The Aires Viscount is a leaf-shutter 35mm rangefinder camera made by Aires in 1959. It's entirely mechanical, with a very quiet Seikosha-SLV leaf shutter, and does not have an exposure meter. Later models had a Seikosha S shutter, without slow speeds.
Its dimensions are 13 cm (L) x 7.5 cm (l) x 8.5 cm (h).
| Aires Viscount with 80mm attachment|
by David Broglin
The camera comes with a six elements 45mm f1.9 H Coral lens or a four elements 45mm f2.8 Q Coral lens (less common). The diaphragm has five blades, is in front of the shutter.
A supplementary lens can be mounted on that camera to change the focal length from 45 to 80mm.
Using the camera Edit
All the set-up operations are made by using rings on the lens. Starting from the closest of the front lens:
- Diaphragm ring:
Available values are: 1.9, 2, 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11 and 16.
- Speed selection ring (for Seikosha SLV shutter):
Available values are: B, 1, 2, 4, 8, 15, 30, 60, 125, 250 and 500.
- Shooting mode selector:
Available modes are:
- Focusing ring
The camera uses the Exposure Value system. The speed ring is attached to the diaphragm ring, making it impossible to set a speed independently from the diaphragm in less than two moves. The contrary is however possible. Also, when the speed ring is moved, the diaphragm ring follows it, so the camera keeps the actual EV setting.
What is interesting in the viewfinder is the way that there are two bright line boxes. The outer box gives you the view using the normal lens and the inner box shows you what the 80mm lens will capture. It also has two sets of distances on the focus scales for normal and 80mm.
On a purely aesthetic note, it feels lovely to handle, sounds lovely to use and inspires a sort of reverence, as if you really are handling a treasure. It's a camera to fall in love with.
In English and in Italian:
- Aires camera survey by Massimo Bertacchi
- Aires Viscount on Retrography.com by Simon Simonsen, Denmark
- Aires Viscount from Puppy's Island (text, pictures and sample photos)
- Aires Viscount at Japan Family Camera (text and pictures)
- Aires Viscount with attachment lens is shown in the 15 March 2003 entry in this blog
In English and French: