Saturday, November 20, 2010

Olympus Trip 35

My Olympus Trip 35mm compact rangefinder arrived this week - my third Olympus compact rangefinder purchased on Trademe.

Since it isn't battery dependent (it's all mechanical and uses a solar-powered selenium meter around the lens a-la my Pen EES-2), I'm hoping to have more luck with it than I had with the 35ED I purchased off the same seller!?

And other than a little fungus in the very centre of the lens (arrgghhh!), it does look in good working condition. The shutter fires, winder is smooth etc. I've even re-done the light seals with felt, and was very impressed with the internal layout of the camera. The door itself is very well recessed into the back, creating natural light-tight seals. The only foam that I had to replace was across the door hinge where it is mounted to the body of the camera. A very simple and quick 20 minute job. Nice.

Unlike my Pen EES-2, the Trip is a regular 35mm camera (it's not half-frame), so is a little bigger and bulkier than the Pen - although not by much. It's still a very compact, carry-around camera.

Like the Pen EES-2, the Trip 35 uses a Zuiko 40mm f2.8 lens, with focusing from 1m to infinity using icons on the lens barrel to 'guestimate' the range of focus. The single person icon is for the 1m mark, the two person (portrait) icon is for a 1.5m setting, the three person (group shooting) icon is a 3m setting - Olympus suggests this as a good general working range - while the landscape icon is marked for infinity. Simple enough, and I've found it's worked really well with the Pen EES-2.

The Trip 35 also uses the thumb-wheel film winder from the Pen design, but incorporates a clever little window just below the viewfinder where you can check at a glance what icon you have the lens set to without having to take the camera away from your eye.

These little Trip 35's have something of a cult following amongst compact rangefinder enthusiasts, and I can't wait to give mine a roll of film. My only disappointment would have to be the small amount of fungus that is showing right in the centre of the lens. Can't help thinking that it's got to degrade the image quality eventually - so I've gone and bought another Trip 35 on Trademe in the hope that its lens is in better condition?

I'm still working through a roll of Kodak TCN 400 in the Pen EES-2 (I'm up to about shot 24 of 72...), so it may be a while before I get to put a roll through the Trip. By then the other will probably have arrived, so I'll be able to choose between the two in terms of lens quality, overall condition etc...

Still can't quite believe that I'm this excited about shooting film again. And it may even be worse than that...!? I'm thinking about developing my own black and white at home again as well! Never say never :-)

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