Olympus OM 77 AF

Discussion in 'Modern Film Cameras' started by mike_gammill, Mar 4, 2011.

  1. Olympus didn't exactly match Minolta's Maxxum when it responded to the AF challenge with its OM 77 AF. Like the Maxxum 7000 (and also 5000) it had a single AF sensor. The Olympus is strictly auto with the ability to shift its program, but no shutter priority, aperture priority, or manual to be found. I snagged on at auction for about 15 USD complete with the Olympus 35-70 f3.5-4.5 zoom. Olympus never offered an extensive lens array for this camera or a more professional body. By the time the OM 77 AF debuted, Minolta was already developing the "i" series line of Maxxums. Canon and Nikon were steadily developing more lenses for their systems and in a few years would catch and surpass Minolta in system offerings. Pentax held its own as it offered a nice feature set in its AF SLRs.
    The OM 77 AF with its 35-70 zoom has less range (but wider aperture) and focuses slower than its fixed lens IS series cameras. The IS-10/20/30 28-110 performs better at most settings and offers a wide range so it's no wonder that I picked up one for so little.
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  2. The little 35-70 isn't a bad performer. Olympus also offered a 28-85 for this camera. For the pictures I used some outdated Tri-X (expired 1999). I needed to test this outdated film that was given to me and OM 77 was the closest camera.
    This older film showed some fog and was also granier than new Tri-X. Also, this is the older version of Tri-x which is grainier than the new (depending upon developer)
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  3. A neighbor's tree
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  4. A high school football field.
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  5. The OM 77 AF did have a couple of features not present on the Maxxum 7000: battery grip with pop-up flash and a near IR illuminator to make focusing easier in low light.
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  6. Funnily enough, one of these appeared on our local auction a few days ago; I'd never come across one before and there's not much information out there. It looks to be quite a nice little performer, Mike, and an interesting camera for your collection. The clarity of "High School Football Field" is impressive.
     
  7. The body definitely has that mid-to-late-'80s look about it: all smooth, angular black plastic, like a Canon T70 or a Minolta Maxxum 7000. (Hmm, lots of sevens going on there...)
    According to the OM FAQ, the OM-77AF isn't a "true Olympus OM system camera", but is it compatible with any of the professional OM components? I hope it takes manual OM lenses, at the very least.
     
  8. Craig- OM lenses will fit, but no focus confirmation or exposure read out. It's been a while since I tried one. Likely you'd
    have aperture priority with OM lenses. I'll have to give a try soon.
     
  9. Do we know why Olympus didn't produce a high-level AF SLR? Were they betting the farm on the IS series?
     
  10. That's a good question, Fred. Since many new SLR uses never go beyond the starter lens, maybe Oly decided the time
    was right for a fixed lens SLR. The IS series was well-done and a good alternative to traditional SLRs. Olympus seemed
    more interested in keeping advanced users with the OM series (especially the OM-4).
     
  11. Fred, Olympus at the time, thought that autofocus would only interest amateurs, that it was a curiosity, and that pros wouldn't want to trust something as critical as focus to an AF camera. Things moved so fast that by the time Olympus realized their error, the other manufacturers were entrenched in the AF market and Olympus decided not to try and catch up.
    If you put a manual focus OM lens on the OM-77, you don't get any viewfinder info.
     
  12. Craig- here's a photo of the OM 77AF with an F. Zuiko 50mm f1.8 attached. As mentioned earlier, there is no exposure readout or focus indication in the finder. The only display is the top deck LCD display of the frame number. Before loading film I confirmed that the shutter speed does vary as the aperture is changed. With that knowledge, I loaded up another roll of outdated Tri-X and took a few photos this afternoon. I hope to develop and post in a day or two. I may also try a couple of other Olympus manual focus lenses if time permits.
    When removing manual focus Zuikos you still press the lens release tab on the lens. AF lenses require that the camera body lens release be pressed instead.
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  13. I wasn't even aware this camera existed. How many other Olympus AF bodies and what AF lenses were offered?
     
  14. Andrew- not much was offered: Zooms: 35-70 f3.5-4.5, 28-85 f3.5-4.5, 70-210 (don't remember apeture). Also, a 50mm f1.8, 28mm f2.8, and IIRC, a 24mm f2.8. May have missed a few, but when my family had a camera shop we didn't stock the OM77 AF.
    No other AF bodies were offered, but a power focus model, the OM 88, could use OM 77 lenses manually and came with a power focus 50mm f2. Not very successful.
     
  15. Craig, here's a shot from the OM77 AF with a manual focus Sigma 28mm f2.8 attached.
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  16. In addition to the 35-70, 28-85 and 70-200, there was a 35 to 105. As for primes there was, in addition to the 24, 28 and 50/1.8, a 55/2.8 macro, and 50/2 power focus which can be used on the OM-77. Sigma also made a 28-70 and 70-200 zooms as well. If you think the OM-77 is bad, the OM-88 is really terrible. There are no settings at all (except with the adapter). The only benefit to the OM-88 is that the power focus works better than the power focus on the OM-77.
     

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