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“The Olympus OM1n 35mm camera redefined the look,...”

Written on: 08/04/2002 by John Orrell. (1 review written)

Good Points
Timeless classic design that redefined the shape and size of SLRs at its launch in 1972, sending everyone else back to the drawing board; built to last a lifetime; has all the necessary controls and no more; will operate without batteries; big, clear viewfinder belies the camera's small size; film-rewind button on the front of the camera so a film can be rewound while the camera is attached to a motor-drive or tripod

Bad Points
Weak detachable hot-shoe; 1.35V mercury batteries are now hard to get

General Comments
The Olympus OM1n 35mm camera redefined the look, handling and size of SLRs in the early 1970s.

Owned by famous photographers such as Patrick Lichfield and Chris Bonnington, its durability was tested to destruction. It passed.

Bolt one of the excellent Zuiko primes to the front of its durable metal body and you'll have a camera with a simplicity and quality that's hard to beat.

The large-as-life viewfinder (with split-image focussing) shows only the image you're taking and a needle within a simple + and - scale to let you know when you've got the exposure bang on. Metering is center-weighted. The focussing-screen is interchangable through the lens aperture. Mirror-lockup is provided via a switch on the side of the lens-mount.

Unusual design traits are the detachable hot-shoe (not to everyone's taste) and the shutter-speed ring round the throat of the lens-mount, which makes setting the shutter-speed, aperture and focus a simple left-handed operation while the right hand prepares for the correct moment to fire the shutter.

The mechanical shutter will be music to the ears of anyone who appreciates the sound of fine mechanical engineering in motion. At the time of its launch, this camera had the quietest, most shock-free shutter of any SLR available.

With only the minimum controls needed and nothing more, its a pleasure to use. If this camera were a Hi-Fi amplifier it would have only a power switch, a volume control, an input for your CD player and an output for your speakers, but the sound would be incredible!

Without doubt a timeless design, which has been voted by numerous photo-magazines world-wide as "the SLR of the century".

Buy one and use it, before they all end up in glass cases like early Leicas.

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