I won’t lie. At first, I hated this camera. I got it a day before my trip. I didn’t really have time to play around with settings or such. Out of the box, it kind of sucked. Especially compared to the Sony A6000 which I would actually put this between. The A6000 and A6500. As I got to use this camera though, some of the features, I liked. But it this Olympus Pen-f worth it 2 years later? Or should you go for something else? Well, welcome to this Olympus Pen-F review where you will find everything you need. And I mean it. This is the only Olympus Pen-F review you will need to read.
Just to get a few things out of the way. This review will include both edited and not edited pictures as it’s unfair to compare the pictures this camera produces with other pictures that were produced. Also, this camera came with a 17mm 1.8f lens. Great for vlogging but not too great for the other kind of stuff that one might try to get pictures with. 50mm is my all time fav, to be honest. These pictures are also taken with no-style. A lot of photographers have their styles. This is just the most basic kind of average person kind of shots.
Okay, let’s get into this Olympus Pen-F review so by starting with the thing that I hate the most.
Not All Small Cameras Are Small
This Olympus Pen-F review got you confused already? What does this title mean? Well, you look at this camera. It’s tiny. If Victor Ajayi did not delete the pictures comparing the Nikon D810 to it, that would be a great example of how small it is. Instead, you got this great picture of me taking pics with it as taken by Pato. It looks tiny.
And you are probably thinking that I’ about to say that this camera packs plenty of features in an incredibly small body making it seem bigger than it is. That’s one way to look at it for sure, and more on that later, but what I mean is that this is the worst ever camera I used when it comes to using it with one hand or just being able to take a shot in a matter of seconds.
I wouldn’t mention this problem in a bigger camera that’s not designed for easy shots but WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU PLACE THE POWER BUTTON COMPLETELY AWAY FROM ANY FUNCTION BUTTONS OR SHOOTING BUTTONS?
This is how you make a small camera bigger. It’s completely ridiculous. If you are looking to take a camera with you to capture memories instantly. This is not the camera for you. I mean, it could be, but this feature makes it so much more inconvenient.
Are you holding an ice-cream? You can’t turn the camera on. Are you holding somebodies hand? You can’t turn the camera on. This button placement limits you a lot.
That’s one of the two problems in the design of this camera. Overall it’s solid. It looks great. It has the Olympus look on it. You feel fancy walking around with it. It of course also feels premium. The leather feels good although I do not understand why the leather on the other side of the screen is different than on the rest of the body, other than that, everything is pretty damn good when it comes to design overall. And of course, even with that power-button problem, it’s still incredibly smart. Just look at this picture of me holding a phone and the camera. It’s tiny which I absolutely love about it.
But I said there are two major problems with the design. One was mentioned. The last one? Well, it seems that while Olympus made the camera bigger without making it bigger with the power button, they also tried to make it smaller by taking out a very useful feature, the grip at the front. There’s nothing like that. The body is just flat. It won’t matter most of the time. But it will matter in certain shots.
The most important thing a camera delivers, right? Like mentioned earlier, at the start, I did not like the pictures. Out of the box, the Sony A6000 got so much better shots. I didn’t have time to play around as I was already traveling when I got the camera. And that’s the great thing about this camera. It’s very rich in features. Which might not be the greatest thing for a beginner but once you adjust, it’s so worth it. You never want a camera that’s too simple as you will reach the full potential too quick. This one is not too simple. But it could be a lot simpler in a sense that while it does have a lot of features, the menu is pretty confusing. In fact, I found the Olympus app better for controlling the camera.
If you are looking to get those selfies in, this a perfect camera for that, more on that in a minute though. However, you will often see that this camera loves to make green too strong and fails to focus. More on those in a minute too.
This camera is 2 years old, but yet this is especially where it stands out.
Since we just mentioned selfies, let’s start with what a lot of cameras fail at. The rotatable screen. Sony fails on it. Cannon do some of it, but with ridiculous design at times. Olympus did it. Perfectly. And that’s what makes it perfect for selfies. Seeing what you are taking is vital. The Pen-F allows you to see whatever you want to see. Whether a selfie or a weird angle of a shot. And that’s great as there’s nothing worse than guessing. It’s especially great when you are traveling on your own and don’t have anybody to help you out.
The screen also comes with a touchscreen. Once again, this is something that not all cameras offer. Ironically a lot of premium cameras, especially from Nikon do not offer this. The touchscreen allows for quicker focusing on what you want to focus, and it’s a feature that allows for quick shots. Which is what you will more than likely use this camera for.
Like we already mentioned though, this camera is pretty advanced inside which is why most people will find it confusing at the start. There’s a lot of dials. More than on the Nikon D810 actually. And while it’s great that there’s plenty of features, they could have been placed in a better manner.
What really impressed me with this camera is the shots at night. Better than most cameras at a higher price range. And the pictures taken at night show more than I can see.
Going to autofocus though. This ruined a lot of my shots at the start. It’s a camera that is not a leader in the focus area. It’s not bad, but I wouldn’t trust it to take an important picture for me if I only had one shot at it.
A lot of pictures I took turned out too blurry for usage. Sure, I re-took some of them, and they were perfectly fine after, but at the end of the day, this is a camera you will most likely be used for quick shots so you would like to get a great picture with one shot.
This camera even though made in 2016, comes with Wi-Fi which is necessary for this type of camera. Quick shots most likely will be published directly on Instagram, whether it’s Instagram stories or a post. You aren’t going to be taking pictures that take 80mb with this camera and will spend hours editing.
Oh, and speaking of what it has, it also has a weird cable for connecting to a computer. So out of date. USB-C wasn’t really a thing in 2016 so that’ understandable but you could at least put in a micro-USB.
Whether it’s an Olympus Pen-F review or whether it’s a phone review when it comes to any portable devices, battery matters.
This camera is great in terms of functionality but oh gosh, let me tell you, this is the best mirrorless camera I tried when it comes to battery. If you are looking for a camera that takes mostly great shots but will also last you, Pen-F is the choice, absolutely. I was so impressed. I was filming. I was taking pictures. This camera, it lasted more than a day. Meanwhile, the Sony Alpha A6300 died twice within one day. Never mind more than one day.
Olympus, I don’t know how you did it, but I’m pressed. With that said, if you think that one battery is enough to bring with you anywhere, you are a dope. Bring two at least.
Great for Video
I think it’s only right for the video features of this camera to speak for themselves.
This is simply a few clips together with some added music without any actual editing of the video itself. And they look pretty great. The footage recorded in full 1080p not shakey, not as much as the Sony Alpha A6300 anyway that produces incredibly shaky footage. This is because this camera comes with 5-axis stabilization. The level of focus is pretty good although it is a bit behind, especially compared to Sony’s focus in their Alpha models. But the content looks good enough for vlogging. Of course, perhaps it’s not exactly semi-movie quality, but it’s good enough. And remember, these are just some sample clips that aren’t even edited right. Imagine if you actually got creative.
This video here is almost the same but with some little additions added.
The only problem I have with the video on this camera is that while the 5-axis stabilization is here, it is not that great with videos. I’m attaching a video below. If you move to quick, the content just doesn’t look great at all. In fact, I’d almost prefer shaky content than that. If you plan to use the 5-axis, don’t move too quick, otherwise, turn it off.
In the first video, you heard me talk. That’s the audio on the camera. It’s pretty good actually. Of course, you didn’t see the footage with wind noise though, but without wind, it prefers pretty good. However, you would be a lunatic if you wanted to get some great moments with audio and used your camera microphone. Regardless of how good this microphone on this camera is, it is still not good enough to use. No camera provides a good enough microphone. That’s why you should invest in one. And that’s when another problem arises. This camera does not have a microphone jack which is ridiculous as I do actually enjoy videos on it.
You got that mostly good stabilization. You got that rotatable screen making the camera great for vlogging. Then you mess it up by not providing a headphone jack.
To Conclude This Olympus Pen-F Review
Is it worth it? That’s what you want to know from a review. Right? That’s not an easy question. On one side, there are cameras that cost much less such as the Sony Alpha A6300 that out of the box produces much better content. On the other side, this camera provides a lot of features that the A6300 and other competitors don’t. Good battery life. Touch-screen. Rotatable screen. 5-axis stabilization. Of course, it’s also light and compact. If you can afford it and have time to learn it, it’s a great camera. But if you are looking for something that you don’t want to spend too much time playing around with and just want great pictures right away, it’s probably not a great choice.
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