Simplicity?… The Pen EE!

I really enjoy using the Olypus Trip 35 so I was curious to see what other 35mm cult cameras Olympus had around the same era.

Walking around a local Antique market I came across an Olympus Pen EE-2..I passed on it back then but was enticed by its diminutive size and hip retro trip style aesthetics.

I won a EE-2 & EE-3 from Ebay auctions quite cheaply..looking a bit tired and I was not sure if they worked.   I gave them some tender loving care and took them for a spin.

I did a unscientific test of the selenium cells surrounding the lens and they seemed to work (same approach as the trip..little red flag pops up when exposure is too low)I had to reskin the EE2 as it was in poor shape and had to scrape out the old seals and replace on both cameras. Some little bit of painting was in order too.

I bought the Skin from here…they are always reliable!

http://aki-asahi.com/store/

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On the top you just have your usual shot counter and rewind crank. Basically everything you see on a Trip is the same here…except without a focus ring.

You have ISO/ASA on the lens ring and aperture settings for Flash use.

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Here is little about the two cameras taken from Wikipedia

“The Pen EE.2, produced from 1968 to 1977, is nearly the same as the Pen EE with the addition of a hot shoe”

“The Pen EE.3, produced from 1973 to 1983, seems to be almost exactly the same camera except that it added the flashmatic system when used with the matching GN14 flash.”

So oldies but goodies! Considering their age (older than me!) they are robust and keep on ticking…I bet we cant say the same for our modern high tech cameras!

The Pen EE’s are half frame cameras with a fixed focal 28mm f3.5..that gives you sharp photos from roughly 1.5m to infinity…you can get a bit more from it on sunny days so its a great little 35mm camera for holiday use.

The benefit of half frame is that you can get more shots out of your film…for example you can get just over 48 shots from a 24 exp film. You do lose a bit of resolve in comparison to full frame but the EE’s have some very sharp optics and I have to say Im impressed with the results.

The half frame is in portrait view as standard so it makes you rethink your compositions in new and interesting ways.

Here is a view through the viewfinder. There is a simple frame guide but is a bit incorrect due to parallax. When shooting I recommend framing just a touch to the left of what you see in the viewfinder.

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There is not a lot else to say about the EE as it is a basic point and click camera. Load your film and shoot.

Much like the Olympus Trip 35 they give accurate exposure and nice punchy sharp images. The EE is very discreet and snappy camera so would be a fun one to use for street photography. The half frame allows you to take two photos of the same subject but with a different perspective…which is really a lot of fun!

If you love using a Trip 35 then I recommend you trying these out also.

Here’s some shots from my (now sold) EE-3 (EE-2 is untested as yet) taken with Agfa Vista 200. Some shot in Oxford and some at Paignton/Torquay.

 

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