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108 Shots Begin Now

One day last week, I glanced into the disaster area that is my “den” (thinking that I really must clean that mess out), and noticed a small box sitting on the floor. I don’t know how it got there, and at first glance, I wasn’t even sure what it was. Upon closer examination, I discovered it to be a of 36-exposure Lomography 35mm 400 speed color negative film3-pack dated October 2016. Hmmm… I wonder how that got there.

Anyway, I thought, “Gee, it might be fun to load that into some sort of point-and-shoot camera and see what comes out, and somewhere, I’ve got just the camera do do it with.” Today, I finally located the camera, in a box, in the basement, about three layers down — an Agfa Optima Sensor Flash model from back in 1981.

I’m not sure this camera’s ever been used. My dad got it for my mom somewhere, and over time, it ended up with me. There were even a couple of dead AAA batteries in it, which had fortunately not leaked. I popped in a new set, and dry fired it a few times, and everything might actually be working.

I’ll run the three rolls of film through, in no particular hurry, send them off to be processed and scanned, and when I’m done, I’ll share the results (unless they’re really horrible, in which case, you’ll never hear about this again).

For those interested in the camera, here are all the details…

The Agfa Optima series cameras were about as basic as you can get. This one is one of the last of the line, and sports all automatic exposure and a manual focus 40mm f/2.8 Agfa Solitar lens. There are three zone focus markings on one side of the lens that are the equivalent of about 5ft, 15ft, and “way over there,” or you can attempt to be precise and use the focusing scale on the other side of the lens. The viewfinder is not coupled to the lens, and does not give any indication of focus or exposure, though it does give a rough idea of what’s going to be in the shot, and hints at having parallax marks (sorry the picture of the viewfinder is a little soft — it was a bit tricky holding the camera and the phone and tapping the shutter on the phone app all at the same time).

Apertures range from f/2.8 – 22, and the shutter speeds go from 1/1000-1/30 seconds. There is no control over the exposure — the camera makes all the decisions based on input from the little electric eyes at the bottom of the lens. The flash folds up and down manually, and doesn’t need to be up to use the camera.

There’s also no power switch, and the shutter button is more than a little sensitive, which means that just touching the thing can trip the shutter. I’ve always been one who advances the film and cocks the shutter after each shot so that the camera is always ready. That’s a habit I may need to learn to change with this little camera.

This should be a fun little project. I’d do one with my Konica Auto S2, but somewhere along the lines, it got dropped on its nose. The lens is a bit out of whack and doesn’t focus properly, and it also seems that now the shutter is also jammed as well (it was still working at one point). I really liked that camera a lot, and if I find a great deal on one, I may pick it up “just because.”

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