When you first see this camera it is an attractive little thing, when you pick it up it feels quite solid. Constructed of metal it has a 38mm F2.8 to F22 four component, five element Fujinon lens, the quality of which is stunning just as you’d expect from Fuji who always produce fantastic lenses.
Focusing is manual of course. In the bottom of the viewfinder you can see a series of four pictures; a mountain, a man woman and child in full lenth, a half body view and finally a face. To focus, a vertical line moves between these when using the focus ring on the front of the lens. Having tried this system I have to say it’s surprisingly accurate and very fast, you can of course prefocus using the zone focusing system too.
Shutter speeds are from a 30th, 60th, 125th and 250th of a second which is limiting I know but if you chose the right film for the right occasion it shouldn’t matter that much.
Originally it had a light meter but alas as usual for a camera of this age it no longer works, but it’s not a problem for me as I always use a hand held light meter. It has two exposure modes auto and manual. As the light meter does not work I use it on manual, which is my preferred mode anyway.
It feels really comfortable in your hand and handles very well. It’s small enough to fit into your jacket pocket and is really quiet when pressing the shutter. It’s a great little camera for general photography but a fantastic camera for street photography.
I had a great day putting it through its paces in Scarborough, which some people say is the jewel of a Yorkshire seaside town but living in Saltburn by the sea I probably wouldn’t agree with that! I loaded the Fujica compact 35 with Kentmere 400 asa but rated it at 200 asa, I will later develop it at 200 asa using Ilford ID11 which I will dilute 1 to 1 and develop for 13 minutes at 20°c. Although this is not the best film in the world for sharpness and grain it does match the location and the weather conditions, so the images will be gritty and grainy.
I really like the Fujica compact 35 camera and was very impressed with the results. It’s a little gem and very very inexpensive, being a Yorkshire man that makes me happy, but it also makes me think how we all sometimes equate good quality with price, it just goes to show it’s not always the case. A nice little camera like this would be ideal for someone just starting out in photography learning about exposure, aperture etc but also for those more experienced who fancy trying out film photography without too much of a financial layout.