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Olympus OM SLR System Overview

by Bas Scheffers, 2003


Olympus "OM" is the system I grew up on and still use today. Despite that fact that Olympus have now abandoned this market in favor of focussing on 35mm and digital compact cameras, they made some of the finest and innovative manual focus SLRs and lenses of all time that are still in use today by many amateurs and professionals alike. On eBay, many good deals can be found on used equipment and many used equipment dealers will have stock. Because Olympus is not as well known by many newcomers as Nikon and especially Canon are, used prices are generally lower than those brands. Bad news if you bought new, but good if you want to build an inexpensive, high quality system. Second hand items do keep their value very well, though, so if you buy now, you will be able to sell it again without a loss.

Why would you want an 80s manual system? For many reasons. First of all, pictures taken with the system are of the same quality as professional auto focus cameras and lenses are today, while you save yourself a lot of money compared to buying new. Second is that the kit is small, light and easy to use. Many people beginning photography tend to buy consumer grade auto focus cameras and lenses and never really learn about how to properly use a camera, or taking a long time to learn because it is so easy to just set it to automatic and snap away while the manual overrides are hard to use. Manual cameras force you to learn quickly because you have to think about shutter speed and aperture from the word go. Another reason why so many travel photographers use systems like these is not only because of the size and weight, but also because it does not draw as much attention from people with less then honorable intentions with your gear and as someone in the forums once said it: "Local people feel a lot more comfortable if you don't aim something the size of a bazooka at them."

This article is not written as an equipment review, rather it is, as the title suggests, a quick overview of the system aimed especially at those who are looking to invest in a manual camera system or extend on a camera they have had for years but are only now really getting into photography.

The cameras

Many models have been made over the years, from consumer types to very solid, accurate and expensive professional cameras. With a few exceptions all Olympus cameras operate aperture priority or metered manual with a center weighted averaging meter. The main exceptions being the OM-1 and 3, which are metered manual only, the OM-10, which is aperture priority only but can be made into full manual with the optional manual adapter and the OM-40, which has a "program" mode, where it sets both aperture and shutter speed and can even automatically over-expose in back lit situations, though not very accurate. The OM-2S(P) and OM-4(Ti) both also have a 10 percent spotmeter. Olympus bodies tend to be a lot smaller than their competitor's counterparts, quickly slipping my OM-4 with 50/1.4 lens into a pocket of my all-weather jacket is not much of a problem.

It is good to know that, apart from the OM-1 and 3, all Olympus cameras have an accurate, electronically controlled shutter speed. I mention this because many people seem to think that all manual cameras have unreliable fully mechanical shutters.

Aperture priority in the Olympus world is very well designed. Olympus simply coupled the aperture ring on their lenses to a lever in the lens mount which tells the camera's exposure system what it is set at. While it would be possible with this set-up to do shutter priority, no Olympus camera offers this feature. On the cameras with a "program" mode, you simply set the aperture to the minimum (i.e.: f/16 or 22) and the camera is able to control the aperture by only pressing the lever that stops down the lens when taking the picture part of the way. Personally, I don't find shutter priority very useful and don't miss it. The shutter speed only needs to be high enough so as not to create any motion blur, aperture is much more a creative decision as it controls the depth of field. Sometimes you have to sacrifice that depth of field for a higher shutter speed, but that is simply a case of opening up the aperture more. For this reason very few people use shutter priority and it's not worth making sacrifices for on the camera.

Unfortunately, the selected aperture is not shown in the viewfinder, only the (camera) selected shutter speed. In metered manual mode, either a 1/3rd of a stop accurate bar shows the exposure as compared to what the camera's meter thinks is OK (like in OM-4) or the camera simply shows it's selected shutter speed as well as what you have set it at. (OM-10, OM-40)

As with many manual SLRs, exposure compensation on an Olympus is set by simply turning the film speed knob and this can be set to +/- 2 stops in 1/3 stop increments. Many models feature "Off The Film" (OTF) flash metering with dedicated flashes, of which many are available from Olympus as well as other brands.

OM-1(n) A true mechanical camera, this one only needs batteries for the light meter, everything else will operate just fine without them. The downside is that it only features metered manual exposure, not the much used aperture priority. I would not recommend this camera for that reason. That and any you find will be old and most likely (ab)used by professionals.

OM-2(n, s(p)) There are three camera's named OM-2. There is the original, the N and the SP (Simply "S" in the USA). If you like high speed black and white film, you won't like the original as it only goes up to 1600ASA. The N version does not add that much more interesting apart from some flash indicators in the viewfinder and exposure compensation warning. I would not recommend either version. Much more interesting is the SP version. Internally it is much more like an OM-4 and sports a spot meter, 3200 ISO film speed and program mode where the camera selects both the shutter speed and aperture. (Still prefer aperture priority, though) Like all other professional OM cameras, it is built like a tank and I can recommend this camera. On eBay they go for about US$150-250 with a 50/1.8 lens.

OM-3(Ti)< Like the OM-1 a fully mechanical camera. Too expensive and the same drawbacks as the OM-1 has. Among other things, the Ti version supports TTL dedicated flash.

OM-4(Ti) Probably the greatest manual SLR ever built and the non-Ti version is my work horse. Built like a tank and has a spot meter, a maximum 1/2000th shutter speed and film speed up to 3200. The viewfinder is clear and bright. The Ti version has a titanium top and base plate, has a flash sync of 1/125th with any flash (OM-4 only does 1/60th) and at any speed with the Olympus F280 or T45 flash guns. Both versions have TTL/OTF flash metering. Highly recommend! On eBay they are usually sold with 50/1.8 lens and go for about US$250-400, depending on state and, as always on eBay, luck...

OM-10 This is Olympus's basic consumer offering. Without the manual adapter it only works in aperture priority mode. The maximum shutter speed is 1/1000th and the maximum film speed is 1600. Unfortunately, this one does not support TTL dedicated flash but it can work dedicated auto, with the light reading being done on the flash and the camera showing flash ready and OK. This is a great budget/beginners camera or as a backup body. Expect to pay US$100-150 for a set containing body, manual adapter and 50/1.8 lens.

OM-40 This camera is known as the OM-PC in the USA. Similar to the OM-10, but bigger, it has a program mode and full manual; the shutter speed selector is built in. It has dedicated TTL/OTF flash metering. I own one that I took some great pictures with. I wouldn't say it's better than an OM-10 with manual adapter, but it is easier to use. It's a good option but there are not many of them around. Probably because it is not well know, they tend to sell for less than the OM-10 does.

OM-2000 This one is not actually designed or built by Olympus, it is merely an OEM product made by Cosina that uses an OM lens mount. I have heard nothing good about it so I would suggest to not bother.

Lenses

Olympus has manufactured many different "Zuiko" lenses for the OM system. In their wisdom, they never changed the lens mount or features like Canon has done over the years. (Nikon is even better; you can use your old manual lenses on their latest AF SLRs) This means any Zuiko lens will work on any OM body. What lenses you buy depends on your needs and budget. As usual, faster is better but there are more things to consider when selecting a system, like filter thread. I will give an example of a few different basic combinations:

Inexpensive

The cheapest fully usable set of lenses will probably be: 28/3.5, 50/1.8 and 135/3.5. All three are the cheapest in their range, but still much better than you would expect to get from a modern 28-135 consumer zoom and they all have a 49mm filter thread, so only one set of filters needed. Because 28mm gives a lot of depth of field at any aperture and the wide angle doesn't require very high shutter speeds to hand hold, f3.5 is fast enough. The 135/3.5 may be a little slow (though still almost 2 stops faster than a yuppie cheap zoom!) but very usable as a short telephoto/portrait lens. The 50/1.8 is bog-standard and needs no further introduction. On eBay, this set will set you back about $150, though the 50mm will most likely be included with the camera you buy.

Top spec

In the same focal range as above, but faster lenses: 24/2.8, 50/1.8, 100/2.8. The reason I went for the 100/2.8 and not the 135/2.8 is that the small focal range difference does not weigh up against the fact that the 135 has a different filter thread, where as in our selection, they all have a 49mm thread. There is a faster 24mm lens, but again, this takes 55mm filters. If you think 24mm is too wide, the 28/2.8 or 28/2.0 are also good options. Expect to pay US$375 for this set.

Longer lenses

There are many longer lenses in the Zuiko range, a good budget choice would be the 200/4 at about $200. Faster an more expensive in the same focal range is the 180/2.8 at about $400-500 or if you don't minding lugging 2Kg of glass, the massive (and massively expensive) 180/2.

If you are into nature photography, a 300mm lens is essential and Olympus has a 300/4.5 in this range for about $350 or a 350/2.8. This beast of a lens has a diameter of almost 15cm, weighs in at 3.9Kg and will set you back $3000+ easily. In all honesty, if you want quality glass this long, heavy and expensive, you are probably better off with a brand new Canon system. I personally would rather pay $1100 for a new image stabilized 300mm f/4L IS made by Canon. It won't break your back or the bank as much as the 350/2.8 and will most likely yield better pictures.

Olympus makes even longer lenses, but they tend to be relatively slow, heavy and expensive. Get a new Canon EOS system instead.

Macro

There are two Zuiko macro lenses, a 50/3.5 and a 90/2. Both are more expensive second hand than a brand new Canon 100/2.8 USM Macro. You do the math.

Zooms

Don't bother. 80s zooms are notorious for having poor, slow, low contrast optics. Primes are a much better choice.

Third Party

There are some out there, but I know very little about them or if they are any good. With the amount of Zuiko lenses available, I am not prepared to find out.

You can find a complete list of all lenses produced over the years on the Unofficial Olympus OM Zuiko Lens Page.

Filters

Nothing special here, all filter are easy to get. If you use a polarizer, it can be one of the cheaper linear type, unless you use the spotmeter on the OM-2s or OM-4(Ti), where you will need a circular polarizer. You can use a linear polarizer with those cameras for normal metering, it is only required when using the spotmeter.

