Monday, June 2, 2014

35mm compact camera craze

Disclaimer 1: GAS or G(ear) A(cquisition) S(yndrome), originally known as Guitar Acquisition Syndrome. I went through all stages, including the original guitar version ages ago. Now its cameras. The disease is a contagious one, so consider yourself warned: if you are really into 35mm film cameras, stop reading now or it will be too late.
Disclaimer 2: Buying an old camera is buying a problem. Ask me how I know.
Disclaimer 3: This is not a review nor its a hidden ad for my shots. Its just a stupid GAS list I came up with after reading on a subject and shooting some of the recommended cameras. Models, images and links to reviews. That's it.

Ok, 35mm compact cameras.
I'm yet to find the perfection. My requirements are few and simple: small, quiet, convenient, inexpensive, reliable, manual or may be aperture-priority, but no autofocus and no motor (i.e. manual advance/rewind). First, let's see the cameras I have (or had) and tried:

1. Canon Canonet QL-17 GIII (40mm F/1.7 lens, see image above)
I used this camera for a few years before finally deciding not to keep it. I did not like the lens, it was too analytic, too dry for my taste. Its a fine camera, just not the one for me. Its also a little bit bigger of what I would like and too heavy for a truly pocketable camera.

2. Olympus MJU II AKA Olympus Stylus Epic

Nice little P&S camera, the size is right, I have been shooting it for a very long time, its reliable but over the years I went through several bodies, some used, some bought new. Finally I decided that it has too much auto for my taste and stopped using it. I think its not a good fit my style of street shooting -- in a crowd, on the move.

3. Olympus XA (35mm F/2.8 lens)

Great camera, I use it now but mine overexpose by ~ 2 stops. Quiet. Not perfect but much better fit to my style compared to Olympus MJU II. I compensate for the overexpose by setting 800 ASA instead of 400 (I use ASA 400 film) and under-developing. Works for me, but I'd prefer camera with manual override(s) and exact, spot-on metering.

4. Rollei 35SE (40mm F/2.8 lens, a similar S version pictured)

I have the camera for some time; it looks and feels very solid. I have not tried it yet for some obscure reason, yes a fix of some minor problem is due but its shootable! Don't know why its still collecting dust on my shelf and not in my photo bag; a mystery.

5. Olympus Pen F

I have and use Olympus Pen FV with 38mm lens which is compact half-frame SLR camera but its still a tad bigger of what I need for everyday use in the streets and its half-frame, a different breed.

So here is the short list of four-five-six cameras I need to try before deciding on the next little street horse (or, rather, pony):

1. Olympus 35rc, 42mm lens


2. Yashica Electro 35 mc, 40 mm lens

This is scale-focusing camera. I am ok with this, I usually shoot using DOF scale, no time to focus anyway. Here is the discussion: I'm also considering Yashica Electro 35 cc , for it 35mm F/1.8 lens and rangefinder:


3. Minox 35 GT, 35mm lens


4. Olympus Pen ee2, ee3. half-frame, 28mm lens (to compete with my Pen FV)


To this four I'd also add regular size Yashica Electro GSN camera:

Its a bigger camera but seems to be a good fit to my style of shooting and I don't know why I do not have it yet.

Further reading on the subject:
How to get rid of the stuff:

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