Possible to adapt M42 for Olympus OM-1 (film)?

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
ProfHankD Veteran Member • Posts: 8,093
Re: Possible to adapt M42 for Olympus OM-1 (film)?

Albert Silver wrote:

I am looking into a variety of affordable film SLRs, and the Olympus came under my radar but I cannot seem to ascertain if one can adapt lenses from other mounts to it.

Well, it's interesting. I just took my Mamiya/Sekor 55mm f/1.4 up against my OM adapter, and shot this (highly cropped) image of the Moon:

That's not perfect, but it's pretty good for a hand-held 150x150 pixel crop from a 42MP FF body using the lens at f/1.4. I think it's close enough to infinity for normal terrestrial shooting. This particular adapter doesn't seem to be short either, as the best image of the Moon using it with my OM lenses is at hard-stop infinity.

The key thing to remember is that the flange, which is what distance is usually quoted from, is NOT actually the calibrated reference distance for many mounts -- it's more often a surface of a bayonet wing or where a screw thread is supposed to stop. In fact, M42 lenses aren't really supposed to stop flush with the flange. In any case, this suggests to me that it is technically feasible to use M42 lenses on OM mount and get "close enough" to infinity.

However, with what adapter? Well, good luck! The adapter would have to put a screw thread entirely inside the OM mount, and although there is a little space to theoretically do it in, the OM mount has the lock on the lens side rather than the body side... and I don't see any way to fit a locking mechanism in there. It's probably just barely possible to 3D print a non-locking M42 adapter that would work.... The worst adapter design problem like this that I've personally solved was to put Minolta SR/MC/MD lenses on Canon FL/FD/FDn bodies: M42 to OM would be slightly more challenging than that.

Right now my alternate is something like the Canon AE-1 (I did find adapters), though I am open to suggestions.

Canon EF, Minolta AF (aka, Sony A), and Pentax K bodies can all use M42 lenses -- as can the earlier manual-focus mounts from those companies: Canon FL/FD/FDn, Minolta SR/MC/MD, and of course Pentax M42 (among others). Honestly, you are better off using a manual film camera with M42 lenses because they have viewfinder screens designed to facilitate precise manual focus -- autofocus bodies don't.

The AE-1 is certainly a viable M42 film platform, but, honestly, an old Pentax Spotmatic takes M42 natively and feels a lot more "refined" than an AE-1. Given that a Spotmatic often can be found for around $25... it's a real alternative to buying an M42 adapter for your AE-1. 

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