A few weeks ago I made a post about Rollei Retro 80s film and I was quite happy with how well that film performed. It had high contrast which is something that I desire, and I was ready to try some other Rollei films to see if they would give me the snappy high contrast images I was looking for again. Enter the Rollei Retro 400S. I picked up a roll and was ready to test it out. All I needed to do was choose a camera..
Serendipitously a couple of weeks ago I was on a side mission to pick up some cheap used Kodak film that I found through facebook marketplace. All I had to do was pick it up, out in Orleans. 5 rolls for $15. It was definitely worth the drive. I figured I would check out the Value Village while I was out there too. Luckily for me as I was thrifting through the isles I spotted a couple of cameras. One really cheap Vivitar point and shoot ( I already have one of those ) and another one beside it that got me really excited. An Olympus 35 SP rangefinder with its original leather case. Heck ya! I wasn’t sure if it was going to work but it looked to be in excellent condition and for just under $15 CAD it was worth the gamble.
So with the new Olympus 35 SP camera in hand and the fresh roll of Rollei Retro 400s, I had my setup ready to go!
You can look up and read the specs of the Olympus 35 SP online if you want an in-depth dissection of this camera. For me the average photo enthusiast this is what you need to know. It is small and compact. It is built entirely out of metal and is the most solid rangefinder camera that I have tested to date. The lens is fast at f/1.7 and is apparently coveted and quite sharp. The aperture and shutter speed are set on the lens. There is a little lever on the focusing ring that makes it easy to dial in your shots. The shutter itself is quiet. Everything on this camera is well designed and luckily for me my thrift store camera seems to work perfectly! There is an auto exposure mode which I have not tested yet, but trust me I will be using this camera a lot and will report back on that.
So I took this camera with me for a few days around town. Taking a few photos here and a few over there. I used a little hand held light meter to set my exposures. I will test out the internal light meter with the next roll of film. I just wanted to see if the camera worked at all for this first roll!
All in all I had a lot of fun shooting with the Olympus. It is more sleek and compact than a SLR. Making it a little less unassuming when you are carrying it and shooting around the city. I am happy with the photos that it took. The images are pretty sharp ( I know I need to work on my manual focus skills ). The film performed well, giving me nice contrasty images. Although not quite as bold as the Rollei Retro 80s that I shot last fall. I like the grain and tones from this film and will shoot this again as it is an affordable film stock that gives solid results.
I have a roll of Lomography Potsdam 100 Kino film loaded up right now and will be reporting back soon on that second roll through the Olympus 35 SP.
Take care and keep shooting film,
Jeremy Shane Reid