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Buying a Point and Shoot Camera

A Guide for the Perplexed by Philip Greenspun, 1995


Big Island, Hawaii.

Guide Contents:

  1. Top
  2. Is a point and shoot camera the right tool for the job?
  3. Digital versus Film
  4. Why you might not want that fancy zoom P&S
  5. But I want the zoom to take portraits
  6. But I want the zoom to take artistic pictures
  7. Why you might want that fancy zoom P&S
  8. The Yashica T4: a sensible choice
  9. More

If you already own a P&S camera, you probably should read my guide to taking good pictures with a P&S camera.

Pricing and Member Reviews

View and price all 35mm point and shoot cameras, digital point and shoot cameras and APS point and shoot cameras in one place with photo.net eZshop.

Is a point and shoot camera the right tool for the job?

As I discuss in "Choosing a Camera for a Long Trip", you have to decide whether the purpose of an outing is primarily photographic. Are you trying to experience Paris or photograph Paris? If you're going to be spending 80% of your time exposing film or thinking about pictures, then a larger camera is a better tool. A standard 35mm SLR camera has larger and more convenient controls than a point and shoot. A medium- or large-format camera will give significantly better image quality (see "What Camera Should I Buy" for a discussion of these cameras). A tripod will be a tremendous help. But if you're only carrying the camera on the off chance that something catches your eye, it is rather unpleasant to lug around 50 lbs. of equipment.

Digital versus Film-based Cameras

Soho door. Manhattan 1995.

There are pocket-sized digital cameras that function quite nicely as point and shoot cameras, for example, the Canon S100. The advantage of the digital camera is that the photos are available for instant sharing via the Internet and you don't have to spend money on film or processing. The main disadvantage of digital cameras circa 2001 is that they depend so heavily on personal computers circa 2001. With a film-based camera, you press the button 36 times then remove the film and take it to a lab. For long-term archival storage, a metal file cabinet serves nicely. With a digital camera, you need to transfer the images to a computer and learn how to use a high-quality printer or produce Web pages. For long-term storage and retrieval you need to get a big hard drive, a big tape drive, backup software, and the discipline to make backups regularly.

What if you don't use your camera regularly? Suppose that two years ago you loaded up a film-based camera with a roll of ISO 400 film and lithium battery. You took two photos of your dog's birthday party and put the camera on the shelf until the next birthday whereupon you snapped four more photos. Your dog's birthday is today. You grab the camera off the shelf and snap a few more photos then take the roll down to the local minilab. Most digital cameras rely on rechargeable batteries. If you tried the same scenario with a digital camera you'd have missed two birthday parties.

Why you might not want that fancy zoom P&S

Zoom lenses have more elements (pieces of glass) than fixed focal-length lenses. More elements means more ways for light to bounce around inside the lens. Stray light (flare) fills in areas of the picture that are supposed to be black, thus reducing contrast. That's why pictures taken with most zoom lenses are flat. If your subject is a stand of trees on a foggy day, you might not mind, but most of the time photographs taken with a zoom lens will lack snap.

You can forget about shooting into the sun with most cheap zoom lenses; all you will get is flare.

The zoom lens adds weight, cost, and size. You might not have the camera with you when you need it and that's the whole point of getting a P&S instead of an SLR.

  • But I want the zoom to take portraits

    Erika, Whitehorse Yukon

    A longer focal length makes for better portraits, but you will generally want a fast aperture (e.g., f/2.8 or f/4) to throw the background out of focus and concentrate the viewer's attention on the subject. A Nikon 80-200/2.8 lens ($1000) makes a beautiful portrait lens, but the zooms on P&S cameras are usually around f/8 or f/11 when racked out and therefore will render the Exxon station behind your subject perfectly sharp.

    The photo at right was taken on the street in Whitehorse, Yukon (part of Travels with Samantha) with a 300/2.8 at f/4. Whitehorse, Yukon is not such an attractive town that you'd want it rendered perfectly sharp in the background.

  • But I want the zoom to take artistic pictures

    Most artistic pictures are taken in fairly low light (see my technique guide). Even with ISO 400 film, a point and shoot zoom lens is so slow at longer focal lengths that you'll never get anything without a tripod. And a tripod kind of spoils the whole idea, doesn't it? (Though not as badly as on-camera flash, which spoils nearly every photo.)

    A Yashica T4 with its 35/3.5 lens will let you do creative things with ISO 400 print film and even ISO 100 slide film, without having to turn on the flash all the time.

