The Olympus Trip 35 has become quite a cult camera for 35mm film enthusiasts. Originally manufactured in 1967 they continued to sell for over 20 years . Olympus themselves claim to have produced over 10 million units which goes to show how popular this little gem is.
I was fortunate to buy a refurbished/reskinned one at a decent price (£40) but usually its said you can pick one up for as little as £5 from car boot sellers.
Of course you cant guarantee the condition so I decided I didn’t want to take the risk on owning one with optical or mechanical issues and paid extra.
I won’t go into major detail of its functionality or history as (due to its popularity) there is a huge abundance of info on the Trip 35 already online but I will leave some basic thoughts from my personal use.
From first holding the Trip one thing was immediately clear. This is one solidly made camera. Not too heavy and not too hollow given its metal construction. It has that cool rangefinder look I like but isn’t a rangefinder. In operation you just load your film,set your ISO/ASA in relation to the film you loaded, Have the aperture ring set to “A” and focus using the zone focus indicators and take your shot. As you can imagine it can be limited creativity wise but the Trip 35 was designed for point and shoot purposes.
The Trip has a very nice 40mm f2.8 lens. Corner sharpness is exceptional.
ISO/ASA increments on mine are 25,40,50,64,80,100,125,160,200,250,320 and finally 400.
The trip only has 2 shutter speeds 1/40th sec (permanent for flash mode) & 1/200 sec (in A mode when in good light) so not really a sports photography camera.
Looking through the viewfinder allows for framing only (also with parallax correction markings) and a smaller window to see what focus zone & aperture mode you have set. Clever stuff.
On top of the camera you have your film rewind crank (released by pressing a black button underside of the camera) , hot shoe,shutter button & shot indicator. On the rear you have your film advance/thumbwheel. I like this as it is a bit more discreet when shooting street photography.
While in A mode If the light is too dim then you get a warning flag pop up and it prevents you from taking the shot. You can overcome this by turning the aperture ring from A to f2.8 onwards but this will give you 1/40th shutter speed setting so steady hands are required to avoid blur.
Here is some shots of the Trips focusing ring “zone”is on the top and focal distance metering on the underside.
You have portrait (1m) couple (1.5m) group (3m) and landscape (infinity). You can focus between these hard stops if required. It takes some practicing gauging accurate focus and on first use you may get more misses than hits until you get used to this method of focusing. For me I’ve found a single big step gives me roughly 1m. So I focus with my feet.
Another note I found with focusing is that if its a overcast day the camera’s aperture will be close to f2.8 (not to mention the shutter speed going to 1/40th) thus it will have more shallow depth of field so the risk of having your subject out of focus is somewhat higher.
The Trip 35 really was for those wanting sunny holiday snaps rather than the usual gloomy days we have in England.
See how the two ladies chatting are out of focus but the pony is in focus? This demonstrates how small of a margin there is to nail critical focus in overcast days. Luckily I was aiming for the pony!
One thing I’ve discovered while shooting with the Trip 35 is that it can become a talking point. In the short time using it on the street I found people to relax up and inquire about the camera itself. Quite handy for approaching strangers for a picture.
One day after finishing a roll I walked into my local developers and when handing in my film for negative developing only (more on this in another post) the Trips good looks started to gain some attention…”So where do the batteries go?”remarked a confused member of staff. I guess he wasn’t aware of the Trip 35’s inner alchemy. No batteries required for this camera…
The Selenium cell that surrounds the optics allows for auto light metering without batteries and its this key thing why the Trip has become a favorite with many..myself included.
The light metering on the Trip 35 is superbly accurate and here are some shots..some taken in difficult lighting situations. I used Fuji Superia 400 for all these shots.
Below is a good example of how sharp the 40mm f2.8 lens is…
So do I like the Trip 35? Absolutely! I cant say its great for all purposes but for someone like me who shoots primarily street or occasional family snaps I can guarantee I will be using this little baby a lot more in the future…while film lives that is!
I have acquired a working Olympus PS200 flash unit but have yet to test it…more on this later!