AustralianLight - Landscape Photography AustralianLight - Landscape Photography

AustralianLight - Landscape Photography is my new site with my good mate Bernie. If you have found my blog posts useful over the years, then how about giving us a hand to promote AustralianLight.

We are doing everything we can to get our australian landscape photography out there and guess what..... it's bloody hard work!! So please visit the gallery and if you like what see, share it with your friends.

Thanks, we really do appreciate your help. - Russell

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Rusty's Ramble #3: Olympus OM-1n

Well today my new camera arrived!! At last I have a near MINT condition Olympus OM-1n. (Seen here with the amazing 50mm f1.2)

Back in my college days I was using an Olympus OM10 (with manual adapter) and while this was a fine bit of kit at the time, my dream was to have the Olympus flagship, the OM-1n. This was naturally way out of my league being a student and by the time money was more available, my camera needs had moved into the medium to large format area.

So now after 27 years have past, I am finally living my almost forgotten dream.

"Why?" I hear you ask.... "Why not?" I say.

A camera like this still has it's uses. Sure it uses that floppy rollie stuff that comes in a can... forget what it's called at the moment.... but given that the floppy rollie stuff will be around for a little while yet, it will be fun to do some things that the current crop of digital simply cannot.

"Like what?" ...Well it can be used on an aircraft for one, even when they tell you to put all electronic gear away. It can be used in extreme temperatures where most digitals would fail and it can do longer exposures than any digital camera could ever hope to do.

"How so?" do like your questions, don't you...... All these things are possible, because the Olympus OM-1n is a mechanical camera! Yep, you heard right.... a MECHANICAL camera!

It is full of gears, levers and springs and NO electronics. Ok, so it has a light meter and a battery, but the battery is ONLY for the light meter and the camera will still operate without both! You just need to apply some of the old "Sunny 16" type of rules (or use an external light meter) and you can happily click away without even having a battery in the cam.

So what do I intend to use it for..... starting arguments with air hosties when I refuse to put my camera away? ....travelling into the extreme low temps of Antarctica? ....or making long, looooong exposures of star trails?

Well I plan to use it as a star trail camera. My Canon 1Ds Mk2 is quite a weapon, but even it likes to go no longer than about 30 mins in any one exposure. To go beyond that means that noise becomes an issue, as does the battery life because of the subsequent noise reduction "dark frame" exposure.

The OM-1n will happily stay open for ever, so 3 or maybe 4 hour exposures are my target, as these will provide a good length of trail.

What's that? You think you know me and you can't believe that I will only use it for that? Well I guess you are right.... I will use it for other bits and pieces when shooting film would be fun and I can promise that the odd air hostie or two will be put to the test. ;-)

Oh! I almost forgot..... Lenses.... I didn't buy any, as I already have a host of Olympus lenses that I use on my 1Ds Mk2, so adding an Olympus body was always a given really.


Australian Digital Photo Of The Day:

Photography help for beginners - Film & Digital Camera Techniques - Post Processing - Photography tips and tricks - Olympus OM-1n.


  1. Nice article. I look forward to more articles on life with your new acquisition.

    Like you, I'm also a DSLR fan who is going back to his "roots", rediscovering the joys of fully manual mechanical cameras. In my case, an FM2 and a Varex IIa :)

  2. Gee Russell, writing Blogs when you thought you wouldn't go down that path, now, heading back down the path of (just googled it and it's called...) film. What next? Lemme guess, you're ditching your iPod and getting out the old (but large) walkman. Am enjoying the series.


  3. Hi Russell, great blog. I too started my real photography life with an OM10and manual adaptor purchased for me on my 18th birthday by my late father. I still have it and it is in fine fettle. Even after me using it in a very large and heavy Sea and Sea underwater housing for a couple of years recently. I always wanted an OM2n but there again I also wanted an 8 track player and thought Betamax was better than VHS!!! I too have a large stash of Olympus lenses but they are sitting silently in a case waiting for some inspiration :-( I have switched to Canon DSLR and dont think floppy emulsion coated plastic, later to be dipped into silver nitrate solution in the dark will be making a comeback anytime soon for me, other than in my real life teaching career with little year 8's and B&W developing for understanding basic principals. Enjoying your posts and will continue to read as you post. Thanks Grant

  4. Grant, dust off those OM lenses and breath some new life into them with an adapter on your Canon DLSR. Using them as manual focus lenses in Av mode can be a whole lot of fun. ;-)