Fujica AX-3 Film SLR. [Retro Series Part III]

So, I was given this great looking camera at school from a friend, and knew instantly it was a bad idea. I generally tend to jump onto new stuff I get, and couldn't wait to get my hands on some film to try it. Couple problems: 1) it's not exactly sunny, so the pics I would get wouldn't be so great, and 2) film and processing is expensive. And of course I have that awesome DSC-HX1 (which I reviewed as this site's first post).
But I finally convinced my parents to get me some film, and the film processing (w/ prints) at Costco is only $5.99 for 2 rolls of 24 exp. 35mm film. Awesome.
I have yet to try the camera but I have been wanting to write for a while about it, so here goes.

I'm taking my digital camera (Sony) everywhere and reading up on tips on how to become a better photographer, in books and on the net. So I think that this camera will be a nice way for me to see just how good my pics turn out when I can't see them on the spot.

^floating in Polaroid camera bag

The Fujica AX-3 is an aperture priority, 35mm SLR camera. It was released in 1980 as the mid-line model, not cheap, but not too expensive. The all-metal construction makes it feel much more solid than any camera I have previously used or held; it's not the plastic junk that they tend to sell today!  This was built to last. After all, it's made in Japan.

^through the viewfinder

A battery controls the exposure settings; you pick an aperture and the camera selects a shutter speed. If the aperture value is too high or too low, a little red light flashes in the viewfinder, signaling you to change the aperture. Film advance and film rewind are manual; the battery fires the shutter and operates the light meter. Unlike other older cameras with batteries, this one needs the battery to operate, so if that battery dies, you're out of luck.
(Some older cameras, like the Nikon FM-2, only need a battery for the light meter. They have manual exposure, so if the light meter battery dies, you can still shoot forever, provided you have enough film.) This one is good, though, since I can just load the film, and let the camera do the thinking for me. :)

-Shutter Speed: B, 2sec -1/1000sec
-Aperture: (X-Fujinon 1:1.9 50mm lens) F1.9-F16
-Exposure: adjustable +/- 1 (ASA 12-3200)
-Focus: 0.6m-infinity
-Battery Type: A544
-Film Advance: Manual
-Film Rewind: Manual
-Self Timer: 24 beeps (~12 sec)

I have done some "dry shooting" (took pics w/o film) and it is great fun focusing manually and hearing the satisfying "clack" of the mirror flipping up to expose the (nonexistent) film. Can't wait for some sunny weather to load in some of that Kodak UltraMax 400 and start shooting!

UPDATE: 4/17/2011--
I went on a couple of college visits and brought this beast along. However, even after replacing the light seal foam, the camera did not function properly; maybe I loaded the film wrong, or maybe the mirror didn't snap up properly...but only 9 pictures out of the 24 I had turned out. I'll post them later.
In any case, I'm not going to load any more film in here until the time that I can have it professionally repaired. But the good news is that I have another film camera---the Pokemon camera! Sitting dormant in my closet for 11 years, I finally cracked it out a couple of weeks ago. Once I finish the roll, I will post the pics. Hopefully they turn out!

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