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Olympus Optical Co., Ltd. Japan

Olympus OM-1


Olympus OM-1

The very first model was presented at the Photokina of Cologne in 1972 and was called the Olympus M-1.

So many excellent pages are written about OM-1, that I am not even going to try to write anything new or unrevealed about this marvelous trailblazer of the SLR cameras.

The OM-1 is an all-mechanical very compact SLR. All dimensions of the body are 10 - 20 mm smaller than any contemporary SLR. As a counterpoint to the small outer dimensions it has a surprisingly large viewfinder with interchangeable screens and a fixed prism. Through-the-lens (TTL) exposure metering is controlled by a needle in the viewfinder. OM-1n is mainly the same but has some very usefull new features like a viewfinder LED, that indicates flash state of readines and flash sufficiency. OM-1n has also a new film advance lever. Rumour has it, that over 30 redesigns were done.



In a picture OM-1 has it's original "chromnose" lens. I am not sure but I have my suspicions that it is one of those urban legends, that the quality of these chromed lenses are superior compared to later versions. Actually the truth is, that a best performing standard 50mm Zuiko lens is the latest, so called "Made in Japan" version"

A rather uncommon feature in Olympus SLR cameras is the shutter speed adjusting. It is done by a ring round the lens mount. (Nikkormat) The dial on the top is for adjusting the film speed.


MORE ABOUT OM-1 Photography in Malaysia
(an external link)


I have seen a German characterization "rustikale" of the Icarex. It is true, that Icarex is big and angulated but you can also say positively, that it has an individual look.
In spite of the smaller size the winner here is Olympus both in a strugle of survival and style. Olympus was in 1972 what the other camera makers tried to follow durign the next decade.

Main Specifications

35mm Single Lens Reflex
Lens Mount: Olympus OM Mount, bayonet type.
Shutter: Focal plane shutter, ring mounted control, with speeds from 1 to 1 /1000 second plus B.
Hot Shoe Socket:
Built-in. Accessory Shoe 1 or "Fixed" Type for original M-1 or OM-1 bodies.
Flash Contacts:
FP-X with switch type contact at synchro socket, X contact at shoe: With electronic flash (X) 1 sec to 1/60 sec; with class "M" Bulbs (X) 1 sec to 1/15 sec; with Class "F" Bulbs (X) 1 sec to 1/15 sec; with focal plane Bulbs (FP) 1/60 sec to 1/1000 sec.
Viewfinder: Pentaprism type wide-vision (97% of actual picture field) finder.
Viewfinder Magnification: 0.92X at infinity with 50mm lens
Viewfinder Apparent Field of View:
23° 30' & 35°
Focusing Screens: Standard screen,1-1 Microproism-matte type. Interchangeable with any 13 additional screens.
Reflex Mirror: Quick return type with mirror Lock-up control.
Film Loading: Easy loading (Olympus EL system)
Film Advance: (Manual) Ratchet type film advance. One stroke or several short strokes. (Motor Drive with MD and OM-1n model only)

Film Rewinding: Rewind crank with automatic resetting rewind release lever.
Metering: Via Lever on top panel, Metering ON/OFF Switch
Exposure Measurement: Two CdS (Cadmium Sulphide) cells located on either side of the eyepiece provide through -the-lens open aperture light measurement.
Film Speed Range: ASA 25-1600
Exposure Range: EV1.2-EV16.9 with 55mm f1.2 at ASA100; EV 2-17 (ASA 100 with F1.4 50mm lens); EV2.35 - EV17.35 withh 50mm f1.8 at ASA100.
Self-Timer: Lever system with rortation angle 180°. Approx. 4-12 second delay lever type; Action started via start lever hidden behind Self timer lever. It can be stopped and reset after actuation.
Camera back: Removable hinge type control by Mounting Pin. Interchangeable with Recordata Back 1/2 /3 (OM-1n) and 250 Film Back 1/2.
Tripod Socket: As per JIS standard
Battery: 1.35V mercury battery Mallory PX625, or equivalent .
Dimensions & Weights: Body only: 510g, Body with f/1.8 lens: 136mm x 83mm x 81mm 680g.

©2007 Reijo Lauro