Topic – Olympus Trip 35

Work, work, work… This autumn I have been covered in work of all sorts (again) and it is just now, after Christmas and a leave, that my photographic enthusiasm has returned. It is apparent during the years that too much work makes me a dull boy indeed. Also the dark room is still in its infancy but slowly getting in shape now. There is light a the end of the tunnel!

Being a hardware junkie my lastest enthusiasm was spurred by an old friend — a Trip 35 found on an online auction. This particular item was perhaps not in working condition, or anyway definitely not in “working condition”. If that was because of the seller being conservative or the camera I didn’t know and it was worth the risk. Nowadays, I’m actually always silently hoping it is not working so I can have a few hours of fun with it… The mechanical aspects of cameras are not a small part in my camera collection!

The camera in question:


During the years I have had a few of these Trips. As a collector (hoarder…) I like the simplicity of them and the ones I have found were often broken in some way or another so now I have become quite accustomed to their internal mechanics:)

As the picture above tells the initiated, this is an early production unit. If you google “trip 35 serial numbers” and the like, it appears that serial numbers started at 100 000 as not a single on with a lower number has found its war to the internet. The (early?) user manual also has a 100xxx unit as the sample. This one, being a 231224 , is fairly low in the number and the date code on the back of the pressure plate supports this too. The first sign indicates the production facility, the next one is the one’s digit of the year and the last one the number of the month. Remembering that the Trip was manufactured between the 196o’s and the 1980’s a “9” is either 1969 or 1979. And as the serial number also is low, one can conclude that this camera saw first light in January 1969. Think of that for a moment! January 1969! It was a few years after the PDP-8 and a year before the Data General ‘Nova’. I was 6 years old. It was half a year before Neil Armstrong made a giant leap for mankind.  And, of course, the year for Woodstock!

Imagine that that old camera still works! Well, actually it didn’t, as the shutter blades were glued together with some oil and jammed. But that’s been taken care of. So now it works! Imagine that that old camera still works!

Sometime I will find the time to run through flickr for all information regarding these Trips and their serial numbers. Apparently the earliest Trips’s pressure plate did not conform to this date code. Then there were early Trips with silver shutter buttons and later ones with black plastic buttons. There were also flash shoes that were in chrome or matte finish. And, more nerdy, some internal parts became plastic after some years.  I was surprised to notice some plastic cog wheels when I opened this 231224 up.

The embossed print also differ somewhat. On the bottom plate the “MADE IN JAPAN”-print is different in some minute details. Here is the 231244:


and here the later 1650373 (both chrome shutter):
madeinjapan1650373There is some change in the distance between the detente in the metal and the text.

For reference here is a later 3759068 (matte flash shoe):


and a 4919272 (also matte shoe):


The 231244 is also different in that there is no infinity click on that one, the later ones have that (yes, I have a few…). A caliper may be able to distinguish more subtle details?

There are probably plenty more of nerdy stuff to dig deeper in which could be fun, given the time. It is strange that not much apart from guess work is known about these cameras since it was produced in, allegedly, several millions? Hmm, perhaps statistics and the German tank problem could be applied at some stage?

Ah, well. For now I am happy to have this 1969 vintage shooter. The Trip is a fun camera with a very sharp lens. Should use it more. Some samples (colour: Ektar 100, b/w: fomapan 100) :
trip35-2 trip35-3
trip35-4 trip35-5 trip35-6 trip35-1-1



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