The Canon A35F is a fully automatic rangefinder camera from 1978, with a sharp light lens Canon 40/1.28 and a very nice black metallic body. It’s the first Canon camera to feature a built in automatic flash (A35F stands for "Automatic (exposure) Flash). It’s not big and doesn’t weight a lot (500 gram), so it’s perfect to take it out with you for some street photography.
I’ve bought this camera about a month ago at my local Thrift Store. It was the annual “theme-day”, and this year’s theme was photography. About 300 analogue rangefinder and SLR camera’s were sold at dumping prices. I think I paid about €2,5 (about 3,5$).
The first thing that I noticed was the look of the camera. The total black finish is kind of nice, and the yellow F on front is a real eye-catcher. It looked like a quite recent camera to me, with kind of a retro look. Surprisingly, this camera was already released in 1978, I’ll let you do the math!
This camera makes the bridge between the old Canonet and the more recent Sure Shot models. It definitely has the looks of the old Canonets. Only one year after the release of this A35F model, the AF35 model was released (the first automatic focus Shure Shot camera), which makes this camera a bit forgotten. On the other hand, I don’t think this camera would cost you a lot second hand as it doesn’t have a big “status” or is as well known as the Canonet.
ISO range goes from 25 until 400, focus range from 0,80 until infinity. I already mentioned that the A35F has a built in flash. Unfortunately, this also means that there is no hot shoe for an external flash. In my opinion, there’s no need for an external one. The built in flash uses 1 AA battery. You pop it up and have to wait some second until it is loaded. In my example pictures I included one picture taken with the built in flash. I was at a concert in a quite dark room, not near the stage at all. I’m quite happy how that picture turned out.
I could only find three minor downsides on this camera, all three of which could be easily fixed:
1. One thing to take care of is that there is no off switch for the exposure system (except for the lens cap or putting the camera in a dark case). If light is hitting the CdS cell, power is being used.
2. The exposure metering requires a 1.35 Volt Mercury cell battery. These can’t be found anymore today, but can be easily replaced by hearing aid cells or a 1.5 Volt cell. I’ve read from various people that the difference in voltage doesn’t affect the metering for this camera.
3. If you buy this camera, chances are rather high that the light seals will need to be replaced. Mine are quite sticky (not easy to open the back of the camera) and should be replaced too, but when my camera is closed I’m at least sure that no light comes in! I also couldn’t detect any leaks in my pictures.
But of course, I don’t think any of you Lomographers would mind about some leaks!
If you would have the opportunity to pick up this camera, I would suggest you don’t sleep on it. I’m completely in love with it after shooting this first roll of film. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves, but I will absolutely take it out with me on further trips.