This is the Konica C35V, it’s small, it’s light, it’s brilliant.
If my history lessons have served me right, the Konica C35 series was launched back in the late 1960s as simple, point-and-shoot cameras for the general public. The term “General Public” usually means that the cameras will be very simple and devoid of manual controls and other bells-and-whistles.
The C35V is the simplest of all the C35 series. It lacks a self-timer (the “V” badge replaced its place), it lacks the flash guide numbers present in the other C35 series, and it only offers zone-scale focusing unlike its brothers that employ rangefinder focusing.
Nevertheless, that’s the whole point of the C35V – simplicity.
You load the film as you’d normally would in most film cameras, set the ASA/DIN rating knob at the front of the lens (maximum of ASA400), pre-determine your focus range, then shoot.
The Konica C35V (like all of the other C35 series cameras) comes with a 35mm f/2.8 lens. Right on top of the lens is a metering cell that’s powered by a PX675 battery, which is no longer available due to its mercury content. You can use an Energizer Zinc-Air hearing aid, size 675 (blue) batteries with no problems at all as it produces 1.35V as well.
Speaking of batteries, when I received the camera from the seller, it was shipped with a 1.5V watch battery, while it did work, it caused erroneous meter readings and underexposed my first two rolls by roughly half to 3/4 stops. Theoretically, I could’ve just dialed a lower ASA setting in cam than the actual film used, but I’ve already bought the Energizers when I saw my negatives.
Metering display can be seen through the viewfinder using a traditional needle display. The viewfinder shows the approximate shutter speed of the camera and tells you if the lighting condition will require flash to be used. Based on the display, my guess is the C35V assumes any shutter speed below 1/30 of a second will require a flash unit as 1/30 seems to be the camera’s slowest shutter speed.
You can adjust your aperture settings from f/2.8 to f/16, but I believe that those settings are to be used as flash exposure control only, meaning the C35V will be set to its flash-sync speed only. Most of the time, you leave it on “Auto”.
Having said that, there’s no stopping you from shooting an under or over exposed shot as the shutter will trip regardless of what the lighting is.
Focus is set by selecting four preset distances, 3.5 feet, 5 feet, 10 feet, and infinity – with matching pictograms for the numerical estimates. It’s amusing to see those pictograms through a small, triangular window when you look through the viewfinder. Focusing accuracy will be a relative challenge for close distances (3.5-5ft) as the depth-of-field control is absent, but as long as you know how far 3.5ft is from the camera, chances are you’ll get a decently sharp shot.
I strongly suggest using ASA400 film in most cases due to the lack of exposure control. The C35V doesn’t have exposure lock when you half-press the shutter, so you’ll need the latitude to expose high-contrast scenes properly.
The C35V is very small, it’s about the size of one-and-a-half credit cards in length and can easily slip into your jacket’s pocket. Unlike most point-and-shoot cameras of the late 80s, you can attach an external flash unit and have a fast lens in such a compact camera. It is well built and finished with a matte silver coating (black is available as well). You have to watch the finish though, as it scratches quite easily especially the areas near the rewind knob because the lever barely scrapes the top cover if you’re not careful.
I can’t comment on the flash performance as I don’t have an X-14 flash unit yet.
The C35V is really silent. It uses a Copal leaf shutter like most rangefinders from this era. It’s a nice, discreet little camera to bring for daytime street shooting as it only emits a light “click” sound when pressed.
I got this camera from an eBay seller for a measly $20 plus shipping. The copy that I got was in excellent condition. No light seal problems, no scratches, no mercury battery corrosion, barely a scuff. Even the baseplate sticker was intact. Only the plastic battery cover had some marks, but that’s expected.
Here are some photos I’ve taken with the C35V.
It’s a wonderfully compact, light, and capable camera to bring along vacations and street shooting. The build quality is decent, the design is clean and classy, the performance is very respectable – overall, an excellent value for your collection.
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