5 frames with...

5/10 Frames with my Olympus Pen-FT (Sophie) in the Poppy Fields – by Tiffany Perez

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.

The Gear

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.

The Target

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.

Shots Fired

Man and Nature

Hidden Purple

Close Up

Rusted Tripod

Running Panorama

Conclusion

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!

Tiffany Perez
The Drive-By Film Shooter

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8 Comments

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Gustavo Rearte
    June 5, 2019 at 8:48 pm

    I have been shooting with the Olympus FT for two or three years. I love this camera, and would love to do a review of it from a user’s perspective. I have learned to get the best of this beautiful camera, and deal with its challenges—light meter. I own three lenses; one came with the camera (a 55mm FF equivalent), and purchased two others from Japan (35mm & 28mm FF equivalent).

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Tiffany Perez
      June 5, 2019 at 9:40 pm

      You should look at the contact page if you want to write for the website. I myself have one more article I am working on with this camera and then I plan on doing a review myself. The more perspectives on this camera the better I feel. Thanks for reading.

      • Avatar
        Reply
        Mr Shan Watkins
        June 8, 2019 at 12:02 am

        Hey Tiffany

        Greetings from Kent, the Garden of England.

        I have recently purchased a prime example of the Olympus Pen FT on eBay UK, a beautiful example of a classic and simple design, which I really love. Mine is silver and black with the standard kit lens of 38mm, F1.8 lens dating from between 1966 to 1969 I believe.

        I also have the latest digital Olympus Pen F, in black, on which the design is based on the original 35mm half frame model from the 1960s.

        I would welcome your review of the Pen F 35mm and would gladly send you a few samples of shots taken with “Grandpa Olly” from the UK.

        I wish you all the best and success with your Pen F, which is amongst my all time favourite classic design of cameras, film and digital.

        Best wishes
        Shan Watkins
        Kent, England

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Yair Sachs
    June 5, 2019 at 10:01 pm

    Yes Tiffany, a review would be most welcome, certainly by this person here.
    It is many years now since I took my parents’ Oly FT on our first trip to Europe as a married couple. The camera was a delight and the slides turned out quite amazing! It is high time I find them in one of the boxes in the attic and try digitize some.
    That camera developed a quirk: A little screw came loose and floated about in the prism viewer. As a result of the quirky and original design of the FT, that screw seemed to defy the Newtonian rules of physics and fall sideways, resting against the side rim of the frame!
    A few years passed and now it was my parents’ turn to take their Olympus FT abroad. While in Amsterdam they went into a camera store to ask if anything could be done about this floating screw, which had no effect on the actual function of the camera. The salesman was quick to recognize an occasion. “Oh, this is quite an old camera . Let me replace that for you with a modern creation”.
    And so my parents returned home with an excellent Olympus RC, which I used quite recently.
    But, of course, that Oly remains a cherished memory!

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Tiffany Perez
      June 5, 2019 at 10:08 pm

      That is a weird quirk indeed. Thanks for sharing this story. That is so cool and I would love to see the photos you took in Europe! Thanks for reading and I will hopefully get that review out soon!

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Jay
    June 6, 2019 at 1:23 am

    Just because you shot with a half frame film camera doesn’t excuse contributing to ruining that poppy field

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Tiffany Perez
      June 6, 2019 at 5:53 am

      Hello Jay. I made a conscious effort to not step on any poppies when taking these pictures. Pictures were taken from the road or from walking on grass or dirt paths. I did not pick any of the flowers either. Even the photo of me sitting was done on a patch of grass between poppies which I ran to by running around the poppies. I follow a policy of not disturbing anything I take a picture of. A photographer is there to capture the moments, not hurt or influence them in my opinion. At least for my type of photography. Thank you for looking at the pictures and hope you have a nice day.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Aivaras
    June 6, 2019 at 9:49 am

    That half frame pumps out impressive quality! Keep it up Tiffany!

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