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Film Camera Review, Olympus OM 10/20/30/40 35mm MF SLR Film Cameras

Olympus OM 10/20/30/40 35mm MF SLR Film Cameras
A quick look at the development timeline of the double-digit manual focus Olympus OM SLR film cameras.

Olympus OM consumer SLR cameras, which carry the 2-digit nomenclature - OM-10, OM-20, OM-30, and OM-40, with a different model designation for the US market, started with the introduction of the OM 10 in 1978. The first model, the OM-10, was introduced six years after the professional model OM-1, and three years after the OM-2. All OM models use the same line of Olympus OM lenses, giving them all the Depth of View (DOF) preview functionality, which was standard on most OM Lenses.

The double-digit consumer models featured smaller, fixed viewfinders, had generally slower top shutter speeds, and did not have the same connectivity to off-camera flashes as their seniors. These cameras were also manufactured with lower-cost components, where the rigors of their moving parts are not rated for as many activations as the professional line. Though well built, the robustness and the solid feel of the single-digit models are just not very apparent with this line.

    Olympus OM10 (review + experience)

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With the onset of autofocus cameras into the market, Olympus released two motor-driven bodies which are derivatives of the original OM series the OM-707 and the OM-101, and later a rebranded Cosina model, the OM-2000.

Olympus OM 10/20/30/40 Series Cameras

Olympus OM-10, 1978-1987

Olympus OM-10, 1978-1987
The first consumer OM series body was launched in 1979. The OM-10 offered aperture-priority automatic exposure and exposure compensation for more complicated lighting situations and for more advanced users. A selection dial sits on the top plate with click selection for Aperture Priority, B, and Manual Adapter, which is an external plug-in adapter that allows for shutter speed control. If the Manual Adapter is not plugged in and the camera switch is set to the Manual Adapter then the camera shutter speed goes to a fixed 1/60 for flash work.

A little-known fact, the focusing screen of the OM-10 is actually interchangeable. It shares the same focusing screen as the OM-1, but the extra protruding tab needs to be cut off as the OM10 doesn't have a placeholder for it. Doing it is not as easy as reading about it actually.

Olympus OM-10 QD, 1980

Olympus OM-10 QD, 1980
The OM-10 QD, available only in black, is a special version with a fixed data back ( the equivalent of a Recordata Back 3) to print the time or date on your pictures. The finder screen is now fixed, as well as the back. It can accept the winder but not the motor drive.

Olympus OM-10 FC, 1982

Olympus OM-10 FC, 1982
The OM-10 FC is exclusive to the US, the same model as the original OM-10, but sold in combination with the Manual Adapter 1 (for the OM-10 the Manual Adapter was an option, sold separately). The OM-10 FC was available in chrome and in black.

Olympus OM-20 (OM-G in the US), 1983-1987

Olympus OM-20 (OM-G in the US), 1983-1987

Olympus OM-G

This model introduces several improvements over the OM-10 - a shutter speed ring instead of the external Manual Adapter, an exchangeable camera grip (Steady Grip 2), a better Mode Selector Lever and Exposure Compensation Dial, larger controls, matte (Lumi-Micron) area on the focusing screen, Manual Mode Indicator, Exposure Compensation Indicator, and shutter speed number LEDs in the viewfinder display, sunken Hot Shoe, Motor Drive capability and PC flash synchro bus.

The OM-20 was available in chrome and in black and it was sold side by side with the OM-10.

Olympus OM-30 (OM-F in the US), 1983-1987

Olympus OM-30 (OM-F in the US), 1983-1987

Olympus was the first thrust into the world of autofocus. The camera comes with three special features - an In-Focus Indicator that works with all standard lenses to indicate correct focusing, and two dedicated functions that work in combination with the special stand-alone autofocus 35-70mm/F4 zoom lens that was introduced simultaneously.

When used on other OM bodies, the lens functions as a semi-autofocus, with autofocusing triggered with a button on the lens. On the OM-30 the autofocus mode can also be triggered by the shutter release button. Motorized single autofocus or continuous autofocus is possible with the combination of a Winder, or Motor Drive, and the M.In-Focus Trigger Cord. Available in chrome and in a black finish.

Olympus OM-40 (OM-PC in the US), 1985-1987
Olympus OM-40 Program (OM-PC in the US), 1985-1987

The OM-40 Program is a throwback to the OM-20, with functionalities that are of more interest to most photographers, two of them being TTL flash control (per the OM-2), and Electro-Selective Pattern (ESP) metering, an early form of matrix metering that works that compensates the exposure based on the EVs of the edge and the center of the frame.

Other features include an extended ASA range of up to 3200, Program exposure as per the OM-2 SP, and overridable DX-decoding. The OM-40 has a modified, rubberized body, available only in black.

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