A great camera for when you’re walking around town
A great camera for when you’re walking around town (photo: Hannah McCaughey)

The Olympus Pen-F Is the Best Camera for Urban Photos

This revived classic is perfectly suited to city life

A great camera for when you’re walking around town
Hannah McCaughey

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Most cameras are utilitarian and, truth be told, quite ugly. Not the Olympus Pen-F ($1,000 for camera body).

This mirrorless digital shooter is a throwback to the first iteration, released in 1963. And like the original, it looks just as good as it works, with a metal body, old-school dials, and leather accents.

Opportunities for great photos can arise suddenly as you’re wandering the city, so you want something unobtrusive enough to carry everywhere. The Pen-F is no high-speed action camera, but its svelte frame fits neatly in a pocket (sans lens). So does your smartphone, of course, but this camera’s sensor is significantly larger (20 megapixels) than what you’ll find in, say, Apple’s latest handsets, which means it captures more defined low-light images and richer daytime colors. And thanks to those dials up top, you can take full manual control of the Pen-F if you like.

Will it make you as accomplished as great 20th-century street photographers like Vivian Maier and Martin Parr? Probably not. But it’s the perfect tool to help you develop your own style.

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From Outside Magazine, July/August 2019 Lead photo: Hannah McCaughey

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