Olympus 35 RC
There are petty cameras, there are not so. It would be an endless discussion about which is which. Within the scale of the pretty camera, the Olympus 35RC has a seat at the very top. Be it within the entire camera universe, for sure amongst the rangefinders.
Toy companies have the ability to simplify the design of everyday objects so kids will easily recognize them. Lego or Fisher-Price could not do a better job than what Olympus did with the 35RC. It looks like the ideal design, simplified to perfection, just as one could visualize or describe a camera. The lens is dead centre; logo and two windows neatly arranged at both sides, and a self-timer lever as an eyebrow to complement the logo, both sized to match the right viewing window.
For 1970, this camera is highly sophisticated. It has all options for a rangefinder of the time, manual or automatic options. All dials are at the precise location, although on the small side. A clear view of speed and F stop activated by a CdS cell. Flash sync and ‘off’ position on the very same dial. Easy to handle and clearly marked speed selection dial on top, B, 15 to 500. Hot shoe and sync socket. Tiny, but clear distance window coupled with easy to reach dial. All this and a2.8 / 42mm lens to complement the package. I have 43.5mm filters, wasn’t sure what is behind this odd size. Now I know. Unlike Olympus half a frame compacts, the 35RC takes full-size 35mm images. When insufficient light, the camera will play dead. Having 36 exposures on a roll it protects from bad exposure, at the same time prevents any creativity.
Both aperture and shutter are two leaves, to the Olympus tradition. As such the mechanism is easy to service.
It is about ½” wider and 3/8 taller than the Rolley 35 but is a fully featured camera were the Rolley is a toy in comparison. Excuse my blasphemy.