Is there a bright screen available for a Olympus OM-2?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by darinwc, May 13, 2009.

  1. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,448
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2003
    Location:
    Sacramento,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I just picked up an Olympus OM-2 (md) at a thrift store. 45$ with a 50mm f1.4.

    One thing I noticed is that the screen was a little dull. Is there a brighter screen available for it?
     
  2. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Member

    Messages:
    268
    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Location:
    San Diego, C
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Something's fishy. With an f1.4 lens, an Olympus OM-2 finder should be VERY bright. They had some of the brightest viewfinders of any SLR of that generation. Your finder might have a de-silvering issue, or the screen you have might be all scratched up.

    That being said, you could probably find a Beattie Screen or some other brand of brighter replacement screen, but it would probably cost you more than the camera did nowadays.
     
  3. philosomatographer

    philosomatographer Member

    Messages:
    240
    Joined:
    May 12, 2009
    Location:
    Johannesburg
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I agree with Doug, all the early Olympus cameras came with the same range of focusing screens (the "1-series" focusing screens) and though these are not as brigt as the later (rare, fitted only to OM-3Ti and OM-4Ti) 2-series screens, with a 50/1.4 you should have a very bright viewfinder.

    Note, however, that the OM-2 viewfinder is dimmer than the OM-1, because the OM-1 has a solid mirror, whereas the OM-2 has a semi-transparent mirror to feed the TTL OTF metering system behind the mirror.

    So, I believe it is true that an OM-2 with a 1-series screen may have a dimmer (though much, much larger) finder than, say, a modern DSLR with a 50/1.4, but it should still be pretty great. And no modern DSLR can come close to comparing with an OM-1 viewfinder.

    What I suggest, though, is to get yourself a new (standard 1-series Olympus) replacement focus screen, I've bough old OM bodies with terribly dirty/hazy focusing screens. They are regularly available on eBay. The 1-8 all-matte screen is nice and bright, and fine-grained.

    I suggest that only once you've put in a new clean focus screen, and you are still unhappy, to look at other possible remedies - a third-party focus screen (usually expensive), looking if your pentaprism has started to loase some of its silver coating, etc.

    P.S. You seemed to have received a great deal, enjoy a fabulous camera!
     
  4. chriscrawfordphoto

    chriscrawfordphoto Member

    Messages:
    1,178
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2007
    Location:
    Fort Wayne,
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    OM-2 didn't have the transparent mirror, you're thinking of the OM-2s-Program. It did, but the 2-series screens can be used in the 2s. Not in the original 2 and 2n. Brighter screens screw up the accuracy of the meter used for manual exposure and for the finder display in auto (auto exposures are accurate with brighter screen, but the finder's shutter speed indicator will not be accurate).
     
  5. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,448
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2003
    Location:
    Sacramento,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'm comparing the OM-2 with a Canon T70 or New F1. Absolutely no comparison the canons are brighter and clearer, but they come standard with a special laser-matte screen.
     
  6. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

    Messages:
    3,127
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Location:
    North Caroli
    Shooter:
    35mm
    So, which? I'm trying to figure out why the OM2 should have a semi-transparent mirror if the OM1 gets away without it. I can imagine the OM2s needing a semitransparent mirror to let the spotmeter work. I'm not sure anyway. I have an OM2n and the finder seems fine, although I only have a 28mm f/2.8 for it right now.
     
  7. philosomatographer

    philosomatographer Member

    Messages:
    240
    Joined:
    May 12, 2009
    Location:
    Johannesburg
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Sorry, of course Chris is right - the original OM-2 (and updated OM-2n) had the same style of metering system as the OM-1 - a solid mirror, and sensors located in the viewfinder to take readings through the focusing screen.

    The later OM-2S (the only kind of OM-2 I have actually handled) has the semi-transparent mirror (easily seen by looking at it with the lens removed) with a metering system that does not read "through" the focusing screen.

    Hence, the type of focus screen (brightness) affects metering in OM-1(n) and OM-2(n), but not in any of the later models.

    darinwc, the Olympus should have a notably bigger viewfinder than both your Canons, though I cannot say for certain that it should be brighter, because your Canons use much more recent focus screen technology. However, I still suspect you have a worn screen, I can only attest that my OM-1n with a standard 1-8 screen offers an infinitely superior viewfinder in every possible way to a Canon 1D/1Ds MkII, which I have extensive experience with. It is both larger, brighter, and more accurate in focusing.

    You should have the same experience with your OM-2.
     
  8. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

    Messages:
    3,127
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Location:
    North Caroli
    Shooter:
    35mm
    But only for manual exposures, correct? I understand that in auto mode, the OM2n's viewfinder display is only a guide, and actual exposure is calculated with the OTF system.
     
  9. philosomatographer

    philosomatographer Member

    Messages:
    240
    Joined:
    May 12, 2009
    Location:
    Johannesburg
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    This is definitely the case with the OM-2S, and I am pretty sure it will be the case with any OM-2, but let's let the OM-2 experts answer that. I am more of an OM-1 man :smile:
     
  10. John Hermanson

    John Hermanson Member

    Messages:
    306
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2005
    Location:
    Huntington,
    Shooter:
    35mm
    OM-1 and OM-2 have the same mirror, solid. The 2S, 3, 3Ti, 4, 4T, 4Ti have semi silvered mirrors. Part of the light is passed to the metering cell in the floor of the mirror box. For it's day, the OM-1 and OM-2 had the brightest and biggest viewfinder available. For a brighter image, try an Olympus 2-4 or 2-13 focus screen. Also available are Beattie Intenscreens. John, www.zuiko.com
     
  11. John Hermanson

    John Hermanson Member

    Messages:
    306
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2005
    Location:
    Huntington,
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Also, the OM-2/2N have silicon blue cells in the floor of the mirror box which read light off the curtain/film after the mirror goes up. Auto exposures are calculated in real time. John, www.zuiko.com
     
  12. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,448
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2003
    Location:
    Sacramento,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Regarding OM-2 prices.. ebay sales seem to be all over the place.. anywhere from $50 to over $200... weird.
     
  13. John Hermanson

    John Hermanson Member

    Messages:
    306
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2005
    Location:
    Huntington,
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Prices vary widely and in most cases you will likely end up with a camera that needs to overhauled before it is completely functional. All OM bodies I sell are overhauled up front, no hidden defects or excuses. John, www.zuiko.com