GAF memo 35ee

This is one more in the series of auto exposure rangefinders that came out of Japan in the 1970s. This one is branded GAF, which I think used to be Agfa – another venerable German name in photography that didn’t survive into the age of cameras for the masses. Even the Memo name dates back to the 30s, I think, to a line of Bakelite viewfinder cameras from Agfa.

The memo 35ee is actually a clone of the Chinon 35ee. The camera was also produced under the Prinz and Porst names, and I’m sure a couple of others. The camera comes with the standard 38mm lens(by Chinon)  but at f2.7 for some reason, instead of the more common f2.8. The camera handles well, just like all its sister models, fits nicely in the hand with all the controls where you’d expect them to be. The one design miscue – common in cameras of this age – is that the film speed adjustment is inside the filter ring. It’s fiddly enough as it is, but can’t be changed if the lens has a filter screwed in.

For some reason, I’m collecting rangefinders with 38mm lenses. I have several similar models, all picked up for under $30, and all more than competent picture takers. The lenses are reasonably sharp, turning out good color and sharp black and whites. They’re also small enough to carry in a jacket pocket, and can be virtually hidden in your hand. Very inconspicuous. I usually keep one in my car or my briefcase, and take one along as a back up when I’m hauling around a more worked up camera. The best of the lot so far have been the Konica C35 and Olympus 35 ED. The Konica lens is very sharp, while I liked the way tB&W photos came out with the Olympus.

The battery compartment for this camera had some corrosion, and the meter was balky at first. This was easily fixed with a little vinegar, and now the meter works just fine. The sample photos were shot with Fujicolor Superia 200.


2 Responses to “GAF memo 35ee”

  1. Thanks. I really like shooting these compact rangefinders from the 70s. They don’t give you much control, but they’re quick shooters and do what they’re supposed to do well.

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