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Sunday, September 17, 2006

Shooting with the Olympus 35SPn

It felt like a very 'alternative' photo day for me today....fixed-lens rangefinder camera and Wahlgreen colour film (as well as their development and scanning) - but it turned out to be one of the more fun photography days I've had for quite some time.

This Sunday I took a 'break' from Leicas, Contax and Hasselblad and took a long neglected camera out with me - the Olympus 35SPn. The Olympus is a great, compact camera that was produced only for two years (1973-1974).
It's part of a long line of very solid, compact Olympus cameras and is more or less identical to the Olympus 35SP and 35UC. Two of the most impressive features of the cameras is the six-degree spotmeter - and an absolutely brilliant seven-element 42/1.7 G.Zuiko lens.

It's sometimes liberating to bring a fixed-lens camera as you have fewer options to consider and can focus on putting what you do have to best use. Also, bringing the 35SPn with me reminded me how fun it is to use and that it really has a very good, bright viewfinder with a rangefinder patch that easily snaps into focus.

Less positive was the reminder about how loud the shutter is on these cameras. As I was taking a photo at an intersection (with the normal amount of mid-day San Francisco traffic) people did notice the sound as the shutter went off as they turned around and looked. Sort of ruined the 'candid' or 'stealth' approach.
Knowing how much more quiet my Leica M3 is I am fairly sure that no one would had noticed me due to shutter sound atleast. Having said that it was so much fun shooting with the SPn (potentially due to the novelty for me) that I took more photos than I normally would had done with the M3 - so in a way it all nets out.

Some photo samples from today:

Footnote: The Olympus 35SPn is a great, compact camera with an excellent lens - but it's not the one I would bring with me for candid street photograpy a lot due to the shutter sound.


Anonymous Simon Larbalestier said...

Hi Rich
very interesting blog site and stunning pictures as always. I've now started a blog fav folder.
Best wishes


September 18, 2006 4:19 AM  
Blogger Rich Silfver said...

Simon, thanks for commenting. It's always great to see that there actually are people out there that sometimes read some of all this :)

September 19, 2006 1:25 AM  
Anonymous John said...

Beautiful camera & photos as usual Rich. I've been using fixed lense rangefinders as I can't afford to buy a Leica yet. I'm can't wait to get my hands on one of these Olys.

September 27, 2006 9:52 AM  
Blogger Rich Silfver said...

John, since you're in San Francisco let me know if you want to try some of them out - I think I have every possible model of the Olympus 35 compact cameras.

October 03, 2006 2:04 PM  
Anonymous HD Stich said...

hi Rich,

just found your fantastic blog with really stunning pictures reading a thread in the RF forum about the Olympus 35 SP cameras.

since I'm now too the proud owner of one of this fine old cameras, my expensive DSLR equipment is sitting jealous in the corner! ;-)

the only drawback was that I had to buy a decent film scanner to take the most of the negatives.


December 25, 2006 2:54 PM  
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