The Canon A35F was a fully automatic rangefinder camera sold in 1978. With a sharp and light Canon 40 mm f/2.8 lens and a very nice black metallic body, the A35F was the first camera to feature a built-in automatic flash (A35F stands for Automatic (exposure) Flash). It’s compact and doesn’t weigh a lot (it’s just 500 grams), so it’s perfect to take with you for some street photography.
I 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 rangefinders and SLR cameras were sold at dumping prices. I think I paid about € 2.5 (about 3.5 USD). 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 the front is a real eye-catcher. It looked like a quite recent camera to me, with some kind of a retro look. Surprisingly, this camera was already released way back in 1978 so I’ll let you do the math!
This camera is the bridge between the old Canonet and the more recent Sure Shot models. It definitely took over the look of some of the old Canonets. Only one year after the release of this A35F model, the AF35 model was released (the first automatic focus Sure Shot camera), which makes this camera a bit forgotten. On the other hand, I don’t think this camera would cost you a lot when bought second hand as it doesn’t have a big “status” among photographers or was as well known as the Canonet.
The A35F’s ISO range goes from 25 until 400 and its 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 in and have to wait for a few seconds until it is charged. In my sample pictures, I included one image taken with the built-in flash. I was at a concert in a relatively dark room and quite far from the stage. 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:
- 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 the light is hitting the CdS cell, power is being used.
- 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.
- If you buy this camera, chances are rather high that the light seals will need to be replaced. Mine was quite sticky (not easy to open the back of the camera) and needed to be replaced. Although 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.
This review was submitted by Community Member bonzo.