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View Full Version : Nikon FM-2n vs. Olympus OM- brighter viewfinder?


Merkin
04-27-2012, 12:50
I have been happily snapping away for a while now with an Olympus Pen FT. It is small and light, so I literally carry it with me everywhere, and I get through a roll or two a week with it. However, it has one achilles heel- the finder is a bit too dim for me to feel comfortable focusing in dark situations. Pen FV bodies tend to be hard to find, and if I purchase anything else pen-wise, it is going to be the 38 2.8 pancake, so I am thinking about picking up either an FM-2n with a 50 or 55 1.2, or an OM-1 or 2 with a 50 1.2 for use at night, since all of the comparably fast RF lenses are more than I would pay for a fast SLR lens AND a body. My question, as is probably obvious from the title, is as follows: Between the FM-2n and the OM-1 or 2, which has the brighter viewfinder and is easier to focus in low light? This will pretty much be the deciding factor for me, because I would prefer the smaller size of the olympus, but I already have a couple of other nikon lenses, so those two factors tend to wash.

Thanks!

Timmyjoe
04-27-2012, 13:06
I've got and FM-2N that I put a matte focusing screen on, and have never had a problem focusing it at night. Never used the OM-1,2 though.

Best,
-Tim

paulfish4570
04-27-2012, 14:04
oly is snappier/brighter ...

KoNickon
04-27-2012, 14:16
Definitely the OM's finder is brighter. I think it covers more of the image area too.

johannielscom
04-27-2012, 14:43
FM2N Viewfinder: Eye-level pentaprism type, with 93% frame coverage and 0.86X viewfinder magnification with 50mm set at infinity

Oly OM-1n: The magnification ratio is 0.92X at infinity 50mm lens. While the picture view field is an above average 97% which has contributed to such impressive projection.

took both quotes from www.mir.com.my/rb/photography.

jim_jm
04-27-2012, 14:49
I've owned OM-1 and OM-2 bodies, and the VF is outstanding on both - easily the best of any SLR I've used. Amazing bit of engineering, given the camera is so small. Large and bright view with the 50/1.4 and easy to focus. I also own an FM and FE-2 and while very good also (I would guess the FM-2 is similar to the FE-2), Olympus takes the nod for me.

John Hermanson
04-27-2012, 14:52
OM-1 and 2 have same viewfinder and they are bigger and brighter than Nikon FM2n. . John

kshapero
04-27-2012, 15:07
Put a K-3 focusing screen (B&H Photo has them) on the FM-2n and you will notice the difference.

Trius
04-27-2012, 15:10
Go for the OM-4 and a series 2 screen. :D

Keith
04-27-2012, 15:12
Definitely the OM but keep in mind that the 50mm f1.2 Zuiko is an expensive lens (relatively) and sells for around $500.

Merkin
04-27-2012, 15:19
Definitely the OM but keep in mind that the 50mm f1.2 Zuiko is an expensive lens (relatively) and sells for around $500.

Still half the price of the cheapest comparable RF lens, though...

mfunnell
04-27-2012, 15:19
OM-1 and 2 have same viewfinder and they are bigger and brighter than Nikon FM2n. . JohnI'm not sure that's so. I just checked mine and found my FM2n's viewfinder to be a tad brighter than my OM-1n (admitedly, something of a beater with a scratched-up focusing screen) and OM-4T. The Olympus finders, however, give a larger view and have more "snap". I prefer the Olympus finders and find them easier to focus accurately in low light (the "snap" does it for me). But brighter? I don't think so.

...Mike

Merkin
04-27-2012, 15:21
Go for the OM-4 and a series 2 screen. :D

Do the OM-1-4 all use the same screens? Would the OM-3 or 4 be noticeably brighter than the 1 or 2?

Keith
04-27-2012, 15:25
Still half the price of the cheapest comparable RF lens, though...


True ... I remember when I had an FM3A the viewfinder was nearly as bright as an OM but still managed to achieve that slight tunnel effect which you definitely dont get with the OM-1 in particular.

Freakscene
04-27-2012, 16:47
Get an OM to use and an OMPC/OM40. Cannibalise the screen from the OMPC/40, and modify to fit the other OM (if necessary - in an OM1 or 2 you will have to make the tab narrower). The OMPC/40 screen is very similar to the 2-13 screen, which is much brighter than the standard OM screens.

I like the Nikon FM series SLRs, but the VF isn't as quite as bright as that in an OM. The K-3 or a third party bright screen will help, but the OMs still tend to edge them out. The FM3a comes with a K-3 screen.

Make sure you clean/get the mirror and screen cleaned in whatever camera you get. That can make a huge difference.

