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Selenium meters failure rate? Olympus Trip 35
Old 09-03-2013   #1
GarageBoy
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Selenium meters failure rate? Olympus Trip 35

So I'd like an Olympus Trip 35, but I'm super weary of the selenium meter. I just don't trust them, mainly because every camera/selenium meter I've used has had dead cells. Are the chances better on the trip 35?
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Old 09-03-2013   #2
Gerry M
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I'm on my second Trip 35 and both have worked w/o problems. Maybe I've been lucky?
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Old 09-03-2013   #3
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Every single one i've ever found has had a dead meter.. unfortunately.. they do exist though just gotta make sure it's from a reliable source.
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Old 09-03-2013   #4
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2 for 2 so far with my Olympus Trips.

The ones in the trips are, I'm told, reasonably robust.
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Old 09-03-2013   #5
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I've had around eight Trips over the years and never had a problem with the meters. I'm down to my last one now though I don't use it as I've given up on film shooting.
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Old 09-03-2013   #6
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I've bought two Trips for my children both work flawlessly even with slide film. I also have selenium meters on my Rollei and a Weston Master v both are dead accurate.
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Old 09-03-2013   #7
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I have hard and my experience follows

Selenium meters that are kept cased or closed are often accurate and still functional.

Selenium meters appear to fail at a rate that is related to their exposure to sunlight or light. I have had some great experience with Selenium meters. Those good ones were very often acquired in everready cases which were always closed to stop light entry into the meter. Same goes for Selenium external meters that were cased and kept closed when not in use.

Look for a Trip with the nice leather ever ready case they came in. It will likely have a good meter.

Selenium cell meters were never really that great in low light, but for normal use in day ot day shooting, are extremely accurate if the camera was low usaga and the meter kept covered.

Often you will find Trips with the leather pouch that is clearly original. It says either TRIP or OLYMPUS on the front. can't recall which for sure. It's been a while. It's form fitting to the camera.
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Old 09-03-2013   #8
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It would be difficult to find one with an accurate meter.

My Trip35 usually underexposes by one and a half stops, so I just set a lower ISO to compensate. For example when I shoot Trix 400, I set the camera at ISO 100 and then develop normally (for EI400)
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Old 09-03-2013   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kuzano View Post
. . . Selenium meters appear to fail at a rate that is related to their exposure to sunlight or light. . . .
And humidity, and widely varying extremes of temperature. And pure chance.

Cheers,

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Old 09-03-2013   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kuzano View Post
Selenium meters that are kept cased or closed are often accurate and still functional.

Selenium meters appear to fail at a rate that is related to their exposure to sunlight or light
... or not. Selenium itself is about as prone to failure as silicone. That is, like all electronic circuits, selenium cells will eventually be destroyed by cosmic radiation, but they are by no means consumed by light. They are subject to oxidation and must be sealed - but the same is true for all photo elements. Being quite big, selenium cells (and silicone cells) are harder to seal than photodiodes/phototransistors, and being older, the sealing materials used on selenium cells often are inferior to those we use on modern photo elements. And if the seals fail, humidity and a current across the cell (the latter created by exposure to light) will speed oxidation.

There are cell makes that held up extremely well (the big round cells used in Norwood, Weston and Sekonic style pro meters frequently are still fine), and other types that rarely survived. The barrel meters (with opto-mechanical slider coupling to the film speed setting/aperture) used on many sixties automatic compacts are crescent shaped, which apparently made it particularly hard to seal them permanently, so these usually are in a poor shape by now.
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Old 09-03-2013   #11
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... . They are subject to oxidation and must be sealed - but the same is true for all photo elements. Being quite big, selenium cells (and silicon cells) are harder to seal than photodiodes/phototransistors, and being older, the sealing materials used on selenium cells often are inferior to those we use on modern photo elements. And if the seals fail, humidity and a current across the cell (the latter created by exposure to light) will speed oxidation.

There are cell makes that held up extremely well (the big round cells used in Norwood, Weston and Sekonic style pro meters frequently are still fine), and other types that rarely survived. . .
Indisputable (as your posts often are).

Cheers,

R.
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Old 09-03-2013   #12
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I was going to do a Buy-It-Now on one, then I read the description. I've got a few cameras with good, accurate meters, and a few with dead ones. Yashica seemed to do a good job of sealing theirs, but my Retina IIIC is as dead as they get.

