So I really love this little camera. Though I have some resentment towards it because I ran a whole pretend roll through it. On top of that it’s a half frame camera and in my mind I had a 36 exposure roll in it so I took a total of 72 pictures only to open up an empty camera 🙁 I also had some trouble figuring out if the camera was working and I took some pics of my own face once there was film in it…..all in a days work when working with new cameras I guess. Other than that I still think it’s an awesome company camera, plus you get double the amount of exposures than you usually do.
Olympus PEN EF Camera
The Olympus PEN EF was manufactured in 1981 and was the last half frame model that Olympus ever made. The camera uses a selenium light meter and has a built in pop up flash that is powered by a single AA battery. You can use camera without the battery as long as there is enough light. It has a fixed focus so it is a great no pressure point and shoot camera. Because this is a half frame you can get two neat smaller photos of 18 x 24 in place of a single standard frame of 24 x 36 of 35mm film. It would be so good for trips with friends as you can pack in a whole bunch of photos in one roll and not have worry about getting some blurry and/or silly shots in the process.
The Olympus PEN EF uses 35mm film and you adjust to ASA by shifting the outer ring around the lens to match the film inside the camera. You can buy 35mm film at such places as Walmart, Target and CVS. You can also buy film online from specialty camera stores, but I generally go for film from Lomography. You can look into their wide range of 35mm stock here. I have been recently taking some great photos with their Lomochrome series film, and you can see them HERE(Turquoise) and HERE(Purple). I read on about this camera on another blog and they tested it with black and white film. In my opinion I think that the camera takes better contrasting pics in black and white than in color.
The PEN EF opens up by pulling on a silver metal tab on the bottom side of the camera. This causes the back door to pop open. Lift up the film rewinder to place the film in the chamber to the left and then push it back down so that it goes into the film cartridge to hold it in place. Pull the film out and line it up with the sprocket nubs and insert the ledger into the slit in the film take-up spool. Advance the the film by pushing the shutter button and turning the winding thumbwheel on the back of the camera. Then you can close up the back click the shutter and wind the film a few more times until you can see a 1 in the exposure counter window. The camera prevents you from doing double exposures and double advances so everything is easy peasy(unless you did want some double exposure action). Once your roll is done you can push in the film rewind button at the bottom of the camera and then turn the rewind crank to take up the film again. You will know it is done because you will no longer be able to turn the thumbwheel.
After I took so long the first time of taking pictures and not having any film in the camera I decided to take it with on a skiing trip that would require me to take a ton of fun and action packed pics. This time I did put film in and it was awesome to just have this tiny well built camera in my pocket. I took some beatings as I fell down a mountain or two, but the photos it took were pretty amazing. I did not bother to split up the images and I just left them as they were originally scanned with 2 pics per frame.
Oh hey there’s that face picture….
The next place I took the camera was on a hiking trip to Alamere Falls, which is in a national park along the California coast. It is one of a few waterfalls in the world that empty out into the ocean. I was lucky to have pics of the ski trip and this trip come out on one scan so the juxtaposition of both images below is kind of awesome.
The last photo is my home sweet home, but I think I was a little too close to the subjects and it was just a tad dark causing the picture to come out a little bit blurry. Although I still like the result.
I am glad I was able to work with this camera. It’s a small camera and can really take a beating if it has to. I can attest to it cause it was right there with me as I tumbled down a mountain in Tahoe. Next time I hope to use the camera during the night on in low light occasions. I was not able to utilize the flash and see how well it can work. This would be one of the top film cameras that I would take with me on trips because of its size and the amount of pictures it can take.
If you really like this camera and it’s design you can sometimes find in my Etsy Shop. If it’s not in stock you can always drop me a note and I can source it for you for no extra cost and make a reserved listing just for you.
Most times the manual for this camera is no longer with the camera itself, but you can find a copy of it at this Link.
- Type: 35mm Pen-size lens-shutter camera
- Manufacturer: Olympus
- Year of release: 1981
- Films: 35 mm ISO 50-400 to be set
- Film format: 24 x 18 mm
- Lens: D.Zuiko 28 mm F3.5, 4 elements in 3 groups
- Shutter: Programmed lens shutter (F3.5 * 1/30 sec. ~ F22 * 1/250 sec.)
- Viewfinder: Bright frame finder, 0.5x, Red warning signal against under-exposure
- Exposure counter: Progressive type with automatic reset.
- Focusing: Fixed focus (1.4m or 4.6ft ~ infinity).
- Film rewind: Crank type with rewind release button.
- Flash: Built-in automatic electronic flash. GN 10 ( ASA 100, meters) or 33 (ASA 100, feet) with one 1.5V AA ‘penlight’ battery (including Ni-Cd). Recycling time approx. 7 sec and approx. 150 flashes with AA alkaline battery, X contract, 1/30 sec.
- Film advance: Rear winding thumbwheel (180 degress). Built-in prevention against double advance and double exposure.
- Exposure Control: Automatic by built-in EE meter. Shutter release lock against under-exposure
- Exposure range: EV 8.5 ~ 17 (ASA 100)
- Battery: 1.5V alkaline (LR44) or silver oxide (G13) battery.
- Dimensions (W x H x D): 115 x 74 x 44mm
- Weight: 280g (without battery)
I hope that you have enjoyed this review. Please let me know if you have any particular cameras that you would like to see reviewed.