Compact 35mm Cameras

Discussion in 'Modern Film Cameras' started by stuart_templeton, Oct 23, 2017.

  1. I have an ever growing collection of 35mm Comapct cameras - and I have to say I really enjoy using them. I do really enjoy the styling and most (Yashica's aside) of them seem capable of producing some nice shots.


    Does anyone else make regular use of these cameras - what are your favourites?

  2. I have several, mostly Konica C35 variants; AF3, EF3, MF, and a Nikon L35AF. But as I age and don't take any long trips digital has taken over because I can down load and recharge as soon as I get home, But for several days away I would get film out of the freezer and a couple of AA batteries and one of the 35's.
  3. I have several, but I use them seldom, to be honest. I have a difficult time choosing a favorite, since the reason why I own any of them is because they are a favorite in one way or another. A few of mine are a Canon QL17 GIII, Canon AF35ML (aka Super Sure Shot), Canon Sure Shot Classic 120, Olympus XA, and Oly Trip 35. Each of these cameras is capable of producing excellent photos.
    stuart_templeton likes this.
  4. m42dave

    m42dave Dave E.

    I've used many compact 35's over the years, and one favoirte is the FED 50--similar to the Olympus Trip 35, but with a wider range of shutter speeds and more information in the viewfinder. It wouldn't really qualify as a "modern" film camera, but there is something appealing about a programmed, scale-focusing camera that doesn't require batteries.

    FED 50 Review: The shape of things that might have been - Canny Cameras
  5. Thanks to donations from friends, I have a box full of these cameras; many of them actually work.

    However, when I do want a small 35mm film camera, I still love my Rollei 35 most of all.

    It's more classic than "modern", of course.
  6. Not modern, but I agree: the Rollei 35 is a great choice for compactness and battery independence. I have three: Rollei 35, Rollei 35S, and Rollei B35. A more modern favorite of mine is the Olympus XA.
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  7. Minox 35ML or similar. Contax T
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  8. The mostly plastic 35mm compacts from the mid 70's to late 80's leave me cold, both in styling and the stinky slow zooms on some of them. Plus I just cannot abide auto only exposure control. As far as a compact 35 I like my Oly 35RC. Certainly not perfect but solid and good enough.
    Cons; a hard to grip aperture ring, a silly 43.5mm filter size, defunct (mercury) battery needed. (I use #675 Zinc air cells), focusing ring feel is too light and loose for my taste.
    Pros; Compact, solid feel, shutter speed easy to access and adjust, RF patch easy to see, RF easy to adjust, GN lens, (not a big deal, seldom use flash). As far as the odd filter size I keep on a 43.5 to 43mm step down ring, obtained from one of those HK suppliers for $2. Works fine and does not shadow the meter eye. Besides I have a pile of 43mm filters and hoods and caps because I have a Pen F camera and several Zuiko's for it that take that size.
    Finally, full mechanical (not battery dependent) manual control when I want it! This is a biggie with me, I don't care how 'smart' the meter is.
  9. DSCF6659.JPG Back up to the early 1950's & you will find my "ideal" compact. . The Vito II. While in Hawaii, I use this camera at least once a month for work in the Farmer's Markets or wondering around Honolulu. Only needs a monopod to be rock sharp. All the doo-dads go into one very small kit bag. Bill
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  10. Well I Personally like the styling on a lot of these compacts, but yeah in some cases I can see your point.

    I fully agree on the 35RC though - I have one too and it's a wonderful little camera.
  11. I am still partial to this little baby. But a compact like that Canon in the OP's post might be a nice change. For now though, TriX in this camera is a joy.

  12. That's nice.

    I used to shoot a lot of XP2 through the camera in the OP, it was a nice combination.
  13. Reading this thread earlier made me track down a Pentax IQ Zoom I acquired back in the 90's I think. It has a remarkably sharp lens and is simple, fairly quick. It won't replace any of my larger cameras but sometimes it is just right. I also have a couple of Agfa Ambi Silettes and would love to find a Trip 35 in working order.

    Rick H.
  14. Minox 35ML is made from fibre glass reinforced Macrolon, a very tough plastic.

    I prefer Minox 35ML over Contax T. 35ML is lighter, a better pocket camera
  15. You have to try hard to find a full-frame 35mm camera smaller than a Chinon Bellami. It's a tiny folder with a proper bellows and 'trap-door' front. I also have the matching flashgun that screws to the side of it and adds all of 2 cm to its width.

    The original Lomo - now Lomo LCA+ - would be up there with the best..... if only its shutter didn't gum up every 5 minutes!
    - Yeh, plastic.
  16. Except for the Olympus XA I don't like any of them. Didn't have the Nikon 35/28 TI or any of the Contax T series. I tried the Rollei 35S and Minox GL and didn't like them. I do like something like the Olympus RC, Canonet 17 and the Kodak Retina IIa but I don't think that they are considered compact.
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  17. I sold or swapped my Bellami, regret it. I have an Olympus XA that I found on a rubbish tip, not tried film in it though. I do miss having a high-quality lens in my pocket.
  18. The Olympus XA2 (minus the dopey flash) was my pocket camera for awhile. Lens flare was problematic, sharpness mediocre, but other than the various Minox 35 folders (or the Chinon) nothing could beat it for portability. Before the XA2, I had a Rollei 35S and loved it for 15 years (until I opened the pouch case one day to discover it had decayed into a gluey tar that ruined the camera). The one I always wanted but never managed to buy was the Konica Auto S3 ( $129 new in 1975, now priced in the cray-cray stratosphere on eBay).

    Like most people today, for me "pocket camera" equates to "cell phone". I got rid of the XA2 ages ago: I don't carry a film camera now unless I definitely think I'll use it. So, pocketability isn't as big a deal for me as it once was. My very first "real" camera was the Voightlander Vito II folder someone mentioned earlier: my father brought it home after being stationed in Germany, eventually giving it to me after he "upgraded" to Instamatics and the Polaroid SX-70. It got mysteriously infested with fungus some years ago, so I replaced it with a hard-body Vito II B with the same great Color Skopar lens (but MUCH better finder). Its become spiritual successor to my departed Rollei 35S, and my all-time favorite "pocket" camera: the lovely retractable Kodak Instamatic 500. Possibly the most exquisite 126 ever made, nicer even than the Instamatic Reflex or Rollei 126. Mine still works perfectly including the coupled match-needle meter display in viewfinder (but 126 format is hopeless today). The Vito B below is mine, the Instamatic is a stock photo (mine is buried in storage somewhere):


    Vito B.jpg
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2019
  19. I still have and occasionally use my Olympus XA. All things considered it is easy to carry, a lot of fun and produces fine quality images. Apart from that the closest I come to a compact film camera is a Voigtländer Vito III. The f2 Ultron in it is marvelous!

    Photo from the web...
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  20. I often have an XA stashed in the phone holder on my backpack. I'm a bicycle commuter so it's with me a lot of the time.

    I had an XA-2 for a bit as well. The XA is a better camera but the 3 position zone focusing of the XA-2 makes it quicker to use. You can simulate that on the XA to a certain extent but it's pretty easy to accidentally bump the focus lever out of position (on mine anyway).

    Not a 35mm camera but I've found that a medium format AGFA Isolette folder fits into my front pants pockets pretty easily, - though not exactly light as a feather.
    Fiddlefye likes this.

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