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Old 09-03-2013   #13
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Fortunately, the Trip 35 is relatively easy to test for functionality. Cover the lens part with your hand and if the camera is wound and still fires, the selenium meter is likely dead. If the red flag shows up, it should be fine. I actually asked the eBay seller to do the test and they were willing to. Camera turned out to be fine.
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Old 09-03-2013   #14
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Cosmic radiation. Wow, something new for me to worry about. I just stopped worrying about which is better -- stainless steel developer reels or plastic. And now this. I haven't even had a chance to worry if Kodak will go completely belly up or not. Or if a rangefinder is better than a SLR. I have both, plus non-rangefinders. I rather backwards with my worrying, I guess.
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Old 09-03-2013   #15
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Quote:
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Cosmic radiation. Wow, something new for me to worry about.
It's mostly harmless. The particles pass through us all the time. Earth's atmosphere filters out the dangerous high energy stuff. Well, except for UV light
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Old 09-03-2013   #16
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I'm on my second Trip and haven't had any problems - saying that, both were in pretty good shape when I got them, and looked like they were stored well enough...
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Old 09-03-2013   #17
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Cosmic radiation. Wow, something new for me to worry about.
It takes ages - literally. But it is the one inevitable reason things electronic or organic do eventually rot, the reason why there won't be working samples to celebrate 100 years of digital cameras, and why even the most perfectly frozen mammoth can't have its DNA revived. But in terms of even the oldest selenium cells, it will only have worn away a few percent of their sensitivity, as these are big and effects on them are statistical rather than catastrophic - if they are already dead today, it is because their sealing has failed.
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Old 09-04-2013   #18
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Yes the red flag test is a good indication. I have 2 Trps and my girlsfriend´s got one, all meters perfectly. Always keep it in a dark place when not i use, and the meter could last for your granchildren to use it too. I also have 2 Leningrad 4s - both spot on. Selenium cells are not necessarily that bad.
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Old 09-04-2013   #19
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Hi,

It's not much of a problem, surely?

There's enough dealers selling them to make sure of a good one. Or buy cheap on ebay and get it overhauled by one of the specialists.

My experience is that they are all good, if chosen carefully. And like old Weston meters, I think they go on for ever and a day but need checking by an expert to be certain. I'll go along with the kept in the dark makes them OK people too without bothering about the particle physicists....

I've also seen enough posts on RFF about people buying them and sorting them out to guess it's not much of a problem. Trouble is, one person has a problem and the internet means it's believed and set in stone from then onwards. Then there's the poor performance in low light comments, which are true but irrelevant for most of us. My M2 with its meter has poor performance in low light but it doesn't bother me, ditto the M3 and so on. And "no batteries required" carries more weight with me that the low light performance...

Regards, David
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Old 09-04-2013   #20
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I have a Trip, and the meter's spot on. Similarly the XA1 I've had. I also have selenium cells on my Weston Master IV, which is very accurate, and my Gossen meter.

I think my other cameras have CdS cells, so that doesn't count.
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Old 09-05-2013   #21
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Cds fails as well, most/all cameras have parts that can fail badly. Lenses get fungus, RF's de-silver, SLR mirrors break and batteries get forgotten and attack the innards with acid.

Look in the Leica threads for what can go wrong with the best.

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Old 09-05-2013   #22
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Or buy here:
http://www.tripman.co.uk/www.tripman.co.uk/home.php
CLA'ed, reclad, new light seals etc. Surely worth the price if you want to be up and running from day one.
(I am not affiliated to the seller in any way)
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Old 09-05-2013   #23
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In my very limited experience (one camera), something else goes wrong first with the Trip 35. But I've had much fun with my one camera:



Cells can be OK with wires and contacts giving you troubles.
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Old 09-05-2013   #24
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I used to have a Trip and the meter was bang-on accurate, enough so that exposing slide film wasn't a problem at all. It came with a screw-in lens cap, so I'm pretty sure that mine had been well cared for before it came to me.
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Old 09-06-2013   #25
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Thanks
After getting a dud Olympus XA, I don't know what to get next
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Old 09-06-2013   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kuzano View Post
Selenium meters that are kept cased or closed are often accurate and still functional.

Selenium meters appear to fail at a rate that is related to their exposure to sunlight or light. I have had some great experience with Selenium meters. Those good ones were very often acquired in everready cases which were always closed to stop light entry into the meter. Same goes for Selenium external meters that were cased and kept closed when not in use.

Look for a Trip with the nice leather ever ready case they came in. It will likely have a good meter.

Selenium cell meters were never really that great in low light, but for normal use in day ot day shooting, are extremely accurate if the camera was low usaga and the meter kept covered.

