Amarcord: Olympus 35 RD.


We now know that Olympus will release new Micro Four Thirds cameras within the next 2-3 months. As they always took inspiration from their own camera history let’s check back some of the Olympus film cameras. The first one I want to talk about today is the Olympus 35 RD (auctions here on eBay).

This camera has been released in 1975 and is the a compact Full Frame rangefinder and fixed lens camera. It had a couple of what I call “wow” features:
1) It had a leaf shutter which allows super silent shooting (developed by Seiko). For the record, you don’t have many professional digital cameras with this. The just announced Sony RX1 has it! And so my medium format Mamiya 7.
2) it also had a tiny and f/1.7 fast 40mm lens.
3) And than of course there was that super body quality. The Austin University(!) has a lot of appraisal for the RD: “In addition to being versatile, the 35-RD is a solidly constructed, metal bodied 35mm camera with a professional grade of fit and finish that were hallmarks of Olympus quality.

Of course little of this camera can be taken as inspiration for a new modern Micro Four Thirds “rangefinder” styled camera. Leaf shutter is out of question, but compact design and high quality body is certainly something most of us want.


Olympus 35D auctions on eBay or on Slidoo.
Source: info: Camerquest, Utexas, Olypedia, Image samples by Sean on Flickr. Review by Eric Rose.


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