Categories
1980's Pentax

Pentax SF7

Pentax SF7

The Pentax SF7, called the SF10 in the United States, is an autofocus 35mm SLR made by Pentax. It was released in 1988 and was intended to be used with Pentax F series lenses. It is their third autofocus camera, after the Pentax SFX.

Shooting modes

It comes with several shooting modes, programmed and shutter-priority autoexposure require control of the lens aperture, and so only available if an F-series lens is used.

  • A-series lens support most functions including shutter-priority and programmed AE.
  • M-series lenses do not support shutter-priority or programmed AE.
  • 42mm screw-mount lenses can be used but no AE modes can be used.

Settings are displayed in an LCD panel on the rear of the camera, shooting modes are selected using a mode button on the left. Plus, there’s also a selector switch to adjust setting within each mode.

The Pentax SF7 has a shutter speed between 1/2000 to 1 second. There is no conventional cable release socket, an electronic cable release is available for use with slower shutter speeds.

Accessories

The camera is compatible with a range of Pentax flashes. It supports programmed auto flash or TTL metered flash. There is also a small built-in flash. There is a hot shoe behind the shutter release.

The camera reads DX-coded 35mm film with speeds between ISO 25 and ISO 5000. It will default to ISO 100 if non-DX-coded film is used.

The camera requires a 2CR5 6V battery to power the screen.

It has a built-in film motor but it isn’t automatic, there is a button at the bottom of the camera. Also, it can also do both single and continuous shooting and has a self-timer.

Conclusion

This is another camera that can be picked up quite cheap by hobbyists or collectors. It is a simple camera to use and it’s compatible with a wide range of lenses. Some modes aren’t useable with older lenses so it’s worth checking that before buying or budgeting for some new lenses.

Categories
1980's Pentax

Pentax SFX

Pentax SXF

The Pentax SFX (SF-1 in US), dating from 1987, was the world’s first autofocus 35mm film SLR with built-in TTL auto flash.

The SFX / SF1 was Pentax’s answer to the overwhelming success of the Minolta 7000 auto focus SLR camera. Like the Minolta 7000 and unlike the much earlier Pentax ME F, the auto focus motor is integrated into the camera body. With the SFX / SF1, the new F series auto focus lenses are introduced.

The SFX / SF1 fully supports all older K, M and A-series lenses, and the F-series lenses can be used

on all K-mount bodies before and after the SFX / SF1. The SFX / SF1 was the very first SLR camera offering a built-in flash. The hot-shoe for external flashes now sits on top of the large camera grip, so that internal and external flashes can be used simultaneously.

Shooting

The Pentax SFX modes and switches are controlled with 3 rocker switches, an exposure lock button on the back, the aperture dial on the lens and an extra switch on the lens. The modes and options and viewed on a screen on top of the camera, which is unusual compared to most cameras. It also has a pop-up flash.

Selecting different shooting modes can be quite confusing. The choice of modes available depends on what option is selected on the lens. This is definitely a camera that’s worth getting hold of an instruction manual.

The Pentax SFX comes with a very large viewfinder. It doesn’t contain any information about the shooting mode, and only contains a centre focusing spot. Taking photos is simply a case of pointing at the subject, half pressing the shutter button to autofocus, and then shooting. There is a 3 LED system to help you see if your picture is in focus, it turns green when everything is in focus. There is also a beep when in focus that can be turned off if you wish.

Noise

Arguably, the biggest failing of the camera is the noise it makes. Some of the lenses are quite noisy. The shutter is very noisy and the film advance also makes quite a noise. The noise could make some people quite nostalgic but it won’t be suitable to be used in some environments.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the camera can be picked up cheaply and if it’s in good condition can be lots of fun to play around with. It is compatible with a large choice of lenses making it suitable for lots of people. The menus and buttons can be confusing and the noise may mean it isn’t a great choice for all people but the simplicity of the screen and viewfinder and autofocus aids will make taking photos a joy.

