Irish Light 7:26pm, 15 March 2009
Here it is folks - the graph showing how the Trip 35 auto-exposure system works in terms of shutter speed and aperture combination according to ambient light levels measured by the camera's meter!

I remember somebody asking about this in a previous old thread, so after searching for this information in my 'Trip 35 files', I can now finally reveal it!

Olympus Trip 35 EE operating range
MajorFubar69 10 years ago
Wow that's brilliant

Yes it was me who asked.

So that confirms what I suspected: as the light-levels decrease (below EV13) it will drop the shutter-speed in preference to widening the aperture, thus assisting with focussing.

Personally i'd have liked to see it keep to 1/40th for an extra stop: my zone focussing needs all the help it can get! But I can see why they've set it up that way: not withstanding the focussing issue, most likely the lens will be at its sharpest either side of F/8
Irish Light Posted 10 years ago. Edited by Irish Light (admin) 10 years ago
Yes, as you can see, the camera is deciding not to go out to f16 AT ALL at 1/40 second. Lens designers know well that lens diffraction is a big problem at narrow apertures, so this is perhaps why Olympus decided to make 1/200 sec kick in at EV13+ and not lower. Here, you can see that it is also making use of f8 and f11 for the higher EV than where 1/40 second is making use of those apertures, and is only finally forced out to f16 when light levels are getting really high beyond EV15. This absolutely makes sense in terms of getting the most out of the performance capability of that Zuiko glass.

This is where the camera is 'happiest', and why the Trip 35 can be regarded as a superb shooter for 'normal daylight' photography, which is where the lens is performing at its best in terms of definition and contrast, i.e. between f5.6 and f11 between about EV10 and EV15.

The 'happy zone' is in fact colour-coded on the camera, where both the 'A' for auto daylight shooting and the 3m/group focus mark are both in red, and checkable through your little 'judas' window when looking through the viewfinder (except on the very first version 1 Trips in 1967 and 1968, whose 3m/group focus symbol was in orange like all the others). If you're seeing 'all red' through there before you shoot, you're good to go for most 'normal outdoor shooting'.

On a bright day out-of-doors (say EV13), you can happily set your focus zone to 'group' (3m), and with the lens on 'A', shoot away content in the knowledge that the Trip is both performing at its best definition-wise between f5.6 and f11, as well as providing adequate depth of field such that everything from a few feet to as far as you need is adequately sharp in terms of being in focus too. Just flick the focus up or down to the extremes when it's blatantly obvious that you need to do that (e.g. infinity for distant scenery and 1m or 1.5m for, well, subjects at about those distances from you!). The 40mm focal length is wide enough to ensure adequate depth of field in most circumstances, and is arguably the perfect focal length for amateur 'snapshot' photography, being just slightly wider than the 43mm a lens would be if equating to the natural angle of view of the human eye.

And because 1/40 second is the slowest shutter speed on this camera, risk of camera shake is minimised as it is no more than the 1/focal length rule in that regard. And there's no 'mirror slap' like on an SLR, so no vibration to heighten this risk. You'll get more shake-free shots on a Trip 35 than on an SLR at 1/40th second at 40mm zoom.

Do bear in mind also that when the lens is off 'A' (when you set an f-stop on the lens yourself), the meter is STILL ACTIVE. In practice, this means that the above graph still applies here in terms of what the camera is up to ... but only of course at the 1/40 sec shutter speed as that's the ONLY one chosen when the lens is off 'A' for flash photography. In reality, the camera balances artificial (flash) and ambient (natural) light if the conditions warrant it, without telling you! In this circumstance, seemingly the only way to fool the camera is to set an aperture beyond what the camera NEEDS to be able to activate for a correctly balanced exposure. So, say you NEED f4, but set f5.6, you're shot will be underexposed by one stop because the Trip WON'T force open WIDER than what you've set. Conversely, if you NEED f4 for a balanced exposure, but set f2.8, the Trip WILL override your f2.8 and stop the lens down to f4. It's preventing over-blown flash shots ... and also in effect giving better lens performance and more depth of field - which is a great bias on a camera like this and for its intended market.

