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Agfa Optima Reflex

Agfa Optima Reflex

Style, film format Twin-lens reflex 35mm with SLR-style viewing

Lens, shutter Coated f/2.8 45mm Apotar, unspecified leaf shutter

Photo quality Very good

Ergonomics Overall very good

It seems that Agfa didn't mind going its own way when it came to camera design. From cheapie dual-format box cameras to the Karats that required special pre-loaded Agfa film cassettes to the wonderful Isolette III with its focus wheel, you could generally be assured of getting something out of the ordinary.

The Agfa Optima Reflex would probably sit squarely in the category of the unexpected by offering a single-lens reflex shooting in a twin-lens reflex design.

Boasting on-board metering, autoexposure, through-the-lens focusing and a very solid body, the Optima Reflex could deliver what other German SLRs couldn't at that time -- a viewfinder that didn't black out.

The Optima Reflex has an Apotar, a triplet, rather than Agfa's excellent Tessar-formula Solinar.

The camera offers autoexposure, although there are no viewfinder indicators to show you the selected speed or aperture.

But no matter, this camera gave me very nice shots, and its ease of use is very good. The one downside is that it has a front-mounted shutter release, which requires a careful push so as not to move the camera when taking a photo. The weight of the camera helps to provide a stable shooting platform.

If you want something different -- something that will stand out from the pack -- find yourself a nice Optima Reflex.

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