Are Expensive point and Shoot cameras really worth the $?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by darinwc, Oct 17, 2008.

  1. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    I see some Point and Shoot cameras that seem to marketed as "premium" and demand fairly high prices. Considering all the great P&S cameras made by Pentax, Canon, Olympus and Nikon, I dont see what all the fuss is about.

    Some of these expensive P&S cameras are even going for $500-$700 or more!
    WTF!?

    Is anyone actually buying these to use or are they all crazy collectors?

    And if anyone is using them, are they really that much better than say an olympus stylus or canon sureshot?
     
  2. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

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    Please give me an idea of the point and shoot cameras to which you are referring.
     
  3. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    I know the ones you're talking about like the Contax T, T2, T3.. Nikon 35Ti, 28Ti and some models from Minolta that I know. I think those are nice to have and they have better built quality but still they don't offer much in term of controls.
     
  4. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    Contax T3 Camera - Mint - $500
    Fuji Fujifilm Natura S Lavender F1.9 24mm camera $489
    Ricoh GR1s Date Black Camera w/ GR 28mm Lens $450
    Olympus Pen W Olympus-Pen W $416
    Leica Minilux Titanium 40 f2.4 Summarit LN $369
    Yashica T4 Super Date Black ( Like New) $299
    Minolta TC-1 $574.00
    Leica CM zoom , condition superb $749!
    MINOLTA TC-1 G-Rokkor 28mm f/3.5 MINT- IN BOX *RARE* $836
    Contax T3 Titanium Black 70th Limited Edition *RARE* $999!
     
  5. elekm

    elekm Member

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    The more expensive P&S models, including -- but not limited to -- those made by Leica, Kyocera (Contax) and Rollei (QZ series and Rollei 35 AFM) still seem to command a very high price. With some, it's about the lens or manual controls or quality of construction. With others, it's more about the reputation of the brand.

    With a couple of exceptions, the Japanese camera makers (Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, Kyocera (Yashica and Kyocera), Canon, Konica, Minolta and others) pushed so many lower-priced models onto the market with such great frequency that it diminished the value of the existing products. Similar to what is happening with the digital P&S market -- used P&S models are essentially valueless when compared with their original sales price.

    The Nikon 35Ti (and siblings) and the Konica Hexar and a couple of others were higher-spec'ed products aimed at a different buyer.

    As well, much of the consumer-level product was -- to put it rather unkindly -- crap. Thrift shops are full of plastic P&S models for $3 or less, and if you were to cover up the nameplate, you'd be hard-pressed to tell who made it. Nor would you care, because most are constructed from a low grade of plastic, which didn't wear well.

    Now, that doesn't mean that they aren't good cameras. Over the years, I've bought some of these here and there. This summer, I gave a Chinon (don't know the model and don't care) to let my daughter take on her summer camp. If it was dropped or got lost or stolen -- I didn't care. There were plenty more if that happened.

    The photos were suitably sharp, and in the end that's all that mattered to her. And in the end, that's all that mattered to most of the people who bought these cameras. These are the '80s and '90s versions of the Instamatics, 110 cartridge and plastic 127 cameras of yesteryear.

    But I agree that most of the higher-priced P&S models sell for too much. And that's because the market will bear what people are willing to pay.

    Some were absurdly expensive when they arrived on the market. The Rollei QZ 35T, for example, retailed for $1,500. Excellent camera, but an entry-level SLR would give you equally good photos and more flexibility.

    By the way, the word "mint" is inaccurately used most of the time on eBay and in photo forums.
     
  6. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    I read "mint" on ebay as "I expect you to pay a mint for my product"
     
  7. FilmOnly

    FilmOnly Member

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    With regard to the term, "mint," I could not agree more. My favorite, though, is the term, "mint+"--a designation I see used on occasion. What can this possibly mean? Is it better than new?...or do they just sell you a mint camera and give you a ten-dollar bill, too?
     
  8. raucousimages

    raucousimages Member

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    I love Mintish or mint-ish.:confused:

    By the way I have an older Leica point and shoot. It cost me about $300.00. I bought it to replace an Olympus I gave to my daughter. The lens is nice, it is sharper and has more contrast than the $65.00 Oly.
     
  9. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    I like the picture quality possible from some of the older "high-end" pocketable cameras, especially if they have manual exposure controls or manual over ride. But the word here is "pocketable." I loved my Rollei 35 with a Sonnar, but it never felt comfortable in a pocket. A really pocketable camera with a "professional" quality lens would be very desirable to me--if the price were right. And some of the less expensive ones I have owned could cut a pretty sharp image--I remember a little Konica that did a nice job, despite costing about 125 bucks new. Don't remember the model number, though. It was stolen in Greece years back. But I am not one for "cachet."
     
