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Lomopedia: Olympus Pen F

Another landmark camera designed by the esteemed Maitani Yoshihisa, the fascinating Olympus Pen F was a half-frame SLR camera introduced in the early 1960s. Yes, you're reading it right! Find out more about this interesting half-frame snapper in this installment of Lomopedia!

Following the success of the original Olympus Pen launched in 1959, Olympus decided to make an SLR version of the iconic compact half-frame camera. Called Olympus F, it was introduced in 1963 and was designed by the legendary Maitani Yoshihisa, the engineer who also fashioned the original Pen, Olympus OM-1, and Olympus XA.

This half-frame camera is one of the most compact SLR cameras, doing away with the traditional prism bulge since it’s equipped with a porro prism viewfinder and a reflex mirror that flips sideways. It also has a focal plane shutter with a rotary metal disc and allows flash synchronization for all its speeds up to 1/500 seconds. Like the twin stroke concept of Leica cameras, the winding lever of the Pen F must be advanced twice before each exposure. While it does not have a built-in light meter, it can be attached with one on the shutter speed dial through a two-pronged bayonet mount.

The Pen F can be equipped with a variety of 17 dedicated lenses and a full range of accessories, making it the first complete system by Olympus at the time.

Technical Specifications:

  • Picture size: 24 × 18 mm
  • Lens: (with F1.2 standard lens) H Zuiko Auto S, F1.2, f=42mm; (with F1.4 standard lens) G Zuiko Auto S, F1.4, f=40mm; (with F1.8 standard lens) F Zuiko Auto S, F1.8, f=38mm
  • Lens replacement: Bayonet system (“Pen” mount)
  • Shutter: OLYMPUS rotary metal focal-plane shutter; B, 1 – 1/500 sec. (equally calibrated) one-pivot non rotating shutter speed dial
  • Synchronizing viewfinder: Porroprism finder, magnification 0.8X (standard lens), with microprism and special Fresnel lens
  • Mirror: Horizontally opening shockless quick return mirror
  • Loading: EL (easy loading) system
  • Film Advancing: 1-stroke lever type with an advancing stroke angle of 150 degrees, self-cocking to prevent double advances and double exposures
  • Film counter: Exposed counting, self-resetting type
  • Film rewinding: Crank type rewind button system
  • Focus adjustment: Direct advancing helicoid system, minimum close-up distance 35 cm
  • Exposure adjustment: Through-The-Lens number system, both open and stopped-down aperture methods available
  • Light measuring range: EV 3 ~ EV 17 (ASA 100) with F1.4 standard lens
  • Light acceptor: Extra large CdS meter, average light measurement method
  • Power source: Mercury battery (1.3 volts)
  • Film speed rating scale: ASA 25 – 400
  • Self-timer: Lever system (90 degrees) actuated in about 11 seconds
  • Rear cover operation: “Magic” locking hinge system
  • Size and weight: (with F1.2 standard lens) 127 (W) x 69.5 (H) x 77.5 (D) mm, 720 grams; (with F1.4 standard lens) 127 (W) x 69.5 (H) x 68.5 (D) mm, 630 grams; (with F1.8 standard lens) 127 (W) x 69.5 (H) x 62.5 (D) mm, 600 grams

All information for this article were sourced from Camerapedia and Camera Manuals.

written by plasticpopsicle

1 comment

  1. shack_81


    What a beautiful little camera - I love these old Olympus cameras - they're just perfect to look at!

    3 months ago · report as spam