Every day companion camera

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by bonk, Apr 4, 2012.

  1. bonk

    bonk Member

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    I am looking for a 35mm camera that I could take with me every day wherever my daily business takes me. I should be able to quickly pull it out whenever needed. It should be robust and small. Here are my requirements ordered by priority:

    1. good image quality, no compromise here
    2. manual and autoexposure mode
    3. manual focus
    4. small
    5. robust (rugged body)
    6. not too expensive so I don't need to be too afraid to break it when I throw it in my backpack every morning, maybe around 500$?
    7. autofocus
    8. small zoom range would be nice, (like 35mm-70mm or something) if that doesn't mean a compromise in image quality

    Could you suggest a camera that fulfills most, ideally all of the above requirements?
     
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  2. djhopscotch

    djhopscotch Member

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    Small enough to fit in a backpack, or a pocket?
     
  3. rthomas

    rthomas Subscriber

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    My wife and I both have used several different Olympus Stylus 35mm point-and-shoot cameras in that role. My favorite is the Stylus Epic (35mm f/2.8 lens) but I also like the Stylus 100 (28-100mm zoom lens). The models I am familiar with are weatherproof, the lenses are good, have a spot meter which gives you some control of the exposure, offer infinity lock, and several flash settings including no flash. Nice cameras. They are great travel companions; when we travel, the Stylus 100 comes with us no matter what other cameras we take.

    EDIT - I see that your budget is higher than the above cameras by at least an order of magnitude... Maybe a Canon Rebel with a short zoom lens. The K2 is very light.
     
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  4. bonk

    bonk Member

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    It does not have to fit in a pocket of my pants but maybe in the pocket of my jacket. It surely should be significantly smaller than an SLR.
     
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  5. bonk

    bonk Member

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    The SLRs you mentioned are definitely to big.
     
  6. CGW

    CGW Member

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    I use a Nikon FG+50/1.8E or 45/2.8 AiP for that--the smallest 35mm SLR Nikon made.

    Not much knocking around in AF aside from the Stylus or little Rollei Prego 30 or Pregos with short zooms. Most weren't that robust and or as long-lived as SLRs.

    Always the Konica Hexars, too.
     
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  7. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

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    I carry my Yashica GSN. Not the smallest, but has a great lens - always delivers.
     
  8. IloveTLRs

    IloveTLRs Member

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    The Olympus XA and Contax TVS fit a few of those requirements
     
  9. Ricardo Miranda

    Ricardo Miranda Member

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    One that fills some of your requirements is the Nikon 35 or the 28 TI. Small, auto-exposure and manual, manual focus as well as AF. But it is a single focal lenght.
     
  10. jayvo86

    jayvo86 Member

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    Maybe a Contax G-2? It's kind of hard to fit everything into your requirments. You might have to comprimise somewhere.

    I have a Canon A-1 with a 50mm 1.4 which I love and would fit most of your requirments. However, it's MF only.
     
  11. Pumalite

    Pumalite Subscriber

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    +1
     
  12. mcgrattan

    mcgrattan Member

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    The Olympus Stylus Epic is very compact, and I've always been happy with the image quality. It is auto-everything, though. No control over exposure [although it does have a spot meter], or focus, and it does have a slight shutter lag. That said, it's very small, and the lens is good.

    Olympus XA -- meets almost all the requirements, although I never really got on with one when I had it. I think I preferred the zone focusing XA2. I also preferred various classic 70s auto-exposure rangefinders - Konica C35, etc. The Olympus XA/XA2 are genuinely pocketable, though, in the way that most compact cameras that offer a high degree of control are not.

    One that I've used that is worth looking at is the Rollei AFM35/Fuji Klasse. Fixed focal length, and manual focus is via a dial to set the distance, but it does almost everything else. Very accurate metering, aperture priority and program modes. High quality lens. I've gone away on a few trips with just the Rollei and had no complaints about the experience of using the camera as an only-camera, and the photos were consistently good.

    My own pocket camera tends to either be the Rollei AFM, or, almost entirely in the other direction, a 6x4.5 Super Ikonta. All-manual, but the big negatives in a tiny package are very welcome.

    I have a Hexar, and I really like it, but it is quite a bit larger than pocketable. Inside coat pocket, yes, but it's almost the same size as a Leica.
     
