This classic Olympus 70s rangefinder is a camera I thought I’d love. After all, it looks stunning, its compact, and on paper has a great fast sharp lens. I’d only ever used SLRs at the point when I bought it and wanted to try a rangefinder with a view that it might get me to try out street photography. Unfortunately it never really lived upto my expectations and despite running quite a few rolls of film through it, I never ended up really enjoying using the camera.
On paper this camera has some excellent features – a 40mm f1.7 lens and full manual mode (not requiring a battery). To use the meter and auto mode you need a mercury battery which isn’t so bad because you can pick up replacement ‘wien cell’ batteries easily. The downside is that the lens cap is the on/off switch for the meter, and it’ll be wasting power if you leave it without the lens cap on when not in use. I’d always forget and needless to say that meant the batteries didn’t last very long. As for the lens, f1.7 wasn’t really an advantage for me, as the rangefinder patch was pretty dim, and it was a struggle to focus accurately.
I picked this up off eBay winning an auction for something like £35 in 2011. After it fell out of use between the latter half of 2012 and early 2013 oil got on the aperture blades and they got stuck up. So I had to sell it on as spares/repair, which was a shame as I think these go for decent money in working order.
Its funny though that I do still find myself drawn to the Olympus cameras of this era. Maybe I’d have enjoyed the camera more if I’d properly tried street photography and relied more on zone focus. Whilst I wouldn’t buy one of these again, I do find myself tempted to try out the smaller Olympus 35RC.