Olympus Trip 35 1/200th Modification

Two Olympus Trip 35s

I first received my Olympus Trip 35 back in 1996 as a hand me down when I took an introductory photo class in high school. The teacher took one look and said that I'd need something better like an SLR to learn on, so I borrowed one of the school's SLRs for the next year, and the trip just got stuffed away in a drawer as a "not good enough" camera where it more or less stayed until 2002.

In 2002 I dug it out and said "What the hell. Lets see what this little lump of metal can do." and hauled it with me on a vacation as a smaller component to my SLR. "Yikes, these are some sharp negatives." I thought after the vacation. Then after another event a few months later, I noticed again that the Olympus Trip 35 was delivering some very fine results, I decided to try and give it some more serious use. What happened though, was that the only way to utilize the faster 1/200ths shutter speed was in automatic mode. Since I'm not a fan of not having a clue of what the camera is deciding in terms of exposure, the Trip 35 went back to getting little use.

Therein lied the major limitation of this camera. Most people who shop of this vintage like manual everything, and the only way to use this camera manually was in flash mode, only with no flash. The downside of using the Olympus Trip 35 in this mode is that the shutter locks at 1/40th. Now who wants to be stuck at 1/40th? Not me, that is for sure.

Still, I couldn't stop glancing over some of the negatives I had exposed with this Olympus Trip 35 and thinking how much I liked their look vs. my Nikkor stuff, and the Canonets QL-17s that I acquired to fill the role this camera would have played. I got to thinking that if only the manual mode had the shutter speed at 1/200th instead of 1/40th, that this would make an excellent manual street shooter with 400 ISO film.

With no camera repair experience, and a #0 philips screwdriver on hand, I went searching for an answer, and found it.

Olympus Trip 35 1/200ths* manual shutter speed guide ·

For this operation we are going to need to remove the lens, shutter, viewfinder, metering system from the camera body. Don't be scared though, it is easy. I had no experience or repair manual and I got it done without destroying the camera. And if you do destroy it, go to eBay and buy another one for $20, then take a lesson on using a screwdriver.

Tools Needed

  • #0 Precision Screwdriver: Found at any hardware store. Typically in a six piece set. I got mine from this set by Stanley
  • 1 Unbent Staple: You read that right McGuyver, one single staple.
  • Tweezers: Optional, but very useful in managing those tiny screws you will encounter.

Step one: Get her cloths off.

A few things you need to remove here. The top & bottom plates, the two plates under the leatherette, and the leatherette itself. I recommend removing the leatherette first just because the Olympus Trip 35 looks sexy with its glossy black metal exposed. :D

·Top Plate: Three screws to remove here. One is on the right side where the strap connects, and the other two are under the rewind dial. To get the rewind arm off, open up the camera back and stick a screwdriver into the key that turns the film spool. With that held in place just rotate the arm counterclockwise while holding the film rewind post in place with the screwdriver and it will screw off. Undo the screws and remove the top plate. It will be connected to the camera via a wire running to the hot shoe. Also, keep an eye on the shutter release button so that it doesn't fall away and get lost.

· Bottom Plate: Two screws, simple enough. Just make sure to catch the plastic button that is used to unlock the film for rewinding. Wouldn't want to lose that either.

· Leatherette: I was expecting this to be a pain after glancing over some other repair guides showing these glued on very heavily. Instead it peeled off very easily leaving no adhesive residue on the metal. And it was still good
enough that reattaching the leatherette required no new adhesives. Just start by picking at a corner near the camera's door until you can get a piece unstuck, and slowly pull it off from there.

Once the leatherette is off, there will be a single screw holding a panel on to each side of the lens. Remove these panels. The one with the PC socket on it will have a wire connecting it to the camera.

Step two: Separate the body.

Again, this is a fairly simple operation. There will be four screws holding everything to the body, one with a little clip to keep the flash wires held in an orderly place. Remove these four screws and the lens/shutter and everything else will pull strait off the frame. Put the frame aside, we are done with that for now, and keep an eye on a loose piece of metal that sits under the selenium cell.

Step Three: Identify and lock the exposure.

After some careful prodding, I figured out that the big brass cylinder right behind the cog that cocks the shutter is where the shutter speed gets selected. (Highlighted in red in the image)

In the position that it is at in the photo is for 1/40th. When it is rotated clockwise as far as it will go, the shutter is set at 1/200ths. Here is where we need it locked, so grab your staple McGuyver.

Notice on the underside of the cylinder is a little post that connects to an arm that is sprung up to keep it defaulting to 1/40th. Bend one end of your staple into a little hook and get it around that post. Then bring the other end around the metal
next to in, and use the screwdriver to bend it around so that it holds the cylinder nice & tight in the 1/200ths position. What I just typed sounded vague, so here is are two more photos to show where I ran my staple.

Showing paperclip placement 1 

Now that that is done, reassemble the camera. It wasn't hard to get it apart, and it isn't hard to get it back together. Just make sure when you reattach the lens & its friends back to the body, that no wires, or that mystery plate are in the
way. This will be obvious if all four of the screw holes aren't flush on the body.

