After many months of eBay stalking, I’ve finally picked up an Olympus PEN F.  While the whole experience turned out to be rather unpleasant*, I am still glad that I did it.  Awesome little camera this is!

The camera came with a detached mirror, which I repaired 3 times.  The first time, the mirror was offset by a huge amount due to the thick adhesive I used.  The second time, the camera was tilted slightly causing focus to go out at one corner, due to old, dried-up original adhesive.  The third time, I used a X-Acto knife to cut out all the old adhesive (since the silvering was in the front this could be done without damaging the mirror), and reattached the mirror.  It is now working perfectly!

The Olympus PEN FT - The 'Single-Frame' Beauty

The Olympus PEN F is, of course, the choice of camera of W. Eugene Smith (or so Olympus would have us believe), the famed Magnum photographer known for his harrowing images of the war, as well as the heart-wrenching images of the victims of pollution caused by Chisso Corporation in Minamata City.  The camera is a so-called single-frame camera, referring to the 18x24mm image frame used in cinema (others call it half-frame, as opposed to a full-frame 35mm camera).  I am just starting to shoot with it, and will put up a follow-up as soon as I get my first roll developed (could take a while, since the camera allows 72 shots for every roll!)  I’ll leave you with the famous W. Eugene Smith ad by Olympus.

* The 38mm f/1.8 came with a scuff on the rear element, which was not mentioned anywhere in the listing.  I contacted the seller, hoping that I will get a partial refund.  I was offered a full refund if I shipped it back, but I didn’t want to take it for two reasons.  Firstly, the shipping both ways would have cost me 20++ bucks, this was not a small amount.  I would have bought a KEH copy, but I find that the lenses are rare (but not expensive) on the used market, so I didn’t want to spend more time eBay stalking.  Secondly, the camera came with a mirror that has fallen off.  I repaired the mirror, and I didn’t want to send it back, at my expense, just so that the seller can benefit from it!  

The seller was, however, extremely aggressive, and insisted that I have to try out the lens before asking for a refund, and that I was being unfair.  I have never heard that argument before.  As far as I am concerned, if the lens came in worse shape than described, I am entitled to request a partial refund, or to leave a negative feedback, regardless of the effect on the final image, since I may have intended to collect the camera rather than use it.  I do not think that the onus is on the buyer to go through the trouble and expense of shipping the item back.  And when I told her that I will put a note in the feedback since we couldn’t come to an agreement, she contacted eBay support, as if I had done something wrong, even though I left a positive feedback and only commented that the lens had an unmentioned scuff.  Terribly frustrating!

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