The small, compact, and light Olympus OM-2 is a design classic that was initially released in 1975.
Possibly one of the most beautiful cameras ever designed, the OM-2 came with the same compact, sturdy design of the OM-1. However, unlike its predecessor, the OM-2 was an electronic SLR camera that featured an automatic exposure system that extended its functionality further.
But what makes this camera so unique?
Olympus OM-2 Unique Features
Although often underrated, the Olympus OM-2 came with various unique features.
Firstly, The OM-2 was the first camera to have the Automatic Dynamic Metering (ADM) TTL system. Also known as the OTF (Off the Film) metering, this system enabled the camera to gauge light through the lens and not through the external light meter.
The second unique feature of the OM-2 was the introduction of the aperture-priority automatic exposure system. The auto-exposure system enabled the camera to set a shutter speed based on the aperture value (f-number) that the user selects. Using this feature ensures that you get the appropriate exposure on an image based on the amount of light going through the light meter at that time.
And that’s not all,
You can also use the OM-2 in manual mode.
When in manual mode, a needle in the viewfinder will show you the shutter speed and which aperture to set.
As if that’s not enough…
Do you have an OM-1? You can easily upgrade to the OM-2.
One of the OM-2 main selling points was the fact that you could use all OM-1 accessories on the OM-2 without any modifications.
What about the optics?
The OM-2 came with the 50 mm F. Zuiko F 1.4 lens that offers excellent sharpness
And let’s not forget about the viewfinder.
Like its predecessor, the OM-2 featured a large and bright viewfinder that made it easy to view the metering needle and display exposure compensation when in auto mode.
Physical Appearance and Design Overview
With a body similar to the OM-1, the OM-2 was and is still appealing to many analog photographers.
Let’s start at the top.
On the left, you have the easy to use rewind crank that’s made of durable metal.
Next to it is the mode selector that has the manual, off, and auto options. The off option allows you to switch off the light meter when you’re not using it. When you leave it on, it will drain your battery. Above the auto option, there’s a check feature that allows you to check the battery levels through an LED light. When the battery’s full, it lights red. When the battery is drained, the light blinks. The shutter may not work when the battery is depleted, so make sure you check the battery levels regularly.
In the middle of the camera, you have the hot shoe, which you can use to connect a flash unit.
Next, you have the ISO dial, which also acts as a film speed selector.
The shutter release button is next to the exposure compensation dial.
On the far right, there is the film advance lever. It is composed of durable metal, and it’s very stable, unlike the plastic levers.
Now to the face
Similar to the OM-1, the OM-2 featured an aperture ring located on the front of the lens.
The focus ring is located behind the aperture ring with the shutter speed dial being situated at the front of the lens mount.
The OM-2 also features a self-timer that gives you and your friends about 12 seconds to pose.
Olympus OM-2 MD
Olympus later released the Olympus OM-2 MD, which has a distinct label MD on the front side of the camera.
The main difference between the OM-2 and the OM-2 MD was that the OM-2 MD came with a removable cap where the motor drive could be attached,
Earlier OM-2 versions required the user to go to a service facility to enable attachment of the motor.
Shortcomings of the OM-2
The use of foam as a light trap in the pentaprism is a design flaw that may affect your use of the Olympus OM-2.
In some instances, the foam decays and destroys the pentaprism mirror.
Before buying an OM-2 camera, look through the viewfinder. If you see dot blemishes, don’t buy the camera.
The OM-2 is a little bit heavier than the OM-1, but not as heavy as most cameras released at that time. Whether you’re a digital shooter interested in film photography, or a student who would love to learn Film photography, the Olympus OM-2.