Featured Camera: The Olympus Pen EE-3

We LOVE the Olympus Pen EE range of 35mm half-frame cameras, but as with any range of cameras, they all have subtle differences. In this blog, we are looking at the Olympus Pen EE-3, complete with example images that show what kind of photographs you could get from the camera, and why we love it.

We also cover what a half-frame film camera is, where to get your film developed, and why your next film camera should be a half-frame.

Olympus Pen EE-2 being packed to be sent

You might have already read our blog post on the Olympus Pen EE-2. Well, these two cameras - the Olympus Pen EE-2 and Olympus Pen EE-3 - are pretty much identical. They have the same lens, same features, and produce the same results, but scroll to the bottom to see some different samples!

What is the Olympus Pen EE-3?

The Olympus Pen EE-3 is a compact, half-frame 35mm film camera. 

The Olympus Pen EE range has several different cameras to choose from. The Olympus Pen EE-3 is one of the over-looked and under-appreciated models. 

Also, a fun fact: "EE" stands for "Electric Eyes".

The Olympus Pen EE-3 has fixed focus, a wide 28mm f/3.5 lens, red flag feature, and automatic shutter and aperture settings.

The camera's light meter is powered by the selenium cell around the lens. This piece of the camera receives light and moves a small needle inside the camera to determine your shutter speed and aperture.

What is a half-frame camera?

Half-frame film cameras are a really simple concept; they create an image on one half of the frame at a time. Normal cameras are called full-frame as the photograph you take will take up one full-frame on a roll of negatives. However, a half-frame takes two images on the same size as one full-frame.

What is a half-frame film camera - diagram of half-frames

Why should I get a half-frame film camera?

  • You get double the amount of photographs on one roll. This means you have to buy less film, making it a little cheaper for you.
  • Most half-frame cameras are really compact, and can fit easily in your pocket.
  • Half-frame cameras feature some of the best and most unique camera designs.

How do I use the Olympus Pen EE-3?

One of the main things we love about the Olympus Pen EE-3 camera is how easy it is to use. We highly recommend it for beginners, who don't know all the ins and outs of film photography, exposure controls, etc. 

The Olympus Pen EE-3 is a true point and shoot 35mm film camera. The lens is fixed and the settings are automatic, which means the camera is super easy to use. All you need to do is load your film and start creating images. Pressing the shutter and advancing the film with the little turn-wheel is all you will need to do whilst creating images.

Olympus Pen EE-2 vintage advert

What is the Olympus Pen EE-3 red flag feature?

The red flag feature, as mentioned earlier, is a simple feature that the Olympus Pen EE-3 has. 

When there is not enough light, a small red flag comes up in the viewfinder and an image cannot be taken. This can be overridden by the manual aperture settings used for flash. You can read more here as the Olympus Trip has the same feature.

Red flag feature of the Olympus Pen EE-2

What kind of images can I take with the Olympus Pen EE-3?

The Olympus Pen EE-3 is a very versatile camera and is well-equipped for a large range of subjects and situations. 

Below are some images taken by Ben, one of our customers. You can follow him on Instagram at @solent.ben

Bentley vintage car taken on the Olympus Pen EE-3
Row of vintage cars taken on Olympus Pen EE-3
Bentley vintage car taken on the Olympus Pen EE-3
Row of vintage cars taken on Olympus Pen EE-3
View of countryside taken on Olympus Pen EE-3
View of countryside taken on Olympus Pen EE-3

Here we have some great samples of images taken with the Olympus Pen EE-3 35mm film camera. These images were taken by Nikki, founder of the film photographer collective, Grain Gurls

View of train tracks taken on the Olympus Pen EE-3 35mm film camera
Rose taken on the Olympus Pen EE-3 35mm film camera

The Olympus Pen EE-3 is such a great camera for travelling, because it just fits so easily in your pocket. Nikki takes her Olympus Pen with her everywhere, including on a recent trip to Germany. 

Sample images taken on the Olympus Pen EE-3 35mm film camera
Sample image taken on Olympus Pen EE-3 35mm film camera

Where can I get half-frame photographs developed?

Rolls of film taken on a half-frame film camera are developed the same way as a normal roll of film. 

When the images are developed, your lab may scan them as either individual images, or two images alongside each other. You can request for the images to be scanned individually. 

We are partnered with Gulabi, who have the option to have your film scanned as a half-frame, meaning each image will appear individually.

What other models of Olympus Pen cameras are there?

Like we said, we LOVE the Olympus Pen range, and there are several different cameras you can choose from. 

The Olympus Pen EE-2 and Olympus Pen EE-3 are almost identical. The Olympus Pen EES-2 has focus settings and is similar to the Olympus Trip. The Olympus Pen EF is the only one with a built-in flash. 

Final Thoughts on the Olympus Pen EE-3

The Olympus Pen EE-3 camera is truly one of the best point and shoot film cameras you can buy. 

The lens is sharp and creates great image quality. 

It is also so easy to use. This makes it great for beginners and great for travelling because you don't miss any of the action faffing around with the camera. 

They are also very easy to repair if you ever have any issues. We offer a repair service for these cameras.

Still stuck on which film camera to buy?

Try our film camera quiz. All you have to do is answer a few questions, and then you will get a list of personalised camera recommendations. 

Or send us a message on Instagram, send us an email, chat to us on our live website chat, or read some more of our blog posts!

If you like what we do, but can't buy a camera from us, please consider buying us a cup of coffee! It helps us to keep these resources free, consistent, and accessible. 

Max, owner of Cameras By Max

Article written by: Max

Max is the owner of Cameras By Max. They work full-time repairing and refurbishing all the 35mm film cameras you see on the website. Their favourite camera (at the moment) is the Olympus XA, and their favourite city in the world is Edinburgh.


No more products available for purchase

Your cart is currently empty.