Suzanne, my darling Wife, came home from her furniture restoration course one afternoon and announced that she had a little something for me. Aye aye! I thought, but it turned out to be a couple of smart looking camera bags. One of her friends from College had heard that I was into photography and had given Suzanne an old 35mm Film SLR with a load of accessories - the Olympus OM2n!
Complete with 3 lenses, a power-winder, cable releases, and a pile of Cokin filters, this OM2n was the real deal. UV filters adorned every lens, and everything was very clean. As I point out in the video, OM2's need batteries to work, two LR44's, and if they're missing or flat it will appear that the shutter is jammed, so with some fresh power cells in place my Olympus fired up and started shooting.
Normally SLR's, even 35mm film ones, are a little on the heavy side. The OM2n bucks this trend and feels more like a large compact. With the super light-weight 50mm f/1.8 Zuiko lens attached this camera is incredibly light and small. Walking around Chichester with the Om2n slung over my shoulder in its natty leather cover, I didn't feel weighed down one bit. When people say that the OM2 is the Leica of film SLR's, they could well be right.
The Olympus OM2n was a follow up to the legendary OM1. The OM2n can work not only in fully manual mode, but also in aperture priority mode. The film-speed dial doubles up as an exposure compensation dial - unusual on a film camera, and especially on one of this age.
Focussing, is of course, fully manual. Don't fret though because the view-finder on the OM2n is absolutely massive, or at least appears to be to me. The finder is incredibly bright, and has a split-prism that makes manual focussing a doddle.
What the OM2n was famous for at the time of its release was the way that the camera metered the scene layed out in front of it. Measuring the light from a special pattern off the shutter curtain, or off the film itself for longer exposures, the OM2n is renowned for its ability to meter accurately, and can even do long exposures automatically up to 2minutes (!).
I've had a blast shooting with the OM2n. If I had a Zuiko 50mm f/1.4, it could well supplant my SRT 101 as my favourite 35mm film SLR. The little Olympus, light and small, is tough, reliable, and that bright view-finder means that manual focus is not a problem.
So, spread the word, ask those relatives and friends if they've got any old film gear, and you never know, an Olympus 35mm SLR might well turn up.