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Top 10 Olympus Film Cameras of 2020

Introduction

Olympus 35mm cameras have been some of the most popular in recent memory. They’ve been jumping up in price and notoriety and leading the general upward trend in film camera prices. The famous designs of Yoshihisa Maitani have stood the test of time and helped kindle a new generation’s love of photography.

We put these top 10 lists together using search engine results, so the positions do not reflect the personal opinions of Kamerastore.com. If a camera that you love didn’t show up, then tell your friends about it! Tell them to tell THEIR friends about it!

Below you’ll find the video where Nico runs through the top 10 best Olympus cameras, or you can keep scrolling for a more in-depth written version.

No. 10 – Olympus XA2

  • The Olympus XA2 is a fixed lens, zone focus, auto-exposure 35mm compact camera with a 35mm f3.5 lens.
  • The camera requires 2x LR44 batteries for all functions, including full-programmed exposure, flash control, etc.
  • Introduced in 1980 as a cheaper alternative to the rangefinder-equipped XA, the XA2 was simpler to operate and used zone focusing instead. The lens is a slower 35mm f3.5 versus the f2.8 model in the original XA.

No. 9 – Olympus OM-4

  • The Olympus OM-4 is an interchangeable lens, manual focus, auto-exposure 35mm SLR using Olympus’ OM lens mount.
  • The camera requires 2x LR44 batteries for all functions, including advanced multi-spot metering and a maximum shutter speed of 1/2000th.
  • Introduced in 1983 as the electronic companion to the mechanical OM-3, the OM-4 can also be seen as a successor to the OM-2 and OM-2 Spot Program. The OM-4 was replaced with the OM-4Ti in 1987.
  • The OM-4 had a very advanced multi-spot metering program that allowed the photographer to select their highlights and shadows and have the camera do the exposure calculations.
  • The OM-4 and OM-4Ti were sold until 2002.

No. 8 – Olympus AF-1 / Infinity

  • The Olympus AF-1 is a fixed lens, auto focus, auto-exposure 35mm compact camera with a 35mm f2.8 lens.
  • The camera requires a CR-P2 battery for all functions, including advanced multi-spot metering, and a maximum shutter speed of 1/2000th.
  • Introduced in 1986 and marketed as the “world’s first waterproof fully-automatic camera”, the AF-1 has come to be known as Nurepika, or “wet flash”.
  • The AF-1 took very clear design inspiration from the XA series, and helped set the standard of popular Olympus point & shoots with clamshell doors, like the Mju.
  • The AF-1 was known as the Infinity in the United States.
  • The AF-1 has a simple focus lock system that allows the photographer to focus and reframe rather than relying on the centrally-placed autofocus point.

No. 7 – Olympus OM-2

  • The Olympus OM-2 is an interchangeable lens, manual focus, auto-exposure 35mm SLR using Olympus’ OM lens mount.
  • The camera requires 2x LR44 batteries for all functions, including aperture-priority auto-exposure, multiple functioning models, and a maximum shutter speed of 1/1000th.
  • Introduced in 1975 as the electronic companion to the mechanical OM-1, the OM-2 had comparatively-advanced features without sacrificing anything in terms of size or build quality.
  • The OM-2’s light meter is capable of exposures of up to 60 seconds.

No. 6 – Olympus OM-10

  • The Olympus OM-10 is an interchangeable lens, manual focus, auto-exposure 35mm SLR using Olympus’ OM lens mount.
  • The camera requires 2x LR44 batteries for all functions, including aperture-priority auto exposure and a maximum shutter speed of 1/1000th.
  • Introduced in 1979 as the consumer-grade, entry-level alternative to the OM-1 and OM-2.
  • The OM-10 does not have access to manual shooting without an accessory adapter, instead only firing in aperture-priority mode. It is the only consumer-grade Olympus to not have a full manual mode.
  • The OM-10 and its fellow consumer-grade OM SLRs were sold until 1988.

