OM1 light meter repairs

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Paul Jenkin, Jan 31, 2009.

  1. Paul Jenkin

    Paul Jenkin Member

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    I recently bought an black-bodied OM2n with a black-nosed 50mm/f1.4 off the big auction site for £89. It was already in pretty good working order but needed to get the light seals replaced and have the knurled rubber focusing ring re-glued to the lens. I wondered , momentarily, about attempting a DIY job myself but I decided to have my local pro have a look at it for me. He's a really nice guy and I trust him 110% with my gear, having bought most of my stuff off him over the past 10 years.

    Anyway, I went to collect the camera / lens from him today and he handed me a black-bodied OM1 with a 50mm/f1.4 on it!! Moreover, the lens was a silver-nosed version. He apologised and went downstairs and came back with a black OM2n which looked like it'd been through the wars a bit. This wasn't mine either!! At this point, I think he must have thought that I was winding him up but, as I'm sure you'll all understand, you know your own gear.

    My mate was adamant that he only had the two 'OM' cameras and that he'd stuck the focusing ring rubber on this lens but I wasn't having any of it. All good-humoured, I hasten to add. Thankfully, his missus went to their office and found mine. I have never been so relieved. It was a bit like that dreary film 'Changeling' when the parent knows it's not their kid but questions their sanity to the point where they almost end up with it anyway.

    Anyway, all's well that ends well and I'm thinking of making him an offer he can't refuse on the OM1 and silver-nosed 50mm. I do have a question, though. The OM1's match-needle isn't working properly. With a fresh battery, it does move slightly but the reading is not accurate. Can this be fixed / re-calibrated or replaced. Is this an expensive job?

    PJ.
     
  2. Anon Ymous

    Anon Ymous Member

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    Hello Paul,

    when handing gear for servicing it's always a good idea to write down the serial numbers of the lens/body. You can never be sure, even if the guy has the best intentions. Now, regarding the OM1, it originally used 1,35V batteries IIRC. Modern batteries are probably 1,5V, you need to tell us which type of battery was installed. That means it shouldn't move slightly, but respond more than with the original batteries. Since it's a mechanical camera, it doesn't make much of a difference; you just lost the meter. On the other hand, it has lost a lot of it's value. Maybe you can pick it for little money.

    Oh, I should add that meter replacement will probably cost quite a lot. You'd better buy an OM1 with a working meter if it matters to you.
     
  3. Paul Jenkin

    Paul Jenkin Member

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    Thanks Anon. I've got a Bronica SQ-B that needs me to spoon-feed it the readings - and I don't mind as that camera lives on a tripod and is my 'slow' machine. The OM1 / OM2n, on the other hand, is my tool of choice for a quick, top-quality, go-anywhere camera that doesn't require me to make all the decisions.

    If he can't get it fixed properly within the price he offered me the camera at, I think I'll probably 'pass' on the deal - but I'll take the silver-nosed 50mm off him as that will fit very nicely on whichever body I eventually buy.

    All the best. PJ.
     
  4. Peter Black

    Peter Black Subscriber

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  5. Anon Ymous

    Anon Ymous Member

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    Hmmmmm, a battery independent body is never a bad idea, but aperture priority is my definition of "quick, top-quality, go-anywhere camera that doesn't require me to make all the decisions" :D

    Anyway, it seems that you find the 50 f/1,4 lucrative. If that's the case, then maybe you should check it's serial number. It is said that there where some versions of this lens and the best (and final) one has serial numbers above 1.000.000. I don't have personal experience, so someone else could shed some light.
     
  6. Prest_400

    Prest_400 Member

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    You probably used the wrong batteries, the OM1 meter used 1.3V mercury batt.
    If the lightmeter cells fail, John sells a pair for the OM1 at 29$; about replacing them, no idea, you should ask him. He's one of the (or the) most famous Olympus OM repairer. He maybe reads this posts and replies here.
    But it's possible that contacts, wires or anything else cause that meter failure.
     
  7. Allan Swindles

    Allan Swindles Member

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    I really don't like saying this PJ but are you REALLY sure about this "local pro"? From what you have said he does not sound very 'pro' to me. Any decent repair shop would give you a receipt for any gear left for repair which would list serial nos.. Anyone who knows anything about the OM system would know that the battery for the OM-1 is no longer available and the camera requires adaptation or a battery adaptor to use an alternative. Unless the body had already had the modification, fitting a 'fresh' battery would have no meaning. I regret to say that I could not trust a shop that could not identify the equipment which a customer had entrusted to them.
     
  8. wiltw

    wiltw Subscriber

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    An alkaline battery (1.5 volts, variable with remaining capacity) rather than a mercury battery (1.35v constant voltage) will indeed result in meter inaccuracy! The amount of inaccuracy depends upon light level. You can buy adapters that allow you to use a current button cell inside the adapter/voltage convertor which fits within the battery compartment. Or you can have the camera circuit modified so that it can directly use modern button cells
     
  9. chriscrawfordphoto

    chriscrawfordphoto Subscriber

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    1,100,000 on the 50/1.4 zuiko lenses. And yes, it really is a lot sharper, especially wide open, compared to older ones. I have two of the >1,100,000 lenses and a 692xxx version.
     
  10. Anon Ymous

    Anon Ymous Member

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    Thanks for the facts Chris.
     
  11. Prest_400

    Prest_400 Member

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    Finally I find someone that has both series of the 1.4.
    I've read that the 1.1M+ has a harsh bokeh, something like astigmatic; In short: not as nice as the earlier ones.
    Do you find the bokeh is the same between the two? Or quite more hard on the 1.1M+?
     
