This Year's Olympus Gains

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by rick_drawbridge, Mar 30, 2021.

  1. Yesterday the nice lady from the local charity Op Shop, with whom I maintain a good rapport, called to say that someone had dropped off a bag of "old cameras" and would I be interested in taking a look at them. She said the asking price was $50 and she'd drop them off at my place on her way home. If I was interested. Well, despite the fact that I'm desperately trying to overcome my chronic GAS, I had to admit that I was interested, and she duly delivered a shopping bag, bulging at the seams. The contents are displayed below.

    Olympus Pnet..jpg

    Now, I have never had much to do with Olympus cameras, my Olympus collection to date consisting of a couple of rather tired OM-10s and a few lenses, so this assortment left me little bemused. I know the OM-2 was a step up from the OM-1 but not as good as the OM-2N, while apparently the OM-4 is about as good as it gets in the OM range, overshadowed only by the OM-4Ti. There's a nice assortment of prime lenses and some of the better Tamron Adaptall-2 SP zooms, and various other accessories such as a dedicated Olympus flash and a focusing screen, not even un-boxed. The cameras were in their original boxes and look virtually new, and they both came to life with fresh batteries. I'm beginning to learn to use them, discovering, for example, that the OM-4's fancy metering works only when a film is loaded, an enlightenment that greatly relieved a moment's anxiety.

    So, I went down this morning and gave the lady her fifty bucks, feeling the usual mixture of guilt and delight. Should anyone like to give an opinion of the haul, particularly anything related to the OM-4, I'd be very grateful.
    kklow, Greg M, James Bryant and 2 others like this.
  2. The OM-2(n), not so much the OM-4 (ti) is top of the range. The n version has a longer auto-exposure range, so more desirable for long exposures on auto.
    No spot meter, like the 4 (and 3). But solid.
    The OM-4 adds a display that goes AWOL. And a battery that runs down no matter what. Still a good camera though. The Ti version does not add much (fp-synch with one, single, Olympus flash unit. And a titanium cover). The OM-2sp (spot/program) is a mix between 2 and 4. Also a solid performer. But like the 4 'blessed' with a display that goes AWOL.
    The OM-3 is the rarely seen, more desirable (completely mechanical, like the OM-1) version of the 4.
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2021
  3. That's quite the haul, Rick. And you can't argue with the price. As far as Olympus stuff goes, I have only an OM-1 with a dead meter and a couple of primes, so I cant add much on that front. I'm interested in your opinions of the Tamron zooms. I recently acquired their 35-135 and 80-210 in Adaptall-2 mounts. I was really impressed with the 80-210. Less so the 35-135, but it has quite a lot of dust and some slight hazing in it. Ill have to try to give that one a clean and try again.
  4. As q.g. said, the OM-4ti is the top of the line and they fetch a lot of money. The OM-4 (non ti) had some battery drain issues. That was fixed in some versions apparently and my impression was that by the time the OM-4ti came out, it was a non issue. So your OM-4 may be fine in that regard.

    It's hard to tell from the photo but is that an OM-2n? It looks like there's a little 'n' next to the "OM-2" on top of the camera. The 'n' version uses a different accessory shoe than the plain "OM-2". I believe that Olympus was trying to standardize, - the OM-1n and the OM-2n used the same shoe.

    The OM-1(n) and OM-2(n) were sold at the same time. From a collectors standpoint some prefer the OM-1n because it's an all mechanical camera. However others consider the OM-2n the best of the OM cameras outside of the extremely expensive OM-3 and OM-4ti. It featured a revolutionary OTF (off the film) metering system.

    I've owned several different OM cameras and finally settled on an OM-1n because it's a fully manual camera and I like the solid sounding shutter and and the mirror lockup. I have other cameras with auto exposure features. That said that OM-2n works as well as advertised and if you use a lot of flash would be far better than the OM-1n. The OM-2 and OM-2n also had some revolutionary flash features for their time.

    All the OM cameras have one great feature from my perspective, - their size. That's what sold me on them. I got rid of all my classic Canons after using an OM for awhile.
    steven_endo likes this.
  5. Quite a few OM cameras have passed through my grubby hands. I had an OM4 but never really got my head round the multi spot metering or whatever it's called. Just too complicated and fiddly for my poor simple old brain. I like the OM1 and OM2 better, I also had an OM2SP briefly, it's really quite different from the original OM2. The only issue I have with the design being the flimsy and breakable detachable flash shoes on the older models.
  6. m42dave

    m42dave Dave E.

