MOPA - My Own Private Assumptions

Optimus Prime

Here I finally got to say a few words about the little guy that served as my main film camera for over a year. It is not Nikon nor Leica( idk if I even ever own one), but a beautiful, consumer friendly Olympus OM10.

The story begins when I decided to get some vintage lenses for my Sony A7 and got a good deal from KEH.COM, scoring an Olympus Zuiko family for less than $100(28mm F2.8, 50mm F1.8 and 135mm 2.8, although I am still trying to figure out why I need the last one). Shortly after, my friend asked me, what I want for my bday, and I thought — I have some vintage lenses, I need a 35mm camera to match. So again, thanks to KEH.COM, I’ve got an Olympus body for $30.

The camera itself is a beauty. Silver and black, really small, probably even smaller than my A7, works like a charm. I did not pay much attention at that time, but the camera only worked with batteries and in aperture priority mode- which will probably be the only major drawback. The obvious pros would definitely be the size and weight( you can keep it in your pocket pretty much), the aperture priority mode never failed me once, the viewfinder is bright, with a split focusing screen. There is a scale in the viewfinder, that tells you your shutter speed, which is really convenient. The speeds are from 1 second to 1/1000th of a second. You can set both film speed and exposure compensation on a knob on the top. If you shoot high-speed film(over1600), it might be an issue with Olympus, and you will need an adapter to shoot manually — I’ve got mine from the guy on eBay for $18. To use Olympus in manual mode(although it’s a stretch to call it manual, it’s just an aperture priority override) you need to turn the dial on top from Auto to Manual and set the shutter speed on the adapter.There is a bulb setting for those who like to work with very long exposures. It is situated on the same dial as ASA speed, as a little knob. Actually, there is an issue with that damn knob!:) There are 3 positions: Auto at 3 o’clock, B at 1 and manual 5. To switch from one to another, you almost always have to move the lever that cocks the shutter out of your way, and when the shutter is cocked, it is almost impossible( or I am just clumsy).

Both the film winding and rewinding are manual. Over a year I had only one issue when somehow the  film did not wind properly and I ended up with an empty roll of film. When the film is done, turn the R knob in front of the camera from the vertical to horizontal position and rewind the film manually. Unfortunately, there is no multiple exposure option per se, but you can rewind the film back and try experimenting with that.

I am pretty sure that camera used old mercury batteries, although now it takes two SR44. Usually,  it lasts you up to around 20–30 rolls. There is a battery check setting together with on/off dial, which lights up a little indicator on the front of the camera and makes a beeping sound.

Olympus has a pretty good selection of Zuiko lenses, and most of them are cheap. My go to lens was 50mm F1.8 until I acquired an F1.4 version( cheers to folks at Film Photo Gear community on Facebook). There are also a pretty awesome 100mm and 135 mm lenses, both F2.8. You can get a winder too, but personally — it adds weight, and pretty ugly;)

To sum up, it’s a wonderful little camera, beautiful in its chrome glory, very versatile and can easily compete with Nikons and Pentaxes out there, on a budget. I love my Optimus Prime!

P.S. if you are looking for a completely manual option, check out the original OM-1! I am getting one in black and will do a review soon.

I will post some photos taken on this camera down below.