Introduced in 1963, the Olympus Pen F* was a small, beautifully designed camera that achieved rapid market success. “The concept of a camera that could be carried and used as easily as a writing instrument was the inspiration for its name” (McKeown’s Price Guide to Antique & Classic Cameras, 1997/1998). The half-frame (18mm x 24mm portrait orientation) single-lens reflex camera took 70 images on a roll of film. Several models were introduced until the line ended in 1972.
The camera returned in 2016, 53 years later, in digital form. “While the new PEN-F has similarities to once-predominant film-type cameras, it is far from a simple digital copy of its predecessor (https://www.olympus-global.com/technology/design/story/penf/). “The digital reincarnation of the 35mm film Olympus PEN-F does not replace the current digital PEN flagship E-P5, rather it slides in next to it as the ‘premium’ option in the PEN family. The reason being that unlike digital PENs before it, the F has a built-in 2.36 million dot OLED electronic viewfinder.
The F also boasts the highest output resolution of any Olympus body to date, boasting a 20MP Four Thirds sensor (probably the same one we’ve seen in the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8)” (https://www.dpreview.com/reviews/olympus-pen-f). At its release, the updated mirrorless interchangeable-lens digital Pen F was priced at $1200 for the body only (collectiblend.com has current auction range of $480 to $1200).
The aluminum and magnesium body, encased in faux-leather, has no screws visible and is “well-weighted with a solid feel to it.” Many features of the new digital PEN-F are found in older Olympus cameras, but some have been improved. “For instance, thanks to its 20MP sensor, the PEN-F is capable of higher resolution in multi-shot mode compared to the OM-D E-M5 II, up to 80MP in Raw mode (50MP in JPEG).
It also features a dedicated creative control knob on the front, as well as four customizable shooting modes.” Other features include a 2.36 million dot OLED electronic viewfinder, top mechanical shutter speed of 1/8000 sec (1/16,000 with e-shutter), 1080/60p video recording capability, a 1.04 million dot LCD touchscreen, and 5 axis image stabilization with automatic panning detection.
* For more information on the original Pen F, try these resources: