Olympus's new PEN-F sports the Micro Four Thirds mount system and 20-Megapixel, 4/3 Live MOS imaging sensor, which are the cornerstone of the camera. This compact system allows Olympus to keep the overall size of the camera small, while still giving you the highest quality possible. The sensor is part of the 5-axis image stabilization system that not only keeps your still images sharp, it also allows you to record smooth video while on the move without the bouncing you would normally see. The Micro Four Thirds system features one of the best collections of lenses that you will find for any mirrorless ILC, as you are able to get full functionality out of Olympus and Panasonic lenses.
Featured above is the PEN-F with the Olympus M.Zuiko 12-40mm Pro lens, one of the lenses that we used to test the camera. Olympus's Pro lenses are a little bigger than most ILC lenses, but perform as well as most pro dSLR lenses. Fully automatic AF with optional manual focus control with the sliding of the focus ring allows you to take control instantly.
Without a built-in flash, Olympus has included a small but powerful external flash with the PEN-F. This tilting flash runs completely on the camera's battery while sitting in the camera's hot shoe. Its compact size allows you to easily carry the flash with you.
The PEN-F offers two options for composing and viewing your images. First the camera features a fantastic 2.36-Million dot EVF, that takes the place of an optical viewfinder and so much more. Not only do you get full coverage of the image area, you also get Live View and depth of field previews, shooting information, electronic level and anything else that you see on the LCD screen is also available. Its incredibly high resolution allows you to see all of the details you could every imagine. Dioptic adjustment makes it easy for anyone to use. Olympus has also designed a simulated OVF mode, to give more of a traditional feel via the EVF.
Your second option is the 3.0-inch, 1,037k dot Vari-Angle Touch LCD screen. The high-res screen allows for touch-to-focus and touch-to-capture shooting modes as well as making it easy to navigate the camera menus without the 4-way controller. Adjustable brightness and the Vari-Angle screen allow you to easily see and use the LCD in all lighting, and awkward shooting conditions.
On top of the camera you will find a great selection of camera controls. In the tradition of an old rangefinder camera, there are plenty of dials. You have the mode dial, exposure compensation dial, and two command dials. Inside the top command dial is the shutter release button. At the top right you will find the dedicated video recording button. Inside the Mode dial is lock that allows you to lock to current position, to ensure you don't accidentally bump the dial and change programs.
On the front of the camera is this unique dial that allows you to instantly change the color options that you are shooting with. Color, Black & White and Art filters are some of the choices that are at your fingertips. This is an option that is normally buried inside a menu somewhere, not so readily available. At the very bottom is the Shutter Preview button, showing you exactly what the camera will capture with its current settings.
On the back of the camera you will find a pretty standard set of controls. Top right is the Fn1, which can be programmed to meet your needs. On the bottom half of the camera is the magnify button, Menu button, INFO button, Delete button and Playback button. At the center is the 4-way controller, allowing you to navigate the camera's menu system. It also acts as a shortcut to many of the camera's more popular shooting settings: ISO/WB, Flash, Burst/Timer and AF point selection. The OK button makes your selections from the menu as well as bringing up the Quick Menu in shooting mode.
On the right side of the camera you will find the I/O ports under a door. On top is the high-speed USB port, allowing the transfer of images and audio/video with an optional cable. On the bottom is the HDMI output. With an optional HDMI cable, you can view your images and Full HD videos on an appropriate HDTV anywhere the TV is available.
Storing your captured images and videos is a SD/SDHC/SDXC style memory card. A high speed card will be very important with this camera. Its high-speed capture, 4K Time-lapse and 1080p HD video capture require a fast card, with at least a UHS-1 rating. The camera is shown here with the Panasonic UHS-3 16GB SDHC memory card that was used to test the camera.
Powering the PEN-F is a 7.6V, 1220mAh rechargeable Li-Ion battery. This battery is capable of providing the camera with 330 captured images based on CIPA standards, according to Olympus. The camera also comes with this compact charging unit, allowing you to keep your battery and a spare or two charged and ready to go.