35mm compact under €100

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by funkpilz, Mar 5, 2009.

  1. funkpilz

    funkpilz Member

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    So I finally got tired of my Casio Exilim's constant failing and sent it back to Amazon. They sent me a mail saying "Yeah, sorry, here's €100."
    Yay!
    Now what I want to do is get a compact, fast and easy to use 35mm camera, either autofocus or rangefinder, maybe an Olympus XA or something like that. Thing is, I don't know anything about this type of camera or what to look for when buying one. So, I'm asking you for help.
    I want to use the camera mostly for portraits (low light) and some minor nonsensical photography. I guess this means I need a 50-90mm lens with an aperture of at least 2.8 - is this doable on my budget?
     
  2. andrewc

    andrewc Member

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    If you're looking for an AF camera you might look at the Olympus Stylus Epic, a wonderful, most compact camera with a very sharp f/2.8 lens and spot metering. As far as rangefinders go, the Olympus 35RC is simply superb, 'nuff said. Also consider the Canon QL17-GIII, one of my personal favorites with a phenomenal lens and a full set of features and capabilities,
     
  3. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    The Stylus Epic is a pretty good camera. It's very basic but it's very high quality.

    When it was new it was about $90 US... well within budget. You may even still be able to get a new one. 35mm lens though, not 50-90, but I happen to think a 35 is far more useful than a 50.
     
  4. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

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    The stylus epic is great. The only I problem I had with it is that it was as loud/louder than my nikon F5.
     
  5. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    Olympi of 70's vintage haven't proven themselves to be the most reliable of cameras, though they are very nice.

    The QL17-GIII has a good reputation for reliability and can probably be kept working forever with some TLC.

    Other picks, though a bit more pricey, are the Nikon 35ti and the Ricoh GR1.

    For P&S's the Yashica T4/T5 produces stunning results but provides no manual control.

    If you want something with a Zoom you might want to look at a Pentax IQ zoom, they made a few that had lenses with half-way respectable f-numbers. The Yashica T4/T5 zoom is best avoided.

    My experience with the performance of XA's and Epics has been dismal. The black plastic used by Olympus has a tendency to shatter - I have a collection of shattered Olympus P&S's - family members keep buying them, breaking them, and then giving them to me to fix - hah!

    Whatever you do, don't look for a bargain but get the best condition guaranteed working camera you can find. It's worth paying extra.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 5, 2009
  6. Chris Nielsen

    Chris Nielsen Member

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    I've got a few of the Stylus models - 35mm 2.8 for low light, 28-80 zoom for a walk around model, and a 38-115 for longer tele shots. Apparently the 38-140 is a cracker of a camera as well. I mention the 35 2.8 for low light as the others have pretty slow lenses, but they work brilliantly in good light, just as the 2.8 works brilliantly in low light
     
  7. elekm

    elekm Member

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    The Olympus 35 RC is a wonderful little camera. Replace those foam seals, and you're good to go. There were other similar offerings from the 1970s that are equally good.

    As for a P&S with autofocus, I've been using a Rollei Prego 70 (35mm-70mm zoom), which has been very reliable.

    You probably could find almost any Japanese ugly-as-sin generic plastic P&S cameras at a thrift shop for less than $5. They're probably good enough, and you could buy three or four and still get out the door for less than $20.
     
  8. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    I think your requirements of fast lens and 50-90mm are, unfortunately, mutually exclusive. All the fast P&S RFs I've seen are at least moderately wide (40mm) and the zooms that get you out past 50mm are slow.

    One possibility I thought about was a weatherproof Olympus Infinity Twin (I have one that I use to use while camping). It has 2 lenses, a 35mm and a 70mm, with a mirror arrangement to switch between them. But it has no aperture markings.
     
  9. funkpilz

    funkpilz Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions so far. Just to clarify: I was talking about a prime lens between 50mm and 90mm. But I'll take a 35mm, too. Those Olympusses are looking nice.
     
  10. John Bragg

    John Bragg Member

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    Olympus Mju II / Stylus epic can be found reasonably cheaply second hand on Ebay. I got mine for £6.50. It shows very little signs of use at all.
     
  11. Phormula

    Phormula Member

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    I would not recommend the Olympus Mju II / Stylus epic, because it has IR autofocus no infinity focus lock. This makes shooting a landscape trough glass nearly impossible. The trick is to cover one of the AF windows with a finger, but it does not work 100%. After many good pictures lost, I got a Yashica T4 and I am happy with its Zeiss Tessar lens (well, I recently "upgraded" to a Nikon 35 TI, but that's another story...). The Olympus has been sitting idle since then. Those are the only two cheap point&shoot cameras from the '90s that expose slide film properly. Others tend to overexpose because they have been designed for print film, like most zoom P&S. If you want a zoom camera, the Minolta Riva 70-75W or the Yashica T-Zoom do a fine job. Both have a zoom lens that is a real wide angle (28 mm) and end around 70 mm. The Minolta is a little faster (3.5 at 28 mm), while the Yashica has a Zeiss Tessar lens, but slower (4.5-8).
    More expensive choices are the Leica Minilux and Minilux Zoom and the Nikon 28TI - 35TI, but you need real luck to find a good one below 100$.
     
  12. funkpilz

    funkpilz Member

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    I have made a decision. It's completely useless as an answer to my original question, but still a solution to my problem.
    The digital P&S I gave up was never a walkaround camera, it was just for parties and social things and I used it because it was relatively quick. It was never used for serious photography. After realizing this fact and the fact that I don't need a serious P&S camera, I decided to get a very un-serious P&S camera. A Lomography Fisheye 2. $30 and I have a very fast little machine perfectly suited for what I'll be using it for, and the good thing is that image quality is not an issue with this type of P&S. Simply because you know beforehand you won't be using this for anything serious.
    Still, thanks everyone for your recommendations!