Firstly I must credit the original source for the inspiration behind this article. I decided to write a more in depth repair article as there were a few issues that I needed help with but couldn’t find on the internet, particularly the selenium cell reinstallation. I’ve also received a lot of help from the Olympus Trip 35 flickr group.

The Trip 35 is a 35mm compact camera, manufactured by Olympus. It was introduced in 1967 and discontinued, after a lengthy production run, in 1984. The Trip name was a reference to its intended market — people who wanted a compact, functional camera for holidays. During the 1970s it was the subject of an advertising campaign that featured popular British photographer David Bailey. Over ten million units were sold.

I recently picked one of these up really cheap at a car boot sale, it looked in good condition but after a few outings I noticed that the shutter would remain open until I wound on the film. I also noticed that the aperture blades would stay open. This was a sure sign that there was some sticky oil lubricant causing the blades to jam during operation. Over years of use dust and other grime gets into cameras and eventually finds its way onto the lubricated areas of the cameras innards. As this builds up the oil becomes thick and sticky. For a camera that is over 30 years old it’s surprised it went this long before freezing.

Anyway, onto the repair guide. The usual rules apply. Please only attempt this repair if you feel confident that you can take the camera apart and put it back together again without causing irreparable damage to the camera. Also make sure that you have the necessary tools and accessories to complete this procedure successfuly.

You’ll need the following items as a minimum:
1x 1.4mm slot screwdriver
1x PH00 cross screwdriver
Graphite lubricant (if you want to relubricate the cleaned areas)
Cotton buds (the ones that you use to clean your ears)
Lighter fluid or Surgical spirit (for removing oil and dirt)
An ice cube tray (for the screws)
Lens cloths
Let’s begin!

1. The first thing that you need to do is remove the top and bottom plates of the camera. These are attached by 3 screws at the top and 2 on the bottom. On the top plate two of the screws are hidden under the film rewind crank. It’s not necessary to remove the rewind crank, instead just turn the crank until you can see the first screw and turn again to see the second. The third is on the right hand side of the top plate. The two on the bottom plate are obvious.

Bottom Plate

Bottom Plate

 

2. Once you have unscrewed the bottom plate, you can remove it completely. Be careful with the top plate though as there is a cable running to the flash mount. You don’t need to disconnect any cables during the process as long as you are careful. Take the top plate off and place the camera body on a flat surface. A tray is good as it’ll catch any parts that fall off the camera. You’ll see what I mean later in the article.

You’ll now be able to see the light meter needle. It’s positioned immediately to the left of the viewfinder if you’re looking at the front of the camera. The needle moves depending on how much light is coming into the selenium cell.

There are two things that you can do to check that the light meter is working correctly.

Firstly the needle will be half way to the left (if you’re looking at the front of the camera) in daylight conditions. If the needle doesn’t move when you change the amount of light falling on the cell then you might have an obstruction under the brass plate immediately above the needle. Remove the plate and remove any blockages that you might find under there.

Secondly if you press the shutter release halfway the bar rises to trap the needle against the brass plate. This should be followed by the cam bar. If this is not the case then the aperture blades are in need of attention.

In my case it was the aperture blades AND the shutter blades that were failing. You can check this by opening the film compartment and firing the shutter. If the aperture blades or the shutter blades remain open then you’ve got issues with gummy lubricant. If you’re really unlucky, which I was, then you’ll see right through the lens elements. You’ll need to clean both sets of blades.

3. In order to get to the blades you’ll need to start to disassemble the lens unit. Before proceeding move the focus ring to infinity.

The inner ring (the bit with all the silver type on it) is attached to the front lens element by 3 tiny screws around the outside perimeter. This enables the front lens element to turn as the focus ring is rotated. The front lens element is mounted using a thread. So as it turns the element moves up and down.

Inner Ring

Inner Ring

You’ll need the 1.4mm screwdriver to loosen these. You don’t want to remove them completely, just enough to lift the inner ring right off. Be careful with these screws as they really are small and if you lose one you’ll struggle to find it again. When removing the front ring be careful not to rotate the front lens element as we need to note its position to ensure focusing is not affected by the repairs.

