Pen-F - my first week with it.....

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Since selling all my Nikon FF gear at the end of last year and reinvesting the proceeds in Olympus I have been very happy indeed. The EM1-2 with 12-100, 7-14 and a couple of pro primes are the nuts and bolts of my kit. However, I'm one of those who is really drawn to the Pen-F as a 2nd body for the following reasons:

1. I only shoot Raw normally and PP but I'm one of those who "gets" the Pen-F colour wheel and it's the only camera that makes me actually want to shoot Jpeg (although I've set mine to Jpeg SF plus Raw "just in case")
2. It's so sexy!
3. It's the ultimate street and "city break" camera to me, especially as I'm already invested in top of the line Olympus glass.
4. I find the Pen-F to complement the EM1-2 rather than replace it by its more compact nature and the fun factor!
5. I differ from many in so much as my intended use for the Pen-F is with my 17mm and 45mm 1.2 pro primes, as opposed to the smaller 1.8/1.7 lenses. That said I have picked up an Oly 25mm 1.8 with this camera in mind. Whilst not my favourite FL it "fills a gap" between the 17mm and 45mm Pro primes and gives me a small and discrete lens option too.

So I pulled the trigger a week ago and had my first street/walkabout shoot yesterday. Here are my observations:

1. I'm using the larger pro primes and felt a grip was needed. I found a third party version of the ECG4 grip on Amazon and to my surprise I actually find it to be far superior to the official Olympus version for 3 reasons. Firstly, it has a captive screw which you can't lose. Secondly, it feels more ergonomically comfortable to me. Thirdly, it has a "hole" which will accommodate a Peak Design Anchor Loop within the grip.

Its also nigh on a third of the price at £40, here's the link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07MQ1HFXP/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o08_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

2. I got a Peak Design Leash strap to pair with this setup, which is the perfect partner to the camera with grip. The camera feels weightless and the strap is so comfortable even with a 1.2 prime mounted. Here are some pics to illustrate:

OJOUwbe2QnGM3scVFt+atA.jpg
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Camera Bag

I decided upon a Think Tank Mirroless Mover 30i as the bag for this kit. It'll fit the body with 17mm Pro mounted plus the 45mm Pro and 25mm 1.8 with ease. There is a pocket for a standard iPad plus sufficient pockets for a couple of spare batteries, filters, cards etc plus I can squeeze a Godox TT350 flash in there if needed. All of this kit within the bag, including my iPad, weighs in at a reasonable 3kg (about 6.5lbs):

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What's not to like?

The only things I don't like compared to my EM1-2 are the smaller EVF (and I'm a viewfinder shooter) plus like many I wish it was weather sealed. But they are my only gripes. The whole rig is truly a thing of beauty and a joy to use. It's fun!

As for my first walkabout/street outing yesterday, I posted some images on the "Show Pen-F images" thread, I'm super pleased with them:

https://www.mu-43.com/threads/show-pen-f-images.98174/page-48#post-1314239
 
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WT21

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Great write-up and some great sample images. I also like the color approach in post. I'm assuming you used an ND filter for at least that first f/1.4 shot of the boy with the drink. Enjoyed them all.
 
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Great write-up and some great sample images. I also like the color approach in post. I'm assuming you used an ND filter for at least that first f/1.4 shot of the boy with the drink. Enjoyed them all.
I should have stated that I had a C-PL filter on for all the shots, and silent electronic shutter to gain the faster shutter speeds and negate the need for an ND filter when wide open. I'm delighted you like the images.
 

c0ldc0ne

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Your first picture perfectly illustrates the weightlessness of the camera: it actually floats and pulled you upside down!
 

wonglp

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nice sample images, glad you found the color wheel useful too. mostly using the monochrome mode 2, orange filter for street work. I wish for a Pen F upgrade though with souped up AF, sensor and Live ND. Happy shooting!
 

smartiepants

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nice write up, had mine about a month after many years of owning an E-M10 mk1 and love it, shoot in Mono 2 but back up with raw as well just so I have options, I have the smaller 17mm 1.8 that i'm more than happy with but that 17mm pro sure looks nice, I got a 12-40 pro second hand for a good price and that looks a bit big so may look at the grip but its such a nice looking camera seems a shame bolting bits on
 
