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Amarcord: Olympus Trip 35!


We now know that Olympus sometimes takes inspiration from the past Olympus film cameras to create new digital cameras. That’s why I am now digging back to show you some of their popular and historical cameras. The first one we talked about was the Olympus 35 RD (article here on 43rumors). Today I quickly show you an amazing little camera with fixed lens, the Olympus Trip 35 (auctions here on eBay).

What’s so special on the Olympus Trip 35mm?
First of all that Olympus sold ten million(!) of these cameras from the ’60’s to the early ’80’s. It has a super sharp 40mm f/2.8 lens. And Olympus managed to give you Automatic Exposure while the Trip 35mm uses no battery! How is it possible? It used a solar-powered selenium light meter.
It is a very compact camera with a rangefinder. I suggest you to watch this youtube review video to get an idea of the size and superb build quality of the camera. This was the perfect holiday camera of the time but also pro photographers used like the British photographer David Bailey.
That is simply put one of the most popular Olympus camera ever made. I doubt Olympus will make a digital version of it (fixed lens and compact design). But you never know…

And because they produced so many of them you can find plenty of auctions on eBay (Click here). Or alternatively look at Slidoo eBay to slide through the results.

Lomography, Camerapedia, Robnunnphoto, Olympustrip35cult, Ken Rockwell,

  • William

    The Olympus Trip was indeed a very fine camera but it did not have a rangefinder but zone focusing like the new Oly 15mm “body cap” lens.

    • MP


      • acm

        Correct. The Olympus Trip 35 had a simple viewfinder, no rangefinder. It was like a 35mm versión of the Olympus PEN EE-S.

  • alexander

    where is the rangefinder Pen?
    E-P4 where are you?

  • One of my most treasured cameras. As article says… Build quality… I’m going to start buying everyone I can find;) Seriously, grab one and use it. You will be inspired.

  • Along with my 35 RC, probably the funnest two cameras I own.

    If you are interested, here is a little Trip 35 set on my flickr:

  • Pete

    the Trip is a lovely camera I have one!

  • AdamT

    This was the camera I used as a teenager. It really did have a sharp lens. Had some High Speed Ektachrome shots blown up to poster size with pretty good results.

    Amazingly the camera only had two shutter speeds: 1/40 and 1/200.

  • SteB

    My very first proper camera was an Olympus Trip 35. It was a superb minimalist design. All very functional, nice sharp images and good exposure. I shot quite a bit of slide film, and you’ve got no latitude with that. The body was metal as well. I don’t think David Bailey used the Olympus Trip 35 much, although he did use Olympus cameras. It was associated with David Bailey because he used to advertise Olympus cameras in TV adverts of the time.

    Here’s a TV advert with David Bailey, Eric Idle (Monty Python) and James Hunt, the F1 world champion.

  • Ranger 9

    As others have noted, the Trip 35 was a nice litte “budget” camera, but it did NOT have a rangefinder, the shutter and exposure systems were very limited, and the feature set was extremely basic. A lot of the internal construction was plastic. In no way was it in the same league as the 35SP, RC, or RD!

  • J Shin

    I like the look of the classic Olys, but, to me, the truly unique and signature look that Olympus came out with were that of the XAs. A lot of Canons, for instance, share the look of the Olympus rangefinders, but no one imitated the design and optical innovations of the XA. The Infinity/Stylus cameras do take a design cues from the XA, but it hasn’t been the same since.

    • GreyOwl

      +1 I still have my XA. Wonder if, without the A16 Flash attached, it is smaller than the Sony RX1?

    • adaptor-or-die

      I agree, where the shutter actuators and decades old electronics die regularly in the RD, RC, etc. the Trip 35s rarely fail due to age, use, abuse … even the selenium meters last a long time if you use the lens cap. If you can’t take a decent shot with a Trip 35 then you shouldn’t blame the camera. The Zuiko lens and minimalist package is reliable, small and one of the best travel cameras ever. RDs RCs were nice, but were not durable, [I owned three and all broke] I only owned one Trip 35 in the same time and still rue the day I sold it to a friend, (who still uses it.)

      After owning a couple of XAs which had very much the same character, I picked up one of the unloved XA1 which was the oddest of the XA range. A direct salute to the Trip 35 the XA1 is all mechanical, small, absolutely trustworthy travel tool camera.

      The New OLYMPUS Body Cap Lens is the new Digital Trip 35 You choose the body …

  • Why on earth can’t Olympus make a Pen with a built-in EVF? This seems ridiculous. You have the Nex 6 and 7, the Fuji X-E1. What’s wrong with them. Don’t they ever listen to photographers?

  • Stravinsky

    I think admin is trying to tell us something

    • GreyOwl

      I think that you could well be right….

    • admin


      • Betiko

        Admin, say something more if you have an information.

        • admin

          I am not sure…but I think a PEN with built-in EVF is coming. But it’s not confirmed by trusted sources yet.

          • J Shin

            What about black lenses? Many of their old lenses have black finish, especially the PEN interchangeables, right? :-)

  • Anonymous
  • I had the Minolta AL about the time these were around. Got me onto the SR3 then the SR7 and the SRT101 with 1.4/58mm and the 2.8/135. I think that’s why I still prefer a longer standard lens than a wider one for general use. Or maybe I am shy and don’t like getting in people noses!?

  • Pejayh

    Olympus Trip 35 is not a Rangefinder.

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