The Vivitar 35ES was introduced in 1978 by California based distributer Vivitar.
Excuse me, have we met before. You remind me of someone.
The Vivitar 35ES looks like a basic small/automatic rangefinder, so I did not need to do a lot of research to get shooting. Unlike most of the cameras I have used for this project that take several days or weeks for me to shoot a roll, this one was all done in about an hour. Helped to have a nice morning and a car show. Right from the start 35ES just seemed familiar. At first I thought maybe I had shot enough cameras that I was getting the hang of things, but I was also shooting B&W in the Canon VT so I knew I was not that good. The Vivitar 35ES has similar features and size to many of the small rangefinders. As it turns out very, very similar.
When I did go online to learn about the 35ES, I learned that Vivitar is the name of the US distributor not the manufacturer and that Cosina of Japan actually make the 35ES and that they designed and possible make several other similar cameras. Not the least being the Minolta 7sII, one of my favorites so far. I pulled my 7sII out and the differences are extremely subtle. If they both had the same branding, I would never notice the differences.
Just like the Minolta 7sII, the Vivitar 35ES was a joy to shoot. Someone smarter than me (or with a better tool set) may know how different the two are on the inside but on the outside and from a shooting experience they seem the same. And doing a quick look on eBay, the 35ES seems to go for the same or less than the 7sII and for much less than the black 7sII, but all the ones I found were black. So if you want a black 7sII for the price of a non-black one, the 35ES could be your camera. Mine has a big dent in a top corner but seems to work fine. Good, tough go anywhere camera to always have in your bag and only comes in black. Works for me!
Lens: fixed Visitor Automatic 40mm 1.7
Film: FujiColor 100