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Using the Olympus Pen FT

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minoly
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Using the Olympus Pen FT

Postby minoly » Wed Sep 02, 2015 11:19 pm

I have posted in this forum about HF cameras which aren’t as well known as the Olympus Pen line. Most of the Pens are pretty familiar so I’m going to post my experiences with some of them but leave out details of features, models etc; for that I’ll include some links for those who want to know more.

Olympus SLRs in the half frame format began with the Pen F in 1963 and included the Pen FT that first came out in 1967 and the Pen FV of 1969. A good rundown of these models can be found at:
http://www.f22.org.uk/Galleries/Pen_Col ... r_pen.html

and an interesting account by Louis Meluso of using them at:
http://photo.net/classic-cameras-forum/00aemL?start=10

Though these Pens have a wide range of accessories to suit special needs, for me the appeal of the FT (the model I have) is (1) that it accepts interchangeable lenses and (2) that it allows precise focus through the lens all the way down to ~14 inches on the standard 38mm lens. The only competitor in capability is the Yashica Samurai line that came along twenty-five years after the first Pen F and the Sams use zooms rather than interchangeable lenses. By the way, there is persistent criticism of the dark screen on the Pen FT (because of diverting some light to the meter); I haven’t found that to be a problem because the image moves in or out of focus quite clearly and there is a very good micro prism spot in the center. I only have two Pen lenses-- 38mm f/1.8 and 50-90mm f/3.5; I do have the screw mount adapter and have successfully used Pentax lenses (which I no longer have) for special purposes. I think the best way to summarize my experience with the Pen FT is to post some photos.

Hosta and Sedum in Morning Light
Image
38mm f/1.8 on APX 100 (old Agfa)

Flower Pots
Image
38mm f/1.8 on Kodak Elitechrome

Grain Elevator at Harmony, Minnesota
Image
38mm f/1.8 on Kodak Elitechrome

Decorative Metal Sculpture in a recess of the Endicott Building, St. Paul MN
Image
38mm f/1.8 on Kodak Elitechrome

Rue Anemone (?) at Latsch State Park, Minnesota
Image
38mm f/1.8 with +10 Vivitar Diopter on Kodak Elitechrome
(This photo was posted in another forum for the 50th Anniversary of the first Oly Pen.)

(There are more Pen FT photographs in two of my personal galleries in the Gallery section of PT).

All of my Pen FT equipment was bought used--the camera and 2 lenses came from a dealer in Minneapolis, about 15 years ago; he said that he got it from an outfit that made directories for church congregations. I mention this to suggest that at least for this one the build is pretty good-- maybe it was all the use it got taking the church photos rather than sitting in a drawer.

Bill Delehanty

EDIT: The last photo was lost when the Imaizer server got into trouble. I wasn't able to put it back where it had been so I have placed it here.
Sculptured Female Head at Commerce Bldg. (?) St. Paul, MN
50-90mm zoom on Kodak Elitechrome
Attachments
HeadFemalewHdBd4thstFULLADJWEB.jpg
Last edited by minoly on Fri Oct 23, 2015 2:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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melek
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Re: Using the Olympus Pen FT

Postby melek » Thu Sep 03, 2015 4:37 pm

Bill, love the photos. The Pen FT has become a "cult camera."

I had one of these and sold it, and then bought another. A former colleague was given an entire Olympus Pen FT kit with something like six or seven lenses, including a high-speed 60mm (I think). I always felt that he should have given it to me, but he never did.

Olympus included a number system that could be used in place of actual apertures. I never warmed up to it. I'm thinking that maybe I should make a video explaining just how great the FT is.
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Philip
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Re: Using the Olympus Pen FT

Postby Philip » Thu Sep 03, 2015 7:28 pm

I too have an FT and don't use it as much as I should. It had great lenses; because I had those lenses, I bought an Olympus "Pen" E-P2 when it came out. Then last year I got an Olympus OM-D E-M1, again using those lenses (with an adaptor ring). My favourite lens was the 100mm f/3.5.
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My Flickrs: http://www.flickr.com/flipflik (recent postings), or
- http://www.flickriver.com/photos/flipflik/popular-interesting/ (Flickr's calculation of my "most interesting" pics);
- http://www.flickr.com/photos/flipflik/sets/72157608879115542/ (what I like best).

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Re: Using the Olympus Pen FT

Postby PFMcFarland » Thu Sep 03, 2015 10:33 pm

Very nice samples, Bill. I might get one of those someday.

I remember when my parents came to visit me when I lived in Ohio, and I took them to the Columbus Zoo, that the zoo had someone at the front gate hawking photographs to commemorate the occasion. You'd get one of these little finders on a key chain with the photo inside. They were using a Pen F or FT, and I believe also a stereo attachment so they could get two photos on one slide which they would cut in half, a "One for you, one for me" arrangement. You'd go walking around, and come back later to pick up your finders. Which was a good thing because if they took a photo after you'd been hiking around that place for a couple of hours, you might not have looked so good.

PF
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Waiting for the light

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Re: Using the Olympus Pen FT

Postby Julio1fer » Thu Sep 03, 2015 10:40 pm

I have often been tempted to get a Pen F. My technician says it is one of the hardest cameras to repair (for him at least) and a bit prone to shutter problems. So I have resisted for the time being. Sticking to the much simpler D3.
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Re: Using the Olympus Pen FT

Postby Bennybee » Fri Sep 04, 2015 5:06 am

Really really nice pictures, Bill. I particularly like the Hosta and the Anemone pictures. But the flower Pots is very nice as well.
You got me interested in this camera now...! :-)
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minoly
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Re: Using the Olympus Pen FT

Postby minoly » Sat Sep 12, 2015 3:21 pm

Thanks to all for the comments. Mike-- that video about the Pen F would be welcome; too bad that bunch of Pen F equipment never made it your way. Philip-- glad to hear that the Pen lenses work well on the digital Pen--kind of neat to have that combination. Phil--those "souvenir" photographers must still have been working in the 1990s; I sold 3 or 4 selenium cell Pens then to be uised for that purpose. Benny-- glad that you liked the photos; your b&w available light photos at the link you gave are impressive in their image quality as well as their subject matter. Julio-- iI don't think that I've ever seen a Pen D3; from what I know of the D line I expect its image quality would be just as good as the Pen F.

Bill D.
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Re: Using the Olympus Pen FT

Postby Bennybee » Mon Sep 14, 2015 2:38 pm

Thanks for your comment on my pictures, Bill.
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