Olympus Trip 35

Olympus Trip 35 Camera

The Trip 35 is a 35 mm film camera manufactured by the Olympus Corporation of Japan.

It is a fully automatic compact camera with dimensions 116 mm × 70 mm × 57 mm, and weight 410 g. The body construction is metal, and this one has a black front cover skin, however there are also others with orange skin.

It is a simple camera to operate and has the very early Easy Loading (EL) system for loading a film cartridge into it.

D. Zuiko Lens

This is a non-SLR camera, which utilises a zone focusing lens system comprising of D. Zuiko lens made from four elements in three groups. The system provides a 40 mm focal length ideal for compact cameras.

The camera design includes four zone settings and an additional distance scale in foot and meters. With the correct zone setting, it is possible to achieve very sharply focussed photographs. The image quality is very good and still unsurpassed by modern standards.

The Olympus Corporation began in 1919 building microscopes and optical instruments. They quickly established themselves as a leader in the field of optical technology, and even today, many of their lens systems are still a closely guarded secret.

Having taken one of these apart, I was able to study the lens design. Lens technology is complex and there are many factors, which contribute to quality. The two main factors are curvature of the lenses and the clarity of their material.

The secret to this lens is in the aspheric design of the end biconvex lens, which provides a linear field of view without any distortion at short distances. This design technology works well in microscopes where viewing distances are short, however it appears to work even better in cameras.

Red Flag

A selenium cell light sensor with a measuring range of EV 8.32 to EV 17.14 at ASA 100 provides exposure adjustment.

In order to prevent under exposed photographs, the camera displays a red flag to the user as a warning. The mechanism consists of an “electric eye” that feeds a mechanical signal to the mechanism, which also prevents the user from depressing the shutter release button.

The electric eye consisted of a selenium solar cell, which powers a moving coil meter needle. The range of needle movement is proportional to the amount of light falling upon it. The position of the needle serves as a signal to the mechanism. The shutter release will not operate, and instead engage the red flag, when the needle deflection is not full.

If there is no red flag, then the light levels may be adequate and a photograph may be taken, however if you have never seen a red flag, then chances are that the mechanism may be faulty.

Shutter Speed

This camera has an extremely reliable clockwork shutter mechanism that is worth seeing.

The shutter blades connect to an automatic locking mechanism to prevent under exposure.

In automatic mode, the speeds are 1/40 second and 1/200 second. These shutter speeds work well with the commonly available film speeds in the range ASA 25 to ASA 400.

Aperture Assembly

This camera has a very sensitive aperture assembly consisting of a pair of blades pivoted at one end. Should any moisture or water get into this assembly, the blades will remain stuck. The only solution then is to disassemble the camera and clean the blades.

ASA Film Speed Setting

The commonly available 35 mm film today is ASA 200, which many thrift stores have, works fine on this camera.

Just rotate the ASA setting ring on the lens barrel until the correct ASA number appears.

The lens opening is diaphragm controlled which automatically moves from F2.8 to F2.2 and F3.8 to F22 for flash assisted photography.


The camera has a standard hot shoe socket with “X syncro” switch contacts for connecting a cordless flash unit. Although a standard flash unit works, it would be too bulky, therefore, the recommended flash units are the compact style “Pen Flash CL” AG-1, AG-1B, and AG-3N.

For flash photography, turn the F-stop ring to make the system operate in manual mode. The shutter speed automatically sets to 1/40 second in manual mode. However, in flash mode the flash synchronisation occurs through the “X syncro” contact during which time the shutter speed is 1/40 second.

Film Advance Thumbwheel

A “self-cocking” mechanism, which is essentially a mechanical latch, prevents double advances and double exposures of the film.

There is a plastic thumbwheel for advancing the film to the next frame, and it has a much longer stroke than average. The thumbwheel remains locked until the frame is exposed. Once exposed, the shutter release remains locked to prevent double exposure; however, the thumbwheel is unlocked so that the user may advance the film to the next frame. Forwarding the film to the next frame unlocks the shutter release.

A locked thumbwheel meant you had an unexposed frame in the chamber, however, a locked shutter release button meant the frame was already exposed. As you can see, the logic behind the operation was simple and any monkey -- or a professional photographer -- could take some holiday snaps with it.

Double exposures are slightly more complex, because you still have to go through the procedure of advancing the film to the next frame, but then you have to press the film rewind button and rewind the frame back to be exposed the second time.

Selenium Solar Cell

This camera does not use a battery, and the moving coil meter is solar powered using the earlier selenium cell based solar power technology. With just these two components, the circuit diagram is very simple.

Much of the system programming depends upon the light level sensed by the solar cell, and it works fine in natural light and even to some extent with fluorescent tube lights. However, if you are using the energy efficient LED lights, then the solar cell may not register the light levels correctly. In this circumstance, it is advisable to use a modern external light meter for double-checking.

Clockwork Mechanism

This camera uses an elaborate clockwork mechanism to operate. Much of the energy is stored in springs when the user turns the film advance thumbwheel. The clockwork shutter mechanism takes power from the energy stored in a coil spring, whilst the frame counter takes energy from a linear spring, to reset itself.

Repair Guide

In the auto mode, the shutter release button remains locked. If the light level is not sufficient, a red flag appears in the viewfinder preventing the user from taking a photograph. People often think that this is a fault, but actually, the camera is supposed to work in that way. If you point the camera towards a light source, then magically the shutter release button will depress.

Unfortunately, my camera had many problems. The red flag was not working because of a broken meter, and it would not wind. There were signs of a stuck aperture, and something jammed, so I decided to take it apart and make this guide at the same time.


The most likely place to buy a second-hand camera for sale is eBay. The price can range from as little as ten pounds to hundreds. It all depends upon the condition of the item for sale.

Please note that this was a mass produced item, and therefore there are plenty around in circulation. Collectors will usually pay more for ones that still have the original box, manual, and accessories. If the camera comes with the original leather case, lens cap, user guide, and flash, then that is more desirable and has a higher value.

There are many camera specialists selling refurbished cameras, and for the most part, they tend to be fine providing they offer money back satisfaction should it go wrong.

This Article Continues...

Olympus Trip 35
The Olympus Trip 35 Basic Guide
Olympus Trip 35 Double Exposure
Olympus Trip 35 Film Compartment
Olympus Trip 35 Film Loading
ASA and ISO Settings
Olympus Trip 35 Zone Focusing
Olympus Trip 35 Specification
Olympus Trip 35 Aperture Settings
Olympus Trip 35 Gallery