Why you might want that fancy zoom P&S

Technology changes fast. Some of the very latest zoom P&S cameras can fit in a shirt pocket and don't have much flare. How do they do this? With aspherics. Most expensive camera lenses are still made with only glass elements that are sections of spheres. If you are willing to mold a lens out of plastic you have much more freedom of shape and can correct more optical problems with a single element.

Manhattan 1995.

Minolta sells a 28-70mm shirt-pocket zoom camera that uses four elements, two of them aspheric (Freedom Zoom Explorer, about $145 at Adorama). The exposure system is great with slide film and the contrast seems just as good as with the T4. Under a Schneider 4X loupe, the images from mine were sharp enough for the photo editors at Hearst magazines. The fill flash doesn't suit me very well on overcast days, however. The subject is usually brighter than the background and that looks unnatural. I'm not sure if the T4 was any better or if I just tended to use it more with ISO 50 film where the flash didn't have much reach.

I carried mine in my front left pants pocket for a few months and the viewfinder filled up with dust (lint?) then the camera jammed and prematurely rewound its 10th roll of film. This was the same failure mode as my old T4. I sent it back to Minolta and they cleaned it for me and claimed that it works perfectly now. It would seem that I've demonstrated the inability of these cameras to survive the pants pocket environment. [Note: the camera broke again a couple of months later. I sent it back to Minolta for warranty service. They held it for two months. It came back vaguely repaired but still not behaving reliably.]

The Yashica T4: a sensible choice

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Thousands of pros have Yashica T4 point & shoots. These have a fixed 35/3.5 lens that is as sharp and contrasty as most SLR optics, an exposure metering system accurate enough for slide film, and a true shirt-pocket size. Even Consumer Reports top-rated this camera. It is about $150 in New York. The latest "T4 Super" (known as the T5 in Europe and Asia) has the same optics and film transport but adds a right-angle "waist-level" finder (good for low-angle and/or sneak shots) plus weatherproof construction. The latter is very important if you like to carry your camera in a pants pocket, where the high humidity from, dare I say it, sweat tends to fog the viewfinder.

My T4s have proven to have exposure metering that is sufficiently accurate for slide film though these days I never use anything other than ISO 400 color negative film in a point and shoot (or sometimes Kodak TMAX 400 CN black and white film, which is more or less the same idea).

Don't expect miracles from the T4, though. The plastic construction doesn't feel any better than the other P&S cameras; it is the beautiful Zeiss Tessar 4-element lens (with T* coating) that makes the T4 special.

Here's something I found in the rec.photo newsgroups about a German magazine's test of a T4 versus expensive ($600) Contax and absurdly expensive ($900) Nikon P&S cameras (yuppie class):

"The following is a side by side comparison of Yashica T4 vs Nikon 35Ti and Contax T2's optical performance according to foto Magazin test charts.


                  Yashica T4        T2               Nikon  35Ti
  Lens:           Tessar 35mm/3.5   Sonnar 38/2.8    35mm/2.8
  Resolution      (smaller  better)
  Center:         0.017mm           0.015            0.015mm
  Edge:           0.017             0.016            0.018
  Contrast        (higher  better)
  Center          92%               78%              72%
  Edge            85%               50%              45%
  Optical
  Performance     9.8               9.4              9.2
  Rating         *****              ****             ***


       T2 slightly better than 35Ti, but very close.

       T4's resolution < T2 at center and edge
                       < 35Ti at center
                       > 35 Ti at edge

       T4  contrast,  better than T2 and 35Ti center/edge
    by subtantial margin."

Where to Buy: The Yashica T4/T5 has been discontinued and being hard to find at any store is most easily found on ebay For additional retailer information, see our recommended retailers page and the user recommendations section.

Here are a few other cameras worth considering:

  • Olympus Stylus Epic (available at Adorama ). It has a four-element 35/2.8 lens (2/3rds of an f-stop faster than the T4), is weatherproof, and can be triggered with an optional infrared remote control.
  • Ricoh GR1.

More


Article created 1995

Readers' Comments


Add a comment



Kimball Corson , December 15, 1996; 12:01 P.M.

I agree strongly with the T-4 assessment. I carry one in my briefcase, my wife carries one in her purse and each of my children have one for their bookbags or backpacks. Great little camera, with a definite cult following. Cheap too.

Isaac L. Kaplan , December 27, 1996; 05:06 P.M.

