When I'm not shooting digital commercial images for clients I shoot old film cameras and develop the films at home - or at least i did when i had some time! In recent months my old film cameras have been gathering dust on the shelf and I've fallen into the bad habit of leaving half shot rolls of film in them for ages and ages..... but no longer!! I've decided to start a project to regularly shoot film with these cameras (imaginatively entitled project:film). To make it (even) more interesting I'm going to use a different camera and film each time and share my experiences with the world through this blog (lucky world eh)?!
I'm an inveterate collector of old film cameras and have amassed a small (but growing) collection, so as well as making sure i shoot some film regularly it will give me a perfect excuse to keep these old timers in full working order (they're working cameras not display items - although they do look pretty cool) I'll therefore give a review of each Camera, the film I've used and just share my experiences of using them in practice as well as a couple of shots taken with it (this may also provide me with a thinly veiled excuse to buy more 'obsolete' cameras... ....you know, so i can review em) ;)
I took the OM2n out for a stroll along the canal near my house to an abandoned Mill yesterday to finish off the film I'd left in it - a roll of Kodak 'Double X' which had been sat in the camera since last summer(rubbish I know)!!! As a result I have totally fallen back in love with the small but perfectly formed OM2n - it's almost as old as I am and in much better shape!!!
So what about the camera itself? The OM2n is such a finely balanced machine and feels very solidly built, it is tiny for an SLR camera and was small against it's competition back in the day which means it is teeny tiny compared to more modern cameras (and especially my full frame DSLR) that being said it doesn't skimp on features and it was the top of the line Olympus Camera when it was released. It has Full Manual and Aperture Priority mode - the controls are very ergonomic with an aperture ring on the lens and shutter speeds being controlled by a ring located on the lens mount which means you can control aperture and shutter speeds with one hand and operate the winding mechanism and shutter release with the other - it's a very well laid out design and something which i think is unique to the OM series of cameras.
Exposure compensation and ISO is set with a dial on the top plate it also has a very easy to use and (in my example) accurate analogue 'off the film' light meter which takes a reading from the film to guage the correct lighting - the output for this is a tiny mechanical needle which you need to balance in the centre of the exposure range - the lack of diodes and flashing displays is another reminder of the this cameras vintage - the fact that is still works perfectly is testament to the original build quality.
I shot the following images with the 28mm f2.8 Zuiko lens which is a lovely compact wide angle prime lens and super sharp - in fact this lives on this camera most of the time and makes a good walk about lens with a relatively wide angle of view.
I also have the 50mm 1.8mm Zuiko lens for this camera and again it is beautifully sharp and well put together and is equally light and compact - the Zuiko range of lenses were Olympus' premium/pro brand of glass and are among the finest classic lenses you can get - super sharp shooters.
The plus side of keeping a half shot roll of film in your camera for nearly a year is you completely forget whats on it and end up with a random collection of shots all lumped together on one film - in this case one frame is a trip to London last summer and the next frame is an abandoned Mill in Yorkshire in mid winter :)
As far as the film goes Kodak Double X - a classic motion picture 35mm film - this was my first experience with it and i like it a lot, nice grain to it and resolves shadows and detail nicely, it's an ISO 400 film and the above images were all shot at box speed and developed at home in Kodak HC-110 developer. I've got another roll of Double X safely tucked up in the freezer and I'll definitely get some more if have the opportunity.
You can pick an OM2n with a standard 50mm Zuiko lens for about £70 (the 28mm is about £35) so it makes a very good (if not mega cheap) 35mm film camera - in fact I'd even go so far as to say it is my favourite film camera.......for now at least....... for the price (you would easily pay double for the nearest rival Nikon or Canon) the size and build quality and excellent Zuiko lenses it's hard to beat the OM2n.
My next review will be of the awesome Canon EOS 600 which fulfills the mega cheap criteria admirably - but more about that next time! :)
Here's a few more images I've shot with the Olympus OM2n over the last year.....