Olympus initially aimed its OM-series of 35mm SLRs at pro and semi-pro photographers. Their small size and light weight were compelling, and other manufacturers quickly imitated it. The first was Pentax’s ME in 1976, which Pentax aimed squarely at the consumer market. It was only a matter of time before Olympus addressed the consumer market as well. They did in 1979 with the Olympus OM-10.

Olympus OM-10

The OM-10 accepts the whole range of OM Zuiko lenses and most OM accessories, but cost a great deal less. It listed for $266 (equivalent to more than $1,500 today), while the OM-1n was $315 and the OM-2n was $515.

Olympus OM-10

The OM-10 is an aperture-priority camera. An adapter was available to give it a manual exposure mode, at extra cost. It features an electronically-controlled focal plane shutter that operates from 1 to 1/1,000 second. You can set it to accept films from ISO 25 to 1,600.

Olympus OM-10

Up top, the ISO knob is around the winder, as is the on-off-battery-check switch. Strangely, that switch also activates the self-timer, which runs about 12 seconds. You set the ISO on the knob next to the winder. Two LR44 button cells power the camera.

Unlike the single-digit OMs, this is not a system camera. You can’t replace the focusing screen, for example. Well, technically you can, but you have to shave off a portion of the replacement screen. In other words, Olympus didn’t intend for you to replace the screen.

The kind folks at Film Camera Store in the UK sent me this camera for review in exchange for this mention. They sell used film cameras, film, and accessories with a 14-day money-back guarantee, and they ship worldwide. Click the logo to learn more.

The OM-10 kicked off Olympus’s two-digit series of OM cameras, which came to include the OMs 20, 30, and 40. Olympus called the 20 the G in some markets, the 30 the F, and the 40 the PC. The whole series went out of production in 1987.

OM-10 bodies came chrome-topped like this one, or in all black. A date-back version of the OM-10 was called the OM-10 Quartz or OM-10 QD, and a kit that included the manual adapter that went by OM-10 FC.

If you like Olympus SLRs, check out my reviews of the OM-1 (here), OM-2n (here), and OM-4T (here). I’ve also reviewed other small SLRs, including the Pentax ME (here) and ME Super (here), as well as the Nikon EM (here) and FA (here). Or check out all of my camera reviews here.

My favorite walking-around lens for my OM cameras is the 40mm f/2 S.Zuiko. I mounted it to the Olympus OM-10, spooled some Fujifilm Superia X-tra 400 inside, and went for a walk. This is what’s left of the farm that my neighborhood is built on.

Old farmstead

The aperture-priority functionality is standard: set the aperture, notice the red dot next to the shutter speed in the viewfinder, focus, click. If the red dot is next to the red area, reduce aperture until it’s not.

Along the path

The meter turns off after 90 seconds of inactivity. Pressing the shutter button halfway is supposed to reactivate the meter, but it doesn’t work on mine. I always had to turn the camera off and back on, which was kind of annoying. Ah, the vagaries of old cameras.

Bike storage

The focusing screen features a split-image area surrounded by a Fresnel ring. I’m always happy to see a split-image area in my viewfinder, as that’s my favorite way to focus.

Mass Ave Alley

I spent some of my time with the OM-10 in Downtown Indianapolis on several photo walks. Slung over my shoulder on a strap, the camera felt barely there.

A. G. Maas & Co.

I kept going with the Olympus OM-10 using a roll of Kosmo Foto Agent Shadow, an ISO 400 black-and-white film. I swapped in my 50mm f/3.5 Zuiko Auto Macro lens. This old work truck belongs to one of my neighbors.

Truck grille on the street

The OM-10 feels good in the hand. It feels sturdy enough, but not as sturdy as the single-digit flagship OM bodies. The shutter button feels smooth when you press it down and the shutter responds quickly.

Nissan in the driveway

I find the ASA dial to be fiddly and hard to move. A switch around that dial, hidden by the winder, lets you choose among Auto mode, Bulb mode, and the Manual Adapter mode (if you have the manual adapter).

Pine needles

By this time the OM-10’s usage had become natural to me. I love it when I can bond with a camera within a couple rolls of film. It helps a lot that the OM-10 follows the typical SLR usage idiom; there wasn’t anything quirky to learn about making a photo with this camera.

Curved path

It’s worth noting that I made these photos near the end of winter, while temperatures were at or slightly above freezing. I carried the OM-10 inside my coat and brought it out to make each photo. Some of my old cameras can’t tolerate even a short time in the cold. The OM-10 is hardy.

Row houses

I just love moving in close with that macro lens. This is a detail of a manhole cover.

Close to the manhole cover

To see more from this camera, check out my Olympus OM-10 gallery.

