Fifty years ago, Olympus released the PEN D, a small half frame camera with a brilliant 6-element 32mm Zuiko lens. It had a selenium meter, uncoupled so you wouldn’t have to be a slave to its whims (or be stuck with a dead camera after the selenium went dead). Aperture went from the fast f/1.9 to f/16 at its most narrow, shutter speed from 1/8 to 1/500 a second, including a bulb setting for really slow shutter action. Like the Olympus 35 UC, the PEN D had a clever way of setting exposure, based on EV, which made it easy to maintain proper exposure settings while tweaking aperture-speed combinations. Focus is, like the other PENs (except the PEN F series), by scale focus guesstimation as well.

Of the PEN D, I have two, one with a meter that still works. The other one is easy enough to use via Sunny 16 rule or with a handheld meter. As always, image quality is stellar. Being half frame, the camera gets you 72 shots for a 36-exposure roll, which is great if you’re on a tight budget. The contact prints are just so retro cute.

Thought I’d shoot a bit of camera porn for the fans. For some reason the soundtrack won’t play at 360p, so just play it at 240p or 480p. At 360p you hear the koi pond waterfall in the background.

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Open Door @Lemery, Batangas

I’m sorry, but I couldn’t help myself. Last week I purchased an Olympus PEN D2 from a member of the Rangerfinder Filipinas Forum.  This camera was released back in 1962, making it just two years shy of the half century mark. One of the more advanced among the Oly PENs, the D2 had a battery-powered (but uncoupled) CdS meter, maximum shutter speed of 1/500th of a second, and a very fast 32mm f/1.9 6-element lens (denoted by the “F” in “F. Zuiko”) .

I’d been looking for one of these for quite a while and it took me about a month to scrounge up the spare cash to buy it. The camera is in good shape, with the shutter recently serviced by a technician. The meter, however, seems dead. Will see if my tech can still revive it.

My first test roll back from the lab today and so far I am pleased with the results. Here are some of the shots, with no touch ups save for WordPress’ resize function. Film stock used was nothing fancy, just store-bought Kodak Gold 100.

Empty Cages @Lemery, Batangas

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