OM-1 vs OM-2: help me decide!

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by adam211, Dec 5, 2011.

  1. adam211

    adam211 Member

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    After seeing a friend's medium format pictures I've decided get a film camera or two (the second being potentially a Minolta Autocord). I have an old digital rebel so it would make the most sense if I stuck with Canon and got an older film rebel or, perhaps, purchased an Elan 7e liked I used to own (and loved). So of course I've decided on an Olymus OM-1 or -2. I made the leap mostly because I found out about the OM-1 and OM-2 and couldn't resist. It's a beautiful camera, and nice and small.

    So, my decision. The easy part is color. Chrome, of course, it's too classic not to get it, although the black almost does tempt me. Perhaps in the future I could get a black OM-4 if I end up loving the OM-1 or OM-2. But the -4 is too expensive right now and I don't need it.

    But the hard part is whether I should get the OM-1(n) or OM-2(n).

    Also, I'm probably going to be getting one on keh. I think I understand the following as displayed on keh:
    OM-1 MD: Later version that has motor drive. I don't need. Plus I'd get the N anyway I think...
    OM-1 Engraved: Has engraving on lens mount? I don't see why one would care... if anyone has any insight that'd be great.
    OM-1 1.5 Volt: has had conversion to battery. Doesn't matter to me too much.
    Without shoe: doesn't have flash shoe. Doesn't matter, I never shoot flash.

    But first I need to decide whether to get the OM-1n or the OM-2n. I've done my homework. Here's what I know.

    OM-1n: Has the appeal of a beautiful mechanical machine. This really seems to be the only advantage. At first I thought I didn't care, but then I started thinking about it more and realized that this is a great appeal. Part of the reason I like the OM at all is its simplicity and its mechanical beauty. Now, practically speaking, I would likely never or rarely use the camera without a battery, so it's really just more the mechanical appeal. Also, it seems through most of my searches that most people that own multiple OM-cameras say that if they had to keep one it would be the OM-1. Through my searches it looks like the OM-1n is preferred to the OM-1 because it has some minor updates, including better foam around the prism?

    OM-2n: I think this camera only has three advantages to the OM-1n for me. First is its aperture-priority mode. Second is its display in this mode of the shutter speed. I feel that with this feature it would have all, or most of, the modern features and convenience I care about. It seems these advantages would allow one to take pictures continually taking the camera of one's eye. It seems with the OM-1n that to take a picture I would have to put the camera to set the F-stop, put the camera to my eye and focus and adjust the shutter speed, then pull the camera away and check to make sure the shutter speed is high enough and potentially repeat this process. Maybe that's not annoying, maybe it is. Maybe the only way to find out if that annoys me is to get the OM-1n. Third, and I'm not sure if this is true or not, is that its meter seems to be much better and potentially more reliable. I don't want to have the old CdS meter on the OM-1 break after a couple of years and never work again. I think that if this third bit wasn't true, I'd swing for the OM-1n. If it is true, I have a harder time choosing, especially since I probably won't be in a situation very often if at all where I don't have a battery, or at least I'm willing to risk that.

    It's important to note that the following differences are of no concern to me: mirror lock-up, flash capabilities, motor drive capabilities, battery problems.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. tomalophicon

    tomalophicon Member

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    Get 2 of each.
     
  3. eurekaiv

    eurekaiv Member

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    I can't help you with your dilemma as my familiarity with OM system items is non-existant but I can tell you that "engraved" at Keh typically means someone has etched their initials, name, SSN, lock combination or some other bit of pointless dribble somewhere into the cameras metal case. It matters very little to me and I was happy to get my engraved FE2 from them for a fantastic price but if you want something minty fresh or don't want to risk having Hugh Jass carved into the back, you may want to go with an "EXC" version.
     
  4. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Engraving affects re-sale value. It might also confuse an insurance company if you tried to make an insurance claim for a camera with someone else's number engraved on it. Conversion to newer batteries (only necessary for the OM-1 variants) will also affect resale value.

    If you are considering an OM-1 that is neither an OM-1 MD or an OM-1n, then it is really old!

    When the first OM-1 came out, it had room for the motor drive connections, but it was necessary to send the camera back to Olympus to have the necessary installation and modification performed. Olympus was amazed by how many requests they received for that work, so they quickly decided (1975?) to include that facility in all of their new cameras, and designate those bodies as an MD model. That decision was made very early on, and relatively few plain OM bodies were made.