Categories
1980's Leica

Leica R6

Leica R6

The Leica R6 was an entirely mechanical manual exposure SLR. Produced during the age of electronic camera dominance, the R6 was a pretty unique camera.

The year is 1988. Camera manufacturers are working hard to outdo each other.

Nikon has just introduced the first digital camera in the world. Other camera manufacturers are working on improving their electronic cameras.

Leica decides to take a different approach.

Rather than adding extra electronic features in their new flagship, Leitz reduced the number of electronics to a bare minimum.

Here are some of the features that made it so unique.

Features of the Camera

The most prominent feature of the R6 was the return to the Leica manual minimalistic style of building cameras.

Electronics were reduced to a minimum.

The R6 also came with a mechanically timed vertical travel shutter. But this shift to a mechanical shutter came at a price.

With the R6, you could only achieve a maximum shutter speed of 1/1000 sec. However, a later version of the R6, the R6.2, came with an improved shutter speed OF 1/2000 sec.

The introduction of these mechanical features meant that the camera could function without batteries. No more worrying about batteries when on long shoots.

If you’re someone who loves extreme outdoor photography, you’re bound to love the R6.

Another feature that made the R6 such a great camera, was its big bright and uncluttered viewfinder.

At a time when most cameras had a cluttered viewfinder, thanks to numerous controls, the R6 finder didn’t have much to display. With the R6, you can focus fully on your composition without distracting words and LED lights on the viewfinder.

And that’s not all!

Despite having a non-changeable viewfinder, the R6 came with a choice of five interchangeable viewscreens. These are:

  • The standard viewscreen that had a course-central micro prism area with a central split-image focusing aid.
  • The Plain ground glass screen for long focal length cameras and extreme close-ups
  • Micro prism screen
  • The Full-field ground glass screen for architecture photography.
  • The clear glass focusing screen for astrophotography and other scientific photography.

Despite lacking fancy electronics, the R6 is a pretty versatile camera.

Another feature that made the R6 a remarkable camera was the ability to lock up the mirror—a feature that wasn’t there in the R5.

Despite having a manual exposure system, you can reduce vibration-induced motion blur, thanks to the mirror lock-up system.

Were there any electronic parts in the R6?

Yes!

Both the centre-weighted and spot metering couldn’t work without batteries.

The R6 also came with an electronic self-timer.

Design and Physical Build

Like it’s predecessors, the R4 and R5, the R6’s craftmanship screamed Leitz and Minolta.

The camera was exquisitely designed and features a simplistic minimalistic look.

Thanks to the well-designed controls, the top plate isn’t congested.

When holding the camera, every knob, dial, or lever feels naturally in place and are just the right size.

And that’s not all!

The camera also feels quite sturdy and solid. Coupled with the fact that it’s fully mechanical, the R6 can function in any environment.

Neither heat nor cold can stop the R6.

Versions of the R6   

In 1992, Leitz released the Leica R6.2.

The R6.2 came with an improved maximum shutter speed as well as a magnified exposure counter.

Both the R6 and R6.2 came in chrome and black finishes.

Shortcomings of the Camera

Manufacturing a mechanical camera when everyone was producing electronic camera was expensive.

Leitz transferred this cost to the consumer.

Thanks to this, the R6 was out of reach to many photographers. Only wealthy Leica enthusiasts bought the camera.

The R6 also didn’t come with an on/off switch. The lack of this feature meant that the shutter could be triggered accidentally.

Final Thoughts

Few companies are willing to challenge the status quo.

To stick to their true values despite mounting pressure to change.

Leitz did this with the R6.

Rather than succumbing to change, Leitz stuck to their values and delivered a well built, mechanical SLR capable of taking excellent shots.

If you’re not one to bow to pressure, the Leica R6 is the perfect camera to represent your rebellious personality.

Categories
1980's Leica

Leica R4

Leica R4

The Leica R4 was Leica’s second SLR camera from the collaboration between Leitz and Minolta.

First introduced in 1980, the R4 went on to become the most successful R system camera.

And for a good reason!

It was smaller, lighter, and came with added features. Features that gave the camera a competitive advantage against its other cameras at the time.