Flash guns

There are many models available that work dedicated with Olympus OM cameras. Cheap and simple, but not very powerful and without a head that can tilt is the T20. One step up and recommended is the T32, which has a guide number of 32 (ISO 100 in meters) and a tilting (but not swivel!) head. There is an Olympus flash bracket, the Power Bounce Grip 2, available especially for the T20/32 that takes some big batteries and adds swivel. If you have an OM-3Ti or OM-4Ti, you can also use Olympus flashes F280 and T45, which sync at all speeds. There are also many units available from third party suppliers, they offer either manual, auto or TTL dedicated operation. More on OM series flashes can be found on this site.

My two cents

Despite buying into a new Canon EOS system, I not only still use my Olympus OM-4, I am actually upgrading the lenses I have for it. I like both systems a lot and as great as the EOS is, I like going out on a Sunday afternoon with my small OM and 50mm lens and just snap away. Traveling is something I quite like to do as well and with plans to go to many "non-western" countries the prospect of getting a lot of attention with my shiny new Canon gear is not an attractive one.

While being an excellent choice for casual and general photography, for specialized work it is not good value. If you are heavily into macro or nature work, look elsewhere as the lenses required for that are too heavy and expensive compared to modern systems.

If you decide to buy into an Olympus OM system, or are just getting interested into photography and intend to extend on what you already have from way back, you can be sure that this system will let you take the best pictures you can.

More information

The Olympus FAQ by R. Lee Hawkins

Olympus Documentation Archive Documentation for various bodies, flashes and lenses.

Unofficial Olympus OM Zuiko Lens Page Information on all Zuiko lenses ever made

Olympus 1 and 2, flashes and accessories by "Lefoo"


Article created 2003

Readers' Comments


Add a comment



Lex Jenkins , February 14, 2003; 02:49 A.M.

My first inclination was to thank the author for at least making an effort to inform others about the OM system.

But after reading the article I'm forced to conclude that the author may have done more harm than good! There's so much disinformation here that newcomers to the OM system may be put off.

It's one thing to make anecdotal observations about one's own equipment. If the author had done that I'd have no objections.

First, his characterizing of all OM-1Ns as likely to have been abused by professional photographers is preposterous. The vast majority of Olympus owners have been amateurs using their equipment as carefully as any of us. And the author adds insult to the insipid by declaring that any OM-1N is likely to be "old." I'd think that goes without saying considering that the OM-1 and OM-1N haven't been made in several decades.

In fact, the OM-1 and OM-1N may be the most desirable of the entire OM line because of their all mechanical simplicity and reliability. John Hermanson, OM factory trained tech and a hero to Zuikophiles worldwide, has stated on the OM mailing list that the OM-1N is the single best choice for someone wanting an OM SLR that will last a lifetime.

And the misinformed author goes on and on.

If he'd done his homework he'd have discovered that the OM-2N is generally regarded as more reliable and repairable than the OM-2S. And while it lacks spot metering the OM-2N has low light, extended atuoexposure capabilities still unmatched by many newer cameras, including my Nikon F3HP.

And the writer's ignorance of the Zuiko macro system is so blatant as to be funny. "There are two Zuiko macro lenses, a 50/3.5 and a 90/2." Odd, the 50mm f/2 Zuiko macro is considered on par with anything made for the Leica system.

And his assertion that the very affordable 50/3.5 macro is "...more expensive second hand than a brand new Canon 100/2.8 USM Macro. You do the math."? The 50/3.5 can routinely be purchased for $100-$150. How 'bout you do your homework?

And the entire Olympus macro bellows system and micro accessories are completely ignored. Perhaps the writer didn't know that Olympus cut its teeth on making microscopes and brought that expertise to their SLR system.

Perhaps the most outrageously misinformed statement is in his curt dismissal of Zuiko zoom lenses:

"Zooms - Don't bother. 80s zooms are notorious for having poor, slow, low contrast optics. Primes are a much better choice. "

That should come as a surprise to Sinar, which a few years ago chose the legendary 35-80mm f/2.8 Zuiko as one of the standard lenses for their then-new digital studio camera system.

Where Olympus failed the market was in never introducing a fast telephoto zoom equal to the 35-80/2.8. But it's the height of irresponsible reporting to generalize the entire Zuiko zoom system as unworthy of consideration.

The photo.net editors should send this entire article back to the author for a rewrite. During his research he should study the archives of the Olympus mailing list and the excellent lens reviews done by Gary Reese at:

http://members.aol.com/olympusom/lenstests/default.htm

Better yet, photo.netters interested in the OM system should completely ignore this article and research those other resources for themselves.

Mark Bouquet , February 14, 2003; 03:01 A.M.

Thanks Bob, for calling our attention to this article. I agree with the author's assertion that an OM system is still a valid choice for a low tech, relatively low cost basic 35mm system. There are a few points that I disagree with, however.

1) It's not true that a circular polarizer is only required when using an OM-2s or OM-4 in "spot meter" mode. These cameras both use a beam splitter mirror that allows a portion of the light to pass through the mirror and fall on the shutter curtain, where the light is metered by the cells in the bottom of the mirror box. The beam splitter mirror has the effect of polarizing the light passing through it. Add a linear polarizer to the lens and the light is 'double polarized,' resulting in an incorrect meter response. A circular polarizer solves this problem, and is required in center weighted averaging as well as spot meter modes.

2)An argument against the OM-2s and OM-4 (as well as the OM-3 which I personally own) is that replacement circuits are not available in the event of a breakdown. The OM-3 would live on as a nice, though meterless, mechanical camera, but a 2s or 4 is dead if the integrated circuit fails. I personally believe that OM-4's, for example, are available at fairly reasonable prices precisely because the market factors in the gamble of a potentially non-repairable breakdown. This fact is an argument for the value of original OM-2(n)'s, because they use discreet components in their electronic systems, which are replacable or can be salvaged from the abundant stock of "parts" OM-2's out there.

3) "...unreliable fully mechanical shutters." (??) Please! The mechanical shutters in OM-1's and 3's have proven to be extremely reliable. John Hermanson of Camtech (a great place to have your OM serviced) insists that OM-1's can still be maintained in perfect operating condition, despite their age.

4)"...any (OM-1) you find will be old and most likely (ab)used by a professional." To the contrary, there are a ton of OM-1's in the world that have had light use by amateurs and are in excellent condition still. They are, however, of an age such that they will require a servicing (CLA and light seal replacement). The above mentioned Camtech does this for $99 for an OM-1, and $119 for an OM-2. If you're considering buying one, you should factor this into the price you're willing to pay.

5)"There are two Zuiko macro lenses, 50/3.5 and a 90/2." This ignores the fact that the OM system specialized in macro and micro photography. There's an extensive selection of lenses to choose from for this type of work, though I admit that they can be expensive, which defeats the author's premise of using the OM system because of its current relatively low prices.

Altogether a nice article, and please understand that I mean these comments as constructive criticism. I understand that others might disagree with my points (except the one about the circular polarizer).

-- Mark Bouquet , February 14, 2003; 12:51 A.M. Eastern

Gene Wilburn , February 14, 2003; 07:39 A.M.

The spirit of the article is good, though some of the facts may need refining. I too wondered about the absence of any mention of the 50mm f2 macro, one of the jewels of Olympus lens history. The slam on OM-1(n) is unwarranted. I'm still using a pair of OM-1's (not n's) that have never failed once -- they're durable cameras. Like the author I'm still adding used lenses. The Olympus OM series is a good investment for anyone who wants an inexpensive, small, dependable SLR system. One thing to watch with the OM-1's: as with many of the cameras of the 70's, they used mercury batteries. You need replacement batteries if you want to use the meters. Wein zinc-air or hearing-aid batteries.

Alan Krantz , February 14, 2003; 08:31 A.M.

The om-2sp is more similar to the om4 than the om2n (despite the name). There was a batch of them that failed early on but most of them that last past infancy are quite durable. Mine is 17 years ok and still functional.

Many of the early zooms lenses were quite poor. The 35-80f2.8 is a more modern design (along with the 50f2, 90f2, 180f2) and is said to be quite good (as are those three lenses). Many of the other lenses are quite old (design) and not as good.

Macro photography was a specialty of the om system and even today the system is quite unique to what can be purchased both in quality and available accessories.

I personally wouldn't recommend buying into the om system today (if you want an 80's camera try one of pentax, canon, or minolta - I also don't recommend nikon though many others do).

Lex Jenkins , February 14, 2003; 10:10 A.M.

I should add that the early OMs using mercury cell batteries can be modified to accept commonly available silver oxide batteries. John Hermanson provides this service for a small fee and includes the modification to the internal circuitry free along with a standard CLA. Wouldn't surprise me if Clint, another excellent Olympus tech with Photosphere in the Dallas area, offered the same service.

As another member mentioned, the OM-1 will meter quite accurately with a commonly available, inexpensive zinc air hearing aid battery. If you go that route keep some in the camera bag as the zinc air cells last only about three months once the tape strip is removed from the air openings, activating the cell.

Preston Merchant , February 14, 2003; 01:02 P.M.

Olympus seems to suffer from the same problem that Leica presents: the cost of the equipment makes people nervous. In Leica's case, of course, the price tag is quite high. In Olympus' case, the price tags are generally low.

The assumption with Olympus is that the equipment isn't quite adequate since some lenses on EBay can be had for under $100. So there is plenty of hemming and hawing about the gear, relative to the higher priced stuff available from the same era.

It's important to note that Olympus set out to design an extensive professional camera system in the 70s and 80s. I have yet to see one reasonable, considered opinion that the equipment is substandard or deficient. Indeed, most people rave over it, especially for its compactness and compatibility. I use it extensively and am happy with the images it delivers, including enlargements. They look just like images shot with costlier gear.

The review above notes the going prices for equipment on Ebay. What difference does it make? If your Zuiko 35/2.0 cost as much as a Summicron, would you look at the images differently? If Olympus had been LESS successful in marketing its equipment, if fewer people had bought it and there were less available now, the prices would be higher.

