My Olympus OM-1 camera has suffered an annoying fault for a while now. After firing the shutter the mirror will sometimes lock up. Advancing the film drops it back down but the shutter remains locked and the only way to release it is to advance the film a second time (which shouldn’t be possible with the OM-1). When this second stroke of the advance lever takes place the camera also fires the shutter. After this it can be used normally again for the next shot. The problem means that every other shot is wasted – or mostly wasted as the problem tended to be intermittent.
Fot no real reason at all, I decided to look at the camera again today (without a film in it) and discovered that the issue now occurs on ever shot taken. I like the OM-1 – it was the first SLR I bough when I got back into shooting film cameras again – so I decided it would be worth trying to get it fixed. As the person who I’ve used for repairs and CLAs in the past has now retired, I tried a local repair shop that I’ve heard works on analogue cameras.
Upon phoning the shop, the guy there was quick to tell me that the repair would be costly and that I’d be better off using digital cameras. Rather than slam the phone down in disgust (:)) I explained that I enjoy the experience of using film cameras and that I’m not unaware of the issues that come with using vintage gear. He then mentioned that he’d had a box of stuff come into the workshop, including an OM-1 camera, which he would let me have for £40 sold-as-seen. £40 is a good price for an OM-1 these days so I headed over to the shop to take a look, figuring I could always turn it down if it looked like it might not be working properly. As it turned out, the camera appeared to be working as expected, including the meter, and was in great cosmetic condition so, after chatting with the guy for a while, I headed home with the camera – an OM-1N to replace the OM-1.
The camera probably needs new seals fitting, and it’s missing the hotshoe. I’d though that I could just swap over the hotshoe from my OM-1 (they just screw on and off with a thumbwheel), but it wouldn’t fit and it turns out that the design must have been slightly revised between models. Still, I’ve not once used the hotshoe on the OM-1, so I won’t miss it, and I’m more bothered by the empty screwhole on the top of the camera than any loss of functionality.
The other difference is that this replacement is expecting the original 1.3v mercury battery to power the meter accurately, whereas my OM-1 had been converted to meter properly using readily available 1.5v batteries. This means that I’ll either have to get it converted, or adapt zinc-air hearing aid batteries instead (I could use Wein cells, but these are much more expensive than the hearing aid cells). It’s a bit of a faff, but nothing insurmountable though.
I’ll get the seals replaces when I get the chance and then take it out for a test run.
Today’s picture is from back in 2018, when I took my original OM-1 with me on holiday to Sorrento, Italy.
Olympus OM-1, Zuiko 28mm f/3.5 & Kodak Ektar.
Taken on 24 August 2018