Art or Flaw? Old OM-10 + wrong metering + wrong film development


Film is great. and film camera is something you can love it for what it is, despite its discrepancies.

I got this Olympus OM-10 from my Dad which is a camera that i saw him carrying around in my childhood. The camera feels great in hand and the shutter sound is additive. The old hazy viewfinder is not easy though, but the range-finder type of manual focus is a joy to use. And oh wait, he also got the Zuiko 50mm/ f1.8!¬†Couldn’t resist to load a film and shoot-out!

It was a morning in Central market of Hong Kong, one of the busiest place in that hour with so much small stories going on. House wife are busy, shop keepers are waving for thier customers. The vibe is great, the colors are beautiful and you got so much textures there. Perfect photographic locations!

But wait, i almost forgot there’s sth unusual about my film and camera…


A little back stories about this camera. It was shelved for years and not surprisingly it can get faulty. Besides the hazy viewfinder. One obvious thing is the shutter and the mirror. It has been an insightful expereince trying to fix it. The story is here.


Ok its functional. but the metering is off! why? guess many of us who dive into old cameras will soon find out the voltage of now discontinued mercury battery is 1.35V, which is what these old cameras are supposed to take, while the modern available batteries is 1.5V. what does it means? it means it still works but the metering is off! in my case always overexposed for 1-3 stops. worse thing is that my camera doesn’t have manual mode and i have to do a classic EV compensation method by overriding its ASA/ISO value. this posts 2 problems 1) according to some photographic folks, the metering do not have a constant over-exposure but varies 2) suppose i set 2 stop faster for ASA/ISO to compensate it. that means ISO 800 film will need to set to ASA 3200 on the camera. Problem? ASA 3200 is the max in my camera and therefore i can’t use film faster than ISO 800. which is a shame cus i shoot a lot of low-lights.


Secondly, The only film left on my table is lomography X-Pro slide 200. Well ya i d love to shoot slide, but i never try this special slide, not to mention the narrow exposure tolerance of slide to couple with this off-metering camera…


Anyway, my passion for a shoot-out override the above discrepancies. I load the lomo slide, set the ASA 2 stops compensation, and go straight to the Central Market.


The whole process is so enjoyable. Standing and walking among the vibe of this local culture. I can’t stop myself to press the shutters. and run to the labs to develop the films. “You can develop slides right?” “Yes. we can. But wait.. its a lomo slide?” The lab person told me that lomography slide are different from standard slides in that it’s made specifically for cross-processing (a common method for develop positive film using negative chemicals) “But the colors of the market are beautiful i want it to be as vivid as what I see, the reds of the tomotos, the green of the veggies” “Sorry it’s not gonna happen. If you develop the lomo slide like normal slides, you will get greyish-bluish tones. It’s becuase normal cross process has too high contrast and guess lomography compensate for this for a better and unique looking” Oh my god, my vivid colors are not gonna happen… Disappointed, i asked the lab person to develop it in cross-process as it was intended…


Result? its a real experimental jorney. The contact sheet came out yellowish, and its surpisingly grainy for a ISO200 (probably due to under-exposure). I try to white balance the yellowish images by LR, and then no more color correction. And as you see form the photos here, its something really usual. Guess what? I love them!




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