So i recently switched away from Fuji back into the warm embrace of Micro Four Thirds (m43). I really enjoyed shooting Fuji and the XT-1 is a cracker of a camera, but I really wanted to carry around a suite of primes and a zoom in as small a package as possible. With the tiny Olympus prime lenses I would be able to achieve this goal for a reasonable price.
I thought it would be a tragedy to exit the Fuji world without trying the much acclaimed x100 series. So after selling my X-T1 I found a gently used black x100s package. I used it for a couple of weeks before deciding that I just can’t live with one lens. The camera is very nice, output looked great, I had fun shooting 35mm only. I even took it to 2016 resurrection of the Singapore Open, not exactly a sports camera but it performed admirably in the bright, harsh, and humid conditions. It’s a little slow, I wouldn’t recommend it to a 1 camera family given the focus and re-charge speed.
It was the Pen F hype that tempted me back to m43 and Olympus, which I had thought not to use again because I hated their menu system. But times change, and with things like the E-P5’s 2×2 control dials, the menus become infrequently required.
I actually started collecting the lenses first, even before I had a body, finding the Olympus 45mm f1.8, 25mm f1.8, and a 14-42 EZ collapsable zoom. I was using the local, and excellent, m43 marketplace at the camera enthusiast site ClubSnap. There is a very vibrant used camera market in Singapore and since I was looking for specific lenses (small olympus primes) in a specific colour (black) I thought it best to start sooner rather than later.
It wasn’t until a week or two later I found a body that I thought would hold me until I had a chance to find, test, and consider a Pen F. I got a good deal on a black E-P5 that looked unused, not a mark on it, still under warranty. Having owned an E-P3 long ago (review here) I was pretty familiar with the form factor and basic control layout, so thought it a good choice.
But I barely had the E-P5 for a week when I had the opportunity to try the Pen F over at Funan Centre. Surprisingly, it feels lighter than the E-P5 although the dimensions are very similar. It feels great in the hand and the build quality is outstanding. The dials are all machined aluminium and are suitably stiff, and the PASM mode selector has a locking mechanism similar to the ISO dial on the X-T1, very handy. And the viewfinder was just right, not quite as big as the X-T1 but it looks fantastic. Coupled with a wonderful shutter sound (or a completely silent mode) you have the makings of a truly classic camera.
I couldn’t resist and ended up purchasing it right then and there along with the 17mm f1.8 which was offered at a substantial discount when purchased with the Pen F body. There was something about this combination I felt even out-classed the Fuji x100s, it really just felt right in the hand and was blazing fast in all its operations. I’ve been very happy with the default JPEG output so far and have even played a little bit with the ART filters accessible through the controversial front dial, I love it, especially the mono modes.
So my E-P5 review will be posted shortly and I will update with a link here, and expect a Pen F review in the coming weeks, I haven’t even had it 24 hours yet.