But what are these features?

Keep reading to learn more.

Features of the Camera

One of the features that made the R4 such as a success was the introduction of multi-mode operation.

The R4 came with four operating modes. These were:

  • Manual mode (M)-Could only work with spot metering.
  • Aperture Priority mode (A)-Could work with both spot and center-weighted metering.
  • Shutter-Priority (T)-works with center weighted metering:
  • Program mode (P)

Previous Leica SLRs didn’t come with program mode. The introduction of the program mode in the R4 brought it to par with other SLRs at the time.

The second reason why the R4 became so successful was the broad array of lenses compatible with this camera.

And not just any lenses!

Thanks to the R-bayonet mount, the R4 gives you access to all R-system lenses, from the 15mm ultra-wide lens to the 800mm lens.

Another reason why the R4 became so popular was the improved metering system.

The R4 came with both spot and center weighted metering. Although these features were present in the Leica R3, the R4 metering system came with a new mechanism that made the meter more sensitive.

In the R4, light isn’t reflected through a small secondary mirror. The R4 uses a large slightly offset Fresnel reflector with a semi-transparent surface. Thanks to this system, the R4 can take photos even during a bright day.

The R4 also came equipped with an electronically timed vertical-travel metal shutter that could achieve a maximum speed of 1/1000 sec.

And here’s the best part!

Despite being an electronic camera, it’s still possible to take photos with the R4 without batteries thanks to the mechanical shutter that can achieve a speed of 1/100sec.

There’s more!

Like other cameras at the time, the R4 came with a built-in position for the use of a motorized film travel.

The Viewfinder

The R4 came with a big bright viewfinder that could achieve a magnification of .9X.

This viewfinder came with an eye-level non-interchangeable prism. However, the viewscreens were interchangeable. With this camera, you had the choice of five viewscreens. These were:

  • The standard viewscreen with central split-image focusing aid
  • Plain matte screen
  • A matte screen with grid lines
  • A clear screen with no split-image.
  • A screen with crosshairs.

The Leica R4 viewfinder is however a bit cluttered when compared to that of its predecessors. When looking through the viewfinder, you’ll see the:

  • Metering mode
  • Shutter speed
  • Memory hold
  • Aperture
  • Flash ready
  • Manual override
  • Exposure

Design and Physical Description

One of the most noticeable features of the F4 was the smaller body.

Leitz redesigned the casing, hoods, front plate, and controls to give the R4  a more compact body. This compact body became so well received that it was continued in the Leica R5, R6, and R7.

At first sight, it’s possible to confuse the R4 to the Minolta XD-7.

One common feature between these two cameras is the position of the thumb-powered film advance. With this film advance, you don’t have to move your eye from the viewfinder to advance the film.

Different Versions

Leitz manufactured several versions of the R4.

One such version is the Leica R4s MOT. These were the first version of the R4 and was in production until 1981. This labelling was mainly to indicate that the R4 was motor ready.

In 1983, Leitz introduced a simpler and cheaper version of the R4. This version didn’t have the program and shutter priority mode.

Shortcomings of the Camera

Despite all the improvements, the R4 came with some of the shortcomings of the R3.

For starters, it doesn’t allow TTL flash metering. It also doesn’t have a mirror-lock up option.

Some of the early bodies of the R4 also had faulty electronics. However, this issue was addressed with a later version. Before buying, make sure you confirm your camera has working electronics. 

Final Thoughts

Do you see why the R4 was such a commercial success?

Not only was it visually attractive, but it also improved drastically on what previous Leica SLRs were unable to do.

So, if you’re looking for a hardy camera, and a cheaper option to own a vintage Leica, you’re sure to love the R4.

Categories
1980's Leica

Leica M6

Leica M6

The Leica M6 is an interchangeable lens rangefinder camera. First introduced in 1984, the M6 was Leica’s most advanced mechanical rangefinder.

Like previous cameras in the M series, the M6 was a superb camera that came with impeccable features—some of which had never been seen in previous M-bodies.

