Olympus PEN-F camera
If you’re one of our older readers (or just really into your cameras), the Olympus PEN-F might sound awfully familiar. That’s because the Japanese company released a camera bearing this very name all the way back in the swinging ’60s (1963, to be precise). This digital incarnation of the PEN-F might look a lot like its analogue ancestor, but behind the lens there’s half a century’s worth of tech improvements. This is the most expensive and capable camera in the PEN range of compact, stylish CSCs: it has better build quality than its siblings, it’s the first of its kind to have an electronic viewfinder, and it wields 5-axis image stabilisation for sharper pics. But with a price that saunters into four figures before you’ve even bought a lens for it, can the newest-but-oldest-looking PEN justify its wallet-punching expense when other PENs can be snapped up on the high street for as little as £300?
Look at it – it’s a gorgeous camera. Like all PENs it’s high on retro style, with a textured leather-look wrap around a metal body. The dials and tilting screen feel far more sturdy in their movement than those of cheaper PENs, and the controls can be customised for quick shooting.
Darkroom with a view
You don’t even have to use the screen if you don’t want to. The new built-in OLED electronic viewfinder is a brilliant feature that makes using the PEN-F a pleasure. Shooting with a camera held up to your eye instead of stretched out in front of you simply feels more comfortable.
The 5-axis image stabilisation shifts around the camera’s inner workings to counteract the effects of shaky hands – and trust us, no matter how steady you think they are, they need the help. Unlike most image stabilising tech, this works for not only stills but video as well.
The camera sports an impressive 20MP Micro Four Thirds sensor, and you can shoot in RAW and process your shots in Lightroom. The shots demonstrate superb colour and detail, and you can push the ISO up high to shoot in low-light conditions without things getting too noisy.
Walk the PEN line
In terms of image quality, the PEN-F isn’t significantly better or worse than any number of other compact system cameras on the market – it delivers good results, and as long as you don’t expect it to excel in extremely dark situations, you won’t be disappointed.
- Sensor 20MP 4/3 Live MOS ISO 25,600
- Stabilisation 5-axis Max frame rate 5fps
- Shutter speed 1/8000-60secs Autofocus points 81
- Video 1080p @ 60fps Screen 3in tiltable LCD, 1037k
- Wi-Fi Yes Dimensions 125x72x37.3mm
- Weight 427g