Olympus introduced the Trip 35 in
1968.The camera remained in production
for 20 years, and Olympus sold over 10 million of
them.Both of these numbers must surely
stand as records in the annals of camera history.The popularity of this camera was due to the
convergence of two factors.They are
very small, light, well made, easy to use, and reliable.They don’t even need a battery!They also take pictures that rival or exceed
the best cameras ever made – including modern, fancy DSLRs
costing thousands of dollars!
Today, these cameras are readily available and very
inexpensive.Many of them are still used
regularly by their original owners.Many
more have been given a second chance by people who have recently discovered
these little gems.However, they are
reaching an age where many of them could use some simple service.There is a common myth that many of these
cameras no longer work because the selenium photo cell is no longer
functioning.This is not very likely.
The selenium cells and the meter circuits used in this
camera are very robust.In all
probability these are still working just fine.The likely cause of any problem is that the aperture blades are
stuck.This is very easy to fix.But first let’s look at how this camera works
to see if we can figure out what’s wrong with it.
The Trip 35 is fully automatic.Contrary to popular belief, there is no
manual override.The camera uses a “trapped needle” mechanism
for setting the proper exposure.The
aperture is held stopped down to f22 by a spring.When the shutter button is pressed, a bar
comes up and “traps” the meter needle against a plate.Following right behind the bar is a cam which
is connected to the aperture blades.This comes up until it touches the trapped meter needle. The distance the cam travels determines how
far the aperture opens.
So if you look into the lens, you’ll see a small diamond
shape, about 1mm across.This is the
aperture closed down to f22.Push down
the shutter release and the aperture should open.If it doesn’t open, don’t worry!Just keep reading, and you’ll learn what to
The camera has two shutter speeds – 1/40 and 1/200
second.The camera chooses between these
two shutter speeds based on its internal “logic”.None of the documentation describes how or
when this decision takes place, but experimentation shows that the camera will
switch to 1/200 s and ~f8 when shooting a bright (daylight) subject and loaded
with 100ASA film.If there is not enough
light for proper exposure at f2.8 and 1/40 second, a red flag will show in the
viewfinder.This flag is connected to
the same linkage as the aperture setting cam, so if the aperture blades are
stuck the flag will not display.
The camera has a “Flash” scale which can be used for flash
photography.Using the “Flash” setting
just sets the shutter speed to 1/40 s. and controls the largest aperture.The meter may still set the aperture to a smaller
setting.So it is not a real manual
override.You can see this by shining a
light into the photocell, and seeing where the aperture opens up to when you
press the shutter release.(For this to work,
the aperture mechanism must be free to open.).
The instructions below show how to determine if the meter is
working, and how to repair stuck aperture blades. Only you can determine if you have the skills and
ability to perform a repair of this type. The author is not responsible
for any damage you may do. Note that left and right refer to the camera’s
left and right.All screw threads are
standard, right-hand threads.The tools
- ice cube tray
- small screwdrivers
- lens cleaning cloth
- wooden popsicle stick
- lighter fluid
- graphite lubricant
- red marker
- plastic sandwich bags
the top of the camera.The top is
held on with three screws.One is
on the right side, just under the wrist strap lug.The other two are under the film rewind
crank.To get to these two screws, it
is necessary to remove the film rewind crank.Open the back of the camera and put a
rod or stick between the fingers of the film rewind shaft (Although a
screw driver will work for this, a wooden popsicle
stick is the best tool, as this can’t damage the shaft.).Grasp the film rewind crank and unscrew
it.Put the three little screws and
the film rewind parts in the first cup in the ice cube tray.Once the top has been removed, the meter
can be seen directly to the right of the viewfinder.
meter needle is just below the brass plate.With no light shining into the cell, the
needle will be fully to the left, up against the viewfinder.
daylight shining into the cell, the needle will deflect about half way to
the right.If this happens, the
selenium cell and meter are working fine.If the needle doesn’t move, the cell and the meter might still be
working OK.Remove the brass plate
above the meter needle, and check to see if a loose screw has been
attracted to the meter magnet.
down the shutter release half way.The trap bar will rise up to trap the needle against the brass
plate.The aperture setting cam
rises right after the trap bar.If
the meter is working, but the cam does not move, then the problem is with
the aperture blades.
you have verified that the problem is not with the cell or the meter, it
is time to remove, clean and lubricate the aperture blades.You can desolder
the hot shoe wire to set the top aside and out of the way.This makes the camera easier to handle,
but is not necessary as long as you are careful.Now remove the bottom plate.This is held on with two screws.Put the two little screws in the second
cup of the ice cube tray.
inner ring is connected to the front lens element by three set screws, so the
front lens element turns as the front ring rotates.The front lens element is mounted on
threads, so it moves in and out as it turns.A tang on the front ring engages the
focus ring, so that the front ring and the focus ring move as a unit.Look in the front of the lens while you
turn the focus ring.You’ll see the
front ring, lens, and focus ring all move together.
Set the focus to infinity (the
mountain icon).Loosen the three set
screws around the outside of the inner ring.Do not remove them the whole way, just loosen them (If they are removed
completely they will be difficult to reinstall).Be careful not to rotate the ring as you
remove it. Lift it straight off.Put the inner ring in the third cup of the
ice cube tray.
the position of the front lens element.Use a red marker to mark the
position.Then just to make double
sure, screw the lens in the whole way and note how far it turned.In the picture below the lens turned to
about the position.
the front lens.Clean both sides
thoroughly.Put it in a plastic bag
to protect it, then put it in the next cup of
your ice cube tray.
loosen the wires that run to the photocell.These wires run behind the tripod mount,
and must be loosened before the photocell can be removed.
the screws that hold the photocell in place. Put them into the next cup of the ice
lift up the photocell. Grasp the
wires and gently pull them thru the camera body.
the three flat head screws that hold the ASA ring and focus ring in place.Be careful not to lose the ball bearing
detent on the ASA ring à it’s only about 1mm in
diameter.It may be held in place
by grease.Put the screws (and the ball detent if it’s
loose) into the next cup of the ice cube tray.
the aperture ring.Be careful, this
has a ball detent, too.You know
what to do with the screws and the ball.
will reveal the middle lens element.Remove it, clean it, put it in a sandwich bag, then
put it into the next cup of the ice cube tray.
almost there.The aperture assembly
is next.Remove the three screws
that hold it in place.Clean it
thoroughly in the lighter fluid.You may have to soak it several times.Work the blades back and forth.Make sure all of the old lubricant is
removed.Dry the aperture assembly
(a hair dryer works well for this).Lubricate the assembly with graphite.Be sure to get under and between the
blades.Work the blades back and
forth to spread the graphite.The
blades should move smoothly with almost no effort or sticking. Blow off any excess graphite.N.B.:Do not use oil to lubricate the aperture.It will eventually gum up again, and oil
inside the lens can cause other problems.
the aperture assembly is soaking, remove the rear lens assembly and clean
assembly is next, but it is unlikely there is a problem with it.So you’re finished!Just retrace your steps to reassemble
everything, working your way backwards thru the cups in the ice cube tray.A little graphite between the aperture ring
and the focus ring will make these move smoothly.Some graphite on the rewind shaft will work
wonders, too.Always make sure to rub
the graphite into the surface, then blow away any
extra.Be sure to clean the viewfinder and
the “Judas window” before replacing the top.You can put the cleaning cloth over a Q-tip to clean the inside of the
viewfinder.And don’t forget to position
the front lens element per the mark you made in step “7”, so the camera will
Now load it up with your favorite film and take some