If you were to ask any analogue photographer about their most favorite 35mm SLR camera, you’d be bombarded by the number of people who’d mention the Olympus OM-1
The Olympus OM-1 revolutionized SLR cameras. Unlike other models at that time, the OM-1 came in a compact and light design that enhanced its efficiency.
First released in 1972 as the Olympus M1, the camera was later renamed OM-1 in 1973 after Leica disputed the name
Olympus OM-1 Unique Features
If you’re used to the traditional SLR, the OM-1 will take some effort and adjusting to get used to
The first thing you’ll notice about this camera is its small, compact, and lightweight design.
But don’t let this fool you.
The minimalist design of the OM-1 features multiple unique features that make this camera a favorite among many analogue photographers.
One of the most unique features of the OM-1 is its large and bright viewfinder. With the large viewfinder, you can comfortably use the camera with a wide-angle lens.
Another unique feature of the OM-1 is its lifespan.
After renaming the camera as OM-1, Olympus designers improved the camera’s hardiness by making it rustproof.
Let’s not forget about the optics
The Olympus OM-1 comes with the impressive 50MM Zuiko f/1.8 lens, which delivers high-quality shots.
As if that’s not enough
You also get a choice of 16 different lenses to use with the OM-1
And that’s not all.
Unlike other cameras in the OM series, the OM-1 came with a mirror lock-up facility, which makes it suitable for microphotography and astrophotography.
Later in 1974, Olympus released the Olympus OM-1 MD, which came with an inbuilt motor drive. Although the previous OM-1 cameras came with plates where the motor drive could be attached, the 1974 version featured an inbuilt motor.
The motor drive automates the film making it easy to use and more efficient compared to the manual film mechanism.
Olympus cameras are known for their high quality and intuitive design features. And the OM-1 was not left behind.
The minimalist design of the OM-1 allowed innovative placement of the different buttons
On top of the camera, you have
- The on and off light switch,
- A hot-shoe attachment,
- The film advance,
- The ISO and ASA dial and
- Shutter release.
At the front (face) of the camera, you have
- The shutter speed dial located near the lens mount,
- An easy to use aperture ring that you can use to increase from F1.8 to F16
- A focusing ring situated right behind the aperture ring
- A lens release button, and
- A self-timer that gives you 12 seconds to pose.
It also features the SLR’s split-prism that gives more detail in an image and a sharper focus.
Since it’s straightforward, this camera is suitable for beginners and professionals alike. The 50-millimetre lens is ideal for an outdoor photography session.
Shortcomings of the OM-1
The OM-1 comes with a built-in light meter that’s powered by a 1.34 V battery that’s hard to find.
The other shortcoming with the OM-1 is the film advance. Olympus is known for high-quality products. However, the film advance dial feels a bit low quality compared to other parts of the camera.
Would I recommend the OM-1?
The OM-1 is one of the best SLR cameras in the market. It’s small and light, solid and precise, and you won’t find a better viewfinder.
If you’re a beginner at analogue photography, this is the camera for you.