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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 Optima Sensor range.


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