  10. Fotogeorge

    Fotogeorge Member

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    I consider that my Minolta Maxxum SLRs are in mint condition, but I can only get 5% of their original value. They will probably keep working longer than my new DSLRs. Only the death of lab services will finally put them out of action. I find it a mystery how P&S models are valued more highly. I wonder sometimes, if manufactures are crushing the old analog cameras and accessories, that are sold/traded to camera dealers.
     
  11. bnstein

    bnstein Member

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    The high end PS cameras do all have very good lenses, and many of them have quite extensive controls. Some are I think justifiably highly priced, others....
    I have a Gr1 which has an excellent 28mm lens, extensive manual controls, spot metering option, and fits into my shirt pocket. It is fabulous. I also have an Olympus mju (?Stylus Epic in US) with the fixed 35mm lens. A bit bigger, no controls of note. 1/4 the price new of a second hand GR1. Very different animals: I wont take the GR1 white water rafting.....
     
  12. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    They are great tools. A Magnum shooter explains some of the benefits:

    http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/multi_page.asp?cid=7-6468-7844

    As for "worth".....well, that is such a loaded word.

    My next major (and first "new") camera purchase is likely one or maybe a pair of G10s. It suits what I shoot a lot of now. For many things I don't need sharpness, quickness, a huge file, etc. In fact, I rarely will need to even print the pix. The silence, size, weight, low light ability, unobtrusiveness, different viewing methods, etc. are great reasons to use these cameras. Their benefits are actually quite in line with many of the benefits of an old Barnack-style rangefinder. Given what the G10 could give me that an SLR cannot, I think they are "worth" the price.

    Besides all that, they have manual controls and can talk to the 580. It has FE lock, FEC, etc.

    The weird thing is that it seems most folks with some disposable income think the fact that these cameras are so small and so inexpensive means that their purchase makes him or her inferior in the world of conspicuous consumption, and go for a consumer SLR instead. Many (most?) of the folks who are buying Rebels, X0Ds, and even 5Ds really don't need an SLR 90% of the time, and would probably take better pictures with a point and shoot. So, the question to me is not really why are great point and shoots so much, but, rather, why are low-end SLRs so close in price to high end point and shoots? Exactly for this reason. To bait yuppies into buying a more impressive camera when they don't need it. A camera that could lead to a lifetime of buying accessories, new bodies, lenses, etc.

    So, I don't think a "real" photographer is stupid for paying a lot of money for a great point and shoot, but I do think that those conspicuous consumers who jump to a low end SLR when they don't need it are probably biting off more than is necessary and not only wasting their money, but digging a money pit for the future.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 18, 2008
  13. digiconvert

    digiconvert Member

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    The most important component in any camera is the nut behind the viewfinder. Some people take great shots with a disposable others woul take a lousy shot with a leica.
    Any commodity is worth what people are prepared to pay. If you want to take good photographs with little manual control but a good lens and decent viewfinder I think a contax P and S or similar is probably very desirable.
     
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  15. mabman

    mabman Member

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    Those particular P&S cameras fall in the "might be nice to have but very non-essential" category for me.

    They are all P&S cameras at the end of the day - you still have to "know your camera" - when it is likely to fire or not fire the flash, if your flash is prone to red eye, general focussing methods, etc. The better lenses on the more expensive ones particularly might be nice, but I don't think they matter substantially for the majority of people shooting with P&S cameras.

    That said, apparently you *can* make a living shooting (mostly) P&S - see Juergen Teller and Terry Richardson (the fashion world is strange, I don't particular like much of either of their work, but there you go).
     
  16. jolefler

    jolefler Member

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    Design sophistication and build materials....

    are what separates the big buck P&S models from the others you mentioned. That does NOT necessarily mean greater reliability, IMHO.

    I really don't see any difference in longevity between the two types; I've come across almost as many broken Contaxes/TI's/Hexars as IQZooms/120EDAF's/etc. I can't say I'm willing to spring more money for an expensive one when the repair estimate will be much higher, as well. I do have a Leica Mini 3 (fancy plasticam), but that's a far cry from a TVS, etc.

    The plasticams you mention are usually capable of producing photos similar to the expensive ones....at least in my darkroom.

    Jo
     
  17. mhanc

    mhanc Member

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    "The most important component in any camera is the nut behind the viewfinder. Some people take great shots with a disposable others would take a lousy shot with a leica."
    ___________________________________________________________

    Holding all else equal [i.e. the nut], my direct experience with PS cameras is with several Nikons and a Contax tvs. They all took adequate photos which were good for getting prints to mail to grandma, etc. None of them produced anything of particular quality. IMO, the lens and lack of manual control were the limiting factor. So, in terms of value these cameras are definitely NOT worth the $500-$700 the OP is seeing.

