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Nostalgia Nexus - early and pre-digital discussion Want to discuss the really early days of digital and even film - here is the place for you.

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Old 27th November 2018
Ricoh Ricoh is offline
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Olympus 35RC

What do we do when the light is sh1t and thoughts turn to photography? We turn to eBay and look at all those lovely 'new' (ish) cameras and glazing accessories, don't we.

Doing just that I came across the Olympus 35RC, and seeing a nice example temptation nearly had the better of me. But my rational left hand brain said: 'hang-on', do your research first before diving in'.

The RF base seems to be really close so I'd imagine the focusing works best at mid apertures (around f8) becoming more challenging wide open. (I like limited DoF.)

This being the temple of Olympus goodness, has anyone used the 35RC who can advise on the rangefinder performance?
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Old 27th November 2018
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Re: Olympus 35RC

I have a 35RC and the rf is not brilliant but it's better than nothing. I can't really give you a good idea of its accuracy. The camera as a whole doesn't handle very well if you have big hands as I do. Also it uses an obsolete mercury battery like the OM-1. That said, it's a pretty little thing, the lens is sharp and the auto (shutter priority) exposure works well if you can get a battery for it. I picked mine up at a local auction a few years ago for peanuts and I have an original mercury cell which I've had for decades and which still delivers!
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Old 27th November 2018
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Re: Olympus 35RC

It was the first camera that I bought for myself (for about 50 quid in 1874 if memory serves) and I still think it is lovely. I don't recall having had problems with focus or the rangefinder, and I have a few lovely sharp shots on FP4. As Richard says, the meter is powered by obsolete mercury batteries - but if you don't need the meter the camera works fine in manual mode without a battery.

The lens is 42mm f/2.8 so you won't get really narrow dof except close up. It's slightly bigger brother the 35RD has a 40mm f/1.7 and will fare better in that respect but I think they are quite rare and probably correspondingly more expensive. And use the same battery.

John

Last edited by Bikie John; 27th November 2018 at 02:34 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old 27th November 2018
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Re: Olympus 35RC

Thanks Richard, that's helpful hearing from an owner / user rather than reading reviews on the 'net. I have the Rollei 35LED that also uses an obsolete mercury battery, so I purchased a converter from the little battery company. I believe it uses a shotkey diode to trim the voltage from 4x1.5 to something close to the 5.6 (or is it 5.7?) that the LM was designed to use.
I think I'll have a look in the charity shops, rather than spend some more on something that may offer limited gain cf the Rollei. I'm like a magpie when I see a nice clean film camera. Can't help myself.

Edit: Thanks also to John.
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Re: Olympus 35RC

Mercury cells produce 1.35v whereas silver oxide and alkaline cells are usually 1.5v. The main advantage of mercury cells is the voltage is very stable and remains at 1.35v until it drops off a cliff at the end of the cell's life. Silver oxide cells have similar characteristics. I wondered why my OM-1n's meter was about a stop out despite using the correct battery until I discovered that it had already been modified to use a silver oxide cell! In theory I guess one can compensate for the inaccuracy using the ISO setting if you know what the error is.

Cameras like the 35RC only take microamps from the battery because a mechanical system does the work. The meter needle is clamped when the shutter release is pressed, and that acts as a stop controlling the cam that sets the lens aperture. Very cunning!

Which reminds me, I really must finish and develop the film that's been in my 35RC since August and see whether any of the pics I took at the Ironbridge museums are any good. I enjoyed the back-to-basics approach.
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Re: Olympus 35RC

I would think that if you already have one of those magical little Rolleis Steve then the 35RC/D wouldn't offer too much extra. Apart from being nice to have, of course

And I've just noticed that I claimed to have bought the 35RC in 1874. Even I'm not that old - but if I really had one from back them I reckon it would fetch a pretty good price from a mad collector!

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Re: Olympus 35RC

I believe the 35SP is the one to go for among the Olympus 35s. Spot metering as well as centre-weighted, programmed or manual exposure and a seven element f/1.7 lens, but they're quite pricey especially in black.


I also have a 35ED which is similar to the RC but auto-only. I think I paid two quid for it at the same auction house. I've never put a film through it but I think it basically works.
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