Olympus OM-1

I am so excited by this find. Firstly I love olympus cameras, secondly it is an OM-1, thirdly it was less than $20 (without a lens). Luckily I have OM lenses to test it with. So I plonked on a lens and got to loading a film, that is when I discovered the shutter curtain was jammed shut. Many junk bin camera are in plastic sealed bags so you can’t do the checks you want to. If I have to be honest I probably wouldn’t have bought this if I had check it.

But it was now mine and mine to fix. After a bit of internet searching I discovered that this is a common issue with this camera. I am in Japan and there are Olympus service centers, but I didn’t want to pay for it. I found this website and decided, ok in for penny in for a pound and took the bottom off. I couldn’t quite figure it out from the website what to do, but by carefully pressing a few things I found the right lever and pushed it back into place. Low and behold the shutter was free, but when I pressed it again it jammed again. Every time.



I used lighter fluid to clean it as it evaporates quickly. I then used a non-greasy, light bike chain oil to very lightly lube the relevant parts. Then just kept cocking and pressing the shutter then pushing it back until it finally went back on its own. I then put the bottom back on and loaded a film. I was so chuffed with this find and fix that I took it to Tokyo and bought a second hand 1.4f 50mm lens to test it with. I can use it on another camera (OM4 which I also love).

This camera was first manufactured in 1972. It has a light meter that uses the old mercury based battery, so if you have one you will need to find an adapter or buy an expensive alternative. I have a few other olympus cameras so I have some adapters. You can use it manually, but I tested this one using the metering system. Basically when you look through the viewfinder there is a + and – with a needle that moves up and down. If it is too low you open the aperture, if it is too high you close the aperture….or change the speed accordingly. When the needle is between the two marks you are good to go. If there isn’t enough light it will still take the shot, it does not lock the shutter.

Ok moment of truth, does it work….

Yes, oh yes it worked. I was so excited by the whole fixing thing that I forgot about the dangling lens cover and it covered the side on a couple of shots, that is the black part on the right of some photos. But the rest are so sharp. The new lens had a bit of dust, but it didn’t affect the photos. I loved using this camera so much that I almost gave up all the point and shoot cameras right then and there. I am going to sell, keep or give away…I have seen this camera for sale in Japan for over $200 so I don’t think I will have an issue selling it. But oh I so want to keep it. I might be tempted to give it to a friend, but not with the new lens, that’s mine, a 1.8f 50mm is more than enough.

Look at me fixing cameras πŸ™‚ (that is a big, fat, wide grin and head wobble)


9 thoughts on “Olympus OM-1

  1. tinypassports says:

    Great find! And awesome job at fixing it! I wish I could come across something like that at the shops around here. Pass some of that luck! Haha.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. the6millionpman says:

    The exact same problem happened to an OM-1n I used to have also, sadly mine was beyond repair. On the plus side it meant I had an excuse to go out and buy another OM-1, it’s a cracking camera that I use far more than any other I own. Enjoy yourself with it, I’m sure you’ll have a lot of fun with it.


    1. windswept007 says:

      Actually I sold it to a friend, and always regretted it. But I found another, an OM1n so no big loss. I do have many cameras and he really wanted it.


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