I thought for a change I’d talk about a camera I use, or to be honest have just started to use, the Olympus OM-1n, pictured below. I got this from ebay for a cool £60, body only, and snapped up a 50mm Auto-s Zuiko 1.8 lens for a further £20 to compliment it. Likely manufactured sometime after 1979, I haven’t really used it a whole bunch yet, mainly because I had a roll of film to finish in the Nikon FM i generally use more often but also as it didn’t come with a battery for the light meter and I had to get hold of one of those. From my initial impressions I have to say it feels different, not in a bad way but in a “I have only ever used a Nikon or Canon and they are pretty much similar in design” kind of way.
Below is an image of the controls which differ from what I’m used to somewhat. First thing you notice is that there is no shutter speed dial where you would normally expect to find one, the dial on the top right is used entirely for setting the ISO (or ASA technically) of the film you are using, the very small silver button just to it’s right locks and unlocks this dial so you don’t accidentally load a roll of Ilford FP4 125 and try to shoot at 1600 ISO. The shutter speed itself is set on the ring that the lens body attaches to, in this image you can see the camera is set to 1/4 second where the red line and dot on the lens meet the shutter speed ring. This is going to take me some getting used to, I’ve maybe fired off 4 shots on this so far and every time I’ve first reached for the film sped dial. What’s also interesting is that where on all the Canon and Nikon lens’ I’ve ever used the aperture control is near the base and focus ring is at the front, on this particular Zuiko lens it’s the opposite way around, again something I need to get used to as I keep changing aperture instead of focusing….duuuh.
The satisfyingly retro looking on/off switch is for the light meter, the system is probably going to be a little hit and miss as the batteries designed for this camera (1.35v mercury) are no longer manufactured on environmental grounds so I’ve had to substitute the modern equivalent (1.5v Alkaline) for this, I won’t go into the exact science and details but suffice to say the light meter will operate, but not quite as accurately as it would’ve 30 odd years ago. Still it works and I’ll cope. One thing I have noticed that may drive me insane after a while is the size of the film advance lever, it’s so big in comparison to the size of the camera’s body that I have already poked myself in the eye with it, maybe that’s me being stupid or maybe it’s because of the way I hold the camera to my face, who knows.
In all though I’m pretty pleased with my purchase here, this is going to be my replacement in my bag for the Canon AE-1 for a few rolls of film to see how it compares (both being made at roughly the same time having the same lens attached) so I’ll post the first set of shots as soon as possible.