I decided that there was no point not trying to fix my Trip 35 with the focussing problem, but knowing that I don’t have the best record when it comes to disassembling cameras, I also decided to use the least invasive method possible. Here, for the record, is what I did.
Very small jeweller’s screwdriver, flat head
One roll of film – in this case, some old HP5+ 400 that I had
A tape measure
Small tripod and cable release (you may not need either as long as you can keep the camera in the same place reliably)
I did take a test roll with the Trip to test the focussing, and it looks like I may have been wrong about the speed and camera shake. This is good in that it means I am not a useless trembling photographer, but bad in that it means that there is probably something wrong with the camera.
I took pictures of a walkway outside my flat using the four different zones, being quite careful to hold it properly. The four settings seem in practice to correspond to:
Fairly close things in focus (this should be 1m)
Things further away in focus (this should be 1.5m)
Everything out of focus (should be 3m – this is the recommended zone for the Trip, I expect it has the most useful depth of field)
Everything even more out of focus (should be infinity). Zones 3 and 4 are actually worse for distant objects than zone 2.
This is not what the distance says, and was confirmed in other pictures, which means it looks like it needs adjustment in some way. I am quite confident in my ability to take cameras apart, but I am not very confident in my ability to put them back together again. Trips are so cheap, though, that it barely seems worth it to send it off to somebody to get it fixed – the cost would be about the same as a fully refurbished one from, say, Trip Man. Plus I really need to spend less on cameras.