Which half-frame camera should I get? Pen D, D3 or S2.8?

Discussion in 'Olympus' started by siyoo, Jul 22, 2018.

  1. Hi!
    I've come across some half-frame cameras recently and they have inspired me to get back into film cameras!

    The models I'm looking at are Pen D, D3 and S2.8 (D3 is priced much higher than the other two, like double the price of D or S2.8).
    I did some research on the internet and tried to read up, but am still clueless as to which model I should get...

    I'm new to the half-frame world, so I would very much appreciate any tip/advice from you! (I used to use full frame kodak retinette a loooong time ago)

    Which one would you go for?

    (or do you say they are all meh and I should go for something entirely different?)

  2. Given all the really great FF film equipment out there at cheap prices, what attracts you to an odd ball 1/2 frame alternative? I assume you plan on processing and printing yourself because I don't know if any commercial labs (any that are left that process and print film), will be able to handle half frame negatives. I would certainly check on the availability of an applicable lab before buying a camera.
  3. It's not that half-frame cameras are 'meh'. Some are very nice. It's just that they're not the ideal only camera. They're more of an occasional alternative than an everyday camera, because of the tradeoffs involved. You get a smaller camera, but you lose image quality. People here tend to value image quality more than saving a couple of ounces of weight.
  4. Very true. I have PEN EE3 which I use on group trips, where I normally use high quality film for serious shots, but need something that can shoot more frames and quality isn't a concern since it'll be used for candid shots. It is automatic, true "point and shoot" so serves its purpose well.

    As for the cameras listed by OP, Pen D is in fact a manual half-frame camera with a light meter. As long as Selenium works, should be fine. D3 is an improvement over regular D since it's got a lens with f/1.7 maximum aperture (versus f/1.9) and not so accurate (not after 40+ years of service) selenium meter has been replaced with a much better CdS cell. However it requires a battery. Hearing aid "675" cells should work like a charm. Is D3 worth paying double the price of D? I don't think so. But it's all up to you. If I recall correctly, "S 2.8" was an earlier model than D/D3 and had no meter at all. As the name implies, lens has f/2.8 aperture.

    Which one to buy among those? I don't know. I personally would not buy any of the three because ... Well because too much fiddling for taking one simple shot. Half frame camera must be fun, due to inferior image quality. Heck, even Olympus Trip 35 is easier to use than any of those three. And it's a full frame cam with legendary image quality.
  5. If it was me, I'd get a Pen D because I've seen more of the shutters working in the 'D' than the 'S2.8' models. For some reason the 5 blade Copal shutter in the S3.5 and S2.8 seem to be prone to being found gummed up and/or slow (sometimes very slow). I've had two S2.8 and one S3.5 Pens and all three shutters had to be cleaned to work. My Pen D on the other has worked for 15 years, from day one. Yes I know, a sample of one is really not valid but on almost every other Pen D model I've personally handled the shutters all seemed to be running free and clear.

    Granted, this is a scale focus lens and you have to be able to estimate focusing distance accurately if shooting wide open, at least if focused under 18~20 feet. The minimum focus distance of the Pen D 32mm f1.9 lens is marked at 2.6 feet and if I wanted to shoot at that distance wide open I'd use a tape measure.

    A lot of the Pen D meters are dead, mine was but I can estimate exposure or use a meter if necessary. I estimate 95% of my exposures.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2018
  6. My Olympus Pen D has a dead meter, the shutter is ok

    The advantage of half frame camera is a roll of regular 135-36 film can take 72 pictures,
    So you carry half as many rolls of film vs FF camera.
    Further half frame camera saves your time, because you do not need to change film as often

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