TEST 01: DE­SIGN

Which of our three cam­eras takes the hon­ours in terms of build and lay­out?

Australian T3 - - STATE OF THE ART -

The PEN-F takes its retro style from the orig­i­nal PEN-F of the 1960s/70s

The Fu­ji­film X-Pro2’s rangefind­er­type lay­out – whereby the con­trols are promi­nently placed on the top plate – re­ally encouraged us to get hands-on and ex­per­i­ment with it. How­ever, un­less you owned the pre­vi­ous model, the X-Pro1, it’s not re­ally for pick­ing up and us­ing straight­away, be­cause the ISO light-sen­si­tiv­ity set­tings are some­what hid­den – you need to lift the shut­ter-speed but­ton and twist it to re­veal them. The con­struc­tion of this cam­era is re­as­sur­ingly rock-like, though, thanks to a four-sided mag­ne­siu­mal­loy build that matches the hefty price tag.

Olym­pus has a longer her­itage in cam­era man­u­fac­ture than its ri­vals here, thus its alu­minium-build PEN-F has the lux­ury of be­ing able to take its retro style from the orig­i­nal PEN-F of the 1960s/70s. As it’s another rangefinder-style cam­era (Olym­pus’s first), its de­sign is sim­i­lar to the X-Pro2’s, with man­ual top and front­plate di­als and knobs aplenty, just like in the film days. Here, we get a tilt­ing LCD, plus a 2.36-mil­lion-dot OLED viewfinder. As with the Fu­ji­film, new­com­ers may re­quire a pe­riod of fa­mil­iari­sa­tion – but if you’re go­ing to spend circa $2K on a cam­era body, it’s not re­ally about self­ies or ma­chine-gun­ning. We’re not fans of the tiny back­plate but­tons, but gen­er­ally the de­sign and han­dling im­press.

Pana­sonic’s GX85 is all about clas­sic han­dling, but it still boasts its fair share of mod­ern com­forts, in­clud­ing a tilt­ing LCD screen that swings out­ward from the body, to go with the al­ter­na­tive of ul­tra-high­res­o­lu­tion eye-level elec­tron­ics, ap­peal­ing to purists who pre­fer to com­pose shots with the cam­era held to their face. This tiny screen also fea­tures a built-in eye sen­sor, which au­to­mat­i­cally ac­ti­vates or de­ac­ti­vates when it de­tects an eye­ball in the vicin­ity, sav­ing both time and but­ton presses. Even with a com­pact 12-32mm lens at­tached, the body feels com­mend­ably solid in the palm, sug­gest­ing it’s built to last (this de­spite the cam­era cost­ing half as much as the al­ter­na­tives here).

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