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Half Frames / Subminiatures This forum is for all half frame 35mm cameras, including the very popular Olympus Pens and their SLR cousins, the Pen F and Pen FT, as well as all smaller than half frame subminiature film cameras.

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Olympus Pen FT Focusing
Old 04-20-2014   #1
Blacksofa
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Olympus Pen FT Focusing

Recently obtained the 38mm for the FT and the main difficulty for me is getting used to the focusing as I'm not quite sure if it's actually in focus. So I was wondering if there are any tips or tricks on what to look for during focusing. Thanks!
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Old 04-21-2014   #2
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You probably cannot see the screen clearly. I think the eyepiece is set to -1 or 1 meter. If you use glasses do you use them with the camera or take them off? The FT has a micro prism center focusing aid. When it stops shimmering the image is in focus.

There is another possibility. The lens you have attached to the camera could have a gummed up aperture and you are trying to focus with a stopped down lens setting.

I would need more information to suggest anything more useful.
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Old 04-24-2014   #3
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I have glasses too and can see the screen, it's just that I'm so used to split prisms, using the spot is a new experience.
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Old 04-24-2014   #4
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Try to focus on the plain ground glass part of the screen surrounding the micro prism spot. Your experience with micro prism focusing is the reason I don't have a Pen FT. The older Pen F has a plain ground glass screen and I have no trouble focusing Pen lenses, even the 25mm f4 works fine with that screen. It's dim but I can focus even in normal night room lighting.

If you really need a split wedge screen to focus your FT you might want to give Ken Ruth, (Photography on Bald Mountian) a call. He may be able to cut down and adapt a screen from another system although I'm not sure what the extent of his custom work covers.
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Old 08-21-2016   #5
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is the meter on the FT accurate? (Does it worth vs an F ? )

I'm considering a Pen camera (I already have 38/1.8 and 25/4 lenses) and thought about the FT because of meter and prism, but if prism is hard to focus and vf is dimmer I may be better with an F maybe...
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Old 08-21-2016   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fer_fdi View Post
is the meter on the FT accurate? (Does it worth vs an F ? )

I'm considering a Pen camera (I already have 38/1.8 and 25/4 lenses) and thought about the FT because of meter and prism, but if prism is hard to focus and vf is dimmer I may be better with an F maybe...
Don't get an FT for the meter. Even if they work and are accurate they use a complicated 'transfer the reading to the lens' type of adjustment, not a simple match needle or center needle as in other TTL meter systems. You might want one because it is newer or has less wear, but not because of the meter. Another consideration. Do your 38mm and 25mm have the 'meter numbers' on the bottom of the aperture dial? If not they are the older versions of these lenses and to meter you would have to memorize the f-number/meter number conversions to set the correct aperture on the lens.

The other difference between the F and FT is the F has a double stroke to advance the film and charge the shutter while the FT (and FV, a meterless version of the FT) have a long single stroke. The tripod socket location in the FT is in the center of the bottom plate, better than the F which is on the end. The FT has a matte screen with micro prism center focusing, the F has a plane matte screen. I prefer the all matte on the F but many folks like the micro prism better. That is just personal preference and would depend on your preference. The meterless FV body is a good choice but is much less common than the FT and usually commands a higher price in similar condition.

Hope this info helps.
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Old 08-21-2016   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blacksofa View Post
I have glasses too and can see the screen, it's just that I'm so used to split prisms, using the spot is a new experience.
The FT's screen is a "micro prism" screen. This is a patch with many tiny split prisms at different angles. You should see the facets in the prisms clearly. If you can't see the facets your eyesight is not properly corrected for the distance at which the screen is projected. This distance is around 1-2 meters in most cameras which 2m being the most common.
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Old 08-21-2016   #8
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Do I recall correctly that the FV screen is brighter too? This is something I only half remember; I'm not sure that it's true.

Cheers,

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Old 08-21-2016   #9
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off topic on the actual focusing, I'd like to add that, even though 1/2 frame, the image circles of the 38 & 25 adapt well to APS-C sensors. While the 25 is similar to my VC25 f4, the 38 1.8 seems to have a slightly warm pastel rendering that I find delightful. Probably a coating on that particular lens. Both sharp.
Used with adapter on Sony Nex.
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Old 08-21-2016   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
Do I recall correctly that the FV screen is brighter too? This is something I only half remember; I'm not sure that it's true.

Cheers,

R.
You're quite correct. The FT uses a semi-silvered mirror in the VF to funnel some of the VF light to the meter. This means less gets to the eyepiece. The FV uses a plain solid mirror.

I've heard of people having the mirror in an FT with a dead meter replaced with an FV mirror to improve the VF since if there's no functioning meter there's no need to suffer the light loss.
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Old 08-21-2016   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philipaloft View Post
... even though 1/2 frame, the image circles of the 38 & 25 adapt well to APS-C sensors...
That's because all of the APS-c variants are smaller than 1/2 frame 35mm (aka "single frame"). All of the sensor formats that are smaller than 35mmFF are smaller than 1/2 frame 35mm with the exception of the few APS-h sensors (a very few Canon models, Leica M8, ...)
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Old 08-21-2016   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dwig View Post
You're quite correct. The FT uses a semi-silvered mirror in the VF to funnel some of the VF light to the meter. This means less gets to the eyepiece. The FV uses a plain solid mirror.

I've heard of people having the mirror in an FT with a dead meter replaced with an FV mirror to improve the VF since if there's no functioning meter there's no need to suffer the light loss.

I had that done in an FT, never liked the FT meter operation anyway. Now I have only the F but am looking at obtaining a second F body as backup. I have a home made aluminum plate with grip that centers the tripod socket and provides a strap lug on the rewind side to carry the camera in a vertical (landscape) orientation.
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Old 08-22-2016   #13
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thank you all for your answers.


My 25/4 has the exposure numbers, the 38/1.8 don't. But I don't see it so complicate to learn...

Which batteries/adapter are you using for accurate metering on the FT ? MR-9?

Also, for precise focusing, which is better? The plain screen in F? Or the dimmer FT one?
(my other film camera is a CLE, a rangefinder, so I'm not used to focus screens)
And, is the FT screen too distracting for composing vs the plain screen on the F ?

The fact is that I'm finding more FTs in good shape than Fs, so far. And I find a meter useful. But I have to evaluate pros/cons,
like a dimmer viewfinder on the FT, or that the simpler F screen would be less distracting when composing...




P.S.: I use my Pen lenses on the X-E1 (and before that on my E-P2) that's why I have them.
I love them both. They are excellent lenses. The 38/1.8 is well known. The 25/4 less so and it is an amazing lens, very sharp and special.
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Old 09-25-2016   #14
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I finally got a Pen-FT because I found one in excellent condition at a fair price.
I'm very happy with it and with the results.
I shot first roll by intuition and using myLightMeter iPhone app but now I have an adapter from Frans de Gruijter so next roll I'll use the meter and see...
Thank you all
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Old 09-25-2016   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dwig View Post
You're quite correct. The FT uses a semi-silvered mirror in the VF to funnel some of the VF light to the meter. This means less gets to the eyepiece. The FV uses a plain solid mirror.

I've heard of people having the mirror in an FT with a dead meter replaced with an FV mirror to improve the VF since if there's no functioning meter there's no need to suffer the light loss.
I have replaced FT mirrors with first surface mirrors cut to size on cameras with dead meters. Definitely brighter.
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