I acquired another “new” camera. This one is an Olympus Pen FT, from the late 1960s. These cameras are “half frame” meaning they use standard 35mm film, but make two exposures in the space of a single 35mm frame. Modern Olympus micro 4/3 digital cameras are also half frame (actually the 4/3 sensor size is ~1/4 of a full frame camera). You can buy adapters to use lenses like the 40mm f/1.4 that came with this camera on digital 4/3 system cameras. They’ll be manual focus and there’s no electronic coupling with the body. But f/1.4 is nice.
Aside from a few scratches on the body, this camera’s in pretty good shape. The lens is clear and the focus and diaphragm work correctly. The body is relatively clean too and the shutter and exposure counter work. The self timer is a bit dodgy, but that’s OK. The FT model has a built-in light meter, but it uses a mercury based battery which is supposed to be hard to get in the US. I haven’t even tried to get a battery, so I don’t know if the meter works or not. It’s surprisingly heavy (all metal construction) and very well made – it lasted for 45 years so far and still works. Do you think today’s cameras will still work in 2056?
I did run some black and white film through it. And I re-discovered that manual focus can be a bit tricky, especially if you shoot at f/1.4 with a relatively dim view finder, like this one. Here’s a couple of sample images:
My first photography teacher – Mr. Dove, had an Olympus Pen. I don’t remember if it was an F or an FT model. Someone stole it from him while he was teaching us and he really missed it. I wonder if he ever recovered it or replaced it.
Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!
©2011, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved