Beth and I took the Auto-Eye to Cape Ann on a photowalk with the Greater Boston Film Photographers meet up group. We shot HP5 and color, but the color is still at the lab.
The Auto-Eye is the only rangefinder I’ve ever used which also has zone focus. Brackets on the focusing scale and notches in the mechanism indicate CLOSE, GROUP, or SCENE. With the automatic exposure it becomes possible to shoot from the hip if you wish.
The camera is lighter than my Uniomat, but it feels heavier than my Leicas. The aperture indicator in the viewfinder features arrows at either end of the scale showing which way to rotate the shutter speed dial to properly expose. It is, however, possible to ignore them and take an over- or underexposed image.
I find I am more comfortable with aperture priority exposure, but I really enjoyed working with the Auto-Eye. I think it’s a keeper.
Introduced in 1960, the Olympus Auto Eye is a fixed – lens rangefinder with shutter priority auto exposure. It features a 45 mm f2.8 lens. Shutter speed is selected on the lens barrel, and metered aperture is shown on a rotating dial inside the viewfinder.
Mine was a last minute steal on a ShopGoodwill.com auction. I paid less than $10. I’ve loaded a roll of HP5 and have an excursion planned for Saturday.
Official Olympus history page
There are only a couple on ebay right now.
After its mirror repair, I enjoyed using the OM-PC. It performed as expected once I read the manual.
Initially the difference between the Program and Aperture Priority modes was not readily apparent. Setting the aperture to its smallest (highest number) allows the circuitry to automatically select both aperture and speed when in Program mode. There are no marks or locks on the lens to indicate this, unlike the Nikons with which I am more familiar.
When placed in manual mode the camera does not meter at all but will indicate the selected aperture in the viewfinder. Aperture is also indicated in the automatic modes, so they could be used to provide a metering baseline if you wished to do something unique in manual.
I found the included zoom lens a bit odd. It uses a push-pull motion, but pushing causes the lens to widen. This just feels backwards to my brain.
I shot through my roll of Hawkeye very quickly while on an impromptu trip to Mount Washington. Alas, I seem to have had a dust issue in the developing process. It also had some interesting color shifts in development. I didn’t notice them initially as I’ve been working with Lomochrome Purple recently. I need to work on the process.
Produced between 1985 and 1987, the OM-PC was the last consumer level model in Olympus’ OM line. It features program, aperture priority, and manual modes.
Aperture is selected by a standard ring on the lens. Shutter speed is adjusted using a ring on the camera body behind the lens in similar fashion to the rest of the OM cameras.
My example was an eBay bargain. It sports a 35-70 zoom lens. When it arrived the mirror was loose, but a quick dab of superglue fixed it. I’ve loaded a test roll of Kodak Hawkeye traffic surveillance film.
Shooting with the Pen EES2 was not as fun as I had hoped. I haven't worked with it enough to trust the selenium/automatic combination. I could trust an uncoupled selenium meter because I can compare its readings to my opinion. With this camera however, I never know exactly what it's doing.
The size and weight are nice though. With more practice, I think I could come to like it.
The results were unfortunately a failure. Even with the twin miracles of film scanning and photo manipulation, I was unable to salvage any presentable images. I have captured nice shots in the past with this camera, so I believe the problem was with my flea market film. I will put the camera back on the shelf for another day, and I'll shoot a test roll of the film in a known camera.
In the interim, here are a few good shots from the Olympus Pen EES2 from earlier this year.
Channel Marker, Salisbury Beach Reservation
Shot on in-date,cold stored Ilford HP5+.
For this week's camera, we swing the pendulum from medium format to sub-miniature. The Olympus Pen EES-2 is a half-frame camera from 1968-1971. It uses regular 35mm film, but it produces a 24x18mm image instead of the usual 24×36. This makes it a great camera for traveling, as you can fit up to 72 images on one roll.
