OM-D vs PEN

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I'm a bit of a numpty and am trying to get my head around how the Pen-F has such "great IQ". I've been mighty impressed by lots of the images in the various Pen-F forums (especially the black & white shots) but surely it all depends more on the lens being used?
How would I get true comparison for instance, between a Pen-F, M5 mkII and M10 mkIII all using the same lens?
Ta.

I don't have a great answer better than trying it out for yourself. Next best thing is to look at some review sites, etc.

IMO, the "great IQ" of the Pen-F is the same basic "great IQ" as we call it of the EM5-mkii and EM1-mkii. Even the mkiii's I would suggest. Hard to tell the difference in actual photos.
Technically, some are a little better but the key word is "little".

The difference I was pointing out above was ease of use, controls, and features.

A good example is the Olympus EPM-2. This camera had the new (at the time) 16MP Sony sensor and Image Quality was great. Probably hard to tell the difference from the current cameras. The interface, however, was difficult to use and control.
 

gary0319

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I'm a bit of a numpty and am trying to get my head around how the Pen-F has such "great IQ". I've been mighty impressed by lots of the images in the various Pen-F forums (especially the black & white shots) but surely it all depends more on the lens being used?
How would I get true comparison for instance, between a Pen-F, M5 mkII and M10 mkIII all using the same lens?
Ta.
You may not be able to do a 1 to 1 camparison between those camera bodies, even with the same lens. The Pen F has some special image profiles for black and white that the others do not have and that may be the reason you are seeing those interesting Pen F monochrome images. I have tried to duplicate the Pen F Mono Profile 2 results in Post Processing with raws from other Olympus bodies and have given up.
Here's one I have posted many times and I have not been able to match it in Post Processing... Pen F Mono Profile 2, highlights/shadows +4/-4, Film Grain off.

Final image (1 of 1).jpg
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Like many that have already commented, I own both a PEN-F and an OMD EM1.II. I wholeheartedly agree with some of the comments about pairing it with the 17mm F1.8. This is a magical combination for me - there is just something special about the images that it produces.

I also like the fact that on the street, people don't really pay attention to it like they do if I have the OMD with a Pro lens on it, so I can get much more candid shots.
 

Mack

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I think someone said the Pen-F will render a darker blue sky in monochrome using its red filter setting than a E-M1, 5, or 10 version will using same red filter setting.

I haven't tested that theory yet, but I wasn't impressed with the red filter and B&W mode shooting the sky in the E-M1 Mark II as it seemed rather weak on darkening.
 

AaronE

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Here are two photos of the Pen-f with Olympus grip and Olympus 25mm f1.8 lens.
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ArizonaMike

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There seems to be a lot of love for the PEN-F, and that has to mean something.

To answer some questions - I don't generally go out in the rain to take photos so I am not really concerned about water resistance but I live in southern Arizona and there is always sand in the air. When I was shooting with my (now sold) Canon gear one of the lenses that I used was the Canon 100-400 which is a push-pull lens, what I had heard referred to as a "dust pump". When I send it in for trade on new Olympus equipment the guy at Adorama told me it was full of sand and they were not interested. Instead I took it to the local camera store and they gave me full used price for it since (apart from the sand, I guess) it was in perfect shape, and sand here is common so it did not raise any eyebrows.

The point is that there is sand everywhere here and I guess that is something I should consider. How well sealed is the PEN-F?

It is a very good looking camera and I am sure it turns heads but I really don't much care about that. I assume I would use it as a walk-around camera given how light it is and would generally have either the 12-40 or 12-50 lens mounted on it. The 12-50 doesn't get much love but I think it is a great compromise between a very light lens, a decent set of focal lengths and a macro lens and it has been my go to lens ever since I got it. It doesn't do the tricks of the 12-40 but then I do any focus stacking or HDR editing on my computer, not in the camera. In fact I have always considered the computer work almost as much fun as taking the photos.

I also have the 14-42 pancake lens which I bought when I first bought the M1.2 and it looks as though the PEN-F with the pancake lens can pass for a pocket camera. I have not used that lens since the first couple of weeks I had the M1.2 and was experimenting but it might come in handy if I ever want to put the camera in my pocket. I guess it is not much of a lens but then it did not cost much either.

