What a relief! I should had though so. It locks the shutter when the exposure is out of limits just like my Oly 35RC. It is a bit annoying that there is no metering when going manual, but that's o.k. I can live perfectly without that.
As for the batteries would the zinc air ones that provide 1.4V do? I have been given with four old mercury (by Kodak) cells with that, but for sure they won't last forever.