Favorite compact modern film camera

Discussion in 'Modern Film Cameras' started by andy_collins|1, Mar 20, 2012.

  1. I'm sure we've discussed this before (and even if we have, it's still a fun topic!) but my motivation for bringing it up is a little different this time. Recently I've experienced a couple of compact MFCs that have really impressed me, namely the Canon Classic 120 and the Yashica T4. Of course we all know what an excellent performer the Olympus Stylus Epic is from our own experience and, most recently, from Maciek's excellent write-up on it. With the T4 I've found a camera that I think is absolutely superb and produces pictures that are crazy sharp, and it has become a regular fixture in my camera bag. So now I've begun to set my sights on cameras like the Contax AF cameras, that is until financial reality sets in. Now my desire is to find other compacts with outstanding lenses like the T4 and the Stylus Epic. What are your favorites and why are they your favorites? If you were to be told that you could only use one compact film AF camera from now on, which one would it be and why? For me right now it would be the T4 with the Stylus Epic nipping at its heels...
  2. The Konica Big Mini series, at least the better ones, were pretty good. The one I have has a 28-70mm zoom and two little fold out (from the base) bi-pod legs.
  3. The Stylus Epic for its fast lens and compactness. The Yashica T3 for its CZ f2.8 lens and right angle finder. The Nikon
    Lite Touch for its sharp 28 mm lens. While not compact I also like my Olympus IS-30 for its sharp 28-110 zoom.
  4. The little Contax's are great designs and nicely made. I like the Nikon L35AF for it's image quality but it's a bit large for the pocket. The most fun is the Minolta Talker but another brick to carry. The most versatile is the Leica C1 with the stunning Vario-Elmar 38-105 ASPH zoom and top notch build quality. Sweet looking images but again, these days, I will no longer carry a P&S film camera of this large size.
    For true compact pocket carry, I like my little Leica Mini. Light weight, very small and easy to carry. Mindlessly simple to use. Accurate focusing and exposures all wrapped around a brilliant 35mm f/3.5 Leica Elmar. Great sharpness and contrast from this little guy.
  5. Don't discount the Nikon Ti35 .. an unusual design with a sharp lens. I have yet to try it but it intrigues me with its' design. And yes, the Yashica T4 is a better camera than the price it sold for would indicate - and the superscope on the T4 lends the body to creative use that other point-and-shoot cameras lack.
    Contax cameras in the point-and-shoots through the Contax G2 are simply elegant cameras with superior lenses. I currently own the Contax G2 and the Yashica T4. These cameras travel well without being intrusive and clunky; require just film and a battery and that in itself is photographically limiting and at the same time liberating.
    I would be satisfied with whatever camera at hand when I want to photograph as long as the lens is sharp, be it the Yashica T4 or Stylus Epic .. I just find the T4 to feel the best for no-nonsense - take the picture photography. If you like people cluttering up your land/city-scapes who are real close to the camera perhaps the limits of the built-in flash on these point and shoots is more important than the lens.
  6. Nobody has mentioned the Olympus XA range as yet!
  7. It would by my Nikon AF600 (28mm f3.5) mentioned above by Mike Gammill. Small, black, with very sharp lens and very good AF. Not a fan of wide lenses but it's good to shot from the hip :)
    Now Olympus Stylus Epic (Mju2) is my everyday camera. Sharp lens, but want to see if I really like the design and AF performance...
    Minox GT - excellent lens but slower to use especially mine without working light meter needle.
    I have to say that Canon AutoBoy (Prima) Megazoom 105 (35-105 lens) is an excellent performer delivering SLR quality in some cases. But it's a BIG P&S.
    Another great zoom would be Olympus Infinity Stylus Zoom (35-70 lens). Very good lens.
    Last one: Canon SureShot Classic 120 - not the greatest lens but excellent electronics and functions. Nice metal body.
  8. I'm still attached to the Olympus XA's. I've had good luck with a few others, including a couple of the Stylus zooms, and a Stylus Epic before I lost it, but I rarely go anywhere without an XA2 within reach.
  9. Olympus Stylus Epic. More family shots and unexpected shots with this little pocket size gem than all my Nikons together. Sharp lens, on-the-money exposure even with little manual control (it does have spot metering) and can focus down to just over a foot. Most of all, it fits into the smallest pocket and is always there. And as much as I like it, cheap enough that I can take it anywhere and not worry if it were to be lost/stolen/damaged.
  10. Fuji Fotonex 1000ex "Tiara". It takes very good photographs and the titanium case slides shut to fit in a shirt pocket, a brilliant design that I consider it to be an amalgam of art and technology. Perhaps this is where film cameras were heading...Now we have this forum, I must post something featuring this little gem.
  11. Minox GTE (or GT) and Rollei 35TE (with Zeiss Tessar lens)
  12. I have a (probably irrational) attraction to the Pentax UC-1 / Espio Mini (I own three of them)... though objectively it's probably not as good as some of the eye-mini-candy others here are posting.
    The silver ones are relatively common and inexpensive, the black ones go for more.
  13. For me it is the Nikon L35AF followed closely by the Yashica T5.
    Gary Naka likes this.
  14. Great responses everyone! I've used some of these cameras, but I've not experienced a number of them. The Leica Mini intrigues me and that Fujifilm Tiara really does as well. That's a hard one to find which makes me want it even more. Rick, I hope you do share some pics from it sometime soon.
  15. Gary Naka likes this.
  16. Martin, those Contax cameras are beautiful. I'm awaiting the arrival of my recently purchased Contax TVS, and looking forward to using it. John, the L35AF is indeed a wonderful camera that I always thought took 'slr-like' pictures. All this mention of it makes me want to get mine out and exercise it!
  17. I'm not sure if it qualifies as being "modern" but my favorite compact camera is Rollei 35TE. It used to belong to my father in law, and it takes great photos, provided I do my part.
  18. I have a lot of compact cameras. I love using them, and I have taken many winners with them because I had a camera with me at the right time. My favorites:
    Yashica T4 Super D Weatherproof
    This is a camera I take out in big storms and heavy rain and it is a fabulous camera. I really like the waist level finder too. Makes a nice street camera. The shutter lag is a bit of a pain, but otherwise a good choice. I have the T3 "Golden Eye" version too. Also nice but a bit clunkier in design.
    Oly Stylus Epic
    What else can be said here? If I had to have ONLY ONE compact, this would be it. It really does fit in ANY pocket. And the way it fits in your hand is pure design genius. The camera becomes an extension of your hand - it's amazing. Considering how far the lens travels to shoot, the lag is not bad. I recently took it on a weekend trip and took 3 rolls of B&W in very nasty weather. I got 3 absolute winners that are as good as anything I shoot with other cameras. Incredible considering I paid $40 bucks for the camera.
    Contax G2
    Is this a compact? I don't think so. I do love shooting this camera, but it is heavy and absolutely doesn't fit in a pocket. This is a state of the art RF though, and it is smaller than an SLR.
    Nikon Ti35
    This was my first compact camera. I love the "gauges" on the top deck - retro and cool beyond compare. This is a large compact, and I would not carry it in a pocket for two reasons - it might fall out and cost you $400 bucks, and it really is too thick to fit properly in a pocket. Keep it in the nice leather pouch! This camera is nicely made but the design doesn't compare to the sleek Contax models. It's a bit like comparing a Volvo to Lambo in terms of design. The Nikon is boxy! Also, because of the high cost, I am a bit worried about using this as a "take everywhere camera." If I lose a Yashica T4, not such a big deal. If I lose this, I will cry. Waaaaah!
    Olympus XA
    Again, this is truly a pocket camera. It is not a P&S, it is a full featured RF, with aperture and shutter control. I find it hard to use, and have not yet really bonded with this camera. Others take fabulous pix with it, but so far I haven't got the hang of this camera.