The Olympus OM-10 makes a terrific first manual-focus film SLR for its size, weight, ease of use, and excellent range of Zuiko lenses. OM-10s are plentiful and relatively inexpensive. It’s always helpful to buy one with a return guarantee, as the Film Camera Store offers. Then if you inadvertently get a dud, as can happen with old cameras, you can exchange it. Thanks again to the Film Camera Store for sharing this camera with me so I could review it.

If you like old film cameras, check out all of my reviews here!
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21 responses to “Olympus OM-10”

  1. nigelkell Avatar

    Yeah, mine doesn’t turn the meter back on with a tap of the shutter button, either. Must be an OM10 thing! The manual adapter is a rather messy afterthought, I think; guess Olympus saw the opprobrium heaped on Pentax for the original ME’s lack of manual control, and added it to the design in the easiest (and cheapest) way they could.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      And most awkward. I believe Olympus solved this problem for real with the OM-20.

  2. matt Avatar

    My uncle gave me his OM-10, and I quite like using it. His even has the manual adapter. Like most things with my uncle, this camera had an interesting history. He retired from the Marine Corps as a Master Sergeant; he’d deployed to Mogadishu in the early ’90s, and when he gave me this camera, he said:

    The OM-10 has a light leak; I think the shutters, seals, or both need replacement. That was a result of landing on it in Somalia; the locals were being a bit testy and we had to convince them otherwise. First step was to get flat, then get (rather vigorously) into the discussion. Only real casualty on our side was the camera body.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      That is an interesting story! He must have landed on it hard.

  3. Michael McNeill Avatar

    I recently found an OM-10 in a local charity shop, Jim. It was cosmetically in good shape but functionally it was completely dead. With a bit of tinkering I got it working again – coincidentally that’s the subject of my blog post today.

    The OM-10 is a nice little camera, although my favourite Olympus is the OM-1, which was my second ‘proper’ camera when I was a teenager (my first was a Zenit).

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Wow, you are the Olympus whisperer!

      The OM-10 is a good camera, but the OM-1 is a great camera.

  4. Steve Mitchell Avatar

    I have always liked the OM series of cameras – my Dad had an OM1, which I think is with one of my nieces now, compared with the Praktica I had at the time it seemed very sophisticated, and produced fabulous images thanks to the Zuiko lens. In the end I bought a Contax, and I still love that system – had I followed Dad into the OM system I am sure I would still be using that!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      The single-digit OMs are all marvels. The double-digit OMs are regular cameras in comparison. Perfectly usable regular cameras, but regular nevertheless.

  5. Martin Cutrone Avatar
    Martin Cutrone

    The OM 10 was my first “real camera”. I think I bought it in 1982 at the 42nd St Camera shop in NYC. It served me well for 20 years, and probably would still be going if I hadn’t put it aside for digital in 2000. I didn’t use it for a few years and when I texted it again the shutter jammed. Great feel to this camera, Olympus glass is so good, and the small size fits my hand well. I picked up another one a few years ago, and it’s still a favorite for me.

    Marty Cutrone

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I wonder if anyone fixes OM-10s. The places I know that work on OM cameras limit themselves to just the single-digit OMs.

  6. 100 Country Trek Avatar

    I always use my camera..butvl sometimes I take photos with my phonev. Let’s follow our blogs. Anita

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I think we all use our phones at least sometimes to make a photo! I know I do.

      1. 100 Country Trek Avatar

        Can you follow my blog ???

  7. Dan Avatar

    I found an OM-10 in an antique shop last year, complete with flash and the manual adapter. I visited several times before bringing a pair of LR-44s to test it with, but sure enough it worked. Sadly the shutter has gotten sluggish and I will have to clean off the mirror magnets, I think, to fix it.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I believe that mirror magnets are a common fault point on these.

  8. […] take my word on the Olympus OM-10; you can check out the reviews by other awesome camera reviewers! Down the Road – Olympus OM-10 Review 35mmc – Olympus OM-10 – My Journey and Review Lomography – The Crisp and Delicious […]

  9. […] have always been an Olympus fanboy. I got an OM-10 in 1980, an XA3 in 1985 and in 1995 I bought my wife the Mju Zoom 105. I’m still shooting today […]

  10. Gabor Avatar

    Got a treasure there: the 40/2. A treasure both as an optic and its value too! I was trying to find one for more than 20 years – at an affordable price I did! – Great site you have, thanks! A fellow collector/photographer here, who also likes to do more testing than focusing on photography at times. Pleasures for sure. Cheers!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Would you believe someone gifted me that 40/2? Incredible!

      1. Gabor Avatar

        That’s even less than what I paid for mine…..keep enjoying it!

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          It’s hard to beat free!

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