    The OM-1 meters are pretty reliable - once battery issues are sorted out. There are more problems with deteriorated foam. A good CLA will deal with both (assuming no damage from the foam.

    For both cameras, with only a little bit of practice, you can tell by feel what aperture and shutter speed are set. Having both the aperture and shutter speed dials concentric around the lens really helps with this.

    If it helps you, I'll give you my perspective.

    I began shooting an OM-1 (no MD) in 1974. I've had and used several OM bodies since then, including an OM-1 MD and an OM-1n. I'm now down to an OM-2s (bought new in the 1980s) and an OM-2n (bought used from eBay in the 2000s) and a couple of OM-Gs bought for tiny prices on eBay.

    I no longer have a purely manual OM body, but I would be happy to use one again (I use the meter in manual at least half the time).

    I do shoot flash, and make good use of the TTl flash options.

    And I don't use motor drives!

    My suggestion would be to choose the first good option available. If you like OM bodies (of course you will :smile:) then you will want another one anyways.

    Hope this helps.
     
  5. flash26c

    flash26c Member

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    I have one of each; the OM1 has B&W film, the OM2, slide film. Is one better than the other? I love them both!!! You will too ----
     
  6. RH Designs

    RH Designs Advertiser Advertiser

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    I'd go for the OM-2(n). No battery issues, and you don't even have to switch it on to get a correct auto exposure because the exposure metering is switched on by the mirror flipping up. The viewfinder meter is separate to the auto exposure. The electronics are no longer repairable but seem so reliable that this is really not an issue. OM-2s are cheap enough that if one goes wrong, it's probably cheaper to buy another!
     
  7. baachitraka

    baachitraka Subscriber

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    Get OM-1n and OM-2n. A good CLA for OM-1n will last for next 10-20 years and other things to consider are the lenses. Certainly they are not cheap.

    I personally recommend cameras with M42 mount.

    If you have enough case then think about Nikon FM2n or FM3a.
     
  8. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I've been shooting Oly's since the FTL, which predates the OM-1 by a couple of years, then switched to OM-1 around the same time as Matt. I currantly have 3 OM-1n's an OM-1(w/MD capability), OM-2n, OM-4, and many lenses. The OM-2 and OM-4 sit alot, whilst the OM-1's are almost always out 'n about with someone in the family. All my bodies sport Winder-2's, mainly because of my limited use of right hand. Batteries are never an issue with any of them. The greatest convenience of the OM-2 is on AP mode, the camera does not have to be switched on for a correct exposure, but it must be in the off(or AUTO) position, as manual mode will not allow anything other than the exposure it is set for.
     
  9. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    Get a good fully functional OM-2N first. In lieu of the OM-4T, you might consider the OM-2S which has spot metering. Personally, I prefer spot metering as I know what range of latitude I get from my films and spot metering gives me the best control. The Olympus off the film metering was one of many Olympus pioneering advances.
     
  10. Ulrich Drolshagen

    Ulrich Drolshagen Subscriber

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    AFAIK the OM2n is built from discrete electronics which still is repairable. As opposed to all later models, which use integrated circuitry in form of ASICS. These seem to deteriorate with time and must be replaced. If these ASICS are out of stock, the body will make an elegant paperweight, if the electronics is defective. Canibalizing an other body does not help much in the long run, as the harvested parts are as old as the defective parts they will replace. As the deterioration is a function of time, all OM-Bodies made after the OM2n will be paperweights by the time. It's beginning with the OM2s.
    Second lesson to learn from this: There will be no running classic cars in the future from contemporary cars, just grounded showroom models, as modern cars all use ASICS in their engine management electronics.

    Ulrich
     
  11. adam211

    adam211 Member

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    Thanks for the thoughts, good thoughts all. I can't (or won't) buy everything I want, and I'm definitely not going to buy more than one OM series camera at this time.

    I thought I heard that CdS meters deteriorate more so than others and will need to be replaced?

    I did a brief search on KEH. The lenses don't look to be too bad. I would start out with a 50mm and MAYBE eventually get a short tele and a wide, but those both run on the order of $100 each. Doesn't seem too unreasonable. Perhaps you are referring to some other systems that are a lot cheaper? I am open to suggestions. I don't know much about the M42 mount but a brief look at the Pentax Spotmatic shows me it's about the same pricewise. Also, the FM2n is quite expensive (relatively) and the lenses look to be comparable. That's a more expensive option overall, and I'm looking for something relatively cheap. I'm doing this to mess around and have fun and shoot film and able to take quality pictures with a 35mm "sensor," but the body has to be around $100 or less.

