Myth in two letters


Just about a couple of weeks after saying that I exhausted my GAS syndrome, I had a relapse. Thanks to a couple of friends, notably @lamlux and @ZPD189, I cracked when I’ve found a very cheap OM-4 on Ebay. It was supposed to be fixed, so I got it to start another “resurrection”, as I didn’t work on any camera since the Zorki (which was the most difficult repair I’ve ever done).

Instead, when I opened the box, I’ve found a perfect sample, just a bit brassed. I contacted the seller and he confirmed that was supposed to be a “parts only” item, but if it worked, better for me. I probably have a couple of light seals to redo, but definitely not the amount of work I expected.

Anyway, I never had an OM. My dad had several cameras, but mostly Nikon SLR. No way to abandon his system, so until today I only heard stories about these legendary cameras. Well, those stories are true.

The magnificent Olympus OM-4 is a fine piece of equipment, small and perfected. Just a fraction bigger than my M8 with 50mm f/1.8 mounted it’s really a joy to shoot. Silent (for an SLR), comfortable grip and smooth shutter. Strong, and you can feel its robustness in your hands.

Brilliant, because that spot metering system is the most useful thing I’ve ever had in a camera. It’s like having an embedded zone system in camera. It’s extremely simple: you point at one zone you want to expose and tap the spot button one or more times to weight the measure. Then you point another zone and do the same. The camera will calculate the proper exposure based on your measurement. You can even save it and use it multiple times…

And if battery dies, you can still shoot at fixed 1/60th. Before the OM, my SLR shooting was limited to MF, with a Mamiya 645 Super. I shot a little my wife’s Canon AE-1 Program, which is a fine camera, but the OM is way better, in every sense.

Too bad I didn’t meet the OM before…


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