New PEN-F Owner

jameskuzman

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Jim Kuzman
Hello, everyone -

New PEN-F owner here trying to wrap my head around a very flexible little camera, specifically the Color and Monochrome options available via the Creative Dial.

As far as I can tell, setting that dial to Color allows you to choose from and/or customize three color profiles - Color Profile 1, 2, and 3. So far, the only way I have figured out to switch between those three profiles is by using the Super Control Panel which is a 5-step process: 1) Push OK 2) Navigate to the Color Profile portion of the SCP 3) Push OK to select 4) Navigate to the profile you want 5) Push OK.

Surely there must be a faster way to bring up the Color Profiles, but I don't see it available as a shortcut that I can program to a button, for instance.

Am I missing something?

Thanks in advance,

Jim
 

LilSebastian

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I mean, you are not wrong. That is the process, but I can do it in about 10 seconds so that seems pretty reasonable to me. You should also explore the C1-C4 on the mode dial. I use them to have core settings for indoor low light (min shutter speed 1/60, mechanical shutter etc), outdoor and burst modes. That makes for fast changes. If you think you need ultra fast changes to a Color or Monochrome profile that is an option to set in C1-C4 as well. The camera is so customizable, you should be able to dial in to your needs.
 

jameskuzman

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I mean, you are not wrong. That is the process, but I can do it in about 10 seconds so that seems pretty reasonable to me. You should also explore the C1-C4 on the mode dial. I use them to have core settings for indoor low light (min shutter speed 1/60, mechanical shutter etc), outdoor and burst modes. That makes for fast changes. If you think you need ultra fast changes to a Color or Monochrome profile that is an option to set in C1-C4 as well. The camera is so customizable, you should be able to dial in to your needs.

Excellent. Good to know I'm not missing anything at least! And you're right, it's not a complicated process, but I shoot using the EVF 99% of the time with the LCD closed, and the buttons on the back are not the easiest to use while looking through the viewfinder. Perhaps it's just a matter of getting comfortable with where things are and building muscle memory.

I like the idea of using the C1-C4 positions as well; I hadn't thought of that. Do you happen to know if they "follow" the Creative Dial dial? That is to say, if you have the dial set to "Monochrome" do you get four unique C1-C4 settings, and four more again if you switch to "Color"? Hope that made sense, and again, thank you.

Jim
 
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Hi Jim and congrats to your new camera! I hope it'll bring you many years of photographic joy as it brought me. To your questions:

I also shoot my Pen-F(s) with the rear LCD closed pretty much all the time since about a year, hence I'm also using the EVF for many things like menu changes and of course the SCP. It simply takes a while for the muscle memory to kick in, the first months weren't great, today I don't even have to think about where the buttons are. The only one which I sometimes keep mistapping is the magnifying button with the menu button. Unfortunately no, there is no other way to change through the Profiles, unless using C-Modes as mentioned by LilSebestian.

Which brings me to your next question:
Using C-Modes you can actually extend the number of available profiles, both Color and Monochrome by 12 slots for each of them. Hence every C-Mode can have each Profile slot programmed individually. For example on my cameras, C1 and C2 are purely for different Color Profiles, I programmed a total of six different Profiles and saved them, as for Monochrome I also changed a Profile for both C-Modes. I have a small note on my phone which helps me keep track which C-Mode has which Color Profiles dialed in. For example C2 has three Kodak profiles created by BushmanOrig dialed in.

When saving a C-Mode, the camera remembers which Profile was selected and makes it the default setting when freshly changed to the C-Mode. Let's say you have C2 saved with Color2 and Mono3, if you now switch from another Mode to C2, it'll also switch to these Profiles automatically, that's the only way to change profiles very quickly. For instance you can save C1 with Mono1, C2 with Mono2 and C3 with Mono3 and switch between them using the Mode Dial.

