Happy New Year!
I have an OM-2S I recently dug out of the closet. I'm back to photography after having been away a long, long time.
I am familiar with the short battery life of the OM-2S body, which apparently extends to the OM-4 since they are apparently built on the same platform. I found a small printed notice in the original box the camera shipped in, that warned about flash photography being especially battery-depleting, and related to the green "flash ready light", which the Olympus engineers foolishly powered from the little SR44s in the camera body. The notice suggested turning the flash on at the last possible moment to conserve the batteries. (This issue was apparently addressed in a later electronic redesign, identified by the use of a red "flash ready light".) As an electrical engineer myself for 25 years, this was a very poor design flaw, and probably indicates a very young design team at the time (except of course for team leader Maitani-San, who was not an electrical engineer.)
Anyway, even sitting on the shelf, batteries can be depleted over time, indicating some portion of the electronics is always active. Since the shutter button can be partially depressed to "wake up" an idle camera, there certainly has to be some electrical current comsumed to contiuously monitor the shutter switch. The OM-2S has no actual OFF switch to completely shut the electronics down.
Researching the web, I found it suggested that the 1/60th mechanical or "B" mechanical shutter selections are a sort of an undocumented OFF siwitch. I have been keeping the camera in this mechanical mode in between uses for about 6 weeks now. I will continue to monitor battery life to see how long it takes to deplete the batteries. My observations are that all electronic functions appear to be disabled in the "mechanical" mode with the exception that the battery test can still be performed.
I wouold appreciate any anecdotal observations anyone has regarding extending the battery life of their OM-2S/4. Yeah, I know, pull the batteries out between uses, but this is a PITA, especially when the camera is normally mounted to a Winder 2. I have seen some current measurements for various states of camera operation listed online, but I have not confirmed or denied them yet myself.
Also, can anyone direct me to an electrical schematic for the OM-2S or OM-4? Given the extensive use of LSI components, this may provide limited insight, but I would find it interesting nevertheless.
Hi OMJeff, I've had OM4's for years now and have always used the 'B'/60 mechanical setting on the shutter speed selector ring when I'm not using the camera and have never had any problems with battery life, which is comparable to my old OM2's. I agree that it would have bee a tad simpler just to have included an off switch in the original design, but, it's the only gripe I have with them!
I used the mechanical 1/60th setting on my OM2SP and this never really worked. Still the battery drained. Batteries lasted literally 4/5 weeks at a time. The only effective turn off switch is to remove the batteries.
My OM2SP is the most unreliable I have owned in my 40 years of interest in photography!
The OM1 with the mercury battery was utterly reliable and the battery could last two or more years.
OM2/OM2n was Olympus' most reliable electronic camera.