yes, many of us hearing about this camera may well be forgiven for saying that!
in these days of technology, items we used just a few months ago become old very quickly…and by old i mean obsolete, often to be superseded by super-duper faster, bigger, slimmer models.
certainly, whenever i am handling my collection of vintage cameras, i just cant believe that such solid things were engineered so long ago…even to the point of asking my kids to hold and handle some of the cameras and asking them to sense the weight, quality and engineering that went into such marvels….of course, they always oblige, but inevitably, they always give me a strange look, as if im some sort of madman or something, to collect and use these ancient cameras!
so, indeed, what IS so special about the olympus trip then?
to answer this question, we really need to take a trip (no pun intended!) back into time….yes, way back to the 1960s…the days of flower-power etc…1967 to be exact. in those days, 35mm cameras had evolved into quite a high standard….the likes of nikon, leica, canon, pentax etc to name a few.
but lets not forget, salaries were not very high….im talking about the UK here….at that time, my dad was earning all of £15 a week…and that was quite a good salary to earn apparently! well, we did ok on it it seems….i still recall a full shopping trolley at the supermarkets cost no more than £5….yes, its true…and houses were around £3000!!
but even so, a brand new nikon would have cost around £50…a leica even more…so if you compare that cost to the average salary in those days, you get to understand why a camera like the olympus trip caught on so fast….correct me if im wrong, but i seem to remember that a brand new olympus trip cost around £16 or so in those days…a week’s wages for my dad!
but the price was not the only reason why the trip 35 garnered such a following. more to the point, it was its unique capability to produce such good photographs that were, to quote an advert from the time “capable of producing pictures indistinguishable from those taken with a top professional 35mm camera.”
not only that, it was so utterly simple to use, that any tom, dick or harry on the street could use it within a few minutes of buying it! no need for batteries, no need for precision focussing…just press and shoot.
and praise from users was unanimous…..read what some have said….
“I remember some years ago a friend of mine bought a new SLR and was taken aback to find that his wife’s Trip 35 pictures were sharper…..” and “They’re brilliant. Pin-sharp lenses….an excellent comparison between a Trip and a serious Canon DSLR + $2000 40mm lens was done recently, guess what, there’s less distortion in the Trip.” and “Some years ago, our then local camera repairer showed me a Trip 35 that had been brought in after being run over by a bus. Although looking squashed, the body was still more or less intact. He accepted the challenge and got it working again. Says something for vintage engineering!” or “I’ve just acquired a Trip 35 – made in Japan – what a brilliant little camera! I shot a test roll of colour negative film and was staggered by the results.”
more praise…”I can’t remember why I actually gave up analogue photography for a few years. I think I got disillusioned with the declining quality of my prints after getting them developed cheaply at poor quality high street developers. Digital came along and initially seemed impressive so I converted to the dark side, but after a while I realised 2 things seemed to be missing from my photos – warmth and soul. All I can say is when I received this baby and took it out of the box, it just felt SO good – wonderfully light to hold in the hand, great classic looks – and the soft sensual click of the shutter button was sexy beyond belief. I couldn’t wait to get snapping, and was so lucky not only to be living in London (one of the most photo-friendly cities in the world) but also to have plenty of brilliant sunshine that day. So over one of the sunniest summers in years, I spent my days walking around town with my Trip.
The lightness of the camera makes you want to carry it everywhere and get as close to your subject as possible. Various colour and black and white films all gave me great results, but the real eye-opener for me was using cross-processed slide film for the first time. The sun made the colours gorgeously rich and saturated which along with the wonderfully sharp Zuiko lens helped capture that summer perfectly.
The simplicity of this camera is a joy. Its automatic exposure means you only have to worry about choosing the correct distance setting, which frees you to concentrate more on composition and subject (But you can also trick the camera into taking wonderful existing light night time shots by turning the aperture ring onto 2.8).
This simple approach helped me to take some of my best pictures ever. I entered one of my photos in an online photography competition, and it won first prize! I am now getting paid work as an analogue photographer again, and it’s all thanks to wonderful cameras like The Olympus Trip 35. You owe it to yourself to get one.”
ok, so praise aside, it was because the engineers at olympus were able to design a simple, but very effective lens and exposure system, that the camera produced the spectacular results it still does. the lens is of 4 elements in 3 groups, a very sensible and obviously spot-on choice!
couple that with a selenium cell metering system (no batteries reqd) that scoffs at the speed at which battery-hungry cameras use up power, and you have a veritable jewel in your hand! ideal for use in street photography, as its so quiet, even birds hardly flinch when you press the shutter. and because focussing is just by zones, you will have a fair idea what distance your subjects are going to be roughly, so you just set that on the camera, and off you jolly well go!
in fact, to tell you the truth, the lens on the trip is very accomodating, such that even if you havent set the correct zone, 99% of the time, your photo will come out just right!
those are the technicalities of the beast….now what about the price? well….no shocks there either, youll be glad to hear! even though the trip cost £16 when new, if we extrapolate that original price to today, a brand new trip today would cost us about £416!!
of course, nobody in their right mind would spend in excess of £400 on a point n shoot vintage camera, so isnt it heartening to hear that a good olympus trip can be picked up these days for between £35 to £95 (US$52 to $142) depending on condition. 99% of trips need new light seals, as the material used originally has a tendency to disintegrate over time, resulting in a messy, gooey mass that sticks to your fingers, film or anything it gets into contact with. added to this, the cameras tend to collect dust as well, which is not surprising really, since they are coming up to 40 yrs old now!
none of these are serious problems, but nevertheless, take quite some time to put right, and hence the price you pay for a camera that has had new seals fitted and been cleaned properly inside etc, will be higher than one which hasnt been touched at all.
but as you have seen, the prices you pay wont break the bank, and for such a fantastic piece of engineering, i think your money is well spent! before i forget, heres the original UK tv advert about the trip….well worth watching!
interested in acquiring one? well…youve come to the right place…!
im offering one of my favourites…a fully refurbished olympus trip, the better and rarer one with the chrome shutter button…brand new guaranteed for life seals….completely cleaned and lubed where ncessary inside….BUT…this one you will not find very easily, because it has a beautiful Crocodile effect covering, painstakingly fitted by hand!
it comes to you with an electronic flashgun, original lens cap and instruction manual in PDF form, together with a free film to set you off! for photos of this camera, see the photos below:
price: UK/Europe £68.99 plus £6.99 shipping
Price: USA/Canada US$104.99 plus $28 shipping
payment: NOCHEX, PPPay, direct bank transfer, personal cheque (UK only). Paypal also ok but pls add $8 to final price to cover Paypal charges – sorry!