase in resolution. We compared the image quality of the Panasonic GX8 to the OM-D E-M1 and the difference was minimal. I am more curious to see if Olympus made some improvements to the image processor engine (still the TruePic VII) which also plays an important role in the final output (and is one of the most expensive parts of the process). Of course we will also do a full comparison with the GX8.

olympus pen f review
The Pen F features the same High Res Shot mode of the E-M5 II but with more resolution.

Like the E-M5 II, the Pen F can take High Res Shots: thanks to the sensor shift technology, the sensor rapidly shifts to 8 different positions between each shot. The camera then merges the 8 shots into one image (50MP for JPGs and 80MP for RAW). This technology is limited to tripod use as any movement will result in aberrations but can be very interesting for landscapes /cityscapes (as long as nothing is moving in the frame) and still life.

Of course if it didn’t feature 5-axis stabilisation, it wouldn’t be a true Olympus camera! The Pen F has the same technology found inside the E-M5 mark II which means the best 5-axis stabilisation currently on the market (5 Ev of compensation). With the E-M5 II, I managed to get sharp results even at 2s hand held (see our review here). I’ll be curious to see if Olympus made some improvements in video mode as well.

Concerning the performance, the autofocus is based on contrast detection and has 81 AF zones (like the E-PL7 and most OM-D cameras). The continuous speed goes up to 10fps in Single-AF and 5fps in Continuous AF and Tracking. With the electronic shutter you can shoot at 20fps (slower shutter speed is limited to 1/25s). There is face and eye detection. A nice addition is the possibility to link the AF spot metering to the AF target.

Olympus states that according to their in-house tests, the Pen F has the shortest release time lag among interchangeable lens cameras (including SLRs).

From my hands-on at the press event it is hard to confirm this, even though I noticed that the lag time was minimal. A proper test in a sport/action environment would definitely be interesting with this camera.

olympus pen f review
We find the same videos specs of the E-M5 II.

Talking about video specs, the Pen F inherits the same capabilities as the E-M5 II. You can shoot Full HD with the All-Intra codec up to 30fps or 60fps with Super Fine quality. It will be interesting to see if some improvements have been made to aliasing and moiré, both of which were quite present on the E-M5 II.

The other features will be familiar to OM-D shooters. We get the first electronic curtain (Anti-Shock 0s) and electronic shutter option (silent mode and 1/16000s). The Pen F has Live Time and Live composite, various Bracketing modes including Focus Bracketing (but not Focus Stacking), Multiple Exposure, 4K Time-lapse and Wi-Fi capabilities.

The camera uses the same BLN-1 battery as the OM-D E-M1, E-M5 and Pen E-P5. The lifespan is set at 330 shots according to the official specs.

Note: you can check out a gallery of full res image samples taken by Visionary R-Cleveland Aaron on our Curation website. Click on the image below.

olympus pen f sample image
Pen F, 1/25, f/5.6, ISO 320 – Copyright © R.Cleveland Aaron


With all its cameras, Olympus tries to perfect the mix between a vintage/retro design and advanced functionalities. The Pen F might be their best achievement to date. Think about the OM-D E-M5 mark II and you have a pretty good idea about how powerful this new camera will be. The cherry on top is a new sensor that provides some extra resolution in normal and High Res Shot modes. The beautiful design shows how Olympus has become very good at implementing handsome aesthetics (the Pen E-P5, E-PL7, E-M5 II and E-M10 II are all really beautiful products too). It is also a welcome step forward for the Pen series.

olympus pen f review

The company plans to give the camera a long lifespan with relevant firmware updates, something they already started doing with the E-M1 and E-M5 mark II.

The Olympus Pen F doesn’t substitute the E-P5 or E-PL7 but rather opens up a new segment on top of them.

The Pen F will be available for $1199, €1199, £999 (body only) and with the 17mm f/1.8 (black) as the primary kit lens for €1499, £1199. A second kit with the 14-40mm EZ lens will also be available for €1399, £1099. The camera will ship at the end of February.

Olympus will also release special accessories designed for the camera: a leather strap (CSS-S120L), leather wrapping cloth (CS-48PR), half case (CS-47B), leather camera bag (CBG-11PR) and metal L-grip (ECG-4) compatible with Arca swiss tripods.

olympus pen f accessories
The leather accessories



The Pen F with the ECG-4 L-grip (Arca Wwiss compatible)

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About the author: Mathieu Gasquet

Mathieu Gasquet is a professional photographer with French and Italian origins. Besides running his own video and photography studio 3Dit Lab, he is also the official photographer for the National Cinema Museum in Turin. You can follow him on Google+, Twitter or Facebook!

  • zensu

    You’re correct Matt, I did mean Exposure Compensation. Thanks for clearing this up.

  • Mathieu

    The word “also” in my sentence is there for a reason. And if you really want to know, I read and heard too many times about photographers switching to Fuji because of the exposure dials. It means that there are people that care more about that than 16 or 20 mpx (which is a positive thing in my opinion).

    20mpx irrelevant? That’s exactly what we concluded after comparing the GX8 to the E-M1 some months ago. Front dial? I shared my doubts about it on this article but I won’t conclude anything before I test a full production version of the camera.

    I spent enough words on this website praising the IQ of Fujifilm cameras, especially its colour profiles so I honestly doubt you can find bias here. Finally don’t misinterpret being invited to a press event as “not biting the hands that feed us”. This website is independent and actually we buy/rent most of the products we review (including the recent X70 and X-Pro2) 😉

  • StarcasM

    “Fujifilm became popular also thanks to a couple of old fashioned dials :)”

    And not their Image Quality, Manual Controls and Lenses??


    Let’s be truthful here, shall we? This pen looks more like a Fujifilm camera. And the fact that you even mentioned that Olympus plans to support the camera through firmware updates is another Fujifilm plus, because nobody does it like them.

    And 20 megapixels? -Irrelevant. Even Panasonic stated they only did it because of “Marketing Requests”.

    Lets stop being biased here. Don’t bite the hands that feed you, I get it, but there should be some clarity. This camera is overpriced, it has a flip out screen, yet has so-so video, isn’t weather sealed and a front dial that isn’t customizable and can get in the way. Even that is a gimmick.

  • Александр

    Very nice camera. Even I wanted to buy to always carry with them 😉

  • MI5
    The samples are bad . Very oversaturated and oversharpened pictures.

  • MI5

    Ugly design !

  • Greg

    Thanks very much.

  • pdelux

    Just like a leica I guess.

  • Mathieu

    If the Pen F can move the sensor faster between one shot and the other I suppose it is possible. I’ll try to dig more into that for you 😉

  • Greg

    Thanks for replying. My concern is using hi-res mode for landscape shooting. I found in Banff this mode to be surprisingly useful when used judiciously. The processing phase after the 8 shots are acquired is not my concern. I’d like to know if under the same lighting conditions the Pen-F can take those 8 shots more quickly than the E-M5II. If this is the case than the Pen-F would have a higher rate of keepers as there would be fewer smeared images. Perhaps an indoor constant lighting test comparing the 8 shot acquisition speed in hi-res mode of the two cameras? Thanks again.

  • Mathieu

    Yes you’re right I had a look at the user manual and you can shoot at 20fps with the Silent H+ mode.
    As for the High Res Shot, I am not sure what you mean: the 8 shots can be very fast depending on the shutter speed you select but then the camera needs to process the image and that takes a little bit longer.

  • Big Bob

    A most interesting development, as it had appeared that Olympus had switched its focus (sorry no pun intended) across to the OM-D line. I love the design and even the front mounted dial now I understand what it does and that its a echo from past film Penn’s. Shame they did not retain the older F type face…MK 2 update ? Thanks for posting.

  • Greg

    I’ve read the Pen-F can take 20 pics per second using the electronic shutter. In your upcoming in-depth review, would you please test the speed of photo acquisition for hi-res mode to see if the Pen-F can take the 8 images necessary for a hi-res image faster than the 1 second the EM5II requires? Thanks for your excellent site.

  • DPV

    Your last sentence is my point . PeRhaps they removed the 2×2 switch/lever as it is now redundant , replaced by the C1-C4 custom preset positions on the mode dial if they cover all functionality options inc dials etc.