Unlike its predecessor, the Leica M5, the M6 was widely accepted and resulted in it being in production for close to 18 years. 

Here’s a low-down of some of the features that make the M6 such an excellent camera.

Features of the Leica M6

One of the most notable features of the M6 is its metering system.

Although the M5 was the first Leica rangefinder to feature a metering system, the M6 came with a more accurate and reliable light meter.  With this center-weighted metering system, you can expect to get the best exposure every time you shoot. 

The M6 was also the first Leica rangefinder to come with a built-in LED display for the metering system. 

Another unique feature of the M6 was the big bright viewfinder. Like its predecessors, the M6 finder came with bright frame lines for different lenses.

But the M6 was a bit different. Rather than having individual framelines, it came with combined framelines for different lenses. These were:

  • 28mm and 90 mm lenses
  • 35mm and 135mm lenses
  • 50mm and 75mm lenses

With the M6, you had the choice of six optimized lenses—more than any other M rangefinder before it.

As if that’s not enough!

The M6 also came with a choice of three different viewfinders. With the M6, you had the choice of the:

  • 0.72X finder: This was the standard finder found in most M6.
  • 0.85X finder: With this finder, you lost framelines for the 28mm lens. However, the 0.85X finder is perfect for you if you use long lenses.
  • 0.58X finder: With this finder, you lost framelines for the 135 mm lens. However, this finder is perfect for wide-angle lenses.

Another great feature of the M6 is its shutter. Although not the fastest shutter—has a maximum speed of 1/1000 sec, the M6 shutter was quiet and fully mechanical.

If you’re a street shooter, the quiet shutter is a huge advantage since most of your subjects won’t even notice you photographing them—unless they are less than 1 meter away from you.

Another feature that made the M6 such a great camera was the fact that it was the last Leica mechanical camera. After the M6, Leica released the M7, which was a fully electronic camera. The only electronic parts of the M6 was the metering system.

If you’re a loyal fan of mechanical cameras, you’ll love the M6.

Design and Physical Build

One of the most notable features of the M6 is its simplistic design.

The M6 doesn’t come with numerous controls and buttons. This minimalistic and simplistic design allows you to focus on the photo entirely.

Another notable feature is the film advance crank. The plastic tipped film advance is smooth and easy to move.

The M6 is also relatively small and light. At only 560 g, the M6 fits comfortably on the palm. Without considering its depth, this camera is typically the size of an iPhone X.

Leica M6 TTL

The classic M6 was in production between 1984-1996. Between 1996 and 2002, Leica introduced the M6 TTL, a more advanced version of the M6.

The M6 TTL came with a bigger shutter speed dial, TTL flash, and a brighter viewfinder. Another difference between the M6 and the M6-TTL was the inclusion of an “OK” indication in the light meter LED—The classic M6 only displayed two  “> <” LED arrows.

Although minor additions, these changes made the M6-TTL more attractive to serious photographers.

Shortcomings of the camera

One of the greatest shortcomings of the M6 was the use of a tiny shutter speed dial, which made it hard to change shutter speeds when holding the camera to your eye.

And that’s not all

This dial also moved in the opposite direction to the meter arrows.

However, the introduction of a larger shutter speed dial in the M6-TTL solved this problem.

Final Thoughts

It’s no doubt.

The Leica M6 was a remarkable camera. Not only could it accommodate more lenses, but the M6 was also and is still a fun camera to shoot with.

It’s also one of the “cheapest” Leica bodies you’ll ever find.

If you’re on a budget and want to on an M camera, the M6 is the perfect camera for you.

Categories
1980's Olympus

Olympus OM-30

First introduced in 1983, the Olympus OM-30 (also known as the OM-F in the US) was Olympus’s third camera in the OM double-digit series and their first step towards an autofocus SLR. It is now very hard to find.

However, unlike other double digits OMs, the OM-30 wasn’t as popular with buyers, which has made it rare in the 21st Century.

Here’s all you need to know about the OM-30

The Cameras Features

One feature that makes the OM-30 stand out over other double digits OMs is that it was the first autofocus Olympus camera.

