The 40mm ƒ/2.8 lens consists of 4 elements in 3 groups, so it is probably a Tessar-type optic. Tessars have been in use for a century. Because of the limited number of glass-air surfaces, they are resistant to flare and are contrasty. And they have a characteristic that is sometimes called edge effect, where density builds up at abrupt feature edges on the negative. This gives the appearance of enhanced sharpness. Wide open, at ƒ/2.8, the sides of a frame are not too sharp, but stopped down, the scene is uniformly crisp (examples below). The lens is not as well corrected as a 6- or 7-element Sonnar- or Summicron-type lens, but those are much more expensive and complicated designs.
This Olympus lens is front-element focussing, meaning only the front part moves. My Voigtländer Vito BL camera has a unit focussing Color-Skopar lens, meaning the entire lens moves back and forth to focus. The Vito is definitely better optically than the Olympus, but that may be specific to my cameras. Many people have excellent results with element focussing Tessar-design lenses.
- There are only two shutter speeds: 1/40 sec and 1/200 sec. The camera sets them for you based on the amount of light, but if you turn the aperture dial off "A" to one of the f-stops, the shutter is 1/40.
- The light meter, being a selenium cell, does not have low-light capacity. The selenium cell (behind the bubbly plastic) surrounds the lens. If you want a low-light camera, you need one with a battery-powered CDS or SBC cell.
- The viewfinder does not have a focus aide, so you need to estimate the distance. The lens has some symbols to help you, such as a mountain or a person. Really, it is not difficult. Millions of photographers in the 1970s and 1980s successfully used the little Rollei 35 cameras with their zone focus lenses.
- The filter size is a unique 43.5mm fine pitch. Why did Olympus do this? Filters are very hard to find, and they do not screw in easily.
- For some unknown reason, hoods are rare in the USA. I had to order one from a UK vendor, and it cost as much as the camera did.
|11th Street (Route 66), Tulsa, Oklahoma|
|Route 66, Canute, Oklahoma|
|Gray Street (Route 66), McLean, Texas|
|Warehouse, Mississippi Basin Model, Jackson, Mississippi|
|Pump house, Mississippi Basin Model, Jackson|
|Country store, Hwy 457 east of Pattison, Mississippi.|
For more information, the 35MMC blog reviewed the Trip 35 as well as many other compact cameras of the 1970s and 1980s. A blog by Peter Vis has a description of a tear-down.
This is the tenth article in my irregular series on tools for photographing decay. Previous articles (click the links):
Decay with the Leica camera
Decay with the Rolleiflex TLR camera
The Leica IIIC camera
Kodak Panatomix-X film
Fomapan 100 Classic film
The 35mm Super Takumar lens
Decline of an industrial giant: Eastman Kodak
Ilford XP-2 film
Kodak Ektar 25 film