Christopher
Stoll

1979 Agfa Optima 1535 Sensor

1979 Agfa Optima 1535 Sensor
Year
c.1979
Make
Agfa
Model
Optima 1535 Sensor
Type
rangefinder
Film
135 (ISO 25 – 500)
Lens
Agfa Solitar S 40mm ƒ/2.8
Apertures
ƒ/2.8 – ƒ/22
Speeds
1/1000 – 15s
Meter
CdS
Battery
3x A625PX
MSRP
300 DM (equal to $600 in 2021)
Condition
6F (received) / 6F (current)

The Optima 1535 Sensor must not have sold well, or the people who still have them don’t want to get rid of them, or some combination of those factors, because I have not seen these cameras come up for sale very often. It’s a shame too, these are really great little cameras. The Optima 1535 is larger than an Olympus XA, and its protruding lens means it doesn’t easily slip into a jeans pocket, but it is still very light and portable. Unlike those ever popular subcompact cameras, the viewfinder on the 1535 is large, bright, and has a well defined rangefinder patch.

It is also very easy to load the film on this camera, you just pull out the film leader, tuck it under a flap on the other side of the camera, close the back, and give it a wind. That simple loading process also gives you two or three additional frames per roll. Rewinding of film is a little unorthodox. There is a button on the top of the camera that gets turned to “R”, then the film advance lever is used to un-advance the film. It feels odd, but it works well.

I would recommend this Optima 1535 Sensor, if you can find one. It has a wonderfully simple Bauhaus inspired design. The lens is very sharp. The large viewfinder makes it good for people with glasses. The film transport system makes film usage highly efficient. And, it is compact enough to easily be tossed in a bag and just carried along. It’s a wonderful camera.

According to a contemporary advertisement

Agfa
Optima Cameras, the
Perfect Choice for a
First or Second Camera

Agfa – Preferred By Those Who Know

The Viewfinder

The viewfinder is simple and the framelines are not coupled, but even in the poor photo below you can clearly see the rangfinder patch in the middle. The viewfinder is large enought that it can be comfortably used while wearing glasses.

Simple but large viewfinder window
Simple but large viewfinder window – iPhone 8

Images from this Optima 1535 Sensor

Sounds from this Optima 1535 Sensor

Film wind and shutter cock
Shutter release