The Olympus Trip 35 is a 35mm metal bodied point & shoot compact camera that was produced from 1967 to 1984. In the 70s Olympus created an advertising campaign that featured British fashion photographer David Bailey. While famous in photography and fashion circles, he became a household name thanks to that campaign. People would say “I’m no David Bailey” when being asked about their photography.
The Trip 35 looks like a rangefinder camera but is a much simpler design. Its Zuiko 40mm f/2.8 lens has four elements in three groups and just four zone focusing settings.
The exposure system is fairly basic too. A solar-powered selenium light meter around the lens provides a program auto exposure system when the camera is set to the ‘A’ mode. No batteries are required. It automatically sets 1/40th sec or 1/200th sec shutter speed and an aperture from f/2.8 to f/22. If the light levels are too low the shutter locks and a large red warning marker pops up in the viewfinder. Turn from the A setting and you have a manual option at all aperture ranges.
The camera has a flash PC sync socket along with a hot shoe and syncs with flash at 1/40sec. There’s an ISO range, set on a dial at the front of the lens, from 25 to 400 which at the time covered all the main film options.
It’s a great camera for point and shoot photography, solidly made and considering the price a very respectable performance with a sharp Zuiko lens. There are many available on the second hand market…eBay has dozens for sale at any one time, and you can usually find them at car boot sales and second hand dealers.
There are a few things to check before buying an Olympus Trip 35
The Trip 35 had a common fault with the meter. To test this rotate the film advance winder to cock the shutter, set the camera to A and hold your hand over the lens to block out the light. If the camera is faulty the shutter will fire. If it’s ok the red warning indicator will appear in the viewfinder and the shutter button will not press down.
Check that the screw heads aren’t worn as that would indicate the camera has been repaired, by someone who’s less competent. Also make sure the tripod thread isn’t damaged.
Adjust the manual aperture setting and press the shutter release down. The lens aperture should go progressively smaller as you adjust from f/2.8 to f/22.
Try a flashgun attached via the PC socket and hot shoe to test both these connections.
How much to pay for a Trip 35
You can pay anything from a couple of quid to £60 for one of these Olympus Trip 35 cameras. A typical price for a good condition one is about £30-£40. They used to sell new for a similar price. Some photographers are buying them to refurb with a new skin, replacing the black plastic trim for wood veneer, leather or snake skin. These tend to resell for the higher prices, but look gorgeous.
You can buy the Olympus Trip and other 35mm film compact cameras and SLRs from the PhotographyAttic’s Used and second hand 35mm Cameras for sale page