-The Olympus 35 RC -
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Olympus 35-RD
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Olympus 35-SP

The Olympus 35-RC Rangefinder Camera,
the essence of 35mm photography in a small package.

This page was compiled by Andrew Yue

© 2002 - All Rights Reserved:
See bottom of the page regarding fair use.

    Olympus 35-RC Specifications:

  • Automatic Exposure Control: shutter-preferred AE, with full manual override
  • Battery: PX625 1.35 volt mercury cell or MRV625 1.35 volt mercury free air/zinc cell
  • Exposure Meter: cadmium sulphide (CdS) photo resistor and galvonometer needle
  • Exposure Modes: Metered shutter-preferred AE, unmetered-manual override and flashmatic modes
  • EV Range: EV 7 to EV18
  • Film Advanced: Lever type - single stroke or several smaller stokes
  • Film Rewind: Film release button on the bottom of the camera.
  • Film Speed Scale: ASA 25 - 800
  • Filter Size: 43.5mm
  • Flash Synchonization: at all shutte speeds using the X contact or PC socket
  • Flashmatic System: Guide Number Scale {10m to 40m, ( 32ft to 130ft)}
  • Focus Range: .9 meters/3 ft. to infinity
  • Focusing: double image coupled rangefinder
  • Lens: E. Zuiko f/2.8 5 elements in four groups
  • Self Timer: Lever operated with a 10 second delay
  • Shutter: Mechanical leaf shutter, behind the lens
  • Shutter Speed: B, 1/15, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250, 1/500,
  • Viewfinder: 0.6x, f stop and shutter speed indicators, red zone for insufficient light
  • Size & Weight: 4 1/4" x 2 3/4" x 1 15/16" - 14 1/2 ounces. (410 grams)

Basic 35mm photography in a well executed, compact design.

With the Olympus 35 RC, you have the basics of 35 mm photography in the palm of your hand.   A true classic among 1970's fixed-lens rangefinder cameras, the 35-RC is a traditionally built metal bodied 35mm rangefinder, with the superb fit and finish that were a hallmark of Olympus cameras before plastics and electronics became the norm.   It is a basic no frills camera with desireable features for the serious photographer and novice as well.   The 35-RC has an easy to use shutter preferred automatic mode, with a full manual override to allow for experimentation and compensation of tricky lighting.   The 5 element Zuiko lens provides surprisingly sharp resolution and contrast when used in its intermediate aperture settings.  Without a doubt, thirty years after its introduction, the diminutive 35 RC is still a reliable performer, delivering the essence of 35mm photography in a small, easy to carry package.

Using the Olympus 35-RC

A view of the top of the 35-RC shows the prominent shutter dial.   Most of the controls are on the lens barrel.   A good place to start is the inner most silver control ring on the lens barrel.   It is usually referred to as the aperture ring, but it is used also to select the different exposure modes of the camera as well.

  • The unmetered manual mode is selected when the aperture ring is set to an individual aperture settings
  • An OFF Setting to extend battery life, when the camera is not in use.
  • The metered automatic exposure mode is selected when the aperture ring is set to A.
  • The flashmatic mode is selected when the aperture ring is set on the lightning bolt.

Other controls include - the shutter release, which when held in the half-way position locks the exposure selected by the AE and flashmatic modes.   Below the shutter release, located on the front of the camera, is a self-timer lever that when turned downward winds a spring clockwork which will release the shutter 9 to 10 seconds after the shutter release button is pushed.   On the top right side of the lens barrel, located behind the black plastic focusing ring, is the tiny lever for setting the appropriate guide number for whichever flash one will be using with the 35RC.   Lastly, the only other control setting is the inconveniently located film speed setting.   The ASA set by carefully rotating the serrated ring inside the front facia of the lens barrel.  : There is a small window with a numerical display opposite of the CdS light cell.

