“Street” Review : The Olympus OM-10 and Zuiko 50 mm 1.8

Olympus OM-10 is probably one of the first serious analog camera i bought.

I was searching something cheap, easy to use and capable of high quality photos.

This camera satisfied all of those points.

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THE HISTORY

In those days, lots of people are talking about the new Olympus OM-D, a micro 4/3 camera, but probably not all of them knows that the design and concept is derived from the analogue “H”Oly OM cameras.

Those cameras were designed by Maitani, the genius that also designed the XA and the half-format Pen.

With the OM1 (originally called M1…but this was changed due to Leica copyright on the name “M”) he created the smallest SLR body of the time, with easy to access shutter speed and a high choose of lenses and accessories.

The OM1 was all mechanic; then  it came the OM2 with aperture priority automatism and so on, they produced a lot of variations.

The OM10 was one of those.

It was intended to be an entry-level, easy to use and cheap model for who wanted to join the OM system.

Actually, it has a very large viewfinder (bigger than every rangefinder camera) and it is a aperture priority mode only camera, with selectors only for ISO sensitivity and exposure compensation.

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No, you can’t choose the shutter speed unless you don’t buy the external “Manual Adapter”.

I didn’t.

This is not a big issue to me; reading this article you will understand why .

THE SHOOTING EXPERIENCE

When using this camera, you just set the aperture you want and the camera selects the correct time.

So simple, so perfect, so liberating.

You just have to relax, find the subject, focus, wait for the correct moment then shoot and smile.

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Shutter is not metallic, it’s a curtain.

This is capable of a very pleasing, non-distracting “sound”; i can say it is similar (probably quieter) to a Leica M analog camera.

No one will turn to look at you after you take a photo.

Another great thing about the curtain is that is capable of relatively long time of exposure without blurring your photos.

This is possible because this shutter generates less vibrations than the classic metal shutter of a SLR.

I can clearly remember that i shot this one at 1/8 of second, handheld, wide open with Zuiko 50 mm 1,8 and i am really pleased with the result.

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Who needs fuc**ng expensive digital stabilization system? :-)

Manual focusing is really fast with that large viewfinder that is also really bright when used with the 50 1,8 lens; you won’t have any problem even at night.

I think it’s actually faster than focusing with a good rangefinder camera.

Camera feels solid, well constructed, and fit perfectly my big hands.

It’s not too heavy, you can carry it comfortably around the neck for all the day!

Shooting the street with this camera you won’t get much attention from people, you won’t be considered as a “serious” photographer.

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This is a good advantage in street\reportage shooting.

Being “stealthy” helps you to approach situations in a better way.

Instead, lot of people will tell you that they have the same camera somewhere in their house!

The lens i use is a Zuiko 50mm 1,8.

This lens is actually a very good lens, very sharp even wide open and with a pleasing out of focus.

It can focus quite close for a 50mm, about 0,50 m.

It’s even quite small! It has a solid focusing knob and a ring that sets the aperture.

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CONCLUSIONS

I shot a lot with this camera and i always been pleased from it.

I also owned an OM1 but i sold it since it was slower to shoot since it’s an all manual camera.

I can only recommend the OM10 to you, it’s an amazing tool for street portraits when used with the Zuiko 50mm 1.8 lens.

I hope you liked this informal, non technical review. It’s intended to be a sum of the experiences i had with this camera.

Thanks for reading, and excuse me if there are any errors!

Any questions?Doubts?Use the comments!

MORE SAMPLES

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Thanks a lot!

Peace,

Giorgio

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32 thoughts on ““Street” Review : The Olympus OM-10 and Zuiko 50 mm 1.8

  1. stuartpics says:

    Nice, I have an OM-1 and an OM-D, i used to have a Nikon D3s but the Olympus’s are both a pleasure to use, unobtrusive, great quality and I get more paid work with them than ever I did with that huge DSLR. Keep up the good work :-)

    • Dylbar says:

      Out of curiosity, what kind of paid work do you get with film?

      • stuartpics says:

        hi, just saw this . I often display prints at local cafe bars in the area, One reason is to find new customers for photography work and also to sell prints. A few of my film prints have sold this way and I’ve used the camera OM-1 for customers too, Vintage or mid century clothes and furniture are quite popular now, so people connected with this ‘fashion’ like to have film photos taken of them modelling their items in a true retro fashion. Using ISO 100 B&W film on a nice semi matt print is often quite beautiful, even using SilverFX pro and the same papers, the result is never quite the same.

  2. Digitalink says:

    Hi Giorgio,

    “Instead, lot of people will tell you that they have the same camera somewhere in their house!” – Spot on, as I happen to have one in my house! In fact, it’s been in the household for almost 30 odd years.

    Happen to bump into your write-up at the right time too as I’m in the midst of getting the camera cleaned, in which I would most probably need a professional to do so. The viewfinder is a little fogged up but mechanically and electronically, it works fine. Won’t exactly know until I load it up with a roll of fresh film but I’m trying to reduce the risk by getting it cleaned first.

    Anyways, it’s great that you’ve done such a write-up and am glad that I bumped into it.

    • I’m really glad that you liked it!
      It will be amazing if you start using this little camera, you will get surely nice photos!
      Thanks for passing by,
      Giorgio

  3. nicola says:

    ciao mi sto interessando in questo periodo delle olympus om
    tra la om2 e la om10 quale secondo te è la migliore?

    • Ciao Nicola!
      Senza dubbio la OM2 è migliore. Oltre ad usarla in priorità di diaframmi puoi usarla in manuale, ed è costruita meglio. La OM10 è una versione più economica ma va benissimo uguale. La qualità delle foto dipenderà solo da obbiettivo e pellicola!

  4. Nik.C says:

    I never knew the OM10 worked this way! I have the OM-1 which I’ve had for many, many years, and recently started using it again because I can use the great lenses on my DSLR 50/1.8 50/1.4 28/2.8 70-150/4, you’ve really got me interested in this camera now!

  5. Nik.C says:

    I’ve no just picked up an Om10 for £5.50 plus postage! I love my OM-1 with its huge viewfinder, is actually quite small compared to modern DSLRs and as much as Iove my rangefinder cameras, the Om-1 was my first love, and I’m more naturally predisposed to focussing with the split prism from years and years of use this way, so the OM10 with aperture only shooting will be quite liberating… Thanks!

    • Wow Nik, this sounds like an amazing deal! I’m sure you will have great results with your OM10. I had also the OM1, but decided to keep only the 10 because it was faster ;) Enjoy it and let me know your impressions when you receive it!

  6. Nik.C says:

    Actually, the postage cost more than the camera!
    On first impressions, the mirror slap is a bit louder than my OM-1, great viewfinder, why oh why do modern DSLRs not have great viewfinders like this? I like the the tiny LED indicating the speed which is very responsive as you move in and out of differing light intensities, something my Electro 35 doesn’t do, and the Om10 is smaller too, and I have a whole host of lenses I can put in it. I’ve not given it a proper test run yet, as I need to put some new light seals on, the current ones are showing signs of stickiness, but I will put a roll thru it next week, probably XP2.

  7. Lisa says:

    Very helpful review, thanks! I have just bought one and I’m waiting for it to be delivered. I’m really excited haha. I haven’t used an slr before so I’m looking forward to having play around with it.

  8. Madeleine Lundmark says:

    I just found an olympus om10 in my home that belonged to my grandfather that has not been used for many many years, and i wonder how many megapixels the camera has?

  9. Alex says:

    Helpful review, thaks a lot! I just start to use an Olympus OM-10 and I wonder if you can take double exposure pictures with this camera? some people say yes other no…well i’m little confused

    • Ciao Alex!
      Well you are lucky : the om10 can take double exposures too. :-)
      Just take a photo, do not advance the film. Instead put the camera in rewind film mode and go back with the wind lever for a spin or two. With practice you will understand how much to roll back. After that, take a new shot and advance the film lever!
      Hope this helps! :-)

  10. Soare Marius says:

    Ciao Giorgio
    this was a nice review for a nice camera and I feel I need to buy one :)
    One again thanks

  11. hardus swanepoel says:

    Great review!!! My OM 10 has probably been in my family for 30 years and it was my first camera when my father decided to buy a nikon f4 and pass the om10 down to me. I still use it when hiking and duringfestival season…. rockfests arent dslr friendly…. but my om 10 has probably done around 60 odd festivals around theworld…. and any camera shop that deals an any older slrs can give it a good clean and a proper service. Best cam!!! Thanx and regards from africa.

    • Wow Hardus…this is a great story! I’m sure that you have taken a lot of nice photos with this little gem, and i hope that you will take a lot of new photos with it! Thank you for passing by :-)

  12. Russ says:

    Just about to buy one off ebay, Had my doubts until I read your review. It sound great
    Thanks for taking the time to write this.

    • Hey Russ, thank you. Your words are too kind. I hope that you will love you “new” OM10!

      • Russ says:

        Hi Thanks for that. I did buy the camera om 10 it comes with the lens you use 1.8. Also came with a 28-200 lens, case and bag for it all. a got this for just £10.50. Having not used film before I am after a little advise about what film to buy. I only want to use black and white film. I just sold my canon 450d and bought a canon sx50hs love it but really miss SLR hence me buying a SLR film camera.
        Any advise would be great.

        Thank you my friend.

        Russ.

  13. Hardus Swanepoel says:

    Hi Russ… my two favorite B&W films are ILFORD XP 2 SUPER 400 ISO This film is great for low light and all round shots with the OM 10 although it is a bit grainy… I also love the Lomography branded Earl grey ISO 100 And lady grey… but mostly any B&W film wields great results in the OM10. Njoi The New cam. I’ll upload some pics on flickr to show you some of the results of the illford film…. head over to http://shop.lomography.com/za/film-guide to find out more about film choices…

  14. Matt says:

    Your b/w photos look great. Does it also do well with color photos? I just picked one up from a garage for $15, and it came with the same lens you used, plus a Zuiko 135mm f3.5, a Vivitar 200mm f3.5, a Vivitar automatic tele converter, and the Olympus Winder 2. I’m really excited to try it out.

    • Ciao Matt!
      First of all thanks for you kind words; to be honest i think i never used the OM10 with color film, so i can’t have an opinion about this. Btw i’m pretty sure it will be also an awesome perfomer!
      Peace! ;)

  15. Awesome review this helped a lot! I do have one question which brand of film would you recommend and where do you buy it from?

    • Ciao Andrew and thanks for stopping by. I always used Kodak B&W film. I can suggest you all the tmax, trix and cn400 if you can’t develop the roll for yourself :) I usually buy them on Italian website, so you should check the best online store for your country! Where are you from? Have a great day :)))

  16. BRIAN says:

    hi! i have some questions, you always used f1,8 in ur street pictures?

    • Ciao Brian! I always used F 1.8 for the pictures you can see in this article :) of course I don’t always use it for street shooting, but I really like it for portraits and low light situations. Thanks for stopping by, have a great day!

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