Contax TVS...small, auto or manual programs and focus with a built in flash and also has a pano mask.
As someone's said, they all have their pros and cons. I have examples of the T4, XAs (various), Oly 35RC, mjuII, Pentax Espio 105W, Konica Lexio, etc., purely because they turn up for next to nothing at car boot sales and in charity shops for a couple of quid and are hard to resist.
The mjuII is probably smallest, but is prone to overexposing flash shots and suffers from light leaks around the v/finder (black tape essential!)
XA is good all round, offering great versatility and surprisingly accurate exposures under all kinds of conditions.
T4 I bought for a couple of quid but haven't put a film through yet.
Espio 105W - like the aluminium shell and ergonomics, but v/finder is rather small and not very accurate. Like 28mm wide end, though.
Konica Lexio (can't remember the precise model designation) W version has a 28mm wide setting. Love this camera for its size, but sooner or later the clam shell switch plays up.
Olympus 35RC - biggest of all, but though it uses batteries for its meter, the shutter is mechanical and works fine without batteries. For that reason alone it has a lot going for it in my book.
For things I might want to do with a P & S, the lenses on all of the above have been absolutely fine. I've recently been out and about a few times with a Pentax MX + 40mm pancake (as someone has already suggested with an ME) and find that a useful combination, though in a case it gets a bit bulky (even with the snub-nosed front)
Rollei 35S or Olympus Pen F with 38/2.8 pancake.
I have a Minox 35GT and a Rollei 35SE. Both are stellar performers. If something's wrong with the prints, it certainly wasn't the camera letting me down, but the other way around.
The meter in the Rollei is absolutely amazing. Both cameras have scale focusing, which you have to learn.
I have tried a Yashica T4 and a T5. Both are amazing cameras. The most amazing thing about them is that the autofocus seems to get it right every single time. The lens is pin sharp, and it's sooooo easy to just point it in the direction you want to shoot, burn off a frame, and move on. It does this really really well.
"Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank
"Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman
"...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh
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Well, 14x21mm with non-standard cassettes... I'd back a Kodak Retina IIa every time. Or if you don't mind half frame, Olympus Pen W.
Originally Posted by Leigh B
Contax t3, beautifully built camera which takes stunning pics and can be set from full auto to total manual control, including focus. It's equipped with a ziess 35mm f2.8 sonnar and all glass viewfinder.
a non photo friend borrowed mine and as soon as he look though it said wow! And was so impressed with the results went and got one for himself.
Did anyone bring up the vintage Japanese HIT cameras?
Smallest goes to the Minox 9.5mm film format cameras. I've had a III, EC, B, C, and LX. I kept the C, though in hindsight I should have kept the LX in lieu thereof or in addition to. But the film was nonexistent up here and the guy wanted the LX so, traded me a Rolleiflex for it. There is no difference in from results between the C and LX. Ther problem is availability of the film and processing. It actually seems more available now than when I disposed of my LX but there is a premium to pay.
The Minox 35mm series such as the ML, GT, Touring, etc. are 1st rate lens wise; equal to the Leica glass but, Minox was using Leica slugs and grinding and polishing them. Leica eventually bought Minox for the grinding technology as Leica did not have the expertise in grinding such small lenses and then spun it off to the relative shell it is today. Now, the LX is more a collector's item as each issue is a commemorative moore than a user. Do stay away from the ML unless getting a very late one as the earlier ones had repeatedly shutter problems. I had the ML and finally after the 2nd shutter let go, I disposed of it. When it worked, the Leica stayed home more oft than not. The GT is a good bet.
Other than the Touring and ML, the Minox cameras including the EC, B, C and LX all use the now nonexistent PX27. However, adaptors are available to use modern batteries. The 35 series have a folding front that collapes the lens with no fiddling. The Rollei on the other hand has a collapsible lense that you have to twist to release to retract and pull out and lock. It seems the Rollei have potential issues with the shutter if the lens is collapsed or not locked in place. Not sure how much of a problem but have seen it mentioned a number of times. Just means you need to make sure it is extended and locked or you do not try to fire the shutter when collapsed.
The Rollei 35 is also a contender and not to be sneezed at. But the control layout and thicker body than the Minox 35 series makes it somewhat less pocket friendly. It is pocketable, though.
One not mentioned is the Konica AA-35, a 1/2 frame camera. It uses a sliding shell and has the looks of a digital. The size is msall enough and the body shallow enough to easily fit into your white shirt pocket. It includes a flash and has manual iso settings so you can quasi use is as a manual setting camera. The metering on the one I have is very close to the Weston Ranger light meter I use from the results. While the camera sort of looks to be something you'd find in the $5 thrift bin, they do not go for as cheaply as expected as the lens quality is very good, not up to the Monox but not so far off as to be objectionable; easily as good as most better lenses from Japan. Only systemic waekness seems to be the battery door that tends to break. Mine did and I simply hold it in place with tape. It uses ordinary AA batteries to power the auto wind and rewind, shutter and, meter as well as the built in flash and they seem to last a long time. So, no battery issues and no expensive batteries to deal with.
If you want an Olympus, restrict yourself to the XA without suffices. The later ones are more auto, but the original XA rangefinder is a great little camera.
I especially like the detachable flash: without flash it fits nicely into a normal shirt pocket.
The only drawback is that you can't attach a filter in front of the lens.