Monday, April 8, 2013

Olympus Pen EES

When introduced in 1962 the half frame Olympus Pen EES was the first camera with a programmable shutter. A setting of either 1/40 or 1/200 was selected based on the light readings from its selenium meter. An appropriate aperture also was automatically set. If there was not enough light or too much light a red flasher appears in the viewfinder. There is no manual option with the Pen EES. The lens is a 30mm four element D Zuiko f/2·8.  The Pen EES uses zone focusing.  You select from portrait(4ft), group(10ft), or wide open(50ft).  In actual practice the lens on the Pen EES has sufficient depth of field to achieve reasonable focus in decent light most of the time using either the group or wide open setting.

Probably the greatest obstacle to sharp images with the Pen EES would be camera shake with the slower 1/40 shutter speed.  So it is best to use the fastest film that the Pen EES can use to help have the higher 1/200 shutter speed be selected. And the fastest film the Pen EES can use is ISO 200.  To younger readers that may seem slow, however when the Pen EES was introduced 200 IS0 was considered fairly high speed.

With its selenium metering the Pen EES doesn't need a battery.  As long as the selenium meter is functioning you are in business.  The Pen EES that I have came from some film cameras that I was given which used to be used by my old high school's photo club.  While the camera definitely shows signs of use the meter still appears to work fine.  When I wanted to test the camera all I had on hand was some 400 ISO HP5.  So I set the meter to 200 and pull processed the HP5 for that speed.  I think the results turned out reasonably well. At least they showed that the Pen EES is working okay. Right now I have some Fuji 200 in the Pen EES so I can get an idea of how it functions with what probably is one of the optimal films to use with this camera. I will have a more well-developed opinion of the Pen EES when I get those pictures finished.