The OM-30 came with a Zuiko 35–70mm AF zoom autofocus lens. This lens came with a built-in motor that allowed continuous autofocus. 

The OM-30 also featured an F2/F4 switch for the focus system.

And that’s not all

Thanks to the innovative In-Focus Trigger cord socket, this camera can take images automatically as soon as they come into focus.

With this feature, a photographer could set up a street shot while waiting for the object to come into focus.

Like the OM-20, the OM-30 also featured a near-perfect metering system, which made it easier for a photographer to set exposure more accurately.

What about the viewfinder?

Like other OM cameras, the OM-30 came with a large and bright viewfinder that had a finder view-field of 93% of the actual picture field. When looking through the viewfinder, you could see a 12-bar LED indicator that displayed the shutter speed and whether an image was in focus or out of focus. 

Another great feature about the OM-30 was the fact that it featured both a manual and automatic mode.

If you prefer having full control of your shutter speed and aperture, the OM-30 is the camera for you. While in manual mode, you could set your shutter speed from 2 sec to 1/1000 sec.

Physical Description

Like other cameras in the OM double-digit series, the OM-30 had a plastic body. It came in either black or chrome.

The buttons and controls were easily laid out and could be reached even as one was holding the camera to their eye.

On the top plate, you have

  • The film rewind crank, and mode selector switch on the left side. The same switch can be used to check the battery level. 
  • An X-Contact hot shoe in the middle
  • An exposure concentration and ASA dial on the right.
  • Film advance lever on the right
  • And a 12-second self-timer lever.

Like other OM cameras, the shutter speed dial is located at the base of the lens mount, with the aperture ring being situated at the front of the lens. The electronic focus ring is located next to the aperture ring.

Shortcomings of the Camera

The OM-30 failed to attract many buyers due to several shortcomings.

For starters, being the first Olympus camera to feature an autofocus system meant the system would not be perfect. The OM-30 autofocus system was slow and inaccurate.

Another shortcoming with the OM-30 is the fact that the light seals in the camera disintegrate with time. When buying the camera, make sure to check the light seals.

If disintegrated or sticky, replace them as they aren’t costly.

Although not entirely a shortcoming, this camera requires five 1.5v SR 44 batteries to function.  

Final Thoughts

Despite its limited success, the Olympus OM-30 is an incredible camera.

It’s lightweight, has most of the features found in previous OM, and also features an autofocus system.

And if that’s not enough.

It’s pretty rare, which makes it a valuable addition to your collection of vintage classic cameras.

Categories
1980's Olympus

Olympus XA-1

Olympus XA-1

The Olympus XA-1 is a lightweight, affordable, and uncomplicated 35mm camera. First introduced in 1982, the XA-1 is the least acknowledged camera in the XA series.

Designed by Olympus’s legendary designer Yoshihisu Maitani, the Olympus XA series was a range of clamshell 35 mm rangefinders sold in the early 1980s. These cameras were small, compact, and paved the way for affordable, high-quality pocket cameras.

However, the XA-1 was different from other cameras in the series. It was a simple mechanical camera that took users to the past by incorporating technology from the 1960s. 

Despite the use of “vintage camera technology,” the XA-1 is a delight to use. Here’s why

The Cameras Features

One of the most notable features of the XA-1 is the compact clamshell design.

The cameras in the XA series were designed to be small enough to fit in a shirt pocket or a lady’s purse. The XA-1 was the smallest of the XA cameras, which makes this camera ideal for everyday use. You can easily slide the camera in and out of your pocket.

And that’s not all…

The curvy clamshell design also makes it comfortable to hold on your palm.

Using the camera is also straightforward.

It doesn’t have a power button. To use the camera, slide the clamshell open to uncover the lens and activate the selenium metering (technology from the 1960s).

With this camera, you can shoot from the hip, when lying on the ground or overhead.

Another notable feature of the XA-1 is the mechanical shutter. Although most would frown over the traditional sticky out shutter, I find this one of the best features of this camera.

