Olympus PEN FT Review: An Unexpectedly Perfect Everyday Camera
When it comes to design, few cameras are as ingeniously unique as Olympus cameras, and this is best exemplified by the PEN FT. Iconoclastic but brilliant, the PEN FT is the rare camera that makes the most of compromises to deliver exceptional photographs under any circumstance.
The PEN FT is one of the rare half-frame cameras, which utilize regular 35mm film, but produce images in the 18x24mm format rather than the usual 24x36mm format. This results in an image that is half the size of a typical 35mm image. There are distinct advantages to this – as a half-frame camera, the PEN FT is a relatively compact camera, slightly smaller than the already-small OM SLR’s. But the main advantage is efficiency – the PEN shoots twice as many images as a standard 35mm camera, so a typical 36 image roll of film will instead yield 72 images on the PEN. In a time when just about every aspect of film photography is becoming increasingly expensive, having 72 images per roll can provide huge financial relief – it took me over six months to finish my first roll.
Olympus made a remarkable effort to make up for the PEN’s inherent disadvantage of half-frame resolution, and the end result is a seemingly over-developed camera system fit for professionals.
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