    Nice set. If it were my find, though, I'd probably re-sell it and put the proceeds towards something else. :)

    Except for an FTL screw-mount, I no longer have any Olympus gear. My first SLR was an OM-1n, and have also used an OM-4 in the past. The OM-4 is a nice camera though I thought the multi-spot feature was overkill, and the LCD display tends to fade over time. The last OM I used was an OM-2SP a few years ago, but it had battery drain issues and the meter was off, so I didn't keep it.

    I certainly bought into the "smaller is better" philosophy that Olympus marketed so well at the time, though I now find that I prefer full-sized SLRs, at least when using larger, heavier lenses.
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2021
  7. SCL


    I owned 3 OM2n bodies over the years as well as an OM1 and all worked great...loved the viewfinder! Quite a haul, Rick...too bad your charity shop lady doesn't live in the midwest USA, I'd be glad to strike up a friendship. All kidding aside, have some fun with those cameras. Olympus made many very good sharp and contrasty lenses. The OM4 never appealed to me, as the OM2n did everything I needed, and I had it in both black and chrome. Just last month sold the last of my Olympus film gear except for a macro lens which I use for scanning negatives and old slides.
  8. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Excellent deal. Many charity shops seriously overprice camera equipment. If I were to acquire and sell off a lot like that I'd be inclined to share some of my gains with the charity.
  9. Tom, for me the OM-2n is the top of the line. Not the 4.
    The 4 adds features. Which are good (including the multi-spot metering). But is not as 'solid' as the 2.
  10. I have only used the OM-1n body and a couple of prime lenses. The Zuiko 85mm f/2 is my favorite, small, sharp and wonderful bokeh wide open.
  11. I was gifted a "tired" OM10 that initially didn't work with "cheap" LR44s. A few days later I bought some name-brand LR44 and it sprang to life.. I too was baffled by the meter readings and tried to adjust the ISO to get the readings I thought were correct. BTW the OM 10 has no shutter controls for those who might not know that. After reading up on the camera I took the advice to ignore and let it autometer. The person who gave me the camera couldn'T find the lens at the time as she said it was broken. IT took a few weeks to get the 50mm but my impatience had me buy a Zuiko 28mm that I do think is quite good and I have yet to shoot the 50mm .
  12. OM-10s are o.k. Not, i think, a 'must have OM camera', but they do the job. But i think a must have accessory for the 10 is the Manual Adapter: the plug-in shutter speed knob. The OM-20 makes up for that.
    The 30 is an interesting camera, with focus assist and confirmation (for manual focus) and with the correct trigger cord to a motor drive, shutter release when something moves in focus.

    I have used OM cameras for many years.
    Many good lenses. A favorite combo was the 35 mm paired to the 100 mm. A 50 mm (macro) in the bag made a vey useful and compact kit.
    The macro- and microsystem is also very good.

    I no longer use the cameras (i dropped 35 mm format long ago, only using medium and large formats. 35 mm format returned in the shape of Nikon DSLRs). I still use Olympus microscopes (with Nikon). I kept the OM gear 'for sentimental reasons', and can use (have not done so yet) the lenses on my digital Pen F.
  13. When I first started considering an OM camera, the OM-2n was what most people recommended and it is a great camera. I also had a 2sp for awhile. I was lucky in that it didn't have the battery drain issue that plagued so many of them. A few years ago I realized that I had way more cameras that I could ever use on any sort of regular basis. So I decided to keep only one 35mm SLR and sell the rest. It wasn't an easy choice, but the OM-1n is what I held on to.

    Actually the truth is that I wasn't going to keep an SLR either, and I've sold 2 or 3 OM-1n cameras only to buy another one. So maybe keeping an SLR wasn't an actual decision. It's just kind of what happened.
  14. Thanks for all the useful and interesting comments and information, exactly what I'd hoped for. Yes, a close inspection reveals that the OM-2 is actually an "N"; Olympus designers certainly didn't believe in large script on their cameras! I notice also that a portion of the Flash Shoe 4 has crumbled away at the base and I seem to recall that this is a common occurrence. I guess a sound replacement would be as rare as the proverbial hen's teeth, but the shoe appears to function correctly.

    A couple of points that leave me slightly disappointed. There appears to be no way of powering the OM-4 down. It seems the viewfinder information shuts off after a couple of minutes of non-use, but I much prefer the on/off switch on the OM-2n. I can understand how battery drain issues might arise with the OM-4

    There appears to be no way of re-framing a scene with exposure lock, such as the half-pressure on the shutter release I'm accustomed to on most other SLRs of this vintage. I use this facility as a matter of course and the OM-2n seems to have nothing to offer, while the OM-4 has a memory function that locks the exposure for subsequent frames, not the most vital of functions. However, I like the multiple spot readings available on the OM-4 as I'm used to a similar system on the Canon T90. The exposure compensation offered by the highight/shadow buttons might be useful, I guess.

