When I returned to analog photography, I followed several Instagram pages, websites, and Youtube channels to learn and see what I had missed in the days that I had been gone. From the Youtube pages of Matt Day and KingJvpes and of course the websites like 35mmc, Japan Camera Hunter and Casual Photophile. (Side note: if you don’t know who any of these people are or don’t follow them, I suggest you do cause it is just fun to see the different takes on photography and film. Just like here! *smiles*)
I wanted to see and learn from as many people as I could. And in my search, I stumbled upon the Analog Photography Podcast and their interview with Juan from Beers and Cameras. It was such an interesting episode so I popped over to their Instagram to find a recent post on Half Frame cameras. Half frame? What in the world was half frame? I did my research on the format and was mind blown by the results and the amount of creativity it provided. I went on the search for the half-frame camera that fit my style and preferences.
I did a large amount of research, debate, and a chance deal on eBay I settled on the only (as far as I know) dedicated half-frame SLR camera with interchangeable lenses, the Olympus Pen FT. Some of you may be familiar with the name since Olympus came out with a digital camera that they named the Olympus Pen F. That camera was based on this series. There were three versions of the SLR Pen: the Pen F, Pen FT, and the Pen FV. The version I happened upon in particular was the Pen FT. This version is the first with a self-timer and also is the only one with a light meter.
In the adventure I am about to share with you, I took my Pen FT out to the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve. The super bloom here in California has photographers and Instagrammers alike flocking to fields of wildflowers all over. After seeing all the bright fields of color on other people’s pictures, I wanted to take some of my own. With the half-frame format, I armed myself with a roll of Fuji Superia 400, 36 exposures which turn to 72 in this format and hit the road.
Man and Nature
My Pen FT, affectionately named Sophie, is such a beautiful camera. It has its limitations in terms of shutter speed and the ISO dial if you are using the light meter. But if you know how to work with all those little limitations, it is a workhorse of a camera. It is also so silent in comparison to some of the other SLRs that I have handled. I shoot all the photos in the diptych format where I pair two photos together. This forces me to think more creatively and to think of what would look nice or interesting next to one another on a frame.
This format in itself is such a breath of fresh air. It challenges you in so many ways. There are also a lot of options for half frame cameras from the other Olympus Pens, the Canon Demis, or the quirky Yashica Samurai cameras. Find a camera that suits your style and shoot half frame. You won’t regret it. Believe me.
If you want to see more half frame photos, look up @halfframeclub on Instagram. They are a great resource on half frame cameras and photos.
Thanks for reading this article. If you want to see some of my other articles, you can see those here. You can also see my other photos on my Instagram. Shoot me a message. I love connecting to more people in this community.
P.S. Would anyone be interested in a review on this camera? I don’t see too many reviews on this camera which is a shame and was wondering if that was something anyone would like to see. Let me know in the comments!
P.S.S. Is this technically 5 or 10 frames with article…Either way, I am happy to present this article to you!
The Drive-By Film Shooter