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Olympus Pen D

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minoly
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Olympus Pen D

Postby minoly » Fri Dec 18, 2015 3:23 pm

For my last review of HF Cameras in this sub-forum, I'll present a few words and pictures related to the Olympus Pen D, my first 35mm half frame camera. I had learned about it from an article in Popular Photography written by Jason Schneider in about 1990. This was about the time that collecting cameras was catching on and Shutterbug was carrying numerous ads aimed at collectors. At that time I thought that collecting cameras would be a good hobby and a Shutterbug (I think) ad from Good Seasons Camera in NY state offered the Pen D; I bought it and found that using it was more fun than polishing it up for display. The same thing happened with other HF cameras; I liked the photos I took with them and became more of a HF user than a HF collector and I think that the results from that first Pen D had a lot to do with it.

When they brought out the Pen D in 1962, Olympus continued the development of fully featured HF cameras that had begun with the 1959 Pen. A six element f/1.9 lens, a shutter with a range of speeds from 1/8 to 1/500, and an uncoupled Selenium meter on the D were the advanced features that, Olympus said, made it "eminently suitable for the most discerning amateur" (quoting from Pen D manual). Development continued with the D2 (changed metering to CdS) in 1964 and the D3 (lens maximum aperture at f/1.7) in 1965. The Pen EE-D of 1967 seemed to bring together the features of the EE line (programmed exposure) and the D line. My experience is with the 1962 D; I owned an EE-D for quite a while but I didn't use it much.

I thought that the results from the Pen D were excellent, similar in quality to the Pen F series of slrs. B&W photos from the D have good sharpness, tone, and contrast; colors are realistic and rich. It's not as "efficient" (Olympus' term: see the earlier post on the Pen EE-2) as the EE line-- there's a lot more that the operator has to pay attention to--but it can handle more situations and needs. Sometimes I've thought that it was a loss that Olympus couldn't keep the 12 inch minimum (about) for focussing; but, on the other hand, it's pretty hard to focus at that close distance accurately with a direct viewfinder. Though the D is fatter and heavier (400 grams) than the earlier full-featured Pens, it's still small enough to put in a pocket or carry around with a neck or wrist strap. It's handy to have a meter built in and the fuller range of shutter speeds and faster lens means that the D can handle most situations most of the time. I'll add a few photos from the past few years. But first a front and top view of the camera itself.

Pen-D-Front-View.jpg

Pen-D-Top-View.jpg


Apple Blossom Time
Apple-Blossom-TimeADJWEB.jpg
Apple-Blossom-TimeADJWEB.jpg (411.87 KiB) Viewed 7290 times


One Room Schoolhouse in Rice County, MN, now Erin Township Hall
Erin-Township-HallWEB.jpg


Former Federal Courts Building, St. Paul, MN
Old Federal Courts Bldg. Web.jpg
Old Federal Courts Bldg. Web.jpg (510.59 KiB) Viewed 7290 times


Corner joints on log cabin at Jordan, MN
LogCabinJordanDetailJointsA.jpg
LogCabinJordanDetailJointsA.jpg (290.5 KiB) Viewed 7290 times


(All photos from Olympus Pen D (1962) with commercial processing and scanning)

Note: This is the last of the posts that I can offer about half frame cameras that I've used-- I've gone through all the models that I have. It's great to have this sub-forum on PT. Thanks for looking.

Bill Delehanty
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Julio1fer
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Re: Olympus Pen D

Postby Julio1fer » Fri Dec 18, 2015 8:11 pm

A great post about a great little camera. The Pen D is probably the best half frame camera out there if you look for results-to-cost ratio. The lenses are outstanding, and their ease of use rivals the best classics. You need to guess focus but that is an easy call with a 32mm lens.

I have a Pen D3 which has given me many good pictures.

As an aside, Pen D's usually go cheap at jauce.com, if you are interested in one and can afford the higher shipping costs.
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minoly
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Re: Olympus Pen D

Postby minoly » Tue Dec 22, 2015 7:46 am

Thanks for your comments, Julio. I looked at jauce.com and they surely do have many Pen D for sale! It's very tempting; but, as we plan to move to smaller quarters, I can't add to the cameras that I have. The Pen D that I have now will surely move with us.

Bill Delehanty
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melek
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Re: Olympus Pen D

Postby melek » Sat Dec 26, 2015 9:08 pm

Oh, Bill, this can't be your last. Let me see what I have to send you.
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-Mike Elek

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Philip
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Re: Olympus Pen D

Postby Philip » Sun Dec 27, 2015 9:18 am

The Pens were really excellent cameras and your pictures show it. Of all my half-frame cameras (I have about twenty, I think), my Pen D3 is my favourite, edging out the technically-better-but-less-pocketable Pen FT slr.
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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).

minoly
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Re: Olympus Pen D

Postby minoly » Sun Dec 27, 2015 5:05 pm

Thanks for your replies, Mike and Philip.
Mike: Fortunately (or maybe unfortunately), it's only HF cameras that I've run out of. So since my PT name starts with MIN and I've only written about one MINolta camera, maybe I should do some digging in that field-- we'll see. Anyway, I repeat that I'm glad there's a place for HF on PT.
Philip: I kind of assume that it's the Olympus lenses that make the difference with their HF cameras, but I don't really don't know why or how. Or maybe it's how the whole package is put together and maybe that's what Mr. Maitani contributed? Anyway, the fact that you pick the D3 Olympus as the best of 20 is pretty significant.
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