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Impulse buy - Vivitar 35ES
Old 12-27-2005   #1
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Impulse buy - Vivitar 35ES

Seasons greetings, fellow RFFers. Hope you all enjoyed the holiday.

While visiting my in-laws in New Jersey I paid a visit to my former local camera shop. While there, I stumbled upon a cherry Vivitar 35ES compact rangefinder with its original case, wrist strap and warranty card. A mini bounce-flash was also included in the kit. The asking price was $90 and I concluded that it might be a good buy (did I pay too much ?). IIRC, the Vivitar 35ES is a Cosina-built kissing cousin of the highly respected Minolta Hi-Matic 7sII. I had this in mind as I handed over my $$.

Holy wow -- what a nice camera! Bright RF & VF, shutter-priority, short focus throw, compact size, near silent shutter, fast glass, glossy black paint...a perfect low-light candid and street shooter. Surprising heft for such a tiny camera. I'll try to post a few shots once I get my first negatives back.

Anybody have any user's tips for shooting with this little gem? How come the 1/125 shutter speed is marked in orange? Is there an owner's maual available on-line? I'd appreciate any input on this little camera. Thank you!
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Old 12-27-2005   #2
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If it's in such a nice condition I think that's a fair price, you should get top class results from that beauty.

What I can't help with is the manual or other questions, but be sure some people will come to the rescue soon
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Old 12-27-2005   #3
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Nice Camera! Never thought about 125 being orange, may be it has something to do with Flash sync?
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Old 12-27-2005   #4
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Maybe this link from Matt Denton's website will help.
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Old 12-27-2005   #5
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wow.. yours is in great shape... mine is nice, but probably not as minty as yours.. and I'd expect to get about $60 for mine without the case or flash.. so you didn't get screwed

it's got a very nice sharp lens, and it's a handy little size.. I keep mine loaded with b&w film and get great results
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Old 12-27-2005   #6
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Looks like you got a very good example

Not sure why the 125 is a different colour, the camera has a leaf shutter so in theory should be able to sync at all speeds.

There is a company in the UK called 'Oldtimer Cameras' that tend to keep copies of old manuals. The link used to be http://www.oldtimercameras.com/jessops/ I'm of course no affiliate or employee and have not used the service but they might be able to help.

The important thing is have fun shooting with it and share some photo's from it.
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Old 12-27-2005   #7
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How would you guys compare the Vivitar to the Olympus RC in size and performance?
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Old 12-27-2005   #8
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I can't compare my 35ES to the Oly but I can endorse this fine little camera. I enjoy using mine, for it convenience and its size. It is surprising solid for a small camera. I was looking for the XA but mine came up and I won on a low bid. $90 is a good price for all you received. You will be pleased with the results. I love the vivid color I get with mine.
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Old 12-27-2005   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbass
Seasons greetings, fellow RFFers. Hope you all enjoyed the holiday.

While visiting my in-laws in New Jersey I paid a visit to my former local camera shop. While there, I stumbled upon a cherry Vivitar 35ES compact rangefinder with its original case, wrist strap and warranty card. A mini bounce-flash was also included in the kit. The asking price was $90 and I concluded that it might be a good buy (did I pay too much ?). IIRC, the Vivitar 35ES is a Cosina-built kissing cousin of the highly respected Minolta Hi-Matic 7sII. I had this in mind as I handed over my $$.

Holy wow -- what a nice camera! Bright RF & VF, shutter-priority, short focus throw, compact size, near silent shutter, fast glass, glossy black paint...a perfect low-light candid and street shooter. Surprising heft for such a tiny camera. I'll try to post a few shots once I get my first negatives back.

Anybody have any user's tips for shooting with this little gem? How come the 1/125 shutter speed is marked in orange? Is there an owner's maual available on-line? I'd appreciate any input on this little camera. Thank you!
From this and subsequent posts - looks like you got a great find.

I would guess that the 125 is in orange so it is easiest speed to find as it is the most common used when shooting 100 ISO at Sunny 16.

Kind of the "default" shutter speed around which you adjust apeture.

