so i got an olympus pen fv finally

⏳2017-01-02‍ 🔖 cameras

I bought an Olympus Pen FV and I've been shooting with it. I finished one roll of Poundland Plus over the weekend (aka Agfa Vista Plus 200, 24 frames, sold for £1---ideal for half frame cameras as 48 shots is plenty) and am now about halfway through a roll of Kentmere 400.

olympus pen FV

I've wanted one of these for ages. I wasn't particularly focused on the FV, but one appeared on eBay for a reasonable price at the same time as I got some money unexpectedly. There was an FT (which has a light meter) for the same price but, apart from needing mercury batteries which don't exist any more, it sounded from research as if the meter is just a pain in the arse, being uncoupled from the aperture and speed, and reduces the brightness of the finder too.

what

I won't go into the exact details of what the F(V) is and does---you can google that and be just as informed as I was when I bought it. Basically it's a compact half frame (i.e. each shot is half the size of a normal 35mm frame) film SLR. It was sold on its size and portability as a whole system compared to contemporary full frame cameras.

Half frame never really took off though; I'm not quite sure why. It might not be a great format if you want huge detailed prints but there's plenty of detail there---commercial movies were shot in half frame, after all, and blown up to the size of a projection screen. The sort of 4x6" prints that most people took didn't need large negatives at all. Perhaps one issue for the consumer market was that it takes forever to use up a roll of film.

Half frame also has effects on depth of field, in that it is larger for the same effective focal length; this is good for street photography, letting you shoot faster or in lower light and get more of the scene in focus, but less good for portraits and other styles where you want to isolate a subject by having other elements out of focus. Swings and roundabouts really.

anyway

Some observations:

At the moment my thoughts are that I didn't really need this and it will not make much difference to my photography, but that it's cute enough that I don't really mind.


Some sample pictures from the Pen FV in a Flickr gallery - 2017-01-07 Class War Demo Harrods. (Some are taken with my phone at the time.)


thoughts while shooting and scanning

Now I want to go back and re-try my Olympus Pen (the first, full-manual compact one, not the Pen EE) to compare. I remember some of the shots from that being surprisingly good.