Olympus OM-1n 35mm SLR Film Camera

Olympus OM-1n 35mm SLR Film Camera

Introduction and Overview

One of the 'iconic' greats of the 35mm SLR film camera era, the Olympus OM-1n, a manually operated 35mm single-lens reflex camera, has remained a favorite with collectors and enthusiasts and has retained its charm as one of the most compact 35mm SLR film camera ever produced.

Olympus OM-1n, Right front
Starting out as the Olympus M-1 which forms the basis of the OM system in 1972, the camera was renamed OM-1, evolved to the OM-1 MD in 1974, now capable of taking on the autowinder and motor drive system, and eventually to the OM-1n in 1979. The camera came with a redesigned film advance lever, a flash ready LED in the viewfinder, and automatic flash synchronization with the new Flash Shoe 4.

Labeled under the 1-digit series, the OM-1 is professionally orientated, optimized with advanced features and durability. The OM system saw the introduction a wide selection of OM-mount Zuiko branded lenses, renowned for their compactness and image quality, and a varied range of peripherals and accessories.

The OM-1n stayed in production until 1987.

Olympus OM-1n Camera Review

Olympus OM-1n 35mm SLR Film Camera

The Olympus OM-1n is a fully manual focus and a center-the-needle manual exposure 35mm single-lens reflex camera with a focal plane shutter and ring controlled shutter speed ring capable of a shutter speed range from 1 to 1/1000 second, and B. Film ISO speed rating is 25 to 2600.

Olympus OM-1n, Left front

Olympus OM-1n, Top detail
The camera is also fitted with a 4 to 12-second delay use controllable self-timer, mirror-lockup mechanism, and depth-of-field preview via a button located on the lens barrel itself, supports user interchangeable viewing screen and is motor drive adaptable.

Exposure is center-weighted open-aperture TTL reading powered by a twin CDS cell system located on either side of the eyepiece. Flash unit connectivity is via a removable Flash Shoe 4.

Basic Camera Features

Almost the perfect 10 in conceptualization and design, the OM-1n is available in both chrome and black.
Olympus OM-1n, Front

The front of the camera is simple and elegant with only the Rewind Release Lever and the Self-Timer control on the left of the lens mount housing, where the Shutter Speed Ring is located. On the vertical of the housing is the Mirror Lockup Lever, on the left and Flash Synchro Socket, on the right.
Olympus OM-1n, Top

On the top plate, right at the extreme left is the Rewind Crank which is integrated with the pull-up Camera Back Release, beside which id the On/Off switch for the exposure system. Flash SHoe 4, if available, is fitted to the top of the pentaprism, while on the right of the top plate, the film ISO dial, with a push-button control, Shutter Release, Film Advance Crank and the Film Counter Window.
Olympus OM-1n, Back

Aside from the super large viewfinder window, the back of the camera is plain. Film back is hinged-type, interchangeable with Recordata Back 1, and 250 Film Back 1.
Olympus OM-1n, Bottom
The bottom plate of the OM-1n carries the Battery Chamber and Motor Drive Socket, both capped, the Tripod Socket, and a pair of Motor Coupling Terminals.
Olympus OM-1n, Film box

The film box is the Olympus easy load system with the standard film chamber, shutter curtain, film advance sprocket, and slotted take-up spool. Make sure that the film lead is properly inserted into one of the slot opening of the take-up spool before cranking and firing the mandatory shots to properly engage the film advance mechanism.

Viewfinder Info

Olympus OM-1n, Viewfinder info
The extra large viewfinder, and superlarge 97% coverage viewfinder screen, one of the most alluring traits of the OM-1's, is a simple microprism/split image matt type default (interchangeable with 14 other options).

The screen displays a center-the-needle Exposure Index on the lower half of the left side of the screen. Correct exposure value is indicated when the needle in centered on the index.

Over- and underexposure can be adusted by varying the shutter speed or lens aperture and this will be indicated by the upward or downward movement of the needle (+ for overexposure, - for underexposure).

Manual Exposure Control

Setting the correct exposure value, as you like it, can be done as 'aperture-priority' i.e, pre-setting the lens aperture value while using the shutter speed to center-the-needle, or as 'shutter-priority' i.e. doing it in reverse, by pre-setting the shutter speed, and varying the lens aperture opening to get to the correct exposure value.

Mirror Lockup

Olympus OM-1n, Mirror Lockup, Self Timer
Mirror lockup is independent of the rest of the camera's mechanical connections. Turn the lever anticlockwise (if you are looking at it right on from the front left side of the camera) to activate the lockup and vice versa to deactivate.

Self-Timer

The Self-Timer's function is independent of the shutter release button as well. After forwarding the film frame, start by turning the Self-Timer lever anticlockwise till it stops. This will expose a smaller secondary lever/actuator which you need to flick lightly to the right to activate the timing sequence. The lever is an On/Off manual control with which you can start and stop the timing sequence by flicking the lever it back to the left.

You can still use the shutter release button even when the Self-Timer is primed.

Battery

The OM-1n requires a PX625 mercury type 1.35V cell button to power its metering system. This can be replaced with the use of 1.4V zinc-air hearing aid battery or Wein cells. You might also need a PX625/LR44 battery adapter to fit in the replacement battery. I did mine with a piece of hard paper cut to the height of the battery chamber and wound just right to fit the smaller cell size.

Using The Camera

The best part of the experience was, of course, using the camera itself. First, the OM series cameras (except for the OM-10 and the Cosina made OM-2000) are the only SLR film cameras that come with a shutter speed ring mounted on the lens housing mount.

Olympus OM-1n, Zuiko Auto-W 35mm f/2

This meant that managing the focus ring, the aperture setting ring, with its location outermost on the lens barrel, and adjusting the shutter speed ring can all be done with the left hand, while the right hand is used to hold the camera and to operate the shutter. Built tough and robust, the OM-1 series is equal to the task with adaptability to the motor-drive system.

The camera is an equally smooth operator, with its super large viewfinder, silky smooth film advance, a very reassuring and confident 'clunk-and-thump' mirror reflex and shutter actuation, and with a weight of only 680 grams when fitted with a Zuiko Auto-S 50mm f/1.8, The OM-1n is no strain at all, both to the hand, and shoulders.

Image quality is, of course, respondent to the highly acknowledged OM Zuiko lenses.


Resource Links:
Camera review: Olympus OM-1N by Sandeep Sumal | EMULSIVE
Olympus OM-1 Camera Review

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