Olympus OM-1 – my photo kit from ’75

This trusty OM-1 (ser. no. 556341) was purchased in Apr 1975 from Bee Loh in Singapore. (I walked out of Bee Loh’s and promptly lost the 35mm’s big lens cap into a Singaporean stormwater drain.)

Black body, fitted with a Zuiko 35mm F2 lens and together with a Zuiko 24mm F2.8 wide-angle and a 135mm F3.5 tele, that formed my travelling kit for almost 4 years. IMG_7859a

Total weight was not much more than 1.3kg. Compare that with my previous camera, a Nikon Photomic FTN with Nikkor 50mm F1.4, weighing in at almost 1.2kg by itself.

The OM-1 went around the globe once and, apart from the occasional battery trouble in humid climate, was completely dependable. I figure that it must have exposed well over 2,000 shots during that time… quite a lot in those pre-digital days. Mostly Kodachrome and Fujichrome, transparencies.

The Zuiko 35mm F2 was a very good “standard lens” on the OM-1. Although a substantially weightier (60g) and longer (9mm)  and possibly a tad “softer” than the 35mm F2.8, when combined with the OM-1’s famously bright viewfinder, the big, bright 35mm F2 presented a viewfinder image that was very close to that seen by the other (naked) eye.

It was recovered safely after being left behind in a Japanese restaurant in ’75 and survived a surreptitious, camera-bag knife-attack on board a South Indian bus in Madras in ’77.

It’s now a bit battered and worn, has been to the repair shop 2 or 3 times more recently  (thank you, Chris Wood) and is still functioning near-perfectly.

I have to confess that I picked up a nice condition OM-1 ‘MD’ black body (ser. no. 149878), for whenever old-trusty “gave up the ghost”.

The OM-1 also survived being supplanted by a near-mint black body OM-4 that I impulsively bought in the early 2000s. Fortunately I saw the error of my ways and re-sold the battery-draining OM-4.

So I guess this stacks up as a wee homage to my trusty OM-1.


3 thoughts on “Olympus OM-1 – my photo kit from ’75

  1. Pingback: Memories of Ireland | D a r k L a n t e r n

  2. Pingback: My favourite photos… available light | D a r k L a n t e r n

  3. Pingback: Every face tells a story | D a r k L a n t e r n

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