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