The EES-2 uses a 30mm f2.8 lens which is roughly equivalent to 45mm on a full-frame camera. It's a viewfinder camera with a guess focus system. The lens barrel has four pictographs ranging from portrait to landscape with a positive notch at each. Exposure is automatically controlled using a selenium cell mounted circumferentially around the lens. Exposures from f2.8 to f22 may also be manually selected with what I believe is a 1/40 shutter speed. Automatic shutter speeds are 1/40 or 1/200. It has both a hot shoe and a flash sync socket.
The Pen series of cameras was designed to be small and light for everyday use. While it is a nice size, I don't find it appreciably smaller than a lot of my other cameras. If fact, it is both larger and heavier than my Olympus 35RC rangefinder.
I'm using mystery film this week. I found a pair of bulk loaders with film for $10 at a flea market last weekend. The right thing would be to run a test roll, but instead I've loaded a short roll in the Pen. I don't have the patience for a full roll of 48 or 72 shots. I've discovered in the darkroom that the film appears to be good Kodak Tri-X 400. As I don't know how old it is, I've rated it at 320ASA. We'll know soon.
Olympus Pen series at Camera-Wiki
Manual from Mike Butkus
Oly Pen EE-series on eBay.
This is a little film geek-y, but please bear with me. The $100 darkroom included a shopping bag full of expired film. Some people like expired film for its unpredictability, but I’d never tried shooting any. The Tri-X 400 shouldn’t be too hard to handle, the Portra 160 might have some interesting colors, but the 12-year expired Tmax 3200 could be trouble. Internet wisdom tells me that faster films are subject to more degradation and fogging.
There is no formula. It’s all dependent on how long ago the film expired, how it has been stored, how you shoot it, how you develop it, and a bit of luck. After much reading I decided to try overexposing my Tmax by two stops (800ASA). Beth grabbed the Holga 135BC, I loaded up the Olympus 35RC, and we headed out to Maudslay State Park.
Most of my shots were junk, but I was able to salvage a few in post-processing. The results are very grainy and very cool.
The Mighty Merrimac
For those who care, development was in D76 for 13 1/2 minutes, per the standard instructions for Tmax 3200.
Week four, all rolled into one post.
Kodak Gold 200 in a Voigtlander Vito B
#BEFORE / AFTER
This was supposed to be a double exposure, but I wound the camera out of habit. Oops.
Shot on a Super Ricohflex TLR, another eBay find.
I am an engineer, after all.
Olympus 35RC with Kodak Gold
Shot with the Olympus at –
Beach Access #1, Salisbury
I snuck this one with the Voigtlander Bessamatic (Kodak Gold 400) while passing through the USCG Station Portsmouth Harbor on the way to shoot Fort Constitution.
Holga 135BC, Kodak Gold 400
My madness for the month has ended, but I’ve recently installed a darkroom so this is not the last of my film photography.
A nice fat package arrived from the photo lab today. I’ve spent much of the evening importing, tagging, and correcting dates. My notes aren’t really what they should be.
As promised, here are a few highlights from the first roll through the Olympus 35RC. I’m very pleased with them.
“End of Trail” but not really. Cross at your own risk, though.
It’s not as versatile as my big SLR’s simply because it does not have interchangeable lenses, but its small size weighs heavily in its favor. This one will be high on my regularly-carried list.
It’s been an interesting month. I’ve been shooting a lot of film, and I indulged in a bit of Gear Acquisition Syndrome on eBay. One of my new toys is an Olympus 35RC.
The 35RC is a pocket 35mm rangefinder manufactured in the 1970s. There is a detailed review here.
First impressions are of a nicely sized, nicely weighted camera. The aperture control ring is a bit small and difficult to handle, but the automatic mode makes it unnecessary to adjust it often. I had my doubts about the accuracy of the meter because of a non-standard replacement battery. It seemed to be overexposing in the house.
After a quick dusting, I loaded a test roll of 200ASA and headed out.
The meter seemed to behave outdoors, shooting close to sunny 16. The wind is smooth and quiet. The lack of a mirror makes the shutter release with a gentle click and no vibration. As this is my first rangefinder, focusing took a bit of experimentation. Beth and I shot most of a roll along the Topsfield Linear Common.
If the shots come out well, this one should figure high on my regular carry list. I’ll post a few once they are developed.
UPDATE: Highlights of the first roll are here.