Thursday, 11 February 2016

Olympus PEN-F - part 6 of my personal narrative, The Finale

Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4 and Part 5 precede this article.

Summarising and Tidying Up: What I liked.

I started by saying that the Olympus PEN-F is a controversial camera. Do I still think so after some days looking at my images, interacting online? Yes, I do. Briefly

It's a nicely responsive camera, with strong retro design hints.
"The camera part just gets out of the way and lets you concentrate on shooting." (Ming Thein).
It has milestone enhancements in "studio in the field" JPEG customisation so that you can pre-visualise the "look" of the photo instantaneously and intimately whether you want to save the JPEG as a keeper or use the raw for processing in Olympus Viewer or your third party workflow. Olympus innovated with the the S curve Shadow+Highlight adjustment and then subsequently the Color Creator a few models ago. Now the S curve has Midtone adjustment in addition to S & H. And the Color Wheel in the Color Profiles has a rainbow of individual colour adjustments. There is Vignette and Film Grain emulation in the Monochrome Profiles. And..... On Olympus Viewer, you can combine an Art Filter with Color Profile (can't check that on the body because I don't have one).

Phew! The noon day tropical sun so hot and glaring

Regardless I will be there.

We still run the old skool way.

The EVF is offset unlike a faux DSLR - it allowed me to keep both eyes open for a few lenses (mind needs some control) so I would observe more of the scene with one eye and ensure AF got the focus right with the other eye. It gave me confidence in the street with the camera raised to the face, something I feel nervous about with a faux DSLR in street photos of people.

You taking a photo of me?

What I would have preferred

A less obvious and more easily surreptitious simple hinged flip LCD screen (rather than the flip & twist screen that would be very useful on a faux SLR like the OM-D series. (By the way, the flip and twist is fitted on the old E-620, the E-3, E-5 DSLRs). I just figured out why they chose this flip and twist design though. For a little camera like this, with a target audience of travellers, genteel tourists, it needs to do selfie duty.

The Selfie with the Fishie

I would guess as with most middle income enthusiasts, I'm on a 2 to 3 year gear refresh - the need to save for family and extended family expenses and so on. My OM-D E-M1 purchase was recent in relative terms, so I'll have to wait. The price for the PEN-F is not low at retail and pre-order launch - there's a lot of nice stuff in it and there are return of investment costs that Olympus has to recover. There are cheaper cameras. There are surely more expensive cameras. And there are cameras whose bling value is higher than their utility value. The PEN-F has a lot of "I like it value"

I don't think I could buy one even if I sold the shirt off my back
Or sold my snaps on the sidewalk
Starting up an Institute might do it

Prayers wouldn't go astray for sure

Reasons people make up for not buying the PEN-F

From the range of feedback and comments, I thought I would summarise the vibe

The PEN-F is not weather sealed

For whatever reason if you must have weather sealing, this isn't the camera for you. Some people must have a Toyota Kluger 4WD instead of European luxury car. Different strokes for different folks. For your weather sealed body though, these products are designed to a test condition. Weather sealing is not an absolute. FYI.

The PEN-F breaks the mold of cheaper PEN prices

The PEN E-P5 was not "cheap". In contrast to the OM-D E-M10, it did not have the slant of features to distinguish it from the lowered prices of the OM-D E-M5 old stock and the E-M10. It didn't sell well at recommended retail price but towards the end, the prices were so discounted that people managed to get their hands on the E-P5 and love it for the shape in street shooting and travelling.

The PEN-F to me, is a much stronger product with stronger slants towards its intended audiences. I hope it does well. It's not a Sony with a wood grip. Or machined out of solid metal. 

On a features matrix on a web page, the PEN-F has nothing really different from the OM-D E-M5 Mark II

Probably. Have you got the right features in the matrix? Or is the left column a list of faux DSLR design features? Like a big grip to balance the 300mm f/4 M.Zuiko lens. Or Phase Detect so that the body can focus a Bigma. The PEN-F isn't a faux DSLR.

You don't have a skirt. Or wear tight pants, a lumberjacket and have a beard.

So sorry for you. But you don't have to wear a skirt. Or tight pants, lumberjacket and a beard. Look, I held a PEN-F for some hours. Nuts still feel ok. Voice hasn't changed an octave higher.

Will you tell the CEO or shall I?

Be Happy. Enjoy Your Day

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