Sunday, December 04, 2011

35mm Stealth - The Olympus Trip 35

Olympus has long made some legendary cameras. While the OM-1 and its descendents qualify as some of the great compact 35mm SLRs of all-time, some "lesser" cameras are deserving of cult status. Consider the Olympus Trip 35 -- Not a whole lot to adjust. It needs no batteries, as a selenium cell surrounds the front of the lens. There are two shutter speeds - 1/40 sec and 1/200 sec, as the camera operates in "A" mode unless you set it for flash (at 1/40 sec). A zone focus camera, you can see where you have it set for via a small window that shows in the viewfinder. A thumb wheel advances the film. The shutter is pretty silent. In terms of a "stealth camera" - this one really fits the description. The 40mm f/2.8 Zuiko lens focus from about 3 feet to infinity, and is a Tessar design. The ISO range adjusts from 25 to 400. There is a PC socket and an ISO hot-shoe for flash. Some limitations, to be sure, but I have seen some really fine images taken with the Trip 35. Of course, the camera has a durable metal body and very classic styling. I think it's one of those under-rated cameras that have achieved cult status simply by doing a pretty decent job with minimal controls. A minimalist street camera that has auto-exposure. Not too shabby.

I haven't shot much with the one that I have, and that's probably just because I have too many cameras to give every one of them a lot of use. If you find one for sale, test the electronics by opening the back and pointing the camera toward a shaded area. If it's all working correctly, the lens ought be be wide open where it's darker and at its minimum in the sun. Here are a few images from mine. stocking up for the Art Fair
Stocking up.

New wallflowers

Just in time!
Construction at work

How does the camera stack up with an even smaller camera such as the XA? The XA has a slightly wider field of view, is more compact, but depends on a battery for the shutter to operate. The Trip 35 has a more classic rangefinder styling, and looks remarkably a lot like the new digital Olympus Pen series. If you find one, have fun using it. Maybe you'll surprise yourself at how capable the camera really is.

1 comment:

Jim said...

Nice. Makes me want to dust off my Trip 35.