Why are people all over the photographic world fussing about the Olympus Trip 35?
One of the raesons is the quality of results it produces and the ease of use.
And funninly enough, you don’t need to spend $$$$$ to own one either!
Hardened professional photographers who use state-of-the-art digital
cameras in their working lives, can still be seen with one of these in their kit bags. Let’s talk a little more about this little gem.
The Olympus Trip 35 was first marketed in the hippy-whippy days of the 1960s…..1968 to be precise. This was the time when the top class SLR icons were being released, such as the Nikon, Pentax, Minolta, Canon and others.
It’s such a basic little thing, so what makes it so special, special enough to warrant the great David Bailey advertising it on TV? Most likely, if you are not living in the UK, you would not know about a very famous TV advert about the Trip….here it is for you:
Who’s David Bailey? Well, suffice to say, if you don’t know who he is, then you must be a newcomer to photography, or have been living as hermit in some remote cave in the mountains…! Then again, maybe you just haven’t heard of him…in which case, I promise to post an article about him soon!
Just as a bit of fun, here’s another funny TV advert about David Bailey and the Olympus Trip, but this time with a couple of other famous British guys…namely James Hunt and Eric Idle:
Ok….let’s carry on….
So, yes, it is a simple camera, but what sets it apart from the crowd is the fact that it is so deceptively simple to use.
But not only this – one look at the quality of the photographs it can produce, will convince you for life that this is one camera that you should never, ever be without. In normal use, all you do is set it to the ‘A’ position and the built-in selenium cell metering does the rest. Just wind the film on and press the shutter, and you’re done.
This photo shows the inside of the camera, which is also quite simply designed, with a minimum of parts to go wrong. One useful plus is that it does not rely heavily on foam light seals, which is another headache with vintage cameras.
There are no speeds to fuss about, as it has only two of those, 1/40s and 1/120s, and all are decided upon by the metering….you don’t have to set anything. It even has a low-light cut-off system,
which shows a red flag in the viewfinder and locks the shutter, should you try and take a shot when the light is too low – this, incidentally is a foolproof way of ensuring you do not try and take a photograph with the lens cap on!
How DO you use it, then? Read on ………………………
As I have mentioned above, the Trip is as simple to use as one of those disposable cameras you can buy these days. All you need to do is set it’s aperture ring to A, and set the focussing ring to the
required distance. In other words, if your subject is no more than 1m (3 feet) from the camera, set the focus ring to the head-and-shoulders symbol – if as far as 1.5m, then use the two figure symbol – if as far as 3m then go for the three figure symbol and finally, choose the mountain symbol for distances further than
Just to let you know, this last setting is the one I use most in my type of photography, which includes candid, street, architecture and most outdoor scenes. Simple, isn’t it?
All the exposures are timed and set by the automatic exposure system that is cleverly linked to the selenium light meter. By the way, this type of meter does not require any batteries at all, so will carry on performing when your modern digital camera has used up it’s batteries!
A view of the front lens with selenium cell metering:
For all you camera boffins out there, the camera has marks inside the viewfinder for parallax correction at the 1m setting. As a quick explanation, parallax error occurs with cameras where the photo-taking lens is not also the looking lens, i.e.
the viewfinder which you use to frame your photograph is slightly offset from the position of the lens itself. On close distance lens settings such as those less than 1m, parallax can mean that your subject’s hat (or top part of the head) gets cut off on
the photograph, so to avoid this, you frame the photo by aligning it with the parallax marks given in the viewfinder.
Not only that, but Olympus designers also came up with a novel addition that allows you to instantly see what your distance and aperture settings are, without taking your eye from the viewfinder…..this is done via a cleverly positioned window in a corner of the viewfinder. Somebody in his/her wisdom decided to give this window a name…they called it the Judas window…!
USING A FLASH UNIT
If you want to use the Trip with an electronic flash gun, that is also simple. Connect the flashgun to the camera hot shoe and just set the aperture ring to the position given on the side of the flash gun.
In other words, you should move the aperture ring away from the A setting (obviously), as the auto mode will not function with flash.
HINTS and TIPS
So what else can this little marvel do for you?
Well, I am sure we have all come across situations where the light source (sunshine etc) is actually behind the subject, and if you were to take the photo in this situation, all you would get would be a very dark subject and an overexposed background.
The way to trick the camera out of this situation is to just point the camera to an area which has similar light levels as your subject, depress the shutter ONLY halfway, and keeping the shutter button pressed in this position, point the camera back towards your subject, and once you have reframed your subject, press the shutter fully down. You will find that your photograph will come out beautifully exposed, despite the bright light behind the subject…marvellous!
Another thing I always do is have a 43.5mm UV or Skylight filter on the lens. This gives added protection to the lens, saving it from any damage or scratches. With this on, you can even forget about putting the lens cap on. The only thing you need to make sure is that the filter you buy is not of a recessed type, as some filters fit too close to the lens and prevent it from moving forwards during focussing.
And a bit of information for all of you who are always looking to stand out from the crowd……there are 2 versions of the Trip still available. One of them has a black plastic shutter button, whereas the other one has a metal one. Both types of camera are absolutely the same but some people seem to go for the metal-buttoned
one, which is somewhat rarer!
HOW TO FIND OUT WHEN YOUR TRIP WAS MADE
It is easy to find out when your Trip was manufactured. All you do is open the back of the camera and then slide the pressure plate with your fingernail, away from the hinged side. Do not worry about this, as replacing it is the exact reverse of what you are doing now. You will then see some lettering revealed on the shiny metal underneath. As an example, a Trip made in February 1979 will be shown as H92, or March 1978 will be H83, etc. Once you have established the date of your Trip, refit the pressure plate into it’s usual position.
THE OLYMPUS TRIP 35 ON THE ROAD
So where can you use your Olympus Trip?
Well, I always carry a Trip in my car, with a film loaded and ready.
This way, I cannot miss any prime shots when I am out and about. Some of my prized shots have actually been taken from within my car! Having the camera in the car also means that I can pop it into my pocket or bag when leaving the car and having it to hand during walks in town, where you will be surprised at the number of opportunities that present themselves.
Now a word of warning about taking shots in public. Unfortunately, due to the times and situations which exist these days, and it doesn’t matter where in the world you live, people and the general public have become very aware of perceived attacks on their privacy, so you should be fully awake to these problems.
As an extreme example, I happened to be in the USA just weeks after 9-11, as our flights had been pre-booked months beforehand, so we had no chance of cancelling without losing a lot of money.
Anyway, at what was such a shocking time for everyone then, I had to be very, very careful indeed as to what I photographed and where, as everyone I saw, looked wary about anyone else, which of course is understandable. And the same again when another atrocity hit the UK, I was in London not so many miles from the scene, and again I had to very careful indeed with my camera.
So, of course, do enjoy yourself and your hobby, but common sense dictates that we all be careful when necessary and observe the current situation prevailing at any time or place and in any country you may be in.
In closing now, if you have not yet got one of these superb machines,
make sure you get hold of one soon (I often have Olympus Trips on sale…just click on the photo of the camera on your right hand side of the main page of this blog, under the world map) You will not regret it I assure you!
Onto a happier note finally, and I leave you with a selection of photographs taken with the superb Olympus Trip below!
all photos courtesy flickr.com