Agfa Optima 1
This little Agfa range finder was my second camera. But it also had several firsts to its credit. It was my first 35mm camera. It was the first camera I bought with my own money and it was the first time I used colour film.
As my interested in photography grew, I wanted to move up from the Instamatic 25 to something a little more sophisticated. By this time I had started at my first job and a colleague recommended that I find a nice range finder camera. Not being able to afford a Leica, I looked around for something used but in good condition and found this Agfa.
Agfa introduced the Optima 1 in 1961. I would have purchased mine in 1969 or early 1970. It has four distance settings for focus and an f.stop range from 2.8 to 22. The Optima 1 only took films up to ISO 200, but had a clever little device for indicating a correct exposure and it didn’t require a battery.
When you took up the pressure on the shutter, a dot at the top of the range finder either displayed green or red, indicating the light level for the shot.
I still have a number of boxes of slides I took with this camera. They are all either Fujicolor, Perutz or Agfa. I don’t think I ever put any of the nearly-departed Kodachrome through it.
The Agfa Optima 1 didn’t stay in use for very long. My interest in black and white photography and developing and printing my own film was growing. By 1970, I had moved on to my first Single Lens Reflex (SLR). But that is another post.