The Cosina-Made 35ES: The Vivitar Rangefinder You’ve Never Heard Of

If you have to add a Vivitar camera to your collection, forget about their overpriced, simple plastic cameras.

Apart from rare Leicas, limited-edition models of various popular cameras, and the occasional oddballs, some of our vintage finds also include rather obscure cameras most of us haven’t heard about before. Case in point is the Vivitar 35ES. This particular item we spotted is pretty unique on its own. Whether or not it deserves a spot in your collection, we’ll let you decide.

Our latest find is a curious-looking Vivitar 35ES listed by eBay seller wolfmancameras, which has been refurbished and repainted a dark shade of green “to be different.” It was also converted with a Schottky diode for the meter to work perfectly with a 357 battery (it was originally powered by a 1.35v mercury cell, Mallory PX 675 ), converting the 1.5 volts to 1.3 volts. It has “optics as clear as water from the mountains” and the yellow-tinted rangefinder patch is still clear. Other functions and features such as the self-timer and the film counter work perfectly, and new light seals were also installed.

Since this camera is pretty much unheard of for most, we did a little bit of research about it. Both Camera-Wiki and Camerapedia tell us that the Vivitar 35ES is a shutter-priority rangefinder camera introduced in 1978 that was built by Cosina to Vivitar’s specifications. Its noteworthy feature is the fast 40mm f1.7 six-element fixed lens, which was known to produce very sharp images. It has a Copal leaf shutter, a CdS exposure meter, shutter speeds of 1/8 sec to 1/500 sec, Bulb mode, ISO range of 25 – 800, built-in X-sync flash synchronization at all speeds, and a manual flash compensation feature. In many ways, this camera works similarly as the Minolta Hi-Matic 7sII, Revue 400SE, Konica Auto S3, and Prinz 35 ER.

Interested in making this camera part of your collection? Check out the eBay listing to find out more and make your best offer, or buy it now for $129.99.


Thanks to Ron for letting us know about this camera! Photos from the eBay listing by wolfmancameras