Its 2018 and i am reviewing the PEN-F ? Yeah i know how outdated this would have sounded but as the price for this camera came down and exciting combination package with the 17 1.8 was offered 3 months ago, i jumped on it.
Readers of my blog knows that i only do real world reviews, not shooting bricks and i am not paid for anything i wrote here. The form factor of the PEN-F is superb, almost perfect.
My package comes with the original grip and boy, what a big difference it was holding it with the grip. I begin to have a lot of fun using it with the 17 1.8 that came with it.
There has been a lot of debate on the net about how sharp or bad the 17 1.8 is but to my experience and observation of using it so far, its sharp and very dependable for quality (despite the mtf chart i saw on one of these debates)
The 17 1.8 is my preferred combo with this camera when it comes to street photography. I love it that it has the LCD by default turned back just like a film camera. Although this is not the first camera with this idea, it is probably one of the best. The other cameras like Leica MD Typ-262 or Leica M10 MD is charging more than USD 1000 for this difference, i would say PENF makes the most sense here as u can still access the LCD for setting time/date and formating cards by just turning it around.
Taking photos on the street is so fast and simple and since its m43, i took all my images at f1.8 and since my focus are mostly on certain people given the nature of my photographer mind’s eye, this was no issue at all.
In the “Defiant” photo above, the the mother was scolding the kid and he ran to the sister’s side and showed an angry gesture at the mother. All these happened so fast, from the moment i realized they were arguing till i took the camera out and shoot, all within 5 seconds.
Like many other m43 users, there was a month that i got caught up with the shallow DOF (how blur the background can be for portraits isolation) argument and wanted this camera to be the “all round” goto cam despite owning many other cam of which the shallow dof would not be an issue.
During that time, i sought out the Olympus 45 1.2 Pro and the 75 1.8 Premium. These are relatively expensive lenses. Expensive when you are comparing it for the objective of aquiring shallow dof when compared to Canon or Sony FF. Cheap if you are comparing it to Leica.
What i found out is that while the Pro lenses are expensive for dof equivalent, its actually very reasonable for BOKEH quality.
You do lose some advantages in size when you use Pro lenses, if you have other camera systems, maybe this would not be a wise direction. But if this is your One camera to rule them all, by all means go for it.
The other concern i had was the focusing at low light. In the projects i did so far, i would say this concern is largely unfounded except in a really dark setting.
I did a depression series with Angela as my model and its pretty dim and yet the PEN-F was able to focus and shoot precisely, the 5 Axis ibis is godsent.
PEN-F have one of the most attractive form and size that i have come across and its a real joy to use. If you are into street photography that doesn’t use shallow dof, this would be the perfect camera for the job.
If you are a bokeh whore, be prepared to pay top bucks for Pro lenses with Milvus quality bokeh.
You can find the rest of the images in this blog in my Instagram, follow that handle while ur at it 😉