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photo:olympusom

Olympus OM system

introduction

  • the OM system introduced a revolutionary 35mm SLR camera in 1972-3 - a beautifully engineered, compact, light and quiet camera when the world was dominated by large, heavy, noisy 35mm SLRs. The cameras are still regarded as classics today with the OM-1 being highly regarded as a fully mechanical camera that functions without batteries and is perfectly suited for astrophotography in particular, while the OM-2 was the world's first camera to have off-the-film TTL flash metering.
  • Olympus made a great attempt at changing the photographic world's thinking, in a similar way to Leica when it introduced its 35mm rangefinder camera in a world dominated by medium or large format. Indeed, the 1st camera was named the M-1 but Leica objected as it was too similar to their M series and thus Olympus decided to rename it the OM-1.
  • the early OM-1 cameras introduced in 1973 were not able to use a motor winder or drive, and these were superseded in 1974 by the OM-1 MD which was capable of accepting a motor winder or drive.
  • Olympus in their marketing wisdom, were one of the 1st manufacturers to see the imminent demise of film cameras and ceased production of the OM series.
  • the excellent quality, compact Zuiko manual focus lenses designed for the OM system can be used on some digital SLR cameras including the Olympus E-series and Canon via an adapter, but like all lenses designed for 35mm film, they are not optimised for digital sensors and may need to be stopped down for optimum performance.
  • in 1979, Metz flash systems introduced their SCA adapter system which allowed TTL flash with their flash units

History of the OM-system

  • see also: history of photography
  • pre-cursors:
    • 1936: Semi-Olympus Model I - 120 film bellows camera with Zuiko lens - body made by Proud Company
    • 1937: Olympus Standard - 127 film 645 rangefinder with interchangeable lens but only 10 made due to the war.
    • 1938: Semi-Olympus Model II - 120 film bellows camera with Zuiko lens - fully Olympus
    • 1939-55: Olympus Six series based on the Semi-Olympus
    • 1948-57: Olympus 35 series - 1st Olympus 35mm and 1st lens shutter-type 35mm made in Japan.
    • 1952-56: Olympus Flex series - twin lens reflex 120 film cameras, the last 120 film cameras that Olympus made.
    • 1957-58: Olympus Wide series - 35mm film cameras with 35mm lenses.
    • 1958: Olympus Eyeflex - 127 film twin lens reflex with AE
    • 1958-62: Olympus Auto series - 35mm rangefinders with AE
    • 1959: Olympus Pen half-frame pocketable 35mm camera
    • 1965: Olympus Pen EM - the world's first camera equipped with motorized film winding and rewinding.
    • 1967: Olympus Trip 35 - 3 zone focus 35mm travel camera that remained in production until 1984.
    • 1970: Olympus FTL 35mm SLR with P-threaded lenses but no system.
  • the OM-series:
    • 1972: M-1, later re-badged as OM-1 camera, shown at Photokina & amazed the photographic world.
    • 1972: 50mm f/3.5 macro is the 1st macro lens for a 35mm camera that incorporated floating elements.
    • 1972: 80mm f/4 1:1 macro is the 1st macro lens for 35mm designed for 1:1 reproduction.
    • 1974: OM-1 MD camera (manual)
    • 1975: OM-2 - world's 1st off-the-film (OTF) TTL flash metered camera
    • 1979: OM-1n camera - added flash-ready light in viewfinder; OM-2n, OM-10 (entry-level, limited camera)
    • 1984: Olympus OM-3 (manual with 8 point spot metering), OM-2Spot, OM-4 (auto with 8 point spot metering), OM-20, OM-30; OM2n discontinued;
    • 1985: Olympus OM-707 SLR with built-in auto-focus; Olympus OM-40
    • 1985: 50mm f/2 macro is the 1st 50mm macro from any manufacturer with f/2 aperture.
    • 1986: 90mm f/2 macro is the 1st macro from any manufacturer with f/2 aperture in the 90-105mm range.
    • 1987: Olympus OM-4Ti (titanium; flash sync to 1/2000th sec); OM-1n discontinued;
    • 1988: Olympus OM-101;
    • 1995: Olympus OM-3ti (manual, mechanical; titanium; flash sync to 1/2000th sec; OTF TTL auto flash);
    • 2003: Olympus stops making accessories for its OM-series film cameras & creates a new digital system based on the new Olympus Four Thirds dSLR system standard and its E-1 digital SLR.