  • Mathieu

    I don’t think so but until I can have an in-depth look at the Menu system I can’t confirm at 100%. Perhaps it is possible with a function button.
    Personally I really love the 2×2 switch on the rear since they introduced it on the E-P5. I found it very convenient. I don’t know why they got rid of it on the new Pen F.

  • DPV

    Thanks for your reply . So this means with the C1-4 modes it is not possible to set the two main dials differently from their original function?
    Strange , as I thought that was one of the benefits of of the C1-4 modes – being able to customise the functionality of the camera, dials included. So, without the 2×2 switch this is no longer the case as the C 1- 4 settings have no connection to any physical control choices ? That is a backward move is it not?

  • Mathieu

    With the 2×2 switch you can use the two main dials for different functions. For example on the E-M1 I use position 1 for aperture/shutter speed and position 2 for ISO/White balance.

    With C1-C4, you can save a series of settings you like the most according to different light conditions for example. C1 could be for daylight with ISO 200, Vivid colour profile, Sun White Balance etc and C2 could be for low light where the camera sets to 3200 ISO, artificial light white balance, natural colour profile etc.

  • DPV

    Thanks for your reply . I thought the 2×2 switch also just provided easy access to switch between two sets of programmed functionality too . What’s the difference?

  • Mathieu

    Haha, but still better than asking the washing machine design team I guess 😀

    Jokes aside, I do not find the GX8 design that bad but I agree the Pen F is a more desirable product from this point of view.

  • Mathieu

    I don’t think they work in the same way as the 2×2 switch. C1 to C4 modes are basically presets (called My Mode in this case, called Myset on other Olympus cameras), a series of settings that you can save and access quickly for convenience. With other Pen cameras you can access them via a Fn button. For the new Pen F they decided to make them available from the main dial like on some Panasonic cameras.

  • Mark M

    Note to Panasonic.

    If you want people to pay over $1000 for a 4/3 camera it needs to look the part. Functionality is not enough with electronics products nowadays.

    While this camera is less capable than the GX8 it will sell more at $1000 because it is a desirable product. Using the vacuum cleaner design team for the GX8 was a big mistake.

  • DPV

    Thanks for the preview .
    I have one query though concerning the 2×2 switch removal . Do the new C1-4 settings on the mode dial mitigate this?,
    Do they do the same thing in other words, just as conveniently, or do they provide a different level of functionality compared to the 2×2 switch?

  • Matt

    I think he means exposure compensation in Manual mode which is highly desired by many of us using OM-D cameras

  • Mathieu

    Thanks. And the E-M10 II is an excellent and smart choice concerning the batteries.

  • Mathieu

    Hi Bobby, I’ll confirm to you once I try the camera again but I am pretty sure that Auto ISO is available in Manual mode as it is on the E-M10II, E-M5 II and E-M1.

  • Mathieu

    Yes, it definitely seems to be an excellent combo with small prime lenses.

  • Mathieu

    I think it can be seen from different points of view. On one hand it has a very beautiful design and most of the best features from the OM-D series. In the other hand, it is basically an E-M5 II with the EVF positioned on the left and a new sensor that increase the resolution a little bit. I guess the feeling of using it will probably make the difference (for the good or the bad).

  • Mathieu

    Pleasant and definitely better than the E-P5.

  • Boston C

    How is the shutter sound, in comparison to EM5 II that sets the standard for MLI cams? Hope to see your full review soon.

  • Mario van Antwerpen

    Nice preview as always. I like the look of the camera very much and specially the black/silver version. But I have always likes this combination.

    It is funny to read all the different reviews/previews. There seem to be some mixed feelings about the camera. It seems to be a bit like, you hate it or you like it.

  • Mario van Antwerpen

    I don’t think it will be possible to combine focus bracketing with high res in the camera. The camera probably has not enough power and memory to do it. Last week I tried stacked some highres shots. It took my computer (which is not a slow one) a long time to blend all the shots. From a few minutes to more then 15 minutes. Depending on the amount of images.

