Thursday, January 28, 2016

Thoughts: Olympus PEN F

Someone asked me my opinion of the upcoming Olympus PEN F camera. This camera has started to make the rounds on the web thanks to Olympus loaning them out to the big photography blogs and magazines. They didn't give me one, so I've only seen the camera via other people's pictures.

The PEN F is a retro-looking 20-megapixel Micro-Four-Thirds interchangeable-lens mirrorless camera. It's smaller and lighter than a DSLR. The camera looks like a small rangefinder (but it isn't a rangefinder). It has a bunch of knobs all over it, many of which seem to control JPEG settings.
Micro-Four-Thirds sensors are smaller than APS-C sized sensors and larger than 1" sensors. Image quality shouldn't be a concern (my Sony RX100 II has a 1" sensor and it has good image quality). The highest practical ISO is probably right around 1600.

What do I think of the camera? I like the way it looks. I'm a big fan of any camera that's smaller and lighter than a typical DSLR because you are more likely to take it with you. Heavy gear tends to get left behind more often, so when that great unexpected scene unfolds before you there isn't a way to capture it. Small gear means photographing more.

While the PEN F is smaller and lighter than a DSLR, it isn't pocketable. And it's not as small or lightweight as I'd personally like it to be. In fact, it's only slightly lighter than the Nikon D3300 DSLR, and similar in size, mostly just thinner.

I don't like the price tag. The $1,200 body-only MSRP is shocking. You could buy a cheap DSLR (such as the D3300) plus a couple of good lenses for the same price, and you'd have superior image quality. Or, for less money, you could buy the Sony RX100 IV and have similar image quality in a pocketable package (just as long as you can live with fixed-lens).

If you have the money lying around and want the PEN F then by all means go out and get one. If you are like most people and on a budget, my recommendation is to pass. It's too expensive for what you get. Besides, it's better to invest in experiences than gear.

No comments:

Post a Comment