For a manual, didn't see your exact model but check out Craig Catalogs - here' the immediate listing I found for Vivitar 35's:

http://www.craigcamera.com/ib_tuv.htm

Again, for $90 you cannot have gone wrong and I'm guessing you went very right!

Congrats!

George

P.S. Scroll down pretty far on that catalog page to find the Vivitar listings.

Last edited by copake_ham : 12-27-2005 at 15:39.
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Update
Old 12-29-2005   #10
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Update

Well, I got the test roll back from the processor and all my photos were underexposed by about a stop. I was bummed until I realized that I set the meter for 200 ASA but the store manager had put 400 ASA film in the camera. Whew! At least I know the meter works. I could have used a film cannister window like the one on my Bessa.

Anyway -- a few shots were OK, examples are shown below. All using available light, shot close to wide open at between 1/15 and 1/60 hand held. I am happy with the color and sharpness. I found out that you can lock the aperture by depressing the shutter release half way which helps in backlit situations. There is no way to manually set the aperture.

All things considered I'd say the little Viv is a keeper. The original light seals were awfully gummy so I replaced them earlier today (that $9 kit from Jon Goodman just keeps on going! ). The Viv should now be ready for another 30 years. I'm so enamored with this little gal that I included her in the "family portrait" of all my user cams.
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Old 12-29-2005   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbass
Well, I got the test roll back from the processor and all my photos were underexposed by about a stop. I was bummed until I realized that I set the meter for 200 ASA but the store manager had put 400 ASA film in the camera.
Wouldn't that make them overexposed by a stop?

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Old 12-29-2005   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeneW
Wouldn't that make them overexposed by a stop?

Gene
Oops...you're right. Should have said "overexposed." Thank you.

Apparently, the 35ES does not lock the shutter if the meter needle falls into the red over- or under-exposure zones. A few of my indoor test shots were badly underexposed even with the meter set 1 stop over.
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Old 12-29-2005   #13
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It's a pretty-looking cam! Did Vivitar make these themselves or did they put their label on a unit manufactured for them? Just curious.

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Old 12-29-2005   #14
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Vivitar branded the camera but I think Cosina built it -- at least the body, anyway. The shutter is a Copal unit. The lens may be from Minolta.
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Old 12-29-2005   #15
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Originally Posted by cbass
Vivitar branded the camera but I think Cosina built it -- at least the body, anyway. The shutter is a Copal unit. The lens may be from Minolta.
Looks like you found a wonderful "mutt".

It's a fine deed to take in a "stray" and give it a good home. I'm sure she'll now be a very faithful companion.

Congrats and Happy New Year!
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Old 12-29-2005   #16
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This was my first 35mm camera so it was my first rangefinder too. It has a good lens but when I bought it new in about 79 or so I was a beginner and should have shot with my glasses on it back then, I would have had a lot more sharper pix...I sold it after handling the nice new Canon AE-1 cameras. Yours looks mint, but how have you gotten around the 1.35 volt battery it wants?
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Old 12-29-2005   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob
Yours looks mint, but how have you gotten around the 1.35 volt battery it wants?
Yikes, I forgot about that. After reading your post I checked the Vivitar's meter against the known accurate meter in my Bessa R. With an SR 76 1.5 volt battery the Vivitar's meter read only very slightly higher than the Bessa R -- probably within the acceptable exposure range for print film but likely a tad too underexposed for slides. I'll have to remember to keep the Vivitar on a print film diet from now on.
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Old 12-29-2005   #18
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If it's anything like the Konica C35 Auto, a Wein cell should work fine for the meter.
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Sample of my 35ES
Old 01-02-2006   #19
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Wink Sample of my 35ES

Here I hope is a photo taken with my 35ES. We users of this lovely r/f should have our own, "Show us a sample..." like those guys with the Yashicas.
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Old 01-02-2006   #20
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yeah.. where's OUR gallery, dammit? here's my contribution.. Kodak BW400CN processed at Target
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Old 01-02-2006   #21
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Right on, fellas. Where's the Vivitar gallery?

