Olympus OM2n
5 frames with...

5 Frames With An Olympus OM2n SLR & Ilford HP5- By Julian Higgs

December 19, 2018

“I think you’re getting obsessed” my wife said when I told her about my latest impulse purchase, an Olympus OM2n. It was to good of a deal to pass up! She’s right though.

I had fallen in love with my bequeathed OM2 SP, but wanted to have the manual interface and functionality of the OM1 as well as some of the auto exposure electronics that the SP has. The OM2n seemed to deliver it all.

A kit had come up on a well known auction site with a best offer option and a buy it now price of £100.00 including a couple of Vivitar third party lenses (28mm and a 70-200 zoom) as well as the standard 50mm f1.8, an Olympus flash, all in a retro semi hard case and with a brown leather “ever-ready” case. It looked lovely, caught up in the moment I offered, first bid refused, second accepted. Oops! 😉

It all arrived safely, but with the potential for light seals needing replacement (I haven’t had this done as yet, and probably won’t till it’s absolutely necessary) and a sticky aperture on the 50mm all was well. After a full service on just the lens at Luton Camera Repair Service, all is now working beautifully. I’ve run a few rolls through this one so far, mostly colour, mostly Portra 400, making me even more impressed by the OM series generally. Since this addition to the family, I’ve picked up a bargain 50mm f1.4 as my standard lens, great for street portraits that I love doing when I get the opportunity. A couple are below.

The OM2n also has a few tricks up its sleeve too. Automatic slower shutter speeds up to 120 seconds for use in low light that you can’t get manually, for example. I’ve benefitted from the slow speeds on a dark workshop shoot in particularly low light that’s provided, in my opinion, satisfying results.

I have completely fallen for the OM range now. It is small enough to carry all day and a joy to operate, has one of the biggest, brightest viewfinders I’ve used, a smooth film advance and a most satisfying shutter sound. For the price these go for even fully serviced, I am smitten.

Now, how about looking for a nice OM1 to extend the line up…..


Catkins. Ilford HP5+


Robin the street characiture artist, Biggleswade, Bedfordshire

Robin the street characiture artist, Biggleswade, Bedfordshire. Ilford HP5+


Light on stool and stove

Light on the stove and stool at Cook Joinery Kodak Portra 400


Gary Cook, proprietor of Cook Joinery, Hackney

Gary Cook, proprietor of Cook Joinery. Kodak Portra 400


Chantal, street portrait of owner of a particularly lovely VW Multivan, Ile De Ré, France

Chantal, street portrait of owner of a particularly lovely VW Multivan, Ile De Ré, France. Kodak Portra 400

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  • Reply
    Robert M Gambill
    December 19, 2018 at 7:11 pm

    I have come across a few articles about the OM series recently and it reminded me that I actually have two OM-1 bodies that haven’t gotten nearly the amount of t love and attention they should have been getting instead of sitting on a shelf in my office. Seeing photos like yours (especially with that 50mm f1.4 which I had forgotten about as well!) really makes me excited to shoot with that camera again! Haven’t been excited by an slr in nearly a decade, but I think I’m getting inspired to start taking the Oly out again!

    • Reply
      December 19, 2018 at 8:07 pm

      Thanks Robert, if I have inspired one person to get old cameras back into circulation and producing images again then I will feel like I have succeeded. These Oly cameras are in my opinion excellent, the size and ease of use is just brilliant. Get a battery in them, or get them converted professionally, its worth every penny.

  • Reply
    December 19, 2018 at 7:12 pm

    It surprises me just how well a old camera can perform.And give such vibrant images.Film has a beautiful tone and colour.I own many a digital camera and lenses, but really finding my self pulled towards film.And images like your do make that decision for me.

    • Reply
      December 19, 2018 at 8:09 pm

      Thanks, I have found Portra 400 an absolute bomb. The colours and fine grain give the images an amazing look. It’s a touch pricy but so worth it when it all comes together.

  • Reply
    December 19, 2018 at 7:36 pm

    Best film camera and lens option for price, usability, size, learning etc etc etc. Matched to portra as well and it’s great. Would be my go to choice if I didn’t get carried away with film cameras and get a leica

    • Reply
      December 19, 2018 at 8:12 pm

      Oh Alex, a Leica would be on my list too. But as things are I’m in love with my OM’s. I’ve picked up an OM1 now too, just for its simplicity. Agree on the Portra, and HP5 too, my two standard stocks..

