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05-01-2017, 11:39 AM   #1
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Looking for a compact 35mm P&S

I just got back from a trip that wasn't SLR-friendly based on the size. I took two ZX bodies, eight rolls of film and two lenses. Don't think I managed to even 36 shots because the camera was in a drop in pouch in a backpack and not with me. I need something pocketable. Just wasn't feasible to carry an SLR body around all the time. Not dead set on autofocus or auto anything really. Looked online at things like the Rollei 35 family, probably a 35S with the 40/2.8, or the Ricoh GR models. Just want to have some manual controls to set ISO, at least exposure compensation, and something relatively durable to put up with being on the go, thrown in backpack or pouch when doing military stuff.

So, the smaller the better, durable, no requirement for autoexposure or autofocus, and at a price point that isn't going to result in significant heartbreak if something gets damaged.

05-01-2017, 11:56 AM - 1 Like   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by jtkratzer Quote
I just got back from a trip that wasn't SLR-friendly based on the size. I took two ZX bodies, eight rolls of film and two lenses. Don't think I managed to even 36 shots because the camera was in a drop in pouch in a backpack and not with me. I need something pocketable. Just wasn't feasible to carry an SLR body around all the time. Not dead set on autofocus or auto anything really. Looked online at things like the Rollei 35 family, probably a 35S with the 40/2.8, or the Ricoh GR models. Just want to have some manual controls to set ISO, at least exposure compensation, and something relatively durable to put up with being on the go, thrown in backpack or pouch when doing military stuff.

So, the smaller the better, durable, no requirement for autoexposure or autofocus, and at a price point that isn't going to result in significant heartbreak if something gets damaged.
You should look at the Olympus 35RC, or the Olympus XA.
Another good option is the Pentax PC53AF.
05-01-2017, 12:21 PM   #3
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I'm using an Olympus Stylus Epic DLX as my "action cam" while trail running. It doesn't meet your manual control requirements. I use the scrape the paint method of DX code hacking. It does do spot metering so you could meter/recompose to fudge exposure compensation. So far, it's proven durable. It's taken a fall in mud and on concrete. Unfortunately, they're not cheap. I had to foresight to buy mine when they first came out. When it does die on me I won't be replacing it with the same, so I'm interested in any suggestions in this thread.
05-01-2017, 01:07 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Swift1 Quote
the Olympus XA
An excellent choice. They have increased in price in recent years, though.

05-01-2017, 02:51 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Swift1 Quote
You should look ... the Olympus XA.
..
I used one of those for many years and was always very pleased with it. Compact, quick and easy to focus, good quality images. It was the last film camera I gave up before moving on to digital.
05-01-2017, 03:24 PM   #6
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Another vote for the Olympus XA, great little camera. I got mine from KEH, can't remember the price, but not too much. My wife had a Nikon P&S that was waterproof and took fantastic photos, I'll see where she hid it...
05-01-2017, 03:30 PM   #7
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The XAs are good. The Cosina CX-1 and CX-2 are also great, although a little rarer. Both my CX-1s have taken a lot of abuse and just keep on going.
05-01-2017, 04:05 PM   #8
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I still have my Rollei 35. A clever gem of compactness, but the retractable lens, scale focusing, and match-needle meter make it very slow to use, and the removable back&base make film changing slow as well. The bottom mounted hotshoe is a glaring design error.

05-01-2017, 07:45 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jacquot Quote
Another vote for the Olympus XA
To the OP - just be aware that the XA1, XA2, etc are not the same as the XA. The XA is the one you want.
05-02-2017, 12:41 AM   #10
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Many decent 35mm P&S cameras with good prime lenses have dramatically increased in price in recent years. I paid 10 for an Olympus Mju I a few years ago when the Mju II fetched around 35, not the Mju I I've seen going for 40 and the Mju II for up to 90!!!

I tend not to buy compacts as I like fast primes and most compacts don't have them. I haven't used any which I'd regard as very durable, they all seem quite flimsy, and I've never used one with any kind of exposure compensation or DX ISO over-ride.
05-02-2017, 02:52 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jonathan Mac Quote
I tend not to buy compacts as I like fast primes and most compacts don't have them. I haven't used any which I'd regard as very durable, they all seem quite flimsy, and I've never used one with any kind of exposure compensation or DX ISO over-ride.
I've never owned one and am in the same boat with fast primes, but that doesn't solve the problem. I primarily want something that can go anywhere and be with me as much as a cell phone. It certainly won't be my primary camera for day-to-day or deliberate shooting events. I have nice glass for several 35mm bodies and a 645n.

It might be something that gets tossed in a coat pocket for snaps of the kids. Primarily, I'm looking for a film option for when I'm doing military stuff. It has to fit in a pouch on a plate carrier and be small. For a variety of reasons, using cell phones for cameras isn't an option anymore. I have an MX-1, but I'd prefer film.
05-02-2017, 10:42 AM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jonathan Mac Quote

I haven't used any which I'd regard as very durable, they all seem quite flimsy, and I've never used one with any kind of exposure compensation or DX ISO over-ride.
The Pentax PC53AF is actually quite well built (mostly metal body) and has manual ISO settings. Doesn't have exposure compensation, but you could use the ISO control for that.
05-02-2017, 05:32 PM - 1 Like   #13
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The Petri Color 35 is very nice and all manual, but it's from the '60s and all metal so no lightweight.

I find that a lightweight mostly plastic capsule camera works best for carrying in a pocket.
Many of these have autoexposure, most often aperture priority or program AE and
zone focus, which - with practice - works far better than hit or miss AF in my experience.

Models I have owned and recommend include Minox 35ML, Ricoh FF-1,
Olympus XA2 and XA3, Chinon Bellami, Voigtlander Vito C/Balda CA35.

Here's a website for fans of modern miniature film cameras: http://www.subclub.org/

Chris
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