The 35RC Features

The 35RC is a compact 35mm rangefinder designed with the serious amateur in mind.   For us old folks, the 35RC has has a spring wound, gear driven mechanical shutter mechanism, that allows for manual photography, with or without a battery installed.   In its manual exposure mode one has full control of the camera, but alas with no light meter.   Like many compact rangefinder cameras of the erea, the light meter on the RC only functions when the automatic exposure mode is selected.   To use the light meter in the manual mode, one essentially has to switch back and forth from the manual and the automatic modes to get a light reading before and then manually selecting their preferred combination of aperture/shutter settings.   It's not terribly convenient - but fear not, the 35RC also has an automatic exposure mode.

Rotate the aperture ring so that the letter - A - lines up with the center of the lens and the camera is in the AE mode.   Then one simply needs to select an appropriate shutter speed for the situation, focus and then slowly press the shutter release.   Squeezing it slowly to the half-way point and holding the shutter release in that position acts as an exposure lock.   One can then move the camera to recompose the photo, before releasing the shutter all the way.

Keep in mind that the AE mode is an older design that relies on a light cell, (in this case a CdS photoresistor), to regulate the movement of a galvonometer needle hidden in the base of the camera.   The aperture needle which on sees in the viewfinder is indirectly connected to the galvonometer.   The galvanometer that, which as mentioned located is in the base of the camera, is coupled to a mechanically operated needle trap mechanism.   It is the needle trap mechanism which needs a little time to rotate into a proper position as the shutter release is pressed to automatically select the correct aperture and in turn move the apeture needle in the viewfinder when the camera is in its AE mode.   Why all this description?   In short, the AE mode is a part mechanical, part electrical design that functions a bit slower than you would expect.   It is important to keep in mind that the shutter release button must first activate a complex mechanical mechanism, which operates more accurately when it is released slowly.   Therefore, one will notice that there is good amount of travel in the shutter release before the shutter is actually released.   Bottom line it is best hold the camera towards the subject for a few seconds and then slowly squeeze the shutter release button to get accurate exposures in the AE mode.

There is an over and underexposure prevention shutter lock in the AE mode.   Should the shutter release not operate the shutter, then try selecting either a slower shutter speed, if it is a low light situation or a faster shutter speed in a very bright setting.   Do note, if the battery is dead or not installed, the AE mode will not work at all.   Don't fret, the camera will still operate in either the flashmatic or manual override modes with or without a battery.

A word about light meters of this era is in order as well.   The light meter on the 35RC is an averaging meter.   If you have a dark colored foreground and a lot of sky in the background, your subject in the foreground will typically be underexposed.   In portraits of people, I often take a light meter reading with the camera pointed towards the ground to elimate the overpowering background light from the sky.   If one carefully holds the shutter release in the half-way position, then raises up the camera to compose and shoot, the subject will be properly exposed.   For more information on this, check the "Difficult Lighting" segment near the bottom of this page.

To keep the shutter design simple, the engineers at Olympus only provided six shutter speeds.   There is also bulb setting for anyone who would like to control the shutter the old fashioned way.   This simple two leaf shutter is coupled to an E. Zuiko, five element lens, which has a tack sharp resolution in its intermediate aperture range.   The 35RC delivers a surprisingly good range of contrast when used within its intermediate aperture range.   A well focused, properly set exposure at f/8 will yield an 8" by 10" enlargement comparable to a full size SLR.

This lens was used on a couple of other Olympus compact 35mm cameras that followed the RC, as well.   This lens and shutter combination does have limitations.   For example: if the film is loaded with ASA 100 film, the 35 RC will be limited to shooting with the aperture wide open and using either its lowest speed of 1/15th or 1/30th of a second when in a room with low light.   One can use ASA 400 film in the camera instead, but then in full sun one will be restricted to using the fast shutter speed of 1/500th and closing the aperture down all the way to f/22.   I say this, because I suspect that the fastest shutter speed, 1/500th of second, is a bit slow.   With use of a harder and harder to find number four neutral density filter or a linear polarizer one can use ASA 400 film outdoors, while still having the capability of shooting indoors at f/4 rather than f/2.8.   With the use of even harder to find black and white filters or a step-up ring, the use of Tri-X is possible on a cloudless sunny day.