      • Reply
        Steven Cremer
        January 9, 2019 at 11:38 am

        Thanks for the lovely article. As a teenager I possessed am Olympus Om1n. It eventually got fungus in the viewfinder, but not before years of enjoyment as a great camera. I got told it was not woth repairing , Fast forward and I bought sa cheap Om2n and had it serviced. It is a fine camera and will bring you many years of pleasure.

        • Reply
          January 9, 2019 at 3:04 pm

          Hi Steven, Thanks, I do love the OM2n and my bequeathed 2 Spot but my heart has been set on an OM1, which I have now acquired. A little ramble on that will no doubt follow at some point. Do you still have the OM1n? If so it may be worth getting it converted, serviced and cleaned up. Still great performers and all manual except for the meter.

  • Reply
    December 20, 2018 at 3:49 pm

    Great shots really like them. I love the OM2n I’ve got one with a few zuiko lenses and it’s great. You can pick up the 135mm f3.5 for about £40 including postage secondhand. That is quite frankly ridiculous and it’s a cracking little lens too. You’re on the right track with this camera.

    • Reply
      December 20, 2018 at 8:20 pm

      Thanks Neil, I’ve never looked at the 135, never wanted anything that long. I have a 100 f2.8 that I picked up for ridiculous price. A bit battered but works well enough. For that price though may be worth a punt.

      • Reply
        December 21, 2018 at 11:09 am

        Thanks. I’m after the 100mm 2.8 myself! The 135 is a bit long I agree and a bit slow but for the money I thought I’d have a punt and I really like it.

        • Reply
          Lori Brooks
          December 26, 2018 at 4:54 pm

          guys, the 135 is a fantastic lens I have the 2.8 and the 3.5 versions of it. I would also recommend the 85 f/2 lens – it’s pretty pricey (although by what you would pay for a 2018 Olympus M43 lens it’s not really) and it is just a wonderful bit of glass. the 40 f/2 pancake is also a great lens.

  • Reply
    December 21, 2018 at 11:05 pm

    A great to read article about this camera Julian. I own two OM2n cameras myself. They are a joy to use.
    I can make two recommandations: First: The foam above the pentaprism should be removed as soon as possible. After all these years since the camera was produced, the foam starts to disintegrate. The greasy foam particles damage the pentaprism coating. Second: It’s always best to use silver oxide SR44 batteries because alkaline ones might burn the cameras meter. The SR44ones give a correct meter reading as well.

    and a Tutorial on Youtube:

    • Reply
      December 21, 2018 at 11:42 pm

      Hi Manuel, thanks for the message I will look at the foam issue, I have had a couple of bits fall out so yes, probably needs doing. Good tip on the batteries too! Cheers!

  • Reply
    Lori Brooks
    December 26, 2018 at 4:44 pm

    Very cool! I’ve got an OM1 and an OM2 (and I just had to pick up an OMG! – just for the name!) I’ve redone the leatherette on them both, the OM2 is blue and the OM1 is red. Over the last year or so, I’ve been trawling eBay to amass a collection of most of the Zuiko prime lenses and several of the zoom ones. I would recommend the 85 f/2 lens, and for street photography, the 40 f/2 pancake is an amazing lens. the 50 f/3.5 macro is also a gem of a macro lens that also will focus to infinity, making it a great and versatile walkabout lens.

    My instagram has some pictures of the cameras as well as some of the other camera’s in my expanding collection.

  • Reply
    Tony Oresteen
    December 26, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    I bought my first OM-1 in 1976. Still have it. In fact I have 6 OM-1 bodies and 3 ON-2 bodies with about 20 lenses for them. I took two ON-2 and one OM-1 body with me to Israel last October and had a blast.

    The OM-1 & OM-2 are solid cameras but they do need service now & then. The place to send them to is Camtech. John Hermanson used to work for Olympus and has worked on OM cameras for since 1977. John also ships internationally He now does it part time but it is well worth the wait to have John service your OM body. He’s done all of mine & a few lenses & motor drives. When he services an OM-1 he converts the meter to use a 1.5V DC silver oxide battery.


    [email protected]

    Highly recommended. BTW, I’m just a customer of John’s.

    • Reply
      December 26, 2018 at 6:54 pm

      Hi Tony, wow! That’s quite a collection! They are just such lovely things to use. I’ve seen Johns site, but I am UK based, not sure I could risk sending it to him when I have an Olympus Service Centre less than 10 miles from me. So far they have been excellent.



  • Reply
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