Bob Atkins , February 14, 2003; 01:44 P.M.

First I'd like to thank Bas for taking the time and trouble to submit this article to photo.net and for giving us permission to use it here.

All articles represent the opinions of the author and the purpose of this comment section is for others to add information or correct what they see as incorrect information.

I see a negative and overly personal tone to some of the comments here which I don't like. It's easy to criticize, but few, if any, of the critics have taken the time or trouble to do what Bas did, i.e. write and article and offer it to photo.net. For example while Lex may think the article needs rewriting, I seem to have missed any (in fact all) the articles he has sent for inclusion to the static content pages of photo.net...

So again I think Bas for his useful and informative contribution to photo.net. I'd encourage others to follow his example - if they can take the heat that their article might attract!

Lex Jenkins , February 14, 2003; 03:27 P.M.

Bob, I don't see any personal attacks on the author in my comments or those of others who have taken the trouble to respond to this article. The article contains many errors in fact. Should that be ignored when, presumably, the purpose of articles in the static content section is to provide valid information for future readers?

Comments made by Mark and Gene were certainly less blunt than mine. I worked in fields where reports presented as factual were in fact expected to be accurate. Editing sessions and rewrites weren't fun for the writer but were considered necessary to ensuring accuracy and credibility.

While it isn't necessary or even practical to ensure the accuracy of every statement made by every member in the archived forums, what is the purpose of the static content section if not to distinguish itself from the rest of photo.net? If photo.net is satisfied with a lower standard its own credibility and reputation will diminish.

Jason Preciphs , February 14, 2003; 09:08 P.M.

While the gods that service Olympus OM-1,1(n)-s will happily include a battery conversion as part of the standard CLA, a simple solution is the Cris-cam adaptor. Simply drop a silver 76 battery into the adaptor, then place the adaptor (shaped like the discontinued Mercury battery) into the camera. Voila! 1.35 volts. Lasts much longer than a Wein-cell and is much less expensive than trying to buy phony-so-called mercury batteries on the internet (many of which are NOT 1.35 volts, just fraudulent operations preying on the ignorant OM lover). I love my OM-1! (and 4, 4t, 2s, and 10)

Bob Atkins , February 21, 2003; 12:34 P.M.

Thanks to Bas for providing this personal view of the OM system. It's a great starting point for other users to provide further comments and alternate views. Unfortunately several comments posted earlier were lost when a system reset was perfomed. Hopefully that won't happen again!

Thomas Clausen , February 21, 2003; 02:03 P.M.

I just want to point out a couple of factual issues, which may from the review lead to misunderstandings.

The OM3 and the OM3Ti both provide spot metering, just as the OM4, OM4Ti and OM2s/p. The OM4, OM4Ti, OM3 and OM3Ti also provides weighted multi-spot metering - OM2s/p provides one single spot reading. From reading the review one could understand that only OM4(Ti) and OM2s/p provide spot metering.

Contrary to what the review states, the viewfinder of an OM40 (OM-PC) does only show the cameras reccomended shutter speed at a given apeture, *not* the by the shutter ring selected speed. The review states "or the camera simply shows it's selected shutter speed as well as what you have set it at. (OM-10, OM-40)" - this is incorrect. All "double-digit" bodies (OM10, 20, 30 and 40) show the by the camera reccomended shutter speed for a given apeture. I just tested it :)

As for the comments on the OM2 series (OM2, OM2n, OM2s/p), I take exception to the authors recommendation of the s/p version and dissing of the two other. Yes, the OM2s/p is a great package of features, however it is also a body which is prone to battery drain and to electronical errors. Adding to that, the body is equipped with solid-state electronics, where any reperation is performed through replacement of the printed circuit board. The circuit boards are no longer available from Olympus and, hence, the OM2s/p is effectively unrepairable. The OM2 and OM2n are, on the other hand, build from discrete electronic components and can still be repaired, should they err. That asside, the OM2 and OM2n are highly regarded for their flash capability - full OTF/TTL flash support. They sport manual mode with a build in meter (like OM1) and apeture priority. Add that to reliability and repairability, you have a great camera.

Actually, I would greatly suggest an OM2n as the entry-point into the OM system.

As for the OM3(Ti) and OM1(n), the review ommits the great benefit of all-mechanical cameras: the independance from batteries and, thus, the ability to work under e.g. more extreme temperature conditions. The batteries in these cameras are for the meter only - all camera functions are mechanically driven and operate very accurately. I do not share the reviewers scare from all-mechanical cameras.

On the topic of camera bodies, I would like to add, that there are 4 more OM bodies in existance, which are not mentioned by the review: OM20 - which is basically an OM10 with the "manual adaptor" build in and thus able to do apeture priority and manual mode - and OM30, which is an OM20 with some support for auto-focus. Additionally, there exists OM707 and OM101, which were unsuccesfull ventures into the world of auto-focus and power focus.

The review states that OM4Ti will do flash sync "at any speed with the Olympus F280 or T45 flash guns". This is incorrect, the OM4Ti will sync at any speed only with the F280 flash.

On the topic of lenses, I agree with the "inexpensive" setup, though i would probably suggest the 28/2.8 instead of the 28/3.5 - the price difference is stunningly small.

However when describing "top end", I think the reviewer hits waaay below the target. A top-end setup within the OM system and the focal lengths specified, would rather be the following: 24/2, 55/1.2 and 135/2.8. Like the "inexpensive" setup prides itself from all lenses being with 49mm filter thread, this setup sports a 55mm thread for all lenses. Yes, 24/2, 55/1.2 and 135/2.8 is more expensive than 24/2.8, 50/1.8 and 100/2.8, however the review is suggesting "top end" - and I think the quality follows the price pretty well: 24/2, 55/1.2 and 135/2.8 is a truely splendid setup :)

This plays well into the topic of longer lenses.....if one goes for the "inexpensive" setup of 28/2.8, 50/1.8 and 135/3.5 to have a filter-thread of 49mm, I would reccomend also looking at the very compact 200/5. It too sports a 49mm thread and is quite compact - of course, with the drawbacks of the smaller largest apeture.

With the "expensive" set of lenses, the 200/4 is a logical longer focal length, it having a 55mm filter thread as well.

As for macros, the review specifies that there exist 2 macros for the OM system: 50/3.5 and 90/2. This is incorrect. There exists, in fact, many. 50/2, 50/3.5 and 90/2 - which can be used directly on an OM camera body as well as on tubes and bellows - and 20/2, 20/3.5, 38/2.8, 30/3.5 80/4 (2 versions) and 135/4.5, which are all for used on either a bellow or the telescopic auto tube. In fact, the macro setup is truely one of the very impressive features of the OM system, and could in itself be a reason to enter into the system.

A final note on lenses: the review states that zooms are not good, and primes are a better choise. That is, of course, a valid opinion - but I beg to differ :) There are, at least, two exceptions within the OM system which I would advocate: the 35-70/3.6 and the 35-80/2.8. Both excellent and largely on par with many primes within the same focal range. Consider either of those zooms if you come around them.

In the flash-section, I need to correct again, that the T45 does not provide flash synchronization on all shutter speeds - only the F280 does that and only with select bodies.

Thed OM system is great - I use it still, supplementing my other photographic equipment nicely. I share the reviewers enthusiasm for the system - although perhaps for slightly different reasons (e.g. I prefer the OM system for macro over many of the newer systems, which I find way too limited).

H. P. , February 21, 2003; 02:08 P.M.

I used OM1s for a couple of years but went back to Nikon (and now I'm with Canon and Leica - which is another story entirely). The main reason was that the lenses just never seemed to give me what I wanted in terms of contrast and sharpness. They're good but I didn't find they had the 'edge' I was used to from Nikkors. Besides that, I found that the cameras were *too* small - I ended up fitting them with autowinders which made them very nice to handle but rather noisy in use.

Be warned, they are seductive little critters. Everything about the system seems very nice at first. The petite lenses and bodies seem quite jewel-like when you first handle them but after a while they start to feel just a little short of solidity. I never quite trusted them the way I did my Nikons and events proved my mistrust to be well founded - about six months after I sold them the guy who bought them had a body fail followed quite quickly by a problem with the aperture on the 28mm lens. Luckily, he didn't blame me!

Perry Bain , February 21, 2003; 04:00 P.M.

Thomas pointed out most of the flaws I found in this article, but I would add the following comments about this section:

Mechanical shutters are not necessarily "unreliable," nor are electronic shutters perfect. When the OM-2 came out, it tested with some of the same shutter faults that the OM-1 (and most cameras) have, including slower than rated performance at faster shutter speed settings.

The compatibility of Olympus OM lenses is generally true, but with the odd exception of the power focus lenses, which lack a focusing ring for manual focusing. (For that matter, it is also not really true that all old Nikon lenses can all be used properly on all their new camera bodies.)

The OM-4Ti, like other OM cameras with horizontally-travelling shutters (all but the OM-2000), has a normal X-sync speed of 1/60. The F280 flash allows electronic flash sync at any speed, basically prolonging the flash duration by emitting a series of multiple small flashes during exposure. The T45 does not share this high-speed sync feature. The Cosina/Olympus OM-2000 has a vertical shutter that can sync at 1/125, though.

IMO, an overview that dismisses several of the more popular OM's instead of discussing their relative merits because of the reviewer's bias against manual exposure cameras is somewhat incomplete. I disagree with the comment about OM-1's, that “. . .any you find will be old and most likely (ab)used by professionals.” While the OM-1 was introduced in 1973, production continued until the OM-1n was discontinued in 1987 (the same year that the OM-4 you recommend was discontinued, BTW). It is very easy to find low-priced OM-1’s in excellent condition on eBay and occasionally in shops. You can maximize your chances of getting a newer one by buying an OM-1n instead of an OM-1. There is even a reference for how to find out the age of your OM camera in the Olympus FAQ you linked to. Many OM-1's from the 1970's still work fine. It is not that difficult to find mechanical cameras from the 1950's that work well, despite being "old." I also question the statement that most OM-1's were used by pros. In my experience, few photojournalists used the OM’s, with most opting for Nikon or Canon in 35mm.