The many C-Modes are a pretty powerful and almost unique feature of the Pen-F in terms to quickly get your camera setup for specific situations, only the E-M1X and the E-M1 Mark III are offering the same amount of C-Modes. C-Modes save almost everything, from the size of your AF point(s), to drive modes, all the way to white balance offsets or (I think) even different EVF settings.


Edit:
Another quick tip in this regard: You can actually save the current camera setup on your computer using Olympus Workspace, which can be a blessing if you fiddle around with any settings and screw something up by accident.
 
Last edited:

cedge

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Am I missing something, surely you just turn the front dial to 'colour' and that will immediately load the last used colour profile, then you can quickly select 1, 2 or 3 in the SCP? I do the same but for the mono profiles. Once you tweak the profiles to how you like you can then assign them to C1-4 so that they are saved to that assignment before you turn the camera off which will reset the settings if you haven't assigned them to C1-4?
 
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Am I missing something, surely you just turn the front dial to 'colour' and that will immediately load the last used colour profile, then you can quickly select 1, 2 or 3 in the SCP? I do the same but for the mono profiles. Once you tweak the profiles to how you like you can then assign them to C1-4 so that they are saved to that assignment before you turn the camera off which will reset the settings if you haven't assigned them to C1-4?
Yes, that is how it works, but the OP asked for a faster method without accessing the SCP to change profiles. Any changes made to the profiles, be it Mono or Color, in PASM will also be changed after powering the camera off. Using C1-C4 simply allows you to use additional profiles, since PASM share profiles 1-3, while those profiles can work fully independent for each C-Mode. As with everything regarding these Custom Modes, any change to it has to be saved, otherwise it's lost once you select a different mode or turn off the camera.
 

jameskuzman

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Hi Jim and congrats to your new camera! I hope it'll bring you many years of photographic joy as it brought me. To your questions:

I also shoot my Pen-F(s) with the rear LCD closed pretty much all the time since about a year, hence I'm also using the EVF for many things like menu changes and of course the SCP. It simply takes a while for the muscle memory to kick in, the first months weren't great, today I don't even have to think about where the buttons are. The only one which I sometimes keep mistapping is the magnifying button with the menu button. Unfortunately no, there is no other way to change through the Profiles, unless using C-Modes as mentioned by LilSebestian.

Which brings me to your next question:
Using C-Modes you can actually extend the number of available profiles, both Color and Monochrome by 12 slots for each of them. Hence every C-Mode can have each Profile slot programmed individually. For example on my cameras, C1 and C2 are purely for different Color Profiles, I programmed a total of six different Profiles and saved them, as for Monochrome I also changed a Profile for both C-Modes. I have a small note on my phone which helps me keep track which C-Mode has which Color Profiles dialed in. For example C2 has three Kodak profiles created by BushmanOrig dialed in.

When saving a C-Mode, the camera remembers which Profile was selected and makes it the default setting when freshly changed to the C-Mode. Let's say you have C2 saved with Color2 and Mono3, if you now switch from another Mode to C2, it'll also switch to these Profiles automatically, that's the only way to change profiles very quickly. For instance you can save C1 with Mono1, C2 with Mono2 and C3 with Mono3 and switch between them using the Mode Dial.

The many C-Modes are a pretty powerful and almost unique feature of the Pen-F in terms to quickly get your camera setup for specific situations, only the E-M1X and the E-M1 Mark III are offering the same amount of C-Modes. C-Modes save almost everything, from the size of your AF point(s), to drive modes, all the way to white balance offsets or (I think) even different EVF settings.


Edit:
Another quick tip in this regard: You can actually save the current camera setup on your computer using Olympus Workspace, which can be a blessing if you fiddle around with any settings and screw something up by accident.

Thank you SO much for this clear and thorough reply.

I haven't yet explored C1 - C4 but it's good to know that I can set each up with a different set of color and monochrome profiles. If I'm understanding things correctly, that means I can, for instance, leave the various Colore Profiles to their factory default settings when using P, A, S, or M, and keep one or more of the C1 - C4 positions for custom profiles and experimentation.

