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Olympus Pen F (original film) viewfinder
Old 06-28-2016   #1
jamin-b
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Olympus Pen F (original film) viewfinder

I have a couple of good Pen FT bodies, which I like a lot, but sometimes find the viewfinder to be annoyingly dim, especially in low light or when using the wide angle f3.5/ 4 lenses. I was wondering whether there is a significant enough improvement in visibility when using a meterless Pen F or Pen FV model to justify seeking one of these out.

Appreciate your insights...
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Old 06-28-2016   #2
zuiko85
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I prefer the original F screen. This is not because of brightness but because it has a plain matte surface, without the distraction of a micro prism spot. I have had a FT, now sold, that I had the meter removed and a full surface mirror installed instead of the half surface mirror necessary for the ttl meter. There was some improvement but nothing dramatic. I also have the 20mm f3.5 Zuiko and I focus by scale for distances beyond 5 or 6 feet. I generally find that focusing closer than 6 feet, using the screen, acceptable down to interior room lighting. (Illumination that would give you 1/30 @ f3.5 at ISO 100)
If the light is dimmer than that then if I can find a specular reflection off some surface I can usually focus on that.
Remember, you focus on contrast, not just brightness.
Here is an idea to try with your FT and the 20mm lens. Try focusing using the matte portion of the screen, just above or below the micro prism spot, or to the left or right if holding the camera in landscape orientation. This may help, depending on your eyesight. I'm 67 years old and my eyesight is certainly not as good as at 22, my age when I first bought a couple of Pen F cameras.
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Old 06-28-2016   #3
ferider
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Because of the beam splitter for the meter, you loose 1 stop in the FT, compared to the F (which I have) or FV (which I never tried). If you don't need your FT meter (or if it's broken) you can replace the splitting mirror with a real mirror, and get the same vf brightness improvement.
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Old 06-28-2016   #5
ferider
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamin-b View Post
Thanks, zuiko85 and ferider -but replace the mirror with what? a spare mirror from an original Pen F? Is this a complicated maneuver? [I am no technical whiz]
You used to be able to buy replacement mirrors in Japan. Cann't find the link anymore, but maybe somebody from Japan can help (maitani or Jon ?). It's not difficult, but not trivial either, and you need a wrench to take the top plate off (for the self timer). If you want to get it done by the best repairman available, send John an email http://www.zuiko.com.

Roland.
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Old 06-28-2016   #6
zuiko85
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamin-b View Post
Thanks, zuiko85 and ferider -but replace the mirror with what? a spare mirror from an original Pen F? Is this a complicated maneuver? [I am no technical whiz]
That was done years ago by Ken Ruth who did a lot of custom photographic repair work. The camera was jammed so when he repaired that I ask him to pull out the meter and replace the mirror. He said the replacement first surface mirror was just cut down from some stock he already had on hand.

Here is an idea. I see a lot of F bodies from Japan that are sold for about $140 to $170 including shipping. It would probably cost almost that much for a camera reparier to modify your FT. You might consider that option and thus also gain a second body, for about the price of modifying your FT.
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