Olympus OM-10 35mm SLR Film Camera

Olympus OM-10 35mm Analog SLR

Introduction and Overview

Olympus OM-10, Side Front
One of the more popularly recommended crank-and-wind 35mm film SLR camera for those looking at going into film photography, especially for newbies, is the low cost and very affordable entry-level Olympus OM-10 35mm Film SLR camera.

Introduced in 1979 as the first of the 2-digit series OMs, the OM-10 was designed for the consumer market, sold side by side with their semi-professional counterpart, the 1-digit series OM SLRs. This aperture-priority 35mm film SLR is also equipped with the OTF Direct Metering System, as seen on the Olympus OM-2n, a highly regarded and unique option that still remains unmatched and hard to duplicate even to this day.

What sets the camera apart is the fact that the OM-10 can be used with all of Olympus OM's series of lenses, the Zuiko's, which are renowned for their image quality, and unique in a way that each lens is designed with a built-in depth-of-field preview button. The OM-10 can also be fitted with the OM Autowinder 1 or Autowinder 2, making the body an integral part of the interchangeable OM system.

Introduction to the Olympus OM10, Video 1 of 2

Olympus OM-10 35mm SLR Film Camera

The Olympus OM-10, weighing in at 430 gram, is an Aperture-Priority Autoexposure mode camera with a center-weighted light metering system.. It is fitted with an electronically controlled focal plane shutter with a shutter speed range from 2 to 1/1000 second. A manual adapter, with a full range of 11 manual shutter speeds (1 to 1/1000 second) is available as an option, which will permit the OM-10 to be used in Shutter-Priority mode.

Olympus OM-10, Top oblique

The OM-10 also comes with a self-timer, +2EV exposure compensation in 1/2 stops, film ISO range from 25 to 1600 (which can be extended to 3200 via the exposure compensation method), battery check function, and connectivity to the Olympus Autowinder 1 or 2 via a coupling and electrical contacts.

The OM-10 is normally available in chrome, and a later addition of a Quartz Date black version, and on a limited production scale, an all-black version of the camera. The film backs on these cameras are non-interchangeable.


Basic Camera Features

Elegant in both chrome or black, the top plate of the camera sports the rewind lever which is integrated with the Battery Check/ON/OFF/Self Timer selection dial on the left, a fitted hot-shoe on top of the pentaprism, and on the right, the shutter button, the integrated film ISO (25-1600) dial and mode selector dial, film forward crank, and film counter window.

Olympus OM-10, Top

Olympus OM-10, Shooting Mode Slider
A small slider switch (partly hidden behind the film-advance lever) engages the Bulb and Manual setting mode.

Hard to discern initially, unless you have been very thorough with the instruction manual, is the Exposure Compensation dial, which is integrated and shares the same film ISO pointer.

To adjust for compensation, lift the dial and move the pointer up (+ for high key or overexposure) or down (- for low key or underexposure) by the required 1/2 steps. Do the maths and you will find that it is not possible to obtain (-) compensation for ASA 1600 or the (+) compensation for ASA 25 settings.

Olympus OM-10, Front

The front of the camera is equally sparse with only the Manual Adapter socket on the right, and on the left, the rewind button (another innovation from Olympus), and the Piezzo electronic for the Self Timer/Battery Check light and beeper. Except for the viewfinder window, the back is all plain.

Olympus OM-10, Back

The bottom plate houses the battery compartment cover, and (again different from the 1-series OM's) an exposed Autowinder coupling, and a pair of electrical contacts.

Olympus OM-10, Bottom


Viewfinder Info

Olympus OM-10, Viewfinder Info
The stark and simple viewfinder, simplicity in itself, is fitted with a non-changeable matte type screen with microprism/split image focusing screen. Image coverage is 93%.

The screen is bright and clear and comes with a pop-out style shutter speed and flash ready indicator.

A red LED is displayed alongside the indicated shutter speed selected by the camera at the lens aperture you set.


Aperture-Priority Autoexposure

Aperture-Priority Autoexposure is the way of the OM-10. Turn the camera on, that the shooting mode you get into. You’re in charge of focusing and choosing the aperture setting, and the camera figures out what the shutter speed should be. This is the mode most useful for newbies or for those just getting in (film) photography.

Manual Exposure Control

Olympus OM-10, Manual Adapter
The manual adapter, which plugs into the right front of the camera, lets you capture images in shutter-priority mode, meaning that you first set the shutter speed, then as you frame the image, adjusts the aperture of the lens till the LED coincides with the manual speed you set.

Press the shutter and the exposure will be spot on.

You might notice that there is two type of Manual Adapters available (see image). The two are identical actually, one being the optional item which was sold separately, and the other as part of a kit package codenamed Olympus OM-10 FC.


Battery

Lo and behold!. The OM-10 uses a couple standard readily available 1.5V SR or LR44 batteries. No worries here about having to hunt around for the discontinued 1.35V batteries as required for the OM-1.


Using The Camera

The compact OM-10, fitted with, say, the Zuiko 50mm f/1.8, weighs in at only 606 grams. This should be light enough for you to carry around and not feel bothered by its bulk or weight. Although it may not have the same rugged build as those of the 1-digit series, the camera is a very capable performer, and should not in any way, hinder your interest in the analog.

Olympus OM-10, Top Front

One feature which you might find interesting about the OM-10 is when used in self-timer mode, the mirror flips up the mirror as soon as you press the shutter. This is equivalent to having a camera with a mirror lockup ability. Good for landscape and macro shots, where you would expect camera and mirror vibration to be at its minimum, using the timer may also save you the bother of carrying a cable release.


EndNote

The Olympus OM-10 remains as one of most commercially successful models from Olympus, sold in millions, the reason for its easy availability and easy pricing low prices on the used market today. Starting with this camera means that you can start low, and as you step up your enthusiasm with additional Zuiko lenses, flash unit, and the autowinder, upscaling your system to that of the 1-digit OM series is equally painless.


Resource Links:
Favourite Cameras: Olympus OM-10
Olympus OM-10 - Camera Review

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