Half-frames are good cameras for a lot of reason! Especially when it comes with an awesome lens, accurate metering and that vintage look that will always be stylish!
I got hooked on half-frame cameras after I got my Diana Mini. Oh! The possibilities of splitting your precious expired film into 72 frames!!! :) What more if you coupled it with a great lens, right? I first bought a used Olympus PEN EE-3 which practically fell apart when I switched the aperture settings! I got so frustrated that I never stopped hunting on eBay until I found the perfect replacement: an Olympus PEN EE-2 for only $40, in mint condition and with the original flash included!
This version of the Olympus PEN EE Series was produced from 1968-1977. It has a 28mm f/3.5 lens and uses automatic settings (just set either the film speed or the aperture you prefer). It’s difference from the original EE camera were the shutter speeds. The shutter now operated at either 1/40 or 1/200. When you set the ring based on your film ASA/ISO, the speed used if f/200. The slow shutter speed setting applies when you use the aperture setting. The ASA/ISO speed range you can choose from is 25 – 400.
Anyway, enough technical stuff! Here are my comments and insights WHY this camera should be in each film photographer’s possession:
- It’s the perfect Daily Camera – I use this camera every single day I go out. It’s compact and light which fits perfectly even in my small handbags. I use its original leather case to protect it from scratches.
- Don’t think just shoot! — It’s flash lets me take indoor shots, and its automatic exposure setting just let’s me point and shoot with no worries. Just set the correct ISO setting and you’re all set to go! The selenium meter on my camera work’s perfectly! You just have to make sure of the cameras limits (aperture and the fixed shutter speed settings).
- Have a story – with the half-frames, you can either take totally irrelevant photos or take a shot that tells your viewers a story! It’s quite a challenge but it’s always better if your story effectively relays its message.
- Really good lens – I remember reading one that Olympus released the Pen EE series to sell cheap cameras. But Olympus failed miserably because there is nothing cheap about the quality of pictures it produces!! I totally agree. I love how its 28mm – it’s half of a normal frame, but it fits a lot into the frame!
- It’s compatible with everything!!! — I use my new shutter release cable, and MY RINGFLASH!!! It fits perfectly in the Lomo LC-A adapter. Plus 10 points, Yay!
- *You get to maximize your film *– I usually finish 1 roll in the span of 3 days to 1 week depending on how many locations or occasions I shoot! In fact, most of the time, I get tired of shooting a single roll it may seem never ending!! (Especially when I have new films to test! Hehe So far, my favorite films to use with it is Sensia 400 and Ektachrome 200. My next films in line are B&W and Lomography Redscale XR! :)
- *Perfect for stitched photos *– When I get tired of 72 shots and I really want to finish it already, I just shoot the whole scenery and just stick the photos together after scanning! It ALWAYS turns out really good! (Just a bit time consuming in cropping and aligning photos in Photoshop! Haha)
- *Good metering *– The selenium meter still works on mine that’s why I set it to my film’s ISO speed. When I want to test my skills, or when I’m indoor, I use the aperture settings so the camera switched to the lower shutter speed setting (1/40). I’ve made a LOT of mistakes though by using the aperture setting resulting to overexposed shots!
- For small prints only – However, when you do have intentions of publishing your photos or if you need to produce large prints, bear in mind that if you use half of frame, you can only have it blown up for half the maximum size of a regular 35mm picture. (Normally I just print these pictures up to size 6 × 8, I haven’t tried formats bigger than that!)
That’s about all I have to say about this small but reliable camera! It’s really THE point & shoot cameras if you just want to shoot without worrying about the settings! It’s perfect for Lomography’s rule perfectly: Don’t Think, Just Shoot!
This review was written by Kara Hizon – http://karahizon.com
and was first published here: http://bit.ly/penee2 (http://lomolocoshop.com)