I also question your dismissal of all cameras without aperture-priority autoexposure. Many photographers don’t need or want aperture priority automation. You commented “Personally, I don't find shutter priority very useful and don't miss it.” Well, personally, I don't find aperture priority very useful and don't miss it in the OM-1. There are a lot of fine cameras that manage quite well without aperture-priority autoexposure. You are certainly entitled to you opinion about exposure modes, but I think if you are going to do an overview of Olympus system cameras for a site like Photo.net, you should not dismiss the OM-1 (and OM-3) just because you don't like manual metering. If your experience is only with the OM-4, perhaps you should have reviewed just that camera? IMO, the OM-1n is a fine choice for those who are willing to set their own apertures (and who are not deterred by the prospect of a discontinued product line).

dane skye , February 21, 2003; 04:53 P.M.

Great article! As an Olympus user it was nice having something beside Canon and Nikon.

I would second the opinion that the OM-4Ti is the finest manual focus 35mm slr ever made. With all due respect to Leica and the K-1000, the OM-4Ti is a jewel of a machine with an exquisite meter and solid lenses to boot. It has better feel than any Canon or Nikon has ever had. A simple sturdy grace that has been lost in the modern Ni-canon camera world.

An OM-4Ti will be with you and working 20 years from now. Will your D-60? Your Rebel Ti? Your N90? Nope.

Gene X , February 21, 2003; 07:21 P.M.

Good article. I will always have my OM-2S(P) It was my introduction to the SLR format, and although I don't use it that much any more, I do take it out every once in a while. It's more of a craft camera for me, now that myself and our company has standardized on Canon. While I do like my Canon gear, there will always be my trusty and beat-up Olympus. I'd recommend the 50 1.4 as a good second hand lens as it's the lens most often on my 2S-P

Frank Oddsocks , February 22, 2003; 02:05 A.M.

Some corrections: Fast long lenses (350/2.8, 250/2) for OM's are internationally traded to professional wildlife photographers for prices around US $7000. The 90/2 so casually dismissed is legendary. The 50/1.4 has less resolution and contrast than the 1.8 and is more prone to flare (this is typical of 1.4/1.8 pairs from most makers).

Now for some comments on the OM system.

Other lenses of note are the 100/2, 21/2, 28/2.8 and 500/8, the first two for their resolution, the 28/2.8 for its incredible contrast, and the last for its excellent handling, which makes or breaks such a lens. The 50/1.8 is widely regarded as one of the best lenses ever made for a 35mm camera. Zuiko lenses have a "cold" colour rendition (i.e., not yellowish like Nikon and Tamron) similar to Mamiya's later medium format lenses.

When buying lenses be aware that some older ones were only single-coated.

I agree with Thomas's recommendation of an OM-2N as a starting point. The older OM-2 has a different metering pattern and can't take the T-series flashes. Like the OM-3 and OM-4, OM-2N meters can develop a fault which causes overexposure in manual mode (there are actually two meters in them) and such a fault won't show up with tests using aperture priority.

The OM-1 is a lovely camera but uses Hg cells. A lot of them have had botched conversions to silver cells, so be careful.

I have an OM-4 but don't share the general love of it. The user interface is too complex for me, and I lose shots. The main trouble is the meter which runs backwards from the usual number line so that I end up overexposing 2/3 stop if I meant to underexpose by 2/3. This seems to happen when bouncing between manual and automatic modes, because I don't do it with the OM-3. I think the OM-2SP user interface is perfect, but the camera does have a longer shutter lag and slower top speed.

There is indeed a range of specialized macro lenses and a telescopic tube which is better than a bellows for field work. There's also a two-head macro flash which lets you get decent modelling (unlike a ring flash). For live macro subjects the flash synch of 1/60 is, I think, just too slow.

The strengths of the system are the small size, robustness and the fast primes. Get fewer, better lenses and don't bother with flash.

Chris Battey , February 22, 2003; 03:44 A.M.

My first system was also Olympus.

Over the years, through student and beyond I owned the om1 and the om4ti.

What disapoints me about the lenses, is that that they are simply not as sharp across the board as the nikon primes.

The nikon 35 f2.8 is a sharper lens than the Zuiko 35 f2. Same goes for the 50's...there is more contrast and definition in the nikon 50 f1.8 than the zuiko, and I'm talking about shooting transparency when the differences are more evident.

If you like flash, then you'll find the hotshoes on the older cameras a pain in the neck, the little plastic pyramids that the shoes sit on collapse and deteriorate after a number of years, leaving you with the pc socket only.

Yes the cameras are a lot of fun, and I highly recommend the Om2n, it has a silky smooth shutter and if you like to feel the squeeze as you capture your picture you'll enjoy it. I preferred it to the leica m2 that also had a run in my bag for a while.

The 75-150 zoom is a good little milk bottle to carry with you, it's only f4, but still quite sharp. However I prefer the bokeh of the nikon primes.

Something else to consider is the direction of focus if you carrying leica and zuiko, I seem to rememeber them being opposite, but I no longer use either so I may be wrong.

The flashguns are ordinary, get a second hand Metz, because the 'Oly' cables are poor and now unsupported. Off camera metz is still the best compromise in my book, lots secondhand there too.

One good thing about the lenses, that I did like, and that was the way that the resolved the colour Red. If you intend photographing buddhist monks in nepal...get the 24 f2, and brush your teeth, you'll find the claret lovely and warm.

I would recommend a s/h nikon fm/fm2/fe, as a way to start, The zuiko is a bit old and unless you find a good example you might want to look elsewhere.

Lex Jenkins , February 22, 2003; 10:52 A.M.

My first comments on this article (lost during the system reset) were extremely critical of the inaccuracies. However as others have set the record straight on this matter I'll refrain from piling on.

Instead, I'll just say that anything that encourages folks to investigate the wonderful OM-system is a good thing.

There are several excellent resources on the web available to folks wishing to research the OM-system before making a purchase:

1. First and foremost, the venerable OM Mailing List archives contain a wealth of information shared by hundreds, if not thousands, of Olympus users worldwide.

The list's built-in search engine has not been updated since 2000 so the best way to search the archives is to use Google's advanced search engine. For example, to learn everything you'd ever want to know about the OM1N, type the following in the Google search box:

"om1n" site:zuiko.sls.bc.ca

The domain is zuiko.sls.bc.ca, so enter that anytime you want to search the archives via Google.

2. For the most comprehesive results of Zuiko lens tests there's none better than Gary Reese's site:

http://members.aol.com/olympusom/lenstests/default.htm

Gary's testing methodology is clearly explained, easily replicated by anyone desiring to do so, and best of all - it can be understood without a degree from RIT.

There are also tests of several third party lenses as well as some for Leicas, Minoltas, Nikkors, Canons, etc.

3. A relatively new resource is the very well illustrated OM section at the Photography In Malaysia site:

http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/photography.htm

There are also equally well documented and illustrated sections for Nikon and Rollei fans there.

4. Finally, the OM Webring will contain links to a dozen or more very good OM-system related sites. Because site maintenance varies, and so has the location of the Webring itself, I won't list a specific URL. But it's easily found via a web search. This is the best way to see photos taken with OM cameras to appreciate for yourself that alluring Zuiko bokeh so many of us babble about.

S. T. Chan , February 22, 2003; 01:01 P.M.

If you're going to get any OM equipment, you should be thinking of it as a "craft" tool acquisition, rather than from a complete utilitarian point of view. The enjoyment you get from the gear is going to be similar to that of a 60s muscle car enthusiast - there's something you love about the way the machine works, and you don't care that it isn't made anymore, and new stuff will be scarce to non-existent.

From a practical standpoint, I have to take issue with the author recommending that OM-1s be avoided - they are tough little beasts, and with the long production run (1972-87), parts should be available for sometime. They run on mercury batteries, and you should either have them converted for silver oxide, or buy an adapter.

If you acquire an OM1 with an unknown usage history, I'd highly recommend getting it overhauled - I had Camtech do an overhaul of my OM1 last year, and I highly recommend them (www.zuiko.com). $100 gets you a body overhaul, and the battery conversion.

Neil Parker , February 22, 2003; 03:32 P.M.

I have to agree with much of what is said here, my first 35mm was an OM1n which I purchased new in about '77. I used it constantly with a winder for almost 20 years, and I still have it, a little battered, never been maintained, and still works well. I keep it and a macro out of sentimentality, although I have sold off the rest of my oly bodies, winders and lenses

In general I think the OM1 thru 4 cameras are very elegant, well made machines, but the lenses & accessories are a mixed bag. The macro and 24 were definitely as good as the Nikkor AIS equivalents I use now. Most of the wide angles I owned or borrowed over the years were excellent. But the 35 f2 was just not sharp at all, and that is a focal length I use more than any other. The 100 f2.8 was reasonable, but not as good as a 105 nikkor. The bodies and wind mechanism have a smoothness and fit close to a leica M, better than an FM2. But the little accessories like eyecups and removeable flash shoes tend to break easily. I found, at least for my own eyesight, I can more easily focus a Nikon F2 or FM2n than I can an Oly, even with a diopter. This fact and because Oly effectively abandoned the OM system caused me to switch to MF nikons a few years back.

That said, if a screaming deal on a 90 f2 zuiko fell into my lap.... I'd grab it:-). Then I'd probably have to have the OM1 CLA'd and maybe recovered in one of them bright snakeskin leathers from cameraleather.com:)

Ken Dunn , February 22, 2003; 09:24 P.M.

You may not like the OM1, but I have had one since I was a freshman in high school and it has worn out an OM2, OM2s and an OM4. It is the smoothest piece of machine I have ever touched and it still firing fine. I do agree that these cameras are the finest ever made. If I hadn't moved to a different format, I would still be shooting them. Kenny

Bas Scheffers , February 24, 2003; 04:58 A.M.

