Modern Classic SLRs Series :
Olympus OM-1(n) & OM-2 (n) - Preface

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The system accessories found in the Flash Photo Group for OM1(n) and OM2(n) Series SLR cameras

Olympus has a rather comprehensive choices of flash units tailored designed for their SLRs. There are a total of three standard Olympus flash units, two of them are clip-on compact flash units used with an accessory shoe on the camera, i.e. T20 and the T32. There is another bigger bracket flash unit, T45. Beside these, there are also two macro flash units, the T28 Twin and the T28 Single, in addition to two ring flash units, the T10 and T8 where all are designed for macrophotography. Both the current OM4Ti and OM3Ti have a new flash technology incorporated whereby the camera permit synchronization with shutter speeds all the way up to 1/2000sec. , but in order to utilize this special feature, it would require a special dedicated flash unit called F280. The new flash flash, in addition to provide full synchronization with OM3Ti and OM4Ti, it also offers standard flash features such as TTL auto flash, Normal Auto and Manual flash control for other OM bodies that are equipped with respective flash capabilities.

Quick Reference Guide: Olympus T45, T32, T20, F280, S20, T10 Ring, T8 Ring, T28 Macro Single, T28 Macro Twin, TTL Quick AUTO 310, Quick AUTO 300, PS200, PS200 Quick and T Power Control Version 1

The Olympus's flash is undoubtedly one of the strongest reason why many photographers are attracted and investing into a Olympus SLR system. The company has, over the years, pioneering some of the most influential technologies where it relates and introduced one breathtaking innovation after another. They brought the first in true system modularity in its concept for flash with inclusion of the magnificent and revolutionary TTL OTF Auto Flash Exposure Control system back at the mid-seventies, refined and improved during the eighties and finally had a breakthrough in the limitation of traditional flash application with an amazing Super FP Flash technologies with its total synchronization and remarkable range of creative effects.

The TTL "OTF" Auto Revolution pioneered by Olympus

flashillus1.gif flashillus2.gif
In a simplest explanation, TTL differs from conventional auto flash is, the location of the light measuring cell has been shifted to the camera body unlike normal AUTO flash's sensor location is situated on the flash unit itself.

For any knowledgeable photographer, it is hard not to associate the amazing TTL "OTF" Auto capability with Olympus, in particular the OM-2 which was their first successful attempt in realizing this revolutionary flash exposure control method. The flash is totally controlled by the camera so there is no need for any exposure calculations or settings even for bounce flash, diffused flash lighting, off-the-camera flash or simultaneous use of multiple flash units. Any aperture of the taking lens can be selected freely, the flash can be used over a distance range from about twice as close to twice as far as with normal auto flash and the angle of flash measured is always precisely the same as the angle of the taking lens.

The OM-2's TTL Direct "OTF' Light Measuring Method and Centralized Control System, automatic exposures are calculated in real time. The two SBC light sensors that housed under the reflex mirror, facing backward and read the light that actually hits the film plane during the exposure and when the right amount of light has reached the film the camera's electronic brain automatically terminates the exposure. It is essentially designed as a real time exposure system fast and accurate enough to cut off the flash emission in fractions of a millisecond the instant the perfect exposure is completed.

In normal photography this is done by closing the shutter. Because flash is so fast and intense the electronic brain first cuts off the flash emission directly by an electrical signal before closing the shutter curtain The idea is simple. It means that the only factor affecting the OM-2's exposure decision is the amount of light that actually reaches the film through the taking lens. it does not matter which way the flash is pointed, what angle lens or lens aperture if; used, how bright the flash or subject is or how many flash units are used (up to nine units, provided they are all linked with the OM-2).

curtaindots.gif SBC.jpg
The random digital pattern shutter curtain facing in FRONT is NOT used for TTL direct flash metering (it is for ambient light); instead, the pair of Silicon Blue Cells (SBC) under the Reflex Mirror, facing backward to the shutter curtain during exposure and read intensity of the light reflected back from the actual film surface for metering.

An OM Modular Flash System Concept similar to that of the SLR system. This innovative flash technology went on to spawn a host of imitators as you are aware, virtually all of today's modern SLRs offer such flash capability. But even then the is one thing that OM flash system hard to be compared, because the OM flash equipment approach the performance and versatility of SLR system cameras.

A good example is the modular flash unit such as the original Quick Auto 310 that introduced back in the mid-seventies (holds the honor of being world's first TTL flash) and ever popular T32 where both are compact enough to be mounted on the camera, adequately powerful enough for full professional use when mounted on a supplementary Power Bounce Grip.

