Graflex/Ciro Ciro 35
The Ciro 35 is a fixed lens, leaf shutter rangefinder made by Graflex in the 1950's.
This camera began as the Cee-ay 35 manufacutred by Camera Corp. of America. The camera
design and tools were bought by the Ciro Camera company and renamed the Ciro 35 around 1949.
Ciro produced three variations of the camera, a f/4.5 lens, f/3.5 lens and f/2.8 lens.
The camera body was produced in gray and black. When Graflex bought the Ciro company,
it continued to manufacture the Ciro 35 while also modifying the design to produce the
Graphic 35. Some of the body parts are interchangable
between the Ciro 35 and Graphic 35. I used a film rewind spindle from a junk Ciro 35 to repair a Graphic 35.
The Ciro 35 is usually found with an Alphax shutter.
(The Century shutter is simply the Graflex brand name for the same shutter.) Refer to the article
on the Alphax shutter for disassembly and cleaning. This camera was also produced with the Rapax shutter.
The lenses on these cameras are of the typical triplet design that was common on 35mm cameras of the 1940s and 1950s.
When cleaned and properly adjusted, they should produce good quality pictures. To get the sharpest results you
want to shoot stopped down to f/8 or smaller aperture.
The rangefinder is of the split-image variety and is similar to the rangefinder on other American made cameras of this era.
To focus, you look through the small window at the left side and adjust the focus until the top and bottom halves of the
image match. Then, switch to the center window to frame the picture.
To load the camera with film, turn the latch on the bottom to the open position and then slide the back down. After inserting the film
slide the back in place and move the latch back to the close position. To advance the film, you press the button on the
top and begin turning the wind knob. Release the button and continue turning the knob until it stops. After winding past
the leader (2-3 frames), you can set the film counter by pressing down and turning the film counter dial to the first notch past the
zero mark. To rewind the film, lift the Wind knob and turn it slightly so that it stays up. Turn the Rewind knob to retract
the film into the cartridge.
The top camera is one of the ones made after Graflex bought the Ciro company. It apperas to be a mixture of the gray top and back, but has the black shutter base. The shutter is labeled "Century" which is the Graflex name brand for the Alphax shutter. The shutter speed dial is
normally the same gray color as the body. On this camera the paint had chipped off
in many places and the brass had become tarnished. I polished off the remaining
paint with the intent of repainting it. However, I like the brass look and decided to
leave it alone for now. I may repaint it later or possibly get one from another camera.
The middle camera is the all-black version manufactured by Ciro. You can tell the difference
by the manufacturer's name stamped on the back and also because the shutter is labeled Alphax instead of Century.
The bottom camera is the higher specification model with Rapax Shutter and f/2.8 lens.
To open the back for film loading, turn the lever on the bottom of the camera to the "Open" position.
Press down on the back and slide it down towards the bottom of the camera and it will then lift off.
Do the opposite when putting the back on. After loading the film and winding to the start position,
press down on the film counter dial and turn it to the first position. To advance the film, press down on the button located next to the film counter dial and start turning the winder knob. Release the
button before you reach the next frame. To rewind, lift up on the wind knob and turn it slightly so that
it remains in the up position. This will allow the takeup spool to rotate backwards.
The camera shown in the disassembly pictures had a great deal of oil in the shutter causing it to be completely stuck.
In addition, the grease in the focus movement had dried. I decided to disassemble
both the shutter and focus. This requires removing the shutter and focus
assembly from the camera. This is a very easy camera to work on and would make
a good first project for someone just starting out tinkering on cameras.