I think it is fair to say that I have a few vintage cameras. Certainly not as many as a lot of collectors but certainly more than your average ‘Happy-Snapper’! However, I must confess that I have never owned an Olympus camera – that is until now.
I chose to bid on this particular camera having read reviews and watched a few YouTube videos extoling the virtues of the Olympus OM-10. Anyone who has bid on items in online auctions will be familiar with the situation where you have seen an item that attracts your attention; you research what similar items are going for or have previously sold for and then you submit a ridiculously low maximum bid before forgetting about it. This was one of those occasions! It transpired that my bid was successful and I am now the owner of an Olympus OM-10.
The Olympus OM-10 was introduced in 1979 and production continued until 1987. It is a lightweight consumer camera and rumour has it, that it was introduced to attract those that wanted a single lens reflex camera at a budget price but of a quality similar to the more professionally oriented range that included the OM-1 and OM-2. At 430grams (without lens) it certainly is lightweight. This lightness is achieved by more use of plastics than in the single digit OM range. That is not to say that it feels cheap.
The camera is small and I found it comfortable to use. In its basic configuration, it is an aperture only / automatic camera which may put of those that like total control of aperture and shutter speed. FEAR NOT! There is a manual adapter that fits to the front of the camera which when selected, allows manual setting of the shutter speed. If you want simple, just select ‘Automatic’; focus; and let the camera do the ‘heavy lifting’ for you! My camera came with the manual adapter. These adapters sell for less than £20 on eBay.
I should add that my camera came with the standard Zuiko f1.8/50mm lens which is highly regarded. Having just shot a short test roll of film, I found its performance as good as any others I have used. This range of lenses are readily available and I shall definitely be on the lookout for more. They are not the cheapest but certainly not the most expensive! I should add that there are many third-party lenses available for the OM-10.
Looking from the back, on the top plate, from left to right, is the film rewind lever which is integrated with the power switch which includes Battery Check, ON, OFF, and Self-timer. (The self timer activates a flashing red light on the front of the camera. This light is also illuminated when checking the battery.) A hot shoe is found on top of the pentaprism.
To the right of the pentaprism is the exposure compensation dial, which is integrated and film ISO dial.
A small slider switch, located on the opposite edge, partly hidden behind the film-advance lever, engages the Bulb and Manual setting mode.
On the far right is the shutter release, film advance lever, and film counter window. There is also an activator switch under the shutter release. This reactivates the illuminated shutter speed display which automatically shuts off after 90 seconds of inactivity. This is a power saving device.
The front of the camera is sparse with only the Manual Adapter socket on the right, and on the left, the rewind button. There is also the self timer/battery check light and beeper.
The film back is non-interchangeable and has nothing other than the substantial viewfinder window located in the middle of the top plate. Film is loaded by lifting the rewind knob to release the hinged back.
On the bottom plate is found the battery chamber cover, Autowinder coupling socket, camera tripod socket, and a pair of electrical contact points.
Thoughts on the Olympus Winder 2
My OM-10 also came with the Olympus winder 2 which allows both immediate frame advance and up to 2.5 frames per second continuous shooting. It requires 4 x AA batteries.
When fitted, the winder provides a hand grip which I personally find very convenient, It also provides an additional shutter release button. When I first tested the camera, I did not switch the winder on and was relying upon the lever wind. Due to the proximity of the shutter release on the winder to that on the camera resulted in my finger straying to that on the winder and me wondering why the shutter wasn’t firing. Confused? Moi? You bet. Note to self: Switch winder on or remove it!
The inclusion of both the manual adapter and winder with the camera at a price lower than most of the similar cameras alone currently on offer leads me to think that I have found a rare bargain. The camera performs flawlessly and is in excellent condition.
Anyone wishing to make their first foray into film photography could do a lot worse than starting with an Olympus OM-10. In its basic configuration, it is light and simple to use. The metering is excellent and should result in acceptable photographs without any difficulty. The manual is clear and well illustrated. A manual can be downloaded here. The addition of the manual adapter opens up further possibilities.
- Size: 136 x 83 x 50 mm
- Image size: 24 x 36 mm
- Weight: 430g (15.17 oz)
- Sensitivity range: ISO25-ISO1600
- Lens: Zuiko f1.8/50mm
- Lens Mount: Olympus OM mount
- Film wind-on: lever
- Rewind film formula: crank
- Shutter: Electronically controlled focal-plane cloth shutter
- Shutter speed: B, 1-1/1000 seconds
- Power source: Two 1.5V LR or AR44 batteries
- Flash synchronisation: X contact
- Viewfinder: Pentaprism with microprism split image matte type
- Viewfinder information: 12 step shutter speed scale and flash charge indicated by LEDs
Sample shots. Fomapan 100 Developed in Spur HRX