It was the 1980s, and the camera market had just been hit by the digital photography tsunami. Photographers were spoilt for choice with a variety of affordable, high-performance cameras to choose from.
This made the competition cut-throat, forcing manufacturers to constantly upgrade their models with newer features in order to appeal to discerning customers.
This blog post will look at two popular 35 mm film SLR cameras, Canon AE-1 vs Olympus OM-10. Both these cameras are excellent entry points into the world of film photography as they are user-friendly, affordable and produce excellent images due to their capable all-mechanical manual focus lenses and light sensors.
Let’s get into it! Comparison Canon AE-1 Vs Olympus OM-10
Table of Contents
The Canon AE-1 was an upgraded version of the popular Canon AE-1 Program. The AE-1 Program was the first 35mm SLR camera from Canon launched in April 1976 to feature Program mode, allowing users to manually set both the aperture and shutter speed.
The AE-1 Program was also the first Canon SLR sold with a built-in autofocus motor.
The AE-1 is a more advanced camera with a refined design and features such as Canon’s well-regarded shutter and mirror systems, a more ergonomic design, a larger viewfinder, and a wider shutter speed range.
It was also the first SLR to ship with a built-in Auto-Exposure lock feature, allowing photographers to lock the shutter open while they advance the film to take multiple exposures.
This camera is particularly loved by photographers due to its superb mechanical design and build quality.
The Canon AE-1 is a relatively compact SLR that weighs just 710 gms. With its ergonomic design, it is very comfortable to hold and operate for extended periods of time.
It is mainly popular for its superb metering system – the TTL (Through The Lens) center-weighted averaging metering system. Coupled with Canon EF lenses, the AE-1’s metering system is highly accurate and will help you get the correct exposure, even in difficult lighting conditions.
The camera has an all-mechanical shutter; it’s slow and noisy but extremely reliable and works exceptionally well in low-light conditions.
The AE-1 also has an analog exposure meter that lets you set a shutter speed between 1/1000 and 4 seconds.
It has a removable back that lets you switch out the camera’s film back with an optional bulk film back that has a capacity of 100 sheets of 35 mm film.
Also, it has an interchangeable viewfinder that lets you choose between a standard and a high-magnification viewfinder.
The Canon AE-1 is excellent at accurately metering light and lets you shoot at slower shutter speeds without worrying about camera shake. Because of this, the camera is a great choice when taking pictures of low-light scenes, such as indoor night scenes.
Its high-contrast light meter is especially useful in scenes with both bright and dark areas as it helps you meter light from both sides.
The camera’s shutter speed range is between 1/1000 and 4 seconds, which is more than enough to create some beautiful abstract images.
Moreover, Canon AE-1 cameras come with a ready-to-shoot Canon Standard lens. The Canon 50mm f/1.8 Auto S.S.C Lens. This lens is sharp and fast and offers excellent image quality with low light.
The Canon AE-1 runs on a mercury cell battery and has a battery life of about 1,000-1,500 shots. You can mitigate this by using a Lithium cell battery such as the Eveready Gold Ultra Alkaline battery.
Canon AE-1’s Negatives
The AE-1’s metering system is highly accurate, letting you shoot at slower shutter speeds without worrying about camera shake. However, the AE-1 doesn’t have an inbuilt light source; it only lets you see through the viewfinder by pressing a button that blocks outside light.
This makes the AE-1 unsuitable for shooting in low-light conditions where you must use a tripod. The AE-1’s slow shutter speed range means you can’t use it to shoot fast-moving objects like sports.
A tripod is recommended if you don’t want to have camera shake caused by its slow shutter speed.
Read more: Canon A-1 Vs AV-1
The Olympus OM-10 was a cost-effective fully-manual SLR camera aimed at beginners and hobbyists. It featured a fixed 35mm f/2.8 Zuiko lens, an aperture priority exposure mode, a simple viewfinder display, and a light meter that used a selenium meter cell.
Its light sensor was designed to work best with a Type-B 100 ISO film. While the OM-10’s light meter had no provision for manual overrides, the camera was still very usable even in low-light conditions due to the high maximum aperture of its lens.
The OM-10’s Zuiko lens has a reputation for being extremely sharp, a quality that is especially evident in images taken at its maximum aperture.
Similar to Canon AE-1, photographers also love this camera due to its ergonomic design and build quality.
The Olympus OM-10 is a relatively compact SLR weighing just 445 gms. Due to its ergonomic design, it is extremely convenient to hold and operate over long periods and makes it very comfortable.
In low-light situations, the camera’s metering system is extremely useful. It uses the Open-Slit Focusing method, which lets in more light compared to other metering systems. Its meter is also accurate, but it also tends to overexpose images.
It comes with a manual shutter that has a shutter speed range of 1/1000 to 4 seconds. The OM-10 has an analog exposure meter that lets you set a shutter speed between 1/1000 and 4 seconds.
Also, it has a removable back that lets you switch out the camera’s film back with an optional bulk film back that has a capacity of 100 sheets of 35 mm film.
Moreover, you will see an interchangeable viewfinder that lets you choose between a standard and a high-magnification viewfinder.
Under low-light conditions, the OM-10’s Open-Slit Focusing is a great choice. There is no doubt that the meter on the camera is accurate, but it also tends to overexpose some of the images it takes.
It has a manual shutter that is extremely slow and noisy, making it a bad choice for shooting in low light.
A standard Olympus 50mm lens is sharp and produces high-quality images with very little distortion.
Despite this, it is an affordable camera that lets you create beautiful images with its capable lens and excellent Open-Slit Focusing metering system. Also, it comes with a sharp, fast, ready-to-shoot standard lens and offers excellent image quality.
The OM-10 runs on two mercury cells that must be charged 8 hours before use. You can mitigate this by charging the battery with a mercury cell charger such as the G.T. Power MP-35 Professional Multi-Purpose Mercury Battery Charger.
Olympus OM-10’s Negatives
This camera features the Open-Slit Focusing method, so you can take photographs in low-light conditions. While this feature is very useful, it also has a major drawback: it does not allow you to shoot at slower shutter speeds without worrying about camera shake.
The OM-10 doesn’t have an inbuilt light source; it only lets you see through the viewfinder by pressing a button that blocks outside light. This makes the OM-10 unsuitable for shooting in low-light conditions where you need to use a tripod.
Its slow shutter speed range means that you can’t use it to shoot fast-moving objects like sports. Without a tripod, slow shutter speeds may also result in camera shake, similar to Canon AE-1.
Differences Between Canon AE-1 and Olympus OM-10
The Olympus OM-10 and Canon AE-1 are two prominent 35mm camera models from the early 1980s. Each camera had a different focus, with the OM-10 more suited to landscape photography than the AE-1.
However, both cameras received positive reviews for their ease of use and quality images.
The main differences between the two models include:
Image stabilization: The OM-10 has an optical viewfinder, while the AE-1 has a pentamirror viewfinder.
LCD digital display: The AE-1 has an LCD, while the OM-10 still uses a pentaprism viewfinder.
Automatic exposure control: The AE-1 can adjust settings according to lighting conditions, whereas the OM-10 has manual exposure controls.
Conclusions – Which is better?
The Canon AE-1 is the better camera in this comparison because it is a fully manual camera, whereas the OM-10 is fully-automatic.
Manual cameras allow photographers more creative control over their images and are better suited for experienced photographers.
On the other hand, automatic cameras are ideal for beginner photographers who may not yet be comfortable operating a manual camera.
Additionally, the AE-1 is a more advanced camera designed for professional photographers. The OM-10, on the other hand, is a cost-effective camera best suited for hobbyists and beginners.
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