As has been explained its aperture can be manually set from f/2.8 to f/22, or you can select the automatic setting and allow the 35RC to select the aperture.   One doesn't have to take their eye from the viewfinder to set the shutter speed.   The viewfinder has both shutter speed and an aperture indicators, which is rare feature in a 70's rangefinder.   Because this is mechanical camera without modern electronic circuitry, if the battery quits, only the AE mode is disabled.   One will still be good to go in outdoor light, if he or she has studied the "Sunny 16 Rule" .

Battery Replacement on the Olympus 35 RC

Now for the bad news, the 1.35 volt mercury oxide battery cell that is used in the 35-RC is no longer longer sold over the counter in the US or Europe.   That's a shame, because mercury oxide cells maintain a very even and reliable discharge voltage which is perfect for these old CdS light cells.   So, it may pay do a search for either the PX625 or PX13 button cells while there are few left from sources on the web.   The other alternative is to try one of the zinc-air replacements for the mercury oxide cells, which also deliver a steady 1.35 volts over their life.   Wein markets a zinc-air replacement cell that really works, but has a limited life span once its seal is opened.  In a dry desert climate that limited lifespan may only be two months.   In the humid climate where I live, they last a maximum of four months.   The Wein Cells are available in better camera shops and are suppose to retail for $4.00.   Another alternative that requires some ingenuity is to use a PX675 size zinc-oxide hearing aid cell.   A more preferred and permanent solution is to have light meter calibrated to accept an easy to find silver oxide battery cell.   This usually can be done while having the camera cleaned lubed and adjusted at a reputable/competant repair facility.   Silver oxide cells are widely available, and provide a constant voltage over their life.   However this voltage is about 1.55 volts, so you can't just drop one in yourself and expect to have accurate exposures.   In case you are considering the use of alkaline cells, be aware that their oultput voltage will decline significantly during use, resulting in a wide range of inaccurate meter readings.

Using a Flash on a RC

For indoor-use, you'll find yourself shooting with the aperture wide open and using a slow shutter speed, that leaves the photography very little wiggle room for a proper exposure.   Adding a flash unit to the 35-RC allows one to select not only a smaller aperture opening, which aids in focusing, but also allows for a choice of shutter speeds.

When operated in its flashmatic mode, the Olympus 35 RC will set the aperture opening automatically as you focus.   Just set the shutter speed to 60th of a second and press the shutter release, after focusing the lens.

Located on the lens barrel, just in front of the aperture ring, are settings for the guide numbers for using the flashmatic mode .   They correspond to power rating of your flash unit, which hopefully has a manual setting.   The dot between the 32ft/10m and 65ft/20m would be the setting for a flash unit whose power rating is 45ft/14meters.   This number, for example, is the power rating for my small Rollei flash unit, which has a power rating of GN 14 meters when using ISO/ASA 100 film.   A slightly more powerful flash unit may have a power rating of GN 20 meters when using ISO/ASA100 film.   Its setting on the 35-RC would be GN65ft/20m, if using ISO/ASA 100 speed film.

Simply stated, when using a manual flash unit, the aperture of the camera must be adjusted with regards to the distance between the camera and your subject.   The light from the flash spreads outward like a cone as one gets further from the camera.   As one moves away from the flash unit its beam covers more area, but the light per square inch decreases.   You can try this with a flashlight. Stand 5 feet from the wall, then observe the area and brightness of the beam striking the wall.   Move back another 5 feet, so that you are standing 10 feet from the wall and you'll notice that more of the wall is illuminated by the beam, but the illuminated spot on the wall, though larger, the illumination is much dimmer.   At a distance of 15 ft. from the wall the light striking the wall will appear to be significantly less bright.

Now, with regards to flash photography, in the days before automated photography, one had to manually open the aperture as the distance between the subject and camera increased to maintain a proper exposure on film.   With a flash unit that has a power rating of GN of 14 meters, or 45 feet if your prefer, the aperture setting a subject 11 to 12 ft. from the camera would be f/4.   At a distance of 5 to 6 feet from the subject, the photographer would use f/8.

The formula used to calculate the proper aperture is to multilply aperture times the distance gives you the guide number. This is how it was done before automated flash photography.   Aperture x distance = GN   One can work backwards, too.   GN divided by the distance = the aperture setting.   For example, with the above flash, with a GN 45 ft power rating and a subject 16 ft away, the aperture needs to be set a f/2.8.   2.8 x 16 = 45.

The Flashmatic System Sets the Aperture Automatically

Camera manufacturers figured out that they could mechanically couple the required aperture setting to the focus ring, so that the aperture is automatically adjusted as the user focuses their compact 35mm rangefinder cameras.   Hence, "flashmatic", "guidematic, and whatever the feature is called was born.   In the flashmatic mode you just focus and shoot.   The camera sets the required aperture setting automatically for subjects at different distances, (As mentioned, it does so via a mechanical linkage between the lens focus helicoid and the aperture).

In the flashmatic mode, the aperture indicator needle in the viewfinder will let you know what aperture was selected by the camera.   You can try this while in the flashmatic mode, by varying the focus between shots.   The further the distance, the smaller the aperture number will be, until you reach the f/2.8 limit, which is 16 ft with a flash with a GN of 14 meters/45 feet.

The one technical glitch to the system is it isn't coupled to the ISO/ASA setting.   So different flashmatic settings must be used with different film speeds to maintain a proper exposure.

For a flash with a GN of 14 meters at ISO/ASA 100 one needs to compensate by manually changing the guide number setting on the camera.   Therefore with the ISO/ASA 200 film, the Guide Number of the flash becomes 20 meters.   With ISO/ASA 400 film the GN becomes 28 meters or 91 feet.   In short each time the film speed double, you move the lever up one click.   Two clicks for ASA 400 film, one click for ASA 200 film.   Each doubling of the film speed increases the GN setting by a factor of 1.4.

Using Automatic Flash Units

The next step development in flash automation was the introduction of the automatic thyristor flash.   In layman's terms, it's a flash with a photo cell.   This photo cell or electric eye is coupled to an electric circuit which automatically changes the duration of the flash.   The photo cell measures reflected light.   If one is standing close to your subject, the reflected light is so intense that it shuts off the flash much quicker than if the subject was standing far away.   At least that is how an auto-flash works in theory.   It measures the amount of light reflected back towards the camera and varies the flash duration so that a fixed aperture setting may be used.

There are advantages and a downside to using an automatic flash unit.   The first advantage of an autoflash is that one only needs to set the camera to a single aperture per film speed, focus and shoot.   Secondly, an autoflash should in theory should extend battery life.   That's the good news.   The downside is an autoflash is easily fooled by off-gray subjects and backgrounds.   Shoot against a white background, such as a wall, or close-up with a subject wearing a white shirt and the flash will fire for a shorter than necessary duration resulting in an underexposer.   Against a black background, the flash will fire longer than needed, resulting in an overexposed subject in the foreground.   Hence, an auto-flash is not as precise as the use of the "flashmatic" mode to control the exposure.   Auto-flash units are popular because the vast majority of 35mm cameras did not have "flashmatic" system.   The system was found on only a select few 35mm cameras.

Suggested Shutter Speeds When Using an Indoor Flash

With whatever flash one uses, its usually all over with in a 1,000th of a second or less.   So any of the shutter speeds on the 35-RC can be used for a flash exposure.   If the subject is moving then a shutter speed of 125th of a second or faster must be used.   It is preferable, however, to use a slower shutter speed such as 1/30th of a second when shooting indoors.   This allows some of the ambient light in the room to provide some exposure, which brightens the background a bit.   If one braces their elbows on a table or arms against a wall, camera shake will be reduced.   Even 1/15th of a second is possible, but if anyone in the frame is moving, they will appear blurred.

