I’m not gonna bore you with the technicality of this camera or it’s disputed parentage, being a bastard and all that. But a tale on how and why this little heathen became my everyday carry.
My first film camera is a battered Nikon F3, brassing all over but full of character. I fell in love with it all the little knobs, sleek design and that shutter cock action and sound. Then I saw a bargain for a F3/T champagne which I bought in a heart beat. A little lighter but still heavy that’s the only down side for me with the F3 is it’s size and weight. Aperture priority, meter is great (haven’t miss a shot with it) the only thing i’d change is the meter display. Then came another opportunity trade the F3/T to the Minolta CLE with the 40mm M-Rokkor. Still having my first F3 I went for it.
BROTHER FROM ANOTHER MOTHER
When I got the CLE I was pleasantly surprise to feel very familiar with it. Aperture priority, electric shutter, battery dependency and being a no fuss camera it’s like the little brother of the F3, smaller and being rangefinder. The only thing that’s missing is an AE lock. They have a lot in common in this aspects even thought it’s a different brand and system.
- No AE – A function I have grown used to from the F3 but sorely missing on the CLE. The roundabout way on this is meter on what to expose ( highlight, shadow or the middle ground) then set the shutter speed manually.
- No meter in manual mode- This is obvious, I don’t know why they didn’t put this option. I would love to have the meter reading in manual mode.
- Weird precaution in the manual (Yes i’m that geek. I read every manual for every camera I use) that says not to leave the shutter cock overnight. Some people say that this is nonsense and they have left there’s always cock had never had a problem but other says the opposite. Well I like to be on the safe side and changed my way of shooting, from cocking the shutter after every shot to being a pre shutter cock before taking a photo (Believe me I feel like a freak because of this and miss some shots)
THE OTHERS DEEM BAD BUT DOESN’T AFFECT ME
- Shorter rangefinder baselength– only becomes a problem with longer focal length. I mainly shoot 40mm and maybe 28mm in the future. So it’s meh.
- Battery dependency- I just bring an extra set of battery with me all the time. Problem solved.
- Weird framelines- Some people just doesn’t like the 28/40 framelines or focal length and prefers the 35/50. Luckily for me 40mm is my go to focal length.
- FORM (size, weight and color)- It’s form is perfect for street photography. It small and black which makes it discreet and ninja like. It weighs like a feather which is a boon when you walk around for hours on end believe me you’ll even forget that you have it around your neck.
- FUNCTION- Just set it to aperture priority and shoot. It’s meter display is simple but very effective I’m amaze why other camera system didn’t copy this. With the F3 the meter display sucks let’s be honest. I liked the needle styled display but is difficult when it get’s dark. This one works wonders being an LED red dot that act like a needle.
- METER- OTF meter like the OM-2 which is reliable.
- MAGIC TOUCH- HA! I don’t know what they called it. But it’s the magic when you touch the shutter button it activates and gives you a meter reading. It’s battery friendly. It take some time to get used too but I have grown fond of it.
- Bright viewfinder
*All the control you’ll ever need (Aperture, Shutter speed, iso, shutter cock and shutter button)
I’m biased so take everything I said with a grain of salt. But if you’re looking for a perfect companion on the street try the Minolta CLE it’s great. Form and function wise it’s just a joy to shoot. Ergonomics is great. I love the feel of it in my hand. Shutter speed, iso, shutter lever, film back opening are well thought out. I can can the shutter speed with one hand. The CLE for me solves most of the problems that I have with other cameras, size and weight being one, it’s no nonsense camera and it packs a punch above it’s weight.
If you have any questions about the CLE just comment below.
Thank you for reading!
I recently stumbled upon a Canon 7 with a 50mm f1.8 in a good conditioned. Obviously I went home with it. I have already read a lot of best rangefinders to know that the Canon 7 is a decent camera. Some people compare this to a Leica M3 being all mechanical and robust. They aren’t wrong this feels great in the hands although it’s a bit hefty. This is my first fully mechanical camera and is a liberation knowing that I don’t need a battery to take a picture and everything will work without one even the meter. I quickly loaded it with a Tri-X and went out to shoot around the neighborhood.
I have always been depended on a lightmeter for my exposures but decided to use sunny 16 for this roll. I really love the feel of the Canon 7 on my hands it’s one of those camera that would call to you to use them. The viewfinder is a pleasant surprise it’s bigger than I expected and bright making focusing a breeze.
Saw this baby by the side walk and thought to test the 50mm 1.8. Which is a performer. I know people go wild for the “Dream lens” which was made for the Canon 7 but the weight, performance and compactness of the f1.8 is great as a daily carry.
My small rant with this setup was that the focus scale on the lens was in feet. My brain is just more attuned to guesstimate a 1meter – 10meters than in feets.
The Canon 7 is a great performer and a joy to use. For me that’s all you need in a camera and the only problem is the weight when you’re lugging it around the whole day and the sharp edge poking you when used with a camera strap. Sadly I have to let this Canon 7 go as I made a decision to focus on improving my photography this year and use only the CLE, all to my extra funds will be going to film and developing expenses. Maybe next year a Canon 7 might stumble on my hands again.
I think I’m gonna regret selling this…
Very light! Weights only 750 grams thats the body, lens (Om 50mm f1.8), neck strap, the film and battery. That’s already the weight of the Nikon F3 body only! It also has a great feel to it, just like the Nikon F3. It has this feeling of rugged elegance that seduces you to carry it every time you go out. This is a huge factor for me as I tend to forget the cameras with a plasticky feeling. Caressing, having the feel of it, cocking the shutter and firing it. It’s shutter noise is less audible compared to the F3 but it’s still audible. Cocking the shutter is not as buttery smooth as the F3, well it’s not a big deal. I’m a simple man, all I need in a camera are aperture priority, good glass and the a “good feel/ build” to it. Time for a test roll.
Om2n with 24mm f2.8 (HP5 @ 400)
Om2n with 24mm f2.8 (Ultramax)
Om 50mm f1.8
The Olympus Om2n is a great everyday carry. It’s so light you’ll forget you’re even carrying it. The view finder is large and bright! Makes it easy and fast to focus. The meter reads the same as my F3 which is spot on. I love the om2ns’ meter! In aperture priority you’ll see the shutter speed with a needle for the exposure giving you information how much lee way you still have. And in manual exposure it’s gonna give you a different “graph?” which shows you how much you’re underexpose or overexposed. The only thing missing was exposure lock but can easily be corrected with the exposure compensation. The Om glasses are impressive! It’s like a featherweight packing a punch several times above it’s class. Image quality, ergonomics, size and weight you can’t go wrong with these lenses.
Om 24mm f2.8 – Love having the perspective of an wide angle lens. This is my first wide angle and I have been enjoying it. I just have to be conscious of the light source as I think my copy is single coated.
Om 50mm f1.8 – Looking thru the view finder with this lens attached makes you feel like you’re inside the frame (weird as that might sound). Maybe it’s the large view finder and the shallow depth of field which has a very 3 dimensional feel when moving the focus.
- Light and Small
- Large and bright Viewfinder
- Meter is reliable
- Battery is easy to find
- Small and relatively cheap lenses ( except for the 50mm f1.2)
- Easy exposure compensation
- No exposure lock
- Mirror lock up (would be a great addition for long exposure)
- When the electronics is fried the camera is dead
If you want or see a Olympus Om2n buy it! It is usually the cheapest compared to the Om1, Om4 (Om4ti) and Om3t. And prices are going up.
Still want to see more photos from the Olympus Om2n? Go here for some amazing portraiture:
And another review of the Om2n: