Cee-ay and Ciro 35 photos


Pretended Artist
Local time
10:01 PM
Sep 2, 2011
Ciro 35 Black by berangberang, on Flickr

It's been a while since I've used either of these old cameras, but I'm repairing another one right now and I don't think I've posted these photos here before, I thought I'd start a thread.

The Cee-ay 35 was built by the Candid Camera Corp. - makers of the infamous Perfex rangefinders. Well they went belly up after just a few months of Cee-ay production and sold all the tooling to Ciro - makers of the Ciroflex. The camera came back as the Ciro 35. Ciro in turn was bought out by Graflex. Graflex continued making the Ciro 35, but unlike the Ciroflex which became the Graflex 22 - the Ciro 35 never got a Graflex name.

All of these cameras used Wollensak lenses and shutters.

Untitled by berangberang, on Flickr

Untitled by berangberang, on Flickr

Untitled by berangberang, on Flickr

FCMR by berangberang, on Flickr





Selling for just under $40 the Ciro 35 was the cheapest rangefinder available in the U.S. when it was introduced, undercutting both Argus and Bolsey. But it never sold as well as either. Going by serial numbers it seems just a bit more than 40,000 Ciro 35 were made, and Cee-ay production probably didn't reach quite 10k. By the end of production Japanese cameras were selling for the same price but with better quality and features.

What I find endearing about the camera is its simplicity and charm. It is quite clever in its simplicity when compared to the rival American 35s. Unlike either the Argus or Bolsey the film advance locks when the next frame is reached preventing torn sprockets. The mechanism seems to be copied from the Kodak 35 with just enough changed to escape Kodak patents. The viewfinder is also marginally larger than any of its rivals, and the focusing mechanism is ingenious. There is no helical in the normal sense. Instead the lens is mounted to a barrel with a diagonal slot cut into it. A peg which is connected to the external focus lever rides in this slot pulling or pushing the barrel in and out as the focus lever in manipulated. On the opposite side of the barrel is a needle which indicates the focus distance.

The camera is really only let down by the shutter and lens. As is typical for Wollensak lenses, corner performance is pretty bad even at small apertures. The alphax shutter release also has a harsh "break away" making it difficult to keep the camera steady during exposure. A few of these cameras were made with a Rapax shutter which is much smoother, but these are rare.

It is an interesting camera if you like to use old cameras, especially more primitive ones. But I find I get my fill from shooting one roll through every year or so.
Very nice photos!

Yeah, the Ciro 35 is one of those shoulda/coulda cameras, just like the Kodak 35, which is why I like my Kodak Signet 35 so much. Simple, but at least the lens is really good. The shutter limits you to very slow film (perfect for Kodachrome 25, which is sadly no more :mad: )