About the Olympus Sales Information File
This website, the Unofficial Olympus OM Sales Information File (abbreviated as "e-SIF"), is inspired by an official file from Olympus, the Olympus Sales Information File. This file was distributed amongst Olympus dealers as reference material and a catalogue. It was distributed as a binder with loose, exchangeable pages, each page dedicated to one single unit. This structure allowed pages to be updated and new pages to be added. For every item there was a description of the unit's function, its use in combination with other units of the system, notes regarding use, and nomenclature for the various parts of the unit along with their individual functions. The pictures in the File were, as far as possible, printed in actual size. This allowed customers to get a fair idea of what they could expect from items that were not in stock.
The original File as it was distributed in the 70's was
divided by tabs in separate parts that reflected the structure of the OM System in nine
System Groups. These Groups were labeled 'Camera Body Group', 'Zuiko Interchangeable Lens
Group', 'Finder Group', 'Flashphoto Group', 'Motor Drive Group', 'Macrophoto Group',
'Photomicro Group', 'Phototechnical Group' and 'Case Group'. At the beginning of the File
there was a System Chart that showed the relations between units from different Groups.
At the end of the File there was an appendix that contained Olympus cameras that were not part of the OM System. Rangefinder cameras like the XA and 35RD, viewfinder cameras like the Trip 35, and... the OM-10! This reveals the attitude of uncertainty Olympus originally had towards the amateur OM bodies and where to put them. They were not integrated in the Camera Body Group of the OM System. One of the main reasons why the amateur bodies are not true System Cameras is because of the fixed focusing screen. It doesn't make any sense when you can connect them to the Auto Bellows, a microscope, or a super tele when you can't install the proper focusing screen and have a dark viewfinder that is impossible to focus. OK, so maybe the OM-10 is not a true System Camera, but still it accepts many items from the OM System, so why shouldn't it be part of the System?
In editions of the File that were distributed in the 80's, this dualistic approach was corrected and all amateur bodies available then (OM-10, OM-20, OM-30 and OM-40) were integrated in the Body Group together with the professional bodies that were available at that time: the OM-1n, OM-2SP, OM-3 and OM-4. The 'Zuiko Interchangeable Lens Group' was renamed to 'Lens Group' and each group was also assigned a character next to the name: A for the Body Group, B for the Lens Group etc. untill I for the Case Group. The J was assigned to the Olympus lens-shutter cameras and accessoiries.
Chaos re-entered the File in 1986-1988 when the Olympus OM-707 and OM-101 were introduced. Again, these bodies were not integrated in (the Body Group of) the OM System. Instead, a new tab was added to the file, labelled 'Autofocus Power Focus SLR System'. Behind the tab there was a new System Chart, containing seven 'new' Groups, labeled K 'AF/PF Body Group', L 'AF Lens Group', M 'Power Source Group', N 'Phototechnical Group', O 'Flashphoto Group', P 'Finder Group' and Q for 'PF Lens Group'. To me, this approach doesn't make much sense. All items from the AF/PF Flashphoto Group (that contained the F280, T18 and F280 accessories) and Finder Group (Eyecup 2 and Dioptric lenses) can also be used in the OM System, and are indeed also part of the OM System; vice versa, the other T series flashes from the OM System, and most Zuiko lenses, can also be used on the AF/PF bodies. The separation into two different Systems is unnatural and unneccesary.
The Unofficial Olympus OM Sales Information File ("e-SIF")
For this reason, the Unofficial Olympus OM Sales
Information File that you're looking at right now, fixes these 'historical mistakes' and
integrates the Olympus OM System and the 'Olympus AF/PF SLR System'. The AF/PF bodies are
incorporated into the Body Group, the AF/PF lenses are incorporated in the Lens Group, and
the two items from the AF/PF Power Source Group (the Power Flash Grip 300 and the Power
Grip 100) have been moved to the Phototechnical Group.
And the Olympus OM-2000? Even though it's not manufactured by Olympus and its integration with the OM System is minimal, it is incorporated in the Body Group. Because we don't want to introduce an 'Olympus 2000 SLR System', now do we? :-)
Apart from these integrations, the structure of the e-SIF pages is largely identical to those of the printed File. Every unit is represented by a picture (albeit for technical reasons not in real size ;), a table naming its characteristics, and, when applicable, a table with its main specifications. To cut down disk usage, development time and download time I've omitted the pictures that are printed on the back side of each page, naming the different parts of the unit. Since the Sales Information File I have does not contain all the units of the OM System some of the pages in the e-SIF are created using other sources of information. As far as possible, I used for these units the writing style of the original File.
The Unofficial Olympus OM Sales Information File contains,
as far as I know, all units that Olympus ever made for the Olympus OM System. This
complete inventory never was available at any time. Some units were introduced at a later
stage whilst other units by that time already were discontinued. Some units were replaced
by updated versions, others were only available for a short time. In 1987 and 1988 most
camera bodies were discontinued, and in the 90's large portions of the OM System were
discontinued. So in this respect you really should not look at the Unofficial Olympus OM
Sales Information File as the electronic counterpart of the printed, official Olympus
Sales Information File. Nowadays, many units are only available on the used market, some
of them very easy to find and relatively cheap, others rare or very rare and relatively
Fortunately Olympus has not completely turned its back against the OM System. Many units are still available brand new. This includes three bodies (OM-3Ti, OM-4Ti, OM-2000), most fixed focal lenses (34 of them, including all Auto Macro lenses), one zoom lens (35-80mm/F2.8), Motor Drive 2, the F280 full-synchro flash, all focusing screens and most accessories for the T Flash System.
Sorely missed however are all other zoom lenses, the T flashes (fortunately the T32 and T20 are very common on the used market) and an affordable System Camera. The OM-3Ti and OM-4Ti are not very common on the used market, and too expensive for many people to buy new; the OM-2000 is not a System Camera (it has no connections to the Winders, Motor Drives or T-flashes, the focusing screen and camera back are fixed). Many users of the OM System would really appreciate it when Olympus would reintroduce the OM-1n, and maybe also the OM-2n at a fair price level, with at least the OM-1n slightly patched to accept a 1.5V silver-oxide battery instead of the abolished 1.35 Mercury cell. But this will probably never happen. Just like it is very unlikely that there will ever be a new professional OM body or lens. We can only hope that Olympus does not completely discontinue the System in the near future.
My main sources of information for the Unofficial Olympus
OM Sales Information File are:
- Olympus Sales Information File, October 1979 with additional sheets from about 1988
- The OM System Lens Handbook, October 1985
- Edition Olympus 6 - Das Lexikon des OM-Systems
- A couple of original manuals of System Units and System Groups
The information presented in the Unofficial Olympus OM Sales Information File is public domain. You are allowed to download, save and print pages from this website for your own use. You are *not* allowed to publish pages from this website (or the complete website) on your own or as part of your website. However, you may add links to my pages. If you have items for sale and wish to use pictures from my website as illustration, please add a notice that the picture is a sample and does not show the unit you are selling.
Olympus©, OM System and Zuiko are Registered Trade Marks of Olympus Optical Co., Ltd, Tokyo, Japan.
|Hans van Veluwen, Webmaster of the Unofficial Olympus OM Sales
Information File ("e-SIF").
Do you have comments, errata or suggestions? Mail me!