In 1959, the now legendary Olympus designer, Maitani Yoshihisa, introduced the world to the Olympus Pen. It was the first half-frame camera produced in Japan, and while it still used 35mm film, the reduction in frame size meant the camera would be considerably smaller. In fact, it was named the Pen, because it equated to being something you could put in your pocket, like a pen.
Originally the Pen was manufactured by a subcontractor, Sanko Shoji. Unexpectedly the Pen proved to be immensely popular, so after one year, and 30,000 copies were sold, Olympus took over the production and introduced the Pen S. Not surprising considering it was built with a D Zuiko lens, which is a fantastic quality designed lens. The Pen S is very similar to the original Pen. Main differences were a different focal length, 35mm rather than 28mm and expanded shutter settings options. From there, the range of the Pen cameras took off.
The Olympus Pen S is a small viewfinder camera which shoots half-frames of 18x24mm exposures on 35mm film. The orientation of the frame is in portrait format and requires the camera to be held on its side to make a landscape oriented photo. It is solidly built and even though it is small, has some heft to it at 400g. The lens is a 30mm f/2.8 D Zuiko lens. There was also a f/3.5 variant offered in a later model. The D Zuiko lenses are famous for the quality they produce, in a really small package, but also the amazing depth of field they can capture. The controls for the focus, aperture and speed are all set on rings around the lens.
Focus ranges from as close as 60cm through to infinity. At this setting it will have subjects as close as 30cm in focused. The 2 metre and the 5 metre focus points are marked in red numbers and click into place. 2 metres will be sufficient for most closer focusing, including portraits. The depth of field at f/5.6 at 2 metres is from 1.5 metres through to 3.3 metres. Set at 5 metres and at f/5.6 the depth of field will be from 2.5 metres through to infinity, great for landscapes. This is all due to the design of the D Zuiko lens. Aperture can be set from f/2.8 through to f/22 giving the user all the usual apertures required in whole stops. They click into position and do not offer any in between options. The shutter speeds offered by the Copal shutter range from 1/8s to 1/250s plus Bulb. The Pen S also offers a PC sync port for flash.
The viewfinder is a Luminous Bright Frame Finder with 0.5 magnification. The frame lines are very clear. Film is wound forward with the classic Olympus wheel at the back and when wound usually with your thumb, automatically cocks the shutter and counts the frame. It is not possible to double expose with this camera.
On top of the camera is a very beautiful frame counter, one that many would argue is the best looking one ever. It is manually set to 72 (or 48) when you load the film and counts down to zero. This is done by twisting your thumb on the wheel in the middle of the counter. Also on top is the film rewind, with a lever. To rewind the film, a button on the bottom of the camera must be depressed and held, with a handy little indented area allowing room for your finger on the bottom.
The shutter button is located on the right at the front of the top plate. It features a little grip pad as well as the ability to use a cable release. Also on top is a cold shoe for accessories.
To insert film, the whole camera back must be removed which is achieved by releasing the lock on the bottom which has a flap to twist it. Inserting film is standard, by inserting a 35mm cartridge on the left and threading the film through on the right. A couple of twists gets it going. Also on the bottom is the tripod socket, but also a set of four little bubbles, which allow the user to stand the camera on a surface with minimal opportunities to scratch the bottom plate. This is a very well designed camera!
Product ($249) SN: **9371/ **7117
Condition: Excellent (EX)
Warranty: No Warranty (Film Cameras Sold As It Is)
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