Best compact film camera

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by deanimator, Sep 8, 2007.

  1. deanimator

    deanimator TPF Noob!

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    I´m a fan of the small Olympus XA

    Great optics...6 elements, 35mm, f 2.8 aperture priority, true focussing, manual iso settings (which means near total exposure control is possible) and it fits in my pocket!

    Some call it the poor man´s Leica, and it is just about as good. I´ve shown 12 x 16 inch prints in exhibitions and had "Wow, that´s so sharp...what camera did you use?"

    Look it up here http://www.camerapedia.org/wiki/Olympus_XA
    (Note: only the XA is really good...the XA1 XA2 XA3 you can forget about)

    First made in 1979, they are of course no longer in production, but you can still pick them up on eBay for about $50

    What do you like, and why?
     
  2. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    I like them :p

    XA1 IMO is ugly. Apart from that one, they are great little cameras. Perfectly designed pocket cameras, the sliding design keeps the lens clean, simple but effective 3-zone focusing, and possibly the best shutter release ever (no danger of causing camera shake there). Also there's the XA4, which has a wider and closer focusing lens.
     
  3. deanimator

    deanimator TPF Noob!

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    Faced with the choice, I´d go with the XA every time.
    It was the only model with a split image range-finder focus (the others were 3 or 5 fixed zones only.
    It was also optically far superior: six glass elements as opposed to the 3 to 5 plastic elements in the others.

    Other options or favourites? What about the Minox, or Minolta CLE, for example?
     
  4. Steph

    Steph No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If I was very rich a Minolta TC-1 would do nicely; very compact, superd build quality and the lens is apparently very good. Ricoh GR1s/GR1v and Contax T3 also look very attractive but then again they are a bit pricey. I am currently looking for a compact film camera at the moment and it will be either an Olympus XA or Minox 35 GT depending on what I can find in good condition for about £30 (probably on eBay).
     
  5. Joxby

    Joxby TPF Noob!

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    Well, I've never used one, I'm trying really hard to buy one, and I suspect mostly because I think its a beau compact rangefinder, and partly because I dont have a 35mm camera.

    Behold...Nikon 35Ti

    with built in retro barometer weather gauges...:lovey:


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    The XA is indeed a great camera. My search for the Holy Grail of compact cameras has been going on as long as I’ve been taking photographs.

    My first favourite was a Rollei 35T, which I still regard as one of the very best. I now have a 35S as well. I had a 35SE, but sold it because I preferred the way the meter position on the 35T and 35S allowed easy one-handed operation. I used the Rolleis a lot when rock and ice climbing, and being able to use them one-handed was essential. I had a Rollei 35B to begin with, and that was also a good camera but I replaced it with the 35T quite quickly. The images I have made with my tiny, light 35T have done very well for me, in the ‘pretty pictures of hills’ corner of my photography.

    The Minox 35-something was a disappointment optically and mechanically, and I gave up on it after the second failure. I can’t remember which model it was, possibly the ML.

    The Nikon Action Touch (also known as the L35AWAF – all weather auto focus), though larger and heavier than the Rollei 35, has served me very well while ski-ing and sailing. It is very robust, dustproof and waterproof. I don’t bother to carry it in a case, it doesn’t seem to be affected by temperatures way below freezing, it doesn’t snag in rigging (an advantage over the Nikonos) and it is waterproof to about 3 m (10 ft) so I can use it while swimming. It is auto exposure only, with exposure lock. Works well. It has three-zone manual focusing as well as the simple autofocus and AF lock.

    The folding Voigtländer Vitessa L is the oldest compact I have (it’s about the same age as me) and optically one of the best. It is a little heavy though.

    The newest compact I have is the black version of the Fuji Natura. This has a 24 mm f/1.9 lens that compares remarkably well with my Canon 24 mm f/1.4.

    I also have a Yashica T5, which is OK, but I have never really connected with it. The right-angle viewfinder is neat, though, the optical quality is fine, and it is weatherproof. I have similar feelings, or lack of them, for my Leica Minilux.

    The Minolta CLE failed to achieve perfection in my eyes because of its metering system, so I eventually sold it. A very fine camera in all other respects.

    I tend to carry either an Action Touch or a Nikonos V as my go-everywhere camera because of their go-everywhere robustness.

    Many of these compacts have no digital rivals – ie simple, robust, small cameras with superb lenses capable of very high image quality.



    Best,
    Helen
     
  7. Orrin

    Orrin No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The XA is a fine camera, I used one for several years. I now use
    the Olympus Stylus Wide that has a 28-80 mm zoom lens, (Most
    point and shoot zooms are 35-something). The later version of
    the Stylus Wide is 28-100mm and still may be available as new.
     
  8. Lol999

    Lol999 TPF Noob!

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    Nikon L35AF. Cracking sharp lens, £10 off ebay including carriage, if someone tries to take it off you, beat them to death with it!
     
  9. sincere

    sincere TPF Noob!

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    Hmmm..so if you was to go on vacation, would you rather want to take a point and shoot or your D/SLR?
     
  10. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    Depends on the vacation. Normally I'd take an SLR kit with me (film and digital), but if there was a digital compact with a decent sized sensor, a good lens (fast moderate zoom or a nice fast prime), and manual controls. Not a simple all-auto point-&-shoot but a really good compact digital camera. The Canon G series are probably the closest thing to this so far, and the Ricoh GR series has the right idea.

    Sometimes a dSLR and lens isn't the most practical or suitable. That's why I'd be interested in seeing more digital rangefinders, and better digital compacts. Unfortunately the digital camera market at the moment seems to be all about persuading people to buy average compacts, or to spend more and get a dSLR. There's the assumption "If you want quality get a dSLR". And I like dSLRs, but I also believe sometimes a dRF or a good compact might be better. Hopefully in time the market will become more interesting.
     
  11. sincere

    sincere TPF Noob!

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    Something stressfree, where you dont want to carry too much stuff with you but do want to end up with some nice pics.
     
  12. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    £250 from Ffordes. Just don't blame me. :p

    Ah well then I'd definitely rather have a good compact (I'd like to see them use APS-C sensors at least and have faster lenses), a dRF or a dSLR with a small profile and pancake lenses. The sort of thing you could realistically keep under a jacket.
     

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