I suspect a lot of us have been/are still going down this road, along with the quest for the 20mm - 500mm f1.8 zoom lens with excellent image quality across the range for under £25!
I've tried a few and they all have drawbacks of some sort:
Retina IIa - small and just about pocketable but very weighty for its size. You won't whip it out, unfold it, set the fiddly controls and take a picture in anything like the time a modern P & S takes to do its thing. On the plus side, no batteries to worry about (a BIG plus, IMHO).
Konica Lexio 70W - Truly pocketable but does rely on battery. Considerable distortion at wide angle setting, but if it gets the flying saucer pic, who cares?
Olympus mjuII (Stylus in USA?) - I have the model with the fixed focal length (35mm, I think) f2.8 lens, which is a cracker. Does rely on battery, but with no zoom the battery lasts for ages. (Lack of zoom also stops me from farting around too long and thereby missing opportunities!) Hard to see how a full frame 35mm camera could be made any smaller. Mine suffers from a light leak under the viewfinder, cured with a piece of black tape each time I load it.
Olympus Trip - Bought this in superb condition for 50 pence a few months ago and only put a film in it last Sunday. These have a cult following. Auto exposure but no battery to let you down and a lot of good things said about the lens. Needs a bigger pocket than the mjuII and limited for low light applications.
Pentax MV + 40mm pancake lens - OK, a coat pocket rather than a shirt pocket, but I took one on holiday with me (British summer, so I always had my coat on!) and found it surprisingly useful. Needs batteries for most functions, though a manual 1/100th is available if batteries die.
All have their pros and cons and perhaps the ultimate "take everywhere" camera doesn't exist, but with prices as they are you can have great fun looking for it!
I'll second the vote for Contax. I got a TVS over the summer and it's taken some great photos. It's heavy and I guess pocketable.
Those who know, shoot film
Just to reiterate, the Rollei AFM35 is the best compact I've used. You can preset manual focus distances, use program mode or aperture priority, it has a fast(ish) 38mm lens with an aspheric element and HFT multi-coating and it's built like a tank. Not as pocketable as the mjuII (Stylus Epic), though, but more 'handholdable' [the proportions are better and the lens doesn't move during exposure].
I used a Rollei Prego, with fixed focal length 38mm f/3.5 lens. Cuts a decent image. I have an Ollie Stylus Epic, fixed 2.8 lens which I bought as a back up.
John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA
Boy, this has gotten interesting! I tried a Retina IIc, I think it was; got it at an estate auction, thought how cool all the precise machining was and how neat it was to be battery independant, but while it was a rangefinder I'd still have to figure exposure and I don't want to have to do that. Contax, etc. are mostly far beyond my budget; I can spend in the neighborhood of $100 or so. Yeah, I know, it isn't much for a camera but short of eating into the money for film and processing, that's what I have to work with.
I wasn't really expecting to get something new; I figure they may still make a few new P&S cameras in these dark days of digital but they're probably higher-end ones, looking for trendy buyers. I'm just an old fart who likes film; trendy isn't on my radar. So used is fine. I tried a couple of disposable cameras; as was said, the quality was surprisingly good. Not 'good', but better than I expected. I envision some B&W though, and haven't been able to find B&W disposables locally. The Yashica T4 is highly recommended but I can't find out anything about shutter lag. Ditto for the Stylus, especially the fixed 35mm lens model. Then there's the Nikon mentioned earlier. Any idea what a Nikon like that goes for?
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One thing that's a bit of a niggle with true P & S's is that the ones I've tried all use DX film speed sensing - a bit of a nuisance when, like me, you roll your own B/W. I usually end up buying off-the-shelf film (usually HP5) at some inflated price, which goes against the grain. I've got a stock of DX code stick-on labels but aren't usually organised enough to a) find them and b) use them!
That is a nice thing about the Nikon 35Ti - it defaults to 100 but it has a +/-2 stop exposure adjustment (that only resets automatically on a roll change). This gives a speed range of 25 - 400 w/o a DX coded cartridge. Perfect for bulk loads of TechPan.
Originally Posted by Steve Roberts
On the subject of lag with a P&S, there are several lags:
- Turning the camera on to the camera being ready to shoot
- Pressing the shutter button to the shutter firing
- Pressing the shutter button to pre-focusing the lens
- Pressing the shutter button with a pre-focused lens to the shutter firing
#4 is very short with the Nikon.
#1 can be long with the T4 because it waits for the flash to charge if it thinks flash will be needed.
The Nikon also has a custom set-up feature so you can disable automatic flash.
I found my Nikon 35Ti at a camera show for $125. That is considerably cheaper than what they go for on ebay. But patience and perseverance should snag a T4 for under $100 and a 35Ti for under $200 - the problem with 'bargains' is that they are often broke. Stay away from "I think it works, but I don't have a battery to test it. Sold as is." on ebay.
As I understand it, the Super Ikonta A is only 4x5 inches when folded. I haven't handled one in person or tried to stick it into a pants pocket, but I would love to try one--6x4.5 in a very small camera sounds quite attractive to me. No meter, though, so it's not really a point and shoot.
Hi, Charles! My first impulse was similar and I have (courtesy of a generous soul here on APUG,) an excellent 6x6 folder (I forget which one, off the top of my head.) Scale focusing, do-your-own-math exposure, but a good lens. I have had (and will have,) many good times with it, but it isn't quick to use and, from experience, my ability to guess/calculate exposure in less than sunny conditions is... uh, awful. I also have a Rolleiflex, which I absolutely adore, but again using a handheld exposure meter slows things down quite a bit.
Originally Posted by Chazzy
"Go not to the Elves for counsel, for they will say both yes and no."
Originally Posted by mjs
- J. R. R. Tolkien