Staff Review: Olympus Pen EES-2


The EES series hailed from the popular Pen family of Olympus half-frame cameras. The Pen was first introduced in 1959. It was the very first half-frame camera in Japan that was specially designed by Olympus' most popular chief designer, Yoshihisa Maitani. The small and portable camera was such a hit that it influenced other Japanese companies to use the same idea.

Olympus EES-2 © Ross The image was used as is and remains unaltered.

The Pen EE was introduced two years later in 1961. The camera had a 28 mm f/3.5 lens, fixed focus, and automatic exposure, thus making it a very convenient point-and-shoot camera. The EES appeared a year later, boasting a 30 mm f/2.8 lens and a focusing ring. It had a shutter speed that adjusts automatically according to the light level, which helps in nailing the precise exposure range.

Olympus Pen EE © Motoshi Omori The image was used as is and remains unaltered.

It was in 1968 when the EES-2 emerged. It was basically the same as the EES, but a flash hot shoe was made available. Also, while the EES had a film speed of 10-200, the EES-2 had 25-400. Along with the rest of the Pen family, the EES-2's charm lies in its convenient controls and the D-Zuiko lens that offers superior quality.

Community Member and then Lomography staff dux_x shared his personal review, plus tips & tricks:

“This little thing is capable of taking more than 80 pics with a single 36 frames roll. Yeah, it´s the perfect camera to take to places where you can´t find films to buy. A perfect camera for the days when it´s very hard to find the finest film of your dream. Because of its format (35 mm half-frame), while others take 36 shots, you can create over 80 images! The camera doesn´t need batteries. It just needs sunlight to activate the solar-powered selenium light meter — a perfect ecological masterpiece. Putting the economical aspect aside, the little Pen also had that great D. Zuiko lens with professional quality, reliable mechanics, a compact size and the cute vertical format for your pictures that you're gonna love. The EES-2 version had a zone focus (other versions had a fixed focus) giving you more power to play with the camera. It´s an aperture-priority camera with the shutter fixed on 1/200sec on A (auto) mode or you can choose the aperture (to use flash or be creative) with the shutter on 1/40sec.”
Credits dux.x

Tips & Tricks:

  • Take advantage of this camera's half-frame setting. Creating images that complete a scene and weave for yourself some panorama shots, for example. Neat photo stories can also be done with this cute little camera.
  • This is a camera that you'd want to bring with you as a backup. Loaded with b&w film and used to create behind-the-scenes shots, it'll be the perfect partner to document your shoots. Imagine having the liberty to shoot 80 frames with a regular 36-exposure 35 mm film.
  • You can save up on developing costs with this half-frame camera. That means you can buy other films and camera equipment!
  • Find a good red filter and do some black and white street shots with this camera. You will love the results!

_This review is submitted by Community Member dux_x .

written by shhquiet on 2008-06-11 #gear #people #35mm #review #olympus #half-frame #staff

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  1. brendend
    brendend ·

    "The camera doesn´t need batteries, just need sun light to activate the solar powered selenium light meter. Perfect ecological masterpiece"

    Wow, that's absolutely incredible - what a great idea!

  2. superlighter
    superlighter ·

    I got the PenEES, really great quality cameras. I had one album made with this camera named "for the love of PEN-EEs"

  3. trabantdeluxe
    trabantdeluxe ·

    The body and solar powered meter look to be basically the same as on my Olympus Trip 35. I considered the Pen when I wanted to get a half-frame camera, but went with a nice near mint Chaika-2. A very fun camera......half-frames really make film last longer. :-)

  4. swieconek
    swieconek ·

    Join Penography at Flickr :

    swieconek aka ishoothorizon

  5. cheeso
    cheeso ·

    A friend of mine found an Olympus Pen S in the streets and gave it to me. I just loaded it up with film and I'm about to get busy!!! Yay!

  6. cheeso
    cheeso ·

    Well, my poor little Pen S must be broken, only 25 percent of the pictures I took worked, and there were massive light leaks everywhere...though I love the light leaks! I want to get the camera fixed, I hope its not completely dead. Here are some pics.

  7. cheeso
    cheeso ·

    Well I thought I could upload images to this entry but I guess not

  8. slithy-toves
    slithy-toves ·

    Although the concept of a battery-free selenium cell is fab, unfortunately many of them no longer work, so make sure yours is in good working order before purchasing an old Pen EE. I learned this lesson too late, and have been forced to shoot at one exposure as a result. Still a fun camera, however. I recommend doing some doubles with it! Shoot a roll through a regular camera, then rewind and reshoot through the Pen EE.

  9. dogma
    dogma ·

    second picture is amazing!

  10. adi_totp
    adi_totp ·

    how is the focusing on this camera? I just bought it yesterday.. thanks

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