    When you consider that you can get a good 35mm slr and lens for $300 or a Hasselblad kit for $1,000, any price like that for a PS seems high.

    If one wants a PS type camera I would recommend the Rollei 35. It is 100% mechanical and gave very nice results which I though were much better than the PS cameras in question here. EX condition at KEH is about $275 for the models made in Germany, less for those made in Singapore in later years.

    All this being said, I have made great pictures with all kinds of cameras -- in the end, to me it is more about how I react to a photo than about how I took it. Of course, that's not to say fondling camera gear isn't part of the fun!

    Look for my "Mint+" Contax Tvs on ebay :wink:
     
  18. Michael W

    Michael W Member

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    I own a Nikon 28ti, bought it second hand 10 years ago. In that time it's had one service - to clean out some dirt that had gotten into part of the mechanism. I've put hundreds & hundreds of rolls of film through it, including a lot of slide film. The metering & lens quality are excellent. The lens opens to f/2.8, it has aperture priority & exposure compensation +/- 2 stops. I love this camera, one of my best ever buys. I'm sure the 35ti is also good if you want a not so wide view.
     
  19. rmolson

    rmolson Member

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    Point and shoot

    The biggest mistake in buying cameras I ever made was a Lecia point and shoot. Hey it was a Lecia how much could go wrong?
    No.1 the controls are tiny , tiny and nearly flush to the top, feeling them with out looking is a problem .And wearing gloves or cold weather forget about it.
    No.2 the camera is going to preserve it's batteries whether you want it to or not If you haven't made the shot in two or three minutes it shuts it self off. When you turn it back on it will automatically return to full auto mode with flash!
    No. 3 The exposure choice must be set in every time the camera turns on, it will not remember or save your choices such as no flash, increase exposure for dark or back light subjects,etc.
    No. 4 Speed is not a factor in point and shoot, They should be called point and wait, .”I'll get back to you” the auto focus has to check the focus, then check and compute the exposure. By the time it is done the grab shot is long gone.
    I actually threw the camera away in disgust, $300 down the tube! When I want a small easy to carry camera I take a little manual zone focus, aperture preferred Yashica Electro 35MC that fires the shutter when I press the shutter release and exposes the film according to my choices I'll stick with manual .
    If all these drawbacks are not a factor then get a point and shoot and knock yourself out

    rmolson
     
  20. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I find it interesting that in the heyday of the P&S compact about twenty years ago that the technological advances in cameras ( Auto Exposure, auto focus, DX coding auto zoom etc.) started in compacts, and the ideas were cross fertilised into SLR cameras which seems to me to be the wrong way round somehow.
     
  21. Excalibur2

    Excalibur2 Member

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    Konica C35 auto has a very good lens.......small but not exactly a point and shoot as you have to focus (well I just judge the distance with a 38mm lens and dont use the rangefinder) and no inbuilt flash....seen one go for £5 on ebay.

    scanned the 5"X7" print (taken with c35) with an 8 year old scanner and used sharpen in photoshop:-

    [​IMG]
     
  22. AutumnJazz

    AutumnJazz Member

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    2F/2F, thank you for that article. That is probably the best evidence for the idea that the camera doesn't matter. Those are some amazing photos.

    I wonder if he also uses the M8, now.
     
  23. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

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    You don't need those expensive P&S cameras. Just buy a Olympus stylus epic/XA from KEH or ebay. The XA gives you a lot of flexibility. The stylus epic doesn't, but it does give you a spotmeter, night mode, and I love it because I can just stick it in my bag and when I need it I have a great camera. I would like to get the XA for the quietness though.
     
  24. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    the t4 ( non date back ) was a really nice camera.
    it is worth its weight in gold, as long as the focusing works.
    we had one and put hundreds of rolls through it, but unfortunately
    the zone focusing mechanism stopped working, and it would have cost a fortune
    to fix ...

    too bad they don't make them anymore ... and people looking to sell things for a premium sell them on eBoo...
     
  25. Ben 4

    Ben 4 Member

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    Love my 35ti

    I bought a 35ti about a year ago. Like other point and shoots, the camera does have some limitations. But image quality is not one of them. When I examined my first roll of b&w negatives on the light table, I was stunned. I had hoped for "good" quality. But these were well beyond anything I expected: remarkably detailed, contrasty, and consistently well exposed.

    --Ben
     
  26. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    Regarding the quality of P+S: As others have said, and I agree with, it's mostly the photographer who makes the difference between good and great photos. I've seen some very nice shots from inexpensive P&S's.
    That said, I would think that anyone willing to fork up the money for a quality camera would want a usable tool.
    These tiny cameras have equally tiny controls. That is also true for most digi compacts, hell even the modern slr's have tiny buttons scattered all over the place. Doesnt this make them a pain in the rear to use?