    The lack of aperture information in the viewfinders surprised me. Most of the high-end SLRs of the era provided some viewfinder indication of the aperture in use, even if it was only mechanically operated rather than an electronic indication. bakker and tomspielman : Thanks for a wealth of information, much appreciated.

    @CoryAmmerman: I have rather a collection of Tamron lenses, and they vary from truly excellent to mediocre. The little Adaptall 2 SP 28-80mm f/3.5-4.2 (Model 27a) that came with this outfit is a great lens, and I will probably dispose of my existing well-used copy and retain the new pristine one. If I can be of any help with specific Tamron lenses please message me.

    @Sandy Vongries : What I have done in the past when a similar collection turn up from a charity is to retain the best copies of duplicates of those items I might already have and sell the others, donating the proceeds. Thanks to this acquisition there is a Zukio 35-105mm lens and a 135mm which I will dispose of.

    @m42dave: Yes, it's early days in assessing this collection, but quite possibly some of it may go to fund other acquisitions. My large hands are more comfortable with heavier, bulkier cameras, rather than these jewel-like creations!
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2021
  15. m42dave

    m42dave Dave E.

    The OMs non-standard control layout always reminded me a bit of leaf-shutter cameras, with shutter speed dial by the lens mount and the aperture ring towards the front (on most Zuiko lenses). This prevented the display of the aperture by means of a "Judas window" as in many other SLR viewfinders.
  16. m42dave said :
    Too true, and I guess having the aperture and controlling ring at the front made a mechanical linkage improbable.
  17. Manual exposure and looking at the lens are the answers to those concerns. ;-)

    When using the spot meter in the 4, the last measured value (spot button), not the current viewfinder read out, is used. I used that all the time: point to meter, then recompose.
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2021
  18. OM4’s were cutting edge but I prefer a good looking OM1n (poor person’s Leica M6) or a OM2n. Good find
  19. The hidden power off button

    It works on the OM-2s and I'm guessing it'll work on the OM-4: Set the shutter speed to bulb. On the OM-2s this shut off the metering system. I did this before putting the camera away and always got decent battery life.

    AE Lock

    Spot metering is what the OM cameras used instead. With the OM-4, aim the camera at the area you want to meter, and press the spot button. A diamond will appear above the proper shutter speed based on the selected aperture and it will stay there. You can then recompose and the camera will use the shutter speed indicated by the diamond.

    EVEN BETTER, you can point the camera at another area, press spot again, and a 2nd diamond will appear above the new shutter speed (if it had changed). If you press the shutter button now, the camera will choose an average shutter speed based on the two diamonds. You can set up to 8 spots.

    I don't own an OM-4 but this is my understanding of how it worked.

    Spot metering was dumbed down on the OM-2s. I know you don't have one, but it explains how you can achieve the same thing on an OM-2n (or close to it). Here's how it worked: On the OM-2s, the manual mode and spot metering mode were the same. You put the camera in spot/manual mode, - aimed the camera at the area you want to meter, then center the light meter reading between the markers using either the aperture setting, the shutter speed setting, or both. You then recompose and shoot.

    If this sounds confusing, then imagine a manual exposure camera with a needle that you center to get the proper the exposure. It's exactly the same, except with LEDs in the case of the 2s. In fact the only difference with the OM-2s in spot mode and a manual exposure camera is that the 2s only meters the small circled area in the middle of the frame.

    This process tells you exactly how to lock exposure on an OM-2n. Put the camera in manual mode, aim it at the area you want to meter. Center the needle and recompose. With the OM-2n however, it's not spot metering, it's center weighted.

    I know, that's not really AE lock, but it works. It's much the same as the exposure compensation dial on those cameras. All it's really doing changing the effective ASA. You can do the same thing on a camera with no exposure compensation settings.
  20. My Olympus "story" began when my family's camera shop stocked Olympus. We carried the OM-1, OM-2, and OM-10 plus the XA and XA 2. At the time I was building a system around Minolta SLRs so I worked with the Olympus gear so I could help buyers make informed choices. When we closed the shop in 1993 my dad gave me two NIB Zuiko lenses: a 50mm f 3.5 macro and a 28mm f 3.5. With no Olympus bodies in stock I bought a used OM-G so I could use the lenses. Later, I picked up an OM-1, which is what I use most of the time when I use Olympus. We never stocked the more expensive Olympus OM-3 and OM-4. Over the years I picked up the 35mm f 2.8, 50mm f 1.8, 75-150 f 4, and 35-105 f 3.5-4.5. Picked up a new Sigma 135mm f 3.5 mini tele for 20 USD. The bright, yet contrasty focusing screen of the OM-1 does well when attached to a telescope.
    Kent T likes this.

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