This is the actual first camera I ever used, I have been looking for it for a good while and finally found it deep in the attic. Apparently when I was about 5 or 6 years old I of course wanted to take pictures just like my father. He found this camera as a relatively easy to use, tough and economical model which he dared to put in my hands. I do not remember shooting it when I was 5 or 6 but I found some of the negatives. I remember very well using it when I was 10 so it looks like I actually used it for a good while.
The most remarkable feature of this camera (as the others of the Olympus Pen EES series) is that it is a half-frame camera: it shoots two pictures on a typical 35mm frame and thus allows for 72 exposures on a typical 36 exposures roll! That means that the cost per picture is half what it would be with a full frame 35mm camera. Of course there is a trade-off in term of images quality.
It is easy to use thanks to the automatic mode which uses the selenium meter to choose both the aperture and the shutter speed. It has two shutter speeds: a slow on of around 1/30s or 1/40s and a fast one of around 1/200s. The lens is a 30mm f/2.8. Given that it is a half frame camera, 30mm is quite normal focal length. The f/2.8 maximum aperture is quite fast. The focusing is done in 4 zones: portrait, 2 persons, a group of persons and infinity. Bellow are some picture of the camera.
Here are a few picture taken in 1986. Most of them have been taken by me except the first one which is a picture of me :-)
And now for a test to see if the camera still works. When I found it in the attic, it was in its original soft case. The case was not in good condition, falling apart and most likely with fungus all over it. I took the camera out and through away the case. The camera itself looked pretty good, I just gave it a wipe and blow some air on the lens to remove dust. Inside, the light seals do not look too good and will probably need replacing at some point, that is really the only thing. Some quick testing seems to indicate that the light meter is still functional and prevents taking underexposed pictures by showing a little red flag in the viewfinder whenever there is not enough light. I put a roll of Ilford HP5+ 400 in it and set the ISO dial to 400. I would have liked to set it to 1600 but 400 is the maximum. Using a 24 exposure roll, I got 48 pictures! Here are a few of them:
This little Olympus seem to still work just fine! The meter seems pretty ok and all the picture came with a pretty good exposure. I took some shots indoors and outdoors in various lighting conditions. I also took a few picture using a strobe connected to the PC sync port but a couple of times the flash did not fire. I'll have to check and maybe clean some contacts. Apart from that last 10 pictures of the roll came out severely underexposed but I cannot blame the meter... I just forgot to set the camera to auto after shooting with the strobe and just left it on f/8 or something like that. This is definitely a fun camera to use and the portrait orientation is interesting. The only thing which is a bit hard is to get the focus right especially in low light with wide apertures. Quite a few shots (including some of the examples above) are not quite in focus.