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My First Impression - PEN-F

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by gryphon1911, Mar 2, 2016.

  1. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Andrew
    Yes, I know...call me what you will...hypocrite, lucky, stupid, smart....whatever....I have an Olympus PEN-F in my possession.

    Long story short, some gear trades ended me here.

    Got a call yesterday from my local camera shop. PEN-F was in. Silver model.

    Made my way down to the store today on my lunch hour.

    Most of the guys that I talked to that handled the demo were impressed with it. They are mostly Sony and Fuji users in the mirrorless sector, but found the PEN-F intriguing.

    I've only had the thing in my hands for the last 30 minutes, so I'll just address what I can for now and get into more details later.

    Front Dial:
    I've heard from others on the internet that the front dial is sharp and cut into their hands. I'm a big guy with large hands and my fingers do not even come close to the front dial. Like the Nikon Df, the PEN-F needs to be held with a slightly different grip. I'm not going to hold it like an EM1 or a D700.
    Yes, the edges of the front dial have some bite to them, but nothing I would consider "sharp". However, that is a subjective matter and each person should decide that for themselves with a hands on.

    Grip (or lack there of):
    The thumb indent on the back seems adequate for me. The front is of a grippy like material. I had no issues holding the camera one handed. It will most likely be an issue with the larger lenses like the PRO lenses or the 75-300/4.8-6.7 II.

    My primary intention of using this camera is going to be with primes, so I don't consider that much of an issue.

    "Rangefinder-esque" Styling:
    I've never been one to prefer an "OVF hump" or side set EVF. I just require there to BE an EVF. For those that like built in EVF, this one does not disappoint.

    LCD Rear Screen AF Point Selection:
    One of the things that I envied of some of the Panasonic bodies was having the EVF be used as a way to select the AF point while looking through the EVF. We have that now and it makes for quick selection. After getting used to it, I can see where this would be great for quick changes while doing street photography.

    That's about all I had time to get to at the moment, and did not have a lens in which to test it outside the camera store.

    Aesthetically it is pleasing and I look forward to getting to know it better.

    More updates to this thread as I am able. I've got a 4 day sunrise to sunset event to shoot starting tomorrow, so it could be a few days before I have anything to report.
     
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  2. Robstar1963

    Robstar1963 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    895
    Jun 10, 2011
    Isle of Wight England UK
    Robert (Rob)
    Great
    Looking forward to further updates
    Regards
    Rob
     
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  3. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Don
    Congrats. Looking forward to seeing what you do with the camera!
     
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  4. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Andrew
    I do too...lol.

    I have a 4 day, all day event starting tomorrow and I feel I will not get any time with this camera until Monday at the earliest!
     
  5. rezatravilla

    rezatravilla Mu-43 Top Veteran

    529
    Aug 7, 2013
    Indonesia
    Reza Travilla
    In Indonesia, Pen-F launch on april 2016 :( can't wait to try it but need to wait for another 1 month
     
  6. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Andrew
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  7. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Andrew
    Quick update. I just got back from my 4 day event and images/video are downloading.

    EM1 and PENF for stills and the EM5 Mk II for video.

    I've about 2000 images and around 40 video clips to wrestle with.

    Still shooting performance wise, the PENF seems as capable as the EM5 Mk II, but with the added bonus of the mono/color mode. As some have predicted, the Mono2 is a dandy of a setting for me. I was tinkering with it before hand and I think I accidentally set the film grain setting to high, as you'll see what effect that has on images in the samples above.

    Further experiments with that mode will be shared once I can get into them.
    I suspect that in the future, +-6 on the tone curve in mode 2 might be too aggressive, even for me. I think I'll be more happy in the +-3 or 4 area and perhaps pop a little of the mid tones as well.

    The power switch was a lot nicer to deal with than I thought. Easy to flick on with the left hand, just slightly beating out the EM1/EM5Mk II power lever.

    I had the Oly 17/1.8 on the PENF for the whole weekend.
     
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  8. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Andrew
    Sorry to hear that. I really think you'll like it though so hopefully the wait will be worth it.
     
