Beautiful unknown Pen F

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
Doug Janis Regular Member • Posts: 483
Re: Beautiful unknown Pen F

UppercanadianAcadian wrote:

Doug Janis wrote:

UppercanadianAcadian wrote:

Doug Janis wrote:

UppercanadianAcadian wrote:

Doug Janis wrote:

UppercanadianAcadian wrote:

Doug Janis wrote:

UppercanadianAcadian wrote:

Doug Janis wrote:

Wigelii wrote:

I experienced once more some excited reactions to the Pen F, last Sunday.

It is not the first time that this happens but this time it was extreme.

I was a whole day making pictures at a classical music event in a big and very busy cultural centre in Antwerp, using an em1 II and 2 PenF (1 silver, 1 black) and during the day a lot of people approached me to ask questions about the Pen F.

Some thought it was analog, a lot of them thought that it was something from Fujifilm, but everybody was raving about how beautiful the Pen Fs are.

When I told them that it were Olympus camera's, as always, they were all surprised and/or only vaguely knew Olympus.

This shows 2 things:

1. Fujifilm does a great job branding their camera's. When I first saw the Pen F, it was clear to me that this should be heavily marketed as a "must have" luxury item. Unfortunately Olympus never did.

2. Olympus shouldn't abandon the Pen F but reintroduce an updated, even more beautiful and design oriented, version

By the way, I use the Pen Fs very intensely (together with 2 em1s and a em10) because I do lots of theatre, classical music and wedding photography, and they are very reliable work horses, something you would not expect from such beauties.

The PEN-F was heavily reviewed. It's design piqued a LOT of interest from photography media.

It had 2 knocks against it:

1) The price was too high for the specs. The trendy, hipster (see the video ad and the packaging with its own Dolce & Gabbanna model printed on the box) marketing didn't help. It didn't look like a step up from the EPL/M-series and didn't look like a rangefinder alternative to the OM series entirely. The grip helped with the Pro/2.8 glass...they got that part right, but the lack of any grip made it not so comfortable to hold for the price. And no weather sealing and a lacklustre EVF. Not a real value camera.

2) The JPEG-centric color dial and Art and Scn filters came across as a feeble attempt to replace post-processing on third party devices. In doing so it alienated the same buyers at a price point who are RAW shooters almost exclusively. The overall design screamed "traditional rangefinder" or "street", while the software and color wheel yelled back "consumer grade".

Once again, I must admit I completely do not understand this anti art filter and anti colour dial mentality.
When the pen-f came out, there were so many people making negative comments (of varying intensity) regarding these things, that I actually thought:

‘good lord. Did Olympus disable the ability to shoot in raw if you use the front colour dial of the pen-f??????’

I actually asked that question on these forums, and was obviously told that of course you can shoot raw AND jpeg/art filter/colour dial.

The color dial was Japan Inc. trying to do in-camera, on a tiny, low res rear screen, what everyone does with a free app on a mobileOS device...and the latter does it 10x better and can share instantaneously.

Yes you can reconfigure, but the whole concept and labelling is Olympus practically begging you NOT to use your smartphone. It didn't work, was a waste of resources, confused the market, looked cheap (RAW snobbery), and came across as an unfocused (sic) design and marketing effort.

Most reviewers agreed.

Art filters etc. are a throwback to the pre-mobileOS days. They are essentially crappy apps resting on the already substandard camera OS, using resources better applied elsewhere.

This is an interesting view. It is not really instantaneous, or quicker at all, as you would have to transfer the original pic to the camera then open the app and modify it with whatever filter, and then you can send it off

with the art filter in camera, you send it to your camera through the app and share it already done

Plus if I remember correctly the app significantly downsizes the pictures which to me is ridiculous

The workflow you described has to be done anyway as pretty much the major gateway to all image networking now is done via mobile OS devices followed a distant second by PC/Macs.

Jane and Joe Consumer...the ones in the PEN-F ads, are likely far more nimble with mobileOS apps than any junk app or color dial on a dedicated camera. Literals, this was Olympus trying to reinvent the wheel.

The main flaw affecting the dedicated optical camera maker industry is an inability to transfer images onto mobileOS at the highest quality, quickly.

I was just at a café today and three grandmas were each with an iPad sharing photos of a trip they'd taken together. Over 70s very familiar with the workings of an iOS device, comfortable with organizing, sharing, and enjoying photos. That's the very function of a dedicated computer device, but not an optical camera. The PEN-F was a very naked attempt by Olympus to usurp that pattern and make the camera itself the editing device. The fact they actually engineered a dedicated control dial to do that speaks volumes about Olympus's misplaced understanding of the imaging market.

And it's probably a factor adding to the PEN-Fs cost and, ultimately, it's lack of market staying power. That's the shame, because the RF design is useful and has a place in m43.

Again I’m confused.

Are you saying that it is better to take a picture on the camera, transmit it to the phone, open up Olympus pallette app, apply the art filter, then send out versus take the picture in camera with art filter already applied, transmit to phone and then send out?

Also, you mention about transmission at the highest quality possible. My understanding is that any file transferred to the phone from the camera and edited in the Olympus pallette will be downsized, so why not edit it (apply the art filter) in camera to avoid this???

