Modern Classic SLRs Series :
Olympus OM-1 (n) - Part 5

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As explained earlier, Olympus upgraded original M-1 and OM-1 bodies barely less than two years later. These upgrades were added with a motor coupling base plate to permit the use of with automatic film advance devices such as motor drive or power winder.

Motor Coupling Terminal When a motor drive is attached, this automatically completes the electrical circuit. An electrical control device prevents motor-driven film advance while the shutter is open.

Relative: Olympus Motor Drive 1 | Motor Drive 2 | Winder 1 | Winder 2



If you are buying an used OM-1 camera (Or for that matter, any SLR cameras); ENSURE the motor drive coupling cover of the camera you intend to purchase is still there (Most likely the shop could has disassembled the camera/ Motor drive combination and sold them separately). In such case, light may leaking and fog the film.

The upgrade with such fitting built-in has a "MD" (Motor Drive) plate located just at the bottom right section next to the lens mount which signifies the camera model is "Motor Drive enabled". Earlier M-1 and OM-1 may also be factory fitted and have the base plate replaced during that time of the announcement Anyway, if you are owning an original M1, suggestion is to let the original model undisturbed, as the model will fetch a higher collector value be in its original form.

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One of the outstanding achievement of the OM-1 development was its realization of a equally compact sized but extremely well designed with high performance companion motor drive unit for the OM system.

<<-- Comparing physical dimension between an extremely OVERSIZED 1998's 7 fps Canon EOS-3 with Booster Drive PB-E1 and a 1974's 5 frames per second OM-1 with Motor Drive 1.

The original design of the Motor Drive pioneered by Olympus was indeed trend-setting during the seventies. Similar concept was 'borrowed" by Canon on their Motor Drive MA, a dedicated 5 fps Motor Drive unit designed exclusively for the 1977's multi-AE modes Canon A-1 (But strangely, Not ALL Canon A-series SLR Models can take advantage of the Drive, among them only the A-1 and AE-1 Program in 1982 can accept the Motor Drive MA, while the rest have to settle with a 2 fps Power Winder). That clearly shows how the OM-system stands well against the competitions at its time during the seventies all the way stretching to the early eighties.

However, the original Motor Drive did has a slight flaw in not providing an option for Power film rewind (imagine rewinding a 250 exposures film backs...). Anyway, to a large extent the success of the OM-1's novel engineering is accounted for by the complete originality of the OM System. Every parts, accessories and components were being designed together and at the same time, there was little issues in accommodate out-of-date units or obsolete mechanisms. Thus, when the Motor Drive 2 was introduced, the vastly improved drive also offered backward compatibility to enable it to be used with OM-1 bodies. The new motor drive, has a power rewind feature incorporated, but again unfortunately, the feature is not usable with older SLR models such as OM-1 and OM-2 series models..

<<-- The 5 fps Motor Drive 2 unit is impressive enough. It is also usable with an OM-1 or OM2 but power rewind feature is not operative in such a combination. However, it truly excels when used with modern bodies such as with any of the OM-3, OM4 series models.

" ... OLYMPUS 250 FILM BACK1 WITH 35-POF This is an Olympus 250 exposure back with the 35-POF computer attachment made by Miletus Assoc., New Mexico. I think this was made for record keeping and used by the USN. It will work as a long roll back on any OM1 or 2 and maybe with the OM3 & 4 as well. At any rate it's a cool item and if your into OM cameras this might be a great addition to your collection. It would work well for large group photos or sporting advents...." - Michael -
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Credit: Images courtesy of Mr. Michael Chandler® <> where he also operates a popular Ebay Store as well as a website on their own at Dexter Camera also can be reached by writing to: Dexters Camera 484 E Main St Ventura Ca 93001 USA 805-643-2172. Images copyright © 2003. All rights reserved.


Adding a motor drive or power winder is just the beginning of an extension of possibilities. Among those, a more practical approach is the remote and bulk film backs. Naturally, the standard film back is of a detachable type to accept Recordata Back or 250 Bulk film back which is very useful in sports, research and scientific applications. To remove, push down the hinge pin oat the side of the camera and you can change the film back.

* Note: The back of the OM-1 hinges to the right and can be opened fully on releasing the latch by pulling firmly upward on the rewind knob. It is self-latching when pressed shut. Possibly, Olympus is the ONLY camera manufacturer that has designed their 250 Bulk Film back operative with BOTH of their Motor Drive as well as the slower but very much economical Power winder.

The problems on the Motor Drive 2 with early OM-1 bodies carried over to the Databack as well. These specialized film backs, Olympus called theirs as "Recordata back"; having the current version 4, has also not benefited the old OM-1 bodies because it required an internal sync on the camera body to work. The original databack, like any other databack design by various camera manufacturers such as those Canon's Databack A or Nikon's MF-12 uses an external sync cord to make electrical connection to the camera via the PC terminal.

The first and second version are using dials input for dates and time. These old Databack may present some difficulties in practical use because the dials has limitation for inputting the "years". The version one has until 1984 while the version two is limiting its usage to 99 in its year range.

