OM-1 and OM-2n ready for duty!

Discussion in 'Olympus' started by Fiddlefye, Oct 30, 2019.

  1. Many years ago a friend gave me her OM-2n/50 f1.8 as she'd lost interest in shooting film. I'd shot with it a bit and then it became a bit troublesome about firing at the chosen speed. About six years ago I found an absolutely mint OM-1 with 35 f2.8 Zuiko at a yard sale, working perfectly, but needing to be set up to run the meter on a modern battery. Last week both came back from being serviced by my tech and it is time to load one up and do some shooting!
    [​IMG]DSC_6070 by fiddlefye, on Flickr
  2. Beautiful pair!

    I started with a chrome OM1 as my first "serious" camera, gifted by my father for HS graduation (forty-one years later I still can't believe I conned him into it). The most wonderful camera-related olfactory experience of my life was the scent of that new OM1 when I opened the box. Chanel, eat your heart out!

    A year later I traded it in for the then new Pentax MX, one of the first (and probably most accurate) knockoffs of the OM1. I was drawn to the Pentax for its more modern meter cells and LED display (I've always preferred them to needle/scale). Very nice camera, but I soon learned it couldn't compete with the Olympus luxuriously damped shutter/mirror sound, and the LED display washed out to the point of invisibility in bright daylight. A few months later, it got traded back for another OM1, this time in black.

    Kept that one until the early '90s, when I traded it and my Zuikos toward a Nikon F2AS which became my consuming passion. While I loved the OM1 feather weight and silence, I always had difficulty nailing focus with it, and I didn't love the Zuiko 35mm f/2.0. The F2AS instantly felt like a part of me despite larger size/weight, the smaller sharper 35/2 Nikkor-O became my primary lens, and I was thrilled with the always-visible LED meter sensitive enough for candlelight.

    But there was always a gnawing regret that I didn't keep the OM1 for discreet quiet projects. Briefly tried a friend's OM4, but it wasn't the same sweet shutter sound as OM1/OM2. Twelve years later, I found another chrome OM1 with a good meter at a garage sale, and it joined my core group of occasional-use backup SLRs (alongside Pentax Spotmatic and Konica T3). I shied away from the OM2 back in the day because I didn't want AE or electronics, but lately I'm thinking I should get one just for the more sensitive silicon blue meter and easy silver oxide batteries. That, and a 21mm f/3.5...
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2019
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  3. One of the lovely things about being a film shooter these days is that we have such a huge and wonderful history of great cameras to choose from for relatively little outlay. Back when I bought my first SLR the choices in used cameras were a lot thinner, to say the least.

    I have run primarily Nikon for many years now, partly because I love the cameras (F2S, FE and F4) and lenses and partly because it keys in with my full frame digital. I'm looking straight at the FE with a 35 f2 mounted on it at the moment. Having said that, I also have a couple of Leicaflexes (SL and SL-2), a Canon F-1 I acquired recently (couldn't resist!) and the Olympus pair. Do I need them all to take pictures? No, but it sure is a lot of fun and I enjoy rejiggering my workflow from time to time.

    The OM-1 has this lovely, delicate, jewel-like quality to it that in combination with its sort of full-featured yet barebones competence is incredibly appealing. The OM-2n is the same only in a package with quicker reflexes and is if anything a bit smoother in feel and sound yet. The camera does seem to run a very long time on a set of batteries.

    Photographic life is very good these days!
  4. Yes, very much this! Now its "just another old film camera", younger people buying a used OM1/OM2 today can never fully appreciate its historic impact. You really had to be there forty years ago to truly understand how and why the OM system shattered complacency and set a whole new paradigm in motion. It really was a revolutionary camera, the likes of which have only happened four times in the annals of modern 35mm film SLRs (first was the Nikon F, next was Olympus OM1, then the Canon AE-1, and finally the ghastly Minolta Maxxum 7000 AF).

    The OM1 scared the bejeezus out of the entire 35mm industry: no one could have predicted its dramatic arrival as a complete, fully-thought-out system with nearly all significant lenses and accessories available at once (if only Nikon or Canon had the resources to do this with mirrorless lenses today). Everyone rushed to copy OM, but none did it perfectly. Almost always the copies muffed the recipe, often stopping short of the unparalleled mirror/shutter damping. Nikon particularly, spectacularly bungled it with the rattletrap FM and FE (which were louder and chintzier sounding than the Nikkormats they replaced).

    Those who love old-school cameras/lenses of fine tactile quality sometimes wish evolution had stopped at the OM1/OM2: we could have happily lived without the funky electronics + plastic craptastic sea changes ushered in when Canon (Thelma) and Minolta (Louise) drove us off the cliff in their Thunderbird.
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2019
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  5. I'd throw the Nikon F4 into your list there, if for no reason than it was incredibly influential and not ghastly. I wouldn't necessarily choose it for my everyday walk-around camera, but it just does everything really well. The OMs really are great cameras to take for a stroll and for as serious a job as one might possibly have (short of medium format). My chrome OM-1 makes me happy just looking at it! (Wishing the weather would clear so I could take it out...).
  6. Very nice. It was the purchase of an Olympus OM series camera that caused me to get rid of all the Canon film gear I had collected to that point. I've had a few different OM-2n and 1n cameras. Also a 2s. Got an all black OM-1n recently after deciding that's the one is what I liked the most. Sold all the rest but I also have an XA.
    Fiddlefye likes this.
  7. m42dave

    m42dave Dave E.

    Nice! Enjoy using them and hope to see some results sometime.

    I still have a soft spot for the OM-1, which was my first serious 35mm camera, though I've generally come to prefer using larger SLRs. Olympus certainly did a great job of designing such a comprehensive and well thought-out system.

    The OM-2 often seems to be passed over by purists in favor of the OM-1, though the OM-2 is really a more versatile camera. The best solution: own both. :)
    Fiddlefye likes this.
  8. Exactly!
  9. HP5 F 018.jpg HP5 F 029.jpg Finally, a couple of shots taken with the OM-1. I had it sitting for half a decade waiting to get around to the battery conversion and now it has finally done some work. It was really enjoyable to work with and both the 50 f1.8 and 35 f2.8 produced sharp and contrasty images.
    m42dave likes this.

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