Ghostbuggy, thanks for taking the time to post such a thoughtful and helpful response. This answers most of my questions. I'm a B&W guy at heart, and I've never found a monochrome mode I could stand. So I end up shooting everything straight, and then fussing with them in PhotoShop. Which is a big pain, and so it often just didn't get done. Looked at the thread you linked - wow! Most of all, what you wrote about being able to tweak and save multiple B&W profiles is VERY enticing! Thanks again! CjfWhile I haven't bought anything "today", I actually bought a new Olympus body just earlier this summer and it was another Pen-F. As you might notice in my forum signature, I actually own two Pen-F: The first one bought in late May 2016, I immediately fell in love with the camera the moment I got my hand on it in a store and it kind of changed the way I think about photography. Fast forward about three months ago I bought another copy, brand new at a price which wasn't a deal at all. However Olympus ceased the production of these cameras about two years ago, so any "new" stock you see around is actually left-over stock which won't last forever. For instance here in Germany no shops have any new, unopened units in stock - they are gone.
Since it seems very unlikely, especially now at this point, Olympus/JIP will ever introduce a Pen-F Mark II, the camera actually holds the value pretty well compared to some other cameras of this age.
Considering the price tag, the Pen-F isn't really a "smart" or logical choice, it wasn't really when it was new and it sure ain't now four and a half years later. You can get a used E-M1 Mark II for a similar price as a used Pen-F, you can pay two or three hundred bucks more and get a new E-M1 Mark II or E-M5 Mark III. Both cameras are newer, more feature packed, offer better AF, larger EVFs and so on.
Yet in my opinion they simply don't offer the Pen-F user experience: I could've almost bought a new E-M5 III for the price I paid for the Pen, yet I didn't, simply because I enjoy shooting with the Pen so much: The build quality is great, it just feels great in the hand and is a pleasure to use. The dials offer a nearly perfect balance of assuring resistance and still easy enough one finger operation, the shutter button provides a nice tactile half-press stop while the shutter itself really compliments the whole camera: It's fairly subtle and quiet, yet you can still feel and hear it. That might sound stupid, but the whole package combined make this camera, at least for me, a real pleasure to use - somewhat more than just a tool for my hobby. I even enjoy the "no grip"-ergonomics.
The shortcomings for the Pen-F are: Price, already talked about that. C-AF isn't the fastest nor reliable, S-AF in my opinion is fine, it is fast and snappy in good light, however it starts hunting and second guessing as the light fades. The port cover-door feels rather cheap, as it would be really out of place for the camera, also the battery door somehow doesn't match the other build quality. The tripod socket is in a fairly forward position and can interfere with some lenses. The eye-sensor can be a pain when you are a right eye shooter and the sun is in your back: It messes up the detection and the camera switches unreliable between the EVF and the display, even while you are using the EVF. Bothered me so much I disabled the option and instead switch manually via a button. Last but not least the Truepic VII image processor, which at release was already about two and a half years old, seems to be having a harder time handling the additional megapixels of the newer sensor - it always take a short moment to review your photos.
The Monochrome Mode indeed is great for the Pen-F, it comes with three different, factory pre-set profiles, which you can completely adjust to your liking. The most popular one, for me too, is Profile 2, which has been said to pay some homage to Kodak Tri-X. The profile is set very contrasty with highlights +6 and shadows -6, while providing a strong ("Medium"-setting) amount of grain to the image. I'm using this profile most of the time, however either without any grain at all or just "Low" grain setting. In addition I've lately created my own profile, which brightens up profile 2 a bit using highlights +4, shadows -4 and midtones +1 with low grain. A bit less contrasty, yet also less extreme than Mono2 profile.
Since I always shoot RAW+JPEG, I essentially get the best of both worlds, nice sooc B&W jpegs, while still have the full flexibility to revisit the RAW file if I want.
We have a dedicated topic for Pen-F B&W images here: https://www.mu-43.com/threads/olympus-pen-f-monochrome-mode.88718/
Yeah, I love my MX. Still do. Still works, and I still (Occasionally) put Tri-X through it. Though these days when I'm feeling filmy I tend to break out my Pentax 67. Which is basically a GIANT MX!I had 3 MX's at one time, bought the first in 1979. The most beautiful camera I've ever owned, it jumped up and down on the end of the bed every morning shouting "Take me out! Take me out!". With the 40mm f2, it took up no more space than a rangefinder camera and was the main reason i chose m43: nothing else was that good and pocketable. The metering was superb but if the battery did go down i could still meter with a Weston. Happy days.
incidentally the EVF of the PEN-F is the thing that let me down and did not purchase one. I find it too small and hard to focus (with adapted manual lenses)PEN-F is a real bummer in many ways. $999 is not a particularly good deal either. It does have a gorgeous RF-style EVF though.