Relative: Olympus Recordata Back 1-4.

It was not until the third version Databack 3, that the Olympus finally has a capable product in good application of digital technology but it is still supplied with a sync cord to enable it to be used with older SLR models such as OM-1 and OM-2. The year range has extended to year 2009 (Similar to the current Recordata 4). So if you are hungry for a Recordata Back, DON'T rush to buy a Version 4 which may not workable with your OM1/2; the version 3 will serve you right - with the benefit of having it works with older models as well via the sync cord connection. But to be frank, Other than recording data onto film, allowing multiple camera operations and open up some simple remote control possibilities, Olympus Databack have little advantage over competitions in terms of other potential innovative applications.

It is quite strange and unusual (But a move welcomed by Users) to see Olympus encourages the use of third party remote control apparatus, such as radio or photo control devices, self timers, intervalometers and remote control cords.

Both the Motor Drive and Winder has a remote jack on top of the hand grip, where just next to the Shutter Release button. The Jack provides a facility for remote motor drive photography. It accepts a 2.5mm mini plug (output terminal of remote control apparatus). There are two optional M. Remote Cords available from Olympus in 1.2m and 5m length.

Note: The newer Motor Drive 2 offered a Remote Controller M. Quartz Remote Controller 1 which I am not too sure how it works and any significant advantage it can offer over older devices. If you have any knowledge, please make use of the Message Board to furnish content in this section. * When inserting the mini-plug into the jack, the Switch Dial should be set to "OFF"; otherwise devices such as Winder 1 or Motor Drive may start functioning as soon as the connection is made.

iRemoteD.jpg MRemote.gif
* IMPORTANT: Some remote apparatus whose output plug always gives electrical potential (voltage) when applied with a tester, will damage the winder circuitry.

Simultaneous Multiple Motor Drives Photography [ Relative: Remote Control Photography ]

The Remote Control Jack also provides a facility for electric shutter release in simultaneous burst with two or more motorized OM cameras. <<-- The wiring is illustrated at left

But the huge and comprehensive OM system is not just confined to Motor Drive, Winder, Recordata Back and flash units. In fact, Olympus segmented the OM system which Olympus envisioned it to be a highly analytical concept of how the 35 SLR should perform. That make way for the OM system being segmented into independent development Groups where each of them develop, and refining existing components; while at the same time, explore new possibilities and ensuring total integrity and compatibilities among development of newer products from other groups. So even if you invested into something earlier, you will be still able to find your system accessories invested to be able to use with newer bodies in the future. Among other things, many OM accessories are some typical example of such thoughtful and considerate concept.

Olympus OM Accessories

OM accessories include a full range of lenses from 8-1000 mm focal length, including zoom, macro and shift lenses. Other than some specialized and high speed optics, most Zuiko lenses below 200mm focal length are using standard 49mm filters (All the standard lenses have a minimum focusing distance of 45 cm (17.1 in). The f1.8 and f 1.4 have 49 mm filter threads for front-of-lens attachments and the f 1.2 lens has a 55 mm thread).

None of the OM SLR models offer Interchangeable Viewfinder feature - perhaps it is the only drawback if you want to pick on something out of nothing from the OM system. Most comparing brands such as Nikon F2, 1971,(F3, 1980); Canon F-1(n), 1971 (New F-1, 1981), Minolta XK/XM (1973) and Pentax LX (1980) offered that exclusive feature (among others, none of the Leica and Contax models offered that as with the Olympuses). It is highly debatable whether the advantage of interchangeable prism will post significant advantage over standard fixed pentaprism design but certainly it has its distinctive advantage in certain photographic situation that demand flexibilities. As a consumer, I would not reject such convenience even if I am not using it very often*.

However, Olympus compensated and offset the OM disadvantage with a series of dedicated interchangeable focusing screens. And it was designed to let the user to change the screens. Big deal ? Yeap. Remember the Canon A-1 ? Even it has 8 focusing screen designed exclusively for the camera, you have to send the camera back to Canon to change to another Screen ! The Olympus's screen changing is so easy and convenient, that after a few rounds handling on your own, you should be able to handle it confidently and will not required to use the Tweezer that supplied along with each screen to change another screen. How many types of screens are there ? 14 in total and you should be able to find one type that suits your particular photographic needs.

* At low angle photography such as at ground level or shooting something with a camera mounting on a copy stand, you cannot argue a right angle attachment can be far convenient than a waist level finder, right ?

For the viewfinder, other than a comprehensive collection of interchangeable focusing screens, there are a series of viewfinder eyepiece attachments include a soft rubber eyecup with provision for eyesight correction lenses, a combined angle finder and magnifier and a coupler both for photomicrography and to allow the eyecup to be attached when the 250 Film Back is in use.

The Viewfinder eyepiece has grooves on both sides of the eyepiece permit attachment of dedicated devices such as Varimagni Finder, Eyecup 1, dioptric correction lenses, etc. The eyepiece lens is recessed to protect it from dirt.

