Olympus FTL

Discussion in 'Olympus' started by mark_bobrosky, Oct 5, 2007.

  1. Was cleaning, and came across an SLR I used in college. I'm curious as to its values and availablility. This is
    what I have:
    - Olympus FTL body and case
    -50mm lens
    -35mm wide angle lens w/caps and case
    -135mm telephoto and case
    - original instruction book

    I looked on ebay and found nothing. I really enjoyed this camera, and thought it was long gone.
  2. Olympus FTL's are pretty thin on the ground, and among relatively few M42 mount cameras with full-aperture metering, and the Olympus name has some panache among collectors... all of which conspires to hold the camera's value above that of other M42 SLRs. I don't know where it would be priced these days, some time ago it was maybe between $100 and $150 with the normal lens. Zuiko lenses to fit are also desirable, at least among people who have the camera and can use the full aperture metering functions of the combination.

    Keep watching eBay to get an idea of prices, they come along from time to time. I've had two of them, one with the 35, 100 and 50/1.4 lenses, a nice outfit. It was not quite as nicely made as the OM1, but comparable with a Pentax and with very nice lenses and features.
  3. Some info from a Japanese publication, olympus no subete ('All About Olympus') on the FTL:

    It was rushed into production about a year before the M1 appeared, in response to a plea from the export marketing division. They were wanted an SLR to sell immediately and couldn't wait for the M1. Production ceased a year later when the M1 did finally come out.

    There were 6 lenses: 28/35/50 (1.8 and 1.4)/135/200. Plus a number of accessories, including a bellows.
  4. Thanks for that, Robert! It seems like a plausible explanation; the camera did not really fit into the whole Olympus scheme of things; the OM1 seemed to follow well on the philosophy of the Pen F, was well thought out and obviously had been in the works for some time before it was launched, but the FTL seemed like someone else's product. I assume Olympus actually did manufacture it, but it does not look like a Maitani design.
  5. At the time, Popular Photography (who did a review and stripdown report) stated that the design team of the Olympus FTL was headed by the company's Managing Director. The big feature was full aperture metering, which Pentax had not yet introduced in its very popular Spotmatic. The problem was the varying alignment of a screw-mount lens under different seating forces. That variation meant that mechanical linkages were compromised. The Olympus solution was a physical latch to force a non-varying lens alignment. The eventual Pentax solution (in the Spotmatic F) was an electrical resistance system. Interestingly, it was later reported that the Olympus MD left the company when the FTL was discontinued, and I wondered whether the MD had argued for the camera's continuation against the board's opinion, which held out.
  6. For what it's worth, I heard from a Minolta rep that the FTL was made for Olympus by Minolta. This part of a conversation back in the early 80's, also containing info on how off-the-film flash concept used in the OM-2 was licensed to Olympus by Minolta. John, www.zuiko.com
  7. One should compare the FTL with contemporary Minoltas's side by side. I cannot say if my FTL was really made by Olympus simply by the fact it has the OLMPUS-TOKYO logo on it, but at least I found one thing looking indentical at the FTL and the halfframe PEN FT: the synch contact and FP/X switch. This it at least one argument why it's made by Olympus.

    cheers, Frank

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