  • Klaus Thielking-Riechert

    Thank you very much for your “hands-on” and the large number of detailled images, Mathieu! I didn’t have enough time during the day to track all the articles about the new PEN, but when taking a look at this camera this evening my first thought was that it is a real beautiful one! Additionally it looks very smart and together with a compact lens I am pretty sure that it might be a very discreetly solution for shooting – and not only on the streets.

  • Sean T

    Hey look, what a cute little Leica… wait a minute, that’s an Oly? Huh. Seems like a lot of money for something little and pretty.

  • Sean T

    In the US a grey-market D750 can be had for $1400. If I had say $2k to spend on a new system, I can’t see how this could compare do the D750 unless I REALLY wanted the much smaller size.

  • zensu

    Thanks for this mini-review Mathieu. The camera looks beautiful but I’ve yet to get an answer to my number one concern. Does this new Pen F have Auto ISO in manual mode? That would let me know if I need to save my funds for this new beauty or wait for the E-M1 mkII which hopefully will be released later this year.

  • earl

    Nice review…and I so wanted it to have a tilt screen. So I just ordered E-M10II for half the price to accompany my E-PL7. Same batteries, 9-18 stays on the EPL7 and 25 and 60 for the E-M10II…Great travel combo…always look forward to your reviews.

  • Marcio K

    Possible it surely is – but one can only hope that Olympus do it.

    Linked Spot Meter / AF target, one button activation for the focus assist + focus peaking, and the Touchpad AF target wouls remove almost all the grips that I have with my E-M5 II. (video without moire / aliasing would be too much to expect :) )

  • Mathieu

    There is some grain effect options with the monochrome profile, I am not sure about the Colour profile. I am not sure how well they compare to the VSCO profiles.

  • Rav

    Sir the color and monochrome modes offer effects like vsco film ?

  • Mathieu

    I think it is possible to make the AF Sport/AF target option available for other cameras. Fuji did it via firmware :)

  • Marcio K

    “A nice addition is the possibility to link the AF spot metering to the AF target.”

    THANK GOD – this is one of the two biggest gripes that I have with my Olympus cameras (currently, a E-M5 Mark II); the other one is to have to press two different buttons to engage focus assist (zoom) + focus peaking when using manual lenses.

    Olympus, if you’re reading this – PLEASE make this option available for the other cameras in the Olympus line (even the TruPic processor is the same, it could be easy).

    The camera looks like a good one, very beautiful. But the price is too high, I think that costing the same as the E-M5 Mark II would be better – you choose between more megapixels and more color mode controls (and camera beauty), or weather sealing / external SD slot / mic input / 2×2 switch

  • The Real Stig

    A GX8 doesn’t have 5-axis IBIS, nor the 50 MP hi-res. Although it ‘probably’ has the same sensor as the GX8, I am not aware that has been proven yet. The GX8 only gives you more for less if your main criteria is video.

    4K is for video enthusiasts. Olympus have always concentrated on stills photography. It seems to be paying off as they have a greater market share then Pansonic.

    There is probably no sense of WOW, because this is not a review.

  • The Real Stig

    You’re welcome. PS – feel free to delete my posts as it’s not really a discussion topic

  • Stephan

    Yes and most certainly not identical in price…

  • Mathieu

    Hi Henri, I don’t have a full working camera with me yet so I can’t confirm. However I doubt that the two functions can be used together.

  • Mathieu

    I saw that Dpreview also mentions magnesium. At the press event here in the UK I remember the only mentioned aluminium. Anyway thanks for pointing it out! 😉

  • soundimageplus

    ‘For now the design is definitely the most interesting aspect. I am always pleased when I see a camera that really looks beautiful (I admit I am a nerdy camera fanboy sometimes!’

    Story of my life!!

    I just keep hoping that one day we will get aesthetics and performance in one package, at somewhat less than Leica SL prices. The point is the mirrorless manufacturers CAN do this, but for some reason choose not to. I really do want to see a seriously good and professionally specced mirrorless camera at an acceptable price.

    Plus it is worth pointing out that Nikon and Canon (with a FF version) are heavily rumoured to be coming up with ‘serious’ mirrorless, very soon. And while there is certainly no guarantee they they won’t ‘bottle out’ like everybody else, they certainly have no competition at the moment.