All of the positive comments on the PEN-F have really made me decide that it is what I should be looking at. It would not serve me well as a birding camera since it only has limited AF ability but I don't really need it for that. I would still keep and use my M1.2 for that. Next I need to find someplace where the PEN-F might be available as a used camera, just to see what those prices might be.

Thanks for all the help and any more comments would be greatly appreciated. I have never regretted my change from Canon to Olympus and I expect that the PEN-F is as good in its own right as the M1.2.
 

algold

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A lot has beed said already.
I have em1ii, em5 ii and recently added a Pen-F.
E-M1 ii is the best, but image quality is pretty much the same between these three bodies.
Without a doubt Pen-F is the most fun to shoot with. And the colour profile wheel is great, especially in B&W.
If you come across a Pen-F in good condition for a good price - just grab it. E-M5 ii is a great little camera as well, but Pen-F is a lot more fun.
 

djtaylor7

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The other PEN which you could put consider is the E-P5, which has electronic shutter, front and rear dials, and 1/8000 shutter speed. Also a built-in flash, but no EVF (there is the clip on external VF-4). Much smaller and useful especially when you want to carry a camera which doesn't look professional.
 

gary0319

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I think someone said the Pen-F will render a darker blue sky in monochrome using its red filter setting than a E-M1, 5, or 10 version will using same red filter setting.

I haven't tested that theory yet, but I wasn't impressed with the red filter and B&W mode shooting the sky in the E-M1 Mark II as it seemed rather weak on darkening.
On the Mono Profile setting, the Pen F has 8 different color filters, with 3 intensities for each filter. I am not sure how that compares to the intensity of red filter in the E-M1 II.
 

ArizonaMike

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You may not be able to do a 1 to 1 camparison between those camera bodies, even with the same lens. The Pen F has some special image profiles for black and white that the others do not have and that may be the reason you are seeing those interesting Pen F monochrome images. I have tried to duplicate the Pen F Mono Profile 2 results in Post Processing with raws from other Olympus bodies and have given up.
Here's one I have posted many times and I have not been able to match it in Post Processing... Pen F Mono Profile 2, highlights/shadows +4/-4, Film Grain off.

View attachment 804159
I have never been much of a B&W shooter since I started using color film back in the Stone Age but some of the photos posted here, including this one, make me wonder if I have been making a serious mistake. These B&W photos are just stunning and I had forgotten that it was possible to take such interesting photos without color.

I need to rethink a lot of the photos I have been taking. I do a lot of desert landscapes, given where I live, and it seems like they would be perfect for B&W.

Thank you, everyone, for reminding me what great photos can be taken without color.
 

algold

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I have never been much of a B&W shooter since I started using color film back in the Stone Age but some of the photos posted here, including this one, make me wonder if I have been making a serious mistake. These B&W photos are just stunning and I had forgotten that it was possible to take such interesting photos without color.

I need to rethink a lot of the photos I have been taking. I do a lot of desert landscapes, given where I live, and it seems like they would be perfect for B&W.

Thank you, everyone, for reminding me what great photos can be taken without color.
The additional bonus of this colour wheel on Pen-F - you see more or less the final B&W picture in the viewfinder and can adjust the curve and filters in real time and not as an afterthought during P&P. And shoot Jpeg+RAW for piece of mind. Oly Workspace can read the Jpeg profile and set it as a starting point for raw conversion.
 

gary0319

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I have never been much of a B&W shooter since I started using color film back in the Stone Age but some of the photos posted here, including this one, make me wonder if I have been making a serious mistake. These B&W photos are just stunning and I had forgotten that it was possible to take such interesting photos without color.

I need to rethink a lot of the photos I have been taking. I do a lot of desert landscapes, given where I live, and it seems like they would be perfect for B&W.

Thank you, everyone, for reminding me what great photos can be taken without color.
I think desert landscapes can be stunning in B & W, especially in the early morning or late in the day when the long shadows accent the shapes and textures.
 

Matt Drown

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There seems to be a lot of love for the PEN-F, and that has to mean something.

...

All of the positive comments on the PEN-F have really made me decide that it is what I should be looking at. It would not serve me well as a birding camera since it only has limited AF ability but I don't really need it for that. I would still keep and use my M1.2 for that. Next I need to find someplace where the PEN-F might be available as a used camera, just to see what those prices might be.

