Tuesday 8 April 2014

Olympus Trip 35 Repair Coming Up...If I Can Just Undo Three Little Screws.

Okay, I have two Olympus Trip 35s. I got the second one off eBay not so long ago and decided to recalibrate the lens. 
Why, you may ask? Because the whole lens assembly felt a little wobbly. A quick search on the net revealed that there are three little screws that hold the lens in place and that they have a tendency to loosen over the years. Okay, so I slowly undid these tiny screws and removed the top section of the lens, tightened the screws underneath, and then put it all back together. Then, I read the instructions for how to do this correctly and, to my horror, found that I had missed one crucial step BEFORE taking it apart. I had to make a note of where the lens bezel sits before removing it so that I'd be able to put it back exactly where it needed to go. Of course, I didn't do this. And so, an exercise in trial and error was aboout to commence. 
What an absolute headache that turned out to be. I got there in the end, however, and all it took was;

-Taking the camera apart three times.
-Adjusting the lens the first time...incorrectly.
-Removing the old faux leather skin (which, in hindsight, I probably shouldn't have done.)
-Adjusting the lens a second time, using a different method, which produced fantastic and sharp photos.
-Churning through FIVE rolls of 24 exposure 35mm film. So many pictures of the house and cat!...
-...only to find some flare of light on certain photos. 
-Using double-sided tape and the outer cover of a cheap vinyl diary, making a new skin for the camera.
-Another roll of film.
-Which resulted in perfect photos. So maybe the light was getting in through seams/gaps in the body of the camera.

Now all I have to do is order some new skins off the web. That should solve that problem. 

Of course, I stupidly took apart the lens on my first, perfectly-working Trip 35 to see how it was all arranged before attempting work on my newer one. When I put the lens back together, I threw the focus out of whack. And so, I now have to do the same as above with this camera. 

It all sounds simple enough, although I hate to think of how many minutes/hours I spent staring at the camera before I turned any screws.
Which brings me to the first camera. The one whose lens I took apart and adjusted when it didn't need adjusting. 
So I'll be recalibrating the focus using the method that I found on the web and I will be sure to take pics so that I can post about it here.
There's only one (actually three) little problem(s).
There are three small screws that need to be undone in order to remove the top section of the camera from the main body. And these screws seem really hard to undo. I tried using one of my expensive jeweller's screwdrivers, but I don't want to burr the screw head or bend the screwdriver blade. 
Here are the screws;

This top one on the silver section needs to be undone.

 Along with two of the same, positioned under the film rewind crank handle.

But the suckers won't turn. I bought a set of small Phillipshead screwdrivers from the hardware store and have had no luck. 
Now, my question is- Should I apply a toothpick-delivered drop of WD-40 onto these screws? Will that help?
Any other ways of loosening tiny screws that you may know of?
Or am I just wasting my (and your) time with this post?

The Trip 35 was in production from 1967 until around 1984. It is a stone-cold classic rangefinder. Which is why I'm spending so much time on getting it back to working condition.  This one has its vinyl skin removed. I re-covered it temporarily with some sky-blue vinyl, but didn't think to get a picture of it. I should have perhaps left that covering on it, but I wasn't happy with how I'd covered it. No real big deal. I'll just get new skins. They cost eight bucks.

Thanks for reading!


  1. Nice little bit of kit there. I've never used one of these guys, but I am curious about them. Good work on the lens, too.

  2. Heh, a hundred pictures of typewriters & cats - I know those subjects well (:

    Another good reason to have a bulk loader - it's nice to be able to roll up short 6-shot rolls for testing. Found a seller on ebay that has brand-new 100-ft bulk rolls of B&W film for $30 - and since ebay saw fit to send me a $10 off any order coupon, it worked out to $27 with shipping. I'll report later on how it compares to the Ilford HP5+ I'm using now. Gotta feed the machines :D

    Good luck with the screws - those tiny buggers are tough when they don't wanna come loose. Also, if you've got the skin off, you should look for something exotic like red snakeskin to re-cover it - that'd look *sharp*!

    1. Oh, don't worry, Ted. I found a seller who has both navy blue and red lizard-patterned, leather-style vinyl. These things are gonna look great by the time I'm done with them.

  3. The only tip I have come across to remove stubborn tiny screws is to apply a drop of superglue to the tip of the screwdriver - let it harden in place and you should get s really snug interface with the screwhead. If finger pressure isn't enough, grab the screwdriver with a pair of pliers for some leverage. Good luck!

  4. Those screws can bind like they are holding a skyscraper. I'd stay clear of WD-40 and go for a better penetratin oil like KROIL or even LiquidWrench or similar to those as I do not know what may be available to you. Then be sure to clean everything really good before reassembly. I've use Rob's trick before and it works.

  5. Man, that is a gorgeous rangefinder. I'm looking forward to metallic and fuzzy object photos!

    Those little screws are the bane of my existence. I always lose at least one.

    I count at least three Typospherians playing with film and am feeling left out. I have some ancient rolls of Fuji Reala that deserve exposure. Now, which camera

  6. HELLO! Did you ever fix your little screw problem? I'm sat here in the exact same predicament, the tiny buggers won't budge. Would love to here what you have to say, thanks

    1. Hi Kieran, yes I did. It involved a very tiny amount of WD-40 sprayed onto a toothpick then gently placed on the screw-head. Ten minutes later, gentle twisting with the correct-sized screwdriver, before wiping off any residual WD-40. Look for my post about how I refocused the lens on this Trip 35. I think I went into more detail there. Search in the 'Cameras & Photography' section of this blog. Good luck!