5 frames with...

5 Frames With an Aires 35-IIIL – By Arran Saunders

Now almost a forgotten and fairly unknown brand, Aires was once a promising Japanese camera manufacturer, operating in the 1950s and making a number of 35mm rangefinder cameras. By 1960, however, its factory doors had shut and production halted after a myriad of poor-selling models. It’s generally accepted that a failed attempt to transition into SLR style cameras whilst being overshadowed by larger companies led to this unfortunate ending.

I managed to purchase my Aires 35-IIIL from eBay for around 60USD. Equipped with the H Coral lens (4.5cm, f1.9), it’s a fixed lens rangefinder. While evidently inspired by contemporaneous Leica models, most Aires cameras have a particular charm to their design. I found myself fascinated by the company’s history and began to trawl the Internet for more information. I read that while earlier models generally had slower lenses, the 35-IIIL sat somewhere in the middle with more advanced models such as the 35-IIIS even including a selenium bulb light meter, and the 35-V adding a system of interchangeable lenses.

Despite the company’s short-lived history, the 35-IIIL is not only is built extraordinarily well but also has a lens that produces images of stunning sharpness and effect. After putting a couple rolls of film through it I began to appreciate more the virtues of using a fixed lens camera; something I was initially apprehensive of. Being relatively new to film photography, I struggled at first with the rangefinder style focussing, primarily because age had significantly dimmed the rangefinders lines. However with some practise I really started to enjoy and develop a fondness for this unique camera.

These 5 photos were taken in either my home city Hong Kong or on a brief holiday to
Hanoi on Fuji C200 or Fuji 100 film.

Arran Saunders
instagram.com/arransaunders97

 

Do you enjoy reading 35mmc?

For as little as $1 a month, you can help support the upkeep of this website. The more people chuck me a small amount of cash each month, the more time I can spend building and improving upon it - simple as that!
Or, for $2 a month you can get access to my behind the scenes micro-blog over on Patreon!

Either way, want to help out, become a patron of 35mmc here:

Become a Patron!

Alternatively, if you just enjoyed this post, or like the odd post here and there, please feel free to chuck a few pennies in the tip jar via Ko fi here:


Write for 35mmc: read more here, about how you can help build upon this ever growing resource
Subscribe/Follow: click here, to discover all the ways you can follow 35mmc

Advertisement

You Might Also Like

8 Comments

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Simon
    March 9, 2019 at 9:14 am

    Great images, especially the railway line.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Thorsten Wulff
    March 9, 2019 at 9:37 am

    Very nice, thank you Arran!
    Never heard of Aires before.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Steve Scarlett
    March 9, 2019 at 4:49 pm

    Nice shots, Arran. I have the Aires Viscount with the same lens. Unfortunately the rangefinder patch has vanished so I only use it rarely nowadays as a zone focus machine. It is an excellent lens though! I think Aires made some TLRs too.

    • Avatar
      Reply
      arransaunders
      March 9, 2019 at 5:05 pm

      Hi Steve,

      I had the same problem with both of my Aires rangefinders. I found a neat little trick to help solve the issue almost entirely though – if you put a small black patch of tape or something in the centre of the viewfinder, right where the rangefinder patch shows up, it makes it a lot more clear. Basically the rangefinder patch which would otherwise be too dim to compete with the viewfinder now has no light behind it, and it becomes a lot more clear. You can actually see my small patch in the photo of the camera.

    • Avatar
      Reply
      steve scarlett
      March 15, 2019 at 10:37 am

      Hi Arran, thanks for the tip — but when I move the focus my rangefinder patch (when I can make it out !) just doesn’t move the image at all. I guess something inside is disconnected. May get a technician to look at it sometime, but too many cameras for it to be near the top of my to-do list !
      Cheers, Steve.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Larry Posavad
    March 9, 2019 at 5:24 pm

    Those are very loooong images. Is this a half frame camera?
    Great pictures. The train track would make a great poster.

    • Avatar
      Reply
      arransaunders
      March 9, 2019 at 5:39 pm

      Thanks! Nope its regular full frame

  • Avatar
    Reply
    GrahamHO
    March 9, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    I remember Aires as a good camera in the mid 50s. They got overtaken by Nikon, Canon, and Asahi Pentax SLRs. Nice Hanoi rail photo. Been there but didn’t see that.

  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Pin It on Pinterest

    Share This

    Thank you for commenting

    ...now share the post with your friends?