The OM-1, the first in the Olympus OM camera line, was introduced in 1973 to a thriving reception. It had two slight variants and even a NASA version. Close on its heels came the OM-2, adding automatic control, and after that, the OM-3. The next camera, by common logic, should have been the OM-4, but Olympus had other plans.
The OM line was perceived as a semi-pro and up. For fans with shallower pockets looking for a friendlier camera, Olympus brought the OM-10, a scaled-down model of the OM-2. Still an able performer, but with a mass appeal. That naming convention holds till today with the OM-D series, where the single-digit model ranks higher than the double-digit.
The main difference between the OM-2 and the OM-10 is the omission of manual speed settings on the latter. The 10 has a similar look and feel like the 2, same light measuring concept, see the front badge. As before, Olympus did not fail to include some annoying features, namely the multi-function control dial located by the winding lever.
To begin with, it looks as one could expect from a speed-setting dial, the same as was done in the OM-1. It is the ASA dial, with values similar to speed values. Around it are the exposure compensation values, wonderfully faint and hard to read, let alone in poor light when you may need it most. Still around this dial, almost touching the body, is another dial, selecting between ‘B’, auto, and the optional manual adapter.
Olympus is where Gods reside. Perhaps they have the answer to why the designers planned it this way. I have mentioned before the inherited anti finger nail sentiment of Olympus designers, as appears on other OM models. But here, they have outdone themselves.
To set the ASA speed, lift the dial around it and turn it to point the white line to the desired value. Note that here the ASA values are stationary, the indicator moves. To the compensation values, they are there to cheat the camera by quoting over/under ASA values, not changing anything else. This was popular at that period, and I assume it was easy for the user.
Lifting and turning the said dial is a feat for any person over six years old. I am 6’1” with hands to match and find it awkward.
Under this dial sits the slider that selects between ‘B’, auto, and manual adapter. I take it that designers didn’t feel that users would ever use ‘B’ or attach a manual adapter, so they made it impossible to select. Further, a user without a manual would forever ponder the adapter meaning.
On the top left, the selector lever is a part of a large ring set around the rewind dial. The settings do not click into position but float over. It might be a fault on the unit I have or this is how it is meant to be.
The selector has four positions:
- Check, where the camera emits a high pitch sound, and the self-timer LED lights up.
- Self-timer. This is an uncommon location for it, but I guess Olympus had their reasons.
- On: the camera is aperture priority controlled, so at the ‘On’ position, set the aperture and watch the viewer for a red dot that swings up and down on a shutter speed scale, indicating the speed selected. That’s about it. There is an optional manual speed setting accessory that hooks on the extended mount at the left of the lens barrel. It is innocent enough to look like a push-button, so it took me studying the manual for its’ use. The adapter connects to the camera brain via a port that could well be a PC port. There is a red mark on top of the speeds slider for a dedicated flash.
The rewind release control is where Olympus likes it to be, at the front, by the logo. Below that is the self-timer alert assembly, which looks as if borrowed from a star trek set. Dept of field and lens release latches are opposite each other on the lens body.
The hot shoe is set to X synch. The camera would take a power winder; here without adding an MD definition as with earlier models.
Two later variation
- OM10 FC, with the manual speed control attached,
- OM-10 Quartz, with data back, assuming the world will end in 2009 or the camera will only last till then, as this is the last date that can be set.
|Weight||470 gr, Body only|
|Class average weight||620 gr, Body only|
|Filter size||49 mm|
|Mount size||OM mount|
|shutter||Focal plane cloth horizontal|
|Light meter||TTL, manual override|
|Speeds||B, 2, /1-1000|
|DOF preview||Yes via OM lens|
|Other||Optional manual speed adapter|