Considering an OM there are only two decisions to be made:
aperture priority automatic or purely manual
Spot metering or center weighted integral
Spot metering and aperture prio.: OM2 spot, OM4
center weighted integral and aperture prio.: OM2, OM4
Spot metering and purely manual: OM3
center weighted integral and purely manual: OM1, OM3
The purely manual cameras have a mechanical shutter and will work without batteries
Any of the cameras with electronic shutter can be used manual in the same way as the cameras with mechanical shutter.
As far as I know, the OM2spot can not be repaired anymore
The OM3 can be hard to find and is expensive. An OM1 is dirt cheap. Though the OM1n has some internal improvements over the OM1 I see no reason not to try an OM1 if you do not need a motor drive or the flash ready light. Someone has said that something is perfect, if you can not leave anything out without making it worse. To me, in this regard an OM1 is just perfect.
A CLA (and battery conversion) is not part of the decision process as any one will need it as long as the seller doesn't tell you the camera already had one.
OM-1n on any day.
OM-2sp is lesser OM-4 but cocking shutter is not smooth with my camera.
Tele: Zuiko 85mm f/2.0 is good, but if cash permits you can get 100mm f/2.0. I personally do not see the use of 135mm.
Normal: Zuiko 50mm, but I seldom use this focal length.
Wide: 35mm f/2.8 is good when stopped down, but absolute beauty is 28mm f/3.5. I paid Euro 40 for 28mm and shot nearly 20 rolls during trip in Italy on last summer.
Macro: I do not have any macro lens yet.
Flash: I use Metz CL-45 with SCA adapter.
CLA: I have sent to Michael Spencer.
Please make sure you get flash shoe when buying OM-1(n).
OM-1n: Do I need to own a Leica?
Rolleicord Va: Humble.
Agfa Isolette III: Amazingly simple, yet it produces outstanding negatives.
I used OM1n's years ago when working as a pro. Couple of points, flash sync. speed not high enough for realistic "fill in" flash in daylight. Motordrive cover on base had a habit of "dropping off", best to cover with tape if not using a drive.
I recall some OM2's & OM4's suffered "battery drain", believe problem cured with later models. Great for carrying around, lenses excellent in the main. Unfortunately, Olympus (at least in the UK) don't seem interested in servicing them. Spares could be a problem.
Like others here, I have had OM slrs since 1975. I love them.
The OM-1 has a great meter. Compensation is easy to set for backlit or high contrast scenes. You just have to use your head a little. But it all feels very natural and quick.
If batteries are a concern, you can use hearing aid batteries but I would recommend an adapter or conversion.
Also be careful putting a heavy flash unit on an OM-1 or OM-2 since they can crack your valuable accessory shoe. The Olympus T-20 is a great flash and light enough with only 2 batteries inside.
Just for confusion, there are also the OM2-sp and OM-PC (OM-40) that have a full program mode. (setting both shutter and aperture automatically). And the OM-PC has the ESP matrix metering which is great for slides.
OM2n would be my recommendation if the choice was limited to one, but the bodies are so cheap I would also get an OM1n.
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You know, an APUG subscriber, Rick A has an OM-4 with CLA.
I would look no further...
Just to confuse things, the Pentax MX is worth a look too.
My OM-1/1N meter conversion uses silver oxide 1.55V batteries (357, SR-44W, G-13, MS76, KS76, S76, 303 etc.) Alkaline batteries lose voltage as soon as you start to use them, undoing any meter calibration that might have been done. Silver oxide cells have a more level output until they weaken and die. John
John did a great job on my Olympus Pen FT and converted it to use modern battery too. Camtech Photo Services is highly recommended!
For clarity, Camtech Photo Services is John Hermanson and his/their website is zuiko.com.
Originally Posted by Les Sarile
And with respect to the OM2s (OM-2sp in some parts of the world), some parts of the camera (the circuit board?) are unserviceable, but other parts are as serviceable as any other 30+ year old camera - i.e. it depends on part availability.
I bought mine new, and have enjoyed it thoroughly.
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2