I have bought this Canon in the late 90’s, from a St. Albans photographic supplies shop. Cannot recall the name of it, but it was near the Abbey’s entrance, opposite side of the road. I was visiting the town for a day, just to get some shots of the abbey (of course), and also to get acquainted with the medieval architecture of one of the oldest places in England. The (mandatory almost) pint at the Ye Olde Fighting Cocks and stroll into the Verulamium site were also on the list, and as you can imagine, the first I deem the apex of my visit, as it were.
The camera was interesting enough, therefore cash exchanged hands. At the time, I was very much into vintage rangefinders, mainly Olympus; sadly, I do not have any in my collection, from that period. When moved back to Romania (yeah, I know) I have sold or given away almost my entire collection of cameras. No expensive stuff, mind, just your average vintage 35mm, a few SLR’s, rangefinders and folding cameras, some 110’s, a couple of TLR’s; it still hurts to admit that I was probably not doing the right thing.
I have to say that I haven’t shot much with this Canon A35F, although I cannot recall the true reason behind it. It must’ve have something with the annoyance of having the pop that blasted flash when light was challenging, or something like that. I am still unsure on why the camera sometimes refused to take shots in medium to low(ish) light, but I understand this is something inherent with this model. As said, no idea. But for what I paid for it, it did some good photographs, usually loaded with b&w high speed film. My go-to such film in those days was Tri-X, APX 400 or Jessops Pan 400.
The Canon A35F is a rangefinder, using 35mm film negative. It is one of the last manual focus rangefinders made by Canon, and apparently it’s design and some of the functionality is based on the Canonet 28. In my hands it seems to be a really good built camera, and gives one a good feeling when using it. The A35F thing stands for “Auto Exposure Flash”. Do not confuse it with the AF35 model, which is something entirely different.
The exposure is controlled by a CdS meter, EV9 to 17 @ 100 asa operational values. The flash is one of the interesting types (Auto tuning System), it is automatic (but pops manually), and it is interesting because the correct exposure is directly related to the distance of the object of your interest and the voltage charged by the capacitor at that time. Viewfinder is a bright one with parallax correction borders, and the double spot for acquiring the range is really easy to use.
The lens is a 40mm at f2.8, and performs really well; some vignetting may be seen in certain shots. The shutter speeds range from 1/60 (f2.8) to 1/320 (f20), which is quite all right for most instances and lighting conditions; the film speed can be registered from 25 to 400, so not a large range here. Never had any problems with this setting though, as I never put anything else than 400 ASA in this camera. It does have an over/underexposure warning, which is helpful, I guess.
Camera is powered by a single PX625, which can easily found from various producers, and the flash is operated by a single AA, 1.5v battery. Plenty of shots and flash in those batteries, the camera doesn’t seem to eat much power, as far as I recall it.