A Site for Photographers by Photographers

Community > Forums > Classic Manual Cameras > The Olympus OM-1 MD - a 1975...

The Olympus OM-1 MD - a 1975 variant on the classic.

JDM von Weinberg , Jan 15, 2011; 11:17 p.m.

Olympus OM-1 MD

Kadlubek Nr. OLY0870 in black

I've long felt that there were a few cameras that just stood out from the crowd. I once posted here on the subject: http://photo.net/classic-cameras-forum/00MgL8

Foremost, perhaps of these, is the original eye-level 35mm SLR, the Zeiss Contax S. Another classic camera for me is the original Asahi Pentax H2/S2 - just classic style.

In the late 50s as well, the original Nikon F with the plain prism (NOT the Photomic) is a classic.

Of slightly more recent cameras, I have felt that the Japanese Contaxes, such as the Contax RTS and the 139 Quartz, were deserving of praise.
And finally, there is the Olympus OM-1. It not only pioneered the "small" SLR trend, but it is just handsome to boot.

Here, first of all is my "new" Olympus OM-1. It is, as you can see, the MD (for motor drive) version (1975), but otherwise very similar to the original camera (1974).

Olympus OM-1 MD in svelte black


    1   |   2   |   3     Next    Last

JDM von Weinberg , Jan 15, 2011; 11:18 p.m.

Here for comparison are some pictures of my other "pretties". At the top are the original Contax S in the background, and the Contax 139 Quartz in the foreground. Below that is the Asahi H2 (in the USA, Heiland H2; in most of the world, the Asahi S2). At the bottom, as if there were any doubt is the Nikon F with its plain prism.

My candidates for "most beautiful"

JDM von Weinberg , Jan 15, 2011; 11:19 p.m.

Now for some details. Olympus' design of this camera is much discussed. The system in general is described at Wikipedia ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olympus_OM_system ), and the specifics on this model at ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olympus_OM-1 ). I have shot it in the pictures that follow using the Zuiko 35-70mm f/4 lens (Kadkubek OLP0480). An original Zuiko 50mm f/1.8 lens is on its way to me across the longest undefended border in the world. Sometimes, takes some time, however, to crawl over that line, so I'm still waiting. In any case, this is so famous a camera that I will not have too much to say about it. There are already a LOT of posts here on the camera:


to list only the top of the site Google™

This was really the first 35mm SLR to go to the small form, which it essentially created. It was designed by Yoshihisa Maitani and others. It set the other camera designers scrambling.
One of the first things you notice when you bring the Olympus OM-1 to your eye, is how really large and fine the viewfinder is. It looks, from my results, to show pretty close to 100% of the film image, but that depends on your trusting my memory of the originals in relation to the negatives I got back later. ;)

Focus with the 35-70mm lens was sharp and easy. There was some slight darkening of the split image in the finder screen I have, but nothing troublesome in achieving focus. Even my tired old rebuilt eyes did fine with this camera.

Exposure was made from a Gossen Luna-Pro SBC meter in incident mode. I suspect the meter on the camera is working, but I didn't try out either a Wein cell or a 1.5v alkaline in it to see.

Here's the camera again, in a straight-on view

Olympus OM-1 MD full frontal

JDM von Weinberg , Jan 15, 2011; 11:21 p.m.

I also tried out an Olympus OM T-mount on the camera. The bust of the young Lincoln below is taken with a Spiratone preset 105mm f/2.5 - handheld at 1/30 at f/2.5.
The picture on the left is taken of a fishline disposal set up at our local Wildlife Refuge, in this case with the Zuiko 35-70mm f/4.

Left - A. Lincoln w/ Spiratone 105mm f/2.5 Right - Fishline disposal

JDM von Weinberg , Jan 15, 2011; 11:22 p.m.

Two more pictures from the Crab Orchard Wildlife Refuge.

In the top one, somebody has actually gone out in a boat, breaking the ice as they went.

The bottom shot shows the ice still intact. All pictures from this point are with the Zuiko 35-70mm lens.

Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge

JDM von Weinberg , Jan 15, 2011; 11:23 p.m.

Then I shifted ground to the Lake on the Campus, my traditional shoot-up-the-roll site. I think this lake has frozen over enough to skate on once in the some 45 years (OMG) I've been here. In recent years it's been unusual for it to do more than freeze a little in the shallow water.

The top picture shows our Illinois Geese (formerly Canadian, but many of them have decided not to migrate any more) and the half frozen lake.

The bottom picture was an effort to see what sort of "bokeh" the 35-70mm lens had wide open at f/4. Nice enough.

Lake on the Campus- Illegal Immigrants and Zuiko "bokeh"

JDM von Weinberg , Jan 15, 2011; 11:24 p.m.

That's all folks. This is a beautiful camera that works very well indeed. If they'd had a perspective control lens, I might have gone to this back in the 70s. I will shoot more with this little gem.

Mike Gammill , Jan 15, 2011; 11:32 p.m.

Nice series, JDM. I have an OM-1 MD and I find it easier to focus with a wider variety of lenses than any of my other SLRs. I think my OM-1 MD is due for a workout. BTW, the Zuiko 75-150 f4 zoom is excellent. Thanks for posting.

Dave Reichert , Jan 16, 2011; 12:37 a.m.

Nice camera, but it looks like the brassing along the top edges was touched up with a black Magic Marker. It's got that odd magenta cast. Please tell us you didn't do that...

Cory Ammerman , Jan 16, 2011; 12:38 a.m.

Nice series JDM. I enjoyed both the info and the pics. That 35-70 looks like a nice walk-around lens. Glad you didn't freeze to death in the process. I've been wanting to take my Nikomat out and shoot some color film, but I can't seem to get motivated enough to get out in the cold.

    1   |   2   |   3     Next    Last

Back to top

Notify me of Responses