This is the second edition of my Film Rewind series in which I grab a camera that I raved about when I first bought it and shoot it again some time later to see if love lasts.
I've actually owned three of the OM series Olympus SLRs; the OM-1n, the OM-4 and two OM-2n bodies (chrome and black). I can't afford an OM-3, the price of that camera has been driven up wildly by collectors. My OM-1n, bought used on Craigslist, needed more repair work than I wanted to invest, so I sold it for parts. My OM-4 is a great camera but it eats batteries like crazy. When I first wrote about the OM-2n, I lavished it with praise. A year later, do I still feel that way?
Over the past eight years of trying different film cameras, I've really taken to small cameras. While my Nikon F4 and Contax RX are mighty shooting machines, it's the Pentax ME, Pentax MX or Minolta XD fitted with a prime 50mm I grab most often. Off on a four or five mile hike, these compact and light SLRs can be carried on a strap all day without weighing me down. The Olympus OM-2n might just be the smallest, lightest and best of the small SLR bunch. Fitted with a 50/1.4 or 50/1.7 Zuiko, the little OM is sized just right to slip into a large coat pocket.
I hadn't shot my OM-2n in a while. So long in fact that I couldn't remember what was on the roll of half-shot Bergger Pancro 400 film loaded in the camera. Turned out to be some test shots done inside the house. I finished the roll at the beach. Other than a few people, mostly just the birds and me.
After spending so much time last year shooting fully manual cameras like the Spotmatic, Canon F-1 and Nikon FM2n, I felt awash in technology with the aperture-priority auto-exposure mode offered up on the OM-2n. 1970s's technology that is, but technology just the same. The OM-2n is just a wonderful little SLR that is easy to shoot, easy to carry and easy to love.
The Olympus OM cameras have one trait that is not duplicated in any other camera other than, maybe a Leica. It's a certain fine watch type feeling, almost jewel-like quality that only a very few camera exude. Even if you never buy an Olympus OM-2n, make it a point to handle one in a camera store or flea market and sample the quality of feel built into this camera. It's quite extraordinary. Yoshihisa Maitani, who designed the OM series, was a master.
The Olympus OM-2n is a keeper. I've already had my chrome body CLA'd and I am sending the black one in soon as I detect some trailing shutter curtain lag. If you want a really great little SLR that offers full manual shooting plus the added bonus of aperture-priority auto-exposure, pick up an OM-2n and a prime Zuiko 50 lens. You won't be disappointed.