I've got a Pentax IQzoom 38-90 WR, which has been on the market about 4 years now. I've never been particularly happy with its autofocus, and the poor parallax compensation on Macro mode; its always cutting off tops and bottoms. Pictures are acceptably sharp. Last but not least, The rubber shutter release cover fell off, rendering the Water resi- stance feature useless. Repair cost US110.00, because of the way it's designed the whole front case needs replacement.

My Dad's got a Ricoh P&S, fits in his pocket and takes great pictures. Check it out.

Jan Warnking , January 24, 1997; 09:45 A.M.

A short comment about the features of the Ricoh R1: It does not have a spot meter, as is stated above. The feature Vasu Ramanujam seems to be referring to is the spot auto- focus, forcing the camera to use the center autofocus point, instead of the wide auto- focus (there are three autofocus zones, selected automatically). I tested the camera as follows: I photographed a greycard with a small white area in the middle, using slide film, once with spot autofocus, once without. There was no difference.

Glen Johnson , February 12, 1997; 11:18 A.M.

There is a lot of great information here. The P&S sections are probably among the most visited. Certainly, this is where the market is.

I thought I would add a few comments on the question of carrying a camera with you all the time, everywhere.

This seems like a great idea if you are obsessed with photography. My Dad subscribed to this philosophy. He carried movie camera, poloroid, 35mm, and the latest Kodak consumer format around all the time. We always joked that he was missing his life. He never knew what he'd done, until he got home and could look at the pictures.

It worked for him. When he passed away a few years ago, he had disc cameras, several polaroids, movie cameras, video cassette recorders, point & shoots, ad nauseum. He loved taking pictures. For him, the picture was even more important than the event.

I got my first camera when I was in the second grade. I've still got pictures that I took with that camera. I even won my first photo contest with a vacation photo taken at Plymouth Planatation with that camera.

I got that camera, in part, to mimic my Dad, and in part to defend myself against always being photographed. With my own camera in hand, I could roam around and take pictures, and use this as an excuse for not posing. I was exposing kodachrome 8mm movie film without a meter by the age of 12.

When my own kids were small, I remembered how I'd thought my Dad had missed a lot by being so obsessed with taking pictures at every event, and I started to be very selective about when I would get a camera out. I sure didn't take it everywhere. In many cases I wanted to enjoy the moment, unencumbered by photo equipment.

I don't regret this decision. The memory of the activity is still valuable, even without a photo to help set it off. There are some places for pictures, and there are other places where pictures can intrude. You may have a more enjoyable life if you can figure out how to properly balance your hobby against the other important issues and people in your orbit.

Mike Schermer , March 09, 1997; 06:33 P.M.

I have a Ricoh R1 as my "ski trip" camera. Works great. Can even operate it with my ski gloves on. Clips nicely to my ski pants. I've got pictures that no one else in our group has. My only complaint is the lack of even a little zoom lens capability. I'm considering a Canon ELPH as a small, easy to carry, R1 alturnitive. I am concerned about the new technology that the ELPH uses.

Glen Johnson , March 24, 1997; 03:38 P.M.

I've long felt the need for a compact camera that would fit in my pocket, but I've been put off by the classic point & shoots with their plastic construction, lack of controls, and primitive meters. I've read the high marks that have been posted for the Yashica T-4/T-4 Super, and I've been tempted - but I always come back to my unwillingness to buy a camera for my own use that won't at least allow me to shift the program and apply some exposure compensation.

I've toyed with the idea of a Hexar, but the Hexar really isn't a pocket camera , so I've never followed through and bought one.

I know that Foto Magazin says that the Yashica T-4 beats the Contax T2 and the Nikon 35 Ti in their resolution and contrast tests. I happen to be one of the folks who believes that this kind of testing presents an over simplification of the complex issues associated with evaluating camera performance. The T-4 may be very capable, but it isn't something that I want for my style of use.

Recently I've engaged in extensive correspondence with Barry Pehlman, another netizen. Barry's positive experiences with the Hexar and with his Nikon 28 Ti, coupled with the fact that the price of the Nikon 35 Ti has recently dropped to $649.95 (with US Warranty, leather case, and battery) at both B&H, and a local store here in Dayton, pushed me to purchase a Nikon 35 Ti.

