Saturday, May 15, 2010

Cameras to avoid - Number 1, the Cosmic 35

Cosmic 35 camera. Photograph by Tim IrvingThe Cosmic 35, and it's alias the Smena should be avoided at all costs.
Sadly I've never taken my own advice, and lured by the cheap prices I've owned several of these beasts. You see - they used to be sold cheaply via large adverts in weekend newspapers, they must have sold in big numbers, but isn't it strange that during the 70's and 80's you never saw them being used!

Book article on Cosmic 35Cosmic 35 used for glamour photography

When you see them for sale at the same price as a regular latte they do look to be a bargain, but in fact they're a total waste of time and money and you'd be better off with a latte.

The first one I bought wouldn't re-wind the film. The second wouldn't count the exposures. The third one, the film advance jammed up on the first film.

Cosmic 35 camera. Photograph by Tim IrvingWhen they work, they're hard work. The aperture ring is deep inside the lens, almost touching the front element and it's a nightmare to adjust. Whilst it's possible to get your fingers inside the lens to turn the aperture ring, it's impossible to see the apertures at the same time!

The only positive point I can make for the Cosmic 35 is that it has a damn good viewfinder. You've been warned.


  1. Maybe you can take a Cosmic viewfinder and add it to the best parts of all your other favorite cheap cameras to create a Frankenstinian type of thing.

    I feel warned.

  2. I used a Cosmic 35 and had no problems. Maybe I just got a good one.

  3. Me too. But I have great memories as I was bought one when I was about 9 or ten and it got me started in photography replacing the Brownie 127 I had used. For its time, it was excellent as a first camera allowing me to multi-expose, use flash, get used to depth of field, and remote-time.

    The loading was problematic as the cogs had to engage in the wheel before closing the back. Rewinding was not a problem. I still have it!

  4. My first 35mm camera in the mid 60s. Excellent quality images. Only problem was the occasional double exposed images.



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