In my never ending quest of looking for new cameras to try out I tend to mostly look for overlooked “hidden gems”, models that for one reason or another are not the focus of any attention today. One of the cameras I encountered in that search was the Agfa Optima 1035 Sensor, which Hamish reviewed here before.
It took perfectly fine pictures, but I felt it wasn’t the nicest to use and didn’t develop enough fondness for it to keep it in my gear line-up for very long. But the 1035 put my attention on its more luxurious sibling, the Optima 1535. These are much more rare and usually command a surprisingly high price, way beyond my range. Closely following new auction sites listings paid off in this case however, and one day I was able to pick up a beautiful Agfa Optima 1535 Sensor for a reasonable amount of money.
There’s one big reason why I, just like others, wanted to get this specific camera much more than any other model of its range. That’s of course the addition of a rangefinder. And I have to say, it made all the difference for me. This is where the big and bright viewfinder, for which the Optima Sensor line is known for, really shines. It feels like this is what the lower models were meant to be all along. Focusing with it is just great, among the very best I’ve experienced with any camera.
And maybe I was just getting used to the quirky characteristics of these cameras by then, but also the rest (almost identical to the 1035) suddenly became much nicer to use. Even the awful noise of the shutter and rough, plasticky film advance started to be kind of charming instead of annoying. It all just clicked together. The automatic exposure is simple and fast in use – complimenting the ease of composing and focusing very nicely. It’s a relaxing, effortless shooting process but still employing manual focus which I always find makes me engage more than any AF camera. In many ways it’s exactly what I like the most.
But alas, it wasn’t meant to be. For reasons which I won’t get into here I had to sell it. Sometimes that’s just how it is. But I know I’ll be on the lookout for another one.
Thank you for reading! If by any chance you’d like to see more of my pictures, you can find me on twitter.
And in case you’re wondering, the pictures you can see here were taken on an expired roll of Rossmann 200 (aka Fujicolor 200) film.