(Noob’s) Review: Olympus OM-1

Are you as excited as I am to write this post?? Because I am so excited to talk about the film camera I got a few weeks ago. First, I love my camera so much. I am so glad I got it even though I was broke afterwards, haha.

This is just a short disclaimer before I write a review on my experience. I am in no way a photographer. And I don’t think I will be. I know people define the word differently but that’s just the way I define it. I like to consider myself a film enthusiast. And part of the reason I decided I wanted to learn how to take photos manually was because I was thinking of different ways to improve and change my blog.

First Impressions

I chose the Olympus OM-1 for three reasons.

  1. It’s cheap. A lot of the film cameras tend to run on the more expensive side but the Olympus OM-1 is around $100-$200 dollars.
  2. It was recommended for beginners and also had great reviews.
  3. My favorite (or one of my favorite) bloggers uses an Olympus OM-1

I purchased my camera from KEH, a used camera and photography store. They no longer manufacture this model anymore, so I had to buy the camera used. KEH has ratings in the item description and the one I got had a rating of “EX” or excellent. Needless to say, by the time I got my camera, it looked as if it was brand new! The camera itself is not that heavy and the overall look is pretty classic.

Camera Usage

Have I mentioned I’m a noob?

When I got my camera, I had absolute ZERO idea on how to use it. I did do a lot of reading but none of the stuff I read mentioned how to actually take a picture. I guess they thought it was too simple to explain, haha (if you want to know – you have to push the advance lever and click on the shutter release button – duh Rezina). One downside to the Olympus OM-1 though, is that it uses batteries that are no longer being made. You don’t need to use batteries for the camera to work properly but you do need them if you want to use the light meter.

I have been using 675 hearing aid batteries, as I heard those work the best. Not to mention they last at least a few months, are inexpensive and contain (about) the right amount of voltage. The first week I got my camera, I didn’t have the batteries and did everything by guessing the aperture and shutter speed. I’m hoping to get good enough that I won’t need the batteries, but I’m not quite there yet.

Where can you get film processed?

I live in the US, and luckily there are still places around me that process film. However, the downside is that most drugstores are now using a third party developer and they throw away your negatives. Which is pretty ridiculous because why take film if you don’t even have your negatives??

So, I decided to use The Darkroom. They’re a developer located in California but are primarily online. All you have to do is send them your rolls and they scan them online for you! You can pay additional for prints and they send you negatives free of charge. They also give you free postage that you can print out and stick on your envelope. If you’re not in the US, I would consider asking them if they do international and if so, how much it costs! Especially if you’re like me and don’t want to go to photo labs because they’re pretty expensive.

I mean, I would love to support local photo labs but I work a part-time minimum wage job + am a student + saving up for a trip = no money.

Overall, my film experience has been very good!

I know some people disregard film because why take film when you can take digital? But taking photos manually is a completely different experience that I recommend everyone try! I also love the shutter sound the camera makes when you take a picture. And there’s a kind of spontaneity to taking film photos because you don’t actually know how it’ll turn out.

I’m going to be posting my first roll of film soon, which I’m excited about! It’ll be featured in my new “Photo Diary” series.

Thanks for reading!


10 thoughts on “(Noob’s) Review: Olympus OM-1

  • Looking forward to seeing your photos! I absolutely love taking film photos as it really forces you to be selective in your shots. Plus the not knowing how something turns out is also exciting. That is ridiculous that they chuck away your negatives! How does that even make any sense whatsoever.

    Sadly there aren’t too many places in Australia that processes film anymore except for camera stores (and especially black and white which is my preference ).

    Nat // Dignifiable

  • Congratulations on getting the Olympus OM-1 :D. It sounds like you got a pretty good deal with that film camera. It’s great that KEH sent you an excellent rated camera ;).

    I always get lost in camera manuals @___@. I just play around with the buttons until I figure something out. Though, that’s most likely not the case with a film camera. It’s good that you found an alternative for the batteries.

    Good to hear that you found a good place that can process your film. I’m interested in seeing some pictures you will take.

    Even though we’re in the digital tech era, it’s okay to use anything you want. Haters gonna hate. ;)

  • I have been looking to get a new camera for AGES, but it’s so hard with all the different brands and reviews. Like yourself, I want to improve my blog content and I think I can do by taking better photos.

    Thank you for posting this review because it’s definitely going to help when I (eventually) narrow down my list and finally take the plunge into buying a camera. I’ve never even considered a film camera, and maybe it won’t be for me in the long run, but it’s definitely an avenue I’ll explore!

    I don’t think I’ve used a camera that needs batteries in ages. Seems so old school, but I love it! Looking forward to your photos :)

  • WOOOOO! I can feel your excitement in this post haha! I’m so happy for you, as long as you feel happiness from your camera then I think it’s worth the investment. When I got my Sony A5000 I justified the purchase purely by “it makes me happy. And I want to take better pictures”

    When I first got it, I had no idea how to use it. TBH, I still dont know how to use it. I literally just rely on auto settings for everything and hope for the best. Hahaha!

    I’ve not heard of the Olympus OM-1 but it looks pretty cool. My friend has a similar camera she has to process film and stuff too! It always ends up looking really really cool!

  • For some reason, I was thinking you were getting a video camera. So when I read this post, I admit to being super lost at first until I realised you meant those old cameras that use photo films (I was thinking movie reels LOL. Clearly, I am not functioning right XD) that require manual development!!!! Now that I know what you’re talking about — yeaaaaah! That’s awesome. You should totally also learn how to develop your own photo in a darkroom! I read a BSC book that mentioned Claudia using her windowless bathroom as a darkroom . . . the only thing I know about photo films is that you are to never expose the negatives to lights, haha. That’s as far as my knowledge goes with them. I used them when I was younger, but I never did much other than point and shoot and then have Daddy take the films to be developed.

    But anyway, I’m glad you’re liking this camera, even though it took you a bit to understand it XD It’s also good you found The Darkroom who will develop photos for you and such! They sound like a good deal :D I look forward to your new series your photos! ^^

  • I’m glad you like your camera! That’s a good price for a film camera. I didn’t realize that drugstores throw away your negatives now. If I still shot film, I’d totally want to keep them. That’s good that there’s services like The Darkroom though!

    I think traditional mediums are still worth doing. There’s definitely a different feel between the different photography types. While I don’t have a film camera, it’s something I wouldn’t mind messing around with at some point!

  • I am looking forward to seeing your photos!

    I have an old Canon film camera. I actually bought it second hand for only $80. I spent so much money on film and photo paper when I studied photography, though. The stuff is so expensive! We developed film ourselves in the darkroom at university. It really made me want to make my own darkroom in the future! At the same time I know it would cost a lot of money and I don’t know if I am that passionate hahaha.

    It is a little complex reading about the workings of a camera when all you really want to do it take a photo on auto mode. But you will soon get the hang of it, Rezina! In the beginning I was pretty ignorant and just wanted to use the machine gun method. When you may have been doing digital for a while, it is a little hard to get used to the intricacies of film. But good luck and I look forward to reading more about your photography adventures.

  • I feel like film is much more precious and so even if it’s not a great photo, it’s still cherished. While with the digital photos, I find that I don’t cherish them as much. The bar is so high that I’ll keep chasing to retake the picture for the “perfect” photo, and not appreciating what I already have.

    Ahh this makes me want to pull out my old film lomo camera I bought in college. The Action Sampler! It was so fun to take action shots with my friends.

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