View Full Version : New 35SP ... with problems?

03-25-2008, 19:25
Just got an Oly 35SP, and have been messing around trying to figure out the EV system in the viewfinder. Ok, when I point at bright sky, the scale is only going up to about 5 or just above, and the lens seems to shoot wide open (all this on auto, with 'A' selected on both lens rings). Is this the meter or possibly a battery depleting? I looked at the battery, and it just says Toshiba on it, so I don't know what kind it is, like mercury or not.
Also, the lens looks spotless from the front, but when I put it on f1.7 and B to look through, there's a lot of dirt inside when you look through it onto a lamp. Can a service/CLA for the camera include a lens internal clean? Help, as I don't know whether this is a keeper or to sell it in favour of the Canonet QL17 GIII I was going to get!

03-25-2008, 21:39
It's unlikely that the battery in the camera is the discontinued 1.35v mercury battery originally used in both the Canon GIII and this specimen. Without knowing the history on the battery, you're not giving the camera a fair shake.

There are a lot of battery solutions, but to test the camera in the interim, I'd get one of the Wein Cell replacements (Zinc Air). At least fresh, it will properly test the camera. There is a Wein Cell that is a direct replacement in size for this camera.

A lot of people beat the Wein cells up badly for short life span, but they have the flat curve at 1.4v needed to test the camera. I always got good life out of the Wein cells by taping the holes shut during periods of limited use.

However you resolve the situation on an ongoing basis will be the same for this camera and the GIII Canon.

My preference of the two would be the 35SP for image quality and the spot meter. The down side of the SP is I don't like the EV system. The SP is a bit bigger.

I always considered the two similar in build quality, and I like the GIII because it's a bit smaller.

03-26-2008, 07:03
I forgot to ask about the ASA setting you used for testing.

03-26-2008, 07:22
While kuzano tackles the technicalities, I'll try to imagine what I would do in your shoes.

The most impressive part of an Olympus 35 SP is the lens. If the lens on your particular sample is not good, the camera itself is not worth having. So, I'd be basing my decision on the following:

- If I paid a lot for the camera, I'll tell the seller to give me a partial refund or return the camera because of the dust in the lens and potential meter problem.

- If I paid little for the camera, I'd send it to one of camera techs who knows what they're doing pay for a good CLA (zuiko.com is a popular one, but by no means the only one).

A properly CLA'd Olympus 35 SP will produce pictures that blow a properly CLA'd Canonet QL17 GIII out of the water. You don't have to trust me, just get one of each, and see which one you end up selling *based on* picture quality.

03-26-2008, 11:42
Shadowfox is word for word on about the lens on the SP Vs the GIII. I agree on his post all the way.

I'd still get a couple of the Wein Cells for testing EITHER the GIII or the SP up front. They usually come in a blister pack and you probably have to go on line for them. Not common, but check Radio Shack as to only likely supplier. My local Radio Shack does NOT carry this particular Wein Cell. Like I said, it may not meet your needs for long life, But it is the very closest battery you can get to the original Mercury PX625 in it's fresh (new) state.

I checked online and here is one link for a WeinCell that is the correct 1.35 original voltage of the discontinued mercury PX625.


The long term solutions come in a variety, one of which is a $30 CRIS adaptor which uses current 1.4 silver oxide button batteries.

Another is a surgical mission to recalibrate the meter to current 1.5 volt batteries, and I deplore that method. It's not cost effective on a low priced camera AND you are still hunting for battery selections that give long life. Alkalines of any type are no solution.

Believe me, however, that the images from a good 35SP lens are worth the trouble of chasing down the solution.

As I said... me, I use the Wein Cells and tape the holes shut when the camera is not in use. The cells do not continue to activate unless air is available.

03-26-2008, 12:52
In answer to the ASA question when I was trying the meter, I had it on 400, which I always make a habit of doing first as that's the film speed I use regularly.
zuiko.com says they can convert the camera to silver oxide battery use but if the meter is not ok, they said there's no parts available, unfortunately. I forgot to ask that time if they cleaned the lenses on these, darn it! I'd forget my head if it wasn't screwed on ... like that Zuiko! :bang:

I paid a price for this to the maximum I was prepared to pay IF ALSO getting the camera overhauled, so I'm not worried about the money (I'd easily get the money back if I sold it on 'as is'), just that the camera lens can be cleaned and the camera can AT LEAST work as a manual exposure camera if the meter's kaput (I would easily keep the camera like that if the lens is as legendarily good as I've heard everywhere, including on here, and cleaned).

The cosmetics are excellent, with only one shine mark noticeable on the bottom chrome, and very light paint loss that I can take care of easily, as well as replacing the leatherette. It will look minty and classy if that's all done, and I'm happy about that aspect!

I'm probably going to get the Canonet QL17 GIII also, as I think it'll be good to use and compare rather than always wondering! If the Canonet's lens is RELATIVELY 'poor' compared to the Zuiko, well all to do then is just use it within its limits (I'm thinking print enlargement size here). I get GREAT 7x5 prints from my little Olympus Trip 35 zone focus camera with its 'lowly' 4-element f2.8, which I'm more than happy with for that size print, so maybe my expectations will be more than satisfied by a Canonet 40mm f1.7 if I don't go much larger than that for most of my work (?), whatever about the capabilities of the Zuiko 7-element. But I really want to see if I can get as good 10x8s from a rangefinder lens as my Zuiko 50mm on my OM1, which is what attracted me to the SP to try it out, as well as the fact that it IS a rangefinder camera, of course!

03-27-2008, 18:10
That battery is likely dead. You can use an alkaline 625 and adjust ISO higher (one or two stops above film ISO, for instance set it to 200-400 for ISO 100 film).

03-27-2008, 19:42
Well I went on the internet to find a company doing battery replacements for mercuries ... and found this ...

Looks like the MR-9 adapter might be a good investment (it then takes a 1.55v silver oxide 386, with no compensation required) ...

I'd be pretty happy with 1+ year longevity before replacment, along with not having to compensate the exposures at all.