This is a neat camera. It does not have a true manual capability (like the Hexar), but it does allow program shift in many lighting situations, and it allows compensation in 1/3 stop increments up to +/- 2 stops in all lighting situations. It has aperture priority and time exposure, in addition to program and flexible program (the term Nikon uses for the program shift feature on this camera). Aperture priority allows you to set the aperture in half stop increments between f/2.8 and f/22.

It has a 6 zone 3D matrix meter, and it uses the meter and the distance information in its flash algorithm. The manual touts the fact that this technology was brought in from the high end SLR product line. (Frankly, my tests indicate that it really isn't any smarter than the on camera flash in an A2E. If you want decent flash pictures, you have to think about what you're doing - whether you're using a Nikon, a Canon, or a Yashica T-4. :-))

There are three words to describe my feeling about this camera. I LOVE IT!! It fits in my pocket. I can take it with me anywhere, even where cameras aren't welcomed. People aren't intimidated when I bring it up and shoot. I get more smiles. If I'd known it would be this much fun to have this sort of camera along, I would have bought one a long time ago.

The meter is extremely accurate. The lens is sharp and the slides that I get with this camera are beautiful. It is a great compliment to my extensive EOS system. I find myself sticking the 35 Ti in my pocket and grabbing an SLR with a medium telephoto lens when I go out for recreational shooting. It is a lot lighter than taking a second SLR and lens along - even if it is not as flexible.

It is tough. Unbeknownst to me, it fell out of my pocket one morning. When I got out of the car, I tried to close the car door, and it woudn't close. I tried a couple of times before looking to see what was blocking the door. It was the 35 Ti in its leather case. I picked it up and checked it out immediately. No damage. No sign of damage. Just like nothing had happened. It functioned perfectly too. A plastic pocket camera would have been in a couple of pieces.

You can override the auto focus and set focus manually if you wish. Or you can set focus to infinity. Auto focus seems to be very accurate based on the slides that I've gotten back, even with relatively small subjects. It will focus as close as 1.3 feet.

The viewfinder tends to be forgiving. I would actually prefer a more accurate viewfinder. The frame in the viewfinder changes with the focus setting to try to offset parallax.

Every person who saw this camera up close during some recent social shooting commented on what a neat antique camera the 35 Ti was. This impression was conveyed because of the wierd mechanical chronometers that Nikon chose to use instead of a detailed LCD panel. On the bright side, these chronometers aren't going to die after 5 years (as will reportedly occur with most LCD panels). I didn't care for the chronometers at first, but they've grown on me and I like them now. There is one for distance, one for aperture, one for compensation, and one to indicate the number of frames you've shot. The mechanical display is also used when you activate the self timer, and when the film is being rewound.

You can illuminate the viewfinder and the chronometers if you want to. The viewfinder is automatically illuminated in low light.

The camera has several custom functions that allow you to customize the camera for your own habits. You can switch from 3D matrix meter to center weighted average meter, for example. You can turn off the flash permanently if you wish. You can change the display in the view finder so that aperture is displayed there instead of shutter speed. There are a few others that I don't remember right now as I write this in real time on the comment page.

The camera has a frame mask for panorama shots. This seems kind of silly to me, since you can crop a full frame 35mm negative for panorama if you want to. There is a tripod mount. There is no provision for off camera flash.

My only gripe about this camera has to do with the control of the on camera flash. If you are in program mode and the camera decides that flash should be used, but you disagree, you either have to cancel it with a custom function (which is a pain), or you have to cancel it by holding a little button down (also a pain). If you want to do slow synch flash, the manual recommends that you hold the "anytime" flash button down and that this will allow shutter speeds to extend to as long as 1/4 second. It is stupid to recommend that someone press a button down on the camera body during a 1/4 second exposure, in my view. It will also slow synch in aperture priority, so this is a better option if you want to try to balance your flash and ambient light. In the 28 Ti they fixed this problem by putting in a little sliding three position switch that you don't have to hold down. Much smarter idea.

This is a great little camera. Very rugged. beautifully manufactured. Sharp lens and smart meter that can produce very high quality images. The lens is a 35mm f/2.8 Nikkor. Nikon doesn't use the Nikkor name on their lower quality models. This lens is a gem.

If you want a high quality, metal bodied, pocket sized, point & shoot style camera, with a very smart meter, sharp lens, and the capability to shift program and compensate exposure, this camera will be a very satisfying choice, and represents an excellent value at its present price. My thanks to Barry for pushing me along in this direction and for his help in comparing the various models.

Eric G. , March 28, 1997; 12:18 P.M.