Behold! You now have a manual mode Olympus Trip 35. When these cameras only sell for $20, one can think of it in the same mind as a Holga, only you get sharp pictures, actual aperture control, and you won't be a trendwhore. (Yet)

Oh yeah, and the automatic mode still works, as long as it doesn't decide that it needs to go down to the 1/40th range. :D

The Zone Focus ·

Thought I'd include some additional thoughts on the way this camera focuses.

In my early days of shooting I didn't like the zone focus design. It wasn't appealing to me to not be able to put the focus right on the subject. Then I learned the term "hyper focal." Combining the fact that this camera has focus lock with some near/far data turns it into a case of "Ok, now what am I focused on?" or "Drat, the best moment passed by while I was getting the focus correct" into one of "I know at this f/stop at this lock, everything beyond the length of my arm to 56 feet will be in focus. Those people fighting over there are within that range. :click: :click: :click:"

Crunching numbers though this calculator I get this table of near far distances for the four lock points, as well as the 15 & 7 foot marks that are displayed on the bottom side of the lens.

46' 9"

Shooting in a quick setting like the street, I really enjoy knowing that the camera is going to stay right where it is focused. And the locks make it easy to know exactly where the focus is set without needing to even look at it.

Finally, A few sample photos from my newly created all manual Olympus Trip 35 doing what I intended it to do. Outdoors people photos.



Now you can toss your Leica. :p

Update! 9-14-04

I figured some durability testing of the paperclip was in order to make sure that it wouldn't easily fall off, so in July I took my modified Olympus Tripe 35 to Six Flags Great America and let it spend the day getting shook all to Hades in my pocket. In the end, the staple stayed right where I wanted it to stay. Although in August I noticed that the lens was getting kind of loose. I'm assuming this is because I never resealed the screws that hold onto the lens after removing them. This shouldn't be a problem for anyone else since those seals don't have to be broken to do this modification. I just ended up removing them during my search to find where the best spot to lock the shutter speed was.

Update! 1-11-05

After checking out the two shutters I've modded with an electronic shutter testing unit, I think it may be safer say they new speed is now 1/150th.

  • Sonny Boy Havidson

    Interesting modification! Do you think this can be performed on an Olympus Pen EE2?

  • K. Praslowicz

    No idea. I've never touched a Pen EE2 in my life.

  • TheNorm

    Can you offer any advice on a modification to leave the shutter open, for long exposures?

    Well written, interesting site!

  • Bob Delaney

    Thanks for the great information! I was able to disassemble a second Trip 35 I have that has a non-working selenium cell. It seems that with the light meter not working, it functioned in manual mode just fine, except at 1/40th no doubt. I wanted it in 1/200th if I had my choice. So in I went. I had no problem getting it all apart and finding that brass wheel that controls the shutter speed, but I was unable to get a staple lodged in to hold it. SO... in a desperate last ditch attempt at a work around I decided maybe the camera would stay in 1/200th mode if I just ripped out that entire brass wheel assembly. So I took out one screw that held it all in place and it all came out. This is when the little spring that held the shutter winding ratchet against the gear popped off. Great, now the shutter wouldn't wind. After trying for 45 minutes, I got that spring back in place, put it back together, and it seems to work! I've not tested with film yet though. Anyway, thought I'd share my 'work around' with you. Thanks.

  • minikomi

    Olympus trip seems to share the same mistakenly built in workaround for manual 200th exposures as the pen series... cover the selenium cell so the red flag pops up and hold the button down while rotating the flash aperture selector all the way to 22... be careful as it will go off if you hold it too had.

    then, select your desired aperture and press firmly. voila! 200th sec. selectable aperture... just not that quick to pull off.

  • Irma

    I'm really scared to screw around with my Olympus Trip 35, so I was wondering if you knew anygood repair shops in the Chicago area that could fix it?

  • http://www.siamnewmedia.com.au Rick Mason


    All very interesting about the mod and I may try it om my $5 trip. Question: how do you tell for sure that the meter is working/non-working? On mine nothing comes up in the viewfinder and I've never seena red flag either, despite covering the lens with my hand.Dead cell?

  • Brian

    Sound like a dead cell I have one the same will try mod this weekend

  • david gaon

    > Hello all
    > Given that the Trip has 2 speeds (1/40 and 1/200) and that there is no
    > indication of the aperture selected, is there a way to check that the
    > correct aperture is selected when on A and how would one correct the
    > situation if need be ?
    > Cheers
    > David Gaon

  • Martin

    Hi Folks,
    Excellent website and great useful messages with brillient information, well done.
    I bought a Oly Trip 35 for £2 at a boot sale! She had a couple of dents. The bottom plate and using your site I was confident enough to remove it and use some pieces of wood and a small hammer to remove the dent. The filter ring also had a bad dent and again using two pieces of wood, the small hammer and some very judicious 'taps' soon had the ring nice and round.
    The camera looks gorgeous. She has the silver shutter button and her number is 2426490.
    Regards, best wishes and 'happy snapping' from a wet, dark and windy England


  • http://tommyna.multiply.com Tommy

    Hi all,

    Great website with a lot of interesting information.

