8other Fujica cameras in my collection:

 

JapanFujica 35 Auto-M [1962 - 1968]

 

Overview

Fujica 35 Auto-MThe Fujica 35 Auto-M was one of a series of cameras, whose production I believe ceased in about 1968. The Auto-M is a lens barrel operated coupled rangefinder camera with an automatic parallax-correcting viewfinder.

It is capable of manual exposure set-up using a hand held meter (since there in no readout from the built-in meter), but was primarily designed as an auto exposure camera using a selenium cell electric eye. In auto mode it uses shutter priority exposure, but the selected shutter speed will be overridden, when necessary, by what is described in the camera's user manual as the computer. If the aperture cannot open wide enough at any pre-set shutter speed, then that speed is automatically lowered. Conversely, if the aperture cannot close small enough, then that speed is raised. Where the lighting conditions fall outside of the camera's exposure range, the shutter release button locks. Keeping the shutter release half pressed also locks the exposure setting.

Notable for an early 1960's camera, it features an EV adjustment control (+1/-1 in 1/3rd increments), to allow for adjustments to auto-exposure settings (such as bracketing). The film advance is by a lever located on base, to the user's right. The rewind is unusually on the side of the camera. The lens is also slightly odd with a focal length of 47mm.

I have not been able to establish the cost of the Fujica 35 Auto-M when new, but a 1965 copy of Popular Photography advertised the camera at $100, which was probably more than 2 weeks average UK pay.

 

 

Specifications

Viewfinder: Coincidence rangefinder integrated with reversed Galilean viewfinder. Automatic parallax correction with projected bright-line frames.

Focus: Coupled rangefinder with manual ring on lens barrel.

Lens: Fujinon-R 47 mm (4 elements in 3 groups).

Close Focus: 2.7' (0.8m).

Diaphragm: f/2.8 stopping down to about f/16.

Shutter: Copal Magic B, (no slow speeds), 1/30 to 1/500 plus B. Built-in self-timer. M-X sync contacts.

Cable Release: Standard socket in shutter release button.

Meter: Coupled.

Exposure: Selenium photocell for controlled automatic shutter speed-priority, plus manual, and separate auto-exposure compensation control.

Film Speed: From ASA 5 - 200.

Filter Size: 35.5mm screw fit.

Flash: Cold shoe and PC terminal. M and X sync.

Film Advance: Lever.

Frame Counter: Counts up. Resets automatically when camera back is opened.

Rewind: Camera-side mounted collapsible crank, and rewind selector switch on base of camera.

Back Opening: Sliding lever.

Size: 132mm (w) x 90mm (h) x 73mm (d).

Weight: 720g.

 

My Camera

I bought this Fujica 35 Auto-M in October 2014 for £9.99 (less £1.00 for resale of the unwanted case, making the cost £8.99).

It's a model I did not become aware of until recently. I must confess to being a bit of a fan of Fujicas. Many of their cameras had advanced features - for their time - and I think this model is a little beauty. The styling may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it has a true retro look. It certainly has a very solid feel to it.

My camera is in good condition, and most importantly the metering system seems to work. At the risk of stating the obvious, the way to check this is by tripping the shutter (at a low speed) with the back open, under varying light levels, so that the aperture diaphragm can be seen opening to differing f-stops. Unfortunately the rangefinder alignment is off, and the wind lever doesn't return to its rest position unless cranked forcibly so that it springs back. The frame counter advances intermitantly, and the light seals need replacing, but that's a job I'll get to as and when I have the courage to investigate rangefinder adjustments.

Note that the lens aperture ring cannot be rotated out of the auto position until the film has been wound on, and a locking lever (on the lens barrel) depressed. For this reason, Fujica 35 Auto-Ms are often misdiagnosed as not working. Also, I've found that a 49mm snap-on lens cap is a perfect fit for this camera.

 

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