Olympus OM camera bodies:

  • OM-1 / M-1 (1972-75):
    • purely mechanical body with mirror lock up
    • battery only required for manual exposure metering.
  • OM-1 MD (1975-78):
    • as for OM-1 but added motor drive option.
  • OM-1n (1978-1987):
    • as for OM-1MD but different hotshoe to allow flash-ready light in viewfinder.
  • OM-2 (1975-1978):
    • aperture-priority automatic metering version of OM-1 with during the exposure off-the-film (OFT) TTL metering, including flash TTL metering for the 1st time.
  • OM-2n (1978-1984):
    • as for OM-2 but different hotshoe to allow flash-ready light in viewfinder.
  • OM-10 / OM-FC (1978-1987):
    • a budget version of the OM-2 with:
      • a separate manual adapter to allow manual setting of shutter speed and no match-needle manual exposure meter
      • less durable top and bottom (plastic)
      • noisier mirror, smaller viewfinder view (93% instead of 97%) but LEDs instead of needle in viewfinder.
      • fixed back and focussing screen, no motor drive option but can use motor winder.
      • no OTF TTL flash only OTF ambient light metering.
  • OM-2SP / OM-2S (1984-1988):
    • as for Om-2n but:
      • program mode auto- exposure with both shutter speed and aperture selected automatically, but lens needs to set at its smallest aperture.
      • single spot metering; no CW metering in manual mode;
      • max. 2min auto-exposure;
      • only in black;
      • max. motor drive speed 3.5fps not 5fps.
  • OM-20 / OM-G (1983-87):
    • upgraded version of OM-10 with
      • built-in manual shutter speed selection, better mode levers, focussing screen & display.
      • sunken hotshoe, motor drive capability, PC flash synchro outlet
  • OM-30 / OM-F (1983-87):
    • as for OM-20 but:
      • in-focus indicator for both legacy MF lenses and the new matched but bulky & slow 35-70mm AF lens.
      • PC flash synchro outlet replaced by a M in-focus trigger cord to allow motorised single or continuous AF which fires the shutter when subject is in focus.
      • uses 5 instead of 2 batteries.
  • OM-3 (1983-1986):
    • similar to the OM-1n with mechanical shutter still (ie. works without batteries) BUT:
      • LEDs instead of match-needle viewfinder; sturdier, sunken hotshoe; up to 1/2000th sec.
      • multi-spot, highlight and shadow spot metering; viewfinder illumination;
      • no self-timer;
      • support for Motor Drive 2 and motorised film rewind;
      • much more expensive and thus not as many around & only in black.
  • OM-4 (1984-1987):
    • as for OM-3 but:
      • not mechanical shutter except for 1/60th sec;
      • auto-exposure with OTF TTL metering
      • electronic self-timer which locks mirror up and closes down lens aperture to minimise vibrations.
  • OM-40 Program / OM-PC (1985-87):
    • not an extension of the OM-30 but of the OM-20 with:
      • TTL flash control;
      • ESP metering - centre and edges are metered separately
      • program exposure as for OM-2SP but not good for TTL flash as selects same aperture - 3 stops from maximum.
      • over-ridable DX film ISO system
  • OM-707 / OM-77 (1986-1991):
    • the only OM camera with true AF (albeit only 1 zone and slow) and 8 AF lenses to match it.
    • supports F280 flash with synch at all shutter speeds to 1/2000th sec.
    • only has Program mode metering.
    • AF assist light
    • built-in winder 1.5fps.
  • OM-4Ti (1987-2003):
    • as for OM-4 but:
      • titanium top & bottom for added strength
      • improved electronics to reduce battery drain
      • supports F280 flash with synch at all shutter speeds to 1/2000th sec.
  • OM-101 PF / OM-88 (1988-1991):
    • not an AF camera but a power focus camera which can use the AF lenses motor to focus manually.
    • Program mode only, optional manual adapter for manual shutter speed selection.
  • OM-3Ti (1995-2003):
    • as for OM-3 but:
      • titanium top & bottom for added strength
      • improved electronics to reduce battery drain
      • supports F280 flash with synch at all shutter speeds to 1/2000th sec.
      • OTF TTL auto flash which unlike in the OM-4Ti though works at all mechanical shutter speeds from 1sec to 1/60th sec allowing for better control over ambient lighting.
  • OM-2000 (1997-2003)
    • mechanical budget OM body actually designed from Cosina (as were 3 zoom lenses to match) and not able to use motor winder/drives.
    • 1/2000 sec. shutter speed, single spot metering, flash synchronization at 1/125 sec., a provison for double exposures
    • fixed focussing screen and back;
    • no dedicated functions with T flashes.
photo/olympusom.txt · Last modified: 2012/08/05 12:03 by gary1