Yashika T4 glass is great, but the absence of automation overrides makes the camera hit or miss for anything other that snapshot photography.

Hexar is truly excellent, but hardly a compact.

I'd add a used Rollei 35S to the list of compacts to consider. Singapore models can be found for $250ish and the results from this fully manual compact are impressive.

Steven Goldberg , April 05, 1997; 12:55 P.M.

I had been reading about the Yashica T series of cameras for years and finally decided to buy one to take to the Olympics last June instead of my EOS'. I purchased a T-4 Super The camera is light and pocketable, shirt pockets included. My only problem has been with backlighting and side lighting, which both seem to fool the autoexposure mechanism. I suspect that using fill-flash would solve this, but in a quick moment cycling through the options would mean losing the shot. The lens is sharp, but there is a soft side; mine has a soft right side. The T-4 has become my everyday, take-it-along on a buisness trip camera. The Canon and Rollei 2 1/4 remain hiome.

Martin Davidson , April 09, 1997; 11:58 A.M.

The foto-magazin data which seems to imply the Yashica is superior to its far more expensive counterparts is interesting, but I wouldn't lose too much sleep over it. There is just no doubt that the Contax T2 is better than the Yashica. I have owned both in the last six months, having been a little disappointed with the T4 (T5 in the UK). I finally dug deeper into my pocket and bought a T2. I can't refer to lens charts, or all the other paraphrenalia of magazine reviews, but simple side by side comparisons show me, that the T2 is a fantastic camera. I use it alongside a Leica R5 without batting an eyelid, and happily mix slides from both cameras when assemling a slide-show, with wonderful consistency of results. This seems to me the point for having a P&S -- as a supplement for bigger/better/heavier SLR's, but able to replicate, or at least approximate, SLR quality. Glenn mentions the Rollei 35S; I also have one of these. Although awkward to use, particularly in focusing (which is done entirely by guesstimating the distance), and the eccentricity of having the flash shoe on the underside of the body, its Sonnar lens is exceptionally sharp (as it is on the T2). Another thing about P&S's is that you dont need to restrict yourself to having just one. I find there are times when I need their compactness, but enjoy having two of them to allow mixing film types, slides and b/w in my case. Two of them can still be carried in average pocket space. I have so much faith in the T2, I now use it often simply as another lens, no longer carrying a 35mm, but instead using its 38mm when 28 is too wide, and 50, too long. All the other P&S virtues remain undiminished. Flash grabs (baby doing his once in a lifetime things, first steps, tearing up newspapers, grinning like a clown -- AND, for my partner to take pics with ME in it. She has NO interest in cameras whatsoever, but likes the pics the P&S takes without having to give a pico-second's thought to exposure, focus etc. Not to be sneezed at. (Does this count as a "persistent" point? Why are these comments "persistent" anyway?

Jeff Berg , April 18, 1997; 02:11 P.M.

Several years ago I purchased a Rollei Prego Micron to take with me to Mardi Gras--I didn't want the burden of one one of my SLR's. Factors influencing my purchase decision included the panoramic lense, which proved to be just the ticket for photographing the parades, but hasn't proved very useful since, and the small size. All told, I'm very happy with this camera and the images it produces. I even sold some photographs taken with the Rollei to an English Land-Rover magazine. I submitted the transparencies from the Rollei along with the rest to see what would happen. To my delight, half of the six photos the magazine chose to publish had come from my P&S. Proof to me that it's not so much the gear as your ability to capture the image. The Rollei has all but replaced my 35mm Canon A-1, AE-1program and the accompanying brace of lenses, filters and accessories for most of my shooting.

That being said, I have one major complaint about the camera, and once caution, which should probably be added to the "using your P&S" section. The complaint is that the Rollei, or at least mine, doesn't actually give a low battery warning. (The manual says it will, but it lies "and we must be merciful to those who lie.") In practice, you learn that your battery is gone when the film fails to advance completely and the camera goes "dead" for all practical purposes. Replacing the battery is simple and I always carry a spare. But once you've replaced the battery you have to rewind the roll of film that's in the camera and replace it--unless you have the ability to fish the leader out in the field, this means "wasting" a roll of film. For some reason the camera employs artificial intelligence that only allows it to go dead three shots into a 36 exposure roll of film. (And I usually forget to mark the roll so I end up sending it off for processing not "recycling" it.)

