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  1. #1

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    The Lesser OM Family Member

    I'm still waiting for the terrible day when my faithful Olympus OM10 develops an infirmity or (Heaven forbid) gives up the spirit altogether. Not that I can detect any visible or audible signs of that calamity approaching, but browsing analog photo forums, including APUG, has convinced me that it cannot be far away, and I can only prepare myself to bear it with fortitude.

    I have and use other cameras, but my old OM10 is very dear to me. I bought it second-hand in 1992, and for the past two decades the two of us have spent uncounted happy hours together, producing thousands of technically, if not artistically perfectly usable negatives. The faithful machine has never let me down: not once has it exhibited the smallest malfunction, not once has it displayed reluctance to comply with my orders, and not once has it complained of work overload. In return it has asked for nothing but occasional gentle cleaning, a little tender care, and perhaps a shining new lens on the occasion of an anniversary. Myself being well into the sixties, we have jokingly pondered which of us will outlive the other. I consider myself very lucky to have and hold this camera which has never spoiled a shot for me. "Who can find a virtuous SLR? for its price is far above rubies," about sums up our happy relationship.

    Or rather did sum it up, until I unwisely did a generic search for "OM10" on various analog photography forum sites and had a severe shock. The number of posts maligning this camera is simply overwhelming. One is left with the impression that the OM10 - quite apart from being a waste of money and not worth using, let alone owning - was a catastrophe and a scandal, an insult to serious photography and ditto photographers. "Cheap; consumer grade; budget quality; crap; mass market; flawed design; junk; unreliable; frequent issues ..." In short: a camera not worthy of the name. Owners should expect it to disintegrate or melt down any minute. It's for the dustbin; it doesn't even merit an assignation as a doorpost.

    For quite a while I was a broken man. There is nothing so disheartening as to have your prized treasure denigrated by supposedly knowledgeable experts. No matter how satisfied you have been with your possession so far, an ugly doubt enters your soul to fester there for ever after. There is a thorn in your flesh; the relationship has been tainted, the trust is gone. After reading the massive onslaught, I hardly dared take my OM10 out, lest the exertion of shooting a few frames make its poor, fragile innards stop working.

    I was actually tempted to lay the camera to premature rest in a cupboard and finally go digital, because I felt that no other analog SLR would be able to take the place of my OM10 in my heart, but fortunately my brain started working again, and my usual spirit of obstinacy reasserted itself. I took a fresh look at the OM10. Didn't more than two decades of faithful service prove the detractors wrong, or at least not a hundred percent right? Expecting the worst, I loaded an inexpensive film and set out to capture some windy autumn impressions on silver gelatin, and soon the OM10 and I were clicking happily away just like before. The camera passed the test gallantly without jamming or breaking down, and as I hanged 36 well-exposed frames up to dry that evening, I decided to forget about all the ugly things I had read about this particular OM model, and trust my own experience instead.

    While I am quite ready to believe that some OM10 cameras have given grief to some users, perhaps even to many, my own experience proves that not all OM10s are junk. When I rise to defend my defamed companion, I do so not least to give solace and support to other hitherto happy OM10 owners who might let themselves be depressed by the pervasive, sweeping criticism of their chosen tool. I also think that Mr. Maitani would have been gratified to know that there are photographers who do not consider the OM10 a sad mistake. The scathing scorn which some forum contributors see fit to heap upon the camera should be tempered, I think, with sympathy for the man who let the broad masses enjoy, in some measure and at an affordable price, the excellence of the OM camera series. And while we're at it, mass market products are not necessarily inferior (planned obsolescence being a quite different matter); as far as I know, the popular AK47 rifles, produced in really vast quantities, continue to give uniform satisfaction and are still in constant demand among those who shoot other things than pictures.

    Admittedly, the OM10 is but a poor relative of the single digit OM aristocracy, but even a lesser member of a noble family deserves to be treated with civility, if not with respect ... if it behaves. Mine does. Still. Blissfully ignorant of any slander.

    Yours,
    Michael L.

  2. #2
    munz6869's Avatar
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    I learnt photography with my OM20 - that camera is very battered and unreliable now, but it travelled from Nauru to Switzerland, and never let me down!

