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Olympus PEN F is the retro digital camera you’ve been waiting for

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Olympus Pen F Image: Olympus By Raymond Wong2016-01-27 08:16:02 UTC

There’s no company that knows how to build retro cameras the way Olympus does.

The new PEN F is quite possibly the most retro mirrorless digital camera the company has ever created. I dare say it’s even more retro than the company’s high-end OM-D mirrorless cameras. It’s not just old-school aesthetics — the camera’s got a dial on the front for quickly switching between different color modes to emulate the look of film.

The digital PEN F’s design pays homage to the original PEN F film camera released in 1963. The resemblance is obvious when the cameras are next to each other. You can tell just by looking at it that the engineers and designers sweated all of the details from the font to the knurled metal dials.

Like Olympus’s other Micro Four-Thirds format mirrorless cameras, the PEN F’s top is covered with dials and the backside has buttons crammed into every piece of its body. In the era of touchscreens, the dial and button overload may feel a bit much, but I love it.


Image: Olympus

By including all of these physical buttons and dials, Olympus, is in a way, bringing back the seriousness of taking photos. To shoot in any mode other than manual and not appreciate the tactile controls would be a waste.

Within the magnesium top and aluminum and faux-leather-wrapped body is a new 20-megapixel Live MOS image sensor powered by Olympus’s TruePick VII image processor. The resolution boost is greatly welcome since Olympus has stuck with a 16-megapixel image sensor for years, while its closest mirrorless competitors leapfrogged it.

The camera’s also got 5-axis in-body image stabilization,…

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