Thanks for all the help and any more comments would be greatly appreciated. I have never regretted my change from Canon to Olympus and I expect that the PEN-F is as good in its own right as the M1.2.
Your welcome. :)

re: weather sealing, use the camera, it won't be an issue.
re: iq, I suspect some of the IQ comments on the PenFcome from people using the primes instead of the zooms.

It looks like you've figured out what you want in a second camera. It's a simple debate, a "backup", or "something different". Pen-F's show up on the used forum here often enough, and factory reconditions on getolympus every once in awhile. Looks like there's one at KEH.COM also https://www.keh.com/shop/olympus-pe...ody-black-20-3-m-p-without-fl-m3-flash-1.html. These guys are great resellers with an awesome reputation (and their grading system is very conservative).
 

Growltiger

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I have the E-M1 II but when hiking I take the Pen-F with the tiny Panasonic 12-32 lens. This makes it very portable.
Here is a panorama I made recently using it with that lens.
I took a number of vertical shots and combined them. All handheld, just rotating my body.
Do be sure to zoom right in so you can see the sharpness and detail. This works on a computer, tablet or phone.
Kilkenny panorama
 

ArizonaMike

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I have the E-M1 II but when hiking I take the Pen-F with the tiny Panasonic 12-32 lens. This makes it very portable.
Here is a panorama I made recently using it with that lens.
I took a number of vertical shots and combined them. All handheld, just rotating my body.
Do be sure to zoom right in so you can see the sharpness and detail. This works on a computer, tablet or phone.
Kilkenny panorama
Nice photo. I assume the stitching was done in post and not in the camera? And from raws or jpgs?
 

ArizonaMike

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Your welcome. :)

re: weather sealing, use the camera, it won't be an issue.
re: iq, I suspect some of the IQ comments on the PenFcome from people using the primes instead of the zooms.

It looks like you've figured out what you want in a second camera. It's a simple debate, a "backup", or "something different". Pen-F's show up on the used forum here often enough, and factory reconditions on getolympus every once in awhile. Looks like there's one at KEH.COM also https://www.keh.com/shop/olympus-pe...ody-black-20-3-m-p-without-fl-m3-flash-1.html. These guys are great resellers with an awesome reputation (and their grading system is very conservative).
I have pretty much made up my mind on the PEN-F. I did some looking around to see what might be available used and checked the places I have used before - Adorama and BHPhotoVideo. Used PEN-Fs must be somewhat rare because everything I saw listed was marked Out Of Stock and the only one I found anywhere as the one you linked to at KEH. I have not used them before but I have browsed their web page.

I feel a bit nervous about ordering a used camera from folks I have never used before and may wait until Monday to talk to them although I also know that the camera may well be gone by then.

I could not find any used PEN-Fs on the Buy & Sell pages here either.
 

ata3001

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Jan 26, 2019
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I have owned the M5i and M5ii as well as the E-P5 and Pen-F and now the M1ii.

The Pen-F has great IQ and plenty of features for sure. Great looking camera. I used the Half leather case for some extra grip mainly because mine was bought with one used. Not sure I needed it.

My issue was the user interface. After using the Olympus models noted above as well as several earlier pens, I found the Pen-F to be quirky and inconsistent. It frustrated me when I was in a hurry and forced me to work a little more than I would like to get it set just to where I wanted it. So much so that I sold it. Later buying another, I found the same basic issues. Hard to describe quantitatively, but I always felt it had some software bugs and needed some Olympus developer love and a major firmware update. It it different from the OMDs in some subtle ways.

I would have my eye on the newer lighter EM5-mkiii body which should complement your EM1-mkii very well for a lighter body and great (I would expect) controls.
Sorry to hear your Pen F has been quirky. I have done roughly 13k images on my Pen F without any issues. I did have the rubber thumb pad start to lift up due to, I think, putting more thumb pressure on it when using my O 12-40/2.8 Pro lens on it. Shooting theater with it is 3 hrs of holding it with the 12-40 & I've done 14 plays with it. The edge of it loosened up, so I just simply removed it. I could reattach it with the right glue. Two more plays to go & I'm retiring from shooting them. Been doing it for 7 yrs, but only 2 yrs with the Pen F. The camera has been awesome.
 
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