Olympus PEN F Performance


Timing and Performance

Generally excellent performance for its class, though startup was sluggish.

Startup/Play to Record

Power on
to first shot

~1.8 seconds

Time it takes to turn on and capture a shot.

Play to Record,
first shot

~0.5 second

Time until first shot is captured.

Startup time including taking a shot was a bit slow for its class at 1.8 seconds, but switching from Play to Record and taking a shot was quite fast.


Shutter Response (Lag Time)

Full Autofocus,
Single-area AF mode

0.144 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting. (All AF timing performed with the Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8 ED prime lens.)

Full Autofocus,
Single-area AF mode
Auto Flash Enabled

0.406 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting, TTL Auto flash enabled on bundled flash.

Manual Focus

0.092 second

For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "prefocused".

Prefocused

0.070 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

The Olympus PEN F's full-autofocus shutter lag in single-area AF mode (center AF position) was 0.144 second when tested with our Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8 ED prime lens. That's faster than average for a mirrorless camera and competitive with prosumer DSLRs, though keep in mind our test target is static and we don't refocus between trials for this test.

When using the bundled flash, full AF shutter lag increased to 0.406 second to account for preflash metering, though that's still pretty fast.

When manually focused, the Olympus PEN F's shutter lag time was 0.092 second, also fast. The PEN F's prefocused shutter lag time was decent at 0.070 second, but not quite as fast as most recent mirrorless cameras.

To minimize the effect of different lens' focusing speed, we test AF-active shutter lag with the lens already set to the correct focal distance.


Cycle Time (shot to shot)

Single Shot mode
Large/Super Fine JPEG

0.85 second

Time per shot, averaged over a few frames (we no longer test for buffer depths in single-shot mode).

Single Shot mode
RAW + LSF JPEG

0.95 second

Time per shot, averaged over a few frames (we no longer test for buffer depths in single-shot mode).

Early shutter
penalty?

No

Some cameras don't snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous H mode
Large/Super Fine JPEG

0.10 second (10.4 frames per second);
43 frames total;
5 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 43 shot buffer capacity, then slows to an average of 0.19s or 5.3 fps when buffer is full.

Continuous H mode
RAW

0.10 second (10.5 frames per second);
39 frames total;
6 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 39 shot buffer capacity, then slows to an average of 0.20s or 5.1 fps when buffer is full.

Continuous H mode
RAW + LSF JPEG

0.10 second (10.4 frames per second);
29 frames total;
10 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 29 shot buffer capacity, then slows to an average of 0.36s or 2.8 fps when buffer is full.

Continuous H+ mode
Large/Super Fine JPEG

0.05 second (20.6 frames per second);
25 frames total;
3 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 25 shot buffer capacity, then slows to an average of 0.18s or 5.7 fps when buffer is full.

Continuous H+ mode
RAW

0.05 second (20.6 frames per second);
25 frames total;
5 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 25 shot buffer capacity, then slows to an average of 0.20s or 5.1 fps when buffer is full.

Continuous H+ mode
RAW + LSF JPEG

0.05 second (20.6 frames per second);
22 frames total;
7 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 22 shot buffer capacity, then slows to an average of 0.36s or 2.8 fps when buffer is full.

Flash Recycling

6.0 seconds

Bundled flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 280MB/sec UHS-II SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Single-shot cycle times were about average for a mirrorless camera, ranging from 0.85 second for best quality JPEGs to 0.95 second for RAW+JPEG. (Note that we no longer test just RAW files in single-shot mode, as its cycle-time is usually somewhere between JPEG and RAW+JPEG.)

Continuous H mode performance was excellent, at over 10 frames per second with any file type, easily meeting Olympus' spec. Note that focus and exposure are fixed at the first frame of a burst in this mode. There is also a L (low) mode rated at 5 fps which supports continuous AF and exposure. The Olympus PEN-F also offers a new H+ mode using a fully electronic shutter that is rated at 20 fps, the fastest burst speed offered by a Micro Four Thirds camera at full-resolution thus far, and in the lab it also easily met the spec at 20.6 fps no matter the file type.

Buffer depths were quite good for its class in Continuous H mode at 43 frames for Large/Super Fine JPEGs, 39 frames for RAW files, and 29 frames for RAW+JPEGs before the camera slowed down. Note that our target for this test was designed to be difficult to compress, so JPEG burst lengths should be longer with typical subjects. (An you'll be able to take longer JPEG bursts by switching to Fine quality.) As expected, in Continuous H+ mode, buffer depths were lower, ranging from 22 to 25 frames depending on the file type. That's not bad considering the resolution, but keep in mind at that frame rate, the buffer only lasts a little over a second.

Buffer clearing was pretty fast with a fast UHS-II card, ranging from 5 seconds after a maximum length burst of 43 LSF JPEGs to 10 seconds after a burst of 29 RAW+JPEG frames. With our 95MB/s UHS-I card, buffer clearing times were about twice as long, and buffer depths were 5 frames less for JPEGs and RAW+JPEGs, and 8 frames less for RAW.

Flash recycle time was a bit sluggish with the included body-powered external flash, at 6.0 seconds after a full power discharge.


Bottom line, the Olympus PEN F's performance is generally excellent for its class, with fast autofocus speeds, very swift burst performance and generous buffer depths, though startup time is a bit sluggish.

Battery

Battery Life
Slightly below average battery life for a mirrorless camera.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
Still Capture,
(CIPA standard)
330

The Olympus PEN F uses a custom BLN-1 rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack for power, and comes with both a single battery and charger. The rated 330 shots per charge is slightly below average for a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera (unfortunately Olympus doesn't specify if that's with the EVF or LCD), and well below the capacity of most DSLRs with their optical viewfinders. We recommend getting a second battery for your PEN F if you plan any extended outings.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on a fully-charged rechargeable battery), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

 



Enter this month to win:

1 $300 Adorama Gift Certificate

2 $200 Adorama Gift Certificate

3 $100 Adorama Gift Certificate