My first experience with a SLR- Olympus OM-10

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Last week I was browsing eBay for used SLR & found more than ten 35mm film cameras listed by a single seller from Surat, Gujrat. He listed many hard to find vintage camera on eBay last week including Olympus TRIP-325, Canon CANONET, Yashica Minimatic-C among the rangefinder and Olympus OM-10, OM-1, OM-2000, Nikon FM10, Canon AV-1, Pentax K100, etc among the SLRs.

In this whole range of film cameras OLYMPUS TRIP-35 rangefinder attracted me which he was selling for 1500 rupees but I noticed that TRIP-35 doesn’t have a rangefinder instead one has to manually set the focusing distance in the camera. Since I’m very bad at guessing distance so I went looking for other options & found Olympus OM-10 to be the only affordable option (Rs-3800 + 300 for shipping).

He was selling OM-10 body with Zuiko  35-70mm lens. As many of my Flickr contacts are using this camera with Zuiko 1.8  50 mm prime lens so I called seller & asked him if he had a Zuiko prime lens. He said he has one but that lens is with OM-1 body, which is completely a manual camera. Initially he denied to ship OM-10 with Zuiko 1.8 50mm lens but later on he agreed to that.

Few hours later he called me back saying Zuiko 1.8 has some fungus in it but can be cleaned easily & he also said he can also do that cleaning himself. He cleaned that lens & again called me saying that slight fungus is still there but that would not going to affect the image quality & if tried to remove could result in damaging the lens coating .

Finally I purchased that OM10 with Zuiko 1.8 50mm lens on 7 August & it reached me on 11 August.  Upon the first look camera body appeared just perfect but then my eyes caught the lens. The cosmetic condition of the lens was beyond my acceptance and within 24 hours of its receiving I’d experienced problem with almost everything on that lens.

First thing that I noticed was the focus ring. It was not possible to turn the ring beyond 3 meters on that lens as the focus ring was appeared to be jammed. That means taking picture of something beyond this distance wasn’t possible. Later on I noticed it’s also not possible to turn the aperture ring to f/16.

Anyways I purchased Kodak Ultramax 400 film next day & asked shopkeeper to load the film. After loading the film when he forwarded the film the shutter clicked by itself  the moment film advancing lever was released. He repeated this three times & the same thing happened every time- the shutter clicked by itself. With all this shopkeeper declared that there is a defect in camera & it could ruin my film.

Thanks to god, we somehow sorted that problem out by reloading the film. We concluded that if film advancing lever is released very gently the shutter or the camera will behave normally. That shopkeeper, who claimed himself a photographer, also told me that the shutter of the OM-10 is made up of cloth & isn’t very good.

Since I was skeptical about the shopkeeper’s view on OM-10 ( he was trying to convince me to return OM-10 & purchase a Nikon or Praktica SLR from him instead), I chose “ first try a film roll & then come to any decision about OM-10” option.

Just reaching Microbiology department of my University I took the first shot with Om-10. It was me standing against the wash basin mirror of the toilet. The lightning condition was very poor but since I’d to finish that roll by the nest day evening I rather took that shot.

 Look who's hiding behind that OM-10

Camera metered 1 second shutter speed which I reduced to 1/30 or 1/60 something by lifting & turning the film ASA dial. I set it to –2 to get that shutter speed. I set the aperture wide open to f/1.8.

The overall image turned out to be highly underexposed & most part of it being out of focus. I blame it completely on light conditions.

On reaching home I took couple of pictures of mom on the roof of my house at f/1.8 & f/2.8 & shutter speed at 1/60 and 1/200 but not beyond that as it was cloudy day and I didn’t want to risk the chance of underexposure.

My mother

Rest of the day I spent working at our shop so didn’t got a chance to try it in the evening light except one at Tire puncture repair shop around 5 pm in the evening.


Next day when Shree, my cousin, returned from her school I found that she had orange, white & green colors streaks on her cheeks. She actually celebrated Independence day at her play school. She was looking adorable with that colors. I took out my OM-10 the very next moment from the cupboard and fired three shots though very carefully. You should be very careful when you’re photographing a subject like my sister Shree on an expensive and unpredictable medium- the film.

my sister Shree

 Shree & her Kodak KB12

Another one of her

I’d also tried OM-10 Mohit- He's one of the readily available model to my portraits in indoor light condition of a classroom that day. We prepared composition  of medium for culturing some bacteria and were waiting upstairs for that medium to be autoclaved. I thought this as the best opportunity to take out my camera as our instructor was not in the class.





