|Olympus OM-1 has changed the way photographers view SLRs – small can be serious (Photo by Jim Gray)|
On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Olympus OM-1, Cosmos pictures Founder Stephen Dowling writes A comprehensive tribute It has redefined what an SLR camera can be by keeping the design simple and compact without sacrificing too much functionality.
As we covered earlier, the Olympus OM-1 was not the original plan. Olympus designer Yoshihisa Maitani Initially conceived and eventually created a prototype for a camera we now know as the Olympus OM-X. This camera was similar to the Hasselblad camera, but instead of 120 rolls, 35mm film was used with a medium format counterpart.
|Maitani’s original idea was a lot of 120-format Hasselblad for a modular camera (image from Olympus Japan).|
Unfortunately, that design proved too complex for scale production, so it was discontinued at the prototype stage. Eventually, Maitani decided to create the OM-1, a camera he had envisioned from the beginning as an incredibly compact 35mm camera. So small, in fact, he used the Nikon FK as a measuring stick and told his engineers that he wanted the OM-1 to be 20-percent smaller in all dimensions and half the weight of what the Nikon F did.
Although not easy, the Olympus team eventually led Maytani, providing a camera that was slightly larger than its original concept. To achieve this, Maitani and his team have used new technologies and materials to make the most of each component.
|A 1970s ad that emphasizes the quiet shutter of the OM-1 (by image) Nestor / Flickr)|
Finally, the camera was unveiled in May 1972 at the PhotoKina Photographic Fair in Cologne, West Germany. The first units began arriving in the store in February 1973, less than a year later. Despite facing competition from the similarly named Leica M1, especially in the European market, OM-1 launched what Dowling referred to as the ‘arms race’ among other major camera makers, paving the way for the Canon A-1 and others.
Dowling concludes the article by saying that the OM-1 is ‘a testament to Maitani’s ability to find new directions in camera design.’ To read the full tribute to Dowlings, which includes a wide range of details and images not shown here, go here Cosmos pictures:
About the movie Friday: We’ve launched an analog forum, and in an ongoing effort to promote the medium’s fun, we’ll be sharing film-related content on Friday, including articles from our friends. 35mmc And Cosmophoto.