Olympus 35 EC

Discussion in 'Beginner Questions' started by garybowen, May 11, 2017.

  1. Hi,

    I just picked up this Olympus 35 EC and I put in 675 zinc hearing aide batteries as a poster suggested.
    How do I know if the camera is actually working? It's all automatic. Is it that yellow window on the left hand of side of the deck that should light up? There is a ding on the left hand corner of the deck.
    The guide #ring won't move, as well.

    I hear the shutter trip, but don't see the diaphram open when pointing at a light source.

    Thanks for any help. (I just joined) Gary

    olympus35EC_B.jpg olympus35EC_A.jpg
  2. Thanks, Jim!
    I picked it up sight-unseen, so I'm expecting this sweetie to be defective it having a ding where it is, and that the GN ring is jammed.


  3. I assume you mean when you open the back of the camera and try to look through the lens as you trip the shutter. If you're hearing it, it's almost certainly firing. It wouldn't let you recock the shutter if it wasn't.

    Try setting the lowest ISO the camera supports and the largest aperture it offers. If this model lets you, set the shutter speed to the slowest it has, too. I believe this is a pretty simple camera, so it may not have all those settings available, but set as many as you can, then try again. You should be able to see it.
  4. Hey Davecz,
    thanks. I found battery equivalents for my 35EC and the battery check and function work. The instruction manual says 'not' to operate the camera without proper battery/voltage. Because the camera is fully automatic I won't be able to tell if it's 'really' working till I finish and develop this roll of film. Thanks again....!
  5. Oh, well. The good news is that those cameras are generally quite robust, so it will most likely operate just fine. The lenses are usually quite good, too. Good luck with it.
    garybowen likes this.
  6. The Olympus 35 EC does not have a mechanism to prevent activation of the shutter release if there is no power -- that was the major improvement of the EC-2. On the original EC, the only way to know if the shutter is actually working is to be sure the yellow lamp on the top illuminates when the release button is pressed part way down. Otherwise you can blithely wind and snap through an entire roll, but the shutter may never open.

    If the yellow lamp never illuminates, it's likely power failure -- if not bad batteries, check the battery contacts inside the battery chamber, as well as the battery cover itself. Type 640 batteries were notorious for leaking and corroding the contacts and destroying the wires going to the camera circuit, and flooding the battery cover itself with corrosion.

    If you have a voltmeter, check resistance between the outer metal of the battery cover and the chrome battery contact itself. If there is continuity, you can carefully pry up the black plastic plate glued to the metal part of the battery cover, clean any corrosion and put some insulating tape where the battery contact plate is exposed on the underside of the plastic, and glue the plastic plate back in place. If you suspect corrosion has invaded the battery contacts themselves (almost guaranteed), you can carefully pry up the battery chamber (once the bottom cover has been removed) and access the wires leading to the circuit board. The wires (one red, one blue) should lead to a solder joint within an insulating sleeve -- from there I'll leave it up to you how to will "install" replacement contacts, since you're likely going to be using something other than original 640's.
  7. The Olympus-35 EC/EC2/ECR series cameras are larger than the super-tiny Olympus XA series cameras, and larger (correction - SMALLER) than the small Olympus 35 RC cameras. They are tiny, but solid - they feel heavy in the hand, and having had the tops off several of these now, I can say that they are well-constructed.
    The body of the camera resembles the Olympus 35 RC. It is smaller and much thinner. The ECR is a tiny bit (very tiny bit) thicker than the EC/EC2 in order to accommodate the rangefinder mechanism. Both cameras are matte silver with black leatherette covering, they have an interesting rewind lever on the bottom of the camera, and they wind film backwards from most 35's - the roll is on the right and winds to the left. Since the rewind is on the bottom, that also means that the frames are 'upside down' for scanning purposes when you load them with the frame numbers
    right-side up (assuming you scan your nags).
    The top of the cameras are bit different. Both sport a hotshoe and a PC socket on the left side of the top, but the EC/EC2 has a thumbwheel for adjusting the ASA (now known as ISO). It goes from 25 to 800. The ECR sets the ASA via a wheel on the front of the lens itself, just like the Olympus 35 RC. Both cameras sport the Olympus E. Zuiko 42mm f2.8 lens - a real firecracker, as we shall see.
    Both cameras have a standard shutter release and a thumbwheel wind-on for the film winding. However, in all cases, the winding wheel does not cock the shutter - this is done by the up-and-down action of the shutter release itself. In other words, when you fire the shutter, you are cocking the shutter for the next shot. This makes wind-on very easy and very quiet. This could be a stealthy camera if used that way.
    Both cameras sport a lever that resembles a self-timer, but it is a trigger lock. Up to fire, down to lock the shutter release. Both cameras have a light on top to indicate exposure, which is the same light seen in the viewfinder. Sorry, but I'm color blind and have no idea what colors show or what they mean. I ignore them.
    The EC and EC2 are zone-focus cameras; the ECR is a true rangefinder. They do not offer any manual controls - shutter speed and aperture are set automatically. This means, of course, that the batteries must be installed and the meter must be functioning - no meter, no photos. With the EC, if the meter is not powered or not functioning, you lose a frame - the shutter clicks but does not open and must be wound on to the next frame. With the ECR, the shutter is locked, so at least you do not lose a frame if you try to take a photo when the meter is kaput.
    The EC has a VERY big bright viewfinder - one of the best I've seen, on any zone-focus camera, aside from perhaps the Zeiss Ikon series. Super bright line framing, which does not change to adjust for parallax, but an indicator across the bottom which shows icons of a mountain, people, a person, and a tight head-n-shoulders shot to indicated which distance you've selected. Strange, since the zone focus controls are in feet on the lens itself. Click stops at 3.5 feet, 5 feet, 10 feet, and infinity. There is a 'closer than 3.5 feet' click stop, but that shows up to the right of the head-n-shoulders icon in the viewfinder - odd.
    The ECR has a less than perfect viewfinder, even when nice and clean. Oh, it's ok, nothing horrible, but after looking through the EC (I don't have an EC2 to compare), you're spoiled. The framelines are not as brightly lit, they are also non-moving for parallax, but they have crop marks to mentally crop. Both viewfinders have lights in the top to indicate when the shutter speed is ok and when flash is recommended.
    Both cameras offer the type of 'flashmatic' setting seen on many compact 35's of that era - you set the GN of the flash you're using on a ring on the lens barrel - it takes care of the shutter speed/f-stop for that output. I haven't tested it on these cameras, but on similar cameras it has worked well - I would suspect it would here as well.
    Both cameras have a double-battery well at the bottom of the camera, which was meant to hold two of those awful mercury PX640 batteries. What I did was to make two small tubes of cardboard, like a mini toilet paper roll. I stuff these in the holes, then fill up one bay with crumpled aluminum foil. The other bay gets two zinc-air hearing aid batteries, size 675. That gets me the voltage I want, but I notice that the lights just flicker - they were probably meant to light more brightly and for longer. However, my test shots with both cameras indicate to me that the shutters are working properly.
    I have to say that I am well pleased with both cameras. I prefer the viewfinder of the zone-focus EC, and for your typical outdoor shots, I cannot see why I would want to bother with the rangefinder version. However, one cannot do DOF effects well on close-in subjects with zone focus - not like you can with a well-adjusted rangefinder, so I prefer the ECR for that. Both are quite handy.​

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