I spent the week in New York City with an an Olympus Pen F. I've rented on in the past as well as written about how I am smitten with the Pen F. I finally found one for a fair price and bought a used one. I left for New York with only three lenses, the 15mm Panasonic f1.7, Laowa 7.5 f2 MFT wide angle. and a rented Panasonic 35-100 f2.8 version ii. I also packed a mini tripod and an extra battery. That's it. It all fit in a small Ona bag. What were my thoughts and experiences with the Pen F and this kit?!
First some pictures. I will start with the black and whites.
The Pen F was an amazing companion in NYC. I always had it on me. Much of the time I was shooting the manual focusing Laowa 7.5 and just set aperture to f5.6 set at infinity and pretty much everything was in focus. I was really grooving on the ultra wide field of view. I think everyone whom has reviewed the Pen f has commented on the design, the great sensor and the black and white modes.
I, too, will comment in saying that I think the Pen F is a beautifully built camera. I did use the black and white JPEGs but must admit, that in the end, I still prefer my own BW conversions. I was also impressed with what I was able to pull from the RAW files (in Lightroom).
The camera performed flawlessly with no shut downs, or issues. It handled light rain and some ocean spray from the ferry. Only once did I put the second battery in. It's quick to focus (it does slow down in low light). In the end, I shot about 1000 images in New York, some of which I share here.
All was not perfect though. My biggest problem is actually the On/Off switch. It's beautiful and functions well, but I left the camera on often and quite frankly with the touch screen and all the buttons and knobs, I often brought the camera to my eye with wonky settings. I also struggled to trust the EVF brightness. I noted this with the EM1 Mark ii when I went to Iceland earlier in the year. I often underexposed the shot. I have to correct this habit and use the histogram.
But all in all, I had a blast shooting this camera.
A couple of notes on the lenses. Nothing too deep here. If you have a question about any of these lenses, please leave a comment.
- The Panasonic 15mm f1.7 is a dreamy little lens. It's a gem. Great color, contrast and of what I brought, superior image quality. It was by far the best lens I had with me, but I wanted wider.
- Laowa 7.5 - Pretty capable and fun, but not in the same league as the Panasonic 15. Just not as sharp, not as good of color or contrasty
- Panasonic 35-100 f2.8 version ii - I really did not like this lens. It had a tough time focusing and I only used it for something like 3 shots.
Now, for the color shots.
Honestly, I came home wishing that that the next Olympus Pen model would be a scaled down version of what I went with. Simple design. Less buttons. A tilt screen instead of flip out. A higher quality EVF. I little more weight to the camera.
But in the end, I was very pleased with the images and that I had a camera that was really un obtrusive. If I went back again, I'd definitely take the Pen F, but would likely take a different lens trio, something like the Panasonic 12 f1.4, and the new 17 & 45 Olympus Pro f1.2 lenses!