Watch the PEN-F ad.

At the 1:00 mark they dive into the Creative Dial with "The excitement of selecting film, shooting, developing, and printing - relive it all as you create the image you envisioned" and the further as they spend the next 30 seconds on those controls. Mid-ad, mid-story, those are emphasized, ahead of IBIS. Some serious combined engineering and marketing effort went into that.

Here's the marketing irony...after each shot they flash the image on the screen as a finished, shared product. But realistically the shared product would be through the other device that is not shown in the video...the smartphone, or tablet, or laptop. Even the YouTube ad would be seen on one of those devices as it is a 1:30 ad, so not for television broadcast.

Then the Olympus slogan flashes at the end with the logo: "Capture your stories".

Sure, it's an excellent capture device. But as an editing platform even at time of composition? Using the film and print metaphor? Really?

They use film era nostalgia (and a Gothic script...those clever Japanese) to sell the product as a complete film selection and end result product. The entire concept of the PEN-F was to pretend that the whole smartphone, mobileOS, and even digital undertaking are somehow the problem.

It positions the PEN-F as not needing any other editing or even sharing technology.

The PEN-F exemplifies all of the reasons why Japan Inc's photographic industry is struggling. The attempt to avoid the real world where people now 99% of the time capture, edit, and share on a smart device is not even addressed. They went an entirely different way as if to insist those non-Japan Inc. products and technologies aren't really even part of using a camera.

If you want to know why the camera industry is struggling against smartphones...this is why.

And all they really needed instead off the color wheel was a single, dedicated button for sending image to phone (or just send all images to phone). Even if they'd have put a Lightning SD card reader in the box, or equivalent for Android. That would have made the camera far more viable than the idea we can select film, compose, edit, and even print all through the EVF.

What a waste of resources and good design.

Hi, after rereading your comments about the pen-f, I still cannot understand the exact reasons why the art filters and colour wheel are bad things.

you talk at length about the pen-f advertisement as if there is some sort of smoking gun evidence as to why the colour wheel is bad, but I still don’t understand.

here’s another shocker— sometimes i remove the SD card and edit or send the pictures from the SD card from my pc! Pictures that were taken with an art filter sometimes!!

the best I can do is I think you are saying the transmission of files from camera to phone could be better, and somehow editing the pictures on the phone app is better than editing the pictures in camera, because phones have better resolution.

my thoughts are take the general pics you want in camera (art filters, colour wheel, neutral whatever) and then transmit to phone and send out.

if I want to do any serious editing, I will not use a phone app and instead will use my pc, as any pc software is considerably better than the phone app.

They are bad because there is a far superior editing platform on app on on phones and tablets and PC/Macs.

The idea that one edits on the camera, and even puts hardwired engineer dials and buttons to do that, is a terrible design, economic, and marketing choice.

The wheel as equipment is OK, but the PEN-F comes across as this faux "film" era model and not part of a networked device, being a superior capture tool that can seamlessly integrate with dedicated app devices with much, much better editing and sharing software.

The idea of composing and editing in one shot—as is done in the ad and is the raison d'etre of the creative dial—is nearly useless. It positions the EVF and rear LCD as competing against a 4k or Retina screen. That's the competition! It's like putting 15" sedan wheels on a Formula One car. The PEN-F was a great design, marred by overkill JPEG-centric controls, at a RAW price point, with poor networking, a crippled, non-PDAF sensor, and overly costly.

They put so much effort into trying to put down the smartphone daemon they priced it out of the market.

You are tilting at windmills here.
the art filters and colour wheel whatever are fabulous for a nice quick jpeg to share, and yes, even print!

of COURSE the Olympus pc programme can really edit a raw file much much more than an in camera setting can.


No such thing as "quick share" from an ILC to a mobileOS device.

And once you get the image off the camera, it's more likely to be editing on said device.

So the original in-camera filter is useless.

Direct printing in made 1 in a billion photos? If that.

And keep min mind the learning curve. Almost the entire market has a smartphone camera and built in software. Apple's Photos has RAW conversion built into the OS.

So the smartphone consumer is likely to take more photos and edit more photos on their phone regardless, and use that software.

Why would they learn a second set of clumsy in-camera software using the terrible Olympus UI and camera OS? Why use an inferior product when the much more capable smartphone OS and app are right there, trained up, and ready to go, with ease-of-networking built right in?

If you want to use scenes and filters and editing tools on a pro Nikon like the Z7 or D850, they are still there, buried in legacy code menus deep. Realistically, at some not in the near future, they will be purged. The Olympus irony is that they made them core to the PEN-F experience. And frankly, they flopped. The creative dial was as much mocked as appreciated, and the model line is said to be dead.

 Doug Janis's gear list:Doug Janis's gear list
Ricoh GR III Olympus E-M5 II Olympus E-M1 II Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Pro Olympus 40-150mm F2.8 Pro +3 more
Post (hide subjects) Posted by
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum PPrevious NNext WNext unread UUpvote SSubscribe RReply QQuote BBookmark MMy threads
Color scheme? Blue / Yellow