The Olympus Trip 35 Review: Everything You Need To Know

I’ve worked with many Olympus Trip 35s over the years and I’ve discovered the pros and cons of this brilliant little rangefinder camera!

The Olympus Trip 35 is so popular because it’s very easy to use, it has a great lens and it’s ideal for the novice photographer. Also, the Olympus Trip 35 is one of the only 35mm cameras powered by the sun, making it really handy to take on holiday with you. Since 1967 10 million units have been sold, which is a tremendous amount even today. 

If you want to know how this camera compares to others, how much you should be paying, some of its common issues and much, much more then read on!


I’ve worked with a hell of a lot of Trip 35s over the last few years and I like them because they’re really simple. If there’s something wrong with a Trip 35 I usually know it pretty much instantly because they aren’t especially complicated.

I’ve sussed out all the common issues, what can be fixed easily and what spells the end for an individual Trip 35. Usually, it’s lens fungus or an unreactive aperture that means doom for this little camera.

After years of working with them, I took one to the south coast of England to do a full review and I was actually pleasantly surprised by it. As you’ll see throughout the article, there are actually some good pictures that came from this ancient camera.

Some shots were let down by the very real limitations of this camera but on the flipside, due to the brilliant 40mm Zuiko lens, when the exposure is correct, its shots are great.

There are a lot of pros and cons to this camera so it’s well worth reading up on it to figure out if it’s the right fit for you. I enjoyed shooting it more than I expected but it wouldn’t be a camera that I’d rely on regularly.

Olympus Trip 35 Specs

Format – 35mm

ISO – 25 – 400

Battery – Solar Powered Selenium Battery

Exposure – Automatic

Shutter Speeds – 40 – 200

Flash – Hot Shoe

A Brief History Of The Olympus Trip 35

Introduced in 1967 and rolling on until 1984, the Olympus Trip 35 was completely ahead of its time. Sporting a solar-powered light meter in the late 60’s was pretty special.

Of course, Olympus’ market audience was pretty obvious, being named ‘Trip’, it’s kind of spelt out for you. Strong, reliable, doesn’t need any batteries, anyone could use it, that pretty much ticks all the boxes when it comes to a holiday camera.

Incredibly, over 10 million Trips were sold (Up for debate) and of course, they’re still being bought and sold to this day.

How Does The Olympus Trip 35 Battery Work?

The Olympus Trip 35 is powered by the sun using a selenium light meter which is the ring around the lens. This powers the light meter and allows the camera to choose the shutter speed and aperture (depending on which settings you have on). This would have been very unusual in its time but the fact that it’s still reliable today is brilliant.

Is The Trip 35 Lens Good?

Yeah, the Olympus Trip 35 has a pretty good lens but I’ve got to say, there are quite a few drawbacks. The lens itself is a beautiful 40mm 2.8 Zuiko lens, it’s pretty high quality for a camera that feels like a point-and-shoot.

I’d say the main drawback is that the focus is zonal and you only have 4 options. You should be able to see above, there’s a picture of one person, then two, then a group and then a landscape symbol. These are your focus options and it’s basically, 1.5m, 2m 3m and 6m and beyond.

This does limit the camera quite a lot but you’ve got to forgive a 50-odd-year-old camera sometimes.

The focal length is interesting, 40mm is pretty unusual but it’s still just wide enough to take the kind of pictures you’d usually take when you go on your holidays. It’d probably be preferable to have a 35mm lens but beggars can’t be choosers.

The Olympus Trip 35 Compared To The Olympus OM10

It’s worth comparing the Olympus Trip 35 with the Olympus OM10 as they’re currently at similar prices.

Olympus Trip 35Olympus OM10
Price (2022)$125$125
BuildStrongSlightly flimsy
Use Without BatteriesYesNo
Ease Of UseEasyFairly easy
AestheticsSmall and niceA bit plasticky
Chance Of FaultModerateModerate
FocusingZone – ManualManual
Battery SolarLR44s
Self TimerNoNo
Shutter Speeds40 – 2002 – 1/1000
Olympus Trip 35 compared with the Olympus OM10

The Olympus Trip 35 isn’t that similar to the Olympus OM10, the Olympus Trip 35 is a small point-and-shoot rangefinder and the OM10 is an SLR however, it’s good to see what the Olympus Trip 35 is like in comparison to another well-known camera.