Thanks for the comments so far, one of the best things about photo.net is that you can dissagree with and correct authors! One thing to get clear is that there is a difference between a review and an overview, this article is the latter. Of course there should be no technical inaccuracies, so sorry for those. Experienced photgraphers should keep in mind that this is written towards the crowd (ie: my friends) that want to get into it, but are "affraid" of manual cameras.

Thomas, some excelent points. You are right about the OM-3 and spot meter, I spent very little time one these camera in the overview, mainly because they are so f***ing expensive. They are excelent cameras no doubt, but spending that much money on a 35mm manual camera is a bit of a waste. People interested in buying one and coughing up for it should not need this article! ;-)

Oops on the OM-40, my brother keeps holding on to mine and I must have mixed it up with some other camera I once held. And maybe I should give the OM-2 more cred. I find battery drain easily solved, however, by bringing spares. That and making sure you use SR-44 (silver) instead of LR-44 (alkaline) batteries. Seems the SR-44 is a pain to get in Europe, even at photo retailers, exept mail order from 7dayshop.com. Where they are even cheaper than the LR-44s are in the high street.

Another oops on the T45. My (offline) source, a store selling it, lied to me about that. I checked online sources and can find no reference to it, so you must be right!

Maybe I should have said "high spec" and not "top spec". The set is based on a practical view on what is easily available. I am not a macro man and I missed the bellows mounted lenses, so yeah, there are more options. But the math still isn't very favourable. If you have a system, buy a macro lens, but I wouldn't get into the system now if you plan to do a lot of macro work.

Perry, I didn't mean to imply mechanical shutters unreliable at all, although I agree it does read like that. If you go through the forums, you will find many people mistrusting them, so I was merely pointing out thatr most OMs do not have mechanical shutter.

I also would not miss aperture priority on the OM1, because with a centre-weighted average meter, you do a lot of exposure compensation. When using the OM-4, I use the spot meter 99% of the time, in which case you do not need exposure compensation. The same with my shiny new EOS, where the matrix meter gets it right 99% of the time. Again, this article being aimed at the novice, full manual may be a bit daunting.

Frank, I didn't cassualy dissmiss anything! It's a quick overview and if you want all the lens info, there is the link to the lens page. I find the 1.4 much nicer than the 1.8, which is backed up by the lens test page mentioned by Lex Jenkins. Many versions have been made for both lenses, so that's why we have different experiences.

S. T. Chan, I wouldn't compare on OM with a 60s muscle car. You don't need a love for the machine, it just works and needs no toolbox. Muscle cars are just about the car, not about getting anywhere. An OM is about taking beautifull pictures! ;-) (no, you are right, I am not a car enthustiast)

Once again, thanks for all the comments and corrections, keep 'em comming!

Perry Bain , February 24, 2003; 11:37 A.M.

I would suggest (if possible) that you at least go back and edit the errors in the article, if it is going to remain indefinitely on Photo.net as a reference for those interested in the OM system. Photo.net is considered an authoritative source by many people. BTW, another comment that doesn't hold up is the statement that the Olympus 50/3.5 macro (used) is more expensive than the Canon EOS 100/2.8 (new). The 50/3.5 can easily be found for less than $200 US, while the Canon 100mm runs $440-470 new and just under $400 used from the mail order places.

Øyvind Dahle , February 24, 2003; 02:56 P.M.

No mention of the grainy screens of the early Olympus, so here is two links:

http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=0007J3

http://www.isomedia.com/homes/cvedeler/scope/focus.htm

Øyvind:D

Frank Oddsocks , February 24, 2003; 08:38 P.M.

The tests you quote were done with several different bodies, and it turned out that vibration was significant. I see no case there where a 50/1.4 outperforms a 50/1.8 on the same body. I was aware of these tests, but my original comment was made on the basis of the two 1.4's and four 1.8's I've used (including a very old single-coated 1.8), as well as tests on a 1.4 of the type which did best in Gary's tests.

While it is generally true that faster Zuikos are also newer and better designs, the 50/1.4 and 35/2 were there from the start.

By the way, I forgot to mention that the single-digit OM's have a 97% (by area) viewfinder. Many other cameras are down around 90%.

Bas Scheffers , February 25, 2003; 05:14 A.M.

I'll try to correct the couple of mistakes.

The 50/3.5 is only a 1:2 macro, while the Canon is a true 1:1, faster and longer (less DOF if required) and generaly considered the sharpest lens Canon has to offer, macro or not. So that is not a fair comparison. I am not saying the Olympus 3.5 is not any good, it seems to perform OK according to the lens test, but it is a very different lens.

Looking again at the lens test, comparing the late model MC 1.4 with a late model MC 1.8, both on an OM-1 with mirror lock-up, both have their good and bad points. Wide open, the 1.4 outperforms the 1.8. Mid f-range they seem on par and stopped down, the 1.8 is slightly better than the 1.4. So overall pretty close and I guess a lot of it comes down to the objects you shoot and personal preference. It does make you wonder if the 1.4 really is worth the extra money, considering you can't use it at the actual 1.4 (vignetting), although it is very useable at 2.0, whereas the 1.8 needs to be stopped down to 2.8.

Perry Bain , February 25, 2003; 08:05 A.M.

Bas,

I was not comparing the relative merits of the Olympus 50/3.5 and the Canon 100/2.8. I was simply pointing out that your statement: "There are two Zuiko macro lenses, a 50/3.5 and a 90/2. Both are more expensive second hand than a brand new Canon 100/2.8 USM Macro" is incorrect. The 50/3.5 is one of the best bargains available in macro lenses.

As for the Reese lens tests, there is considerable variation among the lenses, even those with similar designations (50/1.8, etc.). This may be due either to sample variation (the lens designs, coatings, etc. did change over 3 decades of production) and/or testing procedures (different cameras, subjective judging of results, etc.).

My personal experience with the 50/1.4 is not favorable. I have one of the early (chrome-front, single-coated) types, and it is so unsharp at f/1.4 that I do not use it at all. It seems prone to flare at almost any aperture. If I can't get good results with this lens at f/1.4, there is really no advantage over the 50/1.8. The later multi-coated models of the 50/1.4 are reputedly better.

Eric Carter , February 25, 2003; 10:51 P.M.

I've been an OM user for a number of years now and I too love the small size and ease of use I find in the OM cameras.

However, having used the OM-PC/40 cameras, I'm not sure I recommend them to prospective OM system users.

While it is a fine camera when it works, the OM-PC's tend to have electronic problems as they age - and, of course, they are all aging. Mirror and body lockups become frequent and take longer to reset.

Anyone looking at the OM system nowadays would do best to stay with the "single number" bodies - the best in my opinion are the OM-2s, the OM-3, the OM-4 and the Ti variants (though those are getting ungodly expensive). OM-1's are fine, I suppose (never used one personally) but unless they've been converted to a newer battery type, the mercury batteries are getting a little harder to find. Also, I have heard of problems with the conversion - though I can't speak from experience with that.

Jukka Tuohino , February 26, 2003; 01:07 P.M.

I use Oly and some other stuff. There is one mistake. Om4ti has flash sync at 1/60. But that doesn't bother me at all, I use available light as much as possible.

Few things to consider - there are many other factors to picture quality as lenses. Anyway, Zuiko primes are all good enough to take good pictures. Mirror slap is one of the things that no-one ever mentions. In finnish magazine "Technical World" there has been very good camera tests at 80's. They measured vibration caused by mirror. Olympus got always the best possible degree (the smallest vibration) from this - in fact, Om40 was the best. Another and even more important is the shutter. It has noticed that if mirror and shutter go on to the same direction - like for example in Nikon gear - it causes more vibration than if shutter and mirror go different direction. Olympus has the latter. And the shutter is very accurate, this has also been measured by "technical world" They measured it in every shutter speed, starting from 1 s up to 1/1000 or 1/2000 like in om4ti. Naturally, all Olympus cameras were very accurate. I have had many lenses. Now I have a package that I won't trade before it breaks. It includes: om4ti, om40, om1 ; zuikos 28/2.8, 50/1.8, 135/2.8 and Tamron 90/2.5 macro ; Olympus auto extension tubes 7,14, 25 ; Flash t32 with slave unit and vivitar 283 with grip and 1.2 m cord. This is all I need. I use om4ti with all lenses and other stuff, it all goes to camera bag. Picture quality is good enough for me, I make all BW in traditional dark room. Jukka Tuohino, Finland

Jaime Muldoon , March 01, 2003; 07:25 P.M.

From the early 90s up until they discontinued the OM line, I used Olympus in my work as a professional travel photographer. The most obvious advantage of the system was its low weight and small size; the biggest drawback was its limited flash-synch speed (I had an F280 and the working range for high shutter speed synch was too small). I had two OM4Ts and an OM1 as a backup and abused them quite severely, with shockingly few problems. Anyway, I shot literally every Zuiko lens (except for the bellows macros) and these are the ones to have: 21mm 2.0 (no coma, even wide open) 24mm 2.0 28mm 2.0 40mm 2.0 50mm 1.4 (more so than the 1.2, which wasn't contrasty enough) 100mm 2.0 (scary sharp) 180mm 2.0 (surprisingly portable and the sharpest lens I've ever seen by any manufacturer in any format, period) If you shoot professionally, it is impossible to keep a discontinued line as your workhorse, so I got a Nikon F100. I still wish I could use my Olympus stuff, as I far prefer their lenses to the over-contrasty Nikons. If you're an amateur, by all means look at this system; I still think it's the greatest manual system of all time.

Damon Wood , March 03, 2003; 11:05 P.M.

I have the Olympus OM System to thank for my experience and education in photography. Why? The system is based entirely on simplicity, which many systems, sadly, struggle and refuse to provide for todays photographers.

If I were to learn on modern auto-focus systems, I truly doubt my learning curve and photographic skill would be at the level it is today without the simplicity of the OM System.

