Sunday, July 27, 2014

This Old Camera: Bell & Howell Auto 35/Reflex Design 237

Bell & Howell Auto 35/Reflex Design 237 AKA Canon EX EE

Camera type: 35mm SLR
Lens Mount: The rear 3 elements of the lens are fixed, but the front elements could be interchanged. Also available were:
Canon EX 35mm f/3.5,
Canon EX 95mm f/3.5,
Canon EX 125mm f/3.5.
Shutter: 1 - 1/1000 seconds plus bulb
Focusing aid: microprisms
Depth-of-Field Preview: N/A
Metering: center-weighted, shutter priority "EE" mode.
ISO: reminder dial on bottom plate from 25 - 800 ASA (and E)
Self-timer: yes
Flash: P.C. socket, built-in cold shoe.

Manual: Butkus
More info: Canon camera museum
Ken Rockwell's review of the similar Canon EX Auto

Comments: Interesting camera. Well built. This is my first experience with the Canon QL quick load feature, which seems to work okay but I don't like. One just pulls out the leader the appropriate length and closes the back without slotting it into the take-up reel.  There are two very unusual things about this camera. First, you adjust the aperture via the knob under the rewind knob (there's a read-out in the finder). The second, and more distressing, is that the viewfinder image is always sharp. You can't see the depth-of-field the lens sees at all, which makes focusing weird and defeats the purpose of an SLR IMHO, which is WYSIWYG. Have I used enough acronyms yet?

Here's a (bad) picture of the camera with the 95mm f/3.5 mounted. In front are the 35mm f/3.5 and 50mm f/1.8.

Filter size: 48mm (I think? unlabeled
Close focus distance: 1.5 feet/0.45 meters.
Aperture range: f/1.8 - f/16
Depth of field scale for f/4, f/8 - f/16, IR mark.
Made in: Japan

I like this lens!  It is quite sharp and has very nice tonality.  I'm quite impressed since the front lens elements are interchangeable.  The rear 3 elements are fixed, and the front elements are interchangeable.  You can also find 35mm, 95mm, 125mm f/3.5 Canon EX lenses. I am curious if they perform as well at the 50mm.

More photos from this camera

1 comment:

  1. do 'we' (i.e., does Mankind) understand the viewfinder depth-of-field conundrum? I cannot figure it out; if the image is bright, shouldn't the depth-of-field be limited if it is a TTL image at wide aperture?