In addition to those previously mentioned, among my favorites are Pentax PC35AF (quiet) or Canon MC (noisy). Nikon L35AF. Canon ML. Truthfully, as far as AF compacts, or compact rangefinders, most of them have very good lenses. The rest is all a matter of ergonomics, availability and utility. See what they have at the local thrift stores and flea markets, and don't be afraid of some of the less-known names, like Chinon or Samsung. Some of the cameras listed here are not what I would call inexpensive for a carry-around camera, though.
Fuji Natura (if you can get your hands on one)
Those are really the best of the best. Can't go wrong with any of them.
Mju II aperture stays open too long as speeds climb and no manual ASA or override, just DX. Minimum 400 asa film needed for street work, faster if you can get it. A strictly portrait camera on slower films.
Many of the cameras mentioned here are not very affordable. The Yashica T4 has unfortunately achieved 'cult' status with the accompanying price tag. The Ricoh GR series cameras are great but costly, there's one in the classifieds now. Rollei 35s and Contax T series are also costly.
Originally Posted by digic
The Mju II is probably the best bet, I use 800 speed film in mine to overcome the aperture issue blockend speaks of above.
Can I also suggest the Nikon AF6000 (Lite Touch)? It's got a 28/3.5 lens and can be had on ebay quite cheaply. The only issue with it is that it doesn't read 800 & 1600 film. So as long as you shoot only 100, 200 and 400 films you're fine.
Canon Canonet QL 17 GIII
Big name, tiny full-manual rangefinder with a workhorse 40mm 1.7 lens. I don't know why it never makes it onto the list of compacts, but it's about as small as a camera can get while retaining manual features.
Also, be prepared to pay between $10-$20 to have it refoamed, or do it yourself. The original foam in these is notoriously bad, but easily replaced.
For my Rollei 35S I printed a "human rangefinder" according to
and pasted it to the lower edge of the back.
It works very well and may be an argument for the otherwise gorgeous Rollei, if the missing rangefinder is a problem.
A Pentax ME Super with the Takumar 17mm F4 Fisheye using a M42 to K Mount adapter is not only the most compact aperture priority capable SLR combination but it is definitely cool . . . :cool:
Kodak Signet 40.
I second the Nikon L35af. Quality is miles ahead of the Canon AF35m (although it's still a good camera..). The Minolta HiMatic AF is another good one. Manual wind and rewind but autofocus and exposure. All 3 of those cameras have great sharp lenses and with the exception of the Nikon, are really cheap. I paid $40 or so for a really nice L35 and $15 for another that's a good user. All of the 5 HiMatics I have were $10 or less and the Canon was $10.