Kodak 35 Rangerfinder – First Thoughts

While on a visit to our local antique shop, I noticed an interesting looking camera next to some not interesting plastic point and shoots. The price seemed pretty good, (for an antique shop), so I decided to pick it up. Even if it didn’t work, it’s still a neat looking camera for the shelf.

This Kodak 35 Rangefinder was made between 1947 and 1951. The viewfinder and rangefinder windows are separate, and really, really small… especially for a guy wearing glasses. The external mechanism next to the lens houses the components to relay the lens extension settings to the rangefinder optics. Also, this is one of those cameras that will only fire the shutter with film loaded in it… which makes it difficult to test and work out the kinks.

This camera was fun to try out, but the gears are so stiff, that it tears your fingers up trying to set the shutter speed. Plus, I think there’s something going on with the lens (see photos below). They appear to be in focus, although very soft focus, but there seems to be a strange glow around subjects and the film grain looks weird to me. The film I used was from a bulk roll of HP5 and it was developed with another roll which turned out fine, therefore, ruling out issues with development. Anyways, I’m not too worried about it… I kind of like the effect it has – very pinhole-like. Below are some photos shot with this 70 year old camera.

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