1980's Olympus

Olympus OM-101

Olympus OM-101

The Olympus OM-101 (OM-88 in the US) was a consumer-grade 35mm SLR that was released in 1988.

Released two years after the flopped Olympus OM-707, The OM-101 was built for the average consumer who wanted better images without the long learning curve associated with classic SLR cameras.

Like other Olympus cameras, the OM-101 came with some unique features, which have made it a favorite among many advanced amateur photographers.

Features of the Camera

One unique feature of the OM-101 was the “Power Focus” feature.

Although it seemed like a downgrade, the OM-101 lacked the Autofocus feature that was in the OM-707. Instead, it had a power focus feature which used a motorized focusing system that was controlled by a thumbwheel at the back of the camera. This ring replaced the focusing ring and aperture ring.

Unlike the OM-707, where you didn’t have any control over the focus, the power focus ring gives this control back to you

If you didn’t like the automatic focus feature in the OM-707, then you’ll love the OM-101.

And that’s not all:

The OM-101 was the perfect camera for any armature photographers.

It doesn’t have an automatic mode but features a manual and program mode. In the default program mode, the camera does all the heavy lifting for you. It chooses the right combination of aperture and shutter speed.

Your only job is to focus and pick the perfect shot.

And it doesn’t end there…

Olympus also released an adapter that allowed you full control of the camera. With the manual adapter, you had full control over the shutter speed and aperture.

Talk about a camera made for both novice and advanced users. 

The OM-101 also came with two Zuiko lenses designed specifically for it. These are the 35-70mm/ F3.5-4.5 PF and 50mm/F2 PF. It could also use the eight lenses from the OM-707.

As if that’s not enough.

The OM-101 uses 4 AAA batteries, which are easy to find.

Other Features

  • 12-seconds self-timer
  • DX coding film speeds from 25-3200. However, it automatically sets to ISO 100 when the film has no DX coding.
  • Shutter speed – 1/2000s
  • It features automatic film loading, advance, and rewinding.
  • X-sync port for attaching a flash mechanism. You could use the T series flash on both modes, and the F280 flash unit when in manual mode.
  • It also has a hot shoe mount at the top of the camera.
  • It featured center-weighted metering

Shortcomings of the Camera

If you’re a more advanced film photographer, using the OM-101 comes with several disadvantages.

For starters, there’s no way of adjusting the ASA setting—You can’t use a B/W or expired film with this camera.

When using program mode, you also have no way of knowing what shutter speed your using. Your only point of reference is the blinking LED shake warning.

It’s also quite heavy, weighing around 600 grams.

Final Thoughts

If you’re a beginner and are looking for a classic SLR film camera, the OM-101 is a good choice.

The Power Focus and program mode do all the hard work for you, and you still end up with high-quality photographs. As you get the hang of it and decide to practice manual film photography, you can always use the manual adapter.

And that’s not all

The camera is relatively cheap, making it the perfect camera for a beginner or more advanced user.

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