olympus trip 35

5 Frames with a Olympus Trip 35 & Argenti Vario Scale-X – By Carlos Viejo

End of May 2020, after three months of confinement the first weekend of freedom was coming. My buddies and I were thirsty for a bike trip and so we started planning. We couldn’t go far because of the restrictions, but the urge to spend the night under the stars was strong, and we decided to go to a reservoir 35 kilometers from the civilization.

Picture a city with a mighty river but with an absolutely dry landscape, completely surrounded by steppe, continually swept by a dry and strong wind, and you will get an idea of Zaragoza and of our reasons to go to a quiet and cold place.

 Jorge climbing a short hill in his cargobike, while Suly walks his singlespeed Cinelli
Jorge climbing a short hill in his cargobike, while Suly walks his singlespeed Cinelli

This was going to be the first time in two months to spend more than an hour outside of my home, and obviously I wanted to take some pictures. But I needed to travel light and didn’t have much space in my bag, so the SLR was out of the question. The camera I chose for this little trip was my Olympus Trip 35.

It’s small, light and the only thing to do to take a picture is to estimate the distance from your subject, what I call a ‘guess & shot’. The Trip 35 is a scale focus camera that packs a really nice 40mm f2.8 lens, a wide enough focal for landscape and fast enough for outdoor photography. It has a few tricks under the sleeve which you can read about in this reviews here and here.

I loaded it with Argenti Vario Scale-x, set the ISO and I was ready for the ride.

Suly overtakes me as I was putting away the camera, I had just enough time to take the pic
Suly overtakes me as I was putting away the camera, I had just enough time to take the pic

We left the city after lunch with no hurry whatsoever and I was glad to have the Trip 35, I could take a snapshot any time we stopped to check directions, or when somebody had to secure their falling cargo with bungee cords. And most importantly, I could shoot from my bicycle without even slowing down, as the shutter speed of 1/200 in automatic mode is enough to get a sharp image when moving. I like that a lot, you get a glimpse of what goes on, not a static moment but a moving one.

Jonathan and Suly chilling after setting the tarps by the shore of the reservoir
Jonathan and Suly chilling after setting the tarps by the shore of the reservoir

As far as the film of choice goes, it was my first time using the Argenti Vario Scale-X, and because of that I was a little nervous, but at the moment it was the only ‘high speed’ film I had in the fridge. This film is made for a spanish store, Foto R3, by Agfa, if I’m not mistaken. It supposedly is good from 100 to 800 ISO and can be used for reversal process, which I didn’t try.

I shot it at 400, as I wanted to be able to take pics at dusk and down. I developed it the next day in D76 1+1 at home, and what I relief I felt when I saw the little pictures emerging from the tank. First time trying a film is always a tense moment for me. I must say I like it a lot, in my eyes it has a good tonality and mid tone range and I look forward to get a few more rolls.

Jorge making coffee in the morning
Jorge making coffee in the morning

Our trip was a lot of fun and the Trip captured it perfectly, the no frills, no bell and whistles nature of the camera let me enjoy every minute while making some memories to be shared and treasured. It really lives up to its name and I think I can understand why it was so popular back then.

Coming back
Coming back

Thanks for reading, if you liked it you can find me on my instagram account.

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10 thoughts on “5 Frames with a Olympus Trip 35 & Argenti Vario Scale-X – By Carlos Viejo”

  1. Great post! And cool trip. And cool Trip. 😉

    I also bike camp/tour and take film cameras with me. I think a lot about what to take and usually end up taking small cameras. My Minolta SR-T 101 is a great camera, but it’s just too big to pack easily, and it’ll also tempt me into bringing an extra lens or two. That’s not a problem with a small camera.

    I just did a bike camping trip where I took my Olympus 35 RD rangefinder loaded with black and white, and my Olympus Pen EES-2 with color. The Pen EES-2 is pretty much the half-frame equivalent to the Trip 35, so I understand why you brought it!

    Carlos, have you done any other bike camping adventures since this excursion?

    1. I do have a pen EE-3 which I took to another overnighter a while ago, I was thinking about writing an article about it. I’ve been eyeballing the market for a working EES-2, the zone focusing really makes the Trip 35, the ‘focus free’ EE-3 falls a bit short sometimes.

      With a bike trip you never know what to bring, just a do-it-all zoom, or two or three prime lenses, maybe a point and shot? Lately I’ve using tele lenses, a 135 is relatively compact but what about a 200? It takes the space of a water bottle, a more urgent need. Is a tight balance for sure, specially if you are already overloaded. For this trip I just had my front bag for the tarp, sleeping bag, extra clothes for the night and some, already too much weight just for the front, my SLR would have been too much.

      1. Yeah, if I had more space, I’d consider bringing an SLR. But I like to go as minimal as possible on a bike camping/touring trip. (Though my “minimal” is pretty maximal to some ultralight types!)

        I brought a compact zoom on a couple of trips, a Pentax IQZoom (Espio) 170SL. It’s a sleek, small camera, but I found that I barely used the zoom. An Olympus XA series camera (I have an XA2) was just about as small and worked great for another overnight trip.

        And small cameras mean that you can bring more than one if you want and not worry about space! It’s nice to have a choice between two cameras. I usually have one with color, one with black and white.

        You should write an article about the Pen EE-3!

  2. Brian Nicholls

    Great images! I’ve owned a ‘Trip’ for 42 years and my advice is, set the focus to the ‘red’ setting and forget it, fill the frame and just point and squirt! In my opinion, it’s the 40mm lens gives the Trip its very subtle ‘Mojo’ often begging the question…”what camera did you use for these?”….
    In true sixties fashion, ‘keep tripping’

    1. Yes, the lens is superb, the 40mm is wide enough but not so much the subject is lost, I’d love a 40mm for my yashica SLR but the options are either 35mm(quite rare) or a 50mm.

      I usually set the focus like you, but sometimes the pic asks for a closer focus, check this other pic from the same trip, I really wanted that dandelion in focus and as big as possible.

      I’ll keep bringing it with me while tripping, that’s for sure!

  3. I like the tones of this film, I also like the trip its nice sometimes just to let the camera do its job and not have to faff about setting up . I have missed great shot now and again for wasting time when I should just leave it alone. thank you for sharing the pics

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