How to Fix and Refurbish an Olympus Trip 35


I recently bought a non-working camera that was older than me. Looking around the internet, I found some help on fixing a common issue (stuck aperture blades) and how to apply some nice new skins for a modern look. I set my heart on bringing my Trip back to life and hopefully, this guide will inspire and help others to do the same.

Having picked up a faulty Olympus Trip 35 for £5, it was time to attempt a fix and refurbish to restore the camera to working condition. Top priority has to be working mechanicals but I also prepared to clean and re-skin the camera too. If you wish to undertake the task yourself I would advise the following materials and tools:

  • Small screwdrivers
  • Stanley/craft knife
  • Lighter fluid
  • J-cloths
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Cotton ear buds
  • Brasso or metal polish
  • Washing-up liquid
  • Pencil
  • Cocktail or lollipop sticks
  • Ice-cube tray to hold screws safely
  • New skin (
  • New light seals (

Now, on to the tutorial.

Step 1. Firstly, you need to check the meter is working correctly. To be absolutely certain it is, you’ll need to remove the top plate of the camera and check the needle movement. Start by removing the screw in the lefthand side under the wrist strap lug. Two more screws can be found under the rewind crank. To get to these, simply open the back, wedge something like a lollipop stick in to keep it from spinning, and unscrew the crank from the top.

Step 2. With the top off, you should now have access to the meter, or more importantly the meter needle. With no light entering the camera (cover the front of the lens with your hand), the needle will be pushed up against the viewfinder. Now point the lens to some bright light and the needle should swing to the middle. This confirms the meter is working. In that case (as with this particular camera), the fault lies with the aperture blades.

Step 3. The top can now be reassembled but be sure to clean any muck from hard-to-reach areas as you do to make cleaning the camera later a little easier. To get to the aperture blades, start by removing the bottom plate of the camera by unscrewing the two small screws. Now turn your attention to the front inner ring (with the writing on) and locate the three small screws around the rim before you remove them to set the aperture to ‘A’ and the focal length to infinity (the mountain symbol). Now loosen the three screws but do not remove them completely. The ring can now be pulled off.

Step 4. To remove the front lens element, simply unscrew it. It’s important to mark it before you move it so it can be returned into the exact same position. If not, the camera’s focus will be off. I suggest a marker or a scratch from a knife on the rim at the 12 o’clock position. Remove the lens, give it a good clean with a microfiber cloth and set it aside.

Step 5. Now you need to remove the bulk of the lens from the body. To begin, lift the wires on the bottom of the camera over the tripod thread to loosen them. Now locate the three deeper screws inside the lens and remove all three. The lens will now pull off the body exposing the middle element. Remove this and clean it also.

Now we get to the important aperture blades. Remove the screws holding it in place and start to work it with your fingers. It should open and close easily enough. Now take the lighter fluid and thoroughly clean the blades and surrounding metal. Keep working them and you should notice that they now move more freely. Leave the blades to fully dry or use a hairdryer. It’s important not to lubricate the blades as they will eventually stick again. To aid lubrication you can rub some graphite onto the blades by simply using a craft knife or Stanley blade to shave the end of a soft pencil (I used a 3B). Blow away any excess.

Step 6. With the blades now moving with ease, clean the rear lens element and trace back through your steps to reassemble the lens. Remember to align the front element as you marked it at the start. Once the lens has been assembled move the focal length dial one way then the other to make sure that the front element is rotating at the same time.

If everything looks good, it’s time for a test. The easiest test is to leave the aperture on ‘A’, cover the lens, and try to depress the shutter. If everything is now working, the shutter will not fire and a red flag will be shown in the viewfinder. Removing your hand from the lens and trying again should allow the shutter to fire.

You can also see the apertures in action by selecting them manually and either pressing the shutter half way. At f/2.8, the hole will be nice and wide whereas f/22 will have a very narrow hole. These tests confirmed that the repair in this particular camera was successful!

With the mechanics now working, you can turn your attention to the looks. Start by pulling off the camera’s current skin which should peel off quite nicely. Now locate the old messy light seals by the hinge of the door and clean these up. With the old seals removed stick the new ones in place using a cocktail stick to get to the hard-to-reach areas.

Step 9. At this point, you can give the camera an all over clean with some mild washing-up liquid and water mix with a slightly damp cloth and allow it to dry. Now polish the camera with something like Brasso liquid, taking care to avoid the parts the new skin is going to be stuck to. Depending on the condition of the camera you could use ultra-fine grit sandpaper or polish to really go to work on the camera. This is something I may look to in the future for the silver colored parts.

The new skins are relatively easy to attach. They don’t fix permanently so you can correct any errors. Be sure to get the skin right under the lens for a good fit. Now get the cocktail stick into any hard to reach areas and wipe over the skin to make sure there are no bubbles and it’s firmly in place.