Often you will find Trips with the leather pouch that is clearly original. It says either TRIP or OLYMPUS on the front. can't recall which for sure. It's been a while. It's form fitting to the camera.
Good advice. I have a Royal with built in selenium meter. It came in a leather case and is bang on. Very smart too, has dual scale and lid with a slit for daylight that flips up to expose the whole meter in poor light.
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Old 09-06-2013   #27
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It's only a matter of time.

My beloved Weston Master IV was sent to Quality Light Metric in Hollywood, who had purchased the remaining Weston Instruments stock of parts ay the time ( 1980's)

The restored meter lasted little over a year.

Other than Seconic, who found a new Selenium source— and thus saved the L-389
( Norwood ) meter.

Avoid all selenium cell meters and cameras bearing thereof.
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Old 09-07-2013   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GarageBoy View Post
Thanks
After getting a dud Olympus XA, I don't know what to get next
Hi,

In your shoes I'd get the XA repaired. You might be surprised at the result and it will then have a guarantee.

Regards, David
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Old 09-07-2013   #29
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It's hit or miss with selenium meters. My brother has a 50's Norwood director that works perfect and has never has any service. I have one just after Brockway / Norwood owned them and it works perfectly. On the other hand I've seen very few Weston meters of that vintage that work. I've seen many Rollei meters that are dead too.

I was always told selenium cells need regular exposure to light. Is this not true?
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Old 09-18-2013   #30
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Thanks, I guess I'll get another XA first and then pick up on a trip or xa1
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Old 10-11-2013   #31
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Picked up another working one at a flea market two weeks ago.
So 3 out of 3 working Trips for me.....

What I'd do with 3 Trips? Start a farm maybe?
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Old 10-11-2013   #32
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Have 3 and 2 are working.
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Old 10-30-2015   #33
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I have 4 all were cased with lens caps and the meters are fine. I found another on a market stall which had no cap or case and the meter was dead. Seems its important to keep the cell covered.
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Old 04-05-2016   #34
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Quote:
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Fortunately, the Trip 35 is relatively easy to test for functionality. Cover the lens part with your hand and if the camera is wound and still fires, the selenium meter is likely dead. If the red flag shows up, it should be fine. I actually asked the eBay seller to do the test and they were willing to. Camera turned out to be fine.
Not to bring back an old thread, but looking for answers on one I bought not long ago...the selenium cell works...red flag works, etc...BUT! No matter how bright outside, the meter doesn't work below ISO 160. So...can't use Ektar...can't force Tri-X down to 100...etc. Thoughts?
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Old 04-05-2016   #35
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Quote:
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Not to bring back an old thread, but looking for answers on one I bought not long ago...the selenium cell works...red flag works, etc...BUT! No matter how bright outside, the meter doesn't work below ISO 160. So...can't use Ektar...can't force Tri-X down to 100...etc. Thoughts?
I must have 7+ selenium meters; either on cameras or meters. Most were acquired by buying cameras and the off camera meter came with it. Mine all work, but maybe you'll just have to mentally change the f-stop (or shutter) to compensate. (As long as it is accurate at some level.)
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Old 04-06-2016   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yosemitesamiam View Post
Not to bring back an old thread, but looking for answers on one I bought not long ago...the selenium cell works...red flag works, etc...BUT! No matter how bright outside, the meter doesn't work below ISO 160. So...can't use Ektar...can't force Tri-X down to 100...etc. Thoughts?
If accuracy is still OK at higher ASA settings, and you're just after the simplest possible solution, a UV filter or two would be my suggestion. Eg set ASA to 200 and fit a one stop UV filter to the lens = ASA 100. And so on. Otherwise consider acquiring another example. Not all work perfectly, but so many millions were made that acquiring a perfectly serviceable specimen is far from impossible. My owned since new late 1970s example is still in perfect working condition.
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Old 04-06-2016   #37
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Second that and I'll add that a lot depends on the previous owner(s) rather than the meter. Luckily there are lots of people who can work on then and adjust or rebalance.

Regards, David
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Old 06-10-2016   #38
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I have 4 all were cased with lens caps and the meters are fine. I found another on a market stall which had no cap or case and the meter was dead. Seems its important to keep the cell covered.
When it's uncovered, current flows, and due to some chemical process i don't understand, the contacts to the actual selenium cell get corroded and this either stops it from working or makes it go off-calibration.

Fortunately, this can be remedied by addressing the corrosion and there are some information on the internet for resurrecting those meters.

On the Oly 35 a full stop difference can be compensated by moving (shifting) the galvanometer from it's basic position, if i recall correctly. But this will work OK if the difference is a full stop in all light conditions (high and low).
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