olympus 35 rc
In a semi-desperate attempt to cull my quickly advancing GAS condition, i decided to research the internet for the ONE camera to end them all. I had a list of criteria in my head and a whole bunch of options. Having read the blogs and forums, pros and cons here and there, I narrowed it down to one such camera - The Leica M6.
Then I woke up, and settled for the Olympus 35 RC.
The RC has some insanely good and controversial reviews online where it's compared favourably with a Leica. So I figured, I'd get one of these, and wont ever need another film camera. I also didn't see any issues like the Yashica's Pad of Death nor the Canonet's Sticky Sutter of death or anything of death for that matter. The only two issues were the battery, and the fact that you can't use it in aperture priority mode - but oh well. Besides, I only planned to use it in full manual mode, in which case neither of these issues mattered.
I was fortunate enough to encounter a near-mint condition one on Ebay which I snapped up straight away. It already came with a fresh battery and with a new light seal from a recent service. The only thing better than this would have been to time travel back to the 1970's Japan (oh! wouldn't that be nice), and pick one up from an Oly retailer.
I put in a test 200 speed Agfa roll as usual, and was quite honestly blown away by the results. To be fair, the lens on the Yashica GTN is better, and the overall quality of the shots from the Yashica was superior, but my goodness the colours! Considering the size of the Oly and the lens on it, the photos the results were simply stunning, especially in good light.
In low light, it's not so bad either. Of course the film's latitude plays a massive role, but the very cheap 200 speed consumer film I used managed to achieve presentable results in low light in the Oly, which is testament to the beautiful lens it's got.
If you ask me, this is the perfect summer holiday camera. It's very small and supercalifragilisticexpialidociously awesome in bright sunlight. So much so, that the Oly has accompanied me on holiday all by itself, with no DSLR 'backup' or otherwise. And it did well. It did well indeed. Ok, so you cant really take a bad picture in the south of Spain as everything is picturesque, but seriously.
One issue though. Its size, which is one of the Oly's best features, is also one of its flaws. It suffers from what I've termed the 'finger in the frame' issue. As it is a rangefinder camera, you are not looking thorough the lens and will not spot the fact that a finger or thumb may obstruct the lens. This is particularly an issue with small ragenfinders because of the miniature size of the lens. At least the Oly wont allow you to take a photo with the lens cap on, unless you're in full manual mode.
Having said that, the 'flaw' is probably mine and not the camera's. Luckily I practiced a fair bit with the camera before taking it on holiday. After getting an entire roll of finger-ruined photos, I became very conscious of the position of my fingers when shooting with the Oly (and any camera for that mater). I also adjusted the way I focus the lens - using my left index finger alone rather than my right thumb and index finger together. I can focus just as quickly and accurately this way, and get finger free shots time after time. A simple solution would be a good lens hood, but I've found it near impossible to find for the RC sadly. I've however come across some DIY instructions on the net so perhaps I'll come round to making one myself one day.