These five images were taken in May 2021 by my trusty little 1976 Olympus Trip 35. A lovely fully automatic, zone focus 35mm compact camera sold between 1968 and 1984.

It uses a selenium cell driven mechanical “trapped needle” exposure system. It automatically sets the aperture and one of two shutter speeds (1/40th or 1/200th of a second). A mechanical red flag is shown in the viewfinder and the shutter release is automatically locked if the light levels are too low.

There’s nothing for the photographer to worry about except “have I remembered to set the focus?” – even so I’d occasionally forget about that…

The lens is also very nice. We’re not talking about high-end glass here but the perfect family snapshot camera. I picked up mine for a couple of pounds in a charity shop. It needed the “wobbly lens fix”, a simple tightening of the screws behind the selenium light cell. They had a very long production run and were big sellers. The only change I can make out is the shutter button went from metal to plastic in 1978.

Here in the UK, it was advertised in the 1970s by David Bailey, assisted by James Hunt, Eric Idle, and a very youthful Phil Daniels (Parklife!). Simpler times.

The film is German own-brand slide film “Porst”. It’s difficult to track down any real details of it or its parent company but I think it’s Fuji based chemistry (possibly repackaged Fujichrome Sensia), and no longer produced. The film I have is very out of date with an expiry date of 2003. Having said that, it has produced some pleasing results exposed and developed at box speed (100 ASA).

Three frames are from Cley next the Sea, a small coastal village in Norfolk, England. The colours of the sky, fishing equipment, and small harbour beautifully rendered. Norfolk skies are always big – something to do with the land being so flat.

The shot over Kensall Green cemetery in London (below, top), one of the “magnificent seven” Victorian-era London burial grounds is also well reproduced by the film and small camera. If you’re ever a tourist in London I’d recommend visiting Highgate cemetery, Kensall Green cemetery, and the lesser-known Abney Park cemetery.

It even coped with the low light emerging from the longest escalator (but least interesting tiling) on the London Underground at Angel, Islington (bottom, above).

All in all, it delivers really good results that belie its size and price. No need to fork out for or faff about with heavyweight rangefinders.

~ Simon

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About the author

Avatar - Simon Weller

Simon Weller

Simon Weller, 53-year-old trade union official and former train driver. Resident of East Sussex, UK. Still using film, still enjoying the surprise of results emerging from the dark

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  1. I really enjoyed this article. I started out on film many decades ago but for the last 10 years have been doing everything with digital and a lot of those shots I go to some lengths to make look “old” using PhotoShop and plugins like the NIK Collection but it’s just not the same. Black and white has always been my thing but I have become interested in expired film. Both developing and shooting. This has increased that interest. thank you for this article. I live in New Mexico, USA and I must say I understand that about the big sky. That rise in the back of your picture doesn’t exist here and I can in fact see the lights on the wind generators 30 miles away from me at night. I’m at 4000ft (1219.2 meters) above sea level and even in winter the sky tends to blow out everything else, but in the early morning and late evening the blues are deep and sunrise and sunset can be incredible. Humidity is generally very low at less than 20% most days and frequently less than 10%. Again thanks for the article. I am sure there are many more on here that will offer more inspiration and improvement in techniques.

  2. Who do you think you are, David Bailey…?
    Love those colours in the Norfolk shots, wouldn’t have thought it was 20yrs expired.
    I was gifted a Trip 35 in a past secret santa, still has a roll of HP5 in side. I tend to be a little worried about the zone focusing, never sure what to set it on. Put it on the mountain, and leave it there I think. 😉
    Happy New year to you.

  3. The Trip is a neat little camera and I’m a big Olympus fan; my only concern is that selenium cells fade over time. Great shots with this setup, even better considering the narrow latitude of slide film!

  4. Thanks for that read, Simon and for the 5 stunning pictures with a film that long expired!
    Porst was one of the largest German photo retailers, if not the largest. Selling brand and house brand items which were mostly rebadged brand items. SLRs were often Chinon. They also sold a Minolta X-300 clone under their Carena brand as SX-300, it was Shanghai made.
    Earlier cameras were e.g. Balda made and sold under the Hapo name (Hanns Porst). The main reason was that this was the price limitations could be cirumvented and cameras could be sold cheaper.
    Later cameras were sold either cheaper than their brand twins or got some extras the respective brand camera did not have.
    Like many retailers they also sold re-branded film cheaper than the brands. Film was expensive at the time, just as it is today, but sold in much bigger quantities, I guess.