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Some Great Lesser Known Film Compacts

July 11, 2018

It seems like everyone is obsessed with point and shoots when they get into the analogue photography game. The quest to find a small camera (pocketable) with a sharp (enough) and fast-ish lens has been proven so elusive that entire blogs and internet personalities are built around this pursuit.

In this blog we will outline some models you might wanna look out for which aren’t of those otherwise already hyped up/known models. Until a new premium point and shoot is manufactured we’re gonna have to rely on cameras of the vintage variety and so where do you start? There are so many cameras out there, there's more than 20-30 years of camera making history to shift through before understanding the markets they were made for. Besides the infamous and obvious premium models such as the Contax T2/T3, Minolta TC-1, Ricoh GR other cameras have garnered enough hype that they too have been increasing in value such as the Olympus Mju-ii, Konica Big Mini, and the Pentax Espio Mini. 

We left out a few cameras which are known rebranded/rebadged/repackaged versions of more well known cameras such as the Big Mini Mermaid (Konica Big Mini), Minolta Riva Mini (Leica Mini), and others.

  1. Pentax Espio Zoom Models

First up we have the large family of cameras we call the Espio Zooms, there might be need for further research on differentiation between the models but we find these are great for beginners and despite having Zoom lenses they resolve and render pleasing images. If you’re not an enthusiast or just got into film cameras, and just want something simple and reliable these are great! Rarely do they come back needing a repair. These get the FilmNeverDie emoji of approval 👍, in fact we always recommend new comers on a budget to get these.

  1. Canon Autoboy D5

 

photo credit: awcam

The Canon Autoboy D5 is actually somewhat well known as a viable and cheaper option to the Nikonos line of underwater cameras. Whilst not as modular as a Nikonos, this will serve quite well as a snapshot camera both on land or in water. The added benefit of being an underwater camera is the hardiness and resilience to extreme weather, could be a great alternative to your expensive camera if the weather is bad. Mind you the use of a 32mm focal length is awkward and the design is definitely not for everyone. 

  1. Nikon AF-600

The Nikon AF-600 or Fujifilm Tiara we believe are quite interchangeable. Mind you they are both quite fragile cameras. If you need the 28mm focal length and don’t wanna shell out for the Ricoh GR line, these are a great option! Unfortunately that affects its price as probably one of the most expensive on this list. The Tiara has the added benefit of a Snap focus mode ala Ricoh but we think the Nikon replicates the experience a bit better and is a lesser known than the Tiara. So hipster cred goes to the Nikon.

Image credit: @emilraji

  1. Minolta AF-E

Minolta is interesting brand, they’re one of those brands now lost because of the end of the film era. There is one thing you must know about Minolta though, they worked and collaborated with Leica much like how they now collaborate with Panasonic. Minolta eventually produced many of Leica branded point and shoots such as the Leica Mini series. The AF-E series provided the platform for Minolta to innovate to eventually make the Leica Mini. The AF-E is a simple camera with a 35mm f3.5 lens (presumably tessar design), DX coding of 100-1000, and use of STANDARD AA BATTERIES! This combination and design awarded Minolta with Japan’s “Good Design Award.” The fact it takes a nice shot is a bonus.

We have the Minolta AF-EII which was a slightly simplified model in stock right now.

 

  1. Konica Genba Kantoku 28WP

Another all weather camera, this time with the more conventional 28mm focal length which in itself is already worth the price of entry. On top of that these were meant for construction sites, so it’s shock proof in addition to that. This thing will take a beating and then some. Use it rain. Use it in a snowstorm. It will be fine. Great sharp lens to boot. The only thing is they're big. Quite big for a "compact" probably the biggest on this list.

  1. Ricoh FF-70/FF-90

35mm lens? ✅Pocketable? ✅Ricoh killed it with this model, the lens does not retract as it switches it out for a simple on/off door. That is one less motor to worry about potentially breaking. The use of standard AA batteries is also clutch.

Image credit: @beautifulmindxo

  1. Olympus AF-1

These are quite renowned amongst sellers, they’re basically Olympus mju’s but without the capacity to turn off flash. You have no control over the image other than what you put in front of the camera. Which might sound like a bad thing but it’s not particularly so. You will probably get a decent exposure out of these in any lighting situation. Great cameras.

Photo credit: @ultramax3000

  1. Nikon L35AF/L35AF2/L35AD

This is quickly becoming the next mju-ii esque hyped camera, once the mju-iis became unaffordable suddenly everyone wants one of these. It’s got some nice things going for it. Standard filter thread, 35mm f2.8 lens, reliable metering, manual ISO selector. The only thing keeping it off first spot is its size, it’s a bit larger than most point and shoots. The form factor is places it somewhere in between a compact and a rangefinder.

Image credit: @gongtairoop

If you want to get any of these cameras, we regularly have a variety of these models in stock. If you can't find one on our website, simply email us at shoo@filmneverdie.com and we'll try our best to source one for you.




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