So far on this excuse for a blog (!), I have attempted to talk a little about some of the most common classic cameras around.
And though we have together covered a fair few of them, I reckon we have left one out, and surprisingly, it’s the one that we should have been discussing at the outset, the Olympus 35RC.
Again, and I’m not blowing my own horn here, I have accumulated a fair number of these superb little cameras over the years, so much so that I feel like I’m commiting a crime if I decide to let one go! Well, I can’t help it, you know; these cameras are so very nice to use and handle.
Let’s have a little history about these, then.
The Olympus 35RC was introduced in the 1970s, at a time when 35mm cameras had a rock-solid standing, be they German or Japanese designed.
It took over from the much-underestimated Olympus Trip 35, a camera that even today takes some beating.
Sporting a superb Zuiko 5 element, 4 group lens, the 35RC was an instant world-beater, designed for easy use and very high quality photographs.
The shutter was a mechanical leaf design, a very clever idea, as making it battery-operated would have introduced an Achilles heel into such a beautiful instrument — a mechanical shutter still carries on working if your battery has run flat!
With shutter speeds running from B to 1/500s and leaving the slower speeds out, the engineers made the camera much faster to use.
How do you use the camera? Well, very easily is the straight answer! As an experiment, I handed it to my teenage son some time ago, to see if he could work out how to use it (let me say here and now, my son is a typical street-wise teen; he thinks he knows absolutely everything there is to know in the universe or even about the universe, knows all about computers, the latest video games, the fastest cars, the best cellphones, iPads etc; but, hand him a pair of pliers and he is flummoxed, not knowing what it is or what to use it for!
So this was a true test for sure, to see if he could sus it out. Sure enough, within 15 minutes, he was telling me how it is supposed to work, how the automatic metering works etc etc! Very obviously, the Olympus engineers did a very good job designing this thing!
Basically, once you’ve set the shutter speed, the acmera will let you shoot only if there is sufficient light, otherwise no. Simple, isn’t it?
The speed you are using is shown in the viewfinder, as well as the aperture setting.
Focussing is a breeze — align the two images in the little rectangle and fire the shutter. On the subject of that shutter again; it’s very quiet, and being so makes it eminently useful for use in public, without being detected; ideal for street photography.
There is facility for an electronic flash to be used, whether via the hot shoe or the pc socket, which is yet another handy point.
The lens takes filters with a 43.5mm thread and the clever thing is that once you’ve fitted a filter, there is no need to compensate the settings; because the exposure sensor is placed right inside the lens ring, it gets the same amount of light through the filter as the lens, so the reading the meter gives will take into account the effect of the filter.
In use, the 35RC is a dream come true! It’s actually smaller than the Olympus Trip, but has better features and so the results you get from this tiny wonder need to be seen to be believed.
I have used mine with both colour and monochrome film (Tri X) and it has never failed to suprise me. Load it up with transparency film, that’s when you truly realise what you are holding in your hands!
With a red, yellow and polarising filter set and a decent film loaded, you can be guaranteed a stupendous lot of photogarphs, good enough to grace the front pages of any number of glossy magazines!