1970's Olympus

Olympus FTL

Olympus FTL

Sandwiched between two landmark cameras, the Olympus FTL is a pretty fascinating camera.

Introduced in July 1971, the Olympus FTL was Olympus’s first full 35mm SLR camera. It was only produced for seven months, then replaced by the OM line. Some people had gone to as far as referring to the camera as a stopgap project meant to hold the fort before the OM 1 started production.

Despite the short production period, it was still a well-designed camera with some unique features.

What makes the Olympus FTL special?

Other than being Olympus’s first full SLR camera, the FTL also used the M42 thread Zuiko lenses. It’s the only Olympus camera that had this feature. Previous cameras like the Pen F, came with interchangeable lenses that had a claw mount designed for Olympus cameras only.

The FTL came with a slightly modified M42 mount which allowed it to accept M42 lenses produced by other companies.

The FTL relied on a unique new lens locking mechanism that held the screw lens in the right position. The newly introduced locking pin allowed the accurate transfer of the aperture ring setting to the camera.  Although not a remarkable feature, this new locking pin enabled full TTL metering using Zuiko thread lenses.

Although a unique feature, the new locking mechanism also brought a downside with it.

You can only use Zuiko M42 thread lenses since other M42’s lacked the aperture nipple on the mount.

Other Features

Although a bit traditional, the FTL was built according to the high standards associated with Olympus.

The FTL has a cloth focal-plane shutter from 1 to 1/1000 sec. The TTL meter has a match needle that’s visible in the finder.

A bit heavier and clumpy than other Olympus cameras (810gm), the FTL was a landmark camera due to it being the first Olympus full SLR camera.  Achieving this fete wasn’t easy, as Olympus had to offer extra benefits, including a choice of six lenses and other accessories. 

Lenses for Olympus FTL

The FTL comes with a choice of six lenses including:

  • Standard Zuiko  50mm x 3.5
  • Wide-angle Zuiko M42 28mm x 3.5
  • Wide-angle Zuiko M42 35mm x 2.8 (A bit harder to find)
  • E Zuiko135mm x 3.5
  • E Zuiko200mm x4.0

Final Thoughts

There you have it.

All you need to know about the Olympus FTL.  Although heavy, the camera is capable of excellent results

You can also use the lenses with other cameras, including digital cameras. All you need to do is to remove the locking pin. 

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