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nice sample images, glad you found the color wheel useful too. mostly using the monochrome mode 2, orange filter for street work. I wish for a Pen F upgrade though with souped up AF, sensor and Live ND. Happy shooting!
Yep I do the same, monochrome 2 with orange filter is my default for B&W plus a tweaked version saved to C1. I’ve set C2 to the Kodachrome profile detailed in another thread on here. I find the AF to be ok for my intended use (single shot) as I also have an EM1-2 for more challenging AF stuff.
 
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nice write up, had mine about a month after many years of owning an E-M10 mk1 and love it, shoot in Mono 2 but back up with raw as well just so I have options, I have the smaller 17mm 1.8 that i'm more than happy with but that 17mm pro sure looks nice, I got a 12-40 pro second hand for a good price and that looks a bit big so may look at the grip but its such a nice looking camera seems a shame bolting bits on
It’s interesting as I can see why folk would think the grip spoils the look of the camera but to me personally I think it looks even sexier with it fitted. We’re all different of course. More importantly, to me personally, I find it transforms how the camera feels in my hands, the ergonomics become perfect for me.
You’ll love that 12-40mm and it’s about the same size as the 17mm Pro.
 

smartiepants

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It’s interesting as I can see why folk would think the grip spoils the look of the camera but to me personally I think it looks even sexier with it fitted. We’re all different of course. More importantly, to me personally, I find it transforms how the camera feels in my hands, the ergonomics become perfect for me.
You’ll love that 12-40mm and it’s about the same size as the 17mm Pro.
I was looking at one of the wooden grips last night after viewing your thread, they look interesting, i'll have to try the orange filter on mono 2 as well
 
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pigiron

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Since selling all my Nikon FF gear at the end of last year and reinvesting the proceeds in Olympus I have been very happy indeed. The EM1-2 with 12-100, 7-14 and a couple of pro primes are the nuts and bolts of my kit. However, I'm one of those who is really drawn to the Pen-F as a 2nd body for the following reasons:

1. I only shoot Raw normally and PP but I'm one of those who "gets" the Pen-F colour wheel and it's the only camera that makes me actually want to shoot Jpeg (although I've set mine to Jpeg SF plus Raw "just in case")
2. It's so sexy!
3. It's the ultimate street and "city break" camera to me, especially as I'm already invested in top of the line Olympus glass.
4. I find the Pen-F to complement the EM1-2 rather than replace it by its more compact nature and the fun factor!
5. I differ from many in so much as my intended use for the Pen-F is with my 17mm and 45mm 1.2 pro primes, as opposed to the smaller 1.8/1.7 lenses. That said I have picked up an Oly 25mm 1.8 with this camera in mind. Whilst not my favourite FL it "fills a gap" between the 17mm and 45mm Pro primes and gives me a small and discrete lens option too.

So I pulled the trigger a week ago and had my first street/walkabout shoot yesterday. Here are my observations:

1. I'm using the larger pro primes and felt a grip was needed. I found a third party version of the ECG4 grip on Amazon and to my surprise I actually find it to be far superior to the official Olympus version for 3 reasons. Firstly, it has a captive screw which you can't lose. Secondly, it feels more ergonomically comfortable to me. Thirdly, it has a "hole" which will accommodate a Peak Design Anchor Loop within the grip.

Its also nigh on a third of the price at £40, here's the link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07MQ1HFXP/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o08_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

2. I got a Peak Design Leash strap to pair with this setup, which is the perfect partner to the camera with grip. The camera feels weightless and the strap is so comfortable even with a 1.2 prime mounted. Here are some pics to illustrate:

View attachment 769448View attachment 769449View attachment 769450View attachment 769451View attachment 769452

Camera Bag

I decided upon a Think Tank Mirroless Mover 30i as the bag for this kit. It'll fit the body with 17mm Pro mounted plus the 45mm Pro and 25mm 1.8 with ease. There is a pocket for a standard iPad plus sufficient pockets for a couple of spare batteries, filters, cards etc plus I can squeeze a Godox TT350 flash in there if needed. All of this kit within the bag, including my iPad, weighs in at a reasonable 3kg (about 6.5lbs):

View attachment 769461

What's not to like?

