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Half frame

By HobbitDave
Wondered if anyone has experience with little cameras like this?
They were made 1964/5 by Olympus, it takes 35mm film, and shoots 72 photos on a 36 exposure film. It fits in the hand, and measures about 5 inches across. This one was passed on to me a few years ago. Am curious as the viewfinder has been carefully blanked off from the inside of the camera, and inside behind the the lens is a neatly-fitted clear glass/acetate filter of some kind. Looks like this was a factory conversion. If anyone has seen similar Id like to know what the little camera was used for, possibly something to do with a microscope maybe, using external viewfinder in the hot-shoe? Or....?

Thanks kindly for the clicks and comments on yesterdays orange tip butterfly, and the most appreciated awards. They are very encouraging, thanks 🐈

Tags: Camera Olympus Black Still life Film camera Half frame Olympus pen pen-W

Voters: VincentChristopher, bobpaige1, TrevBatWCC and 30 more

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Comments


TrevBatWCC Plus
12 13 19 England
12 May 2021 12:41PM
A fine looking little camera, Dave 👍 Sorry can't help in what it might have been used for.
Trev 😀
RonDM Plus
6 103 United Kingdom
12 May 2021 12:44PM
Great image well taken


Ron
pablophotographer 9 1.9k 407
12 May 2021 1:14PM
Hi! You should have a green index when you look at the viewfinder and the camera settings can take a picture or have a red index showing up when you can't take a picture under your settings. You will not be able to take a picture then, unless you use a flash! I enjoyed using one of this in a trip abroad. If I had the chance I would shoot two different still subjects in front of one background so they appear as pair on a single 35mm frame.
pablophotographer
12 May 2021 1:59PM

Quote:Hi! You should have a green index when you look at the viewfinder and the camera settings can take a picture or have a red index showing up when you can't take a picture under your settings. You will not be able to take a picture then, unless you use a flash! I enjoyed using one of this in a trip abroad. If I had the chance I would shoot two different still subjects in front of one background so they appear as pair on a single 35mm frame.
pablophotographer

Thanks for this, Pablo.
The shutter still winds and fires without film in the camera, the speeds sound ok, and with the back off I can see the shutter firing as it should in front of the lens. I’d love to know what the strange filter is for, though, precision screwed in behind the lens.
Kind regards,
Dave 🙂
Daisymaye Plus
12 23 19 Canada
12 May 2021 2:04PM
I imagine you've tried googling your questions. A cool antique anyway.
Nikonuser1 Plus
8 167 16 United Kingdom
12 May 2021 2:18PM
Great looking Gem Dave, I can recollect seeing them and I believe that they were quite sought afterSmileSmileSmile

Cliff
Chinga Plus
10 3 2 United Kingdom
12 May 2021 2:30PM
Fine equipment... Sorry, can't help with instructions...
Isabel GrinGrinGrin
chavender Plus
10 513 1 France
12 May 2021 2:35PM
What you have Dave is a quite rare wide angle version of the half frame pen f.
If in good, working condition it may be worth a bit.
There is loads of info on line.
I had the cheaper version in the 60`s and got some great images from it.
Bill
12 May 2021 2:49PM

Quote:What you have Dave is a quite rare wide angle version of the half frame pen f.
If in good, working condition it may be worth a bit.
There is loads of info on line.
I had the cheaper version in the 60`s and got some great images from it.
Bill

Thanks Bill,
Yes was aware of what it is (itís a variant of the pen, not the pen-F which had interchangeable lenses ) but can’t find out anything about why it has been pro modded possibly by Olympus on manufacture? with blanked-off viewfinder and very neat filter screwed in right behind the lens inside....short of someone who worked in the factory in the 60s, maybe will never know. Fun though 🙂
pablophotographer 9 1.9k 407
12 May 2021 2:56PM
Could you please show us the back of the camera with the film door open and the timer open in B ?

What I see from the front view, above the lens, is the viewfinder in clear and the semitransparent part is the light meter. The eyepiece is small because the pictures are framed Vertically, not Horizontally. The height of each half frame is bigger than the width of each half frame picture, that is why you get more than 72 pictures out of a 36 exposures roll of 35mm film.

pablophotographer
12 May 2021 3:35PM
Will hope to take more pics soon, Pablo. Itís a basic little camera, it doesnít have a light meter, just viewfinder only. The right hand side in the picture should be clear glass, but has been frosted/silvered over from the inside so no light can get in.
Thanks for suggestions, Dave 🙂
pablophotographer 9 1.9k 407
12 May 2021 3:45PM
The model I had used had the lightmeter around the lens itself, like modern ring lights. It was the closest to TTL metering. I think yours has the lightmeter up where the eyepiece is like old rangefinders had the meter near the eyepiece.
cooky Plus
17 6 4 United Kingdom
12 May 2021 3:46PM
It looks like the wise people on here have come up with some good answers Dave.

Kath

pablophotographer 9 1.9k 407
12 May 2021 3:48PM
dales Plus
5 11 Australia
12 May 2021 3:55PM
Quite a fascinating camera Dave , sounds as if it will give you some experimental timeSmile
Ian😎
12 May 2021 4:52PM

Quote:http://camera-wiki.org/wiki/Olympus_Pen
Thanks Pablo, yes I too found it in this page last week. No mention of modded ones though,sadly. Maybe it was a one-off as I saw elsewhere only 28,000 were made. Thanks for the link.
Dave 🐈
12 May 2021 5:09PM
Lovely old camera Dave you are keeping them alive uploading on here. Debs
laura1 17 8
12 May 2021 6:00PM
Cute little camara

Laura
pablophotographer 9 1.9k 407
12 May 2021 6:09PM
I can only guess the contraption you have seen at the back of the lens, from the side of the film, is what stops the other half of the frame being exposed.Try a 24 exposures roll of the cheapest expired colour film you'll find (it will give you 48-50) images, depending if you shoot the frames between "S" frame and frame number "1". Any bright day will do, enjoy!
pablophotographer
12 May 2021 6:18PM

Quote:I can only guess the contraption you have seen at the back of the lens, from the side of the film, is what stops the other half of the frame being exposed.Try a 24 exposures roll of the cheapest expired colour film you'll find (it will give you 48-50) images, depending if you shoot the frames between "S" frame and frame number "1". Any bright day will do, enjoy!
pablophotographer

Thanks Pablo, Iíll hope to get a picture up soon. The filter is right over the whole lens area. Light has to go through it, not to one side of it. Kind regards! 🙂
chavender Plus
10 513 1 France
12 May 2021 6:47PM
Hi Dave,
Could it be that the filter and viewfinder mod is for converting from a "normal" pen to the wide angle version and was done in the factory?
Could the filter be a lens suppliment to convert to wide angle?
Is the 25mm lens the same as the "normal" pen, if so how would the wide angle coverage be achieved if not without a supplementary lens?
Just a thought.
12 May 2021 6:48PM
More pics uploaded, Pablo and anyone interested. Shows the four brass screws mounting this acrylic or glass Ďfilterí or plate in front of lens. One taken with the shutter on B. One more showing better the colour of the RHS of the viewfinder blanking which has been done from the inside. Others are plain transparent glass.
Thanks, Dave.
12 May 2021 7:05PM

Quote:Hi Dave,
Could it be that the filter and viewfinder mod is for converting from a "normal" pen to the wide angle version and was done in the factory?
Could the filter be a lens suppliment to convert to wide angle?
Is the 25mm lens the same as the "normal" pen, if so how would the wide angle coverage be achieved if not without a supplementary lens?
Just a thought.

Hi Rob, thanks for the idea. I have looked at two photo sets of other black Pen-W and neither had the filter, both had just the rear element perfectly visible as youíd expect, unlike this one. Thanks for the idea though 👍
12 May 2021 8:03PM

Quote:I imagine you've tried googling your questions. A cool antique anyway.
Yes I did, Sandy, but no joy so far. I bet Winston knows but heís not going to tell me 🐈
pablophotographer 9 1.9k 407
12 May 2021 9:30PM
Camera looks being in mint shape. Since the lens in front is fixed, (if I am not mistaken) this glass, which appears to be flat, was it put to protect the lens from dust or debris while changing film? In a SLR the shutter curtain performs that job but PEN is not an SLR...

Try posting these photos to the Forum here under Olympus cameras, or Film cameras you may get more answers or the correct answer.

As the weather gets sunnier try a roll of film to see how the camera performs. All other chat is nearly academic, lol.

pablophotographer

12 May 2021 10:11PM
Looking from the front, the left hand window is the parallax illuminating window and it is meant to be diffused. It contains a frameline mask and a 45 degree mirror that projects the framelines onto the viewfinder on the right. The right hand window is a regular optical viewfinder, with lenses front and back, that should be crystal clear but appears in this case to be blocked off as you say.

I would guess someone has added the clear filter behind the lens because the shutter blades can become stuck with dust sticking to the lubrication on the shutter blades. I can't see it does much harm but would be easy to remove. Those four screws hold the lens assembly to the body, so don't remove them all at the same time. Actually, there are also other screws holding it on under the leatherette around the lens.

It is very easy to remove the top plate and see what is going on with the viewfinder. Two visible screws at each end of the top plate. Remove the thin cold shoe cover plate (i use the pointed leg from a pair of dividers just to lift it up gently at the front of the shoe, and it will then slip off easily) to reveal another screw. Under the rewind crank is another screw, and you may have to remove the crank as well (can't remember if this is necessary). Finally, the retaining screw on the frame counter is left hand thread, so turn clockwise with a pair of dividers or a lens wrench, to undo. Just be clinical with all the bits you remove, particularly when you undo the frame counter, there are small washers that must go back where you found them.

I am curious about the flat slotted screw to the right of the lens. That shouldn't be there, and doesn't seem to fulfill any function other than to block up the hole and make the film chamber lightproof. Another mystery modification ?

Judging from the serial number, yours is a late model Wide. You can find the actual year, month and sometimes factory encoded under the film pressure plate (early model Pens - which this isn't - sometimes had this encoding under the cold shoe cover plate instead. Very nice camera.
12 May 2021 10:34PM
I had the thought of checking my own Pen collection, because I have not seen this before. My Pen D does indeed have a glass covering at the back of the lens, that I hadn't noticed before. The Pen Wide had a very short production cycle, and yours is a late model. This may have been a factory modification in an attempt to solve a reliability problem with this particular lens.
12 May 2021 11:52PM
Thanks kindly for the stack of information here Pablo and BookArt, all good suggestions and Iím really grateful for your advice. Kind regards, Dave 👌

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