A NEW CLAS­SIC

Olym­pus PEN-F

HWM (Malaysia) - - APERTURE - TEST -

Mount

Mi­cro Four Thirds

Me­gapix­els

20MP

Di­men­sions

124.8 x 72.1 x 37.3 mm

Weight

Ap­prox. 373g (body)

Price

RM5,499 (body), RM6,899 (with M-ZUIKO PRE­MIUM 17mm f/1.8 lens) Olym­pus' new­est mir­ror­less cam­era is named after the first PEN F, which was re­leased in 1963. The two PEN-Fs even look sim­i­lar; the new PEN-F has a stun­ningly dis­tinc­tive retro look, and is eas­ily one of the most at­trac­tive dig­i­tal cam­eras ever made.

The PEN-F is Olym­pus' first PEN with an elec­tronic viewfinder built-in, a new 20MP sen­sor with­out an op­ti­cal low­pass fil­ter, as well as Olym­pus' ex­cel­lent 5-axis op­ti­cal im­age sta­bi­liza­tion, a tilt­ing LCD, builtin Wi-Fi, and a com­pact flash at­tach­ment with tilt­ing head.

The cam­era feels good in the hands. It's solid, not light at ap­prox. 427g (with bat­tery and mem­ory card), but not heavy ei­ther. The pro­trud­ing thum­brest gives you a good hold, and if you don't mind in­creas­ing the cam­era's size, there's an op­tional front-grip you can buy and at­tach.

Ev­ery­thing feels like it's in the right place, with a phys­i­cal Mode dial, ex­po­sure com­pen­sa­tion dial, and twin con­trol di­als that come with the 2x2 fea­ture in­tro­duced on the E-M1. The round Power but­ton orig­i­nally looked more retro than use­ful, but it's sur­pris­ingly easy to turn, thanks to its knurled sur­face.

Another fea­ture that first struck me as more or­na­men­tal than use­ful is the new Cre­ative Dial on the front of the body. The Cre­ative Dial has five set­tings, Off, Color, Mono, Art and Color Con­trol. In other words, it gives you quick ac­cess to color, black and white or ef­fect pre­sets.

I was quite sur­prised at how of­ten I used it. The Color, Mono and Color Con­trol modes are brand new, and they let you ei­ther tweak color set­tings and save them as pre­sets, or use Olym­pus' own pre­sets, each of which has a dif­fer­ent look, all of which are mod­eled after the look of clas­sic films.

The tilt­ing LCD pro­vided a good way to cap­ture un­usual an­gles, and I found the elec­tronic viewfinder bright and re­spon­sive. Black­out time is im­pres­sively short, and the PEN-F has a silent shoot­ing mode which is very quiet.

In good light, the ex­tra res­o­lu­tion on the PEN-F, to­gether with the lack of an op­ti­cal low-pass fil­ter, re­sults in im­ages that shine with good de­tail, es­pe­cially when paired with any of the good lenses in the MFT sta­ble. The higher megapixel count is also wel­come when I switch to a DSLR-like 3:2 aspect ra­tio, which gives me im­ages that are still ap­prox. 17.9MP. On pre­vi­ous 16MP MFT cam­eras, switch­ing aspect ra­tios would cut res­o­lu­tion down to 14MP.

AT A GLANCE

Ev­ery con­trol feels like it’s in the right place.

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