Modern Classic SLRs Series :
Olympus OM2(n) SLR camera - Other Issues Part III

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Exposure Compensation Dial and Film Speed Dial

The unfamiliar film speed ring used on the OM1(n) series at right hand side of the pentaprism was replaced with a dual functions dial. It still handles the Film Speed settings where you have to lift the ring and turn to change the ASA/ISO setting. The film speeds can be set at a range between ISO 12/12° and ISO 1600/33°

But since the OM2 is an automatic exposure camera, Olympus redesigned the ring with an exposure compensation scales for fine-tuning the AE control which is more logical than the OM1.

For normal exposures the white line is set horizontally. To set Auto exposure compensation the whole dial is turned to a plus or minus position as desired. The exposure compensation provides ±2 EV compensation (in one-third increments); while early OM2 does not provide any form of warning if the exposure compensation has been activated, OM2n model which was introduced later came with a LED exposure compensation mark visible inside viewfinder when meter is on.

Film adavance.jpg
The shutter release button (A), with a finger guard external ring, is fitted with a thread to accept a cable release. The shutter release button was not designed with a shutter lock - which is good and make it more responsive to sudden action.

The film advance lever is just next to its right. When not in use, its neutral position should be flush with the camera body. In the pre-advance position it sits at an angle of 30°, to cock the shutter, you can do it either in one full stroke or inching it with several short strokes.

The frame counter (B), is just next to the base of the film advance knob. It is an automatic reset, progressive type, situated next to the film advance lever for easy visual cross reference of the remaining exposures you have. The dial is calibrated from S (Start) to E (End) as follows: "S.. 2 . 4 . 6. ......... and all even numbered frames to ..34 . 36 . E". The counter will reset once the camera back is opened. Numbers 12, 20, 24 and 36 as well as "S" and "E" are all painted in bright yellow for commonly used film length and indicators for start and end of film roll.


<<- -- The counter indicates the number of frames exposed and returns to zero when the camera back is opened. The tiny spring plate (See red arrow) hidden in the railing for camera back does the trick, it will mate with the protruding portion at the edge on the camera back)

N O T E: When operate with first few exposures prior to frame "1", always turn the mode selector lever to "MANUAL" and avoid pointing it in "AUTO" setting to avoid excessively long exposure; as none of the OM2 series camera was designed with a fixed shutter speed prior to the first exposure, the AE may be fooled by dimly lit surrounding and cause long exposure time.

ALL Olympus OM1, OM2 series bodies (Except OM2SP) and OM10 has its film rewind button located at the front section at right hand side of the camera body.


The film rewind crank/Knob used in the OM2 is a 'luxurious' solid piece of metal, it projects a quality feel. In fact, the superb built quality of the camera is felt all over --->>>>

In fact, Olympus remains as the only camera manufacturer that has none of its SLR camera models to have the button located at the camera base, a popular design with most of the conventional SLRs.The rewind release button serves with two functions, the main purpose is to release the film for film rewind after the film roll is finished, where the button needs to be turned to the right to allow the film to be wound backwards. For normal use, the red dot on the button points at upwards position. The nest usage is for multiple exposure operation as none of the OM1 and OM2 has a dedicated multiple exposure button or lever and you will need to turn the button to release the film advance process while at the same time, advance the film and cock the shutter. It is not as desirable as with Nikon's way of providing a handy lever for positive one hand operation. The only way to be assure of you are getting it right is to memorize the earlier frame number indicated in the tiny exposure counter window first and check visually after the operation if you have set it correctly.

Self-Timer Lever

Just under the film rewind button is the self-timer lever. It is an oversized command as commented earlier in the OM1 section. To activate, pressed the lever down to the right and it will reveal a tiny secondary lever behind which is used to activate the sel timer mechanism. The lever can be set for a delay from about 4-12 seconds by rotating counterclockwise. For the minimum delay rotate about 90'. For the maximum turn as far as it will go.

selftimer.jpg selftimerX.jpg
It can be stopped during operation by turning the start lever counterclockwise and, if desired, restarted or reset. The OM2's TTL Direct "OTF" Light Measuring insures stray light through the eyepiece cannot distort exposures during self-timer or remote control photography.

