Mods & DIY

Flash switch hack for the Olympus AF-10 super

Edit: Since writing this post, I have also written a review of this brilliantly crap camera – Olympus AF-10 Super or: Pushing the functional limits of a crap point & shoot.

Something about the cheap little Olympus AF-10 super appealed to me when I first picked it up. It feels solid (well apart from the battery door that is now taped on), it feels responsive, and above all that, it has a flash switch. An actual off/on/auto switch… Which would be brilliant apart from the fact that – despite it being a manually controlled switch when the “clam shell” is open – as you slide it closed, it switches the switch mechanically back to auto.

I didn’t actually realise this until I started using the thing. I set it to flash off, expecting it to stay that way and It kept setting back to auto. I even thought I must have been knocking it until I had a play with the switch and the door. Since I liked it when I thought I had control over the flash, when I realised I didn’t, I also realised I didn’t like it that much any more. Time, to get the Dremel out!

First thing to do was to pop the sliding door off a locate whatever it was that was pushing the switch. It was as simple as I was hoping… Just a little plastic tab.

_DSC2398

Bye bye, little plastic tab. (I love my Dremel)

_DSC2400

If only it were this simple a mod on the mju-ii…
So does this make the AF-10 Super a good camera? Well, time will tell, I haven’t finished the first roll yet, but I suspect probably not, but it does make it a slightly better one… It’s been fun finding out to, especially as it gave me an excuse to get the Dremel out!

Cheers for reading

Hamish

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13 Comments

  • Avatar
    Reply
    jonas
    October 27, 2014 at 7:54 am

    nice mod, hamish!
    just remember that it only meters down to EV 9 (F3.5 1/45 sec.)
    or have you managed to make it expose longer with the flash off?

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Hamish Gill
    October 27, 2014 at 8:21 am

    Nope that’s its limit. I nearly included a load of camera info, but decided to leave that for a future post … It’s instantly noticeable when I first used/tested it as despite pointing it into my darkened kitchen one evening the shutter opened and closes quite fast.

    The ev9 issue is an interesting one though, as basically it means the shutters slowest possible speed is – as you point out – 1/45th. If you think of it as a shutter speed limitation rather than a meter one, it could actually be quite useful. For eg, I know that in my lounge with the lights on at night ev6 (100iso) is about the average reading. So if I put 400iso xp2 in the oly, with its latitude, I can actually shoot fairly reliably knowing the camera can’t choose a shutter speed below 1/45th. Ok, I’m going to be averaging a stop under, but it’s low light anyway … Haven’t seen the results yet, but I’ll show you when I get them. I’m not 100% confident they will be much cop, but we shall see.

    • Avatar
      Reply
      jonas
      October 27, 2014 at 12:10 pm

      clearly you’ve thought this through. yeah, those shutter speed limits can be a blessing in disguise sometimes = atleast always sharp handheld shots 🙂

      • Avatar
        Reply
        Hamish Gill
        October 27, 2014 at 3:38 pm

        Exactly… I like the camera, so I was trying to dream up ways for it not to just be shit. Assuming it takes an ok photo, this struck me as a way … 🙂

  • Reply
    Roll 1: Testing an Olympus Infinity Jr/AF-10 Super | 52 rolls
    January 2, 2015 at 8:53 pm

    […] There is however a very simple modification for that problem which has been well described here by Hamish Gill in his excellent website 35MMC. I will be making that mod on this camera for sure as I […]

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Ehpem
    January 3, 2015 at 11:11 pm

    Hi Hamish – I have now hacked my one – thanks for the instructions. It was pretty grotty under the cover, especially in the grooves for the lid to slide along. I cleaned it all and put a tiny amount of silicone spray lubricant on the sliding parts which worked well (I have an empty can of the stuff, but a q-tip rubbed on the nozzle gave me all I needed). Not having a dremel tool, I used a very sharp kitchen paring knife to whittle the tab off (slicing away from my fingers!). It came off fine with a few cuts. What I find is that the cover still pushes the switch over a ways when in the fill mode, but without quite clicking into the off setting, so while it is still set for “fill-in” it looks as if it might be “off”.

    Which leads to the thought that it could be useful to have the camera always returning to “off” mode if you have used fill flash for a few shots, since the need for fill is less common, and you don’t want it on fire accidentally which it will always do (whereas auto is only going to fire when its dark enough). I think this would probably be pretty easy to do, though I have not tried it. Something attached to inside of the cover at the right location to push the switch from “fill-in” to “off” should do the trick – perhaps a bead of epoxy in the approximate location, and once dry, whittling it down to the right distance to push the switch to just to off, and no further.

    I suspect this might even be possible to achieve this functionality by taking only a bit of the existing tab away so it catches on a different part of the switch and moves it less distance. Now all I need is a couple of extra covers to experiment with.

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Hamish Gill
      January 5, 2015 at 11:28 am

      Your even more of a geek than me! 😉
      Sound like a good idea though… Annoyingly, I through away a spare cover I had from another broken camera that I had harvested a less broken battery door from. Ah well, next time I see one I’ll grab it and give the idea of not taking the full tab off a go!

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Dan James
    November 23, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    Hamish, neat hack, simple and effective.

    I got an AF-10 Super a while back for £1 at a car boot sale, got some really respectable shots and enjoyed using it, then gave it away in one of my camera purges. Having used/tested a couple of dozen other compacts since, including others by Olympus, I realised the AF-10 Super has been one of my favourites. So I found another on eBay for 99p (though postage was another £3) and fell for it again.

    Light and small enough to carry in your hand or a jacket pocket (and significantly smaller than the early 80s AF35M / Sure Shots, Nikon AF3, Olympus AF-1 Super etc), surprisingly decent and bright viewfinder, super quick to open and use (and focus), a “proper” 35mm lens as opposed to the 38mm that went on the dominate the compact genre, really comfortable to handle, and its simplicity inspires frequent use. Plus I love any camera that uses good old AA or AAA batteries!

    Just tried your flash hack with a Stanley knife and it’s worked fine, so now I’ll just leave it permanently on the middle “flash off” setting.

    Your post here nudged me into getting this second AF-10 Super (and of course trying the flash hack), so thanks for that!

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Hamish Gill
      November 24, 2015 at 11:04 pm

      No problem. I’m very pleased to hear others getting a lot out of this camera. I’m about to have a fairly major purge myself… This one will be staying!
      Feel free to add a link to any photos you’ve taken with it, always interested to see others photos!

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Dan James
    November 25, 2015 at 8:12 am

    Thanks Hamish. I found the lens to be more than acceptable in sharpness, with great colours, especially with Ferrania Solaris 200 film. Here are the best shots taken with my original AF-10 Super (I’ve yet to run a roll of film through the new one I have) –

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/danjamesphotography/albums/72157648321132535

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Clint Hewlett
    March 10, 2018 at 1:38 am

    Have you ever heard of these things having a battery drain because of the flash being on even when the clam shell is closed?

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Hamish Gill
      March 10, 2018 at 9:14 pm

      Post modification you mean?

  • Reply
    An alternative for MJU II: Olympus AF-10 (Infinity Jr.) – Attempts at 35mm
    January 11, 2019 at 7:28 am

    […] Olympus MJU II has couple of dealbreakers. If you don’t want to use flash, you’ll have to turn it off every single time you turn the camera on. Hugely annoying. Here’s where the AF-10 outshines MJU II. It too has a similar feature, BUT it is the easiest thing to modify. I even found directions for the job from 35mmc.com. […]

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