Film      Camera Reviews


Sometimes-- maybe even for a whole roll of film-- pictures taken with the Trip 35 may be be too bright, have faded colors, and other signs of overexposure. 

It's not always because of a bad scan.

Now let's find out why.

Reader-Supported Site

Articles like this one are possible only with the support of readers like you, when you use the links on here to purchase any of your gear, even when it's not camera-related. 

Your help is the only way I can keep this site going.   Thank you in advance!

In This Article

Film Speed

A Mechanical Computer

Metering Errors

Try This

Shutter Speed


The Trip 35 can handle 400 film, even on a bright sunny day.  The Sunny 16 rule would be f/16 and 1/400th, so f/22 and 1/200th of a second should produce a correctly-exposed photograph.

For 200 film, f/16 at a 200th on a bright sunny day is about right.  So, no problem there.

I've read that some people prefer to use slower films on bright sunny days, in the hope that the pictures won't be overexposed.  But as we've seen, they still shouldn't be.  And I've shot rolls of 100 film with my Trip 35 where the pictures were still overexposed.  I've gotten rolls back from the lab where it was the same scanner, same technician, same weather in the photos... but the Trip 35 pictures were overexposed.  So it's the camera.

Table of Contents

A Mechanical Computer

The Trip 35 doesn't have any integrated circuits;  it's sort of a "mechanical computer".  With 1/40th and 1/200th shutter speeds, there are combinations of settings that are close, but not identical.

There are a couple things that can go amiss, causing it to select completely wrong settings, especially if something is dusty, oxidized, or gummed-up in the camera workings.  I don't want to disassemble my Trip 35 again right now, but I remember when it was apart, I thought "It's amazing that such a thing can work at all".  The Trip 35's AE system is quite ingenious;  it converts the analog movement of the meter-needle to a mechanical step function, of sorts.

Table of Contents

Metering Errors

It happens often that the selenium light meter is starting to go bad.  Actually there are a lot of Trip 35's with meters that don't work at all (basically a parts camera).

When the meter begins to lose light sensitivity, that tells the camera there's less light than there actually is.  So the camera tries to use a wider aperture and the slower shutter speed. 

The easiest way to troubleshoot this:  use a roll of slide film.  More than 1/3 of a stop error, and it will be quite obvious.

If you don't have the chance to shoot a roll of slides, here's another thing to look for.  Hold the negatives up to the light.  Compare with good ones.  If they look a little bit too dark, they might be overexposed.  After you develop and scan enough film, you'll start to know when the negative density is a little bit off.  Negative film has incredible highlight range, but scanning overexposed neg film is kind of tricky because scanning uses digital technologies. 

This one here required a lot of work just to make it look passable.  Overexposure was common with a lot of "vacation cameras" due to failing light meters, so this photo resembles a lot of ones from the vintage era.  These were fresh C-41 chems.

Pontiac Bonneville

Olympus Trip 35
Superia 200 film

Even here, I can look at this and see that it's probably at least two stops overexposed, possibly more than that.  The reason I can know that is because I did the scans myself, so I know what the usual results should look like.  Digital processing, especially at JPG color depth, tends to cause shelf-blowout in the scans if done incorrectly.  This isn't normally as much of a problem when the camera settings were OK, but the compressed range of under- or overexposed pictures will increase the likelihood. 

When I compare the negatives with another roll taken with a different camera, I can see the difference.  I even thought, when I pulled these negs out of the developing tank, that they all looked a bit too dark.  When you reverse them, they're too bright. 

Table of Contents

Try This

If you don't want to waste a roll of slide film when the camera might not be metering correctly, try this with negative film.

Focus on something about ten to twenty feet from camera, but compose the picture so there will be more distant objects, too.  On a sunny day with 200 film, the Trip 35 should be choosing narrow apertures like f/16 and f/22.  So even if you're using focus zone 3 (group of people), everything should be in focus beyond the subject. 

If the pictures have background blurring, it means the camera was choosing a wide aperture.  For a 40mm lens to have background blurring, it's not going to be f/11 or something.  In that one photo of trees in this article, where the closest two trees are in tack-sharp focus, those trees are probably twenty feet from the camera.  And the background is still blurring!  With a 40mm lens, I'm guessing that's probably f/2.8.  So you know the meter is probably the issue.

Once again, you could just try a roll of slide film, but since I was already using color negative film, those are some things to look for. 

Table of Contents

Shutter Speed

We've already seen why the camera might choose wide apertures when it should be using f/16, etc.  That's one type of problem.
If the depth of field in your pictures is consistent with narrow apertures, but the pictures are still overexposed, there's another possibility.

The camera could be stuck at 1/40th of a second, where for some reason it's not using the 1/200th.  When you use the camera in Flash mode you are actually setting the aperture manually, and here the camera is supposed to switch to 1/40th only.  So it seems possible that it could remain stuck there, even when you turn it back to Auto mode.

This is something any good camera-repair person would be able to test. 

Table of Contents


There are a lot of Trip 35's that meter incorrectly.  The selenium meter doesn't necessarily fail altogether;  it just slowly begins to cause overexposed pictures.  If you know for sure your camera is doing this, adjusting the ASA dial will probably not help.  To correct a four-stop overexposure at ISO 200, you'd have to rate 200 film as 3200 and develop it as though it were still 200.  And obviously the camera can't be set to ISO 3200. 

Many Trip 35's overexpose by only one or two stops, which is not that noticeable with color negative film.  But some of them are off by more.

The surest solution is to buy one of these cameras from a seller who knows how to check the metering for accuracy.  Chances are it'll be from one of those sellers that can rebuild / refurbish them.  Try this link or this one;  read the descriptions, because last I checked, there were some that had been tested for correct metering. 


If you found this page useful, informative, or entertaining, please help me out by purchasing your gear through these links.   Your help is greatly appreciated and is the only way this website can stay on-line.

Thanks for visiting this page!

Contact me:

3 p o.t o . 1 2 0 s t u d i o.. c o m

This won't directly copy and paste.  Please manually type it into your mail program.
No spaces between letters.

Re-Focusing the Trip 35 Lens (Camera Repair article)

Main Page

Site Map


Copyright 2010-2018.  All rights reserved


Back to Top of Page