Agfa Optima 1a

Here is the other of my grandfather’s cameras that I have. This one is an Agfa Optima 1a, a 35 mm camera manufactured in Germany starting in 1962. The lens is a 45 mm f/2.8 Agnar.

The meter runs on a selenium cell, which is still functional today, and offers the option of automatic exposure. The ISO can be set from 10 to 200. Focus and film advance are both manual.

It has a hot shoe so that a flash and/or an additional viewfinder can be attached to it. I have a Tully flash with a fold out reflector, and a box still containing a few of the AG1B flashbulbs that it takes.

The camera body is made of metal and plastic, and is probably a pound or so in weight. The plastic of the film door is broken, so I haven’t been able to use the camera yet, but I’ll try to improvise a repair so I can see how it works. The metal shutter moves normally and the controls feel smooth, so I imagine that once the light leak is fixed it will probably be useable. I miss mechanical cameras, so even though this is a pretty clunky camera, it would be great to have use of it from time to time.

And here is a photo of my grandfather, close to the time he would have acquired this camera.

William O. Melvin, 1965

3 réponses à “Agfa Optima 1a

  1. I love the design of old cameras. I’m sure the spareness of current cameras will seem more beautiful as time passes, too.

    • Yes, I agree. I love seeing older cameras. I think many of the current cameras are beautifully designed (and not just the « retro » looking ones!) So interesting how perspective changes … I wish I still had what I thought of as the « crummy, old camera » that I had as a kid — it was some sort of box camera from the ’40s, and I’d treasure it now.

  2. Ping : self-portraits | Photography by Tricia McDonald

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