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Vivitar 35CA

Vivitar 35CA

Style, film format Compact fixed-lens 35mm rangefinder

Lens, shutter Coated f/2.7 38mm Vivitar lens, Copal leaf shutter.

Photo quality Very good

Ergonomics Very good

I had planned to talk about the move toward smaller cameras that was taking place during the 1970s, but I think that I'll get to the point: This is the same camera as the Konica C35 Automatic, and both were made by Cosina.

Like the Konica, this is an easy-to-use 35mm rangefinder that takes very good photos. Both use the same program trap-needle autoexposure system coupled to a Copal shutter with a top speed of 1/650.

The Vivitar camera has an f/2.7 38mm lens with the eye for the cadmium sulfide meter sitting just above it.

The shutter release is a rectangular metal tab that sits flush with the top deck. I think you have to press it a bit too deeply to trip the shutter.

You can focus as close as three feet, and the frame lines slide left and right slightly to compensate for horizontal parallax errors. There are small marks in the viewfinder when shooting up close.

The camera also has a self-timer and a true hot shoe for electronic flash. You advance the film and tension the shutter with a single short throw. The advance has a plastic tip for comfort.

The camera takes a single 675 cell, and a hearing-aid battery works very well today, despite its shorter life. The meter is always on, so using the lens cap or keeping the camera in its case should prolong the life of the battery. The ASA range is 25-400.

The only manual shutter speed is B, and there is no ability for the photographer to set the aperture. It's a pleasant little camera that requires little of the photographer, other than to focus. The meter is accurate in most situations, although use of the trap needle system can help in tricky lighting.

However, this camera and others like were squarely aimed at the amateur. It was the point-and-shoot camera of that era and overall is a very nice little camera.

Comparing Features: Vivitar 35CA vs. the Konica C35 Automatic


Vivitar 35CA

Konica C35 Automatic

Camera typeCompact fixed-lens rangefinderCompact fixed-lens rangefinder

Lensf/2.7 38mm Vivitarf/2.8 38mm Hexanon

Filter thread



ASA range25-40025-400

Meter typeCadmium sulfide, trap-needle.
Programmed autoexposure with a range of 1/30 at f/2.7 to 1/650 at f/14.
Cadmium sulfide, trap-needle.
Programmed autoexposure with a range of 1/30 at f/2.8 to 1/650 at f/16.


Single 675 cell Single 675 cell

ShutterCopal Copal

Focusing rangeInfinity to 3.5 feetInfinity to 3.5 feet


Hot shoe / Metal tripod socketYes / YesYes / Yes