Et voila! You're done!

You could go further and paint over the black painted parts that have worn over time but if you're like me and you intend on using the camera and not just keep it as a display, it’s probably not worth it. More importantly, be sure to run a cheap film through the camera to test the focus wasn’t incorrectly set when putting the lens back together. If it removed the front inner ring again, give the front element a 1/4 turn maximum and try again. Alternatively, there are more detailed instructions on the internet to help reset the focus.

This is a tutorial submitted by Community Member veato

written by veato on 2011-08-20 #gear #tutorials #camera #tutorial #olympus #tipster #clean #skin #fix #olympus-trip #refurbish #veato #aperture-blades


  1. hewzay
    hewzay ·

    Great article on probably my favourite camera. Looks good in green!

  2. motionpicture
    motionpicture ·

    That is a very cool makeover.

  3. kneehigh85
    kneehigh85 ·

    Hey - I finally got a trip off ebay and despite them saying it was in full working order I have no red flag and the aperture blades are stuck!!! Looks like I will have to do a repair. Is this easy to do? Also is it worth doing or if there is no red flag should I assume that the light meter isn't working anyway?

  4. veato
    veato ·

    It's worth doing the repair. The red flag on mine wasn't working properly until I fixed the blades. It's not too difficult as long as a) you have a tiny screwdriver for the lens assembly and b) you mark the position of the front element so when it goes back together it's still in focus. If you're not sure it could always help you out. I'm fixing another one this weekend funnily enough for someone else!

  5. desibel
    desibel ·

    Ahh thanks! I recently bought myself a €2 Olympus Pen, that seems to have the same problem as your Trip. This article got me motivated to try and fix it!

  6. indranilkol
    indranilkol ·

    Hi, I own an Olympus TRIP which was working perfectly. But unfortunately I do not know how due to tension arising from being in my bag, the lens barrel (as a whole) came off and I am terrified. I cannot fix the lens barrel into the body. Can I? Please say yes.

  7. martzin
    martzin ·

    Nice tutorial. One thing caught me off guard: A tiny ball bearing fell out, when I removed the main part of the lens assembly. I managed to work out that it sits inside the assembly to make the aperture choices click into place.
    Apart from that these instructions enabled me to fix a stuck aperture in my Trip. Nice!

  8. fotodisc
    fotodisc ·

    Great article which helps enormously to repair the camera. - In case of my Trip 35, the shutter blades did not move anymore. In the article are good hints given how to get read of the bulk of the lens; the most difficult thing for me was to lift the wires on the bottom of the camera over the tripod thread to loosen them. After I managed this, I tried to clean the blades with petrolether. Unfortunately it did not work very well. Because of this, I tried to push a thin piece of paper between the to blades and to move it in all directions to remove any dirt or fat which sticks between the blades. Bingo! Without any more petrolether - which could also contaminate the lens - the blades move as they should and the camera works properly again. I tried this 'trick' also on with my Olympus PEN EE-3 which is similarly constructed as the TRIP 35. The result was the same! Unfortunately I forgot to make any pictures of the paper between the blades - sorry. However, maybe this is of any help of other camera users!?

  9. fotodisc
    fotodisc ·

    In addition to my previous comment I like to present two pictures showing the thin paper between the two shutter blades in order to clean them. In this case the camera is an Olympus Pen EE-3 but the shutter is similarly constructed as the TRIP 35 - as mentioned before!
    /home/dietmar/Bilder 2/P1070231.JPG
    /home/dietmar/Bilder 2/P1070233.JPG

  10. tropez
    tropez ·

    Hi, really nice article! thanks! I got a 30 € camera from catawiki, they said it was working but it ha a problem with the film loading. I removed the upper part and checking the mechanism I found the screw in the "thumbwheel" broken... any suggestion about trying to find this piece?

    here you can find the screw (and many other information about repairing!)…


  11. tropez
    tropez ·

    @martzin check here about the ball bearing!…

  12. phoenix3
    phoenix3 ·

    Thank you so much for your detailed tutorial. This is my first film camera purchase and I bought it off someone who told me it was in full working order so the price reflected that. It wasn’t cheap to buy and it will be costly to send away fro repair. I am going to have a go at fixing it myself, your careful instructions have given me the confidence to tackle it. I am worried about the ball bearing though. Thanks @tropez for adding the guide, it doesn’t show the ball bearing in place, so if it fell out I would have no idea where to place it. Does anyone have a photo of the ball bearing in place? And did anyone come across any other issues ?

  13. tiwi
    tiwi ·

    My aperture blades are stuck and i have trouble removing the lens. I have a piece of glass in front of it so i can’t reach the screws. Can anyone help?

More Interesting Articles