35mm Camera

Going Analog with My new/Old Olympus OM-2.

A couple of weeks ago I bought an Olympus OM 2, and slew of lenses on eBay for less than 200 dollars. I bought the camera kit for a couple of reasons. First the lens selection, while all manual was pretty outstanding. Second, those lenses will work on my OMD EM-5 with an adapter, and I’ve been interested fin trying that for sometime. Third, the OM2 was a top of the line 35mm camera in its day back in the mid 1970’s. Then there was the design and nostalgia thing pulling at my heart.

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This camera really is a beautiful piece of design and innovation. The OM2, like the all manual OM1 featured a shutter setting ring right behind the lens mount. This allows the photographer to focus, set the f-stop, and shutter speed with one hand. At the time, this was the only camera on the market that allowed you to do that. Compared to my 2012 OMD, this camera is a tank, but in 1975 it was small, and light compared to most other models.

After getting the camera late last week I installed new batteries, bought some film, and did some test shooting to make sure everything works. The camera and lenses look almost mint for something that is 37 years old. That doesn’t mean there aren’t issues with the shutter, or seals, or any number of things that can leak light or hose your analog experience. I haven’t gotten my film back yet, but I’m sure it’ll be fine. While shooting with the OM2 I was struck by how quiet the experience was. Not the sound of the camera, but the experience.

The OM2 like so many cameras of the day, doesn’t offer the instant tech feedback that even the simplest of digital cameras give you. When you look through the viewfinder all you see is the split focus ring, and rudimentary light meter. Your in focus or not. Your exposure is right or not. ISO is set by the film you installed, and you can’t change it. By using a camera that has none of the digital feedback, no histogram, levels, exposure compensation, iso settings etc. my shooting experience became very quiet and focused. I wasn’t interrupted by all the instant feedback the LED screen on my OMD offers. Instead I focused more, got in the zone, and hopefully produced some decent images.

After using it for a week now, I probably won’t be dropping my digital cameras anytime soon. The OM2 is a blast to shoot with, and the lenses it came with are great. But, 37 years of ever improving technology has me sold on digital imaging. I’m in love with the OMD and what it can do. I’m sure I’ll use the OM2. I know I’ll use the lenses. I probably won’t use them as my daily gear though.