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!


23rd September-A Trip to Mussoorie-Landour.

On 23rd of September I went out for the first hill ride of my life on a bike. The place I chose for this was Landour- A place 4.5 km above Mussoorie.

Since I saw the pictures of this place on Flickr(see them here), I was fascinated and intrigued to visit this place. This summer, I asked my parents to allow me to go there on bike but was denied. After that the thought of visiting Landour was preoccupied by other things in my life.

The past two months of my life gave me a very hard time. Most of my friends know this. It was the worst experience of my life. And to add to this 7 hours a day at university plus sarcastic remarks that I usually get over there.I started feeling difficulty in focusing on my studies. Because of this I decided to take a break. Another motivation of making this trip came as I joined BCMtouring, few days prior to this trip.

Seeking permission from parents was not an option as only a loud “NO” was expected, so I decided to bunk skip a day from university.

At 7:30am on 23rd of September I was riding alone on my 125cc bike (barely comfortable for daily commute). After refilling at fuel station of Ranipur More it started raining. I was in no mood of canceling this trip so I stretched bike’s throttle to escape that rain. And, on reaching Rishikesh-Dehradun diversion the weather was dry but it was still cloudy.

While comfortably doing 60-75kmph, I reached Dehradun outskirts in 45 minutes. From there I took Mussoorie bypass just to skip the city’s traffic signals and also because I find it difficult to understand this city’s complex road network.

Within the ten minutes of ride on this road I was struggling with gears-shifts, getting line right for turns and corners, not to talk about the steep hairpin bents. The very next moment a thought struck in my mind— Wow! I’m riding a bike on a hill!

Few minutes later I caught the first glimpse of scenery in the valley. It was Bhattafall, and it was time to stop to take the first pic of the day. I took a couple of shots over there but all were disappointing due to the fog in the valley. Even after a lot of post processing I’m unable to make that waterfall visible from the RAW files. So, here’s only one pic worth uploading.

I chose the wrong day for this trip. A sunny day is the best form a photography point of view.

Getting there in Mussoorie was bit of adventure. The earliest I could get there was at 9:30am. I reached Mall Road from its east end and parked my bike above Bhutia market. Then I went down in the Bhutia market which was still opening so decided to walk for a while on mall road, which was boring. It was so because of the cold weather and the market was not opened up completely by that time.

Covered in clouds, a view from Mall Road.Within a few minutes of walk on Mall road I found it’s useless to stay here and looked at the fuel gauge. It said clear no to my thought of visiting Landour- a place at a distance of which I was not sure!

But to make this trip productive I took the risk and decided to ride up to Landour. After confirming at 2-3 shops about the path, I rode up more than 1km and stopped to take third pic of the trip.

By the Woodstock School.Next stop was at Lal tibba which was close at that time.

Lal Tibba resort.There with the help of a Chinese tourist I managed to get a pic of me.

By the Lal Tibba resort.I went up to the Sister’s market and turned back, stopped at Kellogg’s Church.

Sister's Bazaar.

The state-owned broadcasters Doordarshan and All India Radio have repeater stations atop Lal Tibba hill, at over 7,700 ft., the highest point in all of Mussoorie-Landour. The transmitter of this station is an Eiffel Tower Paris- inspired, with orange and white color. This is the  most recognizable feature in all of Landour.

IMG_3306 CRW_3305

Kellogg Church.

The Kellogg Memorial Church was built as a Presbyterian church in 1903 and was also the home of the Landour Language School where British people were taught Hindi at that time. The church was named for Rev, Dr. Samuel H. Kellogg (1839-1899), an American Presbyterian missionary active in Landour who wrote the best 19th century grammar of Hindi in English. The Language school is still being run today.

Landour Language School.British forces occupied this region of Garwhal following the Gurka wars in the second decade of the 19th century. Colonel Fredrick Young, an Irish officer in the east India Company army constructed the first permanent dwelling at Mullingar (named after a place in Ireland) in 1825.

Landour takes its name from Llanddowror, a village in Carmarthenshire in southeast Wales. During the British Raj, it was common to give nostalgic English, Scottish, welsh or Irish names to one’s home, reflecting one’s ethnicity.

In 1827, it became a convalescent depot for British troops suffering from malaria and other tropical disease. Those who were not survived are buried in the cemetery on the north side of the hill.

At the beginning of the 20th century, a British Military Hospital was established and remained open until 1947. The hospital building currently houses the Defense Ministry’s Institute of Technology Management.

Institute of Technology Management, previously a British Military Hospital.

Institute of Technology Management, previously a British Military Hospital

Sister’s Bazaar acquired its name from the nursing sisters who live nearby the hospital.

Some of the other early buildings include St. Paul’s church, built in 1840 by Daniel Wilson, Bishop of Calcutta on his second visit to Mussoorie; and the original Landour Cantonment Post Office at Char-Dukan.

While riding down I stopped by Char-dukan and after some refreshment went inside St. Paul’s Church. There talked few minutes with Ranbeer Singh, a servant there, and he showed me Ruskin Bond’s house from there. He also told me that Mr. Sanjay Narang, a local resident had took the charge of complete restoration of this church’s building and also of the future maintenance.

IMG_3329 IMG_3332

IMG_3333 Ruskin Bond's House in Landour.

On reaching Ruskin’s place I found he was not at home, so decided to ride back to home.

Situated at an altitude of 7,500 feet (2286 meters) above sea level, the top of the Landour ridge is the highest point in Mussoorie. This also remains the most secluded and beautiful area of town, with spectacular views from snow clad Himalayas, dense deodar forests and peaceful slopes.Landour is a fabulous place to visit though the only thing you can do over there is to take a long walk. It’s a quiet place. There are no teeming tourists. May be because it’s untouched or may be because it’s a cantonment town. This place is awesome in mornings. No families tugging kids, no couples looking apprehensively like you’ll disturb their privacy. Just long empty road. It’s inspiring.

And at 3:45pm I was in my place. The whole ride was 215km.

But there is still something that I missed over there and want to cover in my next trip:-

  • View of Landour from Gun Hill. (like this one)
  • Castle Hill and the Castle. (see here)
  • A sunny day photography in Landour.

A few more pics from there:-


Tiny flower by the Lal tibba


Tibetan dwellings at Landour.

Famous Cambridge Book depot chain store on Mall road

Use me's in landour

And using this Use-me as a tripod stand I got a picture of me by self-timer mode.