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Olympus 35RD - with classic problems
Old 08-28-2007   #1
owenreading
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Olympus 35RD - with classic problems

During a recent clearout of the cupboard, my dad found his first ever camera, an Olympus 35RD (with the f/1.7 40mm lens). It's a beautiful camera, very much like my current 35RC, but with a massive hulking lens on the front.

Unfortunately.... it has the stuck shutter problem. The shutter and aperture stick open on all speeds (not just the slow ones), the shutter opens very slowly and visual inspection shows that the blades are well-gunked with grease. Other than that every other part works fine (well, the seals need replacing, but I have one of Jon Goodman's kits for that ).

I'm looking to get it repaired, and as I live in the UK I've emailed Luton Camera Repairs for a quote. I'm also thinking of taking it to the Camera Repair Company in Dereham (just down the road from where I live). Does anybody here have any experience with getting an RD fixed and how much it would cost? I'm really keen to get this thing working, because it would be perfect for low-light pictures, but almost being as compact as my RC.

Also what is this camera like as a user? I know they're very rare, which is why I'm so keen to get it working again.
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Old 08-28-2007   #2
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Thank your dad for his good taste in camera

Many will give up a lot to get a well-working RD.

Then give that excellent camera a well-deserved CLA (around $100 here in the States).

And then you and the camera will take pictures happily ever-after.
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Old 09-01-2007   #3
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Well, I'm having it fixed by the Norfolk Camera Centre in Dereham, who have quoted me 30 (~$60) and told me I can have it back in a week. Fingers crossed!
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Old 09-03-2007   #4
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Owen: That's a very good price, please let us know how it works out!
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Old 09-18-2007   #5
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Report: last week they finished work on the camera, but I was away and so it was picked up by someone else. Unfortunately whoever was working on it has put the ASA lever/plate back in wrongly so the light meter and film speed lever do not work. Also, the shutter still sticks open a bit. I've taken it back in and they're going to redo the work for free. Watch this space.
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Old 09-18-2007   #6
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Unlike most leaf shutter problems I've ever encountered, my RD had a broken shutter that needed a complete rebuild. I suspect many of them are like that. Mine cost $135 or so, but I was stupid enough to give it to a repairer in Albuquerque who simply sent it on to someone else. Took 8 months to get back, and I had to beg and plead and then threaten to get it that fast. However, it has worked well ever since, and the person (whomever it was) who did the repair even replaced the top, as the previous one had some grafitti on it from a cheap engraving tool. It remains one of my favorite fixed-lens rangefinders today. I love my RC's, but the RD has a better lens, even if only slightly.
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Old 09-18-2007   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by owenreading
Well, I'm having it fixed by the Norfolk Camera Centre in Dereham, who have quoted me 30 (~$60) and told me I can have it back in a week. Fingers crossed!
That is a really good price- let us know how it turns out. I have two RDs and they both have sticky shutters. I was quoted 60-80 pounds (each) by a reputable repairman based in Leicester. He told me that the repair was quite a big job.

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Old 09-18-2007   #8
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Cleaning the RD shutter is not that difficult a job really. I have done a couple myself. Not quite as easy as the Canonets but not bad. I would recommend Michael Spencer just the other side of Derby. He has done some fantastic work for me and is a real craftsman. I haven't had to have any work recently but I would expect such a job to be about half the price you quote. If you speak to him, send him my regards.

http://www.btinternet.com/~camerarepairer/

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monz Ahmed
That is a really good price- let us know how it turns out. I have two RDs and they both have sticky shutters. I was quoted 60-80 pounds (each) by a reputable repairman based in Leicester. He told me that the repair was quite a big job.

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Old 09-18-2007   #9
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Thanks for the link Kim... I'll email Michael Spencer for a quote. The RDs are such nice cameras in every respect apart from their sticky shutters.
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Old 09-18-2007   #10
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Dammit! Now I'll have to track down an Olympus 35 RD . . . to join my 35RC and 35SP.

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Old 09-18-2007   #11
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The RD is the last of the range, and to some, the best. Others say the SP, YMMV. I prefer the later-model size and heft of the RD. Beware, AFAIK, they all have the 'needs a rebuilt shutter' problems, whereas the RC's are commonly good to go out of the box.

