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