As I always say, with flexibility comes complexity, and the PEN-F is certainly a good example of that. I bought it with the specific intention of making the most of its in-camera JPG possibilities though, and I'm committed to learning all I can and making it work for me.

Your explanation helped tremendously.

Jim
 

jameskuzman

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Yes, that is how it works, but the OP asked for a faster method without accessing the SCP to change profiles.

Correct. I was kind of hoping I could program a shortcut to the Color Profiles to one of the Function buttons, but I'm not disappointed that I can't; I just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing that ability somewhere.

Between building some familiarity with the buttons and using the C1 - C4 positions, I'm sure I can come up with a comfortable workflow here.

Jim
 
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Thank you SO much for this clear and thorough reply.

I haven't yet explored C1 - C4 but it's good to know that I can set each up with a different set of color and monochrome profiles. If I'm understanding things correctly, that means I can, for instance, leave the various Colore Profiles to their factory default settings when using P, A, S, or M, and keep one or more of the C1 - C4 positions for custom profiles and experimentation.

As I always say, with flexibility comes complexity, and the PEN-F is certainly a good example of that. I bought it with the specific intention of making the most of its in-camera JPG possibilities though, and I'm committed to learning all I can and making it work for me.
You're welcome!

That's how I am using my Pen-F and the modes as well: PASM is staying at standard settings for both Color and Mono Profiles, the only Mono Profile I've changed was Mono3, because the high level red filter applied leads to very noisy blue skies, unfortunately an issue with the jpeg processing. So Mono3 is now a copy of Mono2 but with less dramatic contrast applied.
My C1 and C2 are essentially a copy of the Aperture-Priority mode just with different Color Profiles programmed. C3 and C4 are used for quick access to burst shots and larger AF area.

The Pen-F, despite the rather compact size, is quite complex. Negative comments regarding this camera aside, in terms of functionality it is essentially an E-M5 Mark II with added jpeg features. The E-M5 Mark II on the other hand was pretty much a bit more capable than even the original E-M1, minus the PDAF functionality. The camera is limited by my skills and knowledge still, not the other way around...all quirks aside.

-Phill
 

jameskuzman

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The camera is limited by my skills and knowledge still, not the other way around...all quirks aside.

This is true of every one of my cameras. I can think of only two times since I first embraced digital cameras back in 2004 that my technical or artistic skills have outpaced my gear. Otherwise, I'm the weak link! :)

Jim
 

cedge

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Yes, that is how it works, but the OP asked for a faster method without accessing the SCP to change profiles. Any changes made to the profiles, be it Mono or Color, in PASM will also be changed after powering the camera off. Using C1-C4 simply allows you to use additional profiles, since PASM share profiles 1-3, while those profiles can work fully independent for each C-Mode. As with everything regarding these Custom Modes, any change to it has to be saved, otherwise it's lost once you select a different mode or turn off the camera.

I've just done this for my profiles, updated Mono 1 and 3 (left 2 as it is), and added the Kodachrome 25/64 and Portra 160VC simulations to Colour 1, 2 and 3 and then turned on bracketing so that one shot will fire off all these profiles; this is then assigned to C3. Even though its nice to see the effects, I still generally use software to achieve the monochrome/colour look that I want. I currently use the free (2012) version of the NIK collection but have been experimenting with DXO's filmstocks recently which is nice as its better integrated into DXO PhotoLab despite not being as powerful as NIK.
 
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Sure, using dedicated processing software enables more possibilities and much greater control over the final image. I also bought DXO's Filmpack when it was on sale last Black Friday and really like it, especially since PhotoLab is pretty much my go to processing software. However I still like the simple idea of just using a (good) sooc jpeg when it is pleasing enough, in addition I often find I tend to over process images once I got PhotoLabs open.
 

jameskuzman

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Sure, using dedicated processing software enables more possibilities and much greater control over the final image. I also bought DXO's Filmpack when it was on sale last Black Friday and really like it, especially since PhotoLab is pretty much my go to processing software. However I still like the simple idea of just using a (good) sooc jpeg when it is pleasing enough, in addition I often find I tend to over process images once I got PhotoLabs open.

