Thursday, 5 December 2013

old power - battery adapters to power old cameras (OM-1)

I happen to really like my OM-1

Its a great camera, but it has a significant problem in this day and age; being a rather old device its hard to get power for it.

You see since it was made there has been quite a revolution in both electronics and enviromental (or is that enviro-mental) thinking.

Sadly as most people are unable to be responsible with batteries the uber reliable mercury battery it used is discontinued.

Now luckilly there are a few stalwarts who are serious about these cameras (should tell you how bloody good they are) and have put some thought and effort into keeping the things breathing. One very informative page on this topic is here. So essentially I needed to replace the PX625 battery with something else, in this case it is the common Hearing Aid 675 Zinc Air Battery. As described on Rick's page the discharge voltage curve of the Zinc Air is very similar to the original Mercury type.

Anyway, lacking the o-ring mentioned in his article (and the wire) I first turned to a bit of cut to length cable tie. As long as you get a cable tie of ~2mm diameter (as suggested in his fine post) this can be used in the battery compartment to solve the size difference.

Not wanting to "cheap out" on my OM, I decided to look around and see what might be available. Fishing around on eBay I came across a Japanese seller making a high quality machined part. His name is nobbySparrow, and in the 'invisible hand' tradition of market knowledge I thought I would write up his product (as I have others I've bought).

The product is essentially a 'metal cup' to hold the 675 battery to allow it to be placed into the battery compartment of the OM-1

The smaller battery just slips into the compartment and then the whole thing goes into the camera.

It looks a little 'loose' by today's modern tight manufacturing standards, but the way that the OM-1 battery hatch is designed actually holds it in firmly.

you can see the ridge around the cap above.

So there you have it, a simple, inexpensive and well made adapter for the battery.  I paid US$12 for two adapters, its nice to have two in case I loose one. So for essentially $6 each I have a smooth and simple fix for my OM-1 battery needs. Oh, and a pack of 6 batteries was $2

So now I can just go out and take pictures with my OM-1 and not need a handheld light meter or fiddle around at battery change time.

And take fine pictures it can; especially with Negative in contrasty conditions it rivals digital cameras.

and a detail segment:

so its a small investment to keep a fine and functional photographic tool functioning.

Thanks nobbySparrow :-)

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