    Marc!
    Marc Morel
    President, Melbourne Silver Mine Inc.
    ------------
    http://mrmarcmorel.wordpress.com/
    http://silvermine.org.au

  3. #3
    Newt_on_Swings's Avatar
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    The Lesser OM Family Member

    I have an OM10, but don't use it much, but I was indoctrinated into the Om cult though a double digit body as well, the OM-40 (om-pc). Great pictures were also attained from the supposedly lesser body too. I actually still like it a lot, but it's stored away now. Maybe it'll be a gift one day to someone else starting out. The manual speed adapter is a necessity for the om10 though, and probably the only thing I really disliked about that body. Going toward the om4t though is a huge step, but very worth it. I still lust after an affordable om3 or om3t.

  4. #4
    jp498's Avatar
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    An OM10 was my first SLR back in the late 80's. I used it for a couple years till I got into sports photography and desired a Nikon for more FPS and more lens options. I shot thousands of excellent photos with the OM10. It was lighter, quieter and smoother than the normal K1000 most people used. I won't say anything bad about it. In the late 80's Olympus's SLR system was at a dead end with the OM77af as their technical wonder which left me underwhelmed. Between their EOL system and my need for a sports camera, I had to choose between Canon and Nikon and went Nikon because I could borrow lotsa nice lenses.

    I adjusted exposure by either using the film speed dial as exposure compensation dial or using the flash sync speed and varying the aperture.

  5. #5

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    I gave my sister one for her 21st birthday. She had her choice of anything she wanted within reason, and that was the most comfortable replacement for her Mamiya DeLuxe rangefinder that had just died. That OM10 with a manual adapter is still ticking along.
    I feel, therefore I photograph.

  6. #6
    Rick A's Avatar
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    Ive gone through two OM-10s, both bought new and both died within a year of purchase. I wont deny the capability of the model to be able to produce a great photo, thats actually the operators responsibility, but capable. My only complaint was durability. I am rough on my gear. My OM-1s are beat up from years of hanging around my neck in all places, even when driving, and show the "love".
    The internal mechanism of the 10 just didn't survive me. Both cameras locked up, never to wind film again, and bought for so cheap, not worth repairing. I paid less than a hundred dollars each for them.
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum

  7. #7

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    Price above rubies eh? Well according to this site : http://collectiblend.com/Cameras/Tho...by-Reflex.html a Thornton Pickard Ruby is worth about 200 simoleans... So maybe not

  8. #8

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    The Lesser OM Family Member

    Your defense of the OM10 is gallant and almost brought a tear to my eye, as a long time fanboy of OM. Now don't hate me but I am one of those folks that has been burned a bit by a few OM10 purchases. My friends know I obsess about having the perfect 'beach camera ' - something with great optics but simple and not expensive, so when the grit works its way into the lens I will not weep. I have my old om2/50 1.4 from the eighties and it was killing me to have it come back gritty. It was not really the reverence to it being a single digit OM but more that it was my old friend. So I bought my first OM10 and it had a funky light meter. I bought a second and its light meter seems to be always accurate but it often does not display what the setting is. In my mythical beach example I worry about over exposing with the lens nice and wide. Usually some combination of turning it off and one, putting it in self timer mode, or jumping up and down while spinning in circles will sometimes do the trick, but not always.

    This is my only issue I have with them. I think their display - which was fancier than that if the OM2 - does not age well. Otherwise it is a great camera.

    All you OM10s out there: I am trying to love you! I am trying to not be some stuck up single digit OM fanboy! But please, I wanna properly exposed photo (and know what the exposure is)!!

  9. #9
    Chris Nielsen's Avatar
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    I had a sweet OM10 a couple of years ago, it was so smooth it was a joy to use. I sold it when I went Nikon, only to subsequently discover I missed Olympus so I went back. I love my OM2N but there was something about the OM10, it was lighter for one thing. Our local auction site is very hit and miss for old camera gear unfortunately

  10. #10

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    The Lesser OM Family Member

    Haha. I hope I will not be burned again. I am likely picking up another OM 10 - a good deal on one with a manual adapter! So OM-10, I am giving you one more chance!! (Or I am back to the 'single digits')

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