I have gone back and forth on post-processing over the years, and I 100% understand the power and flexibility of shooting RAW (or even doing some light editing on a JPG). You just can't beat it to really fine-tune an image or to get creative after the fact.

I'm not in any way disparaging those who enjoy that process. I have many photog friends who create stunning images this way and end up with pictures that you simply can't get with an OOC JPG. But for me, my work as a technical writer tethers me to the computer screen for most of the workday, and so post-processing just isn't something I enjoy.

I've been really concentrating these past couple of years on getting the JPG settings on my Fujifilm cameras set up as I like and thinking in a more film-like way when I push the shutter button in an effort to get things exactly as I want at the time of capture.

Of course, this works better for situations where you have the luxury of time and cooperative subjects. I still shoot RAW+JPG for those times when the OOC JPGs just won't do, especially since the Fuji JPGs - while beautiful - are some of the least workable files I've encountered.

This philosophy is one of the reasons I opted to buy the PEN-F. Clearly it's no slouch in a workflow that includes post-processing, but it was its "JPG friendly" personality (and it's style and build quality, I won't lie) that won me over.

Jim
 

cedge

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I'd absolutely love to just rely on the Pen-F's mono profiles to produce SOOC images reducing the time spent on the computer but I find that computer software can extract so much more detail and achieve a much better look in most instances. Is Fuji's film simulations (e.g. ACROS) better than the Pen-F's renderings? Perhaps if the Pen-F had a built in colour mixer you could fine tune the mono profiles much better. I know that Oly's Workspace allows you to do this in post but I just can't work with that software, its just so slow at showing you any changes.
 

jameskuzman

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Is Fuji's film simulations (e.g. ACROS) better than the Pen-F's renderings?

Ah, that is the question :) I'm going to start my own experiments this weekend, and if the topic hasn't been discussed recently in this forum, I may start a thread with some pictures.

I really enjoy the Acros simulation. It has some unique subtleties that are absent from images made with the standard Fuji monochrome profile, and they've somehow managed to make the "grain" pretty random and organic-looking.

I was first exposed to the Olympus Monochrome 2 profile a couple of years ago on a street photography workshop in San Francisco and was blown away by the contrast and the unique look of the JPGs. It was certainly one of the draws for me to Olympus, along with their very natural-looking but still vivid colors.

Choosing the PEN-F over an OM-D body of some flavor was all about its size, construction, and beauty. I could have gotten an E-M1 Mark II for the same price which is a lot more camera in most ways, but my "big" camera is a Fuji X-H1 so there would have been a lot of overlap between it and the E-M1, plus I already have a nice selection of Fuji glass and am pretty invested in the system.

Jim
 
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Hello, everyone -

New PEN-F owner here trying to wrap my head around a very flexible little camera, specifically the Color and Monochrome options available via the Creative Dial.

Congrats on your new PEN-F! It is a great little camera that produces excellent JPGs and RAW files. I'm kind of addicted to the Mono 2 profile with grain set to low.

As far as I can tell, setting that dial to Color allows you to choose from and/or customize three color profiles - Color Profile 1, 2, and 3. So far, the only way I have figured out to switch between those three profiles is by using the Super Control Panel which is a 5-step process: 1) Push OK 2) Navigate to the Color Profile portion of the SCP 3) Push OK to select 4) Navigate to the profile you want 5) Push OK.

Surely there must be a faster way to bring up the Color Profiles, but I don't see it available as a shortcut that I can program to a button, for instance.

Am I missing something?

I think your are.

You can skip some steps when changing the color profile. I do it this way:

1) Push OK
2) Hit the Color Profile with your finger on the touch screen
3) Turn the front dial until the desired profile is selected

Start shooting!

Have fun with your PEN-F :)
 

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