- Very well constructed body with tight tolerances and excellent fit and finish
- Controls are well laid out
- Very customizable interface
- Electronic viewfinder is very nice
- Fully articulated rear screen with responsive touch capabilities
- 20 megapixel sensor resolves excellent detail
- Very good dynamic range for the sensor size
- Good noise control: an improvement on the older 16 megapixel sensor
- Outstanding color response
- High resolution mode allows for exceptionally detailed 50 megapaixel JPEGs and 80 megapixel RAW files
- Excellent in-body image stabilization
- Great Wi-Fi capabilities
- Focus bracketing is great for macro shooters
- Compact size
- Very fast and accurate single shot autofocus
- Continuous AF is fairly good for CDAF
- TouchpadAF is very useful
- Grip is a bit cramped
- Dials aren’t as fluid as some other Olympus cameras
- No weathersealing
- Rear screen is difficult to pull out
- No PDAF limits usefulness of continuous autofocus compared to many other mirrorless cameras
- Two key controls are limited to adjusting JPEG output
The Pen-F is an interesting camera. It’s by far the best PEN camera Olympus has made, and it will satisfy almost any Micro 4/3 shooter with its very full feature set, very good image quality and compact size. It finally adds a corner EVF to the package, which is something that was lacking on the E-P5. It also gains many excellent features from recent OM-D cameras, such as the sensor shifting high resolution mode, focus bracketing and, of course, Olympus’ excellent in-body image stabilization. It’s a quality camera that is effectively an OM-D E-M5 Mark II in a smaller body and a smaller viewfinder. So, everyone should buy one, right?
Well, no. The biggest issue with the Pen-F is price. It’s priced at $1199 body only, a full $200 more than the E-M5 Mark II, but with almost no advantages over that camera. The only clear advantage is the slightly newer sensor. While that sensor is nice, it’s not a huge upgrade, and you also lose the bigger viewfinder, and perhaps most importantly, weather sealing. Paying $200 more for a camera with no sealing and a smaller EVF with only a minor sensor bump is a tall order. In fact, save for the High Resolution mode, a fully articulating screen and the new sensor, the Pen-F feature set is almost exactly the same as that of the E-M10 Mark II, which is HALF the price of the Pen-F. With these two options coming in at significantly lower prices, it’s very hard to justify the price on the Pen-F. The E-M10 II has better ergonomics as well.
If you’re in love with the look or the lack of a viewfinder hump, you’ll be pleased with the Pen-F. It’s an excellent camera, despite a few handling quirks. Olympus has done a good job with the camera, but I think your money is more wisely spent elsewhere.
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