Two half frame cameras

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Two half frame cameras

Postby Niner » Mon Nov 21, 2016 11:18 pm

Probably the two most popular half frame film cameras were the Olympus Pen and the Canon Demi. I got a Canon last week and filled it up with 400 speed B&W film and did the same with the Olympus Pen I've had a while. In half frame, a normal 36 exposures of 35mm gets you twice as many shots since you are getting two shots on every normal frame. It's almost like a digital camera when you are shooting... you almost can't find enough things to photograph in one day.

The Olympus and the Pen achieve the same end..but do it a bit differently. The Olympus has an auto feature and you either choose the film speed or the aperture. If either of the shutter speeds, 1/40 or 1/200 won't work to give a correct exposure a red flag comes up in the viewfinder. The selenium meter is in a circle around the 28mm lens and determines the light reading. It also has a hot shoe on the top and can take flash photos if you turn the lens ring to "flash". The film advance is a wheel on the back of the camera.

The Canon has an auto feature but it also has a match needle feature in a window on top connected to the selenium meter that when matched by turning the lens dial can produce an "aperture setting" in seven stops from 2.8 to 22. There is a film speed setting that plays into this and a distance focus based on portrait, group, scene.. but it isn't a rangefinder so nothing changes in the viewfinder. And.. the lens is the same focal 28mm like the Pen. The film advance is a lever like other conventional cameras. The selenium meter is in a bar at the top left. There is no flash shoe.

I managed to drop the Canon on the pavement and dented the case.. but the camera kept on ticking. It did develop a problem with the film advance I think the sprocket got out of alignment with the film holes after this accident and I got a lot of overlapping shots toward the end of the roll. But I think all is well now.

Both cameras take good photos and the meters seem to be working on both of them. I can't say I like one over the other. But they do seem distinctively different in operation...although achieving photos that seem of equal quality.

IN the example the Olympus Pen photos are on the right and the Canon on the left. I purposely took the same general photos with each a few times.
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Re: Two half frame cameras

Postby DuncaninFrance » Tue Nov 22, 2016 3:31 am

I had an Olympus Pen EE back in the 80's. I still have it but it doesn't work anymore.
I used to carry it in the to pocket of my combat jacked when away with the TA and it produced some really good colour images.
Olympus now do a digital version of the Pen but prices are high.

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