    What I Want: I really want a Contax T3, and a Leica CM to see how they compare to the Nikon. I would only have one of these "high buck" pocket cameras, and they would never replace my Oly or Yashica, but they are fun to own.
    I only got into these little guys about two years ago. Before that, I would never, ever have imagined I would enjoy a P&S camera of any kind. But slipping one into a pocket before leaving the house changed my mind. I definitely won't lug a big camera bag around everywhere I go, but a P&S in the pocket is not hassle at all.
  19. Andy,
    I like the look of Contax T2 more than T3. Contax T2 was designed by Posche design team, it has neat contour, the window outline flows naturally into each other. On the other hand, the arrangement of the various windows on the Contax T3 is rather busy and crowded.
  20. I have owned many of the compacts mentioned, but the only two I have left and use are a Minox GTE and a Rollei 35T. I like the Tessar lens much better than the Sonnar on the Rollei 35, but maybe it's just me. My wife bought me a brand new Oly XA when they first came out and I thought I had the world by the tail. Well, that was until I used the camera. The XA did everything for me it was suppose to, but it's image quality didn't start until about f5.6. I have a green Russian Minox (Kiev35) that will wipe the floor with it. I like the Yashica T series, but had reliability problems with them. Minox can be worse with some models since they had iffy shutters, but get a good one and you'll have a picture taking machine. If your Minox breaks just buy another user camera since it's cheaper than getting it repaired as are most film cameras now a days. Another nice little compact that has a very good lens is the old Konica C35 and you can find them for nothing. You can see I prefer none-auto-focus compacts, but that's just me. JohnW
  21. Rolei 35. I have many compact but never used any for real because already too many loved SLR
  22. John N., looks like that rubber hood might just get in the way of the Nikon AF beam.
    There's a non-OEM 46mm "Contax G" 28mm to 35mm lens shade, that fits the Nikon L35AF nicely.
    (Made for non-AF obstruction)
    My vote for favorite super compact is the Minox ML.
  23. I lean more toward Voigtlander Vitos for "pocket" cameras.
    However, I ran a few rolls thorugh a Rollei Prego Zoom lately. Very nice results in some tricky lighting sutuations. Looks like I've found a replacement for the Olympus Mju.
  24. Gabor, I have the same camera, only with a different name. The lens is probably the same but it's an "AF-VarioRolleigon". Whatever it actually is (and who made it, when and where) I've had some great results from it.
  25. I have a Rollei 35S and Rollei 35 too
  26. Martin, which Rollei (which lens) do You prefer and why?
    Please let me know if there is a visible difference (different character) between those two great lenses.
  27. Rick, that Fuji Tiara looks very nice. I checked on eBay just now there's one starting at $0.99. If I liked APS I'd make a bid.
    I have a Stylus Epic (Mju II) and it's great (so far the only photos in my PN portfolio are from that camera). It was given to me by a nice customer at my work. I wish it had exposure compensation and aperture-priority metering. Oh, well, I can always get some DX strips from somewhere.
    I had an Olympus XA. A couple of years ago I gave it away - I loved it but it was a bit fiddly. Overall the Stylus is arguably a better camera, even with its limitations.
    Not a fan of that little Rollei. What am I going to do with a 40mm lens? Maybe it's just a hang-up.
  28. Actually the Rollei with a 40mm lens can be very useful indeed ( see my post at http://www.photo.net/classic-cameras-forum/00YZKs wherein some examples of its use are provided).
    I'd confess the Rollei 35 is my favorite as well, but it is worth noting that one of the last survivals of the grand marque Praktica is a compact P&S: The Praktica P90. It actually works quite nicely.
  29. Maciek, I cannot compare the two optics as Martin probably can, but when the f3.5 Tessar is closed down to f4 or f5.6 and smaller, it gives wonderful tonality with black and white film. Some prefer its quality in general use to that of the Sonnar, although it is nice to have a faster lens at times. I had the Singapore version of this ground-breaking (for its time) compact camera, but retired it (except for Kodak IR film use) when the meter became non-operational and the cost of repair too high (it is apparently difficult to work within such a small body and the camera was not made for easy servicing).