I like the little 35ES more and more each day. I'm onto my second roll of color film and seeing both of your photos now makes me want to run some BW 400 CN through the Viv. What a nice little camera. My Bessa R is getting jealous.
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Old 01-03-2006   #22
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Wink

Brett,
It is your fault that I got my V 35ES. Thanks, the photo I posted earlier was processed by MotoPhoto here in Enid. I also ordered a CD of the negatives and that is what I posted. The scans is ok, I had to tweak the brightness a bit but overall for posting to the web, fine, and not to big that I have to reduce size or resolution. Did you take you photo outside a well-known Chinese restaurant?
We have one here in Ok that has "lions" similar to yours.
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Old 01-03-2006   #23
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The Viv 35es is a great little camera and side by side with the 7sII and Auto s3 i lucked out and got mine at a garage sale for 2 dollars WOW
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Old 01-03-2006   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Black
Brett,
It is your fault that I got my V 35ES. Thanks, the photo I posted earlier was processed by MotoPhoto here in Enid. I also ordered a CD of the negatives and that is what I posted. The scans is ok, I had to tweak the brightness a bit but overall for posting to the web, fine, and not to big that I have to reduce size or resolution. Did you take you photo outside a well-known Chinese restaurant?
We have one here in Ok that has "lions" similar to yours.
I somehow suspected that Richard.. and you're welcome

yep, my photo was outside a restaurant in Milwaukee that specializes in dim sum.. good stuff! I don't remember the name of the place, tho
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Old 01-03-2006   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbass
Right on, fellas. Where's the Vivitar gallery?
Here's an older thread from September with some sample photos. I must confess I haven't shot with the little vivitar since then.
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Old 01-06-2006   #26
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Also have a Vivitar 35ES. In fact it's almost the same camera as the Minolta Hi-Matic 7Sii and it shares the same lens. The lens design is similar to the Leica/Minolta CL 40mm f/2. It also uses the same exclusive LAK9 glass (also used in Summicrons). The optical performance and resolution are absolutely Leica-class. The Revue 400SE is also simmilar to these 2 cameras. Probably no other fixed lens rangefinder can beat this camera.
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Old 01-06-2006   #27
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I have a vivitar 35EE, with the f2.8 lens. I'm a bit jealous of yours. However, I only paid 3 bucks for the 35EE. And I have a minolta hi-matic 7 and a minolta hi-matic 7s...
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Old 01-06-2006   #28
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I'm not familiar with the 35EE, I suppose the ES en EE share the same body?
Your Hi-matics are great cameras but are totaly different from the 7sii (there's 11 years between the 7s and 7sii). You could try to find the Revue 400SE or the Vivitar 35ES, they are much cheaper and essentialy the same camera as the 7sii (and even better looking). I found my 35ES for 30 euros in absolutely mint condition.
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Old 01-06-2006   #29
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I wasn't aware when I bought my used Vivitar 35ES
that it has no manual mode - it's an AE only model.

Since it came in with a non-working meter,
mine is nothing more than an expensive paperweight.

Oh well, I *hear* it has a sharp lens...

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Old 01-06-2006   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisPlatt
I wasn't aware when I bought my used Vivitar 35ES
that it has no manual mode - it's an AE only model.

Since it came in with a non-working meter,
mine is nothing more than an expensive paperweight.

All may not be lost. I was tinkering with my 35ES a few nights ago and I discovered that if you remove the battery you can still fire the shutter at one speed (I'm guessing 1/30 or maybe 1/60). The aperture stayed wide open.

Assuming that your camera is the same as mine, you could still make photographs as long as you didn't mind shooting all subjects wide open at 1/30 (or 1/60).

Can anyone else verify this?
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Old 01-06-2006   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisPlatt
I wasn't aware when I bought my used Vivitar 35ES
that it has no manual mode - it's an AE only model.

Since it came in with a non-working meter,
mine is nothing more than an expensive paperweight.

Oh well, I *hear* it has a sharp lens...

"Excslsior, you fathead!"
-Chris-
Could it be just a loose wire? You could remove the bottom plate, if you haven't done so.
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