By that time I was only able to complete 15 exposures so my friend DusDushyant shooting confidently through his Canon PS A480 hyant suggested going somewhere to complete the roll. We both went to Bhimgoda Barrage and Chilla. By that time ( around 3pm) the sky was becoming clear and sun was bright so I followed the sunny 16 rule to avoid overexposure. I also considered metering from Dushyant’s Canon A480 compact camera at ISO 400. His camera metered 1/2000 at f/4.5 in Central-Weighted metering mode. I considered that readings & tried to achieve similar parameters on OM-10.                                                                                                                                                    

Object in the mirror...............

 My bike- Hero HOnda Super Splendor (125cc)


 Shadow of the two

    Dushyant trying burnout Rajaji National Park




Footprints of Chittal/Spoted Deer


Another one of me


............Riding back


 Last one of me (taken using Canon A480)

You can see from the results that  the camera and the film performed quite well on almost every photo. The last image has been taken from a digital point and shoot camera so you can easily point out the difference.

You might be wondering why in this age of digital I’m moving to film from digital? Well the answer is pretty much simple. I want a SLR but can’t afford a digital one. Even if the running cost of a film SLR according to my needs included it is still cheaper than a digital SLR. Plus in last few months I spent lot of time on images in Photoshop to achieve the colors, tones and grains that film gives. So I decided to make this move even though I’m going to miss the convenience of instant results, preview & delete functions of DSLR to name a few

As I mentioned before the cosmetic condition of the Zuiko f/1.8 50mm lens was not good & also there were defects with the lens focus and the aperture rings. Though while we were at Chilla I found that it was possible to turn the focus ring upto infinity if the aperture ring was set to f/8 or f/11. Since I was using a SLR for the first time I didn’t know if that was normal for a lens.

Anyway I decided to send it back to the seller and it reached him two days ago.

Now since I’ve already sent that camera back to seller, that seller has given these options:

  1. Purchase Pentax K1000 with f/2 50mm prime lens without paying extra money; or
  2. Purchase Pentax K1000 with f/1.4 50mm prime lens plus  f/2   50mm prime lens  by paying extra 2000 rupees (~$40); or
  3. Purchase Nikon FM10 with Nikkor  f/1.8 50mm prime lens or Nikkor Zoom 35-70mm lens without parying extra money: or
  4. Refund of the Rupees 3800 (~US$79) that I put into Olympus OM-10.

I’ve gone through the reviews and found that Pentax K1000 is much better camera than Nikon FM10. It has a durable metal body not like Nikon’s all plastic only. Still I welcome any suggestion that you want to give me about which one is best.

Seller also sent me images of Nikon FM10 and Pentax K1000 with their respective lenses. Few of them you can see here. Pleas take a look at these images and tell which SLR is good?

 Pentax k1000 front

 Pentax k1000 top

Asahi SMC f/2 50mm

 Asahi SMC f/1.4 50mm

 Nikon FM-10 front

 Nikon FM10-top

 Nikkor f/1.8 50mm-1

Nikkor f/1.8 50mm-2 

I was thinking of buying Pentax K1000 with f/1.4 50mm prime lens but again seller replied that f/1.4 lens of the Pentax also has fungus in it & is visible as a small net inside the lens. Seller has suggested me buying a f/2 prime lens instead. But I don’t want to miss that extra wide aperture that I’m getting with f/1.4 lens. So I’m thinking of considering the 2nd option from above mentioned list of options i.e. buy both f/1.4 and f/2 lens with Pentax K1000 and get f/1.4’s fungus cleaned for Rs-400 (~$8) at Chandni Chowk, New Delhi.

Now question is will that be a good choice to buy both lens?

Seller wants me to pay Rs-2000 ($40) for that f/1.4 prime lens which has fungus in it. Is that a correct price given that fungus can be cleaned by paying few extra dollars?

This whole deal is going to cost me Rs-3800 (Pentax k1000 body + f/2 prime) plus Rs- 2000 for f/1.4 50mm lens= Rs-5800 (~$120). Is that a good deal?

Reply asap!