  30. I was always looking for the answer to this question. I started with the Minox 35GT but no rangefinder. Then I moved to the Contax T2 -- beautifully made, great lens, but no manual focus. Finally I settled on the Leica CL. I actually bought a Minolta CLE but the cost was so high, I went with the CL and sold the CLE.
    The CL had it all -- small, light weight (with the 40mm standard lens), superb images, great ergonomics, great rangefinder, and it used my Leica lenses. The only downside was the mercury batteries (which necessitated less successful zinc air replacements). Darn Leica for not carrying this idea forward to the modern age.
  31. [​IMG]Hi, I came across this discussion while looking for some info on why my Nikon L35af will only focus at the infinity or distant mark, and nothing else. Everything else works, but it has been setting for a couple of years with no battery in it. Any thoughts?
  32. [​IMG]Hi, I came across this discussion while looking for some info on why my Nikon L35af will only focus at the infinity or distant mark, and nothing else. Everything else works, but it has been setting for a couple of years with no battery in it. Any thoughts?
    As far as one of my favorite film point and shoots, I vote for the Fujifilm DL Super Mini Zoom. An all metal camera with a clamshell design. It has a 28mm-56mm zoom similar to the Contax TVS. A lightweight easy to use with some nice features, and the lens is REALLY SHARP! I took this Vegas in 1998 loaded with some iso 1600 slide film and got great pictures. Had some type R prints made up to 16x20 with the usual grain, but they were so sharp I was amazed. I never hear much about this camera though. Must not have been very popular, or didn't sell well.
  33. [​IMG]Hi, I came across this discussion while looking for some info on why my Nikon L35af will only focus at the infinity or distant mark, and nothing else. Everything else works, but it has been setting for a couple of years with no battery in it. Any thoughts?
    As far as one of my favorite film point and shoots, I vote for the Fujifilm DL Super Mini Zoom. An all metal camera with a clamshell design. It has a 28mm-56mm zoom similar to the Contax TVS. A lightweight easy to use with some nice features, and the lens is REALLY SHARP! I took this Vegas in 1998 loaded with some iso 1600 slide film and got great pictures. Had some type R prints made up to 16x20 with the usual grain, but they were so sharp I was amazed. I never hear much about this camera though. Must not have been very popular, or didn't sell well.
  34. Paul, I had a DL Super Mini Zoom until I sold it recently. It is a neat camera but it is very noisy, which is what I didn't like about it. I love the TVS though!
  35. I like the Fuji DL Super Mini Zoom also. I got it to replace my Minox 35 GT-X which I couldn't get fixed properly. Couldn't afford the Contax and when I was buying, Fuji had a rebate on it so I think it cost me less than $150. I still have one that I dropped because of the slippery metal body so now the sliding lens cover is only attached on the bottom. Everything still works though. The zooming is a little noisy and there are too few distinct zoom settings from 28mm-56mm. I still have the nice marketing pamphlet that I picked up at a photo show for the Fuji. I bought one for my brother and he never used it so he gave it back to me. Now I have my beat up one and a barely used one in great shape. After I dropped my Fuji, I thought I could replace it with a Konica Lexio 70. It had a 28-70mm lens and nice specs but I don't think the camera nor the lens is as nice as the Fuji. I have a Yashica T2 that I bought new years ago but it must be malfunctioning because I haven't had good results from the last few rolls. I'm playing with a beat up Olympus Stylus Epic right now that I got for free. I may try to get my hands on a friend's Canon Classic 120 which I know he doesn't use anymore since digital. Wondering if any Rollei QZ 35's will show up at KEH or at auction. I wish the Contax cameras would get cheaper so I can finally buy one after all these years of lusting after them.
  36. My favorite compact film camera to carry is my FUJI STX-2. It's small and light. I also throw the Minolta Freedom II in my pocket.