<<-- The OM flash system has similar concept of modular SLR system where you can actually custom built your camera/flash system to handle virtually any kind of photographic situations. Note: The T32 illustrated can be converted into a handle flash when used with the Power Grip and yet retaining full TTL functions via TTL sync connections.

In addition the OM System modular flash range expanded to include an even smaller TTL flash capable T20, specialized flash units such as ring and bar macro flash units, and naturally, a powerful handle flash T45 professional unit, etc. where all of which allow free choice of all available lens apertures, and every kind of sophisticated exposure technique from bounce flash to multi flash, creative use of color filters, etc.
<<-- The Olympus T32 and T20 system flash has been around for the OM cameras since last 20 over years. The long spell of time also tells how good the flash has been designed. They are compact enough and flexible and powerful to be used as a full system flash. It offers full TTL, normal AUTO and Manual control with OM2, 3 and 4 series models as well as normal AUTO and manual flash with OM1 series.

<<<-- Shown at left is how one can transformed an OM2(n) into a full scale system flash setup with just an simple T32 flash. Components include an OM2(n) body, Motor Drive 1, Power Bounce Grip, T32, Auto connector, TTL auto cord 0.3M, eyecup & M Grip cord.

BUT if you want pure raw power output, Olympus has this powerful T45 to serve you. Olympus is also one of the rare few camera manufacturers that can offer such powerful flash unit. Naturally, it will provides full TTL capable with any TTL capable OM bodies, and multi levels AUTO and manual flash controls in non-TTL mode with either a TTL flash or a full manual flash control OM camera model. The Olympus flash method almost seemed like a perfect solution - except may be you can pick on a slight flaw, i.e. most OM SLR models were employed with a horizontally traveled shutter curtain design which means there is a longer shutter traveling time running horizontally rather than vertically. This has resulted in restricting the use of higher sync speed. If you have noticed, right from Olympus M-1of 1972 to a 1984's OM4, and that is why very few literature or marketing leaflets mentioning highest achievable sync speed of any OM SLRs. Because none of these models are providing a sync speed of beyond 1/60 sec. - it is indeed way below market standard of comparing brands. Further, all these models are only provided with a silk fabric shutter curtain as opposed to the use of metal or more "comforting" materials where most other high end SLRs like Canon F-1/New F-1, Nikon F2/F3 or even Pentax LX which "imitated" Olympus Direct Metering System have a shutter curtain that made of tough Titanium. Although I am not questioning or doubting the durability or reliability of OM cameras with the choice of using fabric based shutter curtain, but as ALL models mentioned earlier also were employed with a horizontal traveled shutter design and I thought Olympus could have offered a better solution to position themselves with a a more and selling point distinctive advantage amidst all these competitions.

Thus, Olympus SLRs may hold the advantage for the technologies they invented, but the slow sync speed is also one of the weaker link in an overall OM flash system.Well, this remaining problem in an otherwise flawless flash system almost seemed impossible to resolve. Much due to the nature of focal plane shutters, they are fully open only at speeds of around 1/60 sec. or less (Cross reference: Nikon F2 & Nikon F3 : 1/80 sec.; Canon F-1 : 1/60 sec.; Canon New F-1 : 1/90 sec.; Pentax LX : 1/75 sec.)

Note: A fungus grown and slightly deformed shutter curtain belonged to a friend who works in a extremely high humidity environment in a tropical forestry research center in Indonesia. But it is highly debatable whether metal-based shutter blades high higher tolerance to such rare circumstances.

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Main Reference Map for Olympus T32 Flash: HTML | PDF File (163k)
Olympus T45, T32, T20, F280, S20, T10 Ring, T8 Ring, T28 Macro Single, T28 Macro Twin, TTL Quick AUTO 310, Quick AUTO 300, PS200, PS200 Quick and T Power Control Version 1

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Olympus OM-1(n): Main Index Page (5 Parts) | Camera Operations (6 Parts)
HTML | PDF | Main Reference Map: HTML | PDF (217k)
Olympus OM-2(n): Main Index Page (6 Parts) | Camera Operations (9 Parts)
HTML | PDF (48k) Main Reference Map: HTML | PDF (203k)
Olympus OM-2SP: Camera Operations | Other Issues
Specifications: HTML | PDF | Main Reference Map: HTML | PDF

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)
Manual for
Photomicro Group (3 Parts) NEW upload !
Macro Flash Units:
T10 Ring Flash, T28 Twin, T28 Single, T8 Ring Flash
Databack 1-4 | Screens | Finder Accessory | Remote | Cases

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Glossary of Photography
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used Instruction Manuals for various OM SLRs and Accessories.

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