Yes it is true the OM System has a few downfalls, but there arent many (limiting flash sync, course film advance levers, expensive fast glass). We must also remember, Olympus invented TTL, OTF and Spot Metering into an extremely compact and light-weight system. Were would your EOS system be today? TTL and OTF all incorporated into a single body by ~ 1978, spot by 1980 (OM2 series) and multi-spot by 1984 (4 series). Many other manufacturers were still 'brick' laying at that time.

Furthermore, the System cameras (1,2,3,4) are of true premium build quality. Take the base plate of a body and look how thet fit all that gear in! Great engineering. Coupled with Zuiko glass, image quality AND control is superior. And who said there zooms aren't worth using. My 75-150 f4 Zuiko (referred to a standard zuiko lens) is extremely sharp and produces buetiful images at 20" x 30" cibachrome and digital prints.

Ask Photokina what is one of the sharpest zoom lens they have ever tested, its a Zuiko 35-80 f2.8 ZOOM. Its so sharp that it excells those results of some fixed focal length brands. The 18mm f3.5 is also one of the sharpest wide-angles ever manufactured. Just see Douglas Dubler's comments, a leading NYC fashion and beauty photographer @ http://www.phototechmag.com/previous-articles/jul-dubler99.htm .

Have you ever heard of a 8mm f2.8 fisheye before. Well, Olymus had one in the late 70's. Olympus are also a major leader in Macro lens quality. The 50mm f3.5 packs a fair punch for a good second hand price in good condition. Pick up a 50 f2, 90 and 100 f2. Thats all I have to say.

So what am I trying to say. The system is fantastic and is a great component of your kit. It is extemely easy to use and rarely ever will let you down. The system forces you to take an image. Complete control is the essence of the system.

I believe many modern camera's are sold on the amount of functions and technocratic junk as a marketing tool, unfortuantely largely to amatuers. Many of whom buy these cameras are sold to people with no or little idea on how to use a manual camera. That is a fundamental flaw in the art and creativity of photography (a purist's view).

Yoshihisa Maitani, designer of the OM series and many other cameras, is an innovator who has shaped the world of cameras as we see them today. After admiring his delightful eica M series cameras as a child, he wanted to develop a remarkable and innovative system. The OM series was first and foremost a camera for serious photography. http://www.olympus.co.jp/en/magazine/pursuit/200209/html/f_article.html for another wrap of the system, this time from Olympus themselves.

I too, like many other photographers enjoy digital and other camera systems. Until this day, the OM System is my most valued material possession. For me and many other photographers, the OM System is the best tool to express my photography.

Thank you all for participating. Damon Wood

Roger C , March 09, 2003; 12:55 P.M.

Just watch for a sticking second shutter curtain on some models. I had an OM-10 that did this, and it is a known weak point - giving unintentionally long exposures. <p>Olympus cameras are quite high risk for reliability; I don't know anyone who has owned one of their compacts and NOT experienced faults. The lenses are great though.

Peter Leyssens , March 12, 2003; 07:28 A.M.

Comparing compacts and SLRs is comparing apples and oranges. Do you compare a 100 Euro Nikon APS to the FM2 ?

I'm the very proud owner of OM-3, OM-4Ti bodies and a bunch of lenses of which I mainly use the 90/f2.0. They can take this from me if they pry it from my cold dead hands. If ever anything happens to it, it'll be mailed, heavily insured, to CamTech straight away, and I know I'll get it back in like-new condition. I don't care about the cost.

An OM-1(n) is just a great camera to learn photography. There's plenty of those, like Minolta X-700 and even Praktika stuff can do the job for most. But the OM-1 is a very enjoyable little machine that will definitely get you where you need to get.

For advanced photography students, the OM-3(Ti)/OM-4(Ti) are as good as it gets. I like the aperture priority, so I mainly use my OM-4Ti now. Built in spot metering is a necessity for anyone seriously considering controlling their exposure, particularly for the zone system. These OM's viewfinder have a very big exposure bar that makes metering a joy. When spot metering, there's dots appearing on top of that bar that indicate where the metering points are. Check a couple of highlights, check a couple of dark spots, zone metering done in 2 seconds.

The 90/2.0 lens is absolutely stunning. It macroes to half life-size, but it works equally well as a portrait lens. With world-quality out-of-focus (bokeh) and a good matte glass, it's a system that gets you involved in your subject, and people watching your pictures involved in them. This glass is worth its weight in gold. No, more.

I know there's plenty of other, nice systems out there. I'm not particularly into flash, or macro, or any other specialised photography, so most photo machinery would do fine for me. Obviously there's stories about how NASA claims the OM 250/2.0 is the sharpest lens they've ever tested, period. But there's stories like that about any brand. For me, it's now partly the routine of using OM, as well as the joy of the metering system and the lens. When frequently, pictures come out better than expected, I know the equipment must be more than decent, and that I must be getting a feel for how it works. Yes, it's half-manual exposure and manual focus, but we all know how to turn a dial, don't we ?

As others mentioned above, the OM community is a really great bunch too. An advantage of dead systems is that they have very dedicated followings, if you're into that kind of thing.

Peter.

Nick Wilson , March 12, 2003; 11:10 P.M.

I have used an OM system for about 18 years. I have an individual OM4Ti that is about 12 years old (maybe 13). It has been used extensively in the field, including rugged travel to hard places in Australia and overseas.

It is an old battler, looks rough now, but bloody keeps on working. It has taken many thousands of photos. There was a minor recent problem with a crack in the shutter speed indicator in the viewfinder recently. The camera was still working, only some speeds were obscured, so I had it fixed. Otherwise no problems,plus the odd service.

The technician on returning it said "here's your lovely old OM4". A knowledgable person with no axe to grind can only appreciate them. Like a small, finely tuned watch perhaps?

Perhaps OM-aholics are enthusiasts, who are always a step to the side of the crowd. Kind of like Leica people only totally different.

I have 'stocked' up on a third OM4Ti for the future. I will still buy Zuiko lenses 2nd hand, as needed. I have an old restored junk store-bought OM 1 which was only gummed up from misuse and a junk shop OM 2 that required no work.

I originally got into OM through macro photography, where it is still unparalleled, despite introducing nothing new for years. In fact, OM gear remains technically competitive or even ahead years after introduction. This is the true mark of classic design. A good reason for the affection.

The design philosophy and practice behind the old Olympus was better than any other camera maker. The fact that the lenses were smaller is not because they were weaker, but because the alternatives were not designed as well.

Think of the firsts/exotica of the OM line: OM body architecture, 24mm f2.8 shift, 21mm f2, 50 and 90 mm f2 macro, full flash sync, specialised macro lenses and extension and so on. Sexy too, more than clunky Nikon lenses.

It is unfair to criticise them for optical quality. They may not have accentuated sharpness (acutance) that Nikon might have, but they accentuated other aspects of picture making to produce superb images (great colour). I have had comments by processors on how sharp pictures are, but never on any softness.

The 90mm f2 macro is, on balance, the best lens I have ever owned. This includes Zeiss for Hasselblad and pro Fuji. Its speed (unbelievable in a 1:2 macro), ability to get in close and isolate detail, flexibility and balance on camera set it ahead.

It produces sharp but pleasing images as a short tele, if not having the hard-cutting 'resolution' of the Zeiss/Fuji/Leica philosopy. Magazine people often like it as it 'looks' good on the page

I have often travelled with it and a 28mm only. It is rugged too, I slipped on marble steps at the Taj Mahal and the camera/lens crashed down onto a step, banging the focussing ring in against the inner lens barrel. However, I was able to grind it to turn and keep on taking pictures.

It was later straightened and, 11 years later, the lens barrel still bears the scars! Fragility? No way. Light metal frames are strong. The OM4Ti didn't miss a beat.

The only problem with this lens is a propensity for mould, presumably because it is quite 'open' inside, with the long focus extension. Living in the subtropics doesn't help.

I dropped my 28mm f2.8 (so small you could blow it away) recently, chipping the rear element. Otherwise zero problems for 10+ years. Any problem with a lens is not general to the OM line.

There is more to explore in the OM line. I was lucky to buy a kit including OM2 and 3 lenses and T32 flash for about $50 a few months ago. It included a 50 mm f1.2, which after a clean is a revelation. I avoid 50mm, but the fastness of this lens gives a near-telephoto look wide open, for that differential focus I like.

The 21 f2 is another target, and a 16mm f3.5 (plus the shift lenses...sorry, I'll keep taking the tablets marked Canikon and I'll get better!)

I grieved a bit for the OM system and may someday have to let it go. But not for years and years and then some more years. And this is despite me doing much more medium format now.

markus h , March 21, 2003; 07:44 A.M.

I've used an OM40 for 15 years with various lenses I've aquired along the way. I have to agree that the optics are outstanding and would give any current consumer grade lense a more than decent run for its money. I've also recently acquired a Zuiko 35-70 f4 fixed aperture zoom (the price was too good to resist) and my results have been surprising to me to say the least. Even at 8x10 sizes I'm hard pressed to find a difference in sharpness and contrast when compared with a 50/1.8.

Ray Moth , April 04, 2003; 05:15 A.M.

Zuiko OM lenses range in quality quite a bit, from good to mediocre. I think the difference between Zuiko single-coated and multi-coated lenses deserves a mention, as this makes a big difference in many cases.

My experience with a Zuiko 50/1.4 single-coated lens was most frustating. Resolution at f/1.4 was so bad that I was unable to focus with acceptable accuracy for close-up and/or wide open use. Since the lens is at full aperture while focusing, definition at full aperture is critical. The resolution was markedly improved by f/5.6 but who wants to buy a fast lens that can only give respectable results if stopped down by 4 stops? I understand that the multi-coated version of this lens was very much better, though.

Giorgio Carpi , April 10, 2003; 03:35 A.M.

