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 The film I have is very out of date with an expiry date of 2003.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.
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