Olympus OM10 – What a Surprise

With the exception of a few years at the beginning of my 35mm photographic journey, I’ve been a Nikon shooter. I fell in love with just about everything from the handling to the build quality to even the sound the mirror slap and shutter firing made. I even followed them into the digital age going from D40x to D90 to D610. That is until my defection a year ago last February when I jumped ship and moved to Sony and the a6300. But that is a story I have already told and will not retell in this post other than to say that even at the time of my defection I was knee deep in dissatisfaction with photography most of the time.

At the beginning of this year I vowed it would finally (after two years of talking about it) be the year I returned to shooting primarily film. Lord knows I have plenty of them (mostly Nikon) sitting around just begging to be used again. The hard part was in picking which one, or ones, I wanted to use for most of the work. Unfortunate for me, I loved shooting them all and for a while would bounce around using them all. More often than not, most of them would have a roll of film in them ready to shoot. It didn’t take long to realize that, not only was that expensive, but it also took longer to shoot a roll since I never shot a full roll at a time. I gave myself an ultimatum that I had to pick three cameras to carry me forward (a primary, a backup and an alternate) from this point on. Those cameras are the F4, F100 and the F2 as alternate. The rest will be packed away so that they do not pose a threat to my plan. I’ll let you know in a few months how that worked out. I’m happy with my choice of cameras. Not only are they rugged beasts that have stood the test of time like no others but are also as reliable as they come.

Recently, though, a newcomer has caught my eye. Not quite a monkey wrench in the works or a fly in the ointment, but still something that gave me pause to consider. That being the Olympus OM10. Given to me by a dear friend, I never paid it much attention, after all, I’m a Nikonian. Until one day I was bored and thought the least I could do was look at it to see what it offered. The way the aperture ring is positioned and the adapter needed for it to function in manual mode intrigued my curiosity even more. It certainly is a light machine, much lighter than even the F100. I kind of liked that. I decided to take the batteries out of my FM to see if they would work in the OM10. They did! Looking through the viewfinder I could see the red LED light telling me the shutter speed the camera was selecting. “Well.”, I thought, “Lets run a roll through this and see what it’s got.” I loaded it with some HP5+ and proceeded to shoot it around the house.

The results were not spectacular. Nor were they expected to be. I wasn’t going for art or anything to hang on the wall. I just wanted to see if it worked. To see how the meter would evaluate scenes. Check for light leaks. You know, standard stuff when checking out a 20+ year old camera. What I WAS surprised by was how much FUN it was to shoot this camera. It is easy for me to focus (bad eyes you know) and for a guy that is used to Nikkor lenses, the forward positioned aperture ring nearly felt natural by the end of the roll and the compact size and lightweight was a bit refreshing from the tanks I’m used to.

Was this experiment enough to lure me away from my beloved Nikons. Short answer, no. But what I WILL be doing is keeping this one by my side as my “carry with me everyday, everywhere” camera. My “fun” camera, if you will. Perhaps there’s an OM1 or OM 2 in my future. Who knows.

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