Sunday, July 13, 2008

Spy games

Olympus Pen EES-2 I love spy stuff. Technically, that's not quite true: I love "retro" spy stuff. Actually, I love retro-futurism in general, but there's something about cold war high-tech that appeals to me. Maybe it's the just the smug feeling you get from perfect hindsight, like that old "nobody should need more than 640K" Bill Gates trope that's aired out from time to time. Technology still has the ability to surprise us, and perhaps there's a bit of Schadenfreude when reading a magazine article from the pulp-soaked 1940s predicting moon-bases and food-pills in the far-off 1970s. Or perhaps I'm just reveling in the wonder of a simpler time. Anyhow, I love the imagined gadgetry from that age, since they are by-and-large mechanical, and thus so incredibly ingenious. How did they get that camera squeezed into a pen?

And that clunky segue leads to the featured photo with this post: a camera that thinks it's a pen. Or rather, a camera that Olympus marketed as being as easy to carry as a pen. It's a half-frame camera, meaning that it shoots two negatives per regular frame on a 35mm roll of film. Now, this can either be used to fulfill some latent spy-fantasies by taking snapshots of Secret Plans, or just to make some artistic diptychs in-camera. Personally, I'll hope for the latter, but play at the former. Besides, this is a cool looking camera. Sometime I'll have to get some help for my love of cameras with the bug-eye style light meter.

Like my other recent adoptee, this one needs some help. The apeture is stuck nearly shut, perhaps around f/22. The Magical Interwebs has directions for going in and solving this problem, but right from the start it's obvious that I have neither the tools nor the talent to remove screws smaller than I can comfortably see. So, I'm going to drop in a roll of junk film and take a little photo walk before finding someone willing to be the Q to my James Bond.

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