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Noob with Olympus OM-1 & 50mm f1.8 Zuiko lens

Discussion in 'Introductions...' started by stollie, Feb 28, 2018.

  1. stollie

    stollie New Member

    Hi all, I’m new to photography and so hoping that with some help from more experienced folk I can sort thru what seems to be a steep learning curve and learn to take a few good shots now and then.

    I have a 70’s Olympus OM-1 with a Zuiko 50mm f1.8 lens which I’m hoping to learn to use, as well as learning to develop the film. Having read a little about film, I figure I’d start with Kodak Tri-X 400.

    Right now, I can’t figure out where to start as far as using the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO settings to take my first few shots HAHA! HELP!!! From what I've read, those 3 settings need to change, depending on available lighting, movement (or lack) of the subject, and such.

    Glad to be here, and very appreciative of any assistance.

  2. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    Quick start...
    1. Download the user manual here: http://www.butkus.org/chinon/olympus/olympus_om-1/olympus_om-1.htm and read it through carefully.
    2. Check you have battery in camera and that it is working
    3. Load film. Having closed the back wind on once. GENTLY turn the rewind knob clockwise and confirm it comes to a hard stop. Wind on once more while watching the rewind knob which should move anti-clockwise as you do so.
    4. Set the ISO rating on the meter knob (ISO is the same as ASA)
    5. Set the shutter speed to 1/125
    6. Choose a subject and focus the lens.
    7. Turn the aperture ring until the meter needle centres between the indicator posts
    8. Press the shutter release
    9. Wind on smoothly
    10. Repeat 6 to 10 until you have taken the specified number of frames (24/36) or you feel the wind lever stop working.
    11. Turn the rewind release lever to unlock the film rewind knob
    12. Turn the rewind knob clockwise until you feel the film come free of the takeup.
    13. Proceed to process the film.
    14. You did download and read the manual, didn't you?
  3. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Do what Andrew said and you'll be OK. The ISO setting = the film rating. Aperture and exposure time need to be chosen to allow a "correct" amount of light on the film. The camera meter indicates this by zeroing as explained. So fix one and vary the other.
  4. Wab

    Wab Well-Known Member

    I went through a 'film phase' a year-or-so ago. I also used the same lens as yourself, coupled to an 0M10 that I got from a carboot sale for 5 quid. To reduce developing costs I purchased the film in bulk from e-bay, wound it on 35mm re-usable spools, took photos, then extracted the film into a Patterson tank (a very old bakerlite one) and processed the film in cafenol (a developing mixture that uses cheap coffee powder).

    I don't have a darkroom, so I used to go into the cupboard under the stairs, hang a curtain over the door, and do it all in a box I'd darkened with black plastic bags. My missis thought I was going weird, spending all that time under the stairs.

    Anyway, once the film had dried I scanned them into digital format using a film scanner I purchased from Lidl (about 20 quid I think).

    I really enjoyed the process.

    Maybe that's a bit too much info if you're still grappling with learning exposure, but it may also reduce your costs while you do.

    Personally, I'd suggest you get a digital camera that's capable of going fully manual and learning on that. You'll get immediate feedback of what each setting does, and once you get to grips with exposure, then go to film.
  5. peterba

    peterba Well-Known Member

    Phew! If the numbers had been 10, 20, 30 etc., that would have been almost like reading a section of GWBasic code... :)
  6. peterba

    peterba Well-Known Member

    Apologies to the OP for potentially knocking the thread off course, by post #5. :oops:
  7. stollie

    stollie New Member

    Thanks for the replies and suggestions. Andrew really loaded me up!

    I remember reading that they don't make batteries for this camera any longer and that available batteries give incorrect meter readings. My camera doesn't have a battery so I'm wondering if I can make do without it or keep looking to find one.

    This little camera is so cool that it's calling to me to learn it, if that makes sense. Developing the film always seemed a magical thing as well, especially now that one can use those changing bags to load and develop film in the Paterson tanks and don't actually need a darkroom.

    I see the sense of getting a digital and learning from its feedback but after just having gotten the lens, the lady holding the purse strings will likely give me grief if I mention digital now, especially with my other hobbies.

    Andrew, per your shutter speed suggestion of 1/125, is that because 1/125 is a good starting point? Also, what happens without the battery, can I get anything done?

    Thanks again for all your time and patience.
  8. Wab

    Wab Well-Known Member

    If the battery is purely for the light meter reading, then you can buy light meters cheaply from e-bay, or I believe there's smart phone apps that do them too.

  9. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    That's right. There's a rule of thumb that the minimum shutter speed should be the reciprical of your lens's focal length to reduce the chance of blur due to camera shake. So the slowest speed to use with your 50mm lens would be 1/60th of a second. For a beginner it's no bad thing to double that, hence 1/125th.
    The camera will work just fine without the battery but you'll need to estimate your exposure. The default method is the "Sunny-16" rule which is described quote well here: https://unblinkingeye.com/Articles/Exposure/exposure.html and here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunny_16_rule

    There's information about alternative batteries here: http://www.smallbattery.company.org.uk/sbc_px625.htm
  10. stollie

    stollie New Member

    Thanks again all. Andrew!

    Please let me know if the info on this vid can be considered reasonably accurate per sunny 16. It's a bit drawn out so bear with it.

  11. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    I'd print the table from the wiki article! If you are using negative film it has a good exposure latitude. I'm not sure of the effect of the battery voltage change on the camera meter. If it is a constant amount, e.g it is a stop "wrong" compared to a reference (another camera or hand held meter) this is easily compensated for by setting a different and balancing film speed.

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