    I really had hoped that we would be there by now and I wouldn’t still be lugging around my heavy and ugly Nikon and Canon DSLR’s, which are perfect for what I do and who perform as I would want, but are somewhat of a logistic burden.

    Maybe I will always be disappointed by mirrorless, maybe not, but it’s nice to live in hope. Though I have to say I’m not sure just how much longer I’m prepared to give it.

  • The Real Stig

    43rumors – leaked press release article:

    Elegant, Meticulous Design

    The PEN-F s classic body lines and silhouette are inherited from its
    predecessor, which debuted in 1963. The top and front covers of the body
    are crafted from magnesium, and the precision metal dials (along with
    the bottom of the body) are crafted from aluminum. Olympus engineers
    devoted extraordinary resources to ensure superior quality and
    craftsmanship, so much so that even screws are undetectable on the
    camera s exterior. Simple, stylish touches like the included camera
    strap and the leather-grained exterior of the camera body and the back
    of the articulating LCD monitor provide a unified look and feel.
    Customizable buttons and dials are positioned for easy operation while
    the user looks through the viewfinder, and the new Exposure Compensation
    dial and four custom modes on the Mode Dial offer instant access to
    registered settings for simple, direct control.

  • Henri Blåfield

    Thanks for a great review.
    There’s very little info on this camera out there, so maybe you could answer one question.

    Can the camera do focus bracketing in the high res mode?
    I’m looking at using E-M5 2’s for a 3D scanner.
    It can do both of these things, but not simultaneously.

  • Mathieu

    The spec sheet they sent to me mentions Aluminium only, not magnesium. Where di you read it?

  • Mathieu

    Yes it is expensive but I don’t want to comment too much on that until I can review the camera completely and understand if the Pen F is really worth the money or not.
    For now the design is definitely the most interesting aspect. I am always pleased when I see a camera that really looks beautiful (I admit I am a nerdy camera fanboy sometimes!) but of course that doesn’t mean it is a great camera by any means. I don’t expect miracles from the new sensor (as it happened with the GX8) and for the rest it’s basically an E-M5 II in a Pen body.
    I do think design can have a relevant impact and I think Olympus is doing that very well with its latest products. If we analyse the design of other cameras, Fujifilm became popular also thanks to a couple of old fashioned dials :)
    I think the problem is that in the end all these cameras are very similar. If we analyse the OM-D and Pen series, they all have pretty much the same IQ, more or less the same 5-axis stabilisation (except the E-PL7) and now also the same video specs. So in the end it’s a new camera up to a certain degree.
    As for battery life, 4K, mic input they would have definitely made the camera more complete.

  • The Real Stig

    I believe the top and front plates are Magnesium, not aluminium. The knobs dials and bottom are aluminium

  • Wing Yip

    Another great first look and insight into this new Pen-F

    I also really like this new Pen-F, and as much as I love my e-m5 mkII, and I think in general the e-m5 mkII is technically more capable, I would seek out and get this new Pen-F as well.

    I really like the styling and features.. Did I mention I really like the styling?

    Speaking of the styling, however, I know this is suppose to celebrate the original Pen-F in modern form.. But, I have to say I don’t think it looks like a classic Pen camera to me so much, the previous digital Pen models look a lot closer to the original film Pens cameras in that they look smoother and sleeker.

    This new Pen-F is very angular and boxy, but I really like that and glad that it’s designed the way it is now.

    I feel if you look closely at the details primarily around the top plate, it actually looks a lot more like a vintage Leica III.

    On the front, the new Pen-F has the mode dial, the Leica III has a similar looking dial in the same location. On the far right of the new Pen-F you have the AF assist light, and that looks similar to the small circular viewfinder the Leica III has close to the right side of the camera. Of course, there are no other front details on the new Pen-F that relate in looks to the circular rangefinder window and rectangular frameline illuminator window you’d find on the Leica III.