No. 5 – Olympus XA

  • The Olympus XA is a fixed lens, manual focus, auto-exposure rangefinder camera with a 35mm f2.8 lens.
  • The camera requires 2x LR44 batteries for all functions, including exposure compensation, aperture-priority auto-exposure, and a maximum shutter speed of 1/500th.
  • Introduced in 1979 as one of the world’s smallest rangefinder cameras ever, the XA was one of the famous works of designer Yoshihisa Maitani. After completing work on the PEN series of half frame cameras, Maitani and his team decided to create a compact rangefinder camera. The XA was the result.
  • The XA’s leaf shutter and meter can calculate proper exposure up to 10 seconds.
  • The XA series was sold until 1991, when it was supplanted by the Mju / Stylus series.

No. 4 – Olympus Mju / Stylus

  • The Olympus Mju is a fixed lens, auto focus, auto-exposure compact camera with a 35mm f3.5 lens.
  • The camera requires a CR123 battery for all functions, including autofocus, automatic flash, automated winding and rewinding, and a max shutter speed of 1/500th.
  • Introduced in 1991 as the follow-up to the XA series of prime-equipped point & shoots, the Mju / Stylus line eventually grew to include zoom compacts as well.
  • The Mju made a name for itself for having well-balanced flash exposure, a sharp lens, and accurate autofocus all housed within an extremely compact body with the same iconic clamshell design as the XA before it.
  • The lens is a 3-element triplet design.
  • The Mju was sold until 1997, when it was replaced by the Mju-II.

No. 3 – Olympus Trip 35

  • The Olympus Trip 35 is a fixed lens, zone focus, auto-exposure 35mm compact camera with a 40mm f2.8 lens.
  • The camera requires no batteries to function, instead relying on a large selenium cell around the lens. This powers auto-exposure based on selected aperture.
  • The Trip 35 was introduced in 1967 as a consumer-oriented point & shoot. It was designed to be as easy to use as possible for people on vacations.
  • Trip 35s only come with two available shutter speeds, 1/40th and 1/200th. It makes use of its aperture to calculate exposure based on either the high or low shutter speed.
  • Millions of Trip 35s were sold until 1984.

No. 2 – Olympus OM-1

  • The Olympus OM-1 is an interchangeable lens, manual focus, manual exposure 35mm SLR using Olympus’ OM lens mount.
  • The camera requires no batteries to function, firing fully mechanically. The included match-needle light meter, however, requires a 625 battery to function normally.
  • The OM-1 was introduced at Photokina in 1972 as the Olympus M-1. After some legal discussions with Leica, the name was changed to OM-1.
  • The OM-1 changed the 35mm SLR market dramatically, invigorating interest in compact SLRs. It was one of the best Olympus cameras, and didn’t sacrifice build quality, features, or reliability to achieve its small size. It was competitive with the professional SLRs of the time, like the Nikon F2.
  • While the OM-1 did not have interchangeable prisms like some other professional offerings, the viewfinder was big and bright and most people didn’t feel the need to change it. The OM-1 did offer interchangeable focusing screens.
  • The OM-1 and its variants were sold until 1988.

No. 1 – Olympus Mju-II / Stylus Epic

  • The Olympus Mju-II is a fixed lens, auto focus, auto exposure 35mm compact camera with a 35mm f2.8 lens.
  • The camera requires a CR123 battery for all functions, including automatic flash functions, automated winding and rewinding, autofocus, and a maximum shutter speed of 1/1000th.
  • The Mju-II was introduced in 1997 as the successor to the very popular original Mju. It improved the formula with a faster f2.8 lens, faster autofocus, and weather sealing around the edges of the still-compact clamshell body.
  • The Mju-II generally came in silver and black, but some dark red/burgundy models were made in 1998.
  • Mju-IIs come equipped with a spot meter for subjects on bright or contrasty backgrounds.
  • The Mju-II was eventually replaced by digital Mju cameras in the early 2000s.

Conclusions

Olympus’ cameras have led the way for many in terms of bringing film back into pop culture. Their camera designs always sought to pack as much camera as possible into the smallest space imaginable.

This style of design may be easier to appreciate for modern consumers, who could be scared off by a huge, heavy camera. The secret is that Olympus cameras don’t sacrifice quality or features to achieve this small stature, and in many cases outperform their larger counterparts.

Cameras like the Mju-II and Trip 35 have become cult classics due to their simple shooting experience, sharp lenses, and small size. These were some of the first cult cameras, and have led the way for many others to rise in price and popularity over the years.

Whether you’re buying the trendy Mju-II or the venerable OM-1, buying one of the best Olympus cameras will generally lead you to great shots and great memories.

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