My friend Bruce and I both got the same camera the same week! So we decided to shoot them straight away and pool our thoughts.
This is what Bruce had to say –
“I recently came into the ownership of one of the smallest rangefinder cameras ever made. It has the distinction of having an auto setting and also fully mechanical, manual setting. The manual setting comes in handy when your battery runs out of oomph or you prefer using a light meter or sunny 16. The meter is very good as it seems to be centre weighted. The battery is another story as it needs the dreaded 1.35v battery. I had a Wein 1.4v battery which I put in and found that it worked well. Alternate get-arounds are to use a 1.55v battery and adjust the ASA to compensate or get an adapter which pulls the voltage of the 1.55v batteries down to 1.35v. The day I first used the camera was a typical Nov day in Vancouver, dull and threatening rain. Of course as soon as I finished the roll the sun peaked out for a few minutes.
The camera was easy to use, set it on A, focus and shoot. It is truly a pocketable camera, you would be able to put it into a large coat pocket. The only thing I found a problem was the focus. On this, over 50 year old camera, the viewfinder appeared fairly bright but the rangefinder patch was difficult to use. Infinity was fine but I did use some distance estimating for the closer pictures. On the discussions I found online this was mentioned and a cleaning was said to return it to new. I think that this camera deserves that and that is what I will do.”
As for my thoughts on the camera? Well as I think I’ve mentioned before this style of camera (small point and shoot rangefinders) are more Meghan’s thing but I have this sweet rainbow strap that I need a camera for…. I know, I know it’s backwards of me to be looking for a camera for my strap rather than a strap for my camera…. but hey…. So I took the Olympus 35RC out, on a day I didn’t think I’d see anything “good” , causing me to regret my camera decision (it was grey, rainy and I was assisting on an engagement shoot). However, I did actually find some very good subjects and then in turn was annoyed I didn’t have a “real” camera with me and worrying I didn’t get the shot. This might have not been the case had I been brave enough to use the auto setting (and remembered to put a battery in it), then I could have just worried about focusing the darn thing and I wouldn’t have been fretting over my exposure. I found using this camera on manual mode in ever changing cloudy, rainy, sunny all at once Vancouver weather and using the foggy focus patch was just too much for my stunted brain to handle.
All of that aside…on paper the camera is pretty good (if you’re into this sort of thing). It has a fast 42mm f2.8 lens and a standard range of shutter speeds- B, 1/15, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250 and 1/500. It’s quite pocket-able, despite its rainbow strap – I found shoving it in and out of my winter jacket pockets to be a efficient way to shoot between rain drops. When I got my photos back I was shocked! They were exposed correctly AND so frickin’ sharp! All thoughts to sell it forward flitted from brain. Perhaps after trying many a rangefinder point & shoot I’ve finally found my jam! and then for once Meghan will be the one ogling MY point & shoot rangefinder pictures…
Since I ended up actually loving this little camera, one of our lovely customer friends kindly re-skinned it for me with SPARKLY black! Rainbow strap and sparkle body?! Yes.
Here are Bruce’s shots…
And here are mine!