A Kodak 35 was my first real camera. It had a good lens, better than I realised at the time. It also taught me to see, meter and conserve film. You have to know what you are doing with a camera like that; otherwise you don't get pictures.
It's a bit slow to use, but far from the worst camera design ever. Get out and use yours for a few rolls. Don't compare it to other cameras, just use it. You might be surprised what it will do if you give it a chance.
The Seagull i owned was a perfectly fine copy of a Rolleicord.
I purchased it NEW on 1976, and i've used it extensively during a road trip from Italy to India (with lots of detours in between), i did on 1977.
Some of the best pictures i've ever done were taken with the Seagull, following sunny-16 rule, or with the aid of a separate selenium meter.
I won't forget how inconvenient and heavy it was, especially during horse rides around Bamyan and Bhand-i-Amir lakes (still remember the camera thumping against my chest, when my poor horse-riding skills soccumbed to the free will of the animal :))
If i have to be absolutely sincere, i think that my two best pictures were actually taken during that trip in Afghanist, with the Seagull TLR: one is a portrait of two falconeers with their falcons, and the other.... well, the other is a double exposure done by mistake :)
I enlarged the two pictures quite a bit, and the quality of the honest f/3.5 tessar copy proved up to the task.
Of course my example had none of the problem reported in other posts.
Not better than a Rolleicord, but on par with other cheap copies made in EU and Japan (and i mean CHEAP, the Yashica 124-G i purchased years later was way better, albeit not as lucky - it was stolen from my house before proving all its worth).
If somebody got curious about the whereabouts of my chinese camera:
it was sold shortly after, only to be substituted by another "communist" camera.
For my second trip to Pakistan, India and Nepal, that took over 6 months, i purchased a Leica copy from a russian jew in Rome.
It was a brand new Fed 5 (with the olympic stamp), with a set of 35mm, 50mm and 85mm.
I wanted a camera that i could afford to break or loose... and with some sort of internal meter.
BTW, not a single picture came out as good as the best ones i shot with the Seagull!
Sent from my Android tablet
Now the Kodak 35 is not a bad camera...
Every little part serves some purpose. There's that little pop-off cover that gives you access to field adjusting the RF. Double-exposure prevention (enforced by an aluminum cover over the cocking mechanism that also protects the shutter release from accidental tripping), automatic shutter cocking. Red painted cocked indicator. Simple shutter that is not likely to fail, even if left for 50 years in a drawer.
I put a roll through a few weeks ago and just realized that many shots were out of focus. Just checked and the rangefinder was accurate as far as the feet indicated on the lens. But the lens was out of whack. I think the rear element may have been tampered with because on inspection, I was getting infinity focus at the film plane when the scale indicated 15 feet. The front element is drilled tapped and pinned to the cam, so it isn't easy to reposition that scale... So I just adjusted the RF so it is accurate and I am going to have to ignore the indicated feet from now on...
It's not as easy to use as a Leica. But it is a capable camera, albeit a bit slow (dad, hurry up and take the picture already!)
But I had held a better camera. And therein lies my frustration with the Kodak 35. I used it because I had to.
My Dad would let me use his Spotmatic II but since he "needed" it for work he would not let me keep it.