Sunday, August 26, 2007

Fujica 35EE (1961)

Occasionally, a camera comes along that is just wilful but brilliant in its design. The Fujica 35EE is one such camera:

At first glance, it looks unassuming enough. Clearly a rangefinder camera. The grid-like square suggests some kind of batteryless selenium-based exposure meter. There's dials round the lens, probably for focusing and aperture:

Closer inspection, oh look, there are the aperture settings - not phased at all. I set an aperture, take a look through the viewfinder. How do I set the speed of the shutter? and where do I find information about what speed to set it to?

Yes, that's right, the shutter speed dial is built into the lens and the exposure meter readings is given in a little window on the top of the camera. There's no focusing mechanism on the lens though. How do you focus? Ah ha, it turns out it's done with that little metal thumb wheel which simultaneously rotates that little disk with all those numbers on it - yes, that's right, there's a dedicated dial to display depth of field values at any given distance and aperture... Gosh...

And, now, I've focused, selected my shutter speed, selected my aperture, and am ready to take the shot. I gently squeeze the shutter button next to the exposure meter. It doesn't fire. Of course, you have to wind on the film. Where's the wind-on lever?

On the bottom...with a built-in reminder dial about the kind of film you've got in it. There's a cute little frame counter next to it to. And a tripod mount. Handy. The reminder dial reminds me that I've not set the ASA speed. Where's that?

And, yes, that is the film rewind crank sticking out of the side of the camera... Did I mention that you get shutter priority mode, despite not having a battery? That said, there may, actually be a battery compartment somewhere that I've not found...

I can't help but reminded of a certain crab...


Blogger Mark said...

What a beautiful camera. Looks like they tried to forget all the conventions of camera design and in the process created something really special. I'd love to have a play with it.

7:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautifull camera. Gorgeous design. The shutter priority mode works without batery because works with the energy produced by the celenium cell used on light meter. The same galvanometer drive the photometer nedle and move a lever selecting diferent f stop apperture in auto mode.

2:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just bought one of these bad boys. It's such a revelation after digital and I have to say a joy; although I haven't seen a processed shot yet. ;)

Fun, fun, fun.

11:07 PM  

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