I have been using the OM system from 1978 to 1996, when I switched to Nikon MF; recently, I added a Leica M and two lenses. I used 2 OM-1 bodies, the winder, 21/3.5, 28/3.5, 35/2.8, 50/1.8, 85/2, 135/3.5, 200/4, 200/5. I liked all of them, with the exception of the 85/2, which showed too much distortion; and I expecially loved the 21/3.5, the 135/3.5 and the wonderful tiny 200/5. I liked to be able to use my gear hand held and to get sharp results. This is due to the very quiet shutter and the well damped mirror. I used to shoot with a 400/5.6 Sigma Apo hand held, K64 in camera, 1/250 shutter time, and get sharp results. When my cameras grew tired and some lenses beaten up, I decided to switch to new robust Nikon MF gear, and suddenly I found that my new FM2n were not able to produce sharp images hand held with a tele longer than the 105/2.5, and anyhow it required much faster shutter times than those I used with my OM cameras. No hope with the Sigma 400/5.6, very difficult with the Nikkor 200/4. The heavier 180/2.8 and the quieter F3 helped a bit, but a tripod was definitely required. Now I started using a Leica RF camera, and I am once again able to get sharp pictures using a moderate tele (90 mm.) hand held, and fairly low shutter times.

This, in my opinion, is the most important point with the OM system. The whole system was designed around the concept of making photographers able to get sharp pictures while travelling light, shooting mostly hand held and framing in a SLR finder. The compact size of cameras and lenses, great carefully studied ergonomics and super quiet operation made this possible. From this point of view, using an OM setup is almost like using a Leica M. Of course, the Leica M is even quieter, has better lenses and is limited to 135 mm. focal length; but the OM system made that kind of use possible in inexpensive, Japan made, large SLR system format.

Unfortunately, most people today have been told that they need "modern" automatic features, so they tend to buy those stupid crappy pieces of plastic filled with auto-everything modes that they like to call "modern cameras". So the OM system grew "obsolete", and finally they decided to stop production. But let me tell you, actually there is nothing obsolete about the OM system. It lets one get really sharp pictures with an ease and a grace that are unknown of in recent days, and no automation can suffice when compared to the precise, smooth, quiet operation of the OM system. I wish they will resurrect t one day, eventually with recalculated optics. I would get rid of all my Nikon gear, maybe also my Leica, and use OM gear once again.

http://www.infinito.it/utenti/maremmaphoto

Neil D. , May 12, 2003; 08:45 P.M.

I am an Olympus OM user, and have been for a number of years. I love the system for similar reasons to a lot of other users, so I won't list those reasons again.

Dirk, I agree with your comment that unfortunately "the days of analogue Olympus models will never come back." However, I'm not familiar with the 4/3 chip system you speak of. I assume that it would have a smaller sensor area that the 35mm negative, as this would make it cheaper to manufacture, and the overall size of the camera could be kept down, in keeping with the Olympus philosophy - am I right?

But, I like the 35mm negative size - not just because I have a heap of lenses designed for it (but let's not underestimate that point either), but also for reasons of apparent depth-of-field for a given angle of view. IMO, the 35mm format balances nicely the ability to get both large and small depth-of-field in photos, without the need for tilts. A smaller sensor will make it very difficult to get small depth-of-field without have ridiculous maximum apertures of f/0.5! Tilts wouldn't help that much - if at all - and I doubt we'd get the facilities on the new cameras anyway.

So, call me a dinosaur if you will, but I'd like more that just one manufacturer to produce a DSLR with a full-frame (with respect to 35mm) sensor. Olympus, if you decide to go down this path, I could be tempted to pursue your digital cameras if you allow my old OM lenses to mount (ie. a digital DSLR, the OM-5?). Until then, I'm going with Canon as I have an adapter for fitting OM lenses to it (stop-down metering and exposure compensation required, but saves me buying all the lenses again!). Obviously, a digital OM-5 which accepts the OM lenses, works perfectly with them, and has a full-frame sensor, would be better for me than the Canon, and I would switch back if it became available. A square sensor which captures the whole image circle of the OM lenses, to allow for the photographer to decide later whether he/she wants portrait or landscape, would be even better...

Olympus, just send me an email: my consulting fees are reasonable, and I'm sure that a digital OM-5 would sell!

Simon Evans , May 21, 2003; 10:06 A.M.

To add to the above comments...

OM bodies
The OM1~4Ti are all professional grade bodies. There are plenty of well cared for OM1s around, and these make an excellent introduction to the world of photography. There is no substitute for a fully manual camera to allow the student to understand how the process works. The auto models do have the benefit of TTL auto flash, and the OM3(Ti) and OM4(Ti) models have what some reviewers have termed "the best metering system in the world".

As the mercury cells that power an OM1(n) are no longer available, there are a number of solutions, including the MR9 adapter from criscam.com. If you send your OM1 for a service/CLA Olympus agents will usually offer to upgrade the battery holder to accept a single widely available SR44 (357) battery. The adapter allows consistently accurate exposure readings, unlike some other approaches to this problem. Of course, the OM1(n) will function perfectly well without a battery.

The OM2000 is cheap, but has precious little integration with the OM system. Reports suggest it is plasticky and not very reliable.

Sticky shutter
The OM10, and to some extent the other consumer bodies (OM20 etc), all suffer with the 'sticky magnet syndrome' at some point. The symptom is a shutter that stays open for much longer than the indicated time, resulting in grossly overexposed pics. It needs cleaning, that's all. Of the consumer bodies the OM40 is the most interesting. It was the first camera to feature matrix-type metering, dubbed ESP by Olympus.

Focussing screens
Olympus brought out two brighter screens in recent years. If you use zooms, the slower long telephotos or just prefer a brighter viewfinder, look for the 2-4 and 2-13 focussing screens.

Lenses
The later generation lenses, including the class leading 50/2 and 90/2 macros, plus the 100/2, 180/2, 250/2, 350/2.8 are all extremely sharp, high contrast performers. The 50/2 is one of photo.net columnist Mike Johnston's all time favourite lenses.

The 21/2 is one of the original crackers that many admire, while the 18/3.5, 28/2 and 50/1.2 have been singled out for praise from many corners. In many cases the slower f2.8 or f3.5 versions are still excellent lenses. The 50/3.5 macro goes to 1:2, and 1:1 with a 25mm ext. tube. This lens is a solid performer, and features a floating element close-distance correction mechanism. Other lenses with this are the 18/3.5, 21/2, 24/2, 28/2, 85/2 and 100/2.

The 40/2, a very compact lens, was a late addition to the range, and originally sold cheaply. Now prices are sky high, it has become desirable. Although the performance is acceptable, but asking prices are an indication more of its rarity rather than its ability.

Olympus phased in the multicoating of their optics over a period of time. Sometimes this coincided with the revision of optical formulae, other times it didn't. The single coated 50/1.4 is known for being somewhat poor performer, but the later multicoated models are significantly better. However, the 24/2.8 and others are equally sharp in either SC or MC formulations, and optically identical. The layout of the 85/2 was changed, but observations suggest the performance difference (aside from the benefits of multicoating) is insignificant.

Zoom lenses
Contrary to Bas's article, there are zooms in the OM range that work well. Despite this, many Olympus users (including me) prefer working with prime lenses. There is surely a reason for that...

The 35-105/3.5-4.5 is a Tokina design that is particularly sharp and covers a good range of useful angles. Combined with a 21 or 24mm it makes a two-lens outfit covering most useful angles. The 35-70/3.6 is a two-touch Olympus design that was said to rival primes in performance - something that was rare in the 70's. The tiny 35-70/3.5-4.5 is suprisingly sharp, but I found it to have too much barrel distortion for my tastes. If you don't mind that so much, then this little marvel is no bigger or heavier than a 50/1.8 and makes a great travel lens.

The 65-200/4 is a very good performer at all apertures, but the close focus mode is not sharp, while the 75-150/4 is a compact lens that produces suprisingly good results for its size and cost.

Third party lenses to recommend include the Tamron 80-200/2.8, 300/2.8, 400/4 and 90/2.8 macro. The Tokina ATX 80-200/2.8 is also very good, and I believe the Olympus 1.4x converter will fit this model.

Damon Wood , June 04, 2003; 05:02 A.M.

In addition to Simon Evans comment on May 21, 2003; Olympus was not recognised for its zoom lenses. All though lightweigth and small, the likes of N**** and C**** really got hold of the 'zoom-boom'.

This all ended when Olympus released their 35-80 f2.8 ZOOM. Some say it is the best of all 35mm makes. A very expensive lens, although it is rated as one of the highest optical perfromers in Photokina's lens test back in the 1990's. According to Photokina, it was better than some fixed focal-length lens tests of other brands!

The theme of the story is: never underestimate a zuiko lens.Their guts will bite you in the bum!

Russ Rosener , January 22, 2005; 10:56 P.M.


Zuiko 50mm 1.4 and Agfapan 100

I've had my OM-1n for 20 years now, and it was used when I got it. Camtech worked his magic about 6 years ago and it's still good as new.

There area a lot of great 3rd party lenses out there. I have personally owned:

Tokina 17mm f3.5. A great wide angle and very sharp. At 5.6 it rivals the Nikon 20mm AIS (yes, I've shot with that lens too....) The Tokina 28-85 f/4 Zoom. A hefty lens, but surprisingly sharp and contrasty. Solid metal construction makes you want to drop it on a modern plastic AF lens just for meaness;)

Sigma 50mm F2.8 macro lens. Although not as sharp as the Zuiko 50mm 3,5 macro, it has much better Bokeh and is brighter by half a stop.

Vivitar Series 1 75-210 zoom. Heavy, but sharp.

