Hi, this is a short review of the Olympus 35 DC rangefinder
used as travel camera. I ordered from a Ebay seller and
within a week it arrived at my doorstep.
This RF is an interesting camera, it is Auto-Exposure but manual focusing RF. The Aperture and Shutter speed is automatically selected and the only “manual” setting is the RF focusing.
I wanted to test its usage as a travel camera. Currently my go to travel cameras are the Oly XA as well as the Minox Camera which are Aperture Priority, and RF as well as scale (distance) focused.
The 35DC looks like its more powerful sibling, the 35RD which shares a similar body and a very nice zuiko 40/f1.7 lens, aperture is the same from 1.7 to f16, however the shutter speed is between 1/15 to 1/500s. Unlike the more expensive RD, there is no way to select the Shutter or Aperture. You just basically point, focus and shoot.
The DC comes with a Back Lit Compensation button which comes in handy where there is a back-lit situation and you want the foreground not to be darkened by the AE, the BLC button compensates by 1.5 stops.
In the viewer, the AE needle displays the Shutter speed and Aperture in a pair, ie. 500/f16 ~ 15/f1.7. It does not move independently, ie. 500/f1.7. This is quite unusual, but works quite well.
There is a AE lock if the light is darker than 1/15 and f1.7. There isn’t an easy workaround for night scenery or bulb usage. For those situations, the only solution is to use a flash. One method i used was to point the camera at a light source, get it to the darkest usable AE ie. 1/15, and f1.7, half-press the shutter and re-compose into the dark scenery, this meant that the images would be underexposed which was okay most of the time.
There is no DOF scale which meant that I could not hyper focus, however the lens has a short-throw, and focusing is very easy, though not always successful. The AE makes shooting quite easy as you do not spend time setting aperture or shutter speed, just focus and shoot (assuming the scenery isn’t too dark).
I brought the camera on a business trip, shot 3 rolls and found around 32 images worth keeping. This is actually quite a good hit considering a first time usage of this camera. To make avail light shooting easier, I set the ISO to the max, which is iso 800 when using the 400 Neopan film.
- Small and compact, great lens at f1.7 which produces sharp images
- RF Focusing and Auto Exposure settings.
- I love the combination of this camera with Fuji Neopan 400 at iso 800 and developed at Fotohub which uses D76. The grains is quite nice and unlike anything seen from a digital camera.
- AE Lock at low light with no override. My model has a button which bypasses the AE Lock but this is used when loading film, the ae pairing defaults to f8 and 1/125 which can’t be used for low light
- Uses Mercury 1.35v px 625 batteries. I used the fast draining Wein Zinc battery.
Here are some images from my recent trip, they are mostly un-cropped:
Review contributed by Ray Toei