If you're a fan of compact cameras then you're in for a treat. In this installment of Lomopedia, we look at the Agfa Optima Sensor Flash which was part of Agfa's Optima line of compact 35 mm cameras. Although dubbed the “ugly duckling” of the line due to its built-in flip-up flash that deviated from the usual styling of its other siblings in the Optima family, it's also the same feature that makes it a desirable addition to any camera collection.
The Agfa Optima Sensor Flash was the fifth model in the Optima Sensor line. It basically carried the same characteristics as earlier models, save for its aforementioned built-in flash. The signature look of Agfa Optima cameras is reminiscent of the Bauhaus movement that incorporates sleek corners and striking use of color in the camera design. Two of the most notable features of Agfa Optima cameras are the oversized shutter button painted in bright red and the curved corners of the camera. These features blend well with the stark black bodies that give the Optima series its distinct look.
Design studio Schlagheck & Schultes (now known as Schlagheck Design) was instrumental in bringing this then-modern twist to Agfa's camera design. The incorporation of various design cues and typography makes the Optima Sensor cameras distinguishable even after more than 40+ years since they were introduced to the market. This only goes to show the lasting impression they made and that is also why the design of this camera line looks modern even by today's standards.
Aside from being aesthetically pleasing, Agfa Optima cameras also carry their weight when it comes to functionality. The big, bright red shutter button houses an electromagnetic shutter that was designed to activate the meter with a half-press. It then fully activates with a complete pressing action in order to eliminate camera shake. Optima cameras are prized for their big and bright viewfinders that make framing both practical and enjoyable. New users of the Agfa Optima Sensor flash will also be pleased to find out that a warning light is present in the viewfinder which notifies the user if the current shooting condition needs a pop of flash.
Other features that make the Agfa Optima Sensor Flash stand out are its automatic shutter that calculates the shutter speed and aperture needed in every shot, the position of the flip-up flash that greatly reduces the red-eye effect when shooting, and the metal frame construction that makes it a small but robust camera. All these things combine to make a stylish, reliable, and quite interesting proposition in the form of the Agfa Optima Sensor Flash.
Sample Photo Gallery
Film: 35 mm cartridge film
Size of Picture: 24 x 36 mm
Shutter: 1/30 sec. up to 1/500 continuously, Agfa Paratronic aperture range: f/2.8 - f/22
Lens: Solitar 40 mm f/2.8 (4 lenses, single coated)
Viewfinder: Bright-line type with flash warning
Film speed range: ASA 25 – 500
Flash: built-in flip-up style
Weight: 340 g
Dimensions: flash folded: 119 x 83 x 62 mm, flash unfolded: 119 x 116 x 62 mm
Power: 2 x 1.5v AAA, battery compartment on the side
Further reading: Agfa Optima Flash Electronic Sensor: Bulky Camera, Bulky Name by community member @kissapuu