Olympus PEN-F: this beauty is a beast

The Olympus PEN series is one of the camera world's most successful digital ranges. Launched back in 2009, the modern mirrorless Olympus PEN was based on a popular film camera manufactured by Olympus in the middle of the last century.

The Olympus Pen was a small, light and efficient fixed-lens camera, and allowed photographers to get twice the usual number of pictures from a single roll of film by shooting half-frame - as if they'd cut a traditional photo in half, vertically.

The modern, fully-digital PEN camera didn't just look like its analogue ancestor - the mirrorless, electronic incarnation also offered the lightweight build, responsive technology and travel-friendly nature of its film forebear.

But there wasn't just one Pen in the 1960's. In 1963, Olympus launched the Pen F: the world's first half-frame interchangeable lens camera. 20 different lenses were available for this stylish little marvel that was essentially an SLR, without that characteristic mound atop the camera where the mirrors and viewfinder traditionally sit. The resulting sleek, stylish body of the Pen F was an immediate hit with photographers looking for a portable camera that didn't compromise on performance.

One standout feature is the High Visibility electronic viewfinder: this is the first PEN to boast one in a rangefinder style, allowing photographers to accurately preview creative effects or exposure before capture. It'll delight those who love composing pictures by holding a camera to their eye: and certainly makes you look the part as well.

1/8000sec shutter speed gets you results in the brightest of conditions, while ISO LOW (equivalent of ISO 80) picks out detail in the dark. A brand new 20MP sensor beats at the heart of the PEN F which will excite those obsessed with image quality: Olympus has been saying for years that it wouldn't update the 16MP sensor (arguing that this was more than enough pixels for the regular user) until a really good one came along - so we're quietly confident this new sensor will more than live up to expectations.

Like all other recent Olympus launches, the PEN-F has WiFi support and access to Olympus's excellent O.I Share app technology, allowing you to wirelessly transfer shots to your smartphone or tablet for immediate upload to social media.

That front dial next to the lens, so strongly reminiscent of the Pen series' dials and buttons, allows you to switch between different creative modes and access Olympus's trademark Art Filters extremely quickly. There's even some spare spaces available for you to customise your very own monochrome or colour Art Filter - perfect for those creative types who like their pictures just so.

Paired with either a 14-42mm or a delicious-looking 17mm f/1.8 prime lens, we have no doubt that this camera is going to please an awful lot of photographers.

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