1980's Olympus

Olympus OM-3

Olympus OM-3

Talk about hard to find.

The Olympus OM-3 is the second rarest Olympus camera – after the M-1.

Produced between 1983 and 1986, the OM-3 is a “cult camera”—most manual camera collectors will pay top dollar for it.

But what’s so amazing about this camera?

Unique Features

Olympus cameras never fall short of unique features.

The OM-1 was known for its legendary small size and excellent viewfinder. The OM-2 became the first camera to have the Automatic Dynamic Metering (ADM) TTL system.

The OM-3 was not any different.

The Olympus OM-3 came with the multi-spot metering in addition to the center-weighted metering that was available in OM-1 and OM-2 cameras.

By including a multi-spot metering feature, the OM-3 was able to calculate a more accurate ideal exposure for every image.

And that’s not all

The Olympus OM-3 also came with highlight and shadow buttons. With these buttons, a photographer was able to identify which parts of the image could be exposed as black or white.

The camera also featured an LCD readout that replaced the needle in the viewfinder.

If you didn’t like the automatic exposure feature in the OM-2, the OM-3 went back to being fully mechanical.

Being fully mechanical, the OM-3 allows you to shoot in sunny 16 and still get the exposure right without using batteries. But if you can’t guess the exposure, the metering modes are always at your disposal.

What about Shutter Speed?

The OM-3 comes with a shutter speed of 1/2000 that makes this camera ideal for outdoor shots. With the extra shutter speed, you can comfortably use a fast lens with the OM-3.

As if that’s not enough

The OM-3 also featured improvements to the high-speed sync flash

Design Features

The OM-3 features the same minimalist design as its predecessors. The body is mainly composed of aluminum, with the top and bottom plates being made from Titanium. 

Unlike its predecessors which featured a removable hot-shoe, the OM-3 came with a fixed hot-shoe.

The face of the OM-3 did not feature a self-timer switch.

Most buttons are located at the top of the camera.

Shortcomings of the camera

If you’re used to the other OM cameras, you might have some trouble getting used to the OM-3.

One of the first differences you’ll notice is the harsh film advance. Unlike the OM-1 and OM-2, which have a particular slick advance, the OM-3 features steel gears, which makes advancing the film feel a bit harsh.

It also lacks the self-timer; you can forget about taking photographs of yourself and with your friends.

The OM-3 is also not the best for beginners. It was designed to provide specific advanced features to more experienced photographers.

Few of them were released, which makes it extremely hard to find.

Final thoughts

It’s fair to say that the OM-3 was an upgraded version of the OM-1 and the mechanical sister to the OM-4.

Despite lacking some features, the OM-3 is an excellent camera for any outdoor photographer.

It doesn’t disappoint. Being fully mechanical, you can keep shooting even when the battery runs out.

And that’s not all

The mechanical shutter gives this camera a sense of swiss watch perfection and artistry.

If you’re looking for a rare mechanical camera with impressive features, the OM-3 is your best bet—if you can find one.


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