Featured Camera: The Olympus Pen EES-2

We absolutely love the Olympus Pen EES-2, and so we've written a whole blog about it. Hopefully you will love it as much as we do when you get a chance to use it. 

Here is our full review of the Olympus Pen EES-2 half-frame 35mm film camera.

The Olympus Pen EES-2 35mm film camera

What is the Olympus Pen EES-2?

There are lots of the Olympus Pen cameras out there - even the new digital Olympus cameras are called the Olympus Pen. 

This Pen, however, is the EES-2. It is arguably the best model of the Olympus Pen EE cameras ever made. 

It is very similar to the Olympus Trip - you can set your focus with the four zone focusing options, and it has flash settings for the aperture as well. 

The thing that sets this camera apart from the Olympus Trip is that it is a half-frame camera. Below, we explain exactly what a half-frame camera is.

What is a half-frame film camera?

The Olympus Pen EES-2 is a half-frame film camera. Here is our explanation of exactly what that means.

A half-frame camera is a camera that takes two smaller frames on one normal sized frame of 35mm film. You take images in the same way as a normal 35mm film camera, however when you develop the roll, you will have two frames side by side. You can read more about half-frame cameras here. Here is a diagram that explains the size of half-frames.

Diagram of half-frame film cameras

Using the Olympus Pen EES-2

The thing I really loved about using the Olympus Pen EES-2 camera is how small it is. It simply fits in your pocket, bag, or glovebox, and you can take it with you anywhere.

It means you can get lots of photographs wherever you are, without having to lug around a big camera. I ended up taking this camera to a lot more places, because I could just leave it in my backpack.

Olympus Pen EES-2 with the Olympus vintage strap
Cardiff Castle on Kentmere with the Olympus Pen EES-2
Cardiff Castle on Kentmere Pan with the Olympus Pen EES-2

Views of Cardiff Castle taken with the Olympus Pen EES-2 using Kentmere Pan 400

The Olympus Pen EES-2 Focusing and Metering

The Olympus Pen EES-2 adopts the same focusing and metering as the Olympus Trip. 

The camera is powered by the selenium cell around the lens, meaning that the camera does not need any batteries and the size of the aperture is decided by the amount of light hitting the selenium meter. 

This does not make it the most accurate metering on a 35mm film camera, but it does the job. 

Person holding the Olympus Pen EES-2 35mm film camera
View in Cardiff taken with the Olympus Pen EES-2
View of Cardiff arcade taken with the Olympus Pen EES-2

Two images where the exposure came out perfectly despite the difficult lighting

Choosing your focus with the zone focusing of the lens can seem daunting to people new to photography or using the camera. But rest assured, the sharpness of the Olympus Pen EES-2 lens means that even if you get the focus off a little bit, your image will probably still be in focus. 

Trust me, there were at least 10 shots on this roll of film that I completely forgot to set the focus for, and yet none of them came out majorly out of focus.

Using Kentmere Pan 400 in the Olympus Pen EES-2

We love this black and white film stock. It's even the one that we send out with all of the cameras sold on our shop. 

Using black and white film is great for beginners as it gives you an understanding of how light hits your negatives and how your camera filters light.

View of Wales taken on the Olympus Pen EES-2
View of Morris Minor car taken with the Olympus PEn EES-2
View from St Davids taken on the Olympus Pen EES-2

Two images that came back super sharp despite forgetting to set the focus

Person sat on the roof of a van, taken with the Olympus Pen EES-2

Final Thoughts on the Olympus Pen EES-2

I really enjoyed using the Olympus Pen EES-2 after using much bigger SLR cameras for so long. Having something super compact in my pocket was great, and I took so many more images over a few weeks that I normally would. And that doesn't cost you lots either - because it is a half frame you can get double the amount of images on one roll.

Using this camera was super easy, and it was also easy to hand off to my partner who is new to film photography for them to use. 

The metering and focus was always on point, although this camera is not great at capturing very fast movements. You would have to move the camera at the same speed as the thing you are photographing to make it appear still in the frame.

For a pocket-sized, ideal for travelling, budget-friendly, point and shoot film camera, the Olympus Pen EES-2 ticks so many great boxes. We highly recommend it for people travelling, people new to film, and for those who just want a little extra camera for those quick trips.

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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.


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