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OM2 shutter speed problem..why?

Gabriel P. , Dec 02, 2005; 06:30 p.m.

Hello guys! I have an OM2(n) bought last year mint, but now I noticed that the shutter speeds are not precise (anymore?), as they vary randomly at a given setting. I mean if i set the ss at 1/60, it may happen that out of 5 exposures one would be overexposed - shutter going slower, or maybe more than one. At slower speeds (say 1/15) the variation is even greater, it's hard to get two identical exposures one after another, although without much difference between them, but i expect precision from this camera.

Have you ever had troubles with the shutter speed on your OM? Is the all mechanical OM1 less prone to shutter problems than the OM2? What could be the cause for this shutter speed problem? And what can be done to fix it? Can the battery have anything to do with this?

I know i'm asking a lot of questions but please try to answer if you can, because i really love this camera and i want to understand what's happening with it.

Thank you!


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Neil D. , Dec 02, 2005; 07:05 p.m.

I've never heard of this - with the OM-1, yes: because of its mechanical speeds. The OM-2 is all electronic except for one speed, 1/60, which you can get if you use it with no batteries. I cannot see how an electronic speed selectoer could even do this. You'd best be taking it in for a service...

richard oleson , Dec 02, 2005; 09:33 p.m.

Are you sure that the cause of the overexposure is the shutter speed varying? Have you put it on a shutter tester (or the "TV Screen" test) at manual speeds and observed the variation?

Does this happen with all lenses? From your description of intermittent overexposure, it sounds to me not like the shutter but the lens diaphragm failing to close down fully. This would cause more problems when a small aperture is selected, and might be intermittent in occurrence besides.

You also mention that you are shooting at manual speeds. Do you see a similar effect on Auto? The OM2's OTF metering system will automatically correct for a lens diaphragm failure, if the correct exposure can be achieved within the camera's 1/1000 second fast-end limit.

Gabriel P. , Dec 03, 2005; 04:22 a.m.


You made a very good point there, but i'm sure the shutter is the problem. I mean you can tell the difference between the speeds by the sound delay. You can hear it. And my lenses are ok, no problem with those. And as for the auto mode, i don't use it too often, i'm on manual usually.

So afterall, what could be the cause for this? Electric problem? Should i go fishing for an OM1 body?


richard oleson , Dec 03, 2005; 05:14 p.m.

I wouldn't go by sound: check it against your TV screen - this only works at the higher speeds, but at 1/1000 a small variation will be very easy to spot.

The sound can be affected by things like a sticky mirror mechanism, or the mirror sticking to the foam in front of the screen.

If it really is in the shutter timer, I think the likely cause is a failing capacitor.... the open time is set by the time it takes to charge a capacitor through a set resistance (the resistance is different for each speed on the dial). Another possibility is a poor connection at the resistor where it is selected by the shutter speed dial - I haven't looked at exactly how this is done, whether it might just get dirty with non-use. You might try working the shutter speed dial back & forth through its range a few dozen times and see if that makes a difference.

This electrical stuff is not my strong area. If you want a camera that will still be working when your son passes it on to your grandson, I'd get an OM1 -- especially if you aren't using the AUTO function anyway.

rick :)=

Ruben Bittermann , Dec 03, 2005; 07:12 p.m.

Hi Gabriel,According to my past experience with my OM2, the problem is at the electronic circuit, and with time it will agravate. The camera should be hospitalized at an authoritative Olympus surgeon.

As for your precision expectations from the camera, having been bought mint, you are right. The OM2 is a high pro-caliber SLR and there is no point at all in looking for other OM model since there is nothing wrong with the OM2 model per se. On the contrary. Therefore, in case you decide instead to buy another body, you can consider buying the same, this time from a better source ,in order to keep the former body for parts.

I suspect the real mint side of what you bought was the cosmetics, like my case. It seems that damaged electronic circuit problems become apparent after some time, when the previous and hidden economy surgery by the guy who sold you the camera, doesn't last any more.

Fortunately, prices of SLR equipment are free-falling these weeks as never before.



Neil D. , Dec 03, 2005; 07:29 p.m.

The mechanical OM-1 can develop similar symptoms, but the cause is different and it can be easily re-tuned apparently.

richard oleson , Dec 03, 2005; 08:55 p.m.

The OM1 in my experience is an exceptionally good camera for stable speeds over time. In many ways the camera is a little difficult to service, but they took pains to make the speed timer easily accessible, much more so than in most other SLRs, so that if the problem does come up it is a quick, easy fix.

The irony of this is that, while I have found sluggish and erratic speeds in Leicas, Contaxes, Pentaxes, Minoltas, Mirandas and almost every other type of camera, I have never yet encountered this in an OM1. Maybe I've just been lucky.....

Gabriel P. , Dec 04, 2005; 04:18 a.m.

Rick, Ruben,

Thank you for your answers... I'll either try to find someone who knows how to fix OMs, or get an OM1... I don't want to switch the system, because I just love Zuiko optics and everything in OM cameras.

OM forever :)


Ruben Bittermann , Dec 04, 2005; 04:09 p.m.

Hi Gabriel

I forgot to mention some things. As a lot of time has passed since the OMs were launched new to the market, a lot of experience has been accumulated.

With some models within the OM line, we know for sure that some deseases were endemic. Thus, with the OM4, not the OM4T, nor the OM4Ti, there is a chronic problem with the electronic circuit producing energy leak menaing quick battery drain. I own two OM4s, one of which can loose all battery energy within a single day without use, and the other loosing all energy after three weeks. I believe there are some OM4s that doesn't loose energy at all, but this is a well known problem, affecting lot of these cameras.


The OM1 is a lovable camera, (I own a single old but working sample) built with a kind of piston cushioning the mirror vibration to such low level, making it enviable by most of other SLRs, including all further OMs. Besides, the OM1 is the only OM able to function without batteries.

But there is a, let's say, half-endemic, problem with the OM1 being visible last years and it is the deterioration of cement binding the pentaprism mirrors - all these resulting in a kind of growing fungus like annoyance interfering in lower part of the image you view at the viewfinder (NOT AFFECTING THE FILM IMAGE). It is a well known problem, but I wouldn't term it as endemic as the OM4 batteries drain.

Fortunately, according to my local authoritative (but not offically Olympus) technician, it is possible to transplant a whole healthy OM2 pentaprism to a sick OM1.

But, on the other hand, remember that the OM2 and OM2n models are much more advanced cameras than the OM1(n) giving you:

a) Auto-exposure, UP TO 120 SECONDS !!!

b) Selection between Manual and Autoexposure

c) TTL flash metering command

d} Exposure compensation button

e) SR or SL button batteries instead of the discontinued mercury battery for the OM1 (replacement batteries fitting the OM1 are being produced, but not the exact type for which the OM1 was originally designed.)

Nevertheless, many people think that these advantages are not worthwile those of the OM1. What do I think ? I recommend owning both, plus the "flagship" - the OM4Ti (and several other RangeFinders, also designed by Maitani for Olympus, but that's another story).



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