Olympus Pen F First Impressions

UPDATE My full Olympus Pen F Review is now here.


So I have now had chance to try out the Olympus Pen F and the OM-D E-M5 II briefly although I haven’t taken them out on any serious shoots yet.  Here are my first impressions.   The Olympus Pen F is small but surprisingly a little taller than the EM5 II. Size wise it feels similar (slightly smaller) to the Fuji X100T although the Olympus 17mm f/1.8 is a little larger than the X100T’s fixed lens.  It also feels a little heavier than the Fuji X100T and EM5 II. Build quality is superb. Both the Olympus Pen F and the OM-D E-M5 II make the Fuji cameras feel like toys.  The dials and buttons are way better than the Fuji cameras in terms of build quality, materials used and tactile feedback. image The Olympus Pen F feels very comfortable to hold, even without a grip attached.  It has a nice heft to it. I’m very impressed with this cameras build quality and feel. I don’t find the front dial to get in the way or feel uncomfortable when shooting like some people have reported. Features I spent over a day acquainting myself with this camera and setting it up how I felt best.  There are an incredible amount of customisation options which can feel a little overwhelming at first. The 20mp sensor seems to produce pretty much the same image quality as the older 16mp micro 4/3 sensor. I’ll have to do more serious tests but thats my initial impression. image High ISO performamce seems around the same as previous micro 4/3 cameras. No great leaps in image quality here by the looks of it. image The viewfinder is clear, bright and responsive.  The button layout is excellent and highly configurable as always with Olympus cameras. image The single shot auto focus is super fast. Easily as quick as the Nikon D7200. I haven’t tested tracking af yet. When comparing it to the Fuji X100T in any light it is no contest. The X100T is slow and ponderous in comparison. In low light the Pen F focuses confidently while the Fuji hunts back and forth. image I can take shots of my daughter almost instantly with both Olympus cameras while I miss the shot a lot of time with the X100T.  The camera feels more responsive and faster in use than the E-M5 II. There is hardly any delay when switching between functions, menus and importantly the rear screen and viewfinder.

Olympus Pen F Black and white modes

So far in my test shots I love the output of the new B&W Jpegs. I’ve toned down the contrast slightly from its original settings and the look that the files have are beautiful. What I also really like is the ability to add colour filters and vary the strength. In the shot below I added a blue filter to bring out the texture of the wood. Olympus Pen F Image example High resolution Mode We all know the limitations of the high res mode but under the right conditions it definitely produces a lot more detail and improves colour rendition too. I’ve got some samples of this that I’ll add to the full review once I’ve had more time with the camera. Overall the Pen F feels like a great camera and I’m excited to test it thoroughly.  Similar to the X100T, it makes you want to pick it up and shoot which is always a great quality for a camera to have.   Please help me build this website so that I can keep reviewing gear. This site takes a lot of time to keep going and I can only do it with your help. If you want to buy anything from Amazon etc then please use my buying links. It wont cost you anything but I do get a small commission from Amazon. Thank you from me and my family to all of you who help.

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