It’s been just over six months since I got rid of my dSLR and went mirrorless with the Olympus Pen-F so I figured it was time to review.

My main reason for changing was the bulk and weight of the Canon (with the Sigma lens) I had which, due in part to how I carried the camera, was actually causing physical pain – even when I wasn’t holding it.  It seemed to me that mirrorless was good enough for my use being as I am not a professional photographer.  Not that I am saying mirrorless isn’t suitable for professionals too, I have seen many articles saying it is but just stating my level of requirements.

Usability

The Pen-F functions very well as a camera.  The controls come easy to hand and I can make all the adjustments without taking my eye from the viewfinder.  The electronic viewfinder is very responsive, I never notice any lag and it allows me to see the images I just took still without me taking my eye away ( I rarely look at the LCD screen on the back when I am shooting).

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I can’t say that I make much use of the art modes mainly because I use RAW and they only work with JPEG.  I have used the mono mode which was interesting and worked well for me.

Being that we had an unusually wet winter here in California this year I was wary of taking it out in the rain as it doesn’t have weather protection.  I may have been overreacting though and have not seen any issues.

It’s size is a major advantage to me meaning it goes with me pretty much everywhere I go. It’s easy to sling it over my shoulder and not find it an annoying burden.  It’s also small enough to fit into a little shoulder bag.

It is easy to hold sitting comfortably in my right hand leaving my left free to add support or adjust focus etc (if I’m using a manual lens).

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Quality

Picture quality in my opinion is very very good and certainly no worse than my SLR.  I am very happy with the pictures I am getting and have not been disappointed with it’s performance at all; the operator’s performance however may not be as good.

File format

The ORF file format for the RAW files is not recognised by Windows and that can be a little annoying when I am trying to file the photos before importing them into Lightroom. Once in lightroom it’s not an issue.

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Lenses

Micro four thirds (MFT) lenses are much cheaper than your regular SLR size lenses yet I have resisted going wild on tech accumulation here.  The kit lens is okay and has a good zoom range.  One thing I was  interested in with MFT was the ability to use vintage lenses from old rangefinders etc.  I have done this and have a lovely couple of lenses a 50mm Jupiter and a 38mm Olympus (from an original Pen-F).  The only problem is that the effective focal length doubles so 38mm becomes 76 and 50mm becomes 100.  Finding something wider has been a struggle.  I tried an old Russian Industar 28mm but couldn’t get good focus.  I ended up getting a modern Olympus M Zuiko 17mm f 2.8 so that gives me all the options I need for now.

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If I had money to burn I might think about upgrading the kit zoom lens but for now it good enough

My favourite is the 38mm F.Zuiko 1;1.8, it has a nice feel and the focal length works for a lot of situations.  It also looks great on the camera with its original F lens cap.

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Conclusion

I am very happy with my choice the camera works very well and I have not struggled to get the images I want.  It does exactly what I want from a camera and has all the feature I need.  I get many comments on the camera when I am out and about some people asking whether it’s a vintage camera but all complimentary.

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It feels good in my hands and makes me want to use it and that is perfect for me.  I would definitely recommend the Pen-F..  As with any purchase make sure you know what you need/want and decide based on the features necessary.  I considered a few before deciding and do not regret it at all.

I see this as my only digital camera going forward, it has everything I need and I can’t see me upgrading for any good reason.  With this as my digital (plus the little Sony QX10 for the right situation) and a range of film cameras to complement it I think I am all set.

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P.S. If you are interested in my decision process see these posts;

Part-1

Part-2

Part-3

Part-4

Part-5 and 5.5

Part-6

Lastly

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