Relative: Focusing Screens and Viewfinder Attachment

As stated earlier, the film back is of detachable type and thus, it makes way specialized film back such as those Recordata Back and the bulk film back to be attached. But the most significant among all is definitely the Lens Mount.

An oversized lens mount that is almost the entire height of the camera body. Bayonet type interchangeable lenses are quickly removed by pressing the release button on the lens and turning 70° counterclockwise.

The body flange is made out of 18.8 nickel chromium alloy to ensure durability, and is large enough to provide satisfactory coverage when large diameter and long telephoto lenses, or various types of macrophoto or photomicro units are attached.

One of the most attractive reason presented by the OM system is, none other than a collection of extremely well made optic comprised of more than 40 odd lenses of exceptional lightweight and compact in size. Another major considering factor for a new purchaser of OM cameras is its economical price tag put on each of those fine lenses which by far, I would rate them providing the best in price versus performance ratio among any camera manufacturers.

Some uniquely designed optics are the Zuiko 21mm f2.0, Zuiko 24mm f2.0, Zuiko 24 mm f/3.5 Shift; some are using rare earth glass like Zuiko 24 mm f/3.5 Shift; 100 2.0 ED; 180 2.0 EDIF and two smartly spec Zuiko 250mm 2.0 EDIF and 350 2.8 EDIF would make any serious photographer's pulses beat faster...

There are many accessories for
macrophotography and photomicrography as well as the motor drive and 250-exposure back mentioned earlier.

The macrophotography and photomicrography segment was by far the most comprehensive available on the market then and even today. Olympus is still considered the most respectable supplier of such specialized equipment in this field.

<<-- Both images from my Copyright ©-Free image collection, 2000 leofoo® Malaysian Internet Resources.

Frankly, Olympus has, over the years evolve into a major player in supplying specialized medical research equipment such as those fibre optic cord that I hate when inside my physician's operation theater (Because it actually 'in' my body a few times through an "private passage" at my bottom....). The outlook and demand for conventional Silver halide film based photographic product in the near future is still able to keep the Company committed but since it had established a more successful footing into compact P&S market and as well as sustaining a commanding role in its pioneering field of ZLR (Zoom Lens Reflex) photographic users' market, interest on development on SLR technologies seems a little halfhearted; but as usual, as market trends swing, Olympus has diverted to digital photography reasonably successful as well and it seems it has revive its Interest back to a major contender in the arena of photographic supply. I do hope this innovative camera manufacturer, with their firm track record of being a truly innovative optical company of unconventional trend setting optical products, would do a awakening act and spring us some pleasant surprises in the very near future.

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Olympus OM-2SP: Camera Operations | Other Issues
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Shared Resources: Supplementary articles: TTL Metering, Depth of Field, Shutter Speed & Aperture
Motor Drive and Power Winder: Main Index Page (4 Parts)
Motor Drive 1 | Motor Drive 2 | Winder 1 | Winder 2
Flash Photography:
Main Index Page (4 Parts)
T45 | T32 | T20 | F280 | S20 | Qucik AUTO 310 | QA300, 200, 200S
Main Index Page (3 Parts)
Macro Flash Units:
T10 Ring Flash, T28 Twin, T28 Single, T8 Ring Flash
Databack 1-4 | Screens | Finder Accessory | Remote | Cases

Zuiko Lenses: Slowly developing..

Glossary of Photography
A good external source for
used Instruction Manuals for various OM SLRs and Accessories.

| Message Board | for your favourite Olympus OM-1(n) and OM-2(n) series models
| Message Board | for your Zuiko Optics in a shared environment
| Message Board | Specifically for Dispose or Looking for OM Photographic Equipment

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Maintainers for OM Site & Message Board: Mr. Rick Oleson <>; Mr. Bruce hamm <bhamm@magma,ca>; Mr. Simon Evans <>; Mark Dapoz <>;

Credit: My old time buddy, Ahmad Ikram, Dr of Rubber Research Institute (RRI), Malaysia who shares the same passion with me and also lending his OM-1n, OM-4 and the Motor Drive 1 to me for preparing some images in this site; Mark Dapoz <>for reminding some broken links; Mr Poon of Foto Poon, Ipoh, Mr Richard, Ampang Park, Mr Lim and Miss Jenny of Foto Edar for their generosity for their OM1(n), OM2n camera and some Zuiko lenses. Mr Hans van Veluwen for mistakenly using some content earlier from his OM website; J Sorensen for providing some useful images to rectify some technical "flaws"; Mr Gen Holst for helping during the early stages of development of this OM site; Mr KKLow for some of his earlier images on the OM-1appeared in this website; Miss Wati and Mirza for helping me to convert this Operation Manual into a HTML format. Mr MCLau for rectifying some mistakes made on the earlier preview sites. Site created 'unfortunately' again with a PowerMac. A personal tribute to the creator of the OM system and also a site dedicated to all the fans of Olympuses and Zuiko Optics worldwide. Some of the content and images appeared in this site were scanned from OM official marketing leaflets, brochures and instruction manual(s) for educational purposes. Olympus is a registered tradename of Olympus Optical Inc., Japan.