Frostbike 2016 with the Olympus Pen F

I am finally home after several straight days of work. We hosted our annual Frostbike event. This year marks my 20th year of attending as an employee of QBP and my 23rd or 24th if you factor in I attended as a customer prior to my employment. Each year I look forward to it.  Each year I come home both exhausted and excited about the industry that I work in, the products we make and the friendships I have developed over all those years.  This year is no exception.

I had originally expected to shoot this event on the new Fuji X Pro 2 but it has been delayed. Given I wanted to do some social channel imagery for the brands I work with, I needed a camera with built in Wi-Fi transfer as well as a couple different lens options. I have sold all my gear to fund the X Pro 2 and my remaining X Pro 1 doesn’t have Wifi so I was out of luck. I decided to rent a new Olympus Pen F from Lensrentals for the weekend from Lensrentals.

I’ve shot Olympus for a number of years. I was excited to shoot the Pen F. I think it is a gorgeous and well designed camera. It is quite stunning really. Sorry in advance,  no pics of the camera itself. Just images below taken with the camera.   I still own the original Pen EP1. This new camera is so far advanced from that original series it bears little resemblance. The newest Pen camera has both a new sensor (20MP), a front control panel for BW/Color simulations and a finally an EVF. Aside from its design, those are the features that are in my opinion as a hobbyist, the most important new features. Top construction. Incredible IBIS. Quick handling. Great IQ.  All that is there as you’d expect from Olympus.

The main reason I wanted to shoot this camera though is to try out the new front control dial with both color and black and white presets. Unlike art filters, these pre settings are completely customizable. It’s quick and easy to make adjustments. All images below were shot Jpegs in BW or Color mode II. On the BW, I set highlights to -3 and shadows to +3 and reduced contrast to -1. I shot the color mode as is. I tried the grain feature but left it off for 99% of my shooting as I felt like it just added too much mush and lack of clarity to the images.  But these mode dials and customization I think are a wave of the future. I also imagine a day where you can use software on your computer or an app on your phone to upload color and black and white presets to the camera, making your JPEGs just right instantly for social and digital transfer and uploading.

All in all, the Pen F is a beautiful camera. It’s built well. Performs flawlessly. I just wish it had a little bit better EVF and weather sealing. Right now I can’t see paying full retail for one when you can buy an Olympus EM5 Mark II for about $750 on the used market and still achieve very similar results. That difference is a lot to pay for style and not much difference in IQ and features.

But…Here are some images. Again, all shot JPEG and I will process RAWs when I update my Lightroom. This event is work for me, so the images are random shots and I don’t shoot everything nor cover the event in a way that is meant to give coverage of all people, brands, products and vendors.

Just having fun was the intention and the hope that I would leave the weekend with at least a couple of really good images that could be used for something more than social channel sharing. I have done that in the past repeatedly so I had no reason not to expect to be able to do it again.  The Pen F really added to that fun. It is a true joy to shoot and use.  BUT, in the end, I left the weekend with images that I don’t think really represent my vision and capability. I own much of that, but part of that fact is that I just didn’t get along that well with this camera.

Until next year……

As always, click on any image below to move to slideshow mode.

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