The Pen series is a family of half-frame cameras made by Olympus from 1959 to the beginning of the 1980s, and from 2009. Aside from the Pen F series of half-frame SLRs, they are fixed-lens rangefinder cameras.
The original Pen was introduced in 1959. It was designed by Yoshihisa Maitani, and was the first half-frame camera produced in Japan. It was one of the smallest cameras to use 35mm film in regular 135 cassettes. It was thought to be as portable as a pen; thus the name. The idea was to be much copied by other Japanese makers.
A series of derivatives followed, some easier to use with the introduction of exposure automation, e.g. the Pen EE; others with a wider aperture lens and a manual meter, such as the Pen D.
In 1966 the arrival of the Rollei 35, a camera almost as compact but making normal 24×36 exposures, would announce the beginning of the end for the half-frame concept. However, Olympus went on producing the simpler models of the Pen family until at least 1983.
In the descriptions below, the focal lengths indicated do not give the same angle of view as for full-frame cameras: 30mm on the Pen is roughly equivalent to 45mm on a full-frame, and 28mm to 40mm.
Check out our collection of Olympus Pen here.