Olympus OM-1 a la carte…..

By June 5, 2012Blog, Camera Collection, Film

Olympus OM-1 a la carte

Some of you may be able to relate to this…….to others it will remain, forever a mystery!

“Your a Rangefinder man” I kept telling myself, “SLR’s are not really your thing”. I guess thats what makes it all the more surprising that I ended up with two of these, yes two identical cameras within the space of a few days!!! Such is the allure of the Olympus OM-1.

I guess the only real surprise is that I have not done this before.

I won’t go in to detail about why I was looking on auction sites for the OM-1, but needless to say I was and I’d identified a 50mm f/1.8 Zuiko Lens along with an OM-1 Body from different sellers, the maximum bids where placed and I was pretty sure they would be winning ones. All that was left to do was monitor the progress of the auction and with luck they would be mine.

Am I the only person, that having found exactly what he was looking for and made a bid, then continues to look for new listings of the same item on a daily basis………..in effect I was looking for trouble and this time I found it.

OM-1 Body with 50mm f/1.8 Zuiko and 35mm f/2.8 Zuiko Lenses. All with original packaging and documents, plus a Lens Hood and Repair Manual.

To top it all off it was owned by a former Camera Repair man. I pondered this turn of events for a short time, was it just unfortunate that this superior set had been listed after I’d already placed bids elsewhere……….no it wasn’t, it was fortunate I’d found it. That’s how easy it was to turn a negative in to a positive, for me anyway!!

Double Trouble – Two OM-1’solympus om-1 Two-OM-1s

“This is Stupid” I said to myself………having two cameras that look the same……at that moment the Olympus OM-1 a la carte was born!!! I proceeded to take a couple of shots of the camera in its existing condition, for posterity.

Olympus OM-1 with 50mm & 35mm Lensesolympus om-1 OM-1-with-50mm-Zuiko-Colour

At home it is the custom that I get a certain amount of ridicule whenever I proceed to take photographs of my cameras…..I choose to ignore this and focus on the beauty of my subject… 😆

Olympus OM-1 – BEFORE Olympus OM-1

This was probably the hardest part of the exercise, the camera looked so beautiful as it was and it was in such pristine condition the mere thought of doing anything to it was in some ways objectionable, however, onwards and upwards!

OM-1 – NAKED Olympus OM-1-NakedEven now I can only look at this image through my fingers…..what was I thinking!

OM-1 – BAREBACKolympus om-1 OM1-Bareback

It’s well adhered but once you get it started it comes off in one piece, this is good because it makes it easier, bad because you sit there thinking I could put this back on and forget about the whole silly idea, yes I did think that…..but I pressed on, in the end I think it was worth it.

OM-1 a la carte OM-1-White-LeathersOM-1 On its back


OM-1 – AFTER AFTER-OM-1-a-la-carte

I may be giving the impression that I rushed in to this, I did however do my research as always. I also gave it a lot of consideration because it’s just not something I’ve even considered before.

There are several websites selling replacement leather kits on the net, I used Aki-Asahi.com  They were helpful and quick to respond to my emailed queries, the kit was US$15.00 plus $4.00 delivery and arrived in one week. The kit was well packaged and came with a dummy set in a random finish to allow you a trial run. Of course I didn’t need this……..Full instructions are on the website and its so easy.

Now all I need to do is order a Gordy’s neck strap in Black Leather with White Thread and the project is complete.

Hope you enjoyed and welcome your thoughts.




  • Gábor says:

    Gorgeous cameras again! It is always nice to see your new cameras on this page. I am itching to make a post about my OM4 Ti also, hope I will have time for that soon.

    I wish you a lot of fun a great photos with the Olys!

    Bests, Gábor

    • janrzm says:

      Thanks Gabor, I’m not sure how many more cameras I can get away with buying…..still I will continue to push my luck!! Looking forward to seeing your post on the OM4, no doubt there will be some superb images as always. Take it easy, Jason.

  • Guy says:

    Wow, that looks so beautiful that I could almost go out and buy one just to try it. Perhaps I can do something with my OM-D 🙂

    • janrzm says:

      Thanks Guy, I suspect your not a man who needs too much persuasion when it comes to gear!! OM-D, has been on my mind lately, how are you finding it?

      • Guy says:

        It’s a very good camera but I gave it to my girlfriend as the M9 seems to fit me just perfectly. I like it that she has a camera which I can use when I want to. Frankly I find that I just don’t care for using the legacy lenses on the OM-D as much as I thought I would.

        • janrzm says:

          I suspect there are many wives and girlfriends that end up with cameras in exactly those circumstances, nice to know its there if you need it….Thats really interesting about shooting with the OM-D and legacy glass, I’d also considered it for the same reasons.

  • Gábor says:

    My bride loves the white leather-covered camera a lot. She says it is very cool and exotic…

    • janrzm says:

      Ha, she is quite obviously a lady with exceptional taste my friend. It’s proving to be very popular!! Thanks

  • These cameras so damn awesome Jason! Must be an inspiration in themselves to make you wanna go out and shoot. The white one looks like it belongs in a showcase though 🙂

    • janrzm says:

      Thanks Kaushal, they are wonderful. I’ve been using the OM-1 for just over a week now, it’s always hard to leave the M’s at home but its fun to play with new cameras……beautiful as the white OM-1 is, I am still going to use it, not the most discreet camera but it will be fun to see how people react to it. The white will discolour quickly I suspect so I may do it again eventually before putting it in the case.

  • Simon says:

    Beautiful camera, Jason. Found your beautiful site trawling the net trying to find an OM-1 in NZ – so if you come across another one…

  • Marcos says:

    Well, it’s good to know that I’m not the only one who does that kind of things… I’ve been using a Olympus OM-1 for the last four years, but, a few months ago, I couldn’t resist a good offer and bought a second one. And guess what, I also covered it with Aki Asahi’s white leatherette! As I prefer shoulder straps for SLR cameras, I made a customized white leather one 😉

    At the end, I put it for sale on etsy.com, and it seems that is going to find a new home in Japan very soon, but you can still enjoy the pictures:

    By the way, yours is a very nice blog, It’s the second time that google randomness takes me here, and this time it goes to my bookmarks 😉

    • janrzm says:

      Hi Marcos, it is good for me also to hear that someone else does the same kind of things!! 🙂 Wow, that strap is great on the OM-1 well done, it must be quite difficult to part with it, although I guess you could always do it again?? Thanks for the kind words regarding my blog, and thanks to google randomness for bringing you here we’re delighted to have you….:-) Cheers, Jason.

      • Marcos says:

        Yep, that’s part of the fun… Do you know the ancient saying about the wood? It’s said that wood heats your body twice: when you chop it and when you burn it. The same thing can be said about cameras and fun: first you enjoy making them pretty, and after shooting with them.

  • Julian V says:

    Nice camera man! I was wondering if it was too difficult to apply the leather kit and to remove the other one. I am looking forward to do mine. Congrats again on the blog and on your camera collection man

    • janrzm says:

      Hey Julian,

      Thanks, it’s actually all pretty straightforward. Make sure to do the best job you can of cleaning off all the old residue from the previous covering, the prep is the most important part.

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