I still use my OM-1 on a regular basis. The 50mm 1.4 single coated is my favorite Zuiko lens.

jean-marie zeyen , September 26, 2005; 05:08 P.M.


hi u all professionals i have just a bit of an idea of what u all are talking about, being merely a normal user taking fotos in my holidays and everytime there is a special family event..and for my own pleasure,since i found a (used) auto-tube 65~116 for macro.i've owned an OM-2n for 25 years, with a 50mm 1.8 // 35mm 2.8 // 35-70 mm 4. // 65-200 mm 4. //a tokina 50-250mm 4.-5.6 (before i found the 65-200 zuiko) , i use a t-20 and a t-32 flash and a winder.all this material in an alu-case has been tossed around a lot..and i never ever had anybody look after it..'til now, not a single breakdown, and it still takes marvellous pictures ! because of that, i swore myself, that whenever i would buy a digital cam, i would wait the time it takes to afford it...and i finally bought an e-300 kit..and i'm happy with it !(but i still cherish the OM as a back-up..u never know!)

John Falkenstine , October 29, 2005; 04:35 P.M.

What a lucky guy I am. Right up the street is a camera shop (Mostly used stuff). I asked if they had any Olympus OM-1 models. The showcase was opened and 2 units complete with 50mm lenses were presented to me. One unit, solid black, had some brassing on the corners, and its price was out of my reach. The other unit, a more common silver model, appeared to be unused. A little haggling on the price and I left with a brand-new looking OM-1, complete with Zuiko 50 1.8 lens. The price: a bit over a hundred bucks, and I was able to "touch it" before the purchase. Absolutely beautiful fit and finish. Loaded with Fuji 200 slide film and ready for action tomorrow.

Gary Lyons , February 13, 2007; 11:42 P.M.

I found a new Olympus OM4Ti at a camera shop in Denver. The owner had two and I bought one. It was new in the box. He had them in the back of his camera shop hidden away.

I have also owned a Minolta 202, Minolta X570, Minolta X700, Canon Elan IIE, Nikon 90s, Nikon F100, Nikon F5, Nikon F6, Nikon D70 and a Nikon D200.

The Olympus OM4Ti is the best manual camera I have used. I would rate on par with my Nikon F100 or my F6. My Nikons are auto focus and easier to use.

The camera that I am using most of the time is my Olympus OM4Ti. I am not saying it is better than my other cameras, however my pictures are about the same whether with my Olympus OM4Ti or my Nikons.

There is a slight learning curve with the OM4Ti, but once mastered it is a joy to use.

James Robert McCulloch , May 21, 2007; 11:58 A.M.

I have owned two OM's a 4 & 10. Both were evaluated and I used them for a brief time to familiarize me with their capabilities. The 10 had no manual mode so I purchased the Manual Adaptor. The 10 was a joy to use especially if you understood the fundamentals of photography and exposure. The 4 was altogether a different camera. I especially took a shine to its marvellous exposure system. It was a revelation! I found that it locked in a EV and from that setting you could have two perfect exposures from either end of the lens aperture scales. I just don't know why the other camera manufacturers did not adopt this system. Patent concerns I could understand but its a very useful exposure aid. Pentax came up with something similar for the Z series of cameras called Hyper Manual but it just was not the same.

Leandro Dutra , July 26, 2007; 10:53 P.M.

Gary, would your new OM-4Ti vendor still have the other around? How much did you pay? I am digging for one, since my wife?s OM-10 started showing some problem. Silver or black?

Gary Lyons , May 05, 2008; 06:40 P.M.

Leandro Dutr

I found my new OM4ti at Englewood Camera. When I bought mine there was one left in the back room.

5855 S. Broadway Littleton, Co. 80121

303-797-0700

Gary

Jose A. De Leon , July 03, 2008; 01:20 A.M.

I've owned an Olympus OM4t champagne body since 1985 and I still think till this day that it still has the most advanced metering system. Show me a camera today that can make an automatic exposure for 4 minutes! Not to knock off the new cameras today which are very advanced, but still, where can you find a manual camera with a metering system like it? Jose

John Redfern , November 10, 2008; 11:37 A.M.

As a postscript to this long running thread I must say that I think Olympus OM Macro System is second to none. The lenses are superb and go right from 1:1 to 16:1 mag.

I am now using all these lenses with the latest RED Cinema camera with amazing results.

Long live OM

Karen Hayward-King , November 14, 2008; 10:49 P.M.

I've been reading this thread with interest. It's been quite illuminating.

I just bought an OM-G as my first SLR camera. I wanted one that I could learn the basics of manual photography on, but that also had some auto features. So far, I like it. I'm finding it's smaller size, ideal for me.

I've also been looking at an OM-1, in very good condition. After reading the various comments, I'm definitely looking at purchasing it.

Rick Goldman , November 24, 2008; 04:19 A.M.

This thread seems to span some time, as to Karen search. I had an OM1 back in the late 70's and it was a wonderful camera. Stolen of course, many years later I picked up an older OM2 (I think) kind of beat up but took great pictures but as most moved into digital photo and as a non-pro with seemingly my art days behind sold my old OM2 as I figured I'd never use it again. This year a young nephew taking a college film/photo course wanted to borrow the old camera, I went on Ebay and found him a (seemingly) decent OM10 which he has been using, I paid a whole $25 for it and just had it sent to him. Fact is often (not always) OM go pretty cheap on Ebay, truth is I missed my old film camera (not that I don't like a digital) so I purchased an OM1 with both standard lens and the 75-150 for under $75 and while there are some risks with Ebay this turned out to be a fine working and in excellent condition camera and lens. I was even able to find the "hard to find" batteries easily on Ebay think I bought 2 for like $6. Things worked so well that while keeping an eye out for a lens I spotted an OM4 and snagged it. Now time will tell if that was foolish, seems the buyer purchased it himself at an estate sale and while it looks good I've yet to get it and test it out. Either way it had a couple of lenses and was under $150 so even if it does not work or I can't get it fixed it won't be a total loss. Point is, seemingly a person can find a decent OM1 around $50 which is cheap enough to take a gamble, there are OM2 for a bit more it's just sort of a game on Ebay. It's worth a look, keep an open mind and watch, there are Ebay tricks. Look for auctions ending at odd times, how many people can bid at 10 am on a tuesday? Look for mistakes/odd spelling sometimes OM1 and OM-1 given different results (I use just OM) set "your" price and don't just bid. Sometimes, if it's an odd time on an auction and not many are bidding you place your bid in the last 2 minutes no one is there to counter. I would suspect that the prices will also fall a bit after Christmas as people forget about this kind of stuff. While my OM1/lens combo might not really ever be worth much more than $100 or $150 one I did not pay that much for it, to me it's "worth" more and I could pretty much sell the stuff on Ebay and make a few bucks if I chose. My original plan was to sell the OM1 now that I have the OM4 but the one thing most agree on here, the OM camera in general is a fine film SLR and there are good working examples that can be had on the cheap.

Doc Humboldt , July 17, 2010; 06:54 P.M.

I now own a OM-1n and love that it is a fully manual camera. It gives more artistic range than the glorified point and shoot units that this author seems to like better. (There's nothing "good" about a camera that "tells you what to do.") I bought mine, absolutely brand new, in the box, with an f1.8 50mm and an f4.0 75-150mm zoom for $75.00 this past week. It is the classic "old couple bought it and never used it" story.

I plan to buy a few more lenses/other gear and keep this wonderfully easily handled camera around for many years. I did pay allot of attention in high school photography classes and know how to adjust, in my head, for the little things people buy semi-auto cameras for. I'll take this fully manual unit over your "have it OUR way" unit, anytime.

mick santifort , December 13, 2010; 04:36 P.M.

Why not make this thread even longer... ;-)

A few weeks ago I sold my Nikon DSLR gear, because I did not use it that much any more. Carrying all that stuff around bored me and so I ended up buying the Olympus Pen four weeks ago. I also bought the 17mm and 18-42mm zoom lens for it.

One of the things that i disliked most of the Nikon is that it took out a lot of the fun. I think photography is about going out and shoot the best pic you can and not about spending hours behind the computer fiddling with Photoshop...

So in the last few weeks I bought me a Zuiko 35mm 1.8, a Zuiko 135mm 3.5 and a Zuiko 200mm 4! And what fun this is! Now I'm in back control! As I am when shooting my Super8 movies.

And whilst reading all about the OM series I couldn't help but fall in love with the bodies also. So I bought an OM1 body today and can't wait to pick it up!  

Within a few weeks my camera gear now consists of a PEN EP-1 and a OM1 body and five Zuiko lenses of which three are the bespoke OM's. All this complemented with a nice wooden Berlebach tripod.

So, with the launch of the micro four thirds system, time finally has been good to the OM system. 'Cause now you can have digital and analog fun and it won't cost you the world. This must be barely legal... :-)

Fred Boettcher , February 10, 2011; 08:53 P.M.

Wow! wonderful comments and stories about om's. I have an om-3 that i inherited from a former roomate who move out and owed me some rent money. It was in a bunch of junk he left. He told me that the stuff was ransome for the rent he owed. From what I have found on ebay, I think I got the better end of the deal. My om3 has a telescope mount on it, but there are no other lenses. I'm going to get a 50mm. I don't have a telescope so the 50mm would do me better.

Can someone plase tell me what batteries I need for the om-3? It is in near mint condition from what I can tell. So batteries would be nice to see what it can do. I have some other camera's that I could use to get my exposure readings on. But I would like to see how the meter and all works. From what I have read it's pretty cool.

Thanks

Fred

Rob Oresteen , April 06, 2011; 12:40 A.M.

I have to take some objection to "staying away" from the OM-1.This camera will not be any more "beat up" than an OM-2 or OM-4...

I have one that is close to mint condition and is just so much fun to shoot. It has a smooth shutter with uncluttered controls. I use it without the battery because I tend to hand meter anyway.

This camera is similar to a "Japanese Leica" - simple, smooth, easy to use, doesn't get in my way.

 

Gary Adno , August 26, 2011; 09:44 P.M.

Hi I am a dentist and need to take good intraoral , smile and full facial/profile photos. I have an Olympus Zuiko auto-macro 90mm lens (OM series) I also have an old Olympus twin flash system (KS02009) Can I use the above ? what cameras would you suggest that can be used with the above for my photographic needs? Thanks Gary


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