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© 2003 by art silvermoon / all rights reserved
Agfa Optima Sensor

Originality from Germany >> 中文

[english version]
This camera stands out with its originality.

The most distinctive element is apparently the over-sized red button. If there's a ranking for the size of shutter button, this has to be at the very top. Yet that's not all. The moment I tried the camera, I was amazed how big & bright the viewfinder is--magnification ratio is 0.78X! Would've been simply perfect if aperture/shutter speed were displayed... how such generous parts fit into the tiny body is another wonder--my hat off to the Agfa design dept.

Other unique features including:

  • Advance lever also works as rewind lever
  • Tripod socket is also where to screw mount strap
  • Bottom flap for quick unloading of film
  • Built-in shade inside protects the exposed negative in case the back is accidentally opened.

    - In actual use -
    Basically, Agfa Optima Sensor is designed for carefree shooting. Just set the focus zone, point, and press the red button, then the camera will take care of the rest. Test results from my 1st roll show the consistency of its AE system, and the guessmatic zone focus works surprisingly well for me. For those who love "manual control" there's still charm with this one. Zone focus with 3 symbols certainly assures quick snap fun, while the extra 8 distance marks* offer fine tuning when more time allowed. Manual setting ASA means exposure compensation is no big problem(I did this a lot--about 25% of the whole roll). No built-in flash(means no flash firing when not intended!). The hotshoe is nicely built into the top plate, without any obtrusive point. Great for carrying. In flash mode the shooter decides the aperture. ...
    --to be continued--

    NEWS: Got Optima Sensor 1535 and 1035 finally! Given the very similar look throughout the series, one might wonder why buying the extra two? The thing is that, each of these models have interesting points of its own. Sensor 1535 has a real rangefinder and is relatively rare. Sensor 1035, though seemingly identical to my Optima Sensor, has the bonus of a self-timer and distance symbols in viewfinder. The lens coating seems slightly different, too.


  • Battery type: Optima Electronic Sensor, Sensor 1035, 1535 all take the readily available 1.5V V625U alkaline batteries.
  • Fast Film: Modern 400ASA films are best friends of zone focus cameras. Use them for higher shutter speed & more DOF.
  • Flare: Like many other cameras from the old days, it is prone to flare in direct light.
  • Rewinding: The wind/rewind lever is ingenious but not all that smooth in my experience. Better be cautious during rewinding and open the back only in the dark. (update 2004/12)

    [chinese version]
    初見此機,最搶眼的特徵便是那橘紅色的超大快門鈕。如果舉辦一個快門鈕size排行榜,Agfa Sensor系列肯定名列前茅。但是驚喜還在後頭;進一步觀察,我們會更驚訝的發現,它的觀景窗真是超大超明亮!放大率居然高達0.78x!如果能顯示快門/光圈數值,那簡直近乎完美了,而這樣奢侈的重裝備,竟然收納在一個極小巧的機身裡,教人不得不佩服Agfa design dept.的功力。 其他獨特的設計還包括:
    a) 過片桿兼作回片用 b) 腳架孔兼作腕帶接口 c) 電池室隱藏於底片室中 d) 過片時底片即向左捲入內建暗盒,預防意外曝光 e) 熱靴隱藏於上方面板中,保持外型平整,便利收納。

    基本上,Optima Sensor顯然是針對想要輕鬆拍照的使用者設計。只要目測選擇對焦區,按下快門鈕,相機便會自動決定快門和光圈。實拍結果顯示其測光系統準確,區域對焦也比想像中實用。另一方面來說,對喜歡機械操作感的攝影者來說,它仍保有一定的魅力。區域對焦的方式不僅有簡化的圖示(近/中/遠),並且附上詳細的數字標示距離,以利更精確的對焦。手動設定的底片ASA值,意味著曝光補償不是問題。內建閃光燈熱靴座,使用閃燈模式時可由轉環決定光圈大小。過片系統則是此機又一有趣的特點,厚實的過片桿原來還兼作回片用。欲退片時,先將一旁的圓鈕按下並轉到R點,此時扳動過片桿就可進行捲片。

    綜觀以上的各項特點,不難看出,Agfa Optima Sensor其實充滿可貴的原創性。難怪身為中低價位的非古董,卻依然讓日本玩家深深著迷。在日系大軍橫掃市場的70年代晚期,Agfa大膽擺脫窠臼,回歸原點,從機能性出發,最終臻至造型的洗練,成就雋永的作品,這不正是當代德國設計的精神?

    UPDATE: 經過一番尋覓,目前已擁有了Optima Sensor,Sensor 1035,Sensor 1535。它們看似雷同的外表下,其實各有巧妙。整體而言,Optima Sensor系質感尚稱良好,金屬的機身以帶顆粒感的霧黑塗料包覆(手邊的Sensor 1535甚至還帶著類似岩石的獨特紋理),和紅色快門鈕相得益彰,展露陽剛之美。然而或許是考量成本,鏡身及鏡頭前端的處理就顯得頗有落差。功能方面,我對完全自動化的AE沒有意見,畢竟定位和取向不同。再怎麼說,在70年代,製造"fool-proof"的"智慧型"平價相機,也是設計團隊被賦予的任務。倒是全系列沒有測光鎖定(AE Lock),不免讓人有些意外。

    至於少見的1535,和同系列其它Sensor最明顯的不同點--rangefinder對焦--很遺憾的不符人體工學,原因是 (1)對焦環靠面板太近 (2)機身既窄且輕,右手不易握緊,導致對焦時轉起來頗彆扭,簡直連機身都快一起轉了,古典rangefinder相機的愛好者恐怕會感到失望。 相形之下,我反而喜歡Optima Sensor 和 Sensor 1035。少了rangefinder,卻多了目測對焦的樂趣,機身比例也更勻稱。無論如何,Agfa Optima Sensor系列精彩的創意,優秀的鏡頭和機能,加上個性化的美感,是值得玩味再三的。
    (update 2004/01/19)

    PS: 有網友問到電池的問題。事實上,手邊的原廠手冊裡就已載明使用Varta V625U這種1.5伏特鹼性電池,一般器材店都買得到。千萬別盲目找尋那種昂貴又不環保的1.35伏特水銀電池!

    *: Introduced 1981. Seem to be the last of the series.
    *: Marked as 0.9, 1, 1.2, 1.5, 2, 3, 5, ∞ m
    :: Great info & collection of Optima Sensor Series, from Café de BuBu, Japan
    :: Erik Fiss talks about Optima Sensor 535--an earlier model with identical look

    This is a personal photo project online.
    All works are protected under copyright laws.

    i Technical Info:
    35mm zone focus compact camera
    Lens: Solitar 40mm f/2.8
    4 elements 4 groups
    49mm filter diameter
    Shutter Speed: up to 1/1000sec
    Focusing Type: manual 3 zone focusing
    Minimum focusing: 0.9m
    Exposure control: Cds programmed priority AE
    manual ISO setting ASA 25-400
    Powered by 3 V625U batteries
    Size: 104x 69x 56mm 260g


  • It looks really cool!
  • Solid, and heavy -- good build quality
  • Unique body design in bold style
  • Viewfinder is HUGE and bright
  • Consistent metering
  • 40mm f/2.8 Solitar lens
  • It's made by Agfa
  • Did I mention it looks really cool? :-p (2003/08/19)