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  1. #1

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    Which Olympus OM?

    I've read a fair few threads about the Olympus OM cameras and I'm keen to get one. I'm still just a bit unsure about a few of the features and how they might apply to the way I photograph.

    I think I'm mainly considering the OM1n versus the OM2n. The OM4 seems much more expensive. I shoot manually and rarely use aperture priority and so on.

    Reasons why I'm looking at this camera range.

    1. Lightweight. I'm really 'over' carrying big heavy cameras around. I was even considering getting a new Bessa. I like rangefinders, but I also use SLRs and I've heard great things about the OMs and I also heard that even the lenses are quite light - true or not?.

    2. I can't quite work out the light meter situation with the OM1n. Can you see the meter through the viewfinder? I don't need intricate measurements. I just want the meter to be more or less accurate.

    3. Also, are batteries easily available? I get the impression that OM2 batteries are current and fairly easy to get, whereas OM1 batteries are not? I don't want to have get anything converted or adapted.

    4. However, I quite like the idea of the OM1 shutter being mechanical.

    Anything else I whould be thiking about when making a choice? I am not a collector. I want to actually throw the camera in my bag/pocket and use it on a day-to-day basis.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    If you don't want to spend the money for OM-4, then OM-1n would be a good choice. Personally I got fed up with in-camera meters and I don't even put batteries in any longer. John Hermanson could do a CLA and convert it to Alkaline if you found a good usable OM-1n for a low enough price to give you the leeway to afford that.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roundabout View Post
    I've read a fair few threads about the Olympus OM cameras and I'm keen to get one. I'm still just a bit unsure about a few of the features and how they might apply to the way I photograph.

    I think I'm mainly considering the OM1n versus the OM2n. The OM4 seems much more expensive. I shoot manually and rarely use aperture priority and so on.

    Reasons why I'm looking at this camera range.

    1. Lightweight. I'm really 'over' carrying big heavy cameras around. I was even considering getting a new Bessa. I like rangefinders, but I also use SLRs and I've heard great things about the OMs and I also heard that even the lenses are quite light - true or not?.
    I've had an OM-1 since 1976. Handling anything else feels like an anchor, including older folders that I have.

    2. I can't quite work out the light meter situation with the OM1n. Can you see the meter through the viewfinder? I don't need intricate measurements. I just want the meter to be more or less accurate.
    Yes, the meter indicator is clearly visible in the viewfinder. The needle may overlay the subject area, but it does not obstruct it.

    3. Also, are batteries easily available? I get the impression that OM2 batteries are current and fairly easy to get, whereas OM1 batteries are not? I don't want to have get anything converted or adapted.
    The original batteries for the OM-1 are not available. There are some said to be compatible, but I haven't tried them. The main options are conversions (zuiko.com does great work) or adapters (fit original battery chamber and hold smaller button battery). Zuiko.com sells the adapters for $45. I've never used the adapters. I have the camera updated.

    4. However, I quite like the idea of the OM1 shutter being mechanical.

    Anything else I whould be thiking about when making a choice? I am not a collector. I want to actually throw the camera in my bag/pocket and use it on a day-to-day basis.

    Thanks.
    Mine spent many years being stuffed in school desks and then many more years in a college backpack, a belt pouch, a pocket when the coat was roomy enough. It never complained.

  4. #4
    MattKing's Avatar
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    I bought my first OM-1 in 1974/5 - a plain OM1, not the later OM1-MD or OM1n.

    I'm currently without an OM1 body, but I do have 4 other OM bodies: one OM2n, one OM2s and two OM-Gs (aka OM20s).

    All the bodies I currently own use readily available, current batteries.

    The single digit OM bodies are wonderfully compact, but they aren't as light as later, more electronic cameras. I have a couple of Canon EOS film bodies that are a fair bit larger than my OM bodies, but a lot lighter than an OM1n or OM2n.

    In recent years while using my recently sold OM1n or OM1 bodies, I used them with two different types of battery adapters.

    The first type of adapter is the type that John Hermanson sells on zuiko.com. It allows use of a smaller silver oxide cell in the larger battery compartment of the OM1, and it converts down the voltage to the right amount. There are other sources as well for similar adapters. They work very well, and in something like an OM1, the silver oxide cell lasts for a long time.

    The second type of adapter also works well and is less complex, and therefore less expensive. It has no circuitry, but it allows a small hearing aid battery to power the OM1 meter. The hearing aid batteries use the same chemistry as the zinc air cells, so they have the right voltage and discharge curves, but like the more expensive zinc air cells they don't last particularly long. The hearing aid cells are incredibly cheap in quantity and are easily found at drug stores as well as Costco. I bought my adapters from Jon Goodman, who posts here regularly and was formerly active on eBay, particularly with respect to his light seal kits. His adapters are very reasonable in price.

    I would recommend that you have John Hermanson service any OM1 or OM1n. As posted above, he will convert the camera to modern silver-oxide batteries (not alkaline, as posted above), and deal with one problem that OM bodies have. The cameras depend on a type of light seal material that can degrade over time. The light seal material that is near the prism is particularly important to remove, and John does that.

