Thanks for brining the lineup up-to-date. I was unaware that you could get
spot metering on a contemporary compact.
With most the models that you've named have fine lenses and other strong
points, their extensive automation makes them a different breed from the
flexible manual-focus models of the 70s.
Among the lunder-$300 contemporary compacts, few permit you to override the
film's DX setting for an entire roll. If She wanted to rate a 400 film at
250, he'd have to override each shot, frame by frame.
The highly regarded 28mm, f/2.8 Ricoh GR1, like the 28/3.5 Olympus XA-4 of
the 1980s, offers full-program exposure only--no program shift. Even if it
allows exposure compensation, you're at the mercy of the program that Ricoh
has built into the exposure curve. You have no knowledge of, or control
over, the shutter speed or aperture being used.
Of course, virtually all compacts but the old Yashicas allow you to depress
the shutter release halfway to lock the exposure.
It sounds as though Shel is looking for a camera that can serve him without
flash. On these grounds alone, I'm afraid all the zoom models except
perhaps the Contax Tvs III and Rollei QZ35 must be ruled out. Not only are
zooms slower than the fixed-lens models; on most of them--and, alas, on the
GR-1--at low EVs the built-in flash will activate by default unless your
fingernail can press a tiny button two or three times to tell the flash,
"No thanks." Your preference to deactivate the autoflash is not remembered
from roll to roll, nor from frame to frame.
The Contax T3, like the T2 and the Tvs III zoom, offers autofocus or zone
The original Contax T*, on the other hand (1985 to 1991?), is a
manual-focus metal jewel that capably fits all of Shel's criteria except
price. It sells used for $375 to $450, more for black. The T*'s flash slips
onto the side, adding no height or depth; just length, which actually
improves the grip. I believe the T*'s Zeiss Sonnar lens was the first of
three compact-camera lenses that Modern or Popular Photography found to be
the equal of the Rollei Sonnar. The same accolade was later bestowed on the
Ricoh GR1 and Rollei's own QZ35. The Minox coming darn close in the 70s and
was improved once or twice in the nineties.
The Rollei QZ35s are an engineering marvel that failed spectacularly in the
marketplace, plunging their $1800 street price to $850 in about a year.
They are considerably larger and heavier than Shel wants.
Minolta's TC-1, the smallest full-frame 35 ever made, is the only
manual-focus camera in Dan's group. It is a mini-marvel scale focuser.
Heads probably rolled at Minox for taking a back seat in the
how-do-they-do-it department. One of the TC-1's best attributes, besides
its 1/750th-second shutter (correct?) and tiny size: It looks like a toy!
No one will suspect that its owner is Shel Belinkoff, black-and-white
streetshooter extraordinaire. Unfortunately, used TC-1s are scarce and cost
upward of $450.
Finally, regarding most of the contemporary offerings: Could Shel really be
content with autofocus? On an AF SLR, at least, you can see what you're
focusing on. With a non-SLR, you never know for sure.
The only autofocus compacts that I can see Shel being ecstatic with are the
Nikon 35 Ti (35/2.8) and 28 Ti (28/2.8), and the Konica Hexar (35/2),
preferably the original model with the silent winder and rewinder. The
Nikons have three cool analog dials on the top panel to show you exposure
information and more. But all are about twice Shel's target weight and
three times his target price.
Personally, I'd take a Minox 35 GT-E. For Shel, the consummate thinking
street photographer, my recommendation remains the quirky but awesome
Rollei 35S or 35 SE.
Dan Scott <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
Paul covered the original compacts very thoroughly. If you are looking for
something of more recent vintage you might want to check out some of these
(all feature exp. compensation, many have adj. diopters, spot metering, and
Ricoh GR1s, 28mm (Camera Traders Ltd. has lowest US $, B&H has specs)
Canon Sure Shot Classic 120 Zoom, 38-120mm
Contax T3, 35mm Zeiss Sonnar T*
Contax Tvs III, 30-60mm Zeiss T* Vario Sonnar
Fuji DL Super Mini Zoom, 28-56mm
Konica LEXIO-70 Zoom, 28-70mm
Leica C1 Zoom, 38-105mm Vario-Elmar
Leica Minilux, 40mm Summarit
Leica Minilux Zoom, 35-70mm Vario-Elmar
Leica Z2X Zoom, 35-70mm Vario-Elmar
Minolta TC-1, 28mm
Rollei Prego 115 Zoom, 38-115mm
Rollei QZ35(all versions)
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