My caution seems will probably seem like common sense to most people--Remember to keep the lense clean! It's arguably more important than with your SLR (or other fancy) optics because the element is so much smaller. I just got a roll of film back from the lab--another Land-Rover rally and was real disappointed with the results. Poor "focus", lousy exposures and a noticeable vignetting on panoramic shots. I'd never shot such a consistently bad roll of film with this "idiot proof" camera before. A close examination showed the (most likely) culprit--a dirty lense, especially a "ring" around the outer edges. I took a lense tissue wrapped Q-tip to it, and trust the problem is solved, though I haven't shot a test roll yet.

I'd highly recommend the Rollei Prego Micron to anyone looking for a "daily driver" as long as the above is kept in mind. I confess, I'm probably going to try to borrow a T4 though--just to see what all the fuss is about.

Paul Wilson , June 12, 1997; 11:30 A.M.

This review is somewhat of a counterpoint to Glen's review of the 35ti above. I too decided that I wanted a camera that I could put in a pocket and take with me most of the time. Everyone says how great the T4's lens is but I've also heard they're not very reliable and there's no exposure control. The 35ti looked nice but I always thought the price was too high.

If you want the short version, I think the GR1 is great. If you want more info, read on.

Ricoh introduced the GR1 at the beginning of the year to compete with the 35ti, T2, etc. except the price is quite a bit cheaper. The 35ti seems to be selling for about $600 these days and the GR1 sells at B&H for about $420. www.netmarket.com has the GR1 for about $320 but they try to suck you in to a membership(This can be avoided if you read the site). All the rest of the so-called luxo P&S's cost around $800.

The 28/2.8 lens is excellent, sharp and contrasty. Ricoh has even released the lens alone in a Leica M mount. The ergonomics are also excellent. The aperture dial is on the right side. It has an 'A' for auto and has detents for f2.8 to f22 in half stop increments. There is also an exposure compensation dial on the left that allows +/- 2 stops of compensation in half stop increments.

Other features of the GR1 include time exposures, focus distance lock(which allows the user to set hyperfocal distance, a nice feature) and wide area and spot passive AF. The two AF areas are similar to my N90s which facilitates switching between the two. The one area where it falls a little short AF wise is sensitivity. It is definately not as good in this area as my N90s which shouldn't be surprising. It has problems with low contrast subjects and is only sensitive to vertical lines. It does prefocus and hold focus when the shutter release is pressed halfway though. Other features include paralax correction and shutter speeds(1sec to 1/500) in the finder. The GR1 will even leave the leader out on a mid-roll rewind if the rewind button is pressed twice. I had to have my N90s reprogrammed to do that.

The flash allows the user to set normal flash, fill-flash and no flash. The fill flash seems to work reasonably well though normal flash shots suffer because the flash can leave the corners dark. Good flash shots are pretty much impossible when a tiny tube is place 2 inches from the lens anyway. My only other gripe is that the finder is pretty small and the rough surface of the magnesium shell seems like it could scratch glasses.

As far as build quality goes, I don't think it's quite as good as the 35ti but it is very good. Much better than a T4 and the like. The GR1 is also one of, if not the smallest 35mm camera available. It's dimensions are very similar to a Canon ELPH but it's about 3/4" longer.

Justin Loeber , October 08, 1997; 12:23 P.M.

A childhood marred by hundreds of terrible photos taken with P&S cameras so scarred me that I didn't bother with cameras for almost ten years, and pursued other arts and other past-times. I suppose a "real" camera would have satisfied my longing, but I don't have the time or inclination to learn how to use it. Anyway, after reading these pages I was inspired to give it another shot, and on these recommendations, I purchased a Yashica T4 Super from Adorama. Fortunately, they didn't screw me, and I love the camera. It is light, but exudes quality, and the results are fantastic. I love the ability to control the flash and lock focus while composing a shot. I understand these features are not unique to the Yashica, but they are new to me, and are quite exciting. I've been experimenting with light and composition and have come to the conclusion that a good lense and skill beats a telephoto most of the time. I paid around $150US for the camera. Expenses are going up though, as I experiment with different types of film and different developers. I can easily burn through a roll of 36 in ten minutes. Anyway...go for the Yashica and work on your skills and I think you'll be happy. Thanks for a great resource, Phil!

Godfrey DiGiorgi , October 27, 1997; 02:32 P.M.