  37. Nothing beats the Olympus XA. It is as small as a pack of cigarettes, has adjustable f-stops and exposure compensation, and the lens is sharp sharp sharp! If there is a better compact 35mm out there, I've never seen it.
    I've shot some images on Velvia 50 with my XA that you would swear were taken with an SLR and $$$ lens.
    Oh, and perhaps the most important thing: the shutter has an extremely light touch, which makes hand-holding in low light conditions with slow film a breeze. This allows for results that are simply not possible with the clunky shutter release on most compacts.
  38. I like to use the Olympus MJU II, which does not have a very good design (eg shutter button or viewfinder) but excellent lens, and I have been testing other compact cameras film, such as the Olympus Infinity Mini (better design, but larger body) and the results have been very good ... as you can see on my site http://wesleysoupza.com.br/album_5.htm

  39. I have tried quite a lot of compacts. Big mini was not the 2,8 version and was so and so in sharpness, the Ol xa is very nice working with but will not get consistent results. I think i´ts due to film flatness problems. Maybe you should not rewind until taking moment but then the biggest point with point and shoot goes down the drain. Nikon AF 35 L very good but big (and noisy), the canon 35 AF also very good but you have to fool the metering when shooting in low light and also big. The Olympus SP and Canon Ql 17 is also too big but very good. If you shoot that big cameras then you could just as well (if yu have the money) get a Voigtländer or Leica with excellent viewfinders and quality and repair possibility and different lenses. The winner is Olympus stylys epic/mju ii . Just think if it had the non flash as standard and less noise for film advance and a hotshoe on top (the viewfinder is crap so a external finder would be great. If you are serious you could of course glue a flash shoe to the camera. The rollei Se is good but have fairly low contrast (like old rolleiflex). Also a bit fiddly to use.
  40. I own several and still use them. (Not all of them at a time).
    MjuII = Extremely small, Good lens, Water resistant, Low price. A bit softer than Contax / Yashica in a tasteful way.
    XA = Small and nice clamshell design. Very quiet (no motor). Focus and control is pain. Lens is similar to Mju II, but softer, better color, darker corner.
    T4 T5 = Small and pocketable, Sharp lens, Water resistant, Terry Richardson looking shots especially with flash. A Hipster camera.
    T2 T3 = Great lens (T3 is sharper, but T2 has better color), rather large, square, heavy and expensive looking body makes me hesitate to put it into my pocket directly. I usually carry them in my camera bag. Those cameras can make that infamous Tillmans look.
    G2 = Heavy and large. The lens selection is nothing but unbelievable. I sold this camera and bought Aria instead.
  41. Bumping up the thread...
    I've come to really enjoy my Contax TVS. It's tiny and very portable, takes filters and has its own tiny lens shade, and I've gotten some nice results with it. I took it as one of my cameras on a recent trip to Newfoundland, and just have a question (sorry if it's dumb)...I used some Ilford 400 speed film with a yellow filter, was I correct to put the exposure compensation at plus one? The camera doesn't meter through the filter.
  42. There are recommended exposure compensation values for each filter, though obviously it could depend on the color of the scene. I think 1 stop sounds about usual for a yellow filter.
  43. I just noticed this thread and thought I'd toss in my own comments and preferences.
    The Oly XA -- I own one, complete with the A11 flash. It's a great little compact camera. I also own a classic old Trip 35. This is also a great little compact camera.
    Minolta produced a long series of Hi-Matic P&S cameras. They're so simple, it doesn't even seem like they'd work, but they do -- very well. I've used the Hi-Matic 7 with surprising results.
    The OP mentioned the Canon Classic 120. This is a beautiful, elegant camera and takes stunningly wonderful images. But there are other Canon compacts worth mentioning. Like the QL17 GIII, and the AF35ML. And if you really want to go old school, you have all the interchangeable lens rangefinders Canon produced throughout the 50s and early 60s.
  44. Fuji Tiara Zoom.

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