For starters, the shutter doesn’t get stuck.

Secondly, the mechanical shutter makes the XA-1 the only camera in the XA series that can do an exposure lock. If you’re a more creative shooter, this is the XA for you.

To achieve exposure lock, point the camera to a bright light then half-press the shutter. Then move the camera to the object you’d like to capture and press the shutter release to the end.

What about optical quality?

The XA-1 is fitted with a D-Zuiko 35mm f/4 fixed lens that’s located behind the capsule cover. Unlike other clamshell cameras, the XA-1 lens doesn’t extend when the capsule is open. Olympus designed this lens to be shorter than it’s focal length.

As if that’s not enough…

The aperture priority exposure is accurate. The built-in selenium meter, which comes with a red pop up flag mechanism helps to prevent underexposure of photographs. 

Other Features

Like other cameras in the series, the XA-1 came with an external flash unit, the Olympus A9M, which was sold together with the camera. You can also use other flash units such as A11 and A16.

The camera also featured a shutter speed of 1/30 sec to 1/250 sec and an ASA of 100 or 400.

The XA-1 also lacks the signature red membrane touch shutter, which is common in other XA cameras.

Shortcomings of the Camera

There’s a reason why this is the least acknowledged camera in the XA series. One of those reasons is its simplicity.

For starters, the camera has a limited shutter speed range.

The camera also lacks a self-timer and backlight lever.

You also don’t get the option to override the exposure manually.

Final Thoughts

Despite what people may say, the Olympus XA-1 is a decent camera.

It’s simple to use, can be carried anywhere; it’s aesthetic to look at, and is affordable. It also brings back a feel of the classic vintage camera to a 1980’s rangefinder (new isn’t always better).

A worthy addition to your camera collection.

Categories
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.

Categories
1980's Olympus

Olympus OM-707

Olympus OM-707

The Olympus OM-707, also known as the OM-77 in some markets was the first and last 35 mm SLR automatic focus (AF) Olympus camera.

Released between 1986 and 1991, the OM 77 wasn’t as successful as its predecessors despite it being among the first AF cameras in the market—the only other AF cameras in the market were the Nikon F501 and the Minolta Dynax 7000

However, despite the low popularity, the OM-707 had some unique features that make it a worthy addition to your classic SLR collection.

Features of the Camera

The OM-707 came with several innovative features.

For starters, it was the first camera to feature a flash system with flash synch to all shutter speeds. At the time of production, this unique F280 Full-Synchro Electronic Flash had the highest syncing speed at 1/2000s.

Another unique feature of the Olympus OM-707 was the two grips that let you choose how to hold the camera. One was the Power Flash Grip 300, which had a small pop-up flash and a shutter release button. The other grip was the Power Grip 100 which had a shutter release button but didn’t have the flash.

The OM-707 was also one of the first cameras to introduce a lens without focus control but used an on-body power focus control. The knob for the Power Focus was on the right side where you could adjust the focus. You could also lock the Automatic Exposure through a button labelled AE on the camera.

What about the lens?

Like other OM cameras, the OM-77 lenses are quite sharp. Image quality is excellent.

The OM-707 also came with eight unique Autofocus lenses—more than any other AF 35 mm SLR camera at the time.

And that’s not all

This camera also featured the OM bayonet mount which could mount lenses from other OM cameras. So, if you have other OMs in your collection, you’ll have an endless supply of lenses to use with your OM707.

However, you should know that the OM-707 was an autofocus camera. When using legacy lenses, you’re only limited to changing only the aperture.

Other Features

This camera featured an automatic film winding system that moved at 1.5 fps. It also used the centre-weighted metering technique.

At the top of the camera, there as an LCD that showed the film speed, battery level, the Mode selected (AF or PF), and self-timer indicator.

The self-timer had a 12-second delay. Since you can’t set the ISO manually, it features the DX code reading capability that ranges from 25-3200

With all these features, why didn’t the OM-707 take off?

