I think the following statement is inarguable.
That throughout history, in both film and digital, Olympus have been responsible for some of the best cameras ever made.
The Olympus Supertrip is not one of them.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pick one up if you enjoy shooting with almost featureless hunks of plastic though. Especially if you find one at a price you think is fair.
I found mine alongside this guy in a charity shop and picked both up at prices I thought were very fair.
Read on to figure out how much you think you’d be happy to pay, if anything, and perhaps then go check on eBay to see if any are available around that mark.
What is the Olympus Supertrip?
The Olympus Supertrip was introduced in 1986, two years after the hugely popular Olympus Trip 35 had been discontinued.
With the plain old Trip running all the way from 1967 to 1984, surely the Super version would be a decent step up?
Unfortunately not. Quite the opposite, in fact.
I suppose the name Supertrip could be taken two ways. It could mean a super version of the Trip camera, which it doesn’t, or it could mean a camera you’d be able to use on a super trip you took.
By getting rid of all but the most basic features, Olympus were able to produce an ultra-light, almost foolproof point ‘n’ shoot that could be taken anywhere and used anyone.
This gave people the freedom to make their trips super – if not their photographs – by not having to worry about things like focus, aperture values, or light metering.
And all this in a camera that I’m not sure could look any more 80s if it wanted to. It reminds me of a Mk III Ford Escort. Possibly even an XR3i.
Olympus Supertrip technical specs
Having a section on the technical specifications of the Olympus Supertrip seems a little disingenuous when it has so few of them.
The 35mm f4 lens is Zuiko branded, which might be the best thing about the entire camera, and is a triplet. That means it has the standard basic three glass elements.
It’s fixed focus with a range of 1 metre to infinity.
The shutter speed of the Olympus Supertrip appears to be unconfirmed although I believe, from researching this review, it’s always 1/125. The ISO is set by a slider on the side of the lens, depending on what film you load. Your options are 100, 200, or 400, and the camera chooses the aperture based on that.
Remembering to set the ISO is important as the camera has no real light metering, although there is a low light warning LED.
Using the Olympus Supertrip
One good thing with using such a simple camera is that it doesn’t need any weird and wonderful batteries.
In fact, it doesn’t need any batteries at all. You can use the Olympus Supertrip sans power, although you’ll need to put 2 AAAs in if you want to use the flash and have the low light warning working.
The back of the camera opens in the usual way, by lifting up the rewind wheel, and loading film is done manually. Place it in, pull it onto the spool, close the back, and wind until it’s in place.
As mentioned, you can set the ISO using the slider on the side of the lens, and also whether you want the flash to fire or not with a slider below it. This also has three settings – no flash, near subject flash, and far subject flash.
A sliding door covers the lens with the camera preventing you from shooting with it closed, which is handy for not wasting exposures.
Once your roll is shot there’s a button on the base of the camera that you need to press to rewind your film.
Street photography with the Olympus Supertrip
Hot take: I think photography gear is overrated by a lot of people. Or the importance of it, perhaps. Or maybe the importance of some features, to be specific.
I don’t need 61 AF points for my street photography, which is useful seeing as I typically use vintage lenses that mean I don’t have any.
I also see a lot of other street photographers favouring point ‘n’ shoot cameras over DSLRs. This is partly due to the size, but also due to them being perfectly able to do the job.
That’s how I felt about shooting with the Olympus Supertrip. Despite all its limitations and threadbare feature set, for what I wanted to achieve, it was absolutely enough.
The options for ISO and flash are all set and forget. So long as you have enough light, you can just shoot knowing your photographs will be decently exposed.
This leaves you free to concentrate on the composition, which is a good place to be when shooting street photography.
Olympus Supertrip example shots
I haven’t shot too much with the Olympus Supertrip but I have got enough photographs out of it to be able to show some here.
As ever, I don’t want to start pontificating about the image quality of these shots as I find it both boring and irrelevant. You might shoot different film in yours, in different light, and have it developed at a different place. Your lens might be in better or worse condition than mine.
And, let’s not forget, they’re from an Olympus compact film camera that cost me less than the film I shot them on. If you’re looking for great image quality, you’re reading the wrong article.
This is more about having fun with a simple piece of kit and seeing what you can get from it.
Should you buy an Olympus Supertrip?
If you’re shooting for any situation where image quality counts, clearly not. However, there are a few reasons I can think of why you might want to pick one up.
Maybe you want a very cheap point and shoot film camera. Maybe you’re an Olympus film camera collector. Maybe you need something for a future shitty camera challenge.
Maybe you’re a massive hipster who wants one to be ironic. Maybe you need an Olympus compact film camera right now and only have a few pounds or dollars left until payday.
Whatever your reason, if you know what you’re getting and understand what the Supertrip is beforehand, you can have a lot of fun shooting with this most unromantic of Olympus point and shoot film cameras.
If that sounds like something you want to do, you can always check to see if any – and there probably won’t be many – are available today on eBay.
… p.s. if you found this review of the Olympus Supertrip useful and think others will too, why not share or pin it?