A colleague, Weldon, noticed we had an Olympus PEN FT in our vintage camera cabinet at work, he mentioned that he has always wanted to try it out. So I pulled the camera out of the cabinet and put it in my office for him to pick up. Time went by, Weldon got busy so the camera stayed in my office. Then I started to get interested in this little cam, what was so special about it? Weldon mentioned something about half frames, hmmm… Olympus has great lenses… half frames could look cool like a motion picture film strip hmmm…. shit now I’m hooked!!
So online I went to find out more about this cam and I was quickly impressed. Here are some technical stats for the camera nerds:
The camera has a rotating shutter and it is made out of titanium.
Has shutter speeds up to 1/500 and can sync with a flash at any speed.
Is the smallest SLR camera ever made.
First reflex mirror in a camera that is flipped sideways.
A new type of prism had to be invented to direct the light sideways from the lens.
It was designed be Yoshihisa Maitani (want to read a great article on the man, click here) this guy pretty much made Olympus great, his inspiration, his very own Leica IIIf that he used to shoot street photography in Tokyo. O yeah before he left school he designed, created and patented his first camera, WTF.
Also a video overview of the Olympus Pen FT by YouTuber oly 35mm.
I have so far put one roll of colour negs through this cam and been scanning it in sections based on the sequences I am shooting, see images above.
I am in love with this cam it is so well built, the photos are sharp because of the beautiful wide f/1.8 lens and it is easy to use even without a battery. O yes, forgot to mention, they don’t make the evil mercury batteries this camera takes anymore and any replacements can screw up the electronics because of the mismatched voltage, so I opted for using a light meter instead. The current roll in the camera is Iflord HP5 Plus shooting at ISO 1600, I want to see some of that beautiful grain Erik Gould was talking about in his article My Life In Half-Frame.
The street art in halves 006 is by @prank_db5, @thehigherups and @m.o.p.e.s and is on the corner of MacLaren & Bank St,. the south east side, Pudgyboy's. The portrait is of Ottawa’s own visual and hip-hop artist Bender, of Flight Distance, who sadly passed away in March of this year. Got me listening to Flight DIstance’s Bad Information an album I consider to be one of Canada’s greatest hip-hop albums.
This is going to be my new street photography cam for the next little while, can not wait to head back downtown and to Montréal. Thanks Weldon and by the way you are not getting your hands on this awesome little camera for a while!!