So not too long ago, I received a care package from my friend Rob. My friend Rob shares many similar passions as me and over some time had collected quite a few vintage cameras. Knowing that I have been shooting film, Rob sent me up a care package to see if they worked and if they did, we’d work something out in exchange. In this package were 3 old film cameras; an Olympus 35RC, an Olympus 35EC and a Canonet QL-17. After some research, some cleaning and some testing, I decided it was time to start shooting. I threw the small Oly 35rc into my bag and headed to California with the family.
I picked the Oly 35RC to shoot first because I was excited about the look, feel and the small size of the camera. I also wanted to see what the Zuiko 42mm f2.8 lens could do. I only shot 1 roll of film through the camera. While I did have the opportunity to shoot more, I limited myself to only 1 roll. This is important because I didn’t want to run a bunch of film through the camera, process and later find out that I ruined all the pictures. It’s also important because a lot of old cameras require batteries for their light meters. Many of these old batteries are no longer made and you are forced to find a substitute that has a different voltage rating. This causes the light meter to react differently. Thankfully, this type of information is all over this thing called the internet. I set the camera up upon arrival and started testing it for myself.
So, here are a few shots from my first roll of Portra 400 in the lovely Olympus 35RC.
This is what I found out after shooting that first roll.
1) Crap! I cannot shoot level with these things. Digital has ruined me with virtual horizon indicators and grids on screens. Every single one of my shots on film is not level! Dang it!
2) For some odd reason the battery drained quickly. Not sure what is up with that? When the meter works it’s spot on (at least for me) but I ended up shooting almost the entire roll of film using the Sunny 16 rule with some bracketing and some serious amount of guessing. Overall, thanks to films exposure latitude I did OK.
3) I love this thing. I am going to spend a bit more time cleaning this baby up. I picked up a different battery from my local camera store today. I could get along really well with this fine old camera. It’s so dang small and light that it barely takes up any room. I may need to take this to Japan with me in May. We’ll see.
4) It is so small that I get 40 frames instead of 36. This is possible because you don’t pull so much film out of the film canister when loading.
Anyway, that’s the first roll. I’ve got 2 more old cameras to shoot so I better get shooting.