Good old Santa Claus came up trumps this year and left me a cracking Olympus OM1 film camera for being such a good boy in 2012! Well, OK then I bought it just before Christmas on Ebay along with a winder and a few lenses. There’s a lot to love about the OM1. It is about the same size as a Leica M camera, way smaller than Canon and Nikon’s offerings of the same period. The viewfinder is without doubt the largest on any 35mm slr – it’s huge and pretty bright. I got it with some decent glass; 50mm f1.4, 35mm f2.8 and a 200mm f4. I love the fact that I can carry the lenses in my pocket without being totally weighed down – they’re tiny, especially the 35. Feature-wise it’s pretty basic, which I love – I used the built in meter for all of these pics below and the shots are consistent throughout. I always shot slightly over what the meter showed which I found matched with what my Sekonic meter read.
I felt a real connection shooting with the OM1 – I guess it reminded me of my first camera, a Nikormat FT2, which was a good bit bulkier to be fair but similar in many ways; for example the shutter speed selector sits just behind the lens instead of on the top plate like many other cameras of the period. Another nice feature (and just like Leica glass) is the aperture dial is at the front of the lens making it a doddle to turn, especially with gloves on. The film rewind release is on the front plate just like a Leica M. The pics were shot on well expired Fuji Superia 400 rated at 800 asa and pushed two stops by RPL. The scans are a bit on the grainy side but I think they suit the subject matter and the environment OK.
The pics were taken on a wee break we took between Christmas and New Year to the Ardanaiseig Hotel not far from Oban in Scotland. The weather wasn’t great to be honest and there was very little available light. Despite having a lovely time we won’t be rushing back there and I’d struggle to recommend the hotel to anyone, especially with young children – unfortunately the experience is not as suggested on their website – shame. I can however thoroughly recommend the Olympus OM1 as a great inexpensive film camera – it’s so much fun to use and is light enough to travel with. Go and buy one now before the word spreads!