    Today I bought my silver shutter button Trip 35 S/N 1674970 for IDR60,000 or equal to GBP4. All functions is working well and after cleaning it, I load it with a roll of B/W Lucky SHD100 36 exp (GBP0.5).

    Best regards from Indonesia

  • chuck_a

    Thank you for the great info,I recently modified my Trip35 to full automatic in both A and manual mode.
    1.remove top and bottom plates
    2.peel back leather and remove face plate under viewfinder
    3.set camera @ A and cover lens, depress shtter button,raise the red flag,observe the foot or stopper on the lower portion of the red flag fixture,carefully bend it down to allow it to move freely out and back under the aperature ring set at 2.8(manual mode),normally the foot or stopper would catch on the inside of the aperature ring at 2.8 not allowing the red flag to rise and not allowing the meter needle to trap at 1/125 speed.
    4.point lens at a light source to move the meter needle out from under the viewfinder,now place a thin strip of tape along the side of the viewfinder,this will de activate the red flag warning in both modes allowing for low light wide open shots at 1/30 speed.
    5.if you have a dead meter,remove meter face plate and check for debris obstucting needle movement,if not, carefully align the needle so it traps at 1/125 and place a thin strip of tape on the meter face plate along the right side of the needle to hold it in place.
    6.now check all f stops and speed changes in manual mode and A mode
    7.now you have 1/125 and 1/30 in both modes,and your choice of f4-22, or leave it on 2.8 or A
    8.mod images posted on flickr,Trip 35 group.


  • Jessica

    Great quality stuff.

  • el rancho

    just got a Trip last week for 3 bucks

    just wondering, on rangefinders and slr's when you select your aperture the diaphragm opens and closes visibly, whereas on my Trip the diaphragm visible from the front of the lens stays the same size( about f11) when I select the different apertures. Is mine broken or is that normal?

    Thanks heaps

    • K. Praslowicz

      @El Rancho - That is normal for an Olympus Trip 35. The aperture stays at f/22 and opens up to what is needed, or whatever it is set at once you hit the shutter button. Depress it slowly while watching and you should be able to see it open up.

  • Pingback: The Olympus Trip 35: A classic everyone should own! « Holga Blog()

  • Pingback: The Olympus Trip 35: A classic everyone should own! « Holga Blog()

  • simon

    If your Trip35 case has become sticky (and it will if very old) put it in a moderate oven for a short time and the varnish it , I did so with super results, a new case was going to cost more than I paid for this super camera new.

  • Huy

    Hey guys. I'm surprised you guys are getting your trips for such little money! Indeed I bought mine for $5AU but lately on ebay, they've been going for ~$40, which I think is a bit much. I love mine! It so much easier to use than an SLR!

  • http://www.kpraslowicz.com K. Praslowicz

    @Huy. I think I paid ~$40 for my black trip. But then again, that was about six years ago. They seem to have gotten a lot more a cult behind them since then. I bet I could easily turn around now and resell it for over $100.

  • Kez

    I had a camera in my school locker for months and just figured it was one of the other girls that I shared it with but at my dismay it just sat there, so I decided to take it home with me. It was apparently school property at another school so I was like what the hell lets see what this can do... what can it do?

  • http://www.leavemehere.wordpress.com Matt

    Hey man, friend forwarded me your site because she knew I shot a Trip 35 as well, just wanted to say I really enjoyed going through your posts and cant wait to pull one of my Trip's apart as well.
    Keep up the good blog,
    PS - Leica M6, I'm right there with you on the wish list.

  • Stian

    Great modification! Your camera probably loves you very much :)

  • Pingback: Olympus Trip 35 « Cloudy with a chance of PR()

  • Pingback: Olympus Trip 35 | cameramaniacs.com()

  • Antares

    I have two great Olympus Trips that I used to carry with me when flying Hang Gliding competitions in the 1980's. We needed to photograph our turn points in the days before GPS loggers were available. After flying many kilometers, you could not afford flat or cold batteries, so these cameras were brilliant and robust. Freezing cold conditions, they always worked and I have many photographs taken from cloud base or in the mountains, operating with one hand on the camera. The second camera was for safety if the film was lost for some reason, or the camera failed to operate, which never happened. I am sure these O'Trip 35's have been on many extreem exploration adventures as well, for the same reasons. Great to see they are still appreciated. My camera''s now sit in a glass display case with many other relics from my adventures.

  • http://tinyurl.com/primbiern05734 http://tinyurl.com/primbiern05734

    I personally blog likewise and I am crafting something very close to this particular posting,
    “Olympus Trip 35 1/200th Modification”. Do you mind in cases
    where Iemploy a bit of of your concepts? Thanks for your time -Lucy

  • Pingback: The Olympus Trip 35: A classic everyone should own!()

  • Pingback: A cult classic point and shoot – Olympus Trip 35()

  • Pingback: Lomopedia: Olympus Trip 35 en Reviews en Magazine - Lomography()

  • Pingback: Restaurando cámaras antiguas. Olympus Trip 35.()