    Moving onto the view from the top, you have same number and placement of dials, features and button. On the new Pen-F, from left to right, you have the on/off dial, hot shoe, mode dial, shutter release button and rec button, and exposure comp dial. If you look across the top of the Leica III, from left to right, you have the rewind dial, hot shoe, shutter speed dial, shutter release button and rewind button, and film advance dial.

    That center section on the top plate that is raised and chunkier leaving the dials on the left and right of it more exposed, the new Pen-F and Leica III have similar design form in this regard.

    Lastly, I’d say from the rear of the camera on the left top plate side, the new Pen-F reminds me more of a classic Leica M3, instead. On the new Pen-F, from left to right, you have the round viewfinder, then the diopter correction dial, then the Fn2 button. On the Leica M3, you have the round viewfinder window, then the flash socket, then the bulb socket.

    Sure, it’s not 100% function per function exact, but you can see a lot of the design elements and aesthetics are related.

    Either way, I really like this new Pen-F. I’d definitely get one if I were in the market for another M43 camera.

  • soundimageplus

    Looks a beautiful camera. And the addition of the same sensor as the GX8 is a good thing.
    BUT – No 4K, Same Battery, No mic / headphone socket and £1000 (-1) for body only. A GX8 gives you more for less.

    For me this is a classic example of why mirrorless cameras haven’t made their anticipated progress in the interchangeable lens market. Too expensive for what is on offer. At half the price it would walk (run) off the shelves and this is the mirrorless cameras dilemma. There are basically four big players, (There used to be five but Samsung have pulled out) Sony, Olympus, Panasonic and Fuji competing for the mirrorless 33% share of that interchangeable lens market, whereas the DSLR 66% share of the DSLR market is pretty much between Nikon and Canon.

    In addition Olympus have to compete with Sony’s voracious appetite for market domination and their tendency to over stock their camera range. Plus Sony have cannily waited until after the X Pro 2 and Pen-F to announce the a6000 successor, which I fully expect to ‘out-spec’ this Olympus by some distance.

    So, Olympus have yet another overpriced ‘show pony’ on sale and seem unable to grasp the concept that people choose cameras with their wallets, not their aesthetic sensibility. We have (yet again) style over content and in essence a small upgrade over what have Olympus have produced before. If the Pen-F had all those missing items, 4K Video, better performing battery and mic / headphone sockets etc. AND was significantly cheaper, then it would have been a whole different ball game and a whole different reaction, because from what I’ve seen even the Olympus faithful are a bit luke warm about the Pen-F.

    And it’s a shame that Olympus just don’t seem to be interested in offering better options and pricing their cameras (and lenses) sensibly, because they are just handing sales to their opposition. This is not a camera for everyday snapshooters, it’s a camera aimed fairly and squarely at the high end of the market and that’s populated by a lot of alternatives that offer better for cheaper.

    I also note the tone of your article. I don’t pick up any ‘WOW must have this’ impression and the other reviews I’ve read seem to follow the ‘Looks great, shame about the price’ pattern. I used to eagerly snap up every new Pen release, but after a while I realised that I was buying them for looks alone and the Pen-F is the same. If I did buy one (and I probably won’t) it will be because of whats on the outside and not what’s on the inside. And is that a good reason to buy a camera?

  • Mathieu

    The E-M5 II is almost identical in every way, except for the sensor (but I don’t expect a huge difference with IQ).

  • Mathieu

    Yes Focus bracketing is an attractive feature for macro photographers :)

    I really like the design of the new Pen F. I don’t think that its specs will surpass the other camera models but I’ll wait for the final review to confirm that.

  • Stephan

    Hmm quite a high price for not a whole lot of new tech… I think I’d still o for the em5ii instead…

  • Henrik Fessler

    Nikon has its Df and now Oly takes away one letter and issues the retro Model F (possibly taking away one letter attributes to the fact that it’s a mirrorless Camera containing less -mechanical- stuff inside).

    Design wise it really looks cool to me and provides a new design style compared to the OM-Ds.

    It will be interesting to see whether the technical specs will be that much better than the existing camera models. Speaking of capabilities: Thinking that i could entirely switch to Sony I didn’t keep the MFT system … only for a while. I am now hauled back into MFT as an additional system, “thanks” to the Focus bracketing feature for macros :-)

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