Requiem for a Camera

A camera of my youth died today and I am sad. One of my Dad’s cameras, the little Olympus Pen F was something I borrowed from time to time to capture moments of my late teens and early 20’s. I still have many slides of that time which I need to convert to digital files or prints.

The Olympus has become collectable  so I dug it out of a drawer and put a roll of film in it. Would it still take pictures? I wasn’t sure if it had been used in 20 years. Suffering a recalcitrant light meter, besides a balky closure latch, the camera took about eight shots before freezing up. The camera will not rewind any longer. And the photo counter wasn’t working just before it died.

Purely mechanical, the Pen F took no batteries and was small enough to carry anywhere. It was a half frame camera which meant it took two pictures for every image on a roll of film. If you had a roll of 36 exposure film you got 72 shots. It was a great way to learn because you had plenty of film to experiment with.

The first picture is a stock photo of a Pen in its prime, exactly like mine except with all the scratches I put on it. Note the Gothic “F”. The second photo is a self portrait I took at a mirror when I was 19. The original selfie. Look at all that hair! Joe Rebel. The third image is an ad for the Pen, projecting what a cool camera it was. That it was.

selfportrait olympuspenf


By thomasfarley01

Business writer and graphic arts gadfly.

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