For auto-exposure daylight shots ('A' on the lens), you can of course 'lie' to the camera by setting a different ASA value than that of your film inside it, e.g. ASA 400 set instead of the ASA 200 of your film will give your shot 1 stop under-exposure, if that's what you need for your subject. But all of this is of course not in the instruction booklet that came with the camera: it wouldn't be in keeping with the intended mass amateur market! Similarly, it is not mentioned that when you hold the shutter release half-way, you are locking in the exposure, so you can actually do this to re-frame and shoot, e.g. when there is a large expanse of sky in the shot but you want the foreground exposed properly.

In essence, the Trip 35 betrays a design philosophy combining ease of use/'foolproofness' and maximum lens performance. Each of the cameras' elements work in tandem in this way, and the camera's interface encourages it. The above exposure graph fits into that philosophy beautifully as far as I can see, and is yet another element in how this superb little camera is arguably one of the best 35mm film compact cameras ever made. But for those who can work it out and appreciate it, its more 'advanced' capabilities (like exposure lock) are a huge bonus, even though they were never 'meant' on a camera like this (they are there by default simply because of the camera's mechanical simplicity and logic AS a camera - they could not be 'designed out'). It's such a pity that most of its intended market would never appreciate any of it at all really (except maybe when they got those vibrant, super-sharp photos back from the developer). Who would have thought in the 1970s that, in the noughties, the Trip 35 would become a cult classic and that internet groups would be enthusiastically uploading their Trip 35 shots to computers as digital files and harping on and on about how great the camera was and still is?

Why the hell did they have to swap all of this camera loveliness for the ghastly array of plasticness we got in the the mid-80s? Luckily, the Trip 35 (and film photography) still lives on ... not least because of groups like this!

john millar PRO 10 years ago
Bloody hell Irish, you have just re-written the manual. Excellent!

Just to add my tuppence worth, here is a guide to Exposure Values (EV) that i cheekily stole off the internet. You won't
need to remember these when you are out on the streets but it may help understand Irish's brilliant graph.

-6 Night, away from city lights, subject under starlight only.

-5 Night, away from city lights, subject under crescent moon.

-4 Night, away from city lights, subject under half moon. Meteors (during showers, with time exposure).

-3 Night, away from city lights, subject under full moon.

-2 Night, away from city lights, snowscape under full moon.

-1 Subjects lit by dim ambient artificial light.

0 Subjects lit by dim ambient artificial light.

1 Distant view of lighted skyline.

2 Lightning (with time exposure). Total eclipse of moon.

3 Fireworks (with time exposure).

4 Candle lit close-ups. Christmas lights, floodlit buildings, fountains, and monuments. Subjects under bright street lamps.

5 Night home interiors, average light. School or church auditoriums. Subjects lit by campfires or bonfires.

6 Brightly lit home interiors at night. Fairs, amusement parks.

7 Bottom of rainforest canopy. Brightly lighted nighttime streets. Indoor sports. Stage shows, circuses.

8 Las Vegas or Times Square at night. Store windows. Campfires, bonfires, burning buildings. Ice shows, football, baseball etc. at night. Interiors with bright florescent lights.

9 Landscapes, city skylines 10 minutes after sunset. Neon lights, spotlighted subjects.

10 Landscapes and skylines immediately after sunset. Crescent moon (long lens).

11 Sunsets. Subjects in open shade.

12 Half moon (long lens). Subject in heavy overcast.

13 Gibbous moon (long lens). Subjects in cloudy-bright light (no shadows).

14 Full moon (long lens). Subjects in weak, hazy sun.

15 Subjects in bright or hazy sun (Sunny f/16 rule).

16 Subjects in bright daylight on sand or snow.

17 Rarely encountered in nature. Some man made lighting.

18 Rarely encountered in nature. Some man made lighting.

19 Rarely encountered in nature. Some man made lighting.

20 Rarely encountered in nature. Some man made lighting.

21 Rarely encountered in nature. Some man made lighting.

22 Extremely bright. Rarely encountered in nature.

23 Extremely bright. Rarely encountered in nature.
johnno_oz PRO Posted 10 years ago. Edited by Irish Light (admin) 10 years ago
Irish Light Mate, this is superb. You could almost edit it a bit and throw it up as the Trip 35 intro page.

I was out trippin' this afternoon.

... good on ya mate!
flowerpotman! 10 years ago
Very illuminating.
MajorFubar69 Posted 10 years ago. Edited by MajorFubar69 (member) 10 years ago
Irish Light: I think you've just about summed up why the trip was and remains so popular.

