About Me

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I take pictures of things. Mostly with film. Mostly with cameras. I am an engineer by trade. What really makes me happy, though, is to find an old camera at a swap meet or antique store and bring it back into working order with a few hours at the workbench. I then like to take them out and shoot some film. This blog is in large part the result of that activity.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

olympian

My new office is in a area of light industrial buildings and a few medium sized office buildings and, across Sepulveda, residential neighboods.  It isn't quite urban, it isn't quite suburban.  Sometimes at lunchtime I walk around and take photos of things that I find interesting.  These are a few of those frames.  I usually try to find perspectives or textures that I think will look nice in black and white.

Olympus OM1 Arista Premium 100 50mm f1.4

Olympus OM1 Arista Premium 100 50mm f1.4

Olympus OM1 Arista Premium 100 50mm f1.4

I took these with this Olympus OM1n.  The OM1 was first released in 1972 and is an all mechanical, all manual camera.  This means that it can operate without batteries (except for the light meter) and the shutter speed and aperture are controlled by the photographer. The OM1n was a slightly updated model released two years later.  In this photo it is wearing my 50mm f1.4 lens which is among my all time favorite OM mount lenses.  It is razor sharp when you want it, has nice creamy out of focus areas and is small and light. 


Nikon D7000 35mm f1.8


























The OM series of cameras have an unusual control arrangement among 35mm SLRs.  Rather than being set by a dial on the top plate of the camera, the shutter speed ring is around the lens mount, on the same axis as the aperture, which is waaaaaaay out at the front of the lens, instead of close to the mount.  In the place where most cameras have the shutter speed control is the ISO dial, which fortunately locks in place, otherwise I'm sure I'd be changing it every shot, thinking I was controlling the shutter speed.  Some have called the OM series the SAAB of SLRs.


The viewfinder is extremely large and bright and the meter is a simple needle and notch arrangement, where you center the needle in the notch for correct exposure.  This works great when there is plenty of light but is a bit hard to see in the dark.  Actually, none of the OM cameras are great in the dark, the best of them probably is the OM2S which has an lcd metering system that can be illuminated.


When I processed this roll of film I discovered that the meter on this camera was WAY out of adjustment.   The entire roll was several stops under exposed.  The nice thing is that when I scanned the negatives and opened the scans in Lightroom I was able to recover most of the frames pretty easily.


Over the last few evenings I had this camera out on my workbench and I was able to adjust the meter back to the correct zero settings.  Believe it or not, both the aperture and shutter speed rings are attached to silk threads which run over a number of pulleys and go deep into the body of the camera to physically move variable resistors (potentiometers) to affect the settings.  There is a particular setting of ISO, aperture and shutter speed which should result in the needle being centered even with no power to the meter.  Once the aperture ring and shutter speed rings are removed (after the top, lens mount and center front plate of the camera are removed) there is a tiny gear just under the P in Olympus on the front of the camera which needs to be rotated clockwise until the needle is centered.  The aperture ring is held in the correct position (with one hand) while the shutter speed ring is then replaced (with the other hand) while simultaneously holding the gear in the right position (with the third hand) all the while keeping an eye on the meter needle and viola, good metering.


It only took about 15 tries.

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