4. Now that the front ring has been removed take a look at the front lens element and on the rim mark the 12 o’clock position. Now unscrew the lens carefully, clean it (don’t remove the mark) and put it in a dust proof container.

5. The next step is to loosen the wires that connect the selenium cell to the camera. These run along the bottom of the camera near the tripod mount. The ones you are looking for are the black and yellow ones. You need to loosen these before you can safely remove the selenium cell.

6. Next remove the two small screws holding the front of the cell in place. You need to be careful when you put these back in not to ruin the thread. The same applies for all the other screws you’ll come across.

Selenium Cell

Selenium Cell screws

7. Now gently and slowly lift up the selenium cell. Sometimes you can get it all out at once.

Selenium Cell in 3 parts

ASA Tooth

But if your camera is an older model or has been worked on before then it might come out in three parts. If this happens don’t worry. Just make sure you keep everything on the tray so we can put it back together later.

Selenium Cell in 3 parts

ASA Tooth and Connection Point on ASA Ring

Shade Element

ASA Tooth connected to ASA Connection Point on ASA Ring

Selenium Panels

Selenium Panel ring position in relation to ASA Connection Point on ASA ring

The last two images show the positioning of the individual parts of the selenium cell to make it easier to put back together later.

Let the cell hang on the side of the lens, we don’t want to disconnect the wires but at the same time we don’t want to pull it out too much.

8. Next remove the three brass screws holding the ASA ring and focus ring in place. As these are brass they won’t get picked up by a magnetic screwdriver so be careful not to lose these. Also be gentle as the screw metal is soft and you run the risk of ruining the screw head if you’re not careful.

ASA ring

Brass screws on ASA and Focus Ring

9. Remove the ASA and focus rings but be careful as each has a ball bearing embedded in it. They are normally held in place with grease but can very easily be knocked out of position and lost forever. They are around 1mm in diameter. If they fall out make sure you put them in your tray.

ASA ring

Ball bearing on focus ring

ASA ring

Ball bearing on Focus ring

10. Next remove the aperture ring. This also has a ball bearing, so be careful not to knock it out or lose it.

Aperture ring

Aperture Ring Primary

Aperture ring

Aperture Ring Secondary

11. You’ll now be looking at the rear lens element. Unscrew, clean and put in a dust proof container.

Rear Lens Element

Rear Lens Element screws

Once you’ve removed the rear lens element you’ll now be looking at the exposed aperture blades. We want to remove this for cleaning.

Aperture Blades

Aperture Blades / Mechanism

Aperture Blades

Aperture Blades / Mechanism

12. Unscrew it and place it in a small cup and submerge it in the lighter fluid or surgical spirit for a few minutes, ensure that all surface areas are exposed at one time or another so that the solvent can get in and dislodge and dirt and lubricant. Work the blades back and forth and rub gently with the cotton buds, re-submerge and repeat a few times and then dry the mechanism.

Ensure that the aperture mechanism is dry, including under the blades and in-between. The next step is option. Some people prefer to lubricate the blades with graphite lubricant and others prefer to leave them dry and not apply lubricant at all. It’s up to you. If you are going to apply the graphite lubricant then make sure you get it under and in-between the blades. Work the blades a few times and then remove any excess graphite. Eventually the blades will move effortlessly. Smooth!

13. Now, if it was just the aperture blades that were sticking we can reassemble the camera. However if your shutter blades were sticking or you just want to go all the way anyway then we can move on and clean the shutter mechanism. To get to the shutter mechanism you’ll need to remove the next plate by unscrewing the three screws (marked with red paint).

Shutter plate

Bottom Plate

14. Lift off gently and you’ll expose the shutter blades.

Shutter Blades

Shutter Blades

15. You’ll want to remove all the oil and grease lubricant here. The shutter blades are removable, unlike the aperture blades so you can clean these thoroughly. Wipe off any lubricant and clean the last plate with solvent and cotton buds. Once the shutter blades have soaked and you’ve clean off all the lubricant ensure that they are dry before putting them back on.

