Olympus AF-10 Red 35mm Vintage Camera (1987)

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I was hoping this was going to be a review of awesomeness! The latest in a long line of my many obsessions is vintage 35mm film cameras. I’ve been scouring ebay, market stalls and charity shops for the past few weeks, as well as watching youtube videos on the world of analogue photography in 2018. It’s been really fun!

One of my latest finds, got me super excited. I picked up this Olympus AF-10 on ebay for not too much money, but unlike the vast majority of them out there, this one was red!

Launched in 1988, the TV ad for the AF-10 featured David Bailey and George Cole in one of several camera advertisements featuring the acclaimed photographer. Of course, Bailey’s was black, and mine is red, so clearly I’m cooler right?

The Olympus AF-10 is a fully automatic camera that literally does everything for you. It reads the DX coding on 35mm to automatically set the ISO, and then uses it’s own meter to correctly expose the photo through it’s 35mm f/3.5 aperture lens.

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The only buttons you get on this camera, besides the shutter button, are one for self timer, and then on my version, you can set the ‘quartdate’ on the back, which will imprint the current date or time onto the photograph, for extra retro points!

So everything was all exciting so far, the camera arrived, and was in amazing condition. I stuck a couple of AAA batteries in, and grabbed a roll of film from my fridge. Unfortunately, the camera for some reason didn’t like it… it started to wind, and then after a few seconds, would wind it back. I tried several times, pulling it to different points on the spool, making sure the sprocket holes were lined up, but it didn’t want to play.

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A couple of days later, I was at Spitalfields market and had a chat with a guy on a vintage camera stall. Between us we figured it might be because I was trying to use expired film, and the camera was being super clever and reading the date in the DX coding and chucking it out. I wanted to buy some new rolls of film anyway, so when I got home, I tried a roll of new Kodak ColorPlus, but it was the same story. This made me sad!

I contacted the Ebay seller, who assured me that he’d tested the camera before sending it. He was super helpful and said he was happy for me to return it for a full refund. The problem is that this camera is really quite rare in red, so I’m in half a mind to keep it anyway.

I’d be interested if anyone has any ideas about why the camera might not want to spool film. Everything else seems to be working fine. Leave a comment below!