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  1. #1

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    35mm compact under €100

    So I finally got tired of my Casio Exilim's constant failing and sent it back to Amazon. They sent me a mail saying "Yeah, sorry, here's €100."
    Yay!
    Now what I want to do is get a compact, fast and easy to use 35mm camera, either autofocus or rangefinder, maybe an Olympus XA or something like that. Thing is, I don't know anything about this type of camera or what to look for when buying one. So, I'm asking you for help.
    I want to use the camera mostly for portraits (low light) and some minor nonsensical photography. I guess this means I need a 50-90mm lens with an aperture of at least 2.8 - is this doable on my budget?

  2. #2

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    If you're looking for an AF camera you might look at the Olympus Stylus Epic, a wonderful, most compact camera with a very sharp f/2.8 lens and spot metering. As far as rangefinders go, the Olympus 35RC is simply superb, 'nuff said. Also consider the Canon QL17-GIII, one of my personal favorites with a phenomenal lens and a full set of features and capabilities,

  3. #3
    PhotoJim's Avatar
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    The Stylus Epic is a pretty good camera. It's very basic but it's very high quality.

    When it was new it was about $90 US... well within budget. You may even still be able to get a new one. 35mm lens though, not 50-90, but I happen to think a 35 is far more useful than a 50.
    Jim MacKenzie - Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

    A bunch of Nikons; Feds, Zorkis and a Kiev; Pentax 67-II (inherited from my deceased father-in-law); Bronica SQ-A; and a nice Shen Hao 4x5 field camera with 3 decent lenses that needs to be taken outside more. Oh, and as of mid-2012, one of those bodies we don't talk about here.

    Favourite film: do I need to pick only one?

  4. #4
    Markok765's Avatar
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    The stylus epic is great. The only I problem I had with it is that it was as loud/louder than my nikon F5.
    Marko Kovacevic
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  5. #5
    Nicholas Lindan's Avatar
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    Olympi of 70's vintage haven't proven themselves to be the most reliable of cameras, though they are very nice.

    The QL17-GIII has a good reputation for reliability and can probably be kept working forever with some TLC.

    Other picks, though a bit more pricey, are the Nikon 35ti and the Ricoh GR1.

    For P&S's the Yashica T4/T5 produces stunning results but provides no manual control.

    If you want something with a Zoom you might want to look at a Pentax IQ zoom, they made a few that had lenses with half-way respectable f-numbers. The Yashica T4/T5 zoom is best avoided.

    My experience with the performance of XA's and Epics has been dismal. The black plastic used by Olympus has a tendency to shatter - I have a collection of shattered Olympus P&S's - family members keep buying them, breaking them, and then giving them to me to fix - hah!

    Whatever you do, don't look for a bargain but get the best condition guaranteed working camera you can find. It's worth paying extra.
    Last edited by Nicholas Lindan; 03-05-2009 at 08:10 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    DARKROOM AUTOMATION
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  6. #6
    Chris Nielsen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by funkpilz View Post
    I want to use the camera mostly for portraits (low light) and some minor nonsensical photography. I guess this means I need a 50-90mm lens with an aperture of at least 2.8 - is this doable on my budget?
    I've got a few of the Stylus models - 35mm 2.8 for low light, 28-80 zoom for a walk around model, and a 38-115 for longer tele shots. Apparently the 38-140 is a cracker of a camera as well. I mention the 35 2.8 for low light as the others have pretty slow lenses, but they work brilliantly in good light, just as the 2.8 works brilliantly in low light

  7. #7

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    The Olympus 35 RC is a wonderful little camera. Replace those foam seals, and you're good to go. There were other similar offerings from the 1970s that are equally good.

    As for a P&S with autofocus, I've been using a Rollei Prego 70 (35mm-70mm zoom), which has been very reliable.

    You probably could find almost any Japanese ugly-as-sin generic plastic P&S cameras at a thrift shop for less than $5. They're probably good enough, and you could buy three or four and still get out the door for less than $20.

  8. #8

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    I think your requirements of fast lens and 50-90mm are, unfortunately, mutually exclusive. All the fast P&S RFs I've seen are at least moderately wide (40mm) and the zooms that get you out past 50mm are slow.

    One possibility I thought about was a weatherproof Olympus Infinity Twin (I have one that I use to use while camping). It has 2 lenses, a 35mm and a 70mm, with a mirror arrangement to switch between them. But it has no aperture markings.

  9. #9

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    Thanks for the suggestions so far. Just to clarify: I was talking about a prime lens between 50mm and 90mm. But I'll take a 35mm, too. Those Olympusses are looking nice.

  10. #10
    John Bragg's Avatar
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    Olympus Mju II / Stylus epic can be found reasonably cheaply second hand on Ebay. I got mine for £6.50. It shows very little signs of use at all.

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