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. 😀

·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. 😀

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.

 
f/22
f/16
f/11
f/8
f/5.6
inf
7’11”
inf
10’11”
inf
15’11”
inf
21’10”
inf
32’2″
inf
15′
5’3″
inf
6’4″
inf
7’9″
227′
8’11”
46′ 9″
10’2″
28’6″
3m
4’5″
inf
5’2″
87’3″
6’1″
25’2″
6’4″
17’8″
7’6″
14’3″
7′
3’9″
51′
4’3″
18’9″
4’10”
12’3″
5’4″
10’2″
5’9″
9’0″
1.5m
3’1″
12’4″
3’5″
8’9″
3’9″
7′
4’0″
6’3″
4’3″
5’9″
1m
2’4″
5’5″
2’6″
4’7″
2’9″
4’1″
2’10”
3’10”
2’11”
3’7″

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.