    I am open to other options, but it seems as though the OM bodies aren't ridiculously priced even if a tad over priced (they are still "affordable") and that they are quite capable machines.

    I'm not interested in the OM2s. I've seen enough about it, particularly it seems to have the disadvantage of integrated circuitry as mentioned below. I'm starting to wonder if I should just get an Elan 7e. But I've never bought a manual camera and something about the deliberateness of it appeals to me.

    Adam
     
  12. UK Roger

    UK Roger Member

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    OM1 or OM2

    Get an OM1n which has all the updates over the OM1, get it CLA'd and it will last for many years. If the battery cries enough, just go "sunny 16". :smile: If the battery goes on the OM2/n, well, you've got a nice paperweight :sad:
     
  13. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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  15. baachitraka

    baachitraka Subscriber

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    I have 35, 85 and 135mm and additionally 50mm Zuikos.

    I paid around 70 euros for 35mm(f/2.8), 40 euros for 135(f/2.8) and 250 euros for 85mm(f/2.0). The 50mm(f/1.4) came with together with OM-1n after I won the bid for 40 euros.

    100mm(f/2.8) is cheaper than 85mm(f/2.0), difference in terms of Field-of-view is just 3 degrees. So, you won't go wrong with any one of the choice.

    35mm(f/2.8): Fine from f/5.6->This is my landscape/Street/Group photos, so I did not worry about the performance at wide-open.

    85mm(f/2.0): Finest lens, you will never regret.

    135mm(f/2.8): Amazing lens but takes filters with dia 55mm, but 135(f/3.5) have dia 49mm.

    50mm(f/1.4): I seldom use it, since I do not like this focal length.

    Regarding cameras, I wanted to have mechanical only but in the mean-time I was curious about spot-metering capabilities so I went with OM-2sp.

    Sooner or later, I will sell OM-2sp and get one or two OM-1ns.

    Do not worry about metering accuracy or battery issue, if cash permits you can get yourself very nice external meter with spot-metering capabilities.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 6, 2011
  16. Marc B.

    Marc B. Member

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  17. wblynch

    wblynch Member

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    I currently have 5 OM1's, 3 OM10's and an OM4T. They are all great but I have never had an OM2. I use the OM1 most of all and since I got the OM4 I rarely use an OM10.

    I would say find a nice clean OM2 for your first OM and start collecting lenses. An OM1 will find you soon enough.

    It's worth spending for a CLA on your OM1 and converting it for 1.5v Silver Oxide batteries. Once you use an OM1 you will forget about the others.

    My advice for lenses is:

    1) get a 50mm - the 1.8 are practically free and will likely come with your camera
    2) get a 28mm or 35mm - 28 is more useful
    3) get a 135/3.5 or the 75-150/4.0 - These are low cost and the 75-150 is way better than people think.

    4) Stick with Zuiko. Very few 3rd party lenses were close to Zuiko quality and will leave you disappointed.

    -Bill
     
  18. mr rusty

    mr rusty Member

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    I now have 4 OMs :- OM1n, OM2 and 2 x OM2n. All but one of the OM2n have been CLAd and re-foamed by Mike Spencer at Camerarepairs and the other OM2n had been fettled when I got it. Probably 4 is one too many, but the last one was too much of a bargain to miss (smart OM2n + minty T32 flash + Tokina AT-X 28-80 for £50 :smile: )In all honesty, for general use there is little appreciable difference between OM1 and OM2. Yes, you have to match-meter and set the OM1 whereas the OM2 will aperture prioritize, but not a big deal. Bodies are so cheap my own view is to buy the nicest cosmetically working OM you can and then factor in a re-foam and CLA by one of the recommended techs. The re-foam is quite important on the OMs because if it hasn't been done the foam that olympus put in on top of the prism starts eating the prism silvering as it degrades. Once fettled you have a sound camera that will most likely last for years and years. You can usually check the condition of the foams by gently touching the pad in the door hinge and one of the pads that the mirror hits when its up. If they feel sticky its re-foam time. Some zuiko lenses (the faster ones) are expensive, but the "ordinary" lenses are cheap. Whatever anyone says, don't overlook the zooms. One of the nicest lenses I have is a 35-70 F4, and I often use a 75-150 F4 as well, and these are so cheap they are almost free.
     
  19. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    Since you are not going to be able to buy either on new so I would base the buying decision on whether which one I can get that is in better condition, functioning as well as cosmetic.
     