The only things I don't like compared to my EM1-2 are the smaller EVF (and I'm a viewfinder shooter) plus like many I wish it was weather sealed. But they are my only gripes. The whole rig is truly a thing of beauty and a joy to use. It's fun!

As for my first walkabout/street outing yesterday, I posted some images on the "Show Pen-F images" thread, I'm super pleased with them:

https://www.mu-43.com/threads/show-pen-f-images.98174/page-48#post-1314239
I disagree with your reasoning. The grip and heavy PRO lenses are contrary to the entire design aesthetic of the PEN-F. You already have the bulky EM-1 for those lenses and as you point out used 1.8 Oly lenses are relatively inexpensive and are a perfect match in size and weight with the PEN-F. I also like shooting the PEN-F with the Pana 14mm 2.5 because of its focal length, appropriately small size, and light weight.

If it is raining or you are at a site like the beach, rainforest, or waterfall you can always break out the water resistant EM-1.
 

PakkyT

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Camera Bag

I decided upon a Think Tank Mirroless Mover 30i as the bag for this kit. It'll fit the body with 17mm Pro mounted plus the 45mm Pro and 25mm 1.8 with ease. There is a pocket for a standard iPad plus sufficient pockets for a couple of spare batteries, filters, cards etc plus I can squeeze a Godox TT350 flash in there if needed. All of this kit within the bag, including my iPad, weighs in at a reasonable 3kg (about 6.5lbs):

View attachment 769461
I would be curious to see a photo of everything shown packed into the bag including the 17/1.2 mounted on the camera when packed.
 
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I would be curious to see a photo of everything shown packed into the bag including the 17/1.2 mounted on the camera when packed.
Here you go, the first image shows the Pen-F with the 17mm 1.2 mounted plus the 45mm 1.2, TT350 and iPad. The second image I've added the 25mm 1.8. It all fits with ease. That said, 99% of the time it's just one or both the pro primes I'm carrying, leaving the flash and 25mm at home.

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I disagree with your reasoning. The grip and heavy PRO lenses are contrary to the entire design aesthetic of the PEN-F.
It's fine to disagree with me, I disagree with you too. What is a design ethic regards the Pen-F anyway? I didn’t get that memo form Olympus? There's nothing in the Pen-F manual that says to only use small lenses. I sold my 17mm and 45mm 1.8 to buy the pro versions. The former are completely fine (the 45mm especially). The latter, however, are simply sensational.....

It's interesting this "You should use small lenses on the Pen-F" mantra pops up quite a bit on the internet. Yet nobody seems to say this for tiny bodies such as EM5-2 etc? In fact with the EM5-2 the oft quoted wisdom is "you'll need a grip". Which is sound advice. I find all this "thou shall and shall not" regarding the Pen-F to be very strange indeed. It's just another choice of body in an interchangeable system to use how you want to use it, not how “some bloke on the internet” says you should use it......
 
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nwphil

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Nice write up about this gem - I do have too the Pen and em1mk2, and yes they do complement each other pretty well.
I opted for just the L-bracket from rrs - always sort of unhappy with clones, as usually not as polished - literally: edges sort of not rounded enough imo.
Anyway, I even use my 40-150 on the pen - sure it becomes a sleek , almost pocketable rig, if left bare and using a pancake lens, but that's just an option.I got initially with the 14mm 2.5, but ended pro series zooms. Staying away from the pro-series primes just because i do have more options in other systems. otherwise Olympus has indeed some great performance primes.
who cares about design aesthetics? that's what collectible/special edition Leica's are for .....
 

PakkyT

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Here you go, the first image shows the Pen-F with the 17mm 1.2 mounted plus the 45mm 1.2, TT350 and iPad. The second image I've added the 25mm 1.8. It all fits with ease. That said, 99% of the time it's just one or both the pro primes I'm carrying, leaving the flash and 25mm at home.