A tip when dealing with fixed-lens Olympus cameras - the letter prefix to the word 'Zuiko' means how many elements. For example, "D.Zuiko" is four elements, E.Zuiko is five, and so on.
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Old 09-18-2007   #12
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The issue with the RD is that the original lubricant used inevitably made its way into the shutter, thus the sticky shutter problem.

I'm always on the lookout for an RD. I'd prefer to find one local with a stuck shutter but in otherwise excellent condition. That way I could get it for dirt cheap and spend the money on a proper CLA from John Hermanson. Shooting an RC, SP, RD, LC and Trip under similar test condtions would be very cool.

Not to change the subject, but today I took the Trip out at noon with ISO 100 colour print film. I'll finish that roll up at the Toronto RFF meet this weekend and am anxious to have the film souped.
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Old 09-19-2007   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trius
I took the Trip out at noon with ISO 100 colour print film. I'll finish that roll up at the Toronto RFF meet this weekend and am anxious to have the film souped.
Good luck with that...I've been very impressed with my new Trip 35. It's a batteryless wonder and no mistake

Back to RDs....

Although its lens is 40mm/F1.7 like the SP, I see its lens is an F.Zuiko not D.Zuiko as on the SP, so I take it that means it is a 6 element lens and not a 4 elements lens on the SP. It would be wrong to presume that it therefore must by default take better-corrected shots than the SP, but it would be interesting to see the differences.

It clearly shares a lot of design-cues with the RC. Certainly in terms of design the SP seems to be the black sheep of the 35xx range as no other seems to look like it nor function like it.
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Old 09-19-2007   #14
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I thought the SP had a G Zuiko lens? I read somewhere that the RD was not quite up to the standard of the SP lens, but that basically nothing of that era is.

Mind you, all of these 70s RFs are sharper than my mate's Tamrom 28-300 massive zoom lens. And so much cheaper.
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Old 09-19-2007   #15
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Doh!! You're so right!! To think my SP is just at arms length away (although in a bag...) and I made THAT mistake I was mis-lead by looking at this picture found on the 'net, which I saw as 'D-Zuiko'
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Old 09-19-2007   #16
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Ooooh, a black SP. If only Olympus had made the RC and RD in black, I think I would have maxed out my Paypal account by now
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Old 09-19-2007   #17
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ive fixed about 2 RDs with this prob but the DC has the same len s body but fully auto and it does not suffer from the same sticky shutter also SHHHHH its goes for about 1/10th of the price of an RD by the way i do have to clean my RD every 6months as this oil keeps a comming its not that hard though
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Old 09-19-2007   #18
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Ahhh, feels like home talking about these little gems.
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Old 09-19-2007   #19
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No, it's 'Argh, feels like home..." etc. It's Talk Like a Pirate Day.
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Old 09-20-2007   #20
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Oops, it's a day late, but no less fun:

"Arrr, feels like home, ye be..."
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Old 09-20-2007   #21
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Hi as I also have an RD in comatose condition in my drawer I am also very intersted in finding a good repairshop in Europe.....And mine has a very brutel dent (it looks as if someone pinched it with set of a red hot pliers) dent in it's topplate...so I bought a new one as a replacement. So much for cheap
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Old 12-08-2007   #22
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Well, to resurrect a long dead thread, after a long period of fiddling about, my RD is finally working! Not sure how long it'll work for, I'm fairly sure the oil will keep on coming, like a Middle Eastern desert all over my shutter blades. Oh well.

Next, to take some pictures with the damn thing. Looking forward to this bit...
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Old 12-08-2007   #23
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Owen: Be sure to post here. You are right that the oil will return and eventually you'll want to have John @ Camtech or someone give it a spa treatment.
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Old 12-09-2007   #24
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I took the RD out today to take some pictures. Not finished the roll yet, I'll post some when I do. What I did notice was that this camera has the quietest shutter of any camera I own. It's truly amazing. When it gets down to 1/60 or 1/30 you can barely hear it. I'm looking forward to this as a low-light shooter.
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Old 12-11-2007   #25
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First roll out: HP5@400 in LC29. Someone once said that HP5 made 'every picture look like it was taken on a grey day in England.' So these first two pictures are taken on a grey day on the English coast (near Southwold).


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