5 frames with an Olympus 35 LE – By Tobias Eriksson

I bought my Olympus 35 LE believing it was an Olympus 35 LC. It is now a camera that I cherish, but was for a while one I wanted to forget.

The camera has fully automatic exposure control. Apparently, when it was introduced in 1965, it was “the world’s first programmable electronic shutter with a flashmatic function” (Camerapedia). I have no idea what that means. All I know is that it is the one exception I make from my obsession with total control of the film exposing process. It is the only full auto exposure camera I use.

The LE is of equal size to my Canonet QL 17, which was featured in an earlier ‘5 frames with‘. These two fixed lens rangefinder cameras have the same SLR-like size and weight.

My disappointment with having gotten an auto-exposure camera (LE) instead of a manually controlled one (LC) – and it needing an extinct battery model to even be usable – had me exiling the camera into a box for six months. Somehow I got wind of what voltage was required to power the exposure electronics, and since it was common enough I inserted a battery and some more junk to fill up the space. And it worked! I only need to compensate two steps of ASA to let in more light, apart from that the exposure works well.

These 5 examples are from two rolls of Fuji Superia 200 exposed on our summer vacation. We usually spend an entire week with my girlfriend’s family in a green oasis on the west Coast of Sweden. I am very happy with the rendering of the lens. And of the 53 year old exposure thingamajig! The shutter is so quiet I took several pictures of my furrowed brow inspecting it.

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5 thoughts on “5 frames with an Olympus 35 LE – By Tobias Eriksson”

  1. Pingback: Olympus 35 LE – The Frame

  2. Hello! I recently purchased this camera. I’m have quiet a difficult time finding a manual online to show me how to insert the battery- let alone what type a battery I need. If you could shed some light that would helpful! Thank you!

  3. Hi! Yeah, I found nothing online. If I remember correctly a 4,5v battery is what it needs. Tape three together, then add some bundled foil to press them in place. It worked for me.

  4. This article is still (2022) on the top of a Google search for this camera. There are very little info on it on the web and I have never seen a manual.

    I just want to save anyone from using 4.5 volt in it. If the camera is working properly you will get sadly underexposed images.

    The battery type you should use is LR50 (aka PX1, VPX1 etc.)
    Originally 1.35 volts but it works fine with 1.5 v. You can easily compensate this higher voltage with 1/3 of a stop on the ASA ring on the lens barrel. However, I don’t think that is necessary.

    A few example images here:

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