$50 Camera Project

Now I know I'm only supposed to post my picture of the day but this is a special deviation. Without further ado, my submission to the $50 camera project.

My Camera: The Olympus OM-1
128/366 My OM-1
The OM-1, at one time the world's most popular camera (I made that up) and long-time standard in the photography world. Everybody over 40 (I made that up) had one of these and everybody under 40 thinks they're so pretty and probably has no idea how they work.
I found the manual settings intriguing and also beguiling. While the manual focus was lovely my reflexes are nowhere near fast enough to put the correct subject in focus, as you'll notice in my pictures. Indeed, the DoF was often not great enough for me to capture my entire subject, which is entirely my fault.
It will also become clear if you look at the pictures that I have not yet mastered the "Sunny 16" rule which dictates how you should set your aperture and shutter speed to achieve proper exposure.
But the nitty-gritty, what Brian wants here, are the technical details. The OM-1 has a lot of moving parts compared to your standard digital model, on which you can pick the thing up and start shooting. Loading the film, winding it up and getting the camera to take a proper exposure all required reading the manual, which I had to look up online.
The aperture, shutter speed, and focus are all manually adjusted and are located on the lens. The 50mm lens I was using had no zoom. Once you've figured out how these work, it only takes photographic skill to make a great picture! I can't report any lens aberrations, processing difficulties or other mishaps. All-in-all, the OM-1 is just a great old camera.

I bought it for $25 at a church yard sale - it included a fat telephoto lens, a bunch of filters, that awesome strap you see in the beauty shot above, and a killer leather camera bag. Oh, and a warranty that expired in 1974.

My overall impression in using this camera is that it was like having to learn the fundamentals all over again - in a totally different way! Whereas I've learned I need to fill the frame with my digital camera, plenty of times I'll just shoot something as-is and go back and crop later. Tsk tsk on me! This effect was magnified in the OM-1 as I'm not using to using a viewfinder. Most of my subjects are very small, floating around a big frame.

The Pictures
These were taken during Jeff Revell's PhotoWalk in Old Town, Alexandria. I thought it was a perfect opportunity to bust out this awesome camera I never use, and I was right. These are unprocessed, even though it pains me to present them as such. Enjoy!

1 comment:

Kelita said...

Your review cracked me up! I enjoyed the "I made that up" stuff and a few other of your funny comments. Hey, that strap is not too bad...;)

Thanks for sharing your experience with the $50 Film Project. Best of luck!