The Negatives

For starters, the power grips were faulty and got easily destroyed. After Olympus ceased manufacturing of this camera, it becomes hard to find a functional power grip in the market today.

This camera also lacked some crucial features that were in its predecessors. These include the manual focus ring, the aperture settings ring, the ISO dial, and spot-metering. The viewfinder also didn’t have the shutter speed and aperture suggestion information.

It was also quite heavy when compared to the OM- single-digit and double-digit series.

Final Thoughts

I’ll be honest.

The OM-707 wasn’t the best camera in the OM series.

It was heavy and lacked a manual focus ring, aperture settings ring, shutter speed dial, and any other aspects for professional photographers

Its many shortcomings made it less popular among many professional photographers.

However, its lack of popularity is what makes it such a valuable collector’s item. It’s rare and is the only Olympus SLR with Autofocus. Although you may not use it as your everyday camera, the Olympus OM-707 is still a worthy addition to your collection of vintage classic cameras.

Categories
1980's Olympus

Olympus OM-40

Olympus OM-40

The Olympus OM-40, also known as OM-PC in the USA, was the last and best camera in the OM double-digit series.

The Olympus OM-10 was the first in the series. It didn’t have a manual option, but you could attach a manual adapter to use manual mode. The OM-20 came with an inbuilt shutter-speed, larger controls, and a handgrip. The OM-30 came with all the features of its predecessors and a new auto-focus mechanism.

How was the OM-40 different?

Features of the Olympus OM-40

The OM-40 comes with several standout features.

For starters, this camera had three modes—manual, auto, and program mode.

The auto mode, also known as aperture priority is easy to use. All you need to do is select the aperture, and the camera chooses the best shutter speed to achieve optimum exposure. The program mode, which is the easiest to use selects both the aperture and the shutter speed for you. The manual mode gives you back all the control.

Another standout feature in the OM-PC was the two metering options.

The OM-40 had the accurate off the film (OTF) metering which was present in other OM double-digit cameras.

Besides OTF, the OM-40 also came with a unique metering capability, the ESP (Electro-Selective Pattern). This is an optional feature that’s activated through a button on the left side of the lens mount. ESP metering measures the brightness of the center of the frame, and the edges, to calculate the best exposure.

With ESP metering, you don’t have to worry about how a photo will turn out. They’ll always be perfect.

As if that’s not enough.

The OM-PC also gave you the choice of setting ISO manually or using DX coding to preset film speed.

What about the viewfinder?

Like other cameras in the OM series, the viewfinder is large and bright. The viewfinder uses LEDs to display shutter speeds during aperture priority and program mode. It also suggests the shutter speed you can use when in manual mode, but you will have to adjust it yourself.

Design and Physical Description

The OM-40 featured a different body from that used by other double-digit OMs.

The body had a noticeable rubber padding—similar to what was in the OM-20 but softer.

The OM-40 controls layout was similar to that of the OM-2. The mode switch was located on the left-hand side. The exposure compensation dial, film advance, and shutter release are on the right-hand side.

Similar to other OM cameras, the rings for adjusting the shutter, aperture, and focusing settings are on the front of the camera.

Other features

  • Twelve seconds self-timer
  • 1 to 1000 sec shutter speed.
  • It features hot shoe mount for the flash and a PC sync port.
  • Ports for connecting the Mirror Drive 1 and Mirror Drive 2
  • The DX coding ISO ranges from 25 to 3200, while the manual setting ranges from +2 to -2.
  • A film indicator window at the back to show whether there is a film or not.

Shortcomings of the Olympus OM-40/OM-PC

One of the most significant defects of the OM-40 is the lack of an on/off switch. Due to this design flaw, the camera depletes batteries quickly.

The EPS is also limited to the sense that the object has to be at the center. If the object appears on the edges, it may not give the desired results.

Final Thoughts

The Olympus OM-40/OM-PC offered the same compact, sturdy design of its predecessors with some improvements in features and functionality.

Despite targeting beginner photographers, some of its advanced features have always gained the interest of professional photographers too. These additional features make it worth adding to your collection of classic SLRs.