Light Values and EV numbers

Before cameras with built in light meters and automatic exposure modes were common, photographers were able to set the shutter speeds and apetures using a light meter that gave readings in EV numbers, which was better than using foot candles or lux.   Exposure values aren't used much today, but each EV number refers to a variety of available shutter and aperture setting combinations that can used for a fixed amount of light.   Why bother using exposure values?  In short, they make you aware of the available light in a scene.  More often than one would like, the photographer is presented with complex light situations that are not easily recorded on film.  If you master the concept of how much light is reaching your subject relative its surroundings, you'll have mastered a major obstacle towards becoming a better photographer.   Below are the exposure value numbers along with the available shutter speed and aperture combinations for each EV number for an Olympus 35RC.

Two different aperture and shutter speed combinations can have an equivalent exposure value.   An f/16 and 1/60th of second shutter speed combination will have the same exposure value as a f/8 and 1/250th setting.   Below are some available shutter speed/aperture settings and exposure values that the Olympus 35RC is capable of.

EV numbers for the Olympus RC at ASA 100:

                                  Aperture Settings
2.8 4 5.6 8 11 16 22
15th 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
(30th) 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
60th 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
125th 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
250th 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
500th 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

EV numbers for the Olympus RC at ASA 400:

                                  Aperture Settings
2.8 4 5.6 8 11 16 22
15th 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
(30th) 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
60th 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
125th 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
250th 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
500th 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Effective shutter speeds for hand-held photography are usually 1/60th of a second and faster.  That said, by carefully bracing your body and arms against an immoveable object, hand-held exposures down to a 1/15th of second are possible.

A comparison of the two EV tables shows that you gain some exposure options at the low end of lighting, while losing a couple of options at the brighter end of the EV scale when switching to ASA 400 film.  Although, ASA 400 film doesn't produce as fine a grain negative as ASA 100, it will do for common 4 x 6 inch prints.

Exposure Values Relative to Available Light

Referenced for ASA 100 film using a shutter speed of 1/125th of second.

Gray Overcast
Not Rainy

Full Shade
Lots of Trees
Bright Cloudy
Light Shade
Sun Behind Clouds
Hazy Sun
Soft Shadows
Distant Landscapes
City Haze
Full Sun
Distinct Shadows
Blue Sky
Away from Reflections
EV 12
EV 13
EV 14
EV 15

The above table shows the proper aperture and shutter speed combinations for simple daylight exposures using ISO 100 film.   The table is more or less an interpretation of the "Sunny 16 Rule".   In my opinion, there are times when use of the above table will be more accurate than your cameras light meter.   This chart used to be printed on the box of many popular films.

Difficult Lighting Encounters

Simple exposures are nice, but more often than not, both amateur and professional photographers are presented with situations where the available light isn't uniform throughout the frame.   In the case when the subject is standing in the shade and the entire background is in full sun there is a strong contrast between the shadows and the bright background that can vary by a multiple of exposure stops.   As Ansel Adams would say each surface in a scene has its own luminescence.   A typical outdoor scene will often have major elements within it ranging from full shade to full sun that covers all of the above chart.

Luckily, most color print films have an exposure lattitude that will allow the photographer the photographer to record at least four different EV stops.   The film itself will record date over about seven different exposure values, but the automated machine used to print the photo will only make a print in which only four exposure values within a scene really come out well.   The bottom line is that the photographer is limited to what one subjects can be photographed well.

On a sunny day a typical backyard scene of a family gathering may actually require camera to record as many as six stops.   For example, a white object in full sun sitting in your backyard scene will require an f/16 aperture setting for a perfect exposure, while someone in the shade under a large tree with dark colored clothing require an f stop of f/4 to be perfectly exposed.

