Recently I wrote a few articles about the Olympus Trip 35 point and shoot camera, together with some rather special Trip 35 cameras from my collection which I am offering for sale.
Those articles created a crescendo of excitement apparently, as everyone and his/her aunty now want to own one and, more than that, want to learn what it can do.
That is one mighty request and one which I cannot hope to fill during my lifetime I fear, for the uses to which the Trip can be put are countless. However, having used these cameras for well over 20 years or more, and although that doesn’t make me an expert, I’m sure I can show newcomers how to use it better. As there are a lot of topics to be covered, let’s call this Part 1, and add to it another time, yes?
Before we begin, let me sa that this is not an exhaustive talk, far from it. In this talk, why don’t we discuss different light situations and how the Trip can be used in them.
First of all, we all know the Trip has an exposure system controlled by a battery-less selenium cell. Depending upon the amount of light falling on it, the camera will select the shutter speed and aperture completely automatically, leaving you to worry about nothing, which ultimately means that your photograph will come out better than if you were biting your nails wondering if your settings were correct!
What happens if the light level is too low? Aha! This is when it all gets rather interesting. The Trip is designed so that if lighting conditions are low, it will prevent the user taking and wasting any shots. The first thing you will notice in this scenario will be a little red flag in the viewfinder pooping up soon as you press the shutter. When that flag pops up, it also simultaneously locks the shutter as well, so nothing happens and your shot is not wasted. The lowest fail-safe settings before the camera reverts to locking you out, are 1/40s shutter speed and f2.8 aperture; anything below these and it will lock.
BUT…..we can use the Trip to shoot exciting very low light scenes, even at night! How the devil can we do that, if the selenium cell system locks the camera up in low light? well, a little devilish trickery is called for here.
Well, ok, it’s not that clever, but I thought I’d pop that in just to spice up this chat! I’ve been using my own Trip 35 to take superbly characterful shots in late evening and even night-time situations, so much so that whenever I show them to friends, they look at me with disbelief, until I show them how it’s done. Now, I’m going to let you into the secret as well, so….close your doors, draw the curtains, check your room for electronic bugs and…..oh, sorry, I’ve been watching too many James Bond films!
Ok, guys and gals. As we have said, the Trip has this ability to lock up i low light conditions, but if we want to take shots in those very same conditions, all we do is this…..make sure the camera is set to the “A” setting, but critically, set the aperture ring to f2.8, and hey! presto….your Trip will not now lock up on you!
That’s the secret of how to get it working in low light scenarios. But are there any other precautions you need to take? Yes. Read on….
Taking photos at these very low light situations means that because the camera is going to default to it’s 1/40s shutter speed and f2.8 aperture, we must try and hold the camera as steady as possible when taking the shot. By that I mean just be sure that you are holding the camera steady as you can….no need to go overboard with a tripod or anything, as the Trip is inherently designed to cover a whole lot of possible shooting scenarios….another fantastic realisation about how much thought mus have gone into designing it.
Finally, at these very low light levels, aside of the settings of 1/40s and f2.8 whihc the camera will work at, the only other way we can get more character or mood shall we say, into our shots, is by choosing a film of ISO 800 or 1600. That will give you superbly grainy shots, reminiscent of those film noir scenes in old Hollywood movies.
And that is about it. Of course, the first time you take your TRip out at night, you will inevitably lose some shots due to the very low light levels, but to make sure you minimise this, all you have to do is look for situations where there are street lamps, or light from buildings, or even light falling on walls or people or machinery, offering you a silhouette effect.
By the way, just to show how much I respect everyone who bothers to drop in here for a blog, here’s a link to a FREE original Olympus Trip 35 instruction manual!
I’m sure I’ve whetted your appetites to try this out asap. Here are some shots taken at night using an Olympus Trip 35:
all shots courtesy http://www.flickr.com