Olympus Pen FT

I just don’t like half frame cameras, but I keep trying to get over my dislike. So when I saw this camera in a junk sale cabinet I thought I would try again. This camera is supposed to be the pinnacle of the half frame line. As you can see by the photos there is some damage to the lens. There is also some haze in the viewfinder. Still, it was less than half the price of better examples on eBay and the lens, despite the damage, is actually pretty clear. The Olympus FT was produced between 1966-1972 so a little damage to the lens isn’t so bad in my eyes.

It came without the lens cap, but I saw one for sale online and decided to complete the look of the camera. Having the lens cap meant that the light meter, which was working, did not constantly drain the battery. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing as the camera is fully mechanical, but a light meter is handy even when it is not linked to the functioning of the camera. The light meter gives an EV value which can be matched to the numbers on one side of the lens barrel. You set the speed and the meter gives you the EV aperture. If you pull out the front of the lens and turn it around, the other side has the regular aperture sizes. This is useful if the meter or batteries fail as the camera can be used in fully manual mode.

Recently a friend sent me a roll of 12 exposure film to go with a camera he had also purchased on my behalf. I decided this was the perfect opportunity to use it. I set the ASA on the bottom of the speed dial and set to shooting. With a 12 exposure film, I still had 24 chances to test the camera.

Hmm, my test shots are not as sharp as I was expecting, especially when compared to this site.  Maybe there is more damage to the camera than I realised. I do not fancy paying for another lens, but I am willing to give this one another go especially if I try a project like on this super blog. Then I will see if the sharpness is still lacking. It was also a rainy day as you can see by the clouds, so maybe a brighter day would help. To be honest, I did feel pretty cool walking around with this camera, it does look awesome. It felt solid and comfortable to hold. I still don’t like half frame camera as much as 35mm, but this camera did persuade me somewhat.

Keep or sell: Keep for now until I have the chance to try it again.

UPDATE: I tried it again and wow, I love it. I tried it over a few days, mainly sunny ones. I also used the 30-year-old Russian film. Here are the results…

Wow, this camera is great. I am loving it more and more. I have decided to keep this camera as my one and only half frame.

4 thoughts on “Olympus Pen FT

  1. windswept007 says:

    Actually, they are not that bad now I am looking at them on the blog. Plus they were all taken with the EV at 1-3, which is wide open. A brighter day would be an interesting comparison.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Toby says:

    Good point, for wide open that’s not bad, but yeah when first I saw you had one I expected sharper, nice colours though. Love half frame stuff, feels like getting more value from the film. Let’s face it, it’s the same size negative as most DSLR sensors.


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