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  1. #1
    Selidor's Avatar
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    To OM-4 or not....

    Hi all!

    Im currently in the middle of a 35mm system re-organisation.

    Ive decided to keep my OM-2n for now. However, if I could fault it one way (and I do), is that it doesnt meter for 3200 film. This annoys me, because I like shooting in available light wherever possible. For the time being I thought Id just stick it to the widest aperture and 1/60, and see what happens.

    Naturally the OM-4 series of cameras solves this little issue, though Im put off by warnings/horror stories of OM-4 electronics. I know the OM-4ti has revised circuitry, but thats a little out of my price range, or at least thats what eBay has me believe.

    So is my apprehension about a vanilla OM-4 well founded/correct? Is it asking too much in 2011 to find a used one and have it work for any length of time without breaking down (repeatedly)?

    I have very little invested OM glass atm, mostly just Zuiko and B+W 49mm filters
    A 50/1.8 has served me well for 18 months, but now Im hankering after a 50/1.4, and a short tele prime.

    So Im also considering changing brands for an Nikon F3 setup. It does everything I want a camera to do, but I find Nikon split image rangefinders harder to focus. Not to mention Nikkor glass is appreciably more expensive (but not prohibitively) than Zuiko, without being a whole lot better (if at all).
    Yes, I would have to sell the OM-2n to fund any upgrade.
    Any thoughts opinions woud be appreciated

  2. #2

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    You're buying used so make sure you have warranty or money back - buy from a reputable seller.

    Depending on where you are, quality lenses for either are at a premium but Nikons are generally less costly then Olympus because there seems to be more available. The F3 can use none AI lenses which are also generally less expensive then the AI or newer lenses. There are an abundance of screens and finders for the F3 so there is bound to be one you prefer. Also, the F3 viewfinder is 100%.

    On the OM4, you have the most sophisticated metering of any camera. While it's exposure range is just less then the Pentax LX, it adds spot metering that the was not common. The OM4 - actually all OM's, are smaller and lighter then the F3 and so are the equivalent lenses. The OM's maybe the gem of cameras but they are robust.

    Not to add to the decision dilemma, but in this level of cameras, the Pentax LX is a worthwhile consideration if not the leader of it's class. Almost the size and weight of the OM's, sophisticated flash and TTL metering as the OM4, interchangeable finders/screens like the F3 and the hybrid mechanical/electronic shutter giving you much more shutter speeds available when the battery dies like the Canon new F-1.

  3. #3
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    Can't you set the compensation to +1 ?

    If you get an OM-4 with battery drain, keep several changes of cheap A76 batteries handy. It is un-professional to carry a camera that occasionally will not take a picture. If you must get that shot, don't buy OM-4 with battery drain issues. But when you are a hobbyist, it can be just fine. I have never had to rely on 60 mechanical because the camera always responded to new batteries, despite the fact the cheap ones aren't "recommended" batteries for the camera.

    I'd add OM-1 to your search list. Being fully mechanical it will work without batteries at all shutter speeds.

  4. #4
    Ambar's Avatar
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    Instead of an Nikon F3 would you consider a FM2n. You loose the spot metering but the LED lit light meter makes it really easy to operate in poor light. Shutter speeds are all mechanically operated with speeds of B, 1s-1/4000. Meaning when a battery dies you still maintain a fully functional shutter at all speeds (only thing you loose is the meter!). They are workhorses and incredibly well built (much like the F3) but will generally go for less. Save those bucks for the nikon glass!
    Ps: you can't use old pre-AI stuff.. but those are easily converted to accept AI, and often already are.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ambar View Post
    Instead of an Nikon F3 would you consider a FM2n. You loose the spot metering but the LED lit light meter makes it really easy to operate in poor light.
    Unfortunately no Nikon slr had spot metering until the automated versions.

    Of course the FM2/FM2n has no aperture priority auto exposure like the F3 and OM4. Instead, consider the FM3A that has a hybrid shutter design with aperture priority, TTL and such when battery is good but can operate all shutter speeds like the FM/FM2/FM2n when battery is drained. It too cannot use unmodified none AI lenses.

  6. #6
    BetterSense's Avatar
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    Can't you set the compensation to +1 ?
    Not on the OM2n. There is no separate compensation knob, you just change turn the film speed knob to a different speed, which maxes out at 1600.

