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Olympus Pen EE-3 with Kodak Portra 400

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Late in the summer, I dusted off my Olympus Pen EE-3 which I hadn’t shot with since April 2021 (which I posted about that May).

Although I enjoy the novelty of and some of the results with a half-frame camera, I have mixed feelings about needing to shoot 72 photos before finishing a roll and getting it developed. I typically buy 35mm film with 36 frames. Even with 24 frames, that’s still a hefty 48 shots.

I shot the last roll of the Kodak Portra 400 5-pack I got for our trip to California back in the late spring.

I had a bit of an issue when I got this latest roll developed. For my previous half-frame rolls, my local lab scanned the full frames, preserving the 2 photos per frame. This time, they scanned each shot individually and sent me 73 scans (apparently, I squeezed out an extra photo).

I emailed them about it, but they had already cut the negatives and put them in the mail to me. They said that their default is to scan the photos individually, and that if I wanted otherwise, I should put a note in my order. Since they hadn’t done that before, it didn’t occur to me that I needed to specify what I wanted.

It seems odd to me that their default is to scan the photos individually since it seems to me the point of half-frame cameras is to have 2 side-by-side images on each frame. I can see wanting to have individual frames if you’re trying to save money, but I would think that would be a less frequent request.

Anyway, my first thought was that I was going to have to rescan them myself. I didn’t necessarily want to take the time to do that.

Instead, I decided to try to reassemble the images in Photoshop which turned out to be very easy. I created a new file that was twice as wide as a single photo and then added 150 pixels to the width to account for the usual gap between photos. I sent the background to black and then added 2 frames the size of individual photos.

At that point, it was easy enough to drop the photos into this template to reconstruct what I was hoping to get from my lab. I made sure to add photos in the order I took them because I enjoy the serendipity of how the images align. Occasionally, I take pictures in an intentional order but often I just shoot without much thought of the sequence and see how things end up.

Given I needed to take 72 photos, it took a few outings to finish the roll.

I started the roll at the end of June on a walk Holly and I took mostly along South Street.

The 2nd photo of that last frame was actually the 1st shot of my next outing which wasn’t until mid-August. One night, Holly had a work dinner so I walked with her partway there and then walked around taking a few photos before treating myself to a solo dinner out.

At the end of August, Holly and I had a wedding to go to. Although it wasn’t far, it occupied an entire Saturday so we decided to take the following Monday off. We mostly relaxed, but we went out for lunch, and I shot some more photos along the way.

I took a few more photos on our walk to the Fairmount section of the city where I also used my Minolta XE which I already posted about. The last frame of the above gallery is the first shot taken on this walk.

I finally finished the roll I started in June at the end of September. I went for a short walk in our neighborhood hellbent on getting it done.

I have such mixed feelings about the Olympus Pen EE-3. Some of the side-by-side images are really interesting. But it’s basically a point-and-shoot camera so the quality of many of the individual images isn’t that great. And it takes a long time to get through a roll.

I’m sure I’ll shoot with it again sometime, but it may be another couple of years before I do so.

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