Vintage camera collection – Olympus Trip 35
This is a review of the latest addition to my camera collection – the Olympus Trip 35. Sample pictures taken with this camera are here.
I have been really looking forward to receiving this camera since I bought it on eBay for £12.50. This is an iconic camera from the 1970’s which I really wanted to own when they were first introduced but couldn’t afford to buy one. The first thing which struck me when I unwrapped it from the packaging yesterday is how tiny it is. Considering this is a full frame camera it’s really small ! One of the images above show it in comparison to a Canon S95 digital compact and the Olympus is only a bit bigger, although the frame size is massively bigger.
These cameras are quite easy to date – first there is a clue in the colour of the shutter release button. Early cameras has a chrome button, later cameras had a black plastic shutter button. This camera has a chrome button indicating an early example. There is another easier way to date the camera however; If you remove the film pressure plate there is a code on the back which includes the year and month of manufacture! Mine has a 3 & 9 indicating September 1973. So just coming up to 40 years old.
There look to be a few issues with this particular camera. At first when I got it the aperture was stuck. There is a way of easily telling if one of these cameras is working. Set the exposure control to automatic and cover the photocell round the lens. If you then try to take a picture you should find that the shutter won’t fire and you get a red marker in the viewfinder. This is to make sure that you don’t waste exposures when the light is too low. When I tried this trick initially the camera did fire the shutter and the aperture was stuck at f/22. However, after a few turns of the aperture ring and a few attempts, the aperture started to work and the exposure system now seems correct. I think the aperture blades were coated with a thin coat of oil during manufacture and after a number of years this gets sticky and stops the aperture from working properly. The other things which need attention is the light seal at the hinge of the film door which is completely gone; the leatherette covering which is starting to peel slightly, and most worrying, the film guides which seem pitted. It may be that this camera needs to become a donor for parts for another (I have a few more on my eBay watch list).
This is a 35mm Point and Shoot automatic camera. There are a limited number of options available to the user – simply set the exposure to A – automatic, and set the focus to one of 4 different focus zones and you are good to go. If there isn’t enough light the shutter won’t fire and you switch to flash mode. In flash mode you can set the aperture between f/2.8 and f/22 which you would read off the back of whichever flash gun you attach (there is no built in flash).
The lens fitted to the camera is a 40mm f/2.8 Zuiko coated lens which is reputed to be extremely sharp. 40mm will give a slightly wide angle view compared to the normal 50mm standard lens used with 35mm cameras.
There is an ISO setting ring at the front of the lens which has the range 25 – 400 iso which although a bit limited covered all the normal film speeds available in the 1970’s – 1980’s.
The light meter is fitted around the front of the lens which means it automatically compensates for any filters fitted, and stops the camera firing the shutter if a lens cap is fitted. The camera exposure system is driven from this light cell and requires no other battery.
The viewfinder is quite bright and has a neat little extra view at the bottom of the window which shows the focus zone and exposure setting the camera is set to, so you can see all you need to see in the view finder.
All in all this is an incredibly neat and attractive small point and shoot camera. I’m looking forward to getting a film in this and seeing what sort of results I get.