About 2 years ago I was looking for something in my old camera bag when I came across a camera I didn’t recognise. It was an Olympus-35SP and I had no idea where is had come from*. I had a look at it and downloaded a manual from the internet. I discovered that it needed a battery so I bought one from Maplins. I then loaded it with a film and put it in my bag when I went on holiday that year and spectacularly failed to use it. It had then sat unused until a month or so ago when I made a conscious effort to start taking photographs using film again. So I put it in my bag and this time I actually used it!
* In the intervening period I think I worked out that it was given to me by a colleague at work around 15 years previously so I calculated that it hadn’t been used in around 20 years.
The camera dates from the early 70s having been manufactured between 1969 and 1976. It’s a rangefinder camera where you focus through a separate viewfinder by moving a ring on the lens until two little squares coincide. It also has a built in exposure meter which with both spot and center-weighted readings. The camera operates in both automatic and manual settings. The one thing I was worried about was that the exposure meter may not be giving the correct readings due to it’s age or the fact that the battery had been in the camera for over a year. However when I checked the reading it was giving against the ones given by the various apps on my mobile they all gave very similar readings so I felt it was ok to use the automatic mode when shooting the test film.
The camera went to some of the same places as the Kodak but the first port of call was in Birmingham. I was working at the ICC and as we walked in on the first morning I spotted some narrow boats on the canal outside so when I had a chance I popped out with the camera and took some shots. As I indicated above it had been a while since Ihad put the film into the camera so I had no idea what it was except that it was 400 asa so I thought the brightly coloured narrow boats would be a good subject. Sadly when I took the film out of the camera a few weeks later I discovered that it was infact Kodak Tmax Black and White film so all of my thought about colour had gone out the window!
The thing I found most difficult to remember was to focus the camera. The viewfinder always looks in focus unless you look very closely at the focusing squares so it is so easy to fire of a shot before you remember you have’t focused the camera. This shout of Brighton is a prime example except I quite like the fact that I ended up with the foreground out of focus as it makes the two old ladies the focal point of the image (and makes up for the fact that the bright colours outside the shop have not been picked up by the monochrome image!)
I finished off the film in this camera at the same time as the one in the Brownie when I went out for a walk in the freezing cold on that snow day a few weeks back. I shot some pictures of the local church which is also the oldest building in the area and then went down to the riverside where the bitter cold seemed to mist up the lens at one point! It was here that I rewound the film and opened the camera only to find the film was black & White! Oh well never mind!