After I got my Leica M4-2, I really wasn’t supposed to get any more cameras. But it has been my dream for a long time to get a black Olympus OM-2n. I’ve been very excited about the Leica and my trusty old Olympys OM-1 has seen less use ever since I got it. My plan was to have setup consisting of only one camera and one lens, but then I happened to spot a very reasonably priced black OM-2n at kameratori.fi. I really couldn’t help myself as an old Olympus fan. Here we are then — I’m now a happy owner of another great Olympus!
Mmmm, aperture priority (drooool)
Like I mentioned, I’ve been enjoying my OM-1 for a long time now. It is by far my all time favourite SLR and also one of the most prettiest cameras I know. And even though I usually don’t collect cameras as such, the OM-2 has always interested me. Olympus SLR’s are like Pokemons to me. I just gotta have them. I really like the black body paint and the fact that it has an aperture priority mode. It’s funny that I happen to like that feature, because my main reason for acquiring an all manual Leica, was to get away from light meters and exposure automation. It is incredibly irrational, that I found an automated OM to be so fascinating. But it does make a nice combo. I’ll shoot the Leica when I really want to slow down and make my own exposures. OM-2n on the aperture priority mode, on the other hand, is really nice for those pointy-and-shooty days.
Olympus draws inspiration from Leica
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I happen to like both Olympys and Leica cameras. After all, the Olympus OM series was very inspired by Leicas and they have actually succeeded in that very well. They are both extremely well built and designed. I’m clearly drawn to that kind of engineering and manufacturing philosophy. Both cameras have their own feel to them and I’m not saying that Olympus feels anything like a Leica, but if you compare them, you can clearly notice some similar, underlying design and engineering principles in both of them.
OM-2n is very similar to OM-1, but it takes modern batteries
OM-2n is exactly the same size and shape as OM-1. The only exterior differences are basically the exposure compensation dial and the on/off -switch, that now has the auto mode added to it.
Olympus’ are the smallest vintage SLR’s in the world. Ideologically I still like OM-1 better because it’s all mechanical. It doesn’t require batteries to work (they only power the light meter). OM-2n does require batteries to work. It has a electronically controlled shutter and it doesn’t do anything without power. This is not my ideal at all, but as long as I have mechanical cameras in the arsenal, I’m willing to enjoy battery operated cameras as well. One set of batteries should last about a year, so no need to worry about running them out frequently.
The good news is that OM-2n takes SR-44 silver oxide batteries, that you can purchase from any store that sells button batteries. OM-1 on the other hand was designed to take mercury batteries, which much be substituted with something else. For some people, that is a slight turn off. If that is a concern, OM-2n might be the solution for you.
They say that the metering on the OM-2n is one of the most accurate ones. Even in difficult situations. I’ve only shot couple of rolls with it, and so far the claim seems to hold water. The exposure compensation is actually very handy, when you run into an argument with the metering system, about how to interpret the lighting situation.
Would I recommend Olympus OM-2n to a friend?
Well heck yes! I still can’t understand why Olympus is so underrated. Considering the build quality and the time and effort that has clearly gone into designing these things, Olympus SLR’s should be more popular. But I suppose that’s not all bad, because the prices are, at least at the moment, very reasonable. The single digit OM’s (OM-1,2,3 and 4) were aimed for the professionals and they still work after 40 years. Well at least they are repairable in case they don’t work. That’s one good thing about these cameras, that they can be fixed, unlike many other plasticy cameras.
Olympus OM-1 review
You might also be interested in my Olympus OM-1 review that I wrote last year. Check it out if you are into these lovely old Olympus cameras!