You're very right that a lot of thought went into the design and operation of the Trip, more that the average consumer in the 70s (or now!) would really give any consideration to.

I bet not many buyers gave much thought to the shutter speeds and apertures, which are incredibly-well thought out. 1/200th is fast enough at F/22 to give correctly-exposed sunlit exposures on 400 ASA film. The 'sunny 16' rule would of course dictate 1/400th, but having F/22 means that 1/200th is adequate.

1/40th was close to the reciprocal minimum for the lens fitted, so long before the days of floating elements and anti-shake correction, Olympus had done everything it could to ensure the majority of people got shake-free shots.

Your graph does however raise an interesting question which should be fun to prove. Since selecting any aperture fixes the shutter-speed to 1/40th, if you select F/2.8 and shoot a scene which is EV13+, will the camera have the 'sense' to close-down the aperture beyond F11, ie the point where it would normally open-up by two stops and switch to 1/200th? If it really is 'clever' enough to do that, then that's at least one way to force it to choose small apertures in bright light, to aid with critial focussing. I envisage this would be primarily of benefit when shooting sunlit close-up portraits.
Matt Wardle 10 years ago
This has frazzled my brain a little bit, but i think i get it! I think my lightmeter has an EV reading on it.
Irish Light 10 years ago

The short answer is yes, the Trip 35 does indeed have the 'sense' to automatically stop down in the 'manual' mode (where you set an f-stop). And it will indeed stop down to f16 or f22 if needed. If you think about it a little, this makes perfect sense because, lo and behold, that aperture ring is presenting those two apertures right to you, in the full knowledge that 1/40 second is all you are getting as a shutter speed - so the Trip WILL choose them if the meter is reading plenty of ambient light to warrant them at 1/40 second.

Basically, the Trip will only over-ride your 'manually' selected f-stop by going DOWN the scale - and do so down to and including f22 if necessary. The meter is still fully active, and the little needle sticking out of the galvanometer to control the amount of exposure via the diaphragm still swings back and forth fully, just like in the auto mode, so naturally allows the FULL range of the aperture scale. It's the camera's design simplicity that allows this: Olympus didn't 'design out' anything about the camera's natural mechanical operation to make sure that f16 and f22 were NOT available at 1/40 second. If it did, the aperture scale on the lens would only go down as far as f11!

In practice, however, you have to be careful of underexposing your shots by setting an f-stop too dark to give a correct exposure at 1/40 second. As alluded to above, the camera will over-ride your selected f-stop going DOWN the scale only, i.e. in the direction from the f-stop YOU'VE set DOWN towards the narrow end as far as f22. It will NEVER over-ride in the other direction, which in reality means a natural bias towards underexposure rather than the more ghastly over-blown stuff such as when amateurs use manual flash units - as they probably would have done on their Trip 35 indoors in the '60s and '70s!

But we're talking here about using the camera WITHOUT flash in the 'manual' mode of course, in good natural light, i.e. 1/40 second and an f-stop you choose yourself. What the Trip is saying to you is that you are basically an idiot for messing with f-stops when shooting in perfectly adequate natural light, and butts you're f-stop choice out the window - IF inappropriately WIDE - in favour of one IT sees fit. But it will only correctly expose so long as you haven't gone and set an f-stop value NARROWER than what it needs for a correct exposure at 1/40 second. For example, set f22 and that's ALL you've got - f22! Why? Because like I said, the camera will only over-ride DOWN the scale, so it CAN'T shoot at anything wider than f22 if you've gone and set that value. The only correct exposure you'll get if it is indeed f22 at 1/40 second that is needed. It can also be said that if you've set f2.8, but you need a wider-than-f2.8 f-stop to give a correct exposure at 1/40 second, you are underexposing, because there is no f2 or wider.

The beauty of it all is that the Trip 35 is so simply designed that it doesn't need to 'think' at all about what it is doing - it does it by mechanical design default, where 'less' ironically ends up being 'more' in terms of the Trip's 'intelligence'!

