By this time I am almost completely I love with the rangefinder camera concept. They are small, light (ish) fast to shoot and seem to have very good lenses.
The 35RC is a great little camera, but I thought I needed more!
A Leica was out of the question, so digging around on the internet (there’s another hour gone) I settled on the 35 SP (Spot Program) Apparently the only rangefinder camera of the era to include Spot Metering, and has a seven element 42 mm f1.7 lens!
All this technical prowess really is worth the hype, its a great camera, takes sharp images and works in lower light, either fully automatic or manual mode using EV numbers, a little fiddly, but it does work.
Most of the shooting I have done has been in Auto.
Here is a few from the first roll of Ilford FP4. I went on to use this camera to start my Vinyl Factory project and a holiday trip to Teneriefe. More on both of those later.
I sold a camera. There I said it. It’s not the camera, it was me. We just weren’t compatible. I loved the idea of this little Russian gem but in reality it was more of an amusement than a shooter. It made lovely images, needed no batteries and could take lovely M39 mount lenses. But I found the shutter release in the wrong place, the viewfinder a touch small (especially after my Olympus OM slr’s) and I have a lovely Voightlander CLR that I found In a second hand shop too. So it is off to pastures new, and hopefully to a new owner that will give it the love and time it deserves. Bon Voyage!
So, having found that film photography is my new/old thing, and that the only camera I had was the admittedly great Olympus Trip 35, I started looking for another, more flexible film camera. I had started shooting some Street Photography on my iPhone so started exploring that genre. Several commentators had mentioned the Olympus 35 RC as a great option. Fully Auto or Manual takes easily available low cost and long living batteries (after conversion), and shoots 38 frames per roll! Super sharp Zuiko lens and about the same size in the hand as the Trip 35. I started to search for one I mentioned to a friend at work who is equally nuts about old cameras that I was on the hunt he mentioned he may have one I could have, liberated from a thrift store Naturally I agreed, agreed a price and took possession. It turned out that the RC was in less than perfect condition, with a sticky rangefinder. After an unsuccessful attempt to free things up I capitulated and took it to the excellent Luton Camera Repairs. Here it was treated to a full service, battery conversion and sorting of the RF issue. Now, this is my go to compact camera. Pocketable, light, and fast to shoot. Here is a few samples from the first roll of Ilford FP4 I ran through it. Not overly inspiring but showing potential.
I suppose at this point I have to do a ‘gear’ post. As this was the camera that started my film renaissance it seems right to share this.
Olympus Trip 35
The Olympus Trip is a simple fully automatic camera, no batteries required. Which is great. It has a hot shoe for a flash which I have never used. It has a great 40mm D Zuiko lens, a simple focus system (four distances, no rangefinder) and two shutter speeds, of which you have no control. All you can do is set the film speed, advance the film, set the focus distance and shoot. This is ‘zone focus’ at its simplest. If the light is too low or two high it will lock the shutter. Simple. Quite liberating really. My example must be nearly 40 years old, and still works perfectly. They are still cheap to buy. Last time I looked they were going for about £10.00 more if you want a fancy custom one with coloured vinyl covering. If you want to see what film can do for your photography, try one of these. Great fun.
I had a fairly productive time with the Olympus Trip that day, before the family shots I had been asked to accompany my son-in-law on a trial flying lesson. Perfect opportunity to try it out. Here are the best ones from that trip.
Henlow Flying Club
Henlow Flying Club