5 frames with...

5 frames with an Olympus 35 LE – By Tobias Eriksson

June 7, 2018

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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  • Reply
    Mike Eckman
    June 7, 2018 at 4:07 pm

    What a neat camera! I love Olympus’s full size rangefinders of the 60s. I need to get one of these for a review of my own one day!

  • Reply
    Olympus 35 LE – The Frame
    February 21, 2019 at 12:55 pm

    […] 5 “frames with” post by Tobias here (not much more information than the above […]

  • Reply
    March 2, 2019 at 12:37 pm

    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!

  • Reply
    March 2, 2019 at 5:47 pm

    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.

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