Marty

umcelinho
04-27-2012, 17:32
i havent used an FM-2n, but the OM1 viewfinder literally made me WOW out loud when I first looked through it. having a compact 50/1.2 kit should be the best bet...

ferider
04-27-2012, 17:48
You can get a Canon P with 50/1.4 for around the same or less than the Zuiko 50/1.2. You'll loose half stop, which is easily gained without mirror slap.

And the Canon P 1:1 finder is great for a 50.

I love my OMs, but at night on film, hard to beat an RF.

Just saying.

redisburning
04-27-2012, 17:55
the OM 50/1.2 is very small. if you like the controls, they are great.

people will say the OM-1 isn't as reliable, but mine has served 3 generations of my family since my grandfather bought it from the Navy Exchange. so, it probably won't come into play.

Merkin
04-27-2012, 18:05
You can get a Canon P with 50/1.4 for around the same or less than the Zuiko 50/1.2. You'll loose half stop, which is easily gained without mirror slap.

And the Canon P 1:1 finder is great for a 50.

I love my OMs, but at night on film, hard to beat an RF.

Just saying.

I greatly appreciate the input, but I have a couple of personal problems. First, unless a canon p is a good bit more reliable than M mount Leicas, it would invariably break on me. I am apparently hard on my gear, which I didn't learn until I switched to Leicas. I guess years of shooting the utterly unbreakable Pentax K1000 taught me some bad habits. The second is that I am afraid if I get back in to rangefinders, I am going to want to do something stupid like buy obscenely fast rangefinder lenses.

ferider
04-27-2012, 18:09
:)

WRT reliability, the Canon P is similar to the classic Leicas, maybe a bit more sturdy. But it can certainly take more than any OM (and I have four), less moving parts, thicker shell, no string connection under the speed dial, metal shutter, locked back plate, etc. Don't know about the FM-2n.

If you want more robust than the Canon P, I recommend a Nikon F (with a 55/1.2 maybe ?)

Roland.

Merkin
04-27-2012, 18:11
:)

WRT reliability, the Canon P is similar to the classic Leicas, maybe a bit more sturdy. But it can certainly take more than any OM (and I have four). Don't know about the FM-2n.

If you want more more robust than Leica M[234] or Canon P, I recommend a Nikon F.

Roland.

Perhaps I got two bad examples of Leicas, but the two leicas I have owned have by far been the two most fragile cameras I have ever owned.

ferider
04-27-2012, 18:16
Like I said, don't touch an OM then. Which Leicas and what happened ?

Merkin
04-27-2012, 18:17
An M4-P, and a CL. Shutters went on both, and the rangefinder went out of adjustment on the M4-P. Over the course of 2 months. Lost 100 rolls of film from a trip to Mexico.

ferider
04-27-2012, 18:19
http://ferider.smugmug.com/Technical/Kits/Apollo/P1010009/257809381_X6YHZ-M-1.jpg

:)

Merkin
04-27-2012, 18:21
.............:)

Hahaha!

Unfortunately though, I have found that the larger a camera is, the less likely I am to carry it, which means that I miss a LOT of shots when I own a large camera.

ferider
04-27-2012, 18:23
One more in a different direction then: the Pen F is brighter than the FT, just like the FV. And I had the 42/1.2 once, a really great lens. Once CLA'ed, they are very reliable .... you can also remove the meter and replace the mirror in an FT to a brighter one.

Merkin
04-27-2012, 18:26
One more in a different direction then: the Pen F is brighter than the FT, just like the FV. And I had the 42/1.2 once, a really great lens. Once CLA'ed, they are very reliable ....

My only concern there is that even though I love grain, shooting fast film in low light with a half frame camera means that the images would be grainier than even I like at any sort of decent enlargement.

Pablito
04-27-2012, 20:22
the utterly unbreakable Pentax K1000

I wish the closet full of broken ones I have had been "unbreakable."

Lots of film transport & shutter problems...

Frontman
04-27-2012, 21:45
I had constant repair / adjustment of both my M4 finders, never an issue with my M2.. got me.


All 4 of my Leica Ms have required service and adjustment (M3, M4 x2, M6). My Nikon S cameras are quite a bit more sturdy.

The OM cameras are certainly reliable, I have never had one fail. Compared to my Nikon FM2 or FM3A, the OM cameras are also a bit more quiet in operation. The Nikons are also very reliable. The faster shutter speeds on the Nikons is helpful if you are shooting fast lenses.

Trius
04-28-2012, 04:18
Roland is right about the low light option of an RF. I have a pretty bunged up Leitz/Brooks Veriwide finder for 21mm, which I have sometimes mounted on an OM-1 with the Zuiko 21/2. With mirror lock-up I can shoot a-la-RF. You could do the same with a 50mm finder and have a dual purpose rig as long as you don't get into parallax issues.