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The Olympus Pen F will go down as one of the best compact Mirrorless cameras of all time. It’s gorgeous retro design, the capable 20-megapixel sensor, and the way it rendered black and white images made it a stand out performer. However, it had one fatal flaw. Water to the Olympus Pen F was like Kryptonite to Superman. The lack of weather sealing was a deal-breaker to many. However, there is a chance that this weakness will be fixed. According to one Olympus manager, the Pen F II is being considered. We and so many others would love that. Here’s what we’d love to see in the Pen F II.
A recent post at 4/3 Rumors highlights an interview with an Olympus manager based in Germany. During the interview, Nils Häussler from Olympus Germany shared a few things the new owner of Olympus, JIP, has in store. First, there will be new Olympus branded cameras in 2021. Second, the company is going to focus heavily on the video market. But the most important part of the interview (for us, at least) was the third statement. Nils Häussler stated that JIP is indeed still thinking about making the Pen F II. As a photographer, if this doesn’t get your shutter racing, it’s time to find a new hobby or profession.
The Pen F Was Like a Love Letter from Your Soul Mate
The original Pen F (which is on sale for just $899) was almost the perfect camera. As soon as you saw it, your heart would flutter. When you held it, you would be transported back to a simpler time. The Olympus Pen F was an experience, and if you’ve never held or used one, you have missed out on one of the greatest photographic experiences you can find. You might think I’m crazy, but I’m telling you, Olympus knows how to create a bond between their cameras and their users. It’s one of the many reasons I love using Olympus cameras.
So many manufacturers ignore this today, and that’s a real shame. The more you bond with your camera, the more you’ll use it. It’s as simple as that. Many cameras today are soulless. The Pen F made you want to get out and shoot. To say we have high hopes for the Pen F II would be an understatement. If JIP wants to make a statement of intent, they can easily make it with the Pen F II.
What We Want To See In the Pen F II
So, what would we want the Pen F II to look like? Honestly, from a design standpoint, we hope that not much changes. The original Olympus Pen F was just about as sexy as a camera can get. The retro design was beautiful. The vintage style dials were wonderful. The dial on the front of the camera that allowed you to quickly change to black and white mode was great. Ergonomically, the Pen F was almost perfect. Still, if we could change one thing, we would ask JIP to include a dedicated ISO dial. Sure, you could customize the original to make one of the dials control ISO, but separate controls for ISO, shutter, and aperture would be ideal.
Or maybe adding in a joystick!
A Few Small Tweaks Will Go A Long Way
It goes without saying that the Pen F II must be weather sealed. The lack of weather sealing on the original was a complete mystery. With weather sealing, Olympus would have sold so many more Pen F cameras. The 20MP Micro Four Thirds sensor used in the E-M1 III and E-M1X would honestly be fine for the Pen F II. It’s more than capable. However, we hope that JIP pair it up with the newer, faster image processor found in the E-M1X. That way, the Pen F II will be able to take advantage of AI tracking algorithms. Also, ditch the UHS-I SD Card standard and include a UHS-II slot at a minimum.
Battery life also needs to be greatly improved over the original Pen F too. You’d have to carry multiple batteries with you if you wanted to shoot all day. The Pen F II with Olympus’s updated 5-axis IBIS would be incredible as well. An updated EVF that exceeds the 2-million dot mark would be welcomed, and so would a hybrid OVF/EVF. Still, please, JIP, hire a new UI designer who can de-clutter and reimagine the menu system. It’s time for the messy menus to change. This isn’t Pen F II-related, but while you’re at it, JIP, please release new versions of the 17mm f1.8 and the 25mm f1.8 lenses that are weather sealed. They would pair up perfectly with a weather-sealed Pen F II.
What Would You Like To See In the Pen F II?
There’s no doubt in our minds that JIP should definitely release the Pen F II. JIP doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel here. The original was almost perfect. We think the second version of the Pen F would give Fujifilm and their X100V a serious run for its money with a few tweaks. Keep it around $1,000, and it will fly off the shelves. What would you like to see in the second coming of the Pen F? What features would make it a day one purchase for you? Let us know in the comment section below.