Aires 35

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The Aires 35 series of rangefinder cameras were made by Aires from 1954 through 1962.


In approximately chronological order:

  • Aires 35
  • Aires 35 II
  • Aires 35 III
  • Aires 35 IIA
  • Aires 35 IIIA
  • Aires 35 IIIL
  • Aires 35 IIIB
  • Aires 35-IIIC
  • Aires 35-V
  • Aires 35 IIIS
  • Aires 35 IIISA


General links

In English:

In English and Italian:

In French:

In Japanese:

Repair notes

In English:

In Japanese:

Camera-wiki editor Laurie Pettitt wrote:

On every Aires 35 I have seen recently a design fault makes itself known. The lens unit is screwed to a brass plate which in turn is screwed to the camera body. On all the 35s I have worked on recently the 4 screws holding the lens assembly brass plate to the body have been loose and the holes elongated. Likewise the screws holding the lens assembly to the brass plate were also loose. Problem with the last fault is that the mechanism needs to be removed to access the 3 retaining screws. That gives the repairer a chance to grease the focussing mechanism. Even though some frown on it, I find it sensible to use Loctite on the screws.
Another thing that turns the 35 II into a treasure is that the mechanism is a carbon copy Synchro Compur! However... It has been slightly improved by the Japanese copiers, making it an even nicer mechanism than the German Compur (in my opinion.) It's that much of a copy that, when rooting around for bits for a Retina mechanism, I picked up an Aires mech and went into confusion until I realised that it wasn't the Retina mech.
Aires 35-V the interchangeable lens model designed in late 1958, appeared in 1959, same time as the Nikon F. The importer in USA was Kalimar Inc. who failed to advertise the camera properly. This led to Aires 35-V being under-sold and unknown in the USA market. The financial consequences to the camera firm were devastating! Kalimar at the time was seeking to brand cameras under their own name plate. Aires was choosing to gain market share under their own name. A complex; solidly built and designed rangefinder that arrived on the doorstep of the SLR revolution in 35mm photography. The optics were simply superb, the 4.5cm F: 1.5 Coral lens was very expensive for Aires build and too make a profit. So they were counting on sales of their other 35-V lenses too move towards profit. This didn't happen and by 1962 the firm tried a leaf shutter SLR designed camera; that also failed. For Aires it was the end and bankruptcy. For those that knew Aires it was a sad event, as they made remarkable 35mm cameras the king of course; was the interchangeable Aires 35-V model. Since the lens mount for interchangeable rangefinder 35-V is so complicated, it suffers from brass screw distortion in the helicoil mount, which locks up the unit focus. Also the five bladed diaphram was of a complex design that breaks engagement pins off the diaphram blades, damaging the 4.5cm F:1.5 Diaphram assembly in the lens. Disassembly of the 4.5cm/1.5 is seriously complex and only should be done by experienced photo techs, as it has many parts. Don@Eastwestphoto.

Original documents

In English:

In Japanese: