Antwerp in black and white, with the original Olympus PEN F. By Dirk Dom

Antwerp in black and white, with the original Olympus PEN F

By Dirk Dom

I’ve been walking in Antwerp with the 1963 Olympus PEN F, a half frame SLR. Weather was very cold but the light was beautiful.

Here’s some images I like.

I’m crazy about grain, so I used Kodak Tmax 3200, exposed and developed for 400 ASA. This film gives a bit more grain than Tri-X. I eyeballed the light with the Sunny f/16 rule. I photographed with the 60mm f/1.5. This is a very rare lens, I lucked out when I found one on a Dutch used site.

Anyway, here’s the shots.

The first image I liked more negative than positive, so here it is inverted:

Lots of windmills in Flanders. They’re going to build a new highway here.

A fence against the sun.

They are installing a new bridge across the Albertkanaal; it’s called “de Brug van den Azijn”, “the Vinegar Bridge”. I walked on the site for a while. The crane was moving, I only had a few seconds to get the shot.

Downtown, they’re also working. For this photograph I climbed into an empty container. Because I had this 90mm equivalent tele, I had to choose: Either the rubble, or the Cathedral sharp. I chose for the rubble, don’t know if I really like it, what do you think?


Downtown Antwerp, nice contrast between a 400 year old house and modern office building.

Just a shot of the Cathedral.

Detail of down town Antwerp.

How these shots look depends very much on the hardware and software you use. Especially the grain looks very different on different platforms, often much more aggressive. The only way I see the image as it looks printed is on my Eizo screen, in Photoshop. Everything else messes it up. I print my good shots on Baryta paper.

Well, that’s about it!

Get out there and shoot!




  1. Hey Dirk, how about you showing us some photographs taken with a jewel-like Minox. You won’t need 3200 ASA film for a grain effect. The Minox was a VERY portable camera! Actually, I would love to see a modern digital version.

  2. Hello Dirk,
    Pictures like your Windmills shot tempt me to use one of my film camera’s again, one of my Zeiss Ikons or my Canon A1… The grain is marvelous indeed. Also in The Vinegar Bridge the grain adds so much “vintage power”. And then the two last ones… Well, you get it, I really love the mood of those pictures. Still, I guess I’ll continue in the opposite direction. Eternal duality. 🙂
    BTW, I also like it a lot that you don’t show “typical shots of Antwerp”, but instead how you “use” Antwerp to come up with some interesting images.

  3. Interesting images. I like grain but think here a lil too much. It your dynamics, so enjoy. I loved the idea of Orig Pen-F, had both models, both had slipping shutters.
    Never used Olympus again till recent gift of a Olympus Digital (old) with freaking expensive memory card, a mere 2 GB. Lens is great.
    The half frame is a lovely format and I always preferred VERTICAL framing! I shot for magazines and journals.
    Great subject matter.

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