Friday, 12 February 2016

Features that you might not know about the Olympus PEN-F

Owners and intending owners of the Olympus PEN-F have mostly read reviews of this camera from review sites, Youtube videos and so on. To "sell" their experience and be known as cognoscenti of cameras, reviewers often take a few features and emphasise their opinion - this is both a good thing (because people want something to read about whether to arouse interest) or a bad thing (arouse disdain).
So we get to know some features very well from this clamour of voices and grasp little of features that people don't mention. Here's a shortlist of features that may have escaped attention.

Note: I come from an E-330,  E-510, E-620, E-PL1, E-PM2 and E-M1 background so only new features will be listed

Silent Mode can shoot at 20 fps in burst mode. Other mechanical shutter modes shoot at 10 fps

The Spot Metering Mode follows the focus target that is triggered, not the central AF point

See manual, page 109

You can use your thumbs on the LCD to move the AF target around the frame when your eye is to the EVF

See manual, page 105 - the term is called AF Targeting Pad - of course in Custom Menu > Cog A

For non electronically coupled lens, you can name the lens, add focal length, f/no

See manual, page 129 - Custom Menu > Cog K

There are Selfie Assist functions - E-Portrait to smoothen your wrinkles, time delay for the selfie

See manual, page 128, - Custom Menu > Cog K

There is a My Clips facility - short 16 second videos 

See manual, page 70

There is a slow mo movie facility - 120 fps Standard Definition movies played back at 30 fps

See manual, page 73

Face Priority affects not only AF but may affect exposure measurement

This may not be new but worth mentioning - see manual  page 48
When the metering mode is ESP, Face Priority emphasises exposure  of the face.
Even in MF mode, Face Priority emphasises exposure of the face
In a burst, Face Priority only evaluates the first frame of the sequence.

C-AF no worse than other Olympus bodies

There has been a video review where the reviewer went an did a dang thing like fit the huge 300mm f/4 lens to this tiny body and attempted C-AF - result, AF hesitation. Mirrorless bodies still have some way to go to reach the Canon 1D II / 7D prowess with C-AF. Many Olympus users simply use S-AF and in the words of a wise sage: "Half press, observe whether focus has been achieved, if not release and repeat, several times until you get it"

Exposure Compensation has come to Auto ISO on Manual Exposure mode

Many Manual Exposure mode shooters revert to the film era expectation of setting fixed ISO when on Manual Exposure - that means exposure is completely and utterly manual, no shenanigans and that's how it worked in the film days. A bunch of migrators from Nikon DSLR have been crying out for Auto ISO on Manual Exposure and on top of that, changing the Exposure Value Compensation. Prior to the PEN-F, Olympus bodies allowed Auto ISO on Manual Exposure but EV Comp did nothing in that situation. The PEN-F now allows this Nikonish feature.

1. Set the camera to Manual Exposure Mode.
2. Custom Menu > Cog E > ISO Auto > Select ALL instead of P/A/S
3. Ensure that your EVF is not set to S-OVF  (Custom Menu > Cog J > S-OVF)
4. Ensure that Liveview Boost is Off (Custom Menu > Cog D > Live View Boost)
5. Ensure that your EV Compensation dial is not disabled (Custom Menu > Cog B)
6. Set your ISO to Auto (use the Super Control Panel)

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