Olympus Pen Family

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Olympus Pen family

Olympus pen current value

Model Year Meter Distance Shoe Flash sync Timer Flash Lens  Qty made
Pen 1959 Selenium             3.5          27,000
Pen S 1960 Selenium X X X             2.8       645,000
Pen D 1962 Selenium X             1.9       265,000
Pen D2 1964 CdS X             3.5       140,000
Pen D3 1965 CdS X             3.5       156,000
Pen D3 EL 1965 CdS X             3.5
Pen EE 1961 Selenium             1.7       584,000
Pen EES 1962 Selenium X X             2.8       460,000
Pen EES EL 1962 Selenium X             2.8
Pen EE-2 1968 Selenium X             2.8    1,143,000
Pen EE-3 1973 Selenium X X             3.5    1,731,000
Pen EES-2 1968 Selenium X X X             3.5    1,434,000
Pen EED 1967 CdS X X             1.7       953,000
Pen EF 1981 Selenium X             3.5       482,000
Pen EM 1981 CdS X             2.0          53,000
Pen S / wide 1964 CdS X X X             2.5
Pen Rapid-EED 1967 CdS X X             1.7
Pen Rapid-EES 1962 Selenium X X             2.8

Olympus Pen EE

Pen EE is a humble, no-nonsense camera, cute as a puppy. Made in the early 60’s it stands in between the later, smart point and shoot cameras and the early dumb cameras. Lightweight 360 gr but feels right to its size. A nice touch is the way the camera name is marked, protruding rather than embossed, and the back-cover latch which is taken from earlier era German cameras. Nnothing much to set up, adjust the ISO speed, load the film, and start shooting. One thing baffles me, as the ISO and the aperture settings are on the same ring. Not sure how it sets both.

Fixed focus, made it simple to use. Speeds are modest, two of them.40 and 200, assume flash is on the 40. Has the world-famous Olympus red paddle the pops up with insufficient light, and the camera plays dead. The 2.8 lens is plenty for uses this camera was made for. Half frame size made this camera line the envy of shooters using 127 film, comparing the dozen or so exposures to 72.

The exemplar I have worked seamlessly so the was no need for a post-mortem or bringing it back from the dead.

List number 1868
Brand Olympus
Format 35mm half frame
Model Pen EE
Introduced 1961
Country Japan
Type Viewfinder
Body material Metal
Mode Auto / manual
Weight, gr 360
Class average weight, gr 400
ASA range 10-100
Kit lens 1.35/28
Filter size 22 mm
Lens mount Fixed lens
Mount size NA
Aperture Set by camera
shutter Leaf
Light meter Selenium, external
Winder Knob
Lock No
Speeds 40, 100
DOF preview No
Exposure lock No
Exposure compensation No
Shoe No
External sync X
Sync speed 100
Timer No
Battery None
Battery style NA
Battery voltage NA


Olympus Pen EE-3

The EE-3 is identical to the EE, save for the addition of a hot-shoe.




Olympus Pen EES-2

Similar to the rest of the family, but having a focusing ring. Distance is estimated.




Olympus Pen EM

Legacy branding is common, for brand recognition and to preserve customer loyalty. A good example is Olympus’ current naming convention, which had dropped the early digital camera names in favour of the good old film camera names. It may well work for Olympus, so they keep on that track but do make it hard on camera collectors. Looking for information on an Olympus Pen or OM, there is a torrent of data about current digital and any information about the real Pen is buried deep in result pages, where no man had come back alive.

So much for the run of the mill Olympus film cameras. To get any data on rarer models, such as the one in question, is impossible. It could well be because there is simply no information, to begin with, but I suspect the in the billions of pages indexed by Google there should be more than what I found.

The Pen OM is a wired creature. In common with the rest of the Pen family are the name and the film format, being the same half frame. I wonder what did the Olympus design team have in mind when the EM was conceived. Other cameras of that series were made after the EM’s introduction, still adhering to the traditional Pen design. No reference about that is found.

As stated, the camera looks like a vanilla camera of the early ’70s, with design elements shared with the Canonet style, also made in that period. Other than passing similarities there is little in common between this camera and both Pen and Canonet lines.

The camera is a viewfinder disguised as a rangefinder due to the position of the light meter. It is an aperture priority, so only dials present are the distance, estimated, and the aperture setting. Speed selected by the camera. A trigger button within a shutter lock dial and a film speed selector are the only moving parts on top. It is kind of odd to have the ASA dial where the frame counter is expected to be. The frame counter is on the base cover nearby a pivot pin with a red dot to show film advance. On the back, there is a mode selector, ‘M’ and ‘A’. The viewer is tiny and dim, portrait orientation as with other Pen cameras. It takes two AA batteries to operate, or not operate at all, as with the exemplar I have. I will visit this camera later once it is brought back to life.

List number 1877
Brand Olympus
Format 35mm half frame
Model Pen EM
Introduced 1965
Country Japan
Type Compact viewfinder
Body material Metal
Mode Auto / manual
Weight 590 gr,  Body with lens
Class average weight 400 gr,  Body with lens
ASA range 10-400
Kit lens 2.0/35
Lens make
Filter size 42 mm
Lens mount Fixed lens
Mount size
shutter Leaf
Light meter CdS
Winder Power winder
Lock Yes
Speeds 30-500
DOF preview No
Exposure lock No
Exposure compensation No
Shoe Cold
External sync X
Sync speed NA
Timer No
Battery AA 2ea
Battery style
Battery voltage 1.5


Olympus Pen EES-2 service

Olympus Pen EES 2 skin

As the other compact Olympus cameras, the aperture tends to seize. While the shutter is cocked against a strong spring so operates even if some dirt reaches between the blades, the aperture is being triggered and closed via tiny levers and matching springs. What it means is that the common issue with this camera is malfunctioning aperture blades. It is easy to fix:

  1. Release 3 screws Around the front ring. Pull the ring out. May be tight.

2. Unscrew front lens.

3 Remove three bottom screws to release the aperture assembly:


4. Another set of 3 screws to remove the lens:


5. Flip the aperture assembly to reach the lens ring underneath, remove the lens using a lens tool.


6. Remove the aperture plate from the housing.

7. Clean and let dry with non-woven tissue in between the leaves.

If still less than perfect movement, a tiny graphite puff will assist. Graphite powder is used to lubricate lock mechanism, can be found at hardware stores. A tube costs a little and may last you for the next decade.

To mount the aperture board into the bottom lens assembly slide it in with the blade towards the lens. There are two board types, one with little bulges next to the screw holes to slightly raise it, or there are tiny washers. In the washers option ensure they re there else it will not work. It’s a pain to install it but some tweezers acrobatics will do.


Olympus Pen cameras current value:

Pen S
Pen D
Pen D2
Pen D3
Pen D3 EL
Pen EE
Pen EE-S
Pen EE-2
Pen EE-3
Pen EE-D
Pen EF
Pen W
Pen EM

Pen Rapid-EED
Pen Rapid-EES

EES-2 repair notes elswhere



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