Here's an example of it's beautiful simplicity ...
When you twist the aperture ring off 'A' and onto any f-stop, the RING ITSELF physically blocks the red flag mechanism from rising all the way into the viewfinder (and locking the shutter). The red flag isn't 'deciding' anything - it just 'is' - always and forever that humble mechanism trying to do it's rising! That's the ONLY real difference between shooting in 'A' and shooting in 'manual', APART FROM the fact that you are effectively setting an f-stop 'wide limit'. Whatever f-stop you set, you are effectively turning the lens into a Zuiko f-whatever AT BEST. E.g., set f4, and that's it, f4 is as wide as you got ... and on down the scale. That's the ONLY thing you are manipulating in terms of the exposure capability of the camera when the lens is off 'A'. The shutter will always fire off 'A', because it 'assumes' that you are co-operative enough and responsible enough to have an artificial light source connected to the camera, and so kindly gives you the f-stop control YOU need to use flash - that's the variable you need to manipulate for flash photography, not shutter speed. It has the 'sense' to stop the lens down automatically if you're being a little too ambitious with your diaphragm widening in the given AMBIENT lighting conditions (e.g. in broad daylight!). In practice in situations where you SHOULD be using flash (because in 'A' you're getting the red flag), the diaphragm will of course open ALL the way TO WHAT YOU'VE 'PERMITTED' IT TO at f(whatever).

You appreciate all of this fully when you get into the camera yourself, and expose the needle beside the viewfinder housing (once it's working and the meter is sound). Point the camera's meter to all sorts of light intensities. See how the big red flag mechanism's arm goes up and down, and is blocked by the aperture ring itself when the lens is off 'A'. Mess with the shutter release such that you're also viewing the diaphragm in through the lens. Mess with the aperture ring, and see how it never opens wider than what you've set when you half press the shutter release, even in the dark (well light enough for you to see it anyway, but dark enough that f2.8 or wider would be needed). It's all so beautifully simple!
john millar PRO 10 years ago
Irish, you keep me so busy reading your fantastic tech' stuff that i had forgotten that you are a pretty good photographer as well. So now that i have caught up with your photostream perhaps i can jump on Johnno's bandwagon and persuade you to write a frontispiece for the group page (that's when you are not too busy doing other things !)
Irish Light 10 years ago
Thanks so much Hermes, nice to know I have an audience for my (few) pictures too!

I'm going to be busy for a little while from now, but I would be more than happy to do a frontispiece for the group page a little later on, bearing in mind that I must keep it concise and understandable of course!
halting ray [deleted] Posted 9 years ago. Edited by halting ray (member) 9 years ago
just re-read this [again], and it makes much sense, now. only one question: is the trip 35's aperture Constantly Variable, or does it move in full-click-stops-only? irish!?
Mark Bowerman 9 years ago
The aperture is set by a mechanical linkage, I'd say full stops only, half stops at best. You need electronic control for stepless shutter speeds. See for a picture of the aperture control bar.
Irish Light 9 years ago
A clue might be the fact that accurate exposures are possible with transparency film! Given only 2 fixed shutter speeds, the diaphragm needs to operate 'steplessly' in order to ensure very accurate automatic exposures. This is something else that happens by mechanical design default, as it's impossible to restrict the diaphragm to aperture increments. There are no built in 'clicks' for aperture values. If there were, they would have been designed into it needlessly. The only real 'clicks' for apertures are when you set them yourself on the lens for flash exposures, which just means you're restricting the camera to a set WIDEST aperture value each time, e.g. f5.6.
halting ray [deleted] 9 years ago
wa-hey! i feel 99% clued-up, now - thank you! : B
Ian_Boys PRO 9 years ago
This is very useful info for a new trip user like me. Thanks a lot!
(deaf mute) Posted 9 years ago. Edited by (deaf mute) (member) 9 years ago
Irish Light wrote "Lens designers know well that lens diffraction is a big problem at narrow apertures, so this is perhaps why Olympus decided to make 1/200 sec kick in at EV13+ and not lower"