    Ive decided to keep my OM-2n for now. However, if I could fault it one way (and I do), is that it doesnt meter for 3200 film. This annoys me, because I like shooting in available light wherever possible.
    If you like shooting in available light, you should give up using in-camera meters anyway. I don't care what numbers the manufacturer's place on cameras...what most people mean by 'shooting at 1600' is pretty much meaningless from a technical point of view, because film speeds are based on shadow values, and you camera has no way of knowing what shadows you are talking about.
    f/22 and be there.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by BetterSense View Post
    Not on the OM2n. There is no separate compensation knob, you just change turn the film speed knob to a different speed, which maxes out at 1600.



    If you like shooting in available light, you should give up using in-camera meters anyway. I don't care what numbers the manufacturer's place on cameras...what most people mean by 'shooting at 1600' is pretty much meaningless from a technical point of view, because film speeds are based on shadow values, and you camera has no way of knowing what shadows you are talking about.
    I owned an OM2n briefly, and was confused by your indication that you can't set exposure compensation. The below photo also confirms my memories:






    To the OP, I would suggest you keep the OM-2n, and buy the OM-4. The OM-4 is noticeably cheaper than the OM-4T.

    And to BetterSense,

    the OM-4T's light meter and spot metering capabilities make it the best and most accurate low light camera I've ever owned. It's a brilliant camera. I wish I never sold it.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by BetterSense View Post
    If you like shooting in available light, you should give up using in-camera meters anyway.
    I have used Natura 1600 (Superai, Portra, etc.) and shoot available light night photography a lot so can you clarify?

    The OM4's spot metering is as accurate as my Sekonic 758DR. Personally, I prefer spot metering. That along with knowing a film's specific exposure range guarantees that I get the results I expect without even using the OM4's additional multispot, hi light and shadow features.

    BTW, I have taken advantage of this sophisticated auto exposure metering well into the tens of minutes. Most of today's most sophisticated cameras won't even go past 30 seconds.

  9. #9
    BetterSense's Avatar
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    I owned an OM2n briefly, and was confused by your indication that you can't set exposure compensation. The below photo also confirms my memories:
    The photo does not confirm your memories. The "exposure compensation" on the OM2 is just turning the film speed dial. There is no separate adjustment, just some +/- marks. ASA 1600 with no exposure compensation is exactly the same setting as ASA 400 with -2 exposure compensation. The dial maxes out at 1600 so there's no way to set 1600+1.

    The OM4's spot metering is as accurate as my Sekonic 758DR.
    The OM2 does not have spot metering. I agree that with spot metering can make sense even at low light levels, because you are choosing the tone that you are metering off of. ISO 3200 with averaging metering is not very meaningful, but spot metering is completely different story.
    f/22 and be there.

  10. #10
    Selidor's Avatar
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    Nikons are generally less costly then Olympus because there seems to be more available
    Im in the UK, and while this may be true for F3 bodies vs OM-4Ti, the prices for lenses differ somewhat, eg. approx £60 for a 50/1.4 OM vs approx £100 for the Nikkor version. Of course the later serial model Zuiko's (>1,100,000 IIRC) 50/1.4's do go for around the same. Also, I doubt you could get a 20mm f2.8 AIS the right side of £200 Definitely more 3rd party lenses available though for Nikon, but Im really only interested in the 70-210 Vivitar Series 1. The good ones aren't too rare in the OM mount. Oh and I dont really need any of the F3 system beyond the body, though the WLF would be some fun!
    Can't you set the compensation to +1 ?
    The "exposure compensation" on the OM2 is just turning the film speed dial
    BetterSense is right. You can set ±2 exposure compensation at all speeds bar the lowest() and highest(1600). The dial will just stop moving.
    But when you are a hobbyist, it can be just fine
    True, I wont be putting rolls of film through it on a daily basis. I just want it to work after months of inactivity, and when I use it frequently in a short period of time, eg on holiday. Carrying extra batteries isnt a problem, as long as they're smaller than AA.
    Instead of an Nikon F3 would you consider a FM2n
    I thought about this. Recently Ive been buying late 80's/early 90's photography books from ebay at 99p a pop. Some are ex-library but still OK condition, and the content is literally worth every penny. Anyway, they all heavily use the FM-2 as a reference camera, sometimes an F3. But I ruled it out because I'd miss Aperture Priority too much, one of the reasons why I upgraded from an OM-1n to my current OM-2n.
    the OM-4T's light meter and spot metering capabilities make it the best and most accurate low light camera I've ever owned.
    I agree that with spot metering can make sense even at low light levels, because you are choosing the tone that you are metering off of
    Ah, I completely forgot about spot metering. That may be useful for me:P
    Ok, having taken stock of whats been said so far, I think I should just play the waiting game for a reasonably priced OM-4Ti or a OM-4 in good condition.

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