  9. ean10775

    ean10775 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 31, 2011
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Eric
    Thanks for the insight on the Monotone settings. I really like the idea of being able to customize the look of the JPEGs so easily in camera, but I have to admit that, while I certainly appear to be in the vast minority, I really don't care for the Mono 2 setting. To my eye, it doesn't look like Tri-X (though so many have said it does) - its too contrasty and the grain really overpowers the image. Even Neopan 1600 seems to be less contrasty and has less grain. I like that there's a way to dial it back. I wish I was able to add a little grain in camera to my Fuji X100T images at times.
     
  10. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    To my eye it does remind me of Tri-x that's been mistreated and shot at 1600 or worse... I prefer 1000 so there's slightly more than a vague suggestion of shadow detail. It's also got far more grain (Tri-X in diafine is really better than it has any right to be).
     
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  11. agray88

    agray88 Mu-43 Regular

    30
    Mar 3, 2016
    Richmond, VA USA
    Adam
    It's like you're reading my mind. After messing with mono 2 profile, I have it at highlights +4, shadows, -3 and +1 mid tones and low grain. I like it quite a bit. I lose too much detail otherwise, IMO. Here's one with current setting. My backyard Friday morning taken with PEN-f and 12-40/2.8 at 26mm f2.8.
    P3040031b.
     
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  12. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Andrew
    That's looking good!
     
  13. Johnny The Greek

    Johnny The Greek Mu-43 Regular

    117
    Aug 19, 2015
    Finally had the chance to lay my hands on one last weekend, and I honestly didn't care for it. The front dial was negligible to me, but the dials seemed less tactile than those on my e-m10, and the lack of an external grip really felt unnatural on it, as opposed to very natural on my existing PEN, which is considerably smaller. Construction looked and felt top-notch, however.

    I feel if there's a need to put a grip on a PEN, than the point of taking a smaller camera along is completely defeated IMO.
     
  14. tonyturley

    tonyturley Mu-43 Veteran

    371
    Nov 19, 2014
    I rented one for the weekend, and took it on a long hike yesterday. The weight and balance were nice, and the construction seems top notch. I found nothing particularly objectionable about the camera. The screen came in handy a few times for low angle tripod shots, but I still prefer the E-M5/1 style. I tried various bold mono shots. They were OK, but my wife didn't like them. Color only for her. I tried a 2 second handheld shot, and it surprisingly turned out decent. I didn't do any menu diving, and really only scratched the surface of the camera's capabilities. I won't be buying one, but those that do will get a nice camera.

    TT
     
  15. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Don
    If I felt the need to put a grip on a PEN, the little Franiac finger shelf would be the perfect solution with virtually no penalty to size or weight. If Richard makes one for the PEN-F, that would be picture perfect! :thumbsup:
     
  16. rezatravilla

    rezatravilla Mu-43 Top Veteran

    529
    Aug 7, 2013
    Indonesia
    Reza Travilla
    I think i will ;) especially the silver one.
     
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  17. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    I am curious to hold one. Some grip-less cameras work fine for me because I tend to cradle then, even if it's just in my right hand with a wrist strap. OTOH, the Canon M didn't work for me so this obviously changes camera to camera.
     
  18. magicaxeman

    magicaxeman Mu-43 Regular

    76
    Feb 27, 2016
    Essex UK
    Ian
    I have terrible problems gripping anything let alone a camera but found it very easy to grip and even hold with one hand, the only reason I bought the grip was for its built in arca swiss plate for tripod mounting.

    I love the camera myself, the only downside so far is for some reason mine won't work with the Olympus capture software
     
  19. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Andrew
    Me today on a road trip.
    04-24-2016_PENF_CC_P4240010.
     
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  20. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Don
    Now, with more time and use of the Pen-F, I'm finding that I can hold it reasonably well without an add-on grip appliance. This is largely due to the very good curved thumb grip area on the back of the camera.

    That said, if Richard produces a Franiac finger-grip for the Pen-F, I will buy one immediately. The Franiac finger grip has made my GM5 and E-PL5 into much more comfortably gripped cameras.

    I'm not interested in a large, heavy, costly plate-style grip adaptor for this camera.