Clean Shutter Blades Plate

Clean Shutter Blades Plate

Shutter Blades

Shutter Blades

16. Again, you can lubricate these with your graphite lubricant or just leave them dry. I actually chose to leave these dry as any excess graphite could potentially fall into the film chamber or onto the rear lens element.

17. Once the shutter blades are back in position you can go ahead and reassemble the camera by following the steps backwards. Just be careful with the wiring and be gentle. At no point should you find yourself forcing any components back into position.

When you’re putting the front lens element back remember to reposition it so that your mark is in the 12 o’clock position.

Tips

If you want to go straight to the shutter blades if they are the only issue then you can go directly.

Shutter Blades Direct Access

Shutter Blades Direct Access



34 responses to “Olympus Trip 35 Shutter and Aperture Repair”

  1. KJ says:

    I just home developed the film that was in the camera when it developed it’s fault and rather annoyingly it happened after the first frame, so I’ve got a roll of fogged frames. Typical!

  2. Fow says:

    Thank you KJ!

    I completely disassembled my papa’s old trip 35 and was able to get it fully functional again. The apature was seized so I removed the old grease and applied some graphite. I think most if not all of the graphite came off with air pressure while drying, so I’m not sure how useful that was.

    The other issue I had a was that the low light flag was sticking. I found that the cause was the metal slide under the shutter release. I used lighter fluid to decrease and graphite to lube. The low light flag now works perfectly!

    I’m not sure if I put the infinity ring back on in the exact correct position…. I guess we’ll see once I shoot a roll of film.

    The only thing missing now is the peice of foam that runs along the door hinge. The old foam was disintegrating in to dust. Any idea where I could get a replacement?

  3. KJ says:

    I bought some foam from eBay. There is a seller on there that sells kits for various cameras. The eBay user is called ‘camerasealkitsandmore’ although looking at their latest feedback I’m not sure they are still operating but it’s worth a try. They are based in North America. You could always go the DIY route and use felt if you can get a hold of the kit. Hope this helps.

  4. kk says:

    is there anything i can use for to substitute graphite lubricant?
    i can’t find them in hardware stores here and i don’t own any credit cards to order any front the internet.

  5. Paul_G says:

    Hi Kuljit, thanks for the great article. I used it to try and repair a jammed shutter on a broken Trip I picked up for a couple of pounds. In the end, the problem wasn’t with the shutter blade but corrosion in the shutter mechanism but I did manage to fix it anyway.

    There is one thing I think you need to add to your article. You say (rightly) that you should mark the front lens at 12 o clock before unscrewing it and you should make sure the mark ends up at 12 o clock when refitted. As I found to my cost, the front lens element has a double (twin start) thread so its possible to start the thread 180 degrees from where it was removed.

    I think the procedure should be:- mark the lens at 12 o clock and then turn it clockwise until it is fully screwed in. Make a mental note where your 12 o clock mark is now. This can be a rough estimate. On reassembly, screw the lens in fully again and make sure the 12 o clock mark is roughly as per your mental note. If its 180 degrees out then you have caught the wrong start thread so unscrew and try again. When you do get it right, finally unscrew the lens until the 12 o clock mark is back in the 12 o clock position then refit the lock ring.

    I’m sure you could write that out a lot more eloquently than I did but I hope you got the idea.

    Thanks again,

    Paul

  6. KJ says:

    Hi Paul,
    Thanks for the response, some valuable information there. I did not know that it was a double thread so that’s pretty handy to know. When I get a moment I’ll update the guide to include this information.
    KJ

  7. Tj says:

    Hey KJ,

    Just wanted to say thanks for making an updated version of the “Trip Repair Guide”. I was going to be using that one this weekend to try and fix a problem with mine until I found yours which was put together very nice and with better quality photos.

    Again thanks so much.
    Tj

  8. Tim says:

    When I was repairing my Olympus Trip 35, my selenium cell came out in 4 pieces and I’m having a hell of a time putting in back in the camera without the selenium cell coming loose. Fortunately the selenium cell works when tested, but when I add the plastic housing with grid and test, the light meter doesn’t work. When I add the clear bubble glass on top of the selenium cell without the plastic grid cover, the light meter works, but when I place the plastic grid cover over the selenium cell and test with bright light, the light meter stops working. Any suggestions? I could really use some help.