I kind of agree with this. The F has .62 magnification, the same as the E-M10 Mark II-IV bodies. The size is just okay, with AF only the first years I almost forgot it is much smaller than the .74 magnified EVF of my E-M1, only noticing side by side. But in the past few months I tried MF more and more, without the focusing aids like peaking or magnifying, it is very hard to tell the focus. With those enabled, or at least with magnification enabled, it works quite well. Still I wouldn't mind a slightly larger EVF, while at the same time I'm not unhappy at all with the EVF. What bothers me more is actually a minor thing:incidentally the EVF of the PEN-F is the thing that let me down and did not purchase one. I find it too small and hard to focus (with adapted manual lenses)
Mauve, how did you like the E-M10 mk II vs. the original E-M10? One of the questions I'm trying to answer is should I upgrade at all? How much of an upgrade was it? I got a crazy good deal on a practically perfect original - under $200 from KEH. (I do recommend KEH-I buy and sell there regularly. Great people!) And the mkii is currently selling for $100 more on Amazon than the mkiii! I'm not THAT enticed by the 20mp sensor; I have a 42mp Sony a7rii when I want to drag out the big guns. So, for mostly street and landscape photography, is the mkii worth a $600 upgrade?I kick myself everyday for selling my E-M10 mk II which I replaced my original E-M10 with (although I had good rational reasons to do so). Currently I have an original E-M1 which I really love in spite of its bulk, and an original E-M5 which is also very useful for casual shooting when I think there may be a risk for more expensive equipment. Had the E-M5 mk II for a while too, but I never got along really well with it. Too many functions crammed into too small a place. And finally I bought recently a Panasonic GX9 which is an impressive tiny bit of kit and my current go-to camera for street shooting. I fell for the 20 Mpix sensor at a ridiculous price, and it's a great camera, but the handling isn't Olympus sadly. None exactly match the simplicity and direct connection I had with the 10.2. The 10.3 has been gutted by the marketing to avoid stepping on the toes of the E-M5 mk II, so it's a no-go. From the specs, the E-M10 mk IV could be the closest replacement for the 10.2, with a 20 Mpix sensor at last. I'm still pondering wether buying back a 10.2 or saving towards a 10.4.
So in short, I'd say 10.4 (more current specs, but new and expensive) or 10.2 (much better than the original 10 and the 10.3 as well, cheap, but older sensor).
Price aside, the mk II is a massive upgrade over the original 10. You get almost everything from the E-M5 mk II, except weather resistance and super-high resolution. As a bonus you get touch AF on the LCD back screen with the camera at eye level. It bests the mk III in almost every aspect, except video. I was really, really fond of this camera for street photography (if only for the OLED evf and electronic shutter in all modes).Mauve, how did you like the E-M10 mk II vs. the original E-M10? One of the questions I'm trying to answer is should I upgrade at all? How much of an upgrade was it? I got a crazy good deal on a practically perfect original - under $200 from KEH. (I do recommend KEH-I buy and sell there regularly. Great people!) And the mkii is currently selling for $100 more on Amazon than the mkiii! I'm not THAT enticed by the 20mp sensor; I have a 42mp Sony a7rii when I want to drag out the big guns. So, for mostly street and landscape photography, is the mkii worth a $600 upgrade?
That's actually for a new one with the kit lens. (And it is weird to me that so many older models are still available new. Explains why they sold the company, I guess.) The Olympus outlet has them with the kit lens for $349, which seems like a pretty good deal!Price aside, the mk II is a massive upgrade over the original 10. You get almost everything from the E-M5 mk II, except weather resistance and super-high resolution. As a bonus you get touch AF on the LCD back screen with the camera at eye level. It bests the mk III in almost every aspect, except video. I was really, really fond of this camera for street photography (if only for the OLED evf and electronic shutter in all modes).
Now $ 600 seems a bit stiff. I've seen lots of nice 2nd hand models go between €200 and €300 which seems fair. But you're right, as a rule of thumb the mk II is better value than the mk III and commands higher 2nd hand prices.
Even for pros, I think fit is a question. I started shooting professionally in 1979, I've shot everything from 110 to 4x5, and I can make any camera work. And I've been driving since well before that, everything from two-seater sports cars to mid-sized trucks. Every vehicle will get you where you are going. Some are wrestling matches, and some seem to know where you want to go before you do and just go there. So I drive a Camaro convertible 6m, which I picked after driving a zillion vehicles to find the one that fit me. Cameras are the same; some fit you better than others.I was more talking about how often people making decisions are completely wrapped up in the deal they can get, and how that seems to supersede the camera or lens and what the expectations are around it's performance. Nothing wrong with a good deal, but I thought it was nice to see someone expressing a strong preference and letting that be the priority.
If a particular camera works so well for you that it provides some extra level of enjoyment then I think saying it's not a logical choice is a fallacy. Maybe for a pro, where these are just tools, that's true, but not for most of us. @Ghostbuggy said it well: ...but the whole package combined make this camera, at least for me, a real pleasure to use - somewhat more than just a tool for my hobby
TL;DR version: Accidently fell in love with an Olympus OMD EM10 mi that I bought to use with my stable of Pentax Auto 110 lenses. Added the jewel-like 45/1.8 and it's become my DD. So I'm thinking of upgrading the body; I bought the EM10 because it was super cheap. I mostly shoot street and landscape, and prefer B&W.
A minor point for the Pen-F is that it has no grip.It looks like a used in good nick Pen-F for a good price is THE camera for you.