5 frames with...

5 Frames with an Agfa Optima 335 electronic – by Dave Donnelly

I have a reputation for collecting film cameras so when my sister-in-law’s friend said her husband wanted a good home for some gear I didn’t hesitate to pop over and look. Well 20+ cameras later and a load of darkroom equipment, including a copying stand that just fitted in the car my collection had swollen somewhat.

As well as a couple of Zorki 4’s ,Olympus XA2’s there are quite a few less common cameras in the collection, including an Iford Sportsmaster with four shutter release buttons plus an Agfa 335 Sensor electronic. The Agfa intrigued me as I hadn’t seen one before and the design is unusual.

I decided I would like to put a roll through the Agfa, so battery contacts, lens and viewfinder cleaned plus batteries sourced and I thought this would be an ideal camera to use on the recent Beer and Cameras walk that Hamish organised not so long ago in the centre of Birmingham.

I put an unbranded out of date 24 exposure colour film in although I normally shoot B&W so the risk factors were increasing.

The Optima 335 has a f3.5 40mm Agnatar lens and three zones for focusing and a stepless shutter speeds from 1/30th to 1/300th. It has a distance scale on the underside if you are not sure about which focus zone to select.

The camera is unusual in that the cassette goes in the right side and a small flap   in the base drops to allow the cassette to be inserted and you turn a small knob on the top when finished to allow the film advance lever to wind the film back into the cassette which all adds up to a compact and neat design.

The day of the walk the lighting was quite flat, however overall I’m pleased with the results and focusing using the zone system. The shot of the graffiti artist (below) didn’t have quite as much of what I thought I had in the frame but that’s parallax for you!

I had the film processed at our good friends AG photographic/photo labs in Birmingham and when I received the negatives and 6×4 prints in the post it brought back memories of the Bonus and True Prints days of old and the anticipation of does the camera work, was the film loaded correctly and are any sharp!

I scanned the negs on my Epson V500 and have done some very basic adjustments and I’m quite pleased with the camera results.

Only 19 other cameras to go….

Grafitti artist

Wheel, no bike !

She’s got…

Trolley man

Here to create


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  • Avatar
    July 19, 2018 at 5:22 am

    Shots are good, they have some good vibe and you have good eye for composition. I like the colors also. I was thinking of getting this camera from local “ebay” but was sceptical how the shots will turn out (as always with old, long time unused cameras). This is a reminder to be more brave 🙂

  • Avatar
    Nigel Cliff
    July 26, 2018 at 6:27 pm

    I’ve got a 1535 that needs a roll running through it so hopefully will post about that once they’re done

  • Avatar
    Matt Byrne
    August 19, 2018 at 11:54 am

    I saw one of these in a camera store last year and I’ve been in love with the design ever since. I really should get one, but I’m not a film shooter. Just a GAS addict that likes how they feel in the hand, how they look. How they last the test of time.

  • Avatar
    March 16, 2019 at 12:06 am

    They’re a very versatile camera, I’ve had mine for quite a while now and put about 4 rolls through it, give it plenty of light and rewards you with rich colours, tack sharp focus, and ease of use. It’s not an amazing lens but it is capable of more than it lets on. I love it, the shutter noise is a little…. Interesting however!

  • Avatar
    September 11, 2019 at 12:42 pm

    I have the super rare 1535 version, the only one with a rangefinder fitted. The only thing I had to do apart from get batteries was adjust the rangefinder which is easy as there are external adjustment screws.

    Only put two rolls of film through it so far but it does a very good of exposing correctly and the lens is tack sharp.

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