  13. Someonenameddavid

    Someonenameddavid Member

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    I think there was one of the last series of Minolta Maxxum slrs that was really small
     
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  15. pdjr1991

    pdjr1991 Member

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    I second the Yashica as a carry camera. its light, accurate, and decently small. will it fit in a jacket pocket? yes but its gonna bulge. but considering all you need to do is take the lens cap off, thats a handy trade off. no fumbling with lens. however it is fixed focal length.
     
  16. CGW

    CGW Member

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    APUG should charge for this sort of camera matchmaking--seriously.
     
  17. polka

    polka Member

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    My choices :

    35mm > Minox35 or Leica III
    120:645 > a very old Rodenstock Citonette folder (2,9/75mm lens, compur shutter, dated 1932)
    120:6x9 > a SuperIkonta - well... bigger but still pocketable

    Paul
     
  18. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

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    GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA~!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    Minolta 16ii meet's 1-6 and (no auto exposure).
     
  19. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

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    I rarely agree with CGW.... but I do today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:confused::confused::confused::confused::confused:
     
  20. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Deeply gratified.
     
  21. Katie

    Katie Subscriber

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    Contax g2 is the only one I can think of that's small enough with autofocus.
     
  22. pen s

    pen s Member

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    By the time autofocus was a common feature in compact, fixed lens 35mm cameras manual control was usually not available anymore. All these cameras were dependent on their batteries/electronics to operate, something to consider for a everyday camera. Perhaps a look back in time would be in order, to the early/mid 1970's? This era produced a crop of small(ish) 35mm fixed lens RF's, some with fast optics. My opinion for the most desirable would be the Olympus SPn with a 42mm f1.7 lens. Downside with this camera is price, clean operating examples seem to go for $300 and up. A more compact alternative is the Olympus 35RC with a 42mm f2.8 lens and fewer features. A good one can be had for less than $100. Not to be stuck on the Olympus brand another camera to consider is the Canon QL17 GIII with a 40mm f1.7 lens and moving frame lines to help compensate for parallax between viewfinder and lens. Canon made a boatload of this model but.... you will have to be able to check the camera over carefully to make sure it works right. Actually, that advice would apply equally to any older camera you intend to buy. These camera's mentioned all use the discontinued PX13 or PX625 mercury battery, however I have both the 35RC and QL17 and have had no problems using the #675 zink air batteries in either. The batteries last 3+ months and in 12 or 24 packs from a Walgreens are only about 75 cents each. One more bug with older cameras, they almost always need to have the light sealing foam replaced. Not a hard job, but it can be tedious. I speak from experience.
     
  23. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    Contax T2 if manual focus not that important (still there just not quite a real manual focus) or Leica CL with 40 Summicron if AF can be sacrificed.
     
  24. mcgrattan

    mcgrattan Member

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    Some of the cameras people are suggesting are pretty large. The Contax G2 and some of the others are the size of a moderate sized SLR with lens.

    There's several very compact SLRs [Pentax MX/ME, Olympus OMs, the smaller NIkons, etc] but I wouldn't describe those as pocketable, tbh. Excellent cameras, mind.
     
  25. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    Although I am not a 1/2 frame fan, I do have a Olympus Pen F, if you are thinking about prints up to 5X7 or 8X10 with slow film and dont mind sending your color off for development a Pen F can be good choice. Alternative is Cannon Rangerfinder with a collapsable 50 mm. In the short zoom range a late model point and shoot, drit cheap, I picked up a Pentex IQ zoom for $4.00, for weather resitance a Minolta Weather matic with a 35mm and 80 mm is also worth considering.
     
  26. Pioneer

    Pioneer Member

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    In 35mm the Contax T2 is a great little camera but from what I recall does not allow manual focus but it may be close to what you are looking for. I do remember the lens as being a wonderful little thing that provided excellent images.

    There are several fully automatic 35mm point and shoot style cameras, and some of them were very good, but I cannot think of any that combined auto and manual features in the way you describe.

    I use two everyday companion cameras. I have trouble making up my mind. Both are completely manual so they do not really fit your criteria. However, if you decide to consider manual cameras they are really good options. One is the Ansco Super Memar, which is entirely manual and does not even have a built in light meter. The second is an Agfa Super Isolette which is a wonderful little 6x6 medium format folding camera, but it is also entirely manual without any meter as well.

    Good luck, someone may come up with a more suitable option for you.