This is your last chance to pre-order your Petzval Lens and get the special aperture plates included for free! With estimated delivery in August (or even sooner), don’t miss out on securing your picture perfect portrait lens!

Have an account? Login | New to Lomography? Register | Lab | Current Site:

LC-A Big Book Chapter 73: As Compact as an SLR Can Be: the Olympus Pen

The Olympus Pen series used several tricks to avoid this problem. By using a complex series of internal prisms rather than a pentaprism and a half-frame format (meaning that you could take up to 72 shots on a roll of 35mm film) that also allowed the use of smaller lenses, the Pen was one of the smallest SLR-cameras ever and stands at the beginning of the success story of Olympus as a manufacturer of small innovative cameras.

One of the most inventive SLR-cameras was probably the 1963 Olympus Pen. Many companies tried to make SLRs as compact as the rangefinder-cameras that they were replacing, but didn’t succeed. The problem was always that the large and bulky pentaprism-mechanism that defined contemporary SLR-cameras simply couldn’t be made smaller. The Olympus Pen series used several tricks to avoid this problem. By using a complex series of internal prisms rather than a pentaprism and a half-frame format (meaning that you could take up to 72 shots on a roll of 35mm film) that also allowed the use of smaller lenses, the Pen was one of the smallest SLR-cameras ever and stands at the beginning of the success story of Olympus as a manufacturer of small innovative cameras. One model of the series, the Pen EM, is also known for being the first compact camera with an automatic built-in motor drive to advance and rewind the film in no time. Moreover, the Olympus Pen was designed by Mr Yoshihisa Maitani, who also conceived the influential Olympus XA a few decades later.

Have the full glory of the book here

written by ungrumpy

3 comments

  1. robotmonkey1996

    robotmonkey1996

    WHy do they have viewfinders?

    almost 3 years ago · report as spam
  2. rbruce63

    rbruce63

    @robotmonkey1996 The viewfinder is used to compose the photograph. Since the camera doesn't have a complex prism and mirror to see through the lens, the view finder is used to compose and the camera is more compact. Other viewfinder cameras come with a coupled rangefinder to assess correct distance from focal plane to,subject instead of guessing and zone-focusing. The trade off is sometimes parallax error, for those cameras without parallax correction and fixed lens.

    11 months ago · report as spam
  3. robotmonkey1996

    robotmonkey1996

    No shit. I'm asking that because it's being compared to an SLR which doesn't make sense.

    11 months ago · report as spam

Read this article in another language

This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Deutsch & Spanish.