Push the tiny lever towards the lens and the self-timer countdown begins with the exposure made after about ten to twelve seconds. Other than using seltimer for self portrait or inclusion of the photographer, ypou can also make use of it to minimise camera shake in situation where a cable release is not available.

However, Olympus didn't design the self timer operation to activate the main reflex mirror to flip up first as soon as the lever is pushed and you still have to worry of whether the mirror bounce action would affect stability, especially exposure that demands long exposure time to gain maximum depth of field which is not too uncommon in macrophotography or high magnification works.

Further, unlike the mechanical OM1 series bodies, Olympus decided to drop the Mirror Lock-up feature in the OM2 which may, otherwise provides an added layer of shield against movement caused by such undesirable factors.

Shutter Speed Ring (for 'MANUAL' Operation) During "MANUAL" operation the ring can be conveniently set with the left hand for any speed from 1/1000 sec. to 1 sec. Lower shutter speed scales from 1/30 to 1 second is in blue for warning against shaky hand holdable speed warning.

The shutter speed scales for OM-2 bodies are also painted in blue to carry the same purpose of alerting photographers for possible image blur caused by slow shutter speed. To prevent errors a lock must be released in order to set "B."

OM2n55mmf12.jpg OM2nBase.jpg
Overall, the OM2(n) is an extremely high quality '/ well built body and equally a very versatile camera SLR camera even by modern standard. Despite the 25 years of age, but it still retains its own charm and look very appealing to a guy like me.I admire how it was conceived and one would really thankful for all those wonderful technologies it brought to the photographic world.

Viewfinder System

<<-- The viewfinder of either an OM1 or OM2 camera is most impressive as it makes you wondering just how can such a small camera body projects such a generous large image inside the finder. The 97% picture field with a viewfinder magnification of 0.92 X (at infinity with 50mm standard lens) contributed to its impressive viewfinder image, especially when you compared its ratio to the compactness of the camera body.

OM2 Viewfinder.jpg (13k) Loading... ledauto.gif LCDb.gif LCDc.gif

Multi Function Viewfinder As compared with its mechanical counterpart OM-1, the OM-2 finder has a very colorful and well laid out scales and display system. It has everything needed for full command over composition, focusing and light control. The finder features three different displays, each of which vanishes when not actually required. They are all on the left of the frame for minimum distraction. It is simple enough to use and easy to understand even for beginners. Although some may complaint the light blue slow shutter speed scales is far from convenient and yield too low of a contrast to see clearly, but it does serve its purpose to provide a well illustrated display to warn the user of slow shutter speeds in use.

The viewfinder employs a dual display method for AUTO and Manual mode. When operative in "MANUAL" mode, the OM-2 in fact feels and works in exactly the same way as an OM-1, and has exactly the same performance. But when it turns to "AUTO" on the exposure mode selector lever, the viewfinder display changes to quite a colorful layout. Instead of the simple "+ -" match needle used in the OM-1(n), there is a scale with shutter speed values between 1 second to 1/1000 sec appearing between two red and blue tag which signifies over and underexposure range. The blue auto zone may last for long exposures of up to 120 sec. in auto mode. Above the exposure indicator is a LED which will light up to show full flash charge when any OM system electronic flash is fitted in the hot shoe and may flickers for several seconds after the exposure to confirm that flash illumination is sufficient. For OM2n model, there is also an exposure compensation indicator which will appear as a reminder when Plus (+) or Minus (-) exposure compensation is being activated via the exposure compensation dial.

When the meter is switched off, only the tip of the needle is visible in the bottom left hand corner of the screen. The other readouts are removed.

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