The original Olympus Pen F is as iconic as modern mirrorless cameras can get; in fact, the love for this camera is so strong that photographers have been clamoring for a Pen F II for years.
According to a recent 4/3 Rumors report, fans of the Pen F line might finally have something to get excited about. At a recent meet and greet in London, a fan was shocked to hear two OMDS engineers talking about the possibility of the Pen F II. Now, this, of course, is all hearsay. There’s no telling this story is true. Still, it’s not out of the realm of possibility.
Apparently, OMDS is in the beginning stages of this project, and they are currently conducting market research. So, while it might be a good long while before we see a potential follow-up to one of the most iconic mirrorless street photography cameras, the good news is that the wheels could be starting to turn at OMDS.
What made the Pen F so good?
The mirrorless Pen F was a modern take on the original 35mm Olympus Pen F when it comes to design. The classic, vintage styling made photographers’ hearts do a happy dance when they first laid eyes on it.
Of course, the most significant difference between the two is that the modern Pen F is a mirrorless camera that uses a 20-megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor. The original Pen F, which was just as beloved during its day, was a half-frame 35mm film camera.
The mirrorless Pen F was a camera that made you want to pick it up and use it all the time. It was small, lightweight and balanced beautifully with some of the smaller f/1.8 primes that Olympus, like the Olympus 17mm f/1.8 and the 25mm f/1.8. The images — especially black and white images — the Pen F could churn out were pure eye candy too.
The tiny Micro Four Thirds camera also packed IBIS, a decent EVF and a fully articulating LCD. The mirrorless Pen F was almost the perfect camera. However, a lack of weather sealing made many street photographers ignore the camera. So, whatever OMDS decides to do with the Pen F II, it must include weather sealing.
What we’d like to see in the OM SYSTEM PEN F II
As mentioned above, there’s no factual information about the Pen F II. At this stage, we don’t even know if we will ever see one. Still, this should not stop us from dreaming about one. One thing I can guarantee is that if OMDS does make a follow-up to one of their most iconic modern cameras, demand for it will be high.
So, what would we like to see in a Pen F II? Well, I think it should go without saying that the Pen F II must be weather sealed, even if this means making the camera slightly larger than the first mirrorless iteration. A Pen camera that somebody can use in inclement weather would seal the deal for many street photographers regardless of the other specs.
Keep it simple
Of course, we would love to see the new 20-megapixel stacked sensor in the Pen F II. Bring along an updated EVF. Ditch the fully articulating screen and replace it with a tilting LCD. This would make shooting from the hip easier and a little less obvious. We’d love to see the Pen F II keep its vintage range-finder style design, too. Perhaps re-work the button layout so we can have a small joystick on the back. This would make the camera so much easier to use.
I was a fan of the front dial, which allowed you to choose between image profiles. However, I know this was a hotly debated feature between photographers. Still, I’d like to see it return. The first mirrorless Pen F struggled with autofocus in low light, so including the new AF system — or parts of it — from the OM-1 would be welcomed.
Price it right
OMDS, just simplify the camera. Remove any unnecessary features that don’t need to be there, like high-res image modes. A street camera does not need this. Video modes? Honestly, they are not required, and removing them will help keep costs down. Next, update the user interface with the new simplified menus.