Film Photography

A review of the Olympus Trip 500

Olympus Trip 500This little chap here is an Olympus Trip 500. For 99p it would have been rude not to buy it, don’t you think? A quick dusting off and a couple of new AA batteries and it was ready for it’s first photo session (for a long while, I suspect) on a sunny trip to Cornwall.

Loading the film, whilst not an entirely automatic process, is still very simple – none of that pushing in of buttons or pulling up on spindles; just plop it in, bring the leader bit of film to the opposite side and close the back – then it whirrs into action and is ready to go!

sandy beach

The Olympus Trip 500 is the most basic of this generation of  35mm point and shoot cameras (guessing late 80s/early 90s). It’s made entirely of plastic and very simple to use. It’s got a wide-ish 28mm fixed-focus lens which is a little soft (I don’t necessarily have a problem with the softness – I quite like it). PLEASE NOTE: It’s absolutely nothing like the iconic Olympus Trip 35 which takes amazingly sharp and beautifully exposed photographs.

Like I say, it’s very easy to use – the trickiest thing you have to remember is to open the little lens cover before you take a photo (or it won’t work). There’s a flash that goes off whenever it feels the need and it will even wind the film on to the next frame for you, so it really is trouble-free.

eden project

And the results? Well you can see for yourself that the vignetting in these photos is totally CRAZY – I’ve never seen anything like it! They must make the lenses from the same stuff they make front-door spy-holes from.

sunset at gwithian

Normally I quite like a bit of black cornering, but this is much, much more than that – it seems to encroach all the way to the middle and gives the feeling of tunnel vision.

rock pool

As these are cameras and not my children I guess I’m allowed to say that this isn’t one of my favourites (aren’t I)? Maybe if the photos were of something a bit more urban they would look more in keeping – I’m not sure there’s a scene in life gritty enough to handle this amount of vignette though!

What do you reckon – have I been a bit harsh? should I give it another try?

All photos taken with Olympus Trip 500 and Kodak ColorPlus 200 35mm film

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  • Reply
    5 April 2012 at 20:52

    I really like these!

    • Reply
      6 April 2012 at 22:19

      I’m worried now I was to harsh on them :)

  • Reply
    6 April 2012 at 02:03

    I love these. Yes on one there is the tunnel effect but keep this camera as your dark corners cam. People pay Holga for a BC verion of that cam. Yoy got it for 99p

    • Reply
      6 April 2012 at 22:20

      That’s very true! I think it was just a it of a shock – wasn’t expecting the vignetting at all! :)

  • Reply
    6 April 2012 at 17:42

    I actually love the photos you took with the camera. 😉

    • Reply
      6 April 2012 at 22:21

      Thank you :) I think it will learn to love them too! :)

  • Reply
    7 April 2012 at 01:22

    I agree with the previous comments..I really liked them! I got similar results using the Holga Lens for my DSLR…but I didn´t even know this camera existed..great tip!

    • Reply
      12 April 2012 at 18:52

      I never knew about this camera either – just goes to show that there are lots of surprises out there still to be had when it cameras to film photography! :)

  • Reply
    10 April 2012 at 15:38

    Hmmm, this is a tough call, it’s probably a bit too much for me too – it looks stunning on the last photo but not as great on the first beach one? I wouldn’t know when that much vignetting would look good or not if I was using it… then I’d prob forget about it and then use the cameras that I love more…

    Does it have a mask inside? Perhaps you could try removing it and seeing if you like the results with it?

    p.s. It takes me ages to admit that I might not like a camera… I’m giving the La Sardina one more try at the moment but it still hasn’t really won me over.

    • Reply
      12 April 2012 at 18:56

      It’s mad, isn’t it – there’s no mask, just one crazy-ass lens!
      Will keep an eye on you and your Sardina – at least you have lots of alternatives if it doesn’t quite cut the mustard (but I hope it does though – it looks like an awesome little camera) :)

  • Reply
    17 April 2012 at 12:22

    When I saw that top picture, I thought: “oh no! Angie has become a victim of the over-vignetting trend!”. Nooooooooooooooo! Then I recovered a little and read what you wrote and was like “oh ok then, that’s alright”. I’m not a big fan of the through the key-hole look but, as usual, you somehow make it work (with the possible exception of that top one which is just a bit mad). In fact, it somehow adds to that one of the sunset, making the glow of the sun look bigger, and more dramatic. But given your wonderful selection of cameras, I’d stick to the ones you love if I were you – and maybe give this one to a young child with a roll of film and a promise to have it developped as a cool/quirky present (you could tell them that unlike digital cameras, this is a spy camera and only the person with the film gets to see what they’ve taken).

    • Reply
      18 April 2012 at 12:56

      It’s CrAzY vignetting isn’t it – after plenty of time to review and reflect my final consensus is… it sucks.

      I’m loving the whole spy camera analogy though, maybe I could incorporate it into a big hat with some sort of shutter release….. hmm.

  • Reply
    17 April 2012 at 13:17

    I just reviewed the Trip 500 on my blog, too. I bought mine brand new in 2005 for $19.99. I don’t love my Trip 500 either — I’m not into the vignetted look. However, it really works well on your photo of the beach at sunset, as though you spent hours in Photoshop trying to achieve that look!

    • Reply
      18 April 2012 at 14:18

      Hi Jim, the Trip 500 is a hard one to love, isn’t it. It does look better on some photos than others but overall I think it has to be a bg thumbs-down. Vignette lovers would love it though!

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