A most beautiful camera

When I decided to start shooting film again, I got very excited with my options. So many cameras out there! So many expensive cameras too. I wanted one that would not break the bank, have manual and auto exposure features and had beautiful vintage good looks too. So I decided on this beautiful camera from Fujica (now Fujifilm).

This is a small all-metal rangefinder camera with a selenium meter and auto-exposure mode. The film advance is on the base and the focusing mechanism is near the viewfinder on the rear-just where your thumb naturally rests.

I wear glasses, and I found finding the focus pretty hard with this camera. SLR’s are way easier than using a rangefinder. Half my shots were out of focus, which were a real disappointment. Maybe I just need to get used to it. (The camera, not the shooting out of focus!)

“From the solid heft of its die-cast metal body, to the soft purr of the shutter making the exposure, you have in your hands the feeling of ease and proud mystery such as you have never before experienced. Each operating control answers smoothly and swiftly to the touch of a finger. Your subject is easily focused in the a viewfinder that indicates the edges of your composition within a frame of golden light. Easily read numerals inside windows give you immediate data on your lens opening and shutter speed. The rapid-wind lever swiftly transports film to its next exposure, winds the shutter and automatically prevents double exposures…”

Fujica 35-se specifications

  • Fujica 35 SE 35mm rangefinder camera
  • Lens FUJINON 45mm 1:1.9 (6 elements in 4 groups)
  • Shutter speeds B, 1-1/500
  • Focus range 3ft – ∞
  • Shutter Fuji Synchro MXL
  • Diaphragm f1.9 – f22
  • ASA 12-800
  • Exposure modes Manual & Auto, shutter priority
  • Rear focusing wheel near viewfinder
  • Built in selenium meter cross coupled with shutter
  • Top plate focusing scale and depth of field indicator
  • Film advance lever on bottom plate
  • Self timer 10 sec
  • Filter 35.5mm, screw-in
  • Side mounted rewind crank
  • Split image rangefinder and parallax compensation
  • Manual available here
  • (Please throw Mike coffee money if you download the manual)
Fujica 35-SE (1959) Analog camera
Fujica 35-SE (1959) Analog camera
Fujica 35-SE (1959) Analog camera
Fujica 35-SE (1959) Analog camera

Fujica 35-se test shots

The proof of the pudding is in the tasting they say, so here are some shots from the first roll. For my first roll in almost six years, it is a surprise to see how everything is so soft (and how out of focus) images are with a manual focus film camera. The film was Kodak Portra 400.

Fujica 35SE Kodak Portra 400 film. Pro scan.
Carla. Fujica 35SE Kodak Portra 400 film. Pro scan.
Fujica 35SE Kodak Portra 400 film. Pro scan.
Carla. Fujica 35SE Kodak Portra 400 film. Pro scan.
Lucia. Fujica 35SE Kodak Portra 400 film. Pro scan.
Lucia. Fujica 35SE Kodak Portra 400 film. Pro scan.
Mushrooms. Fujica 35SE Kodak Portra 400 film. Pro scan.
Mushrooms. Fujica 35SE Kodak Portra 400 film. Pro scan.
Culburra Beach Fujica 35SE Kodak Portra 400 film. Pro scan.
Culburra Beach Fujica 35SE Kodak Portra 400 film. Pro scan.

Not too sure if I will keep the camera at the moment. I do have another film camera, and and another instant camera purchase I am watching on eBay. Who knows? My main beef was focusing, plus, the 400 film is way to grainy for my taste. May have to put another roll through it before I decide if it’s a keeper. Will keep you updated!

Best wishes until next time,

Don

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