Olympus OM-1and the OM-2

by John Waco Jr October. 17, 2019 111 views

OM-1 35mm Film Camera

I bought my first Olympus OM-1 in 1976 and I still use this camera to this very day which is the reason I bought another two; at a garage sales[can't pass up the good bargain] for this rugged little camera I know this because I’ve taken this same camera ever were with me- over the years and it has never failed me once in 34-yrs. Iv'e had a camera tech. clean it twice and calibrate it the first time did not need calibration second time yes from a hang gliding accident; I'am retired now and don't do any of that anymore but I sure have the photographs to prove it because of this fantastic little camera, I just collect them now because someday I believe they will command a very high price because of their reputation for all the facts I just stated; today I own every OM series camera ever made-OM-1[OM-1n]OM-2[OM-2n[OM2s[OM-3[OM-3Ti[OM-4[OM-4Ti[OM-10[OM-20[OM-30[OM-40[OM-G[OM-F[OM-2000; which is sad to say is the end of a great camera; I buy them now so I have parts for them because I will never stop using these cameras as long as they make 35mm film, I do own now a E-3 digital and a E-410 and a E-420 which I love all of them I use a A/F confirm adapter on my digitals with all of my old Zuiko lenses with fantastic results just as good as the digital lenses, there’s no need to buy all of those high end digital lenses; So if you want a 35mm film camera that you can have and use for the rest of your life these OM series cameras would be a wise choice!

As the first model introduced in the Olympus 35-millimeter single lens reflex (SLR) film cameras, the OM-1 is entirely mechanical, boasting a great compact design and sharp viewfinder. Ideal for serious amateurs or hobby photographers, the OM-1 has a 50-millimeter lens that allows you to capture large panorama views with ease. The viewfinder has interchangeable screens and a fixed prism, giving maximum accuracy when shooting. The shutter speed range of the Olympus OM-1 is 1s to 1/1000s and it features an exposure meter with a visible needle in the viewfinder. A hot shoe attachment is provided in the Olympus OM-1 so users can attach an external flash unit for shooting in darker conditions. The camera also features a self-timer.

The other things I remember about the OM-2 when it first came out were the metering accuracy and the viewfinder. The metering in the OM-2 was reputed to be the best in the world, although I can’t now remember if the reputation was real or something I read in a marketing or advertising brochure. I certainly remember reading how the light sensors measured the light reflected off the surface of the film during exposure and I notice that the shutter curtain when the shutter is cocked is a white and black pattern which presumably represents a 17% grey to get an accurate reading just before the exposure is made.

I remember the viewfinder was supposed to be one of the biggest and brightest around and I can certainly confirm that on my version it is very bright. Certainly brighter than a Pentax Program A and a Minolta XG-M I happened to have on my desk at the time I did the comparison.

I think one of the nicest aspects of the viewfinder is the way the metering display changes as the camera switches from Manual Mode to Auto mode. On Manual mode the display in the bottom left hand side is a simple match needle +/- display. Either the shutter speed or aperture controls will alter the position of the needle, so the photographer just chooses a combination which gets the needle to the mid-position. Unfortunately, in Manual mode there is no indication in the viewfinder as to the shutter speed or aperture the camera is set to.

When Auto mode is selected the +/- display slides out of view and is replaced with a scale showing the shutter speed which the camera will use. In this mode the OM-2 sets the shutter speed to the precise value it needs to get the correct exposure for the selected aperture.

One thing which is missing is any sort of indication that exposure compensation is applied. I believe this was fixed in the OM-2n model, where another indicator to show that compensation is being applied slides in under the exposure control as the compensation dial is turned.

Charles Street is a street in the West Village neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City. It runs east to west from Greenwich Avenue to West Street.

Charles Street is a street in the West Village neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City. It runs east to west from Greenwich Avenue to West Street.

Charles Street is a street in the West Village neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City. It runs east to west from Greenwich Avenue to West Street.

Charles Street is a street in the West Village neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City. It runs east to west from Greenwich Avenue to West Street.

35 Bay Avenue in Sea Cliff, Long Island,,NY,11579.

35 Bay Avenue in Sea Cliff, Long Island,,NY,11579.

165 Charles Street, New York, NY, 10014

165 Charles Street, New York, NY, 10014

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Buster Bruce 3 months, 1 week ago

I appreciate the time you spent in your most informative narrative John. I can only relate to this camera as a young person- a 35mm 1/2 frame Olympus. My first camera.

3 months, 1 week ago Edited
John Waco Jr Replied to Buster Bruce 3 months ago

The Beseler Topcon Super D,

I bought my first camera in 1970 at a charity shop in
Oxnard, California with six lenses, two extension rings, an extra different
focusing screen, an angled critical focus magnifier, the pain in the bum hot
shoe fixture, and a huge plug-in-the-wall type flash. The camera body is engraved "US
Navy" on the bottom cover.

3 months ago Edited
Jolien Dekens 3 months, 1 week ago

You have a beautiful collection smile  I recently switched my digital system to Olympus. The design of their OMD range is based on their SLR cameras. Which is why I love it so much!

3 months, 1 week ago Edited
John Waco Jr Replied to Jolien Dekens 3 months, 1 week ago

I also love my E-M5 Mark II in your hand, the magnesium alloy housing feels reassuringly solid and stable, even though it’s a relative lightweight compared to D-SLR cameras (417g body only).

3 months, 1 week ago Edited
Berckmans Peter 3 months, 1 week ago

Really nice cameras,already getting good prices here and going up. Seems you have a nice collectin of them. Very nice photos

3 months, 1 week ago Edited
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