Olympus 35 SP with Kodak Portra 160

In my opinion the Olympus 35 SP is one of the best fixed lens rangefinders ever made. Far more refined than the Canon QL17 and more versatile than the Yashica Electro 35s it is a real joy to use. The lens with its G designation which in Olympus language means it has 7 elements produces sharp images with little distortion. The gallery images were shot on Portra 160 a film I have mixed feelings about Portra 160, The defining feature though of the camera is of course the spot meter from which it derives its SP name. To utilize the spot meter you use it in manual mode: The method is to select a shutter speed and then while pointing the central focus patch at what you want to meter press the rear spot meter button. The resulting EV number that you now see in the viewfinder is the value that you will want to match by altering the aperture on the lens. Now with both shutter speed and aperture set you can vary the settings by turning them together keeping the same overall exposure. For ultimate ease though you can just put both shutter speed and aperture to the A settings for Auto and shoot away pressing the spot meter as needed to override the average metering.

Originally I wrote this blog post quite some time ago and in the interim I have picked up the more rare all black version of the SP, that’s how much I like this camera model.

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