The Agfa Optima 1035 Sensor


The Agfa Optima 1035 is a small box of a camera that based on its looks could easily be dismissed as one of those cheap plastic fixed focus cameras that should just be recycled as soon as possible so they can become something useful like a cat litter box.  Looks are deceiving though and the Optima 1035 has some interesting features.  Lets start our tour though with the battery compartment which is hidden away under the film door. OptimaInside It takes three 625 batteries which can be quite expensive so while not ideal I have just used some LR44’s which can be found almost anywhere and dirt cheap.  While we are inside the back of the camera there is the film loading mechanism which is completely hidden away under a thin plastic guide/cover.  It seems to work without any issues and makes for very simple film loading much like motorized film advancing of later cameras.  When you have the back open you will also notice that the bottom spindle for holding the film canister in place pops down to facilitate the loading of the film another nice touch.  Closing the back and moving on to the top plate the defining feature is the large reddish/orange shutter button. OptimaShutter A light press of this button lights an LED on the front of the camera whos sole purpose seems to be to warn whoever the camera is pointed at that they are about to have their picture taken.  Without this the Optima 1035 might be considered a good street photography camera so I think a little black tape might fix that.  Also on the top plate is a small button that when pressed down and turned allows the film to be rewound.  Rather than using a separate rewind lever with this button set to R the film advance lever becomes the rewind lever.  The same winding action now winds the film back into the canister.  A neat little feat of engineering that allows the camera to be as compact as it is.  The last thing of note on the top is the flash hot shoe.  It has a small tab that allows the camera to ignore the flash related aperture setting on the lens until there is actually a flash mounted.  Moving back to the rings around the lens you can also find the focus ring which unfortunately is zone focusing with only two detent settings of 15/5ft between the ends of infinity and 3ft. OptimaZonefocus Although you can set it at any value in-between if you choose the  indicator needle in the viewfinder wont be pointing directly at one of the pictograms.OptimaViewfinder  And now having arrived at the viewfinder its time to mention just how big and bright it appears.  The viewfinder has a magnification of 0.78 which is well suited to the lens 40mm focal length.  The viewfinder as well as being visually large is also bright and clear with only a hint of barrel distortion and no visible colour aberrations (I can clearly read this text I am writing through it).  Finally the  tour ends with the lens and shutter.  The lens is a 40mm f2.8 Solitar with 4 elements in 3 groups and the shutter is  Agfa’s electronic Paratronic shutter with a wide range going from 15 seconds to 1/1000 second.

The images bellow from the camera were shot on Adox Color implosion film which is known for its purposeful graininess and odd colour shifts.

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