    FWIW, both my OM2n and my OM2s are very easy to use for manual exposure. They do, however, require batteries for more than the meter, so if battery dependency is a problem for you, they may not be suitable.

    You indicate that size and weight of the camera and lenses is important for you. The OM lenses are as compact as the bodies, but like the single digit OM bodies, they are well built and fairly heavy - again in comparison to something like the kit zoom lenses that were sold with some more recent electronic film cameras.

    I like to carry a three lens kit with a single OM2n or OM2s body - a 24mm f/2.8, a 35mm f/2 and an 85mm f/2 lenses. The body and lenses together are extremely compact - they fit together into a very small camera case. Those lenses are fairly popular, and can command a premium price on eBay or through other appropriate sources

    The OMGs/OM20s are also interesting. They are clearly aimed at the amateur market, but they are equally compact, quite good to use, and a fair bit lighter than an OM1. They aren't as robust as the single digit OM bodies, and they are also battery dependent.

    If you haven't already seen it, the so called Olympus OM Sales Information file is your friend for details about the system. Note the links thereon to scanned manuals: http://www.star.ucl.ac.uk/~rwesson/e.../mainindex.htm

    Hope this helps.
    Matt

    “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

  5. #5

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    I forgot to put in details.

    I'm on my second OM-1, my original being in the desk waiting for service (not bad for almost 40 years).

    I have no idea of current prices. The 2nd was bought from eBay for $42 about 3 years back and rebuilt by John Hermanson (zuiko.com) for about $110. (I looked for my bill email, but I guess I did not file it well.)

    If you are better than I am at buying used stuff, you might skip the refurb/rebuild. Since I already knew the product and already loved it, it was worth it to have it brought to spec before I used it.

    OM-1s in unknown/random condition are or were cheap. When I spent $42, I could have spent $25, but the difference wasn't that much to my budget, and I wanted a fresh body to use.

  6. #6

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    Thanks everyone, for the information. It's really helpful.

    The single digit OM bodies are wonderfully compact, but they aren't as light as later, more electronic cameras. I have a couple of Canon EOS film bodies that are a fair bit larger than my OM bodies, but a lot lighter than an OM1n or OM2n.
    Actually, that's a thought. It's one reason that the Bessa still appeals. I have a couple of Canon rangefinders and a Topcon RE2, all in working condition. But they are like carrying a brick. I'm after a camera that works and feels good (and I heard that the OMs are reliable - even though I've factored in CLA costs and time).

    Digitally, I use a Nex 7 with the Zeiss 24, after giving up on Canon SLRs for the bulk/weight issue. So I don't really want anything heavier or bulkier than that.

  7. #7

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    The OM-1n that I had was a wonderfully intuitive feeling camera for me.

  8. #8
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattKing View Post
    I would recommend that you have John Hermanson service any OM1 or OM1n. As posted above, he will convert the camera to modern silver-oxide batteries (not alkaline, as posted above).
    Thanks for correction, I was picturing the px625 size batteries, which I've only seen in alkaline lately.

  9. #9
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    Comparing the OM1n and OM2n. I have both. Handling is virtually identical. OM1 works without batteries at all, just the uncoupled meter doesn't work. OM2n has a coupled meter for aperature priority but won't work without batteries. OM2n takes SR44 as standard. OM1n needs modifying. OM2n will give TTL flash metering with olympus compatible flashes and the "off the film/curtain" exposure system is very good. OM1n has no TTL but the "n" as opposed to the "non-n" does have a "flash ready" light with olympus flashes thru the viewfinder. Both have the same possible foam-rot over the prism so should be CLAd and re-foamed if there is any hint of stickiness on the door/mirror foams. Which side of the pond are you, because if you are the UK side its simpler to send the camera to Mike Spencer at Camerarepairs-r-us than John. Mike also does battery conversions and is an ex-japanese factory trained camera tech.

    just to add, yes its a lightweight system (but my part plastic Minolta X300 is the lightest system I have), and pretty much ALL olympus zuiko lenses are really good - even the often maligned zooms. The only lens of mine I don't like is the little 35-70 f3.5-4.5 zoom. I think its very small size was a step too far. The v.cheap 35-70 F4 is terrific (or mine is anyway), the F1.8 50mm is a star, and the 75-150 zoom is far better than many would have you believe and often only £25

    As you can tell I am an OM fan. Never disappointed that this is my choice of 35mm system and thanks to Mike my 4 OMs are all in good shape.
    Last edited by mr rusty; 04-13-2013 at 03:25 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  10. #10

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    I've recently started using an OM1n. I've been using a Bessa R2a rf for the past couple of years.
    I wouldn't say it's a light camera, but it sits in the hand nicely, though I sometimes miss having a bit of a grip on the rhs.
    with a 50/1.4 or 24/2.8 it's very compact indeed
    I do use the metering (I also had Michael Spencer cla & convert mine), but in very low light or at night the metering is unusable as the needle disappears in the gloom.
    It is a camera that I want to pick up and use just for the pleasure of using it.

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