I have gravitated away from using my SLR systems except on rare occasion. Nowadays, compact 35mm cameras are my most used tools. A few comments on different cameras I've had experience with:

Olympus Infinity Stylus Simple, cheap, good quality. Been bashed around for 6 years and still working well. A bit too much red-eye. Quite acceptable for prints up to 5x7, occasional 8x12s. Decent focus, somewhat cruder exposure. Good buy.

Yashica T4 Super Took three rolls of film with a borrowed one. The lens seems excellent, but the exposure and focus system only seemed so-so. It's a notch above the Olympus Stylus due to the excellent optic but not much more.

Leica Minizoom Yes, the lens is slow. Other than that, the optics are absolutely top notch, the exposure and focus are excellent, and there's just enough controllability to make it really useful. Bulb for time exposures is a great asset. Sleeper, worth every penny.

Nikon 35Ti I used one of these for two years. I ultimately found it a very frustrating camera to use its extensive features, although the lens and controlability with overrides are great. The controls are fiddly, the focus is finicky. Exposure is right on the money nearly 100% of the time. Mine jammed twice and needed a fairly expensive repair.

Contax TVS Serious bux for a camera with a very slow lens, but the imaging quality of the Zeiss lens is lovely and this is one point and shoot with all the bells and whistles, and they are actually usable. It takes filters, a lens hood, has excellent exposure control, manual focus with focus aids, plenty of exposure override range, optional databack, etc etc. I've taken some wonderful pictures with it. The manual zoom is great because you can set *precisely* what you want, as well as the aperture. The viewfinder is a little dim. A wonderful does everything camera. I had a jam in the zoom control which Contax fixed on warranty.

Ricoh GR1 Simply superb. Very tiny with an extremely sharp, fast f/2.8 28mm lens. Controls are exactly what you would want to do real photography: exposure overrides, focus locking, aperture priority or program automation. Stark and business like (mine is black), the all magnesium body is light and rigid, very nice to the touch. Just a hair larger than my wallet, fits (inside its leather slip case) in my pocket with ease. If you like the wide angle format, this is one of the best cameras in the genre.

Rollei 35 My old standby favorites. Not a point and shoot but a 100% manual, mechanical camera with a simple coupled meter, scale focusing. Real shutter speeds from a real Synchro-Compur shutter. A Zeiss lens (either 40/2.8 Sonnar or 40/3.5 Tessar) which is as good as any I've every seen on anything. Compact, made of metal, a trifle blocky but very good to the touch. Superb photographs. I end up carrying one of these (a Rollei 35S or Classic) and the Ricoh GR1 whenever I travel nowadays, leaving the SLRs at home.

I also carry Minox subminiatures ... nothing beats a Minox for portability ... and unlike some people, I always keep whatever I'm carrying in a minimal leather slip case rather than just banging around in my pocket. They last a lot longer that way.

I've got pictures from most of the above cameras on my website at http://www.bayarea.net/~ramarren if you care to look in and see what can be done with a P&S camera. -godfrey

Chris Grantham , November 01, 1997; 11:18 P.M.

A little rant on the Pentax 90WR:

Great little camera, but it has a few quirky problems:

--AFAIK, there is no way to explicitly turn off the flash, & not have an unacceptably slow shutter speed. Idiot proofing goes both ways, ya know. *Ponders the roll of film wasted, thinking that the shutter was going at a decent speed*.

-- The remote's a little pathetic. Rather embarassing, standing there taking portrait shots, having to press the shutter relase 3 times to get it to go once..

-- And finally, the *MOST* annoying thing: Red-Eye reductions flash. This plain, just does not work. I ran about 3 rolls through the camera (you know, the "gimmie a buck, I'll give you a 4x6" portrait thing), thinking that the redeye flash would actually work. Each of the seventy or so proofs I got back had red-eye in each of the subjects (victim's) eyes. Chalk those up to the trash pile..

Of course, there was *PLENTY* of light, even at 65mm, and prolly an f8 that the camera didn't need a flash, but to turn it off, I would have been photographing a bunch of kids at around 1/15 shutter speed. There's something wise to try, even with a tripod.

*climbs down off of the table*

Julian Melville , December 18, 1997; 07:32 P.M.

A couple of years ago I went on a long cycling trip and couldn't take my old 35mm SLR, so I looked around and bought a Pentax ESPIO Mini point and shoot, with no zoom. It took better, sharper shots than I ever had with an SLR, and because it was so tiny it could go everywhere. Unfortunately it moved out with a girlfriend a while back, so that was that and I'm back to the SLR again... so be warned, good P&S cameras are partner-friendly in a way that no manual SLR will ever be!