View attachment 770615View attachment 770616
Thanks. While the $70 price tag is a bit off-putting, but I am intrigued. I too often carry just one camera and 1 or 2 lenses (besides what is mounted on the camera) and sometimes my FL-36 flash. So I usually don't need anything big, but when you look at bags either they are much too big or they are a too tiny (holster types for example or designed for P&S). And since I often just sling the camera cross chest on the Peak Design Leash strap, I could easily put in a pair of extra lenses and the flash, or instead of the flash, my infrared converted E-P2. I don't have the Pro primes, but instead have the 17/25/45 f1.8 set and I now have the 12-100 PRO. So typically I am carrying only the prime trio OR the 12-100 PRO along with either the 17 or the 25 prime for when it gets dark or indoor shooting.
 

PakkyT

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It's interesting this "You should use small lenses on the Pen-F" mantra pops up quite a bit on the internet.
This is said for the entire m43 line, not just the Pen. Especially as Oly releases more Pro lenses you hear it a lot that these Pro lenses are too big for the system. Usually said by the people who A) are never going to buy those lenses anyway, so why complain about them and B) have plenty of choices in smaller sized and featured versions (much more than those of us who started with 4/3rds dSLR ever had). As I jokingly say in these forums, those are usually the people who apparently want a 9th version of the 14-42 released instead.
 

Aristophanes

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It's fine to disagree with me, I disagree with you too. What is a design ethic regards the Pen-F anyway? I didn’t get that memo form Olympus? There's nothing in the Pen-F manual that says to only use small lenses. I sold my 17mm and 45mm 1.8 to buy the pro versions. The former are completely fine (the 45mm especially). The latter, however, are simply sensational.....

It's interesting this "You should use small lenses on the Pen-F" mantra pops up quite a bit on the internet. Yet nobody seems to say this for tiny bodies such as EM5-2 etc? In fact with the EM5-2 the oft quoted wisdom is "you'll need a grip". Which is sound advice. I find all this "thou shall and shall not" regarding the Pen-F to be very strange indeed. It's just another choice of body in an interchangeable system to use how you want to use it, not how “some bloke on the internet” says you should use it......
Olympus made their own PEN-F ECG-4 grip likely to facilitate larger lenses, especially the 1.2 primes. That’s said, Oly marketing demonstrated the camera using small lenses.

The more interesting design philosophy of the PEN-F lies in the attempt by Olympus to direct users away from the smartphone and mobileOS ethos of processing and sharing immediacy, and towards the all-JPEG, in camera algorithms tied to the controls. It was the most JPEG-centric camera released in the last 5 years from any major brand. I see it as a “frustration” model, where a major optical company, outflanked by mobileOS and smartphone cameras, tried to leverage their sunk cost JPEG TruePic investments as a viable alternative.

Didn’t work. Model gone.
 

wrxspdwgn

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It’s true that the Pen-F was a JPG centric camera but still a favorite for street photography. In my case, I use a leather half case to help with handling the camera. Most of the time I have the 17mm F1.8 mounted on mine but I sometimes shoot with the 25mm F1.2 Pro lens shown in the photo.
 

Attachments

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Thanks. While the $70 price tag is a bit off-putting, but I am intrigued. I too often carry just one camera and 1 or 2 lenses (besides what is mounted on the camera) and sometimes my FL-36 flash. So I usually don't need anything big, but when you look at bags either they are much too big or they are a too tiny (holster types for example or designed for P&S). And since I often just sling the camera cross chest on the Peak Design Leash strap, I could easily put in a pair of extra lenses and the flash, or instead of the flash, my infrared converted E-P2. I don't have the Pro primes, but instead have the 17/25/45 f1.8 set and I now have the 12-100 PRO. So typically I am carrying only the prime trio OR the 12-100 PRO along with either the 17 or the 25 prime for when it gets dark or indoor shooting.
Bags are always a tough choice. I’m very happy with the Think Tank, well made but also light as a feather. There are smaller bags in that range too. I have too many camera bags!
 

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