Can You Use the Olympus Trip At Night?

The Olympus Trip is a great camera for beginners and is well-known for its red flag function that stops the camera from taking photographs when it is too dark. But is it possible to use the Olympus Trip at night time or in low-light?

Olympus Trip with flash attached - can you use the Olympus Trip at night?

What is the Olympus Trip?

The Olympus Trip 35 was introduced in 1967, and discontinued in 1984, which is considered a long production run for a 35mm film camera. Over ten million Olympus Trip cameras were sold in this time. 

The Olympus Trip camera was marketed towards amateur photographers as the camera was small enough to put in your pocket and take on trips around the world. This is why it is called the Olympus Trip.

It originally came with a black leatherette, but it looks incredible in different colours. Here are some of the ones we create and sell:

Olympus Trip cameras in different colours

What is the red flag function?

The red flag function was introduced on the Olympus Trip and Olympus Pen cameras. 

It is a great feature, but a lot of people do not understand how it works. Oftentimes we get emails from people saying their Olympus Trip camera will not work, but it is usually because the red flag is displaying.

Illustration of the Olympus Trip red flag

The purpose of this Olympus Trip feature is to stop you from taking a photograph that is not exposed enough and therefore will not be visible when developed.

When there is not enough light in your image, the red flag will pop up in the viewfinder. You will clearly be able to see it if you are looking through the viewfinder. It also blocks the shutter button from being pressed.

How can I take photographs when it is dark?

The simple answer to this question is to use a flash on the camera. 

Attaching a flash to the top of the camera is easy and most flashes can be used on the Olympus Trip. It has a standard flash hotshoe on the top of the camera. 

Here is an example of a flash that can be used on the Olympus Trip:

We recommend getting a compact flash in order to make sure that you do not make the Olympus Trip camera too heavy or top-heavy so that it falls over.

How do I use a flash on the Olympus Trip?

The Olympus Trip has an automatic setting, which is what you would normally use for your daylight photography. 

However, when using a flash, there are different settings to use. These are the aperture numbers on the silver barrel of the lens closest to the camera. 

The aperture you use needs to be read off of the meter table, which is usually displayed on the back of the flash unit. 

Meter table on the back of the flash unit

This may look super complicated, but it is not. 

Start at the ASA of your film, for example, Portra 400 is ASA 400. Then read across the top to where the feet measurement is shown - this is how far away your subject is. Then read down to the aperture number in the grid. 

For example, if I used Portra 400 and my subject was 7 feet away, I would use aperture f/16.

Can I use the Olympus Trip at night without a flash?

Absolutely. There is a way to hack your way around the red flag function.

We're going to try and explain this as simply as possible. 

Olympus Trip illustration

The Olympus Trip has two fixed shutter speeds: 1/125 and 1/40 of a second. The 1/125 speed is what is used when the Olympus Trip is set to automatic. The 1/40 speed is what is used when the flash options are selected. 

However, you don't need to have a flash attached in order to select a flash aperture option.

Using a manual aperture without a flash allows you to use the camera without the red flag popping up. You need to make sure your hands are steady as 1/40 is quite slow and if your hands are moving, the images may appear blurry.

Selecting f/2.8 on the lens means you can use the camera in low-light as much as you like. The aperture will still stop down if it is going to be overexposed at f/2.8. 

Do any cameras like the Olympus Trip have a flash built-in?

The only camera similar to the Olympus Trip with a flash built-in is the Olympus Pen EF. This is a half-frame camera with fixed focus. 

Still stuck on which film camera to buy?

Try our film camera quiz. All you have to do is answer a few questions, and then you will get a list of personalised camera recommendations. 

Or send us a message on Instagram, send us an email, chat to us on our live website chat, or read some more of our blog posts!

If you like what we do, but can't buy a camera from us, please consider buying us a cup of coffee! It helps us to keep these resources free, consistent, and accessible. 

Max, owner of Cameras By Max

Article written by: Max

Max is the owner of Cameras By Max. They work full-time repairing and refurbishing all the 35mm film cameras you see on the website. Their favourite camera (at the moment) is the Olympus XA, and their favourite city in the world is Edinburgh.


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