The Olympus OM10 would provide much better shots as it has better quality lenses and more control however, the Olympus Trip is more convenient, more compact and easier to use.

How Much Is The Olympus Trip 35 Worth?

Currently, the Olympus Trip 35 is worth around $100-125 or £70-100. You can of course get the Trip 35 for less if you try bidding for it on eBay or search thrift stores and flea markets but it’s worth trying to make sure that your Trip 35 is all working correctly.

What Kind Of Photography Is The Olympus Trip 35 Best For?

The Olympus Trip 35 is unsurprisingly best for travel-type photography. This camera was made with travel in mind as it’s small, compact, strong, easy to use and doesn’t require any batteries. Otherwise, this is also a good camera for day-to-day use. Photographers like David Bailey championed the Olympus Trip 35 believing that it was an incredibly high-quality camera. 

Although the Olympus trip 35 has a great lens it’s not necessarily overly accurate and it’s not easy to focus correctly so despite the fact that it has a 2.8 lens it doesn’t mean it’s very likely that you’ll be able to focus correctly close range and get the most out of that lens. 

This is not necessarily ideal for more professional types of photography and is definitely better to be used in day-to-day life and travel photography. 

Is The Olympus Trip 35 Fully Manual?

The Olympus Trip 35 has two settings, one is an automatic setting that chooses your aperture and shutter speed for you, it decides between a shutter speed of 40 and 200 and between apertures of 2.8 and 22.

Alternatively, you can decide the aperture and the shutter speed will be decided by the camera. All focusing is manual and all ISO needs to be changed manually.

How To Use The Olympus Trip 35

Olympus Trip 35 is a very simple camera to use once you get the hang of it, until then understanding its limitations can be slightly hard. 

If your camera seems not to be working properly try to leave it in the sun for some time to effectively charge its battery.

To open the back of the camera there is a small lever on the bottom of the side of the camera which just needs to be pulled down until the back pops open. 

To change the aperture just rotate the ring at the base of the lens, this ring will show numbers from 2.8 two 22. If you want to shoot in automatically then turn it all the way around until the red ‘A’.

To change the ISO you just need to rotate the ring on the outer edge of the lens until you are to the correct ISO.

In order to focus you need to rotate the black ring on the lens. The closest focus mode is portrait mode, then there is middle-range portrait row mode, next, there are people standing further away from you and finally, there is a full landscape mode.

To attach a flash you simply have to slide it into the hot shoe located on the top middle of the prism. 

To shoot and wind on you just have to press the shooting button on the top of the camera and then wind the black winder on the back of the camera until you can’t wind it any further.

To rewind the film you must first press the black button on the bottom of the camera to release the film and then wind the silver winder on the top left of the camera all the way back until it feels loose. 

Common Faults Of The Olympus Trip 35

As the Olympus Trip 35 is a very old camera it has a number of common faults, hopefully, I can shed some light on these and help you avoid them or potentially fix them.

Commonly the red flag of the Olympus trip 35 will stop working, the red flag usually shows you when the scene would be too under-exposed. The red flag would appear at the bottom of the viewfinder when you are looking through it and would usually stop you from taking a picture if it’s too dark.  

Sometimes the lens won’t react correctly to light, this is a great thing to check because if this is happening then it’s not really something that you can stop and it will ruin your photos. If this is happening the only advice I can give is to put it in the sun for a bit to see if this charges your selenium battery.

It’s likely that the light seals have worn away unless you bought your camera from a reputable dealer. You will probably have to replace a small number of light seals just to ensure that you do not get light leaks, this is fairly easy and if you want to find out how to do it then go to this link.

Lastly, the lens may have fungus and if the fungus is internal and it’s not something that would be easy to fix it would be much simpler just to get another one.

Final Word On The Olympus Trip 35

This is a great camera for travel and is certainly a camera to consider using. Personally, it’s not my kind of camera, I prefer more control and this just doesn’t cut it for me!

For a camera of its age, it truly is fantastic, a solar-powered vintage wonder that can still produce some beautiful shots!

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