August 9, 2023In Blog, Film Cameras

Fujica 35-ml rangefinder camera, a 35mm delight to use and a treat to look at.

The older I get, the more I love estate sales.  I used to go to thrift shops almost every day.  Recently, at least here in Portland, I’ve noticed what used to be thrift store finds are now housed in glass at vintage shops marked up 500%.  Because of that, estate sales are my new love.  This particular camera came from an estate sale.

The camera was in decent condition when I found it, but the shutter was stuck and I had to open it up to give it a slosh cleaning in order to shoot some test rolls.  The rangefinder was a bit out of whack too, which might have been why it sat unused for so long.  Thanks to smart Japanese engineering rangefinder adjustment screws are easily accessed from under the cold shoe.

Fuji made a ton of rangefinders over the years, with a bunch of different medium format versions from 6×4.5 up to 6×9.  However, the Fujica rangefinder line was not immensely popular in the United States, so they fly under the radar a bit.  From what I understand the 35mm rangefinders, especially weren’t sold in great numbers in the U.S. so they are kind of a treat to find in good condition.

The perfect walk around camera for our morning in Astoria. Seen here with the super convenient Voigtlander VC Meter II on top.

Oddities of the line: they all have the wind lever on the bottom, focus wheel on the back, and rewind on the side.  All these things, are exactly what I love about it.  This, surprisingly, isn’t the only rangefinder camera I own with a focus wheel on the back.  The Mamiya Six folder I have also operates the same way (although it moved the film plane instead of the lens).  I really love being able to focus with just the move of my thumb, it feels much more natural on a rangefinder for some reason.

The little camera has a 45mm f2.8 lens that is nice and sharp, a characteristic of pretty much every Fuji lens it seems.  It is essentially a small view camera lens, threaded into a leaf shutter.  You set the shutter speed and aperture on the lens rings, just like you would on your large format rig.  This is, more or less, the basic set up of all the Fuji / Fujica rangefinders – slap a traditional leaf shutter lens on the front of a body and make it focus.

Some of the shots that I got from the camera are really lovely.

arista 400 fujica 35mm
Before I realized the RF was off. Also, shot on some old Arista 400 which is grainy as all get out. I like it, in spite of the unexpected results.