Michael Edelman , January 05, 1998; 02:44 P.M.

Needing another P&S I jumped at B&H's closeout deal on a Leica Mini II at $109. I ordered it on 12/23, and it showed up the next day- all for the standard $6.96 shipping. Not bad.

It's a great little camera with really sharp, contrasty optics; I love showing large prints made with this camera to friends sporting expensive autofocus SLRs with cheap zoom lenses ;-). I bought it as something to always carry with me when I didn't want to haul an SLR, but it's lately been my favorite camera. Why carry an F3 with a 35mm/f2 (my favorite combo) when I can get similar capability in a pocket sized package? Neat. Yes, it can't handle difficult exposure and so forth, but shooting Velvia on a hazy day it produced beautiful results. I think I'll addd a small collapsable reflector for a studio-in-a-pocket!

I showed the camera and results to a friend who owns a local gallery (and is a photographer as well), and she showed it to her daughter to immediately phonedB&H to get one for herself. Sadly, only the date-stamp versions are left, but she ordered one anyways with the idea of taping over the LEDs.

albert s boyers , January 06, 1998; 03:39 P.M.

Two notes on protecting P&S cameras. One, a beer hugger works wonders around a camera when there is physical activity involved. The beer hugger makes a good inexpensive case. I used to rock climb with a camera this way. Two, (untried) I bet a zip-lock baggie would solve the pocket lint problem. Of course, the baggie would need to be replaced every three weeks. Cheaper than a camera every couple of months though.

Eielrt Anders , January 12, 1998; 04:09 P.M.

I have the Leica Mini and my mother has the T4. I bought the T4 for her since the price was right for her; however, I would have gotten the Leica Mini otherwise. In comparing pictures from the two cameras, I have concluded that the Leica is sharper but the contrast is the same-spectacular! Both cameras have exposed many rolls of film without a hitch, and the exposures and focus have been right on. The only criticism of the Leica lense is that with contrasty slide film, I detected obvious, but not objectionable, vignetting. I suspect that this performance would also be experienced with the T4 and other P&S cameras which are designed for print film with which vignetting is not a problem. Just a further note. I have seen the cross sections of both lenses, and they appear to be the same! Coincidence? I doubt it!

Andrew Kim , January 30, 1998; 03:34 P.M.

I bought an Olympus Epic over the competition (Yashica T4 Super, Ricoh R1, etc) when the sliding cover of my Pentax UC1 broke off (nice looking, but really wimpy cover). The main selling points were the robust sliding cover (thick plastic) and the 1/2 stop faster hybrid aspheric lens.

Handling on the Epic is fairly good compared to the above mentioned cameras: it's thicker than the almost uncomfortably thin UC1 and R1 and my fingers don't get in the way of the lens like with the T4. The shutter release is very wide and large, but the mode buttons are pretty tiny (aren't they all?). Sliding case works well, protecting the lens and other optics from scratches and dust, even in my pants pocket. Biggest complaint is the location of the viewfinder is too close to where your hand ends up, a little awkward sometimes.

As for operation, it's okay. As any P&S, the flash is tiny and weak and far too close to the lens. The annoying strobe red-eye feature has never successfully eliminated red-eye in any of my pictures. The color-balancing feature seems to just result in overlit subjects, not too useful.

I tested with Kodak PRN 100, Elite II 100, Royal Gold 400, Gold Max (800), and Fuji Super G 800 (I don't use much fast print film, so I was goofing off). My slides seemed ~1/2 stop overexposed, but the metering was consistent and not a problem at all for negatives. Colors seemed colder than what I'm used to with the UC1 or my Nikon SLR and I found that Royal Gold 400 balances that very well.

There seems to be some truth to the rumors on the net that autofocus isn't very good. The Epic seems really biased towards wide open exposure and f2.8 at 35mm isn't great for depth of field, which is part of the problem. Still, even though the Epic has active AF and lots of focusing steps, focus is often fuzzy (even on some tripod-mounted shots). Also, my earlier UC1 was much better at catching off-center subjects. When the Epic is focused properly, sharpness is good across the field, geometry is fine, and there is little noticable drop-off at the corners despite the fast lens.

Overall, focus seems inconsistent and the metering overexposes slides, but handling is good, the camera is rugged, and the lens is sharp. I'll be sending this beast back for adjustment to see if things improve and will report