invaluable reference material

in no particular order

'The French Book' - by Jean-Paul Francecsh

You will need some reference books to enable you to compile your target and complete your collection. There are few published works on Olympus and those that have been printed are not wholly accurate. If you can find a copy of Jean-Paul's book this is a good starting place as it endeavours to list all the Camera Division products from 1936~83. Though it is not entirely accurate it is probably the most complete reference book about Olympus in terms of all the various series. However, it takes some finding as there were less than 4000 sold. This was the first Olympus collectors book from an independent source and the author spent some time at Olympus HQ in Tokyo gathering information and images from the corporate archives. It is written in French but the production lists and specifications are in English. Jean-Paul provided the Foreword to my Viewfinder Pen book.

'All of Olympus'

Next is All About Historic Cameras - "All of Olympus" - a Japanese 'mook'. (A mook is a cross between a magazine and a book). Whilst this particular mook has been out of print since 1992 other Japanese publishers have compiled further, similar editions under various titles such as Classic Cameras No 12 - Olympus. These are written exclusively for Japanese consumption though they are well worth seeking as the photographs are of high quality and the specifications and some text appear in English. They occasionally appear on IAH's (Internet Auction Houses). No ISBN details, sorry.

'Olympus' - Mook

Another Japanese publication about Olympus. Again the best place to seek these is the IAH's. There are several versions all bearing the same cover illustrations - just to confuse you - but their contects are different. Look for ISBN4-87099-428-3 (this one) and ISBN4-575-47379-0 (Classic Camera No 12). These 'Mooks' contain some very nice illustrations and some of the text is in English. I understand from Japanese colleagues these are highly collectable items in their own right.

Yoshihisa Maitani's book about the Pen Lineage

I am honoured to have this book personally dedicated and signed by Mr Maitani. During the 5 years I was writing my two definitive books about Pen cameras Mr Maitani offered his assistance. This was a testing time (for both parties), the language and cultural division often proved difficult to bridge and I often wondered if he was planning his own book(s) as sometimes his responses to my questions were hard to interpret. Mr Maitani's book is entirely in Japanese and concentrates on the way he brought about the Pen series from the designers angle. Some of the technical drawings and sketches are fascinating but there are few photographs. If you can read Japanese it is well worth seeking. Look for ISBN4-257-12036-3 - A 'Classic Camera' book.

Olympus VisionAge

Next is the wonderful series from Olympus themselves, VisionAge, numbering 19 in all starting in 1984 finishing 1993. These are high quality magazines that set out many of Olympus' achievments as well as documenting their history, products and personalities. Earlier editions feature 'The Zuiko Story' and cover in some depth many, but not all of the Camera Division products. Also featured are interviews with Yoshihisa Maitani and Eiichi Sakuria. VisionAge magazines are highly prized and collectable. These sometimes turn up on IAH sites so keep your eyes peeled.

Olympus Pursuit

Next and again from Olympus is the long running series of magazines, Pursuit. Starting circa 1982 it is still avilable as an 'on line' magazine. The last hard copy appearing in July 2003. Whilst not quite as camera focused (no pun intended) as the VisionAge series of magazines it still produces gems of information for us collectors. Well worth seeking out, but don't spend too much on them. Like VisionAge the photographic illustrations are of a very high standard.

Of course, my two definitive works are available. For further information please email me or click on 'Current Books' below. In addition I've set out some basic production information, by lineage group - such as VF Pen, SLR Pen, 35 Series, Folders etc - which may also help you compile your collecting lists. These documents, in Adobe acrobat pdf files, can be found here.



Posted 2004/12/12 Copyright © 2004 John Foster