  12. John Hermanson

    John Hermanson Member

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    So, did you get YOUR 2N back? You should ahve gottena written receipt with serial numbers when you dropped it off. OM-1/1N meter movements use strings and pulleys and will move without batteries or with the switch off (or with a dead meter). ASA 100, f1.4, shutter speed B will often center the needle. of course, this is not to be confused with a real meter reading. If your needle does not move properly with a good battery installed, then you could have a corroded battery wire, broken battery contact, broken meter ground , (worst case) a bad meter movement or any one of 3-4 other things. John, www.zuiko.com
     
  13. chriscrawfordphoto

    chriscrawfordphoto Subscriber

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    Actually I think the latest ones had the best bokeh. The earlier ones were a little harsher.

    Here's a shot from my 1.1M+

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    My girlfriend took these
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The 50mm f1.8 lenses were FAR worse. This is one my girlfriend shot with the last version of the 50/1.8 (the one that says made in japan on the front ring).
    [​IMG]

    I don't have a shot with the older 50/1.4 online, unfortunately. Take my word for it, I like the 1.1M+ better. None of Olympus's 50/1.4 lenses have truly awesome bokeh, all are somewhat harsh, but I like the latest one better than the earlier ones and all the 50/1.4 lenses are better than the last version of the 50/1.8, which is a very sharp lens with very ugly background rendition.
     
  14. Paul Jenkin

    Paul Jenkin Member

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    Hi Allan. This guy is great. A proper old-style pro photographer who is also a Nikon agent. It doesn't get better for me! He trades a few old film cameras and I'm happy to take my chances. He might be the pro but his wife is the organiser and she found my camera the minute he started to flounder.

    I'm going to check out the serial number but the silver-nosed 1.4 has such a golden / amber glow to the lens coatings, it's worth £30 - irrespective of whether it's sharper than my black-nosed version or not....! Looks beautiful in the light and just needs to be paired with a decent 1n or 2n body.
     
  15. Paul Jenkin

    Paul Jenkin Member

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    Hi Chris.

    Do you happen to have a 35mm/f2? I've heard such good things about this lens and the 85mm/f2 that I'm tempted to hunt them down. I've just picked up a 75-150mm/f4 as a stop-gap for a portrait lens and it seems okay but I haven't had anything processed yet. Any thoughts?

    PJ.
     
  16. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Paul:

    The 35mm f/2.0 and the 85mm f/2.0 zuiko lenses are my two favourites. I like the 35mm so much as a standard lens that I have two of them.

    Here is a shot from the 35mm that I have in my APUG gallery:

    http://www.apug.org/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=27297&ppuser=6479

    I don't seem to have anything scanned that was shot with the 85mm, but I assure you it is a fine lens.

    By the way, don't discount the 75-150 - here is another shot from my APUG gallery (shot for the Monthly Shooting Assignment - Portals):

    http://www.apug.org/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=30935&ppuser=6479

    Matt
     
  17. chriscrawfordphoto

    chriscrawfordphoto Subscriber

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    Paul I have both lenses, and I like them both. The 85 has nice bokeh and the 35 does too. The 85 is kind of expensive, usually selling for over $300 on Ebay. Look for a 100/2.8 instead if you want to save money. The 100mm f2.8 is EXTREMELY sharp, more so than the 85 I think, and has great bokeh. It is close in focal length and makes a great portrait lens. They usually go for less than $100. I paid $60 for mine on Ebay. You only lose a stop to save over $200.

    Shot with the 35/2:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Shot with the 85/2:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Shot with the 100/2.8:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Prest_400

    Prest_400 Member

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    Thank you very much for showing your experience, now I am sure that I should get the 1.1M+. I have a MiJ 1.8 and bokeh is 80% of the times a really harsh one.
    A member of flickr told me that 1.8 have the best bokeh of all OM 50 in Digital evolts, and the 1.4 and over (best bokeh in OM) have a bad one in the Evolts. Curious thing

    I believe the earlier are less sharp, but hey. There was a test that shown a silvernosed 1.4 having better resolution than a modern canon one!
    Also, it's said that very early 1.4s may have thoriated glass as the 55 f1,2 silvernose.

    Really? I've found that the price of both isn't that different, Olympus usa in ebay has a 50-100$ difference, well I believe it's the earlier model. I prefer the 85 for the focal, not so tele for portraits, so it can be better without having to step back. The 100 is said to be a good substitute of the 135s. Buying both won't hurt anyone, except the economy :wink: Well, the second bidder will be a bit frustrated...
    Also, Does the 100 2.8 have a floating element system for closer focus? The 85 seems to do.
     
  19. chriscrawfordphoto

    chriscrawfordphoto Subscriber

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    That guy on ebay who uses the name OlympusUSA is NOT Olympus. He's a guy who buys olympus items and empty boxes and matches them together to sell as though they were new when they aren't. He then charges 2-3 times the normal prices for them what they're worth. His un-boxed items aren't as outrageously priced but he is still consistently VERY expensive. He is a well known figure on the Olympus email list because he joined it several yrs ago posing as a photographer who liked OM gear and he got list members to sell him a lot of stuff cheap then resold it all on ebay for 4 times what he paid.

    Ifyou look at listing by HONEST ebay sellers, the 85 typically goes for about $300 and the 100/2.8 (not the 100/2, it is MUCH more expensive, usually $900) goes for about $90.

    The 85 does have floating elements and the 100/2.8 does not but I still think the 100 is sharper even close up.