Olympus Collection

The Olympus Family

I don’t claim to be a camera collector but an amateur photographer. Despite this I seem to amass cameras none the less. I now have a set of three, Olympus compact 35mm cameras, that span the ages, and make an interesting line up.

Olympus Trip 35

The original trip 35 was introduced in 1967, aimed at the point and shoot market, a family camera you might say – especially for holidays, hence “trip”. Apparently, it was produced right up until 1984. The camera features a selenium cell type light meter, self-powering, arranged around the lens. A good test to see if the meter is working is to see if the camera fires with the cap on. If a red indicator appears in the finder and it doesn’t fire, the meter is working. If it does fire on auto, it isn’t! Whether it’s “correct” is another matter. The lens is a 40mm f2.8 Zukio and is very good. If you ever stray onto Ken Rockwell’s site for info – he raves about it. Eventually this solid trip was replaced with a nasty plastic, cheap and cheerful trip, that is best avoided! If memory serves there was even a trip AF.

Olympus XA2

The XA range was more of a replacement for the “35” camera range than the trip. The original arrived in 1979, as the last “35” the RC was discontinued. The XA2 came out in 1980. The XA3 followed in 1985. The XA2 featured a 35mm f3.5 D Zukio lens, Zukio is Japanese for “Light of the Gods” by the way! As I understand it, the pre-fix letter denotes the number of elements used in the lens, the “D” = 4. It’s another good sharp lens. Very pocketable it’s almost a mystery how a 35mm cassette fits in!

Olympus Mju-II

Continuing, the Stylus range or Mju as they were known in the UK, arrived in the shape of the Mju-1 in 1991. Followed by the Mju-II in 1997. The original had a f3.5 lens but this was widened to a F2.8 in the MkII. It was also weatherproofed, although I’ve never tested that! Apparently, they sold about 3.8 million of these.

It’s interesting to see how things have changed, moved on, improved or not over the years. It’s my opinion that most brands have followed similar paths, with the general trend from metal to plastic, and more electronics leading to less control. It will be interesting to see which fails first – on the other hand that could be me!!

4 thoughts on “Olympus Collection

  1. I think all those were produced under the direction of Yoshihisa Maitani. Great lenses and revolutionary design. In spite of the ultra-small size and electronic complexity, my mju has performed flawlessly for many years.

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    1. Hi Mike, Yes I think you are correct with regard to Yoshihisa Maitani, I certainly have a photo of him holding a prototype sculpture of the XA in hand! I’ve just put another roll through mine, so will see if I’m getting any better at using one! Cheers and best wishes Andy

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    1. Hello, I’m learning to love the XA2, I’m not there quite yet, but each film gets me closer! Thanks for the corrections! I’ve up-dated the page! Loved you photo’s of tulips and balloons by the way! – Cheers and best wishes Andy

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