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The Optima is a family of 35mm cameras made by Agfa in the 1960s and beyond. The original Optima from 1959 was the first camera manufactured with automatic programmed exposure, using a selenium-meter-driven mechanical system. (The Paxette electromatic may have also appeared in 1959, but it was a simpler camera with just automatic aperture.)

The first (un-numbered) Optima appears to have a shutter release on the "wrong" side; in fact this lever is held down to operate the light meter. (The actual shutter release is on the top deck, in a conventional location.) But later models used a front-mounted shutter release operated by user's the right hand.

all images by Just Plain Curt (Image rights)
Optima I
Optima III

Optima Ia (1962)

The camera has an optical bright frame finder with parallax marks, a distance setting ring with symbols around the front lens element, and an aperture setting ring with separate aperture setting scales for B-mode or flash synchronized speed 1/30 seconds. The automatic exposure mode (A-mode, without flash) has to be switched on with the same ring. Film speed setting is possible only up to 200 ASA. The camera's bottom & back part can be removed very easily for loading the film. Film advance has to be done with a tiny advance lever. Other than the Optima I's lever it's mounted on the camera top. The exposure counter is readable from the side. Its advantage over the Optima I of 1961 is its hot shoe and maybe a different shutter. A similar model was the Agfa Agfamatic Ia.

all images by Just Plain Curt (Image rights)
The Selecta, a half-automatic variant
Agfamatic Ia (like Optima Ia)
Optima IIS (S stands for coupled rangefinder)

The Optima name was continued with the 1970 Optima Sensor 200 and Optima Sensor 500 cameras, and then the Optima Sensor Electronic series from 1978.


Agfa Optima Sensor Cameras
Classic Optima | Optima Sensor 200 | Optima Sensor 500 | Selectronic Sensor | Selectronic Sensor S
Modern Optima Sensor 335 | Optima Sensor 535 | Optima Sensor 1035 | Optima Sensor 1535 | Optima Sensor | Optima Flash Sensor
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