  20. thuggins

    thuggins Member

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    Although it can always be confusing and intimidating getting into anything new, your question is really much ado about nothing. The OM1 and OM2 were designed to compliment each other, and are essentially identical cameras apart from the aperture priority AE mode on the 2. If you are just learning, you should be metering manually, anyway. Both will yield excellent results, and Zuiko lenses are readily available and of renowned quality. All that being said, the OM2 will get you the revolutionary OTF (Off The Film) exposure system that gives beautiful nighttime shots (up to two minutes). Find one that is working and a good deal and send it off to John Hermanson at zuiko.com for a CLA.

    The OM2s is the one body I have not owned. It had a reputation for not being the most reliable. A spot meter can be handy, but it is good to first get a feel for the overall quality of light, the variation across the scene and panning the viewfinder image while watching the meter. I had had my OM2 for about ten years and was really feeling the need to get a spot meter. On a trip to New York I stopped in to one of the numerous camera shops, showed the fellow my OM2 and asked if he had an OM-2000. He replied, "You don't want that piece of crap. I've got what you need." From behind the counter he pulled out a gently used OM4. A OM4t subsequently became and still is the walking around camera. The spot meter gets used about 10% of the time, but I've always been glad to have spent that time cutting my teeth on the OM2 (and the Pen-FT before it).

    If you want to see samples of what they can do, all the pictures in my gallery were taken with some combination of an OM and Zuiko lens.
     
  21. adam211

    adam211 Member

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    Thanks for the comments all! Very helpful. Just discovered this place. It surprised me so many people are still into film. I also appreciate all your thoughts.

    I'm not really new to photography, or even to film photography. I shot film for about a year or two on an Elan 7e in high school before I got a great deal on a Digital Rebel (original) which was relatively new back then. I hadn't intended on coming back to film but I realized there's a sort of pleasure in holding and working something so mechanical. Something about having more involvement in the negative and more of a simple understanding of what's happening as I press the shutter button. I'm not giving up digital photography, no way, but I'm excited to complement my DSLR (yup, still the original digital rebel).

    Which is why I think I've decided on an OM-1n. I could probably still be convinced otherwise but I need to decide one or the other and something is pulling me in the direction of the OM-1n. Main thing is--will lack of aperture priority bother me? I'm betting first that it won't bother me and that I'll enjoy the mechanical interaction with my camera. It was also helpful to see that one could get used to and feel the position of the shutter ring to know if the shutter speed is too slow. And if it does bother me, then it can't be hard to get an OM-2n instead. I'm especially looking forward to the viewfinder as I think it's supposed to be an upgrade from my digital rebel. So I think Bill (nsurit) is actually going to set me up!

    After having a 50mm f/1.8 on my digital rebel I realized that I love, love the 80mm equivalent focal length, but will have to settle for the 100mm f/2.8 in the future. I was pretty sure I wanted to start things off simple with a 50mm f/1.4. Would I be better served by a f/1.8? It looks like there are so many varying opinions on which one is sharper, which one sits nicer on the camera. Some claim the f/1.4 is easier to hold on the camera, others like the compactness and reduced weight of the f/1.8 (Made in Japan). Looking through the forums many people have both and mostly use the f/1.8, or many people have both and mostly use the f/1.4. Guess I'm going to hear the same opinions by asking this, but I was wondering if anyone wanted to recommend one or the other in particular.
     
  22. wblynch

    wblynch Member

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    Although I prefer the 1.4 for it's look, the 1.8 is a great lens. Get a 1.8 and save the money towards an 85/2.0 !!
     
  23. ColdEye

    ColdEye Member

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    I opted for the 50/1.8. It is a really nice lens, tho I haven't tried the 1.4 versions (I most likely will not get it). I am pretty happy with the results from it. Sharpness, rendering of the OOF areas and color rendition is just right for me. This is a shot from the 50/1.8 wide open ( mine is not the MiJ version).

    003_34.jpg
     
  24. Pumalite

    Pumalite Subscriber

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    Get 2 of each. The Om-1 I used also in Laparoscopies. The OM-2n is good for his Obturator going to 15 or 30 secs.
     
  25. UK Roger

    UK Roger Member

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    Lots still "into" film

    If you are surprised at the number of film users, have a look at the SLR page on rangefinderforum.com and check out the OMoholics pages, I think they are up yo 72 pages now, it's been going for years.
     
  26. baachitraka

    baachitraka Subscriber

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    OM-1n to start with.
    IMG_4935.jpg