Aires 35-III rangefinder camera?

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by peter_kim|2, Sep 10, 2004.

  1. I noticed there have been several of the cameras posted recently for
    sale. I havent really been able to find much into on the net and
    none at all here on

    Does anyone know anyone about this camera? It looks quite nice,
    almost like a early Leica M model. Is there a meter or is it all
    mechanical? How is the quality of the lens etc...

    Thank for any information!
  2. Most of the Aires cameras were leaf shutter rangefinders. The H-Coral 45mm f/1.9 lens is quite fine. They were considered excellent value for the money in their day.

    The fit and finish isn't as fine as other cameras of their day. The chrome plating is a little sloppy. Inside, the works are mostly robust, if a bit crude. They are easily broken if you force them when jammed.

    There were some models with Selenium light meters, totally uncoupled of course.

    My mom started with an Aires Viscount around 1960, and it took darned good Kodachrome-II slides. Of course, the lens was stopped down about f/5.6 or f/8 to take those pictures. I've used it some recently, it's not super sharp at f/1.9, of course.

    The viewfinders are bright, with bright-line frame lines, and can be contrasty if the beam splitter mirror is still good. I had to clean all the surfaces in my viewfinder (except the gold surface of the mirror).

    The shutters are reliable. The grease in the focusing helical can turn to glue.

    A fine user camera if in good shape.

    They also made the 35-V, which was a leaf shutter rangefinder with three different fully interchangeable lenses. Nice camera, but the wide angle and telephoto lenses were slow due to the small shutter they used.

    There was also the Aires Penta, which was a fixed-lens leaf-shutter SLR, which was probably a contributing factor to their demise in the mid 1960's. Almost all leaf shutter SLRs are hard to make and unreliable.
  3. Hi John! Wow thanks for all that info. Very useful. I guess I'll have to carry around a meter or use tri-x to shoot with it. At least I dont have to worry about old mercury batteries though. I dont suppose you'd know anything about how much these go for? It seems like a cool little camera. (Until I get my M6 that is!)
  4. I had a 35 IIIC once, it was a pretty nice camera; I especially liked the very M3-like styling, which i think unfortunately has driven up its price a bit. There was also a 35 IIIL, which didn't look like a Leica but was I think mechanically similar to the IIIC. It was a non-interchangeable lens, leaf shutter rangefinder, similar to a dozen others of its era except for its nicer styling, and it took good pictures.

  5. Peter:

    Here, I am looking at my Aires 35-III with a H Coral 45/2 that I bought years ago. Kind of hefty with a weight of one pound/13oz. The lens has a tab for ease of focusing, and turns only 1/4 of a circle going from infinity to 1/2 a meter. The leaf shutter speeds follow the old faction 1,2,5, up to 500. The brushed chrome is perfect, intact, and the rangefinder is losing its contrast but I still can see the double image. Next to the extendable rewind button, you have an ASA reminder scale. I have wonderfully contrasty B&W pictures taken with the Aires.
  6. aires lens shade is for sale <a href="">HERE
  7. Hi John, Tito and everyone...Thanks for the info. It seems like a really nice looking and intriguing little camera.

    Does anyone know how the shutter is? I guess it should be pretty quiet since its a rangefinder. How does the sound of it compare to say a leica? I know it cant be quieter but maybe very silent none the less?
  8. This was taken with an H Coral 4.5cm/1.9 lens extracted from an Aires Viscount, on Sony A7 full-frame mirrorless digital camera, at f:1.9. I find that it renders--has "3D pop"K--similar to Summicron. I find it to be one of the sharpest lenses I've ever tested.

    View attachment Slakthuset Coral at 1.9.JPG
  9. Could just be me, but I find this sort of post roughly equivalent to someone bragging about how well some rich guy is doing since he got a transplant of a stolen kidney from the black market. It does render nice colors, though.
    John Farrell likes this.
  10. Yeah, it all seems a little irrelevant to me, not being into taking old rangefinder cameras apart and trying their lenses on digital platforms... Still, each to his own. There's a brilliant post from Lou Meluso on the lens, still fitted to an Aires 35-III, here:

    There's Something in the Air Here
  11. Thanks for the link, Rick. I enjoyed that thread quite a bit.
  12. My pleasure, Dave. These old threads create a tinge of nostalgia, seeing CMC in it's heyday.

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