I acquired this camera as a result of a swap with Tom, a friend of mine. He needed a compact digital camera and was willing to trade the Olympus Pen FT. I had a four year old Panasonic ZS3 that I had bought second hand and was not using that much.
What an incredible camera! It’s a half frame (e.g. it will take 72 shots on a 36 exposure roll of film) film camera. It looks like a rangefinder camera and is about the same size. But it’s not a rangefinder. It’s an SLR! It came out in 1966 and looks just like the earlier Pen F. However, unlike the Pen F this model has a built in, but somewhat quirky, through the lens (TTL) exposure meter. Rather than provide aperture/shutter speed combination it gives a number. It’s not immediately apparent which f stop the number relates to. Someone has taken a marker and marked the numbers against the appropriate f stop on the aperture ring, but some of them have blurred. Doesn’t matter much to me as I’d probably either guess the exposure or use a separate meter anyway.
It’s an extremely well designed camera that just feels right in the hands. Amazingly everything seems to work. Although dim (apparently this is normal for this camera) the viewfinder still allows for easy focus. The shutter speeds work and sound about right. Aperture settings work fine. The self-timer is missing its button but still seems to work fine. Other than that and the marker inscribed exposure numbers the camera is in pretty good shape although it could do with a cleaning. The lens is a 35mm f1.8 F.Zuiko.
I haven’t yet tried it with film (and I’m not at all sure how I’d get half frame film processed), but I did acquire an adapter for my Sony Nex 5n, which allowed me to try out the lens. Some samples below. I love the colours, but the lens seems to have a tendency to flare. I don’t know if this is typical or if there’s something wrong with the lens. I’m sure a lens hood would help. Even with the flare I find the results attractive.
Docks on Roaring Brook Lake. From our dock,
Orchid in our living room