29 January 2016

Olympus Imaging announces the PEN-F compact camera

Two colourways of the PEN-F cameras.
Source: Olympus Imaging. The PEN-F body in silver and black with the 
M.Zuiko Digital 12mm F2.0 lens 
Olympus Imaging has announced the PEN-F, the latest model in the PEN series of compact system cameras. It is ideal for reportage, documentary and travel photography, the company said.

The PEN-F has a classic design inspired by the elegance of the Olympus PEN F 35mm film camera from 1963. The milled-metal, click-detented dials and control switches feature diamond-cut edges that, combined with the precise touch and feedback response of its mechanical interfaces, provide the photographer with a luxuriously tactile experience. The top and front covers are made of magnesium alloy, while the bottom cover of the body and the machined dials are made of aluminium.
To enhance the ‘clean’ aesthetics, body assembly screws have been hidden from view. The rear of the LCD monitor also features the same synthetic leather as that used on the camera body for a unified appearance and feel. The dedicated exposure compensation dial and the four custom positions added to the mode dial simplify operations and enable instant access to user-preferred settings.

The PEN-F is the first Olympus PEN model with a built-in viewfinder, using a 2.36 megapixel OLED screen. The 20-megapixel Live MOS sensor and the Truepic VII imaging engine gives the PEN-F the highest imaging resolution amongst Olympus compact system cameras. Its built-in five-axis VCM image stabilisation (IS) system achieves up to five EV steps of stability1 coupled with the high-resolution M.Zuiko lenses result in quality handheld imaging. Such stability enables the capture of clear images of night and other low light scenes with minimal noise without having to raise the ISO speed (the lowest support is equivalent to ISO 80). In-body image stabilisation also makes it possible to use vintage manual focus lenses with the same stabilisation benefits, including stabilised viewfinder preview. The PEN-F is compatible with Olympus’ latest five-axis Sync IS technology that provides even more effective image stabilisation with the M.Zuiko 300mm F4.0 IS PRO lens of up to six shutter speed steps2.

With the shortest shutter release lag3 amongst compact system cameras of 44ms, and a 1/8000 s high-speed mechanical shutter, the PEN-F easily captures fleeting photographic opportunities. For photography in noise-sensitive situations, the PEN-F’s Silent mode4 provides the photographer with the ability to shoot in near-stealth while Anti-Shock mode is available for situations where the user wants to prevent shutter shake. The AF Targeting Pad provides easy selection of any one of 81 focus points on the rear LCD monitor while looking through the viewfinder. Face priority AF and Eye priority AF can detect and continue adjusting the focus on faces or eyes for easier portrait shooting.

In the special Hi-res Shot mode5, the PEN-F captures 50-megapixel jpeg shots (or 80-megapixel RAW6 files) by automatically compositing multiple shots taken with the shifting of the image sensor in ultra-precise half-pixel steps. These high-resolution photos have clarity in both detail and colour accuracy that exceed or rival full-size sensor cameras.

The PEN-F is the first Olympus camera to have a Monochrome and Colour Profile Control feature. Accessed through a front-facing Creative Dial, profile control provides user-customisable tone and saturation image presets that simulate the appearance of classic colour and black and white film. In the monochrome profile mode, digitised ‘film grain’ can even be added to the image. According to Olympus, this process is different from using photo-editing software after shooting, as the user can preview and finetune desired tonal and colour characteristics of a chosen ‘film’ that can be subsequently applied as a profile preset.

In Colour Profile mode, the saturation of 12 colours can be adjusted individually in 11 steps. This can also be combined with Highlight and Shadow Control to capture colour images with a user-determined colour palette. In addition to the default setting, the Chrome Film Rich Colour preset gives deeper colour tones, while the Chrome Film Vivid Saturation preset captures images with even more vibrant colours. The Creative Dial also provides quick access to art filters. A Colour Creator mode enables intuitive, previewable application of colour hue (in 30 steps) and saturation adjustments (eight steps).


The Olympus PEN-F is available in silver and black from February 2016, together with a range of leather accessories. Recommended retail prices are to be announced.

Read the WorkSmart Asia blog post about Olympus' new super telephoto lens

1 CIPA guideline compliant when correction is carried out on two axes (yaw and pitch). Lens: M.Zuiko Digital ED 14 to 42mm f3.5 to 5.6 EZ; focal length: f=42mm (35mm film equivalent f= 84mm) 
2 Measured using the standardised CIPA testing methodolog
3 As of January 27, 2016. When using the mechanical shutter. 
Switches to electronic shutter when in use 
5 Tripod use is required for hi-res shooting due to the sensor movement 
6  Olympus Viewer 3 v2.0 (64 - bit Mac OS / Windows) is required for the processing of hi-res RAW files