The trick in such a situation is to disregard the automatic light meter and to manually bias the exposure in between the two extremes.   It's a compromise.   Which is to say, even if you are able to bias the exposure between all four stops in a scene, you still may not be pleased with some aspects of the final image.   Below are two photos taken using the automatic exposure mode on the Olympus 35 RC.   The first photo was taken by pointing the camera at the subject and allowing the meter on camera select an exposure.   The resulting image shows what can happen when one blindly relies on the meter without stopping to think about the diffences in light values between the foreground and the background.   The meter simply took the average of the two contrasting light values and neither came out well.   On the second photo, still in the AE mode, the light reading was taken off a shady patch of grass and then the exposure setting was locked by holding the shutter release in the half-way down position.   At least the dragon is properly exposed.   However, neither photo has a properly exposed background.

Real trouble starts when a scene has important elements that range beyond four exposure values.   At this point, no amount of fudging will work, because the scene simply exceeds the film's exposure latitude at the time of printing.   In this case, it's time to give it up or get out the flash unit , even though you may get a strange look or two on a sunny day.

Use of a Fill Flash on Sunny Days

Take the case of the back-lit subject on a sunny afternoon standing in the shade in front of a sunny background.   If no compensation is used, the face of the subject will be recorded on film as a dark silohette.   Even though your subject's face may be in the shade, the camera assumes its a sunny day, because the light meter reads the sunny background.   It then sets an averaged exposure for the scene for full sun, because in this case for the largest element in the frame.   Details within the shadows are simply lost.   You can try, as in the above example with the dragon, to get an average thats closer to somewhere that is half way between the two contrasting elements, but usually you wind up with an exposure similar results.   By far the best solution is to find a way to add just enough light to your subject, so that it has the nearly the same exposure value as the brighter background.   The common method for accomplishing this is called the fill flash techique and it can be used in full sun to brighten shadows of nearby subjects.

The photo above was taken with use of an automatic flash unit, with the subject in the shade and beautiful sun lit coastline as a backdrop.   Even though the subject is a bit over exposed, because of the automatic flash, it beats seeing a dark silohuette in the photo.   Once one successfully masters the fill flash technique, a situation where the light is working against the photographer may become the photo op of a lifetime.

It is fairly easy to do a daylight fill-flash with an automatic flash.   Here, the photographer sets the exposure for the photo so that the camera is set to one or two f/stops above the flash output.   The automatic flash unit will need to produce enough light for a at least an f/5.6 or f/8 exposure with ISO 100 film.   With a flash unit that provides enough light for a f/5.6 exposure, one simply sets the camera for a manual exposure at f/8 or f/11.

Any flash has its distance limits with regards to daylight photography.   For example, a flash unit with a guide number of 60 will be somewhat useless beyond 10 to 12ft in full sun.   Also, at any distance below 6ft your subject will be blown away on film by too much light with a GN60 flash.   So if its a bright sunny day, the subject will need to stand within a range of 6 to 12 ft from the camera when using the fill-flash technique.

The fill-flash technique with a manual flash can also be done so long as one is first able to determine the apeture setting that needs to be used for a scene.   This can be done easliy, by letting the "flashmatic" system do some of the work for you.   As you adjust the focus in flashmatic mode, the aperture needle in the viewfinder will automatically provide what would be the normal aperture used for a flash exposure.   The actual exposure will be made at one or two stops above this recommended aperture.

To keep things simple, let's assume that the 35RC is loaded with a roll of ASA 100 film.   Let me mention that outdoor fill flash is possible with ASA 400, but on a very bright sunny day a neutral density filter is needed, which is an additional twist that can be learned later.   Again, it is assumed that an inexpensive pocketable flash with a guide number of 60ft/19m will be used.

The text below contains a brief description of the fill flash technique for an Olympus 35RC when using a small pocketable manual flash unit.

Part 1: Determine the recommended aperture for an exposure with a flash for a specific distance.