I think you've got that a bit back to front and upside down. To minimise camera shake/blur, a camera manufacturer will seek to maximise shutter speed and aperture where possible. The Trip 35 can actually shoot at EV11 at 1/200s (close enough to 1/250s) with its widest aperture of f/2.8. In the relatively low light of EV11, the aperture could be stopped down to f/8, but who wants a shutter speed of 1/30s (or 1/40s) in daylight without flash?
I think the slower shutter speed would only be used for EV10 or lower. Below EV10, you'd most likely be using flash.
(deaf mute) 9 years ago
It's pretty easy to test my theory, by the way. Hold your Trip in an scene with an EV of 12. My hypothesis is that the aperture would open up to f/4. If your theory is correct, and the Trip used the slower shutter speed at EV12, the aperture would close down to f/11.
Have you ever seen the aperture close down in low light? ;)
Nope. It gets wider and wider until the red flag pops up.
(deaf mute) Posted 9 years ago. Edited by (deaf mute) (member) 9 years ago
P.S. The graph is incorrect. The line you've got for 1/200s actually corresponds to something nearer 1/125s, but it's got the wrong gradient. :(
Irish Light 9 years ago
As Billy Connolly said to an audience once, "you daren't come here p****d" (because he rambles off on tangents so much during his funny stories). I would use the same advise to anyone coming to this thread and trying to take it all in, including just the graph itself!
Perhaps I'll wait until I'm sober to do any re-reading and editing above ; )
(deaf mute) 9 years ago
I wasn't drunk when I typed the above, but I was very tired. I was half blind from staring at an exposure chart, so I might have made some schoolboy errors myself, but you might want to double-check some of the things you wrote previously.
william.olive 8 years ago
time to bump this useful info.
Steeeve Messer 8 years ago
Time indeed, thanks!
gbarkr 8 years ago
Dumb question time ... How does film speed get into the graph at that top of the page?

The sunny f16 rule would work there only for 200 asa (on a bright, sunny day set the aperture to f16 and shutter speed to the film speed).

Is it calibrated for 100 asa and then we have to compensate for film speed?
william.olive 8 years ago
Time for a bump.
halting ray [deleted] 8 years ago
^^ iso is part of an ev - any of these evs apply to any film-speed.
gananan 8 years ago
this is much enlightening.
i understand in manual mode, it will adjust aperture if theres too much light and only go one direction so there will be no over exposed shots.
manual mode can be used with flash.

question: say that its an indoor scene, you set to 2.8 as your 'limit' and then attach the flash. if you fired the shutter button, would the camera close the aperture as you take the shot when it 'sees' the flash? or is it too slow?
Irish Light 8 years ago
There is no relationship between the flash firing and the camera's meter's control of the aperture.

When you set an aperture value e.g. f5.6, what you are doing is saying to the Trip ... "I'm only letting you go AS WIDE as f5.6, but if you detect ambient light that would give a correct NON-flash exposure, like f11, then go right ahead!"

The flash just fires of its own accord, and in no way controls what the camera's meter is doing to the aperture. The only variable with that is YOU i.e. forcing the Trip to not shoot wider than an aperture you've set.
BIRCH Handmade 6 years ago
Just bumping this as it's really useful.
Irish Light 6 years ago
Now that this has been bumped and thus presented to me again after so long, I reread my own stuff and realised that I didn‘t think one or two things properly. I am away as I write this and have to wait until I get back to my Trip workstation with a partly dismantled one to examine again and make notes from, in relation to the subject of this post!
BIRCH Handmade 6 years ago
Ooh, especially if you wanted to add some form of a guide for complete amateurs...

Hope your kitty's ok.
Irish Light 6 years ago
Kittie (Cookie) is ok for now thank you! Have had some great personal responses and we are well on the way to sorting her out.

Will consider an extra bit of blurb for the graph soon.
Guyser1 PRO 6 years ago
Just a bump for current discussions [[;-)
alansmith100 6 years ago
I think what has been worked out is probably as good as we can get unless someone had access to some expensive equipment somebody must have access to a university science lab? Well until that happens I think it's the best we are going to get
cheskalachica 4 years ago
Hi. I'm new to using Olympus Trip 35. My question is, if I use a flash, say at a party. How should I set it in manual? f22? since the flash is very bright. I'd like to get a good b&w shot without the vivid brightness. Thanks :)
jojonas~ PRO 4 years ago
I was gonna use this resource to aid a trip user but it seems gone now?
Malcolm Markovich Posted 4 years ago. Edited by Malcolm Markovich (member) 4 years ago

Yes jojonas, it was gone. But thanks to lorenzo1910 it's back!
lorenzo1910 4 years ago
Save it onto your HD guys...(like I did)
jojonas~ PRO 4 years ago
it seems I had it on a post it :)

Uploading here in case the first gets lost again ;)
Olympus Trip 35 exposure chart
lbaixob 2 years ago
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