20 March 2013

Revue 400SE Review

Revue 400SE review

The 400SE is a cool little rangefinder  camera from the 70s that was made by Foto Quelle a popular German Photo retailer. It's a great camera to carry around daily with it's fast and sharp lens, though it's a little on the heavy side for its size

The camera needs a 1.3V mercury battery to operate the light meter. These are now illegal worldwide, so I used a 1.5V battery. Some sites say the higher voltage makes the light meter mess up, but I haven't had any problems with it so far. Other sites aso recommend Zinc Air batteries for hearing aid, these ave exactly the right voltage,
The light meter is attached to the top of the lens, so when you put the lens cap back on it saves battery.

This camera focuses from 0.9 meter until infinity.
Focusing is  easy, it uses a so-called "coincident image focusing device".  In the viewfinder a small spot which is slightly yellowish needs to be aligned with the whole image. This part will be in focus then.
Just turn the lens focusing ring until the two images in the viewfinder line up perfectly. Here is a great explanation of this. Sometimes with these cameras the viewfinder can be a bit foggy which makes focussing difficult in low light situations. There are tutorial online on how to clean the viewfinder using Ethanol oder Isopropanol, but I'm not experienced enough to attempt that.
Also it's quite difficult to focus moving objects. It might be even better to just use the distance indication on the lens.
The lens REVUENON 40mm F1.7 is really sharp and the results if focused correctly are great.
If your subject is closer than 1.5meter you need to make sure the subject is within the paralax lines of the viewfinder.

The light meter is a cds light meter. It has an exposure lock if you press the shutter half
With this camera you pick the shutter speed and it will chose the aperture accordingly. The manual gives the following guidelines

Sunny  = 1/500sec
Cloudy = 1/125sec
Indoors = 1/30sec

For shots with 1/30sec and under you are supposed to use a tripod and a cable release to avoid blurry results.
The needle in the viewfinder will show you any under or over-exposure. Is the needle in the middle yellow part exposure is correct.

You can use a filter without adjusting the exposure.

Revue 400SE Camera ReviewRevue 400SE Camera Review

-The lens cap is super flimsy wobbly piece of rubber and doesn't lock in any way to it's very easy to loose it.
-The original bag is also some cheap fake leather that just kind of falls apart after a few uses.
-The foam on the film door disintegrates and becomes somewhat sticky. Mine even sticks to the film canister. It might also effect focusing if it has completely disappeared.
-Viewfinder on mine is a bit foggy and dark
-Battery might be a problem but hasn't been for me so far

Here are some photos taken with the Revue 400 SE
 and here are some more

Great little camera :)


  1. Hi! I realy would like to know what are LZ signs (7,14,28,56,auto) on the camera (under shutter speeds). Please, somebody help me. thnx

    1. you should put in Auto unless you have a flash attached. I can take a photo of the instructions later. LZ means leitzahl (guide number) so you can correlate your camera with the brightness of the flash you are using.

    2. Hi can you take a photo of the instructions please?

    3. Hi can you post the photos of the instructions please?

    4. can you please upload the photo? (:

    5. Hi sorry I have it in storage at the moment. I'll try my best to upload soon

    6. Eva, someone needs that Photo of Instruction on leitzahl. Upload please

    7. Hi let me see if I can find it

  2. Here's the manual: http://www.butkus.org/chinon/vivitar_cameras/vivitar_35es/vivitar_35es.htm

  3. Do you need a battery if you want to use it. Or does it go without any battery?

  4. Do you need a battery if you want to use it. Or does it go without any battery?

    1. The meter does not work without without the battery, so the shutter does fire but aperture stays wide open at 1.7

  5. Without battery aperture is open 1.7 at any shutter speed.

  6. Hi, I bought my revue 400L from a second hand shop, and after looking at it I realized that I don't know the place for battery, can you put a picture or guide me so I can use it


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