  9. KJ says:

    Hi Tim,
    Take a look at step 7 in this guid and make sure the black plastic cover is aligned properly. You don’t want this to cover the cell completely. The chances are that when you are putting the plastic cover section back on it is covering up the cell stopping light from entering it.

    Let me know if this helps.

  10. Tim says:

    KJ

    Thanks for responding and for making such a great resource available for us Olympus Trip 35 enthusiasts. Yes, I made sure the selenium cell displayed through the plastic grid/windows. The plastic cover is designed so that the selenium cell can only fit one way. I am definitely perplexed. I think part of my problem is my inability to properly align the light deflector and light blanking plate over the plastic cover with the selenium cell. When I put it all together, the ASA will not rotate through the full range of aperture settings. I appreciate any help you can give in troubleshooting this problem. I’ll keep plugging away and I’ll post any solution I discover. Thanks again for your response.

  11. KJ says:

    Tim,
    I wonder if the problem is to do with the alignment of the ASA ring. I’d recommend stripping it back down to the point where you can see the black plastic blanking plate and rebuilding from there. The ring moves and covers parts of the cell as you turn the ASA ring. Does the light meter work on some of the other ASA options, or does it fail right across the spectrum ? The other thing I would try is shooting it in daylight outdoors to make sure. I know that indoors sometimes it doesn’t fire simply because there isn’t enough light coming from the lightbulbs. In my house to get it to fire indoors at ASA100 I have to point it straight at a lightbulb.

    Hope this helps.

  12. Tim says:

    KJ,

    I thought about that too. I even went a step further. After I stripped it back down, I removed the blanking plate and positioned the selenium cell inside the plastic cover with the cell displayed through the window grid and shined a bright light directly onto the cell through the plastic grid cover and the needle either doesn’t respond or has a minor response to the light.

    When I add the clear bubble glass on top of the selenium cell, minus the plastic cover and blank plate, the light meter responds. I think the selenium cell might be weak

    I’ll try to post photos of this process so you can see what I’m trying to explain.

  13. Tim says:

    KJ,

    I acquired another Olympus Trip 35 and tested its selenium cell. It turns out that my problem Olympus has a weak cell. The needle was much more responsive to light than my other Olympus. I’ve read that while this is a somewhat rare occurrence, it’s not uncommon. At least it wasn’t anything I did wrong. Thanks again for all your help.

  14. KJ says:

    Hi Tim,
    No problem. Thanks for giving us an update. The cells do have a finite life span so eventually they will all begin to fade and die. The best way to combat that of course is to keep the cell covered when the camera is not in use. I managed to find a lens cap to fit on ebay, and my other one I just keep in a small camera bag. Seems to do the trick.

    All the best.

  15. Audley Byer says:

    Hello,

    Important Inquiry/Request

    I am writing to you from Barbados, West Indies. I have one of the phenomenal Olympus Trip 35 cameras. The “light sensitivity” meter has stopped working due to a broken spring that returns the pointer needle to it “zero” position. I am seeking a replacement meter.

    Please, how or where can I obtain a replacement meter, that I may have the camera up and running again?

    I look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Sincerely,
    Audley Byer

  16. Peter Harvey says:

    Thanks for step 7. A life saver, or should I say an exposure saver.
    I have just cleaned and reset one Trip and have reset another which I have kept for personal use.
    Perhaps now the photos I capture will be even better.
    Very much appreciated.
    PJ

  17. KJ says:

    Thanks Peter. Glad you found it of use. Have fun with the camera and feel free to post a link to your photographs.

  18. Jada Marriott says:

    I picked up a Trip 35 yesterday while visiting Wittenberg in Ohio. Like all the 20+ cameras in my collection, it was under five dollars. The meter works (I tested it) and I can’t tell if the aperture is actually opening or not. I don’t want to open the lens up myself because I will probably break it, but before I take it to someone, is there a way to test the aperture or should I do a test roll with it?

  19. Nathanation says:

    Great guide, aperture blades now move ok buuuut I messed up with the front focus ring I marked it, then accidently rubbed it off! How can I go about resetting the focus? You can’t actually see the focus through the viewfinder….

  20. Nathanation says:

    Also @Jada Marriott You can test the aperture without shooting film. Turn the dial to 2.8 and then half press the shutter, you should see the blades move (open up) through the front of the lens, they generally get stuck closed at f22 I believe.

  21. KJ says:

    Nathanation, the way I did it was as follows…

    You need some mostly transparent material… i used tissue paper stuck between two glass slides.

    Take an object, a vase or something and place it 1 meter in front of the camera.

    Set the lens to the closest focus point (portrait) which I think has anything 1 meter in range in focus. Now open the back of the camera and place your semi transparent slide over the back of the lens, basically where the film would be. Now, looking through the back of the camera through your semi transparent slide you should be able to see the projection of the lens on the slide.

    Then twist the lens element at the front of the lens until the image appears to be in focus. When it is you’ll have calibrated the portrait focus range. At this point fix the lens in position with the tiny screws.

    Obviously this isn’t entirely accurate because you are doing it by eye but I found that it worked for me.

  22. KJ says:

    Basically you’ll be creating a focus screen.

    Take a look at this guide for refocusing the Olympus Trip.

    http://120studio.com/olympus-trip35-focus.htm

  23. Yigit says:

    Hello,
    First of all thanks for useful informations about Trip 35 and sorry for my terrible english. I have problems with my new bougth Trip 35. I’ve tried to fix it but i failed. I’m gonna explain problems and what did i do for repair.
    I bought from Ebay and i’ve used a test roll. (Fuji C200)
    Almost all of my shots are very dark. (Underexposed)
    so i googled this issue and i found “aperture blade stuck” problem.

    i test the shutter again, all asa and focus settings and all apertures including A mode without film. Aperture blades does not open. But when i cover the cellenium cell with my hand and press the shutter, red flag appeared and blades fully open. So i thought the blades lubricated. I disassemble the camera and i reached the blades. But they were in good condition. No oil, no dust, no rust or anything. I reassemble camera.

    I opened top plate and tried again. The needle works properly. (without light it was going to right, with light it was going to center)

    I noticed something in the meantime, in A mode, when i press the shutter in light condition (when needle in center) shutter blades works but the aperture blades opening slowly after the shutter blades. I saw the trap bar moves slowly.

    http://www.thermojetstove.com/Trip35/Post/Trapped%20Needle.jpg

    if i cover the cellenium cell, both parts moving together. red flag appears and aperture opens up.

    Same thing with other iso and aperture settings.

    So what can i do for fix this?

    Thanks and wishes

  24. Paul Strawson says:

    Hi,
    I lost a ball bearing during my repair of the Trip. I managed to get some replacements which are 1.5 mm. and not 1mm. I found this out by buying 1mm and 2mm. the 1mm bearings were too small and the 2mm too big so they had to be 1.5. These bearings are available on ebay for about

  25. Paul Strawson says:

    1.25 for a dozen
    Kind regards Paul

  26. Paul Strawson says:

    Hi,
    Sorry to have wasted your time with the size of the ball bearings in the Trip. I just thought that the correct size may have been some use to somebody who had the misfortune to loose one.
    Kind regards,
    Paul

  27. KJ says:

    Hey Paul,
    Sorry, I’ve been away for a while and had a bunch of comments to moderate. Thanks for the information though, that’ll come in handy!

  28. […] Olympus Trip 35 Shutter and Aperture Repair […]

  29. Vince watson says:

    Hi all I’ve bought a silver button Olympus trip 35 which is in near perfect condition. But when I come to take a photo with the lens cap on I don’t get the red flag pop and the shutter go’s off. But when I point the camera towards the floor the flag pops up and I can’t take a photo. Dose this mean the selenium cell is ok ? And it might be something else that’s working as it should
    Thanks in advance

  30. Luis says:

    Hi, I have an strange issue with my Trip 35. Selenium cell works well, so does the camera in “A” mode. The problem comes when I want to use a manual aperture mode. No matter what aperture I select, the camera still works like in “A” mode… unless I press the shutter with strenght to a side while moving it down. If I just press it straught down, it works like in “A”. Any idea?

    Thanks 😉

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