  • Install the flash on the camera, set it to manual operation and make sure it's turned-on
  • Double check the GN setting for the flashmatic system on the camera
  • Set the camera's aperture ring to the flash mode and focus on the subject in the foreground
  • Slowly press the shutter release half-way to obtain an aperture setting for a given distance
  • Take a mental note of the aperture setting that you see in the viewfinder
  • This is the recommended aperture to use with your flash at this distance to the subject

A special note: more often than not at this point, the aperture setting will fall between two aperture numbers, such as f/4 and f/5.6.   Round up to f/5.6 if the needle in the viewfinder looks like it is half-way or more between f/4 and f/5.6.

Since the recommended aperture for a specific distance in the above example the needle was between f/4 and f/5.6, then f/8 should be used for the actual exposure.   The next part of the procedure is to find the correct shutter speed to use with f/8 for a sunny background.   Do keep in mind that if the needle been sitting dead center on f/5.6, one may want to select f/11 for the actual exposure .  

Part 2: determine which shutter speed to be used at f/8 for a properly exposed background

  • Set the aperture ring on the 35RC to the AE mode to take a reading of the brightly lit background.
  • Now select different shutter speeds, starting with 1/500th until the AE needle points to f/8.
  • Check each shutter speed by slowly pressing the shutter release half-way and aiming the viewfinder toward the background
  • Surprise: 1/500th of second and f/8 are perfect for a sunny day exposure that equals EV 15
  • Take a couple of exposures, with a pause to charge the flash and thank the subject for their patience.

Keep in mind the goal of using a fill-flash is to brighen the subject just enough so that the amount of light that reaches the front of the subject is almost, but not quite, equal to the background light.   In short, rather than eliminate all shadows, all that is necessary is to brighten the subject's shadows just enough so that the details within them can be recorded on film.  If no flash is used, only a silohette appears on the final image.   Also keep in mind that the final exposure on the camera is always set for the background, not the the subject.   To keep the midday sun lit background one stop above the flash lit shadows, we selected f/8 for the exposure rather than f/5.6.   The proper shutter speed was selected the for f/8 using the background lighting.

If a softer effect is desired then by all means bump the exposure up to f/11 and set the exposure from there.   When the recommended flash f stop setting is two stops lower than the aperture used in the exposure, the subject gains warm pleasing look in the final image.

Fill-flash ratios for three different situations.

  • Mid-morining or mid-afternoon - recommend flash aperture is 1 to 2 full f/stops less than the exposure f/stop.
  • At Noon in Full Sun - recommended flash aperture is 1 stop less than the actual exposure f/stop.
  • Extreme Overcast - recommended flash aperture is 2 to 3 f/stops less than the actual exposure f/stop.

In conclusion, the outdoor fill flash technique goes way beyond the definition of casual photography, so it isn't for everyone.   If done correctly, there will always be a couple of stunning (5 x 7) desktop photos for a desktop keepsake.   Because the 35-RC has built-in features that keep the photographer informed, it is perfect for on-the-go amateur photography.   I often keep one by my side through out the day, with use of a Lowe Z-20 belt pouch.   With a pocket flash and a desire to capture the moment, my 35-RC sees more use than the rest of my 35mm collection combined.   That says a lot for this diminutive rangefinder.   So, Enjoy using the camera.

A note on copyright infringement: Please do not cut and paste any of the above work for publication either on the internet or for anywhere else without first getting my specific permission.   This is a noncommercial web page written for educational purposes and it is intended to be of assistance to anyone interested in amateur photography.   No I didn't invent the wheel, but the above web page is my interpretation of the wheel and I've tried my best to be original, (even to use my own photographes when there are much better ones on other web pages).   Fair use in my book allows for appropriate content from my pages to be used for description purposes by various search engines, reprinting for personal use or links on your web page that state, "See Andrew Yue's web page for more information on the 35RC." after brief description.   The views expressed on this page are my own and do not reflect an endorsement of any kind by the University of Texas at Austin.

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-Last Updated on 08/20/2003-