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09-02-2019, 07:24 PM - 3 Likes   #1
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Trying to revive an Olympus OM-1

Hello,

A fellow co-worker asked me for help to choose her next camera and we talked for weeks on the subject. Learning that I collect older cameras she told me "I think I have an old camera from my brother's youth". A few days later she brought me this:
An Olympus OM-1 with a Mitakon 28mm f2.8 lens. The OM-1 is from the early 70's. I think it was launched in 1972. It was very highly regarded at its time and it is still popular among film users.
This particular one is a later Motor Drive or MD model launched in 1974 according to my quick internet search. It has provisions to attach an external motor drive thru the bottom plate.

So this will be a follow along as I'll try to revive it. I am by no means an expert. Just a Pentax biased enthusiast with a bad habit of taking things apart.

So this is how it got here:

The self timer lever fell off while tinkering with it. The shutter doesn't always complete the cycle. The lens is dirty and the aperture blades are not working properly. It will have to be taken apart for servicing, but that will be another time. Found and downloaded a service manual online.




It has definitely seen better days.








So here we go. I'm studying how the shutter release and advancing work and I think it is just a matter of lubrication. A very small drop of light machine oil and it seems it started to improve.


Stay tuned as this will be a fun one.

Thanks,

09-02-2019, 07:39 PM   #2
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fun! following along
good luck!
09-02-2019, 10:38 PM   #3
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I have one of these with a broken meter (a common problem apparently). Batteries are awkward enough to find so I'm not too bothered about it. Compared to an MX it doesn't feel as well built or as smooth in operation but that might just be my example.

Good luck with it.
09-03-2019, 10:08 AM   #4
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I have a black pair and they should be ag least as smooth as any Pentax.

The meters can play up but they are relatively straightfoward to fix. You need to get the lid off and remove the toxic foam from around the prism, this was the single biggest headache with them, decaying internal foam eating the prism.

Light leaks arpund the hinge is another headache. Get
A kit from Jon Goodman as his has all the right sized foam and felts. The mirror pads are a complete nightmare to fit. Not for the fainthearted.

In your pic above the large central cog thats a dark color is another headache area. There is a small spring underneath around that area next to the smooth sided wheel to the left of the dark coloured cog. It can weaken and when that happens you will get shutter sticking headaches and jams for the film transport. When you remove anything around that area go very slow and make sure you see which way round the spring goes. If you reassmeble wrong it will work but you will get erratic issues related to wind on, transport and shutter firing.

The other meter headache is in fact related to the power, the wire that runs to the battery compartment is notorious for rusting up and failing.

Good luck with the restoration. I shall watch with admiration.

09-03-2019, 05:26 PM - 3 Likes   #5
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Thanks Astro! Very good points!

Here we are today:
Cowards need not to apply



Thanks,
09-03-2019, 10:36 PM   #6
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Interesting, yours doesnt seem to have the foam around the top of the prism. Also your hot shoe looks good, these usually shatter with age, the plastic becomes very brittle on these and just breaks at the touch.

The film frame counter is another often reported fault, the glue ages and lets go. Its simple enough to fix witn a small drop of glue. Make sure you know how the counter aligns with the window and also wind on to a known frame value, ie wind on to frame 1.
Kudos for getting the advance lever trim off, its usually a swine to remove.
09-08-2019, 08:00 AM - 1 Like   #7
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Hello,

Ehhh... ahhhh.... hmmmmmm.........
Going beyond where I've ever gone before
The lens was not working. Noticed the blades were barely moving. Started to take the lens apart to carefully clean the blades as I've done before but suddenly, BOOM! One blade fell off..... So, what can possibly go wrong? It was not working anyways...



Yikes!

Thanks,
09-08-2019, 03:23 PM - 2 Likes   #8
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WOHOO!!!

Took me a couple of hours but I was able to figure out how it is supposed to work and how it should go back together! Not without finding about a hundred ways how NOT to do it



After cleaning and putting the diaphragm back together, I have to say I'm really happy!
The aperture is now snappy.
Oh wait, I still have a hundred more lens parts laying around!



Thanks,

09-15-2019, 09:49 AM - 3 Likes   #9
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Hello,

After putting everything back together (and checking there were no extra parts in the bench) I noticed the lens was out of calibration. The distance ring was not grabbing the focusing barrel in the helicoid.
Took me hours (over several days) to finally calibrate manually to infinity and join both barrels. I used white electrical tape to replace the original vinyl tape that lost the grip. Why white? It was the best one I had available and after careful inspection it really makes no difference as it is nowhere near any light path.
At the last minute, before installing the rubber focusing ring I added a note for future archeologists




As if nothing ever happened!






Thanks,
09-15-2019, 02:00 PM - 1 Like   #10
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Hello,

The light seals were basically gone in this camera. Keeping with the DIY/low budget theme (read, I'm cheap!), I'm making my own. I couldn't get adhesive backing foamie locally so I'm doing them with regular foamie. A little craft glue will do. You don't need a super strong adhesive as this is usually under pressure.





Getting closer to be tested in the real world.

Thanks,
09-15-2019, 02:38 PM   #11
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One of the bac spots for light leaks on OM1s is the hinge. From memory the replacement kit uses some foam overlaid with felt on the camera body. Its quite built up to be rather thick.

Yours is looking good now, that lens looked a compete pig to fix.
09-16-2019, 04:56 AM   #12
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Thanks for sharing!
I have managed to successfully unjam some of my mechanical cameras but I anticipate having to do more in the future so these efforts are always interesting to me. BTW, can you also share the tools that you use?
09-20-2019, 11:39 AM - 2 Likes   #13
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Hello,

LesDMess: Sorry I missed this before. My workbench is a mess of tools and materials from different hobbies: Scale models, electronics, photography, cameras etc. But basically I use a set of JIS screwdrivers from eBay, an old compass as spanner wrench (but I just ordered a real spanner wrench tool), brushes, files, X-Acto knife, scissors, a Dremel, microfiber lens cleaning towels, tons of cotton swabs, 91% alcohol and white vinegar for really dirty surfaces. It all depends on what needs to be done. Other than the JIS set and the spanner, it is all mostly common household items.

Thanks,
Ismael

---------- Post added 09-20-2019 at 02:48 PM ----------

Hello again!

READY FOR THE WORLD!
Now I know why light seal kits are so popular. Making my own was quite a challenge. While it is never really done, This is it! Ready for the world! I hunted down a 1.35V battery and the meter seems to be working properly! Since I'm not very familiar with these cameras, I played it safe and did not take the prism out to clean some dust in the viewfinder. I did however took out the focusing screen and cleaned it. Everything seems to be working properly. I'm happy with the results. The lens may not be the most exciting in the world, but it turned out really nice and it is the only one I have in this mount since it came with the camera.













Next: A roll and a trip to the outside world to see the light again!

I'll keep you posted of the results.

Thanks,
Ismael
09-21-2019, 06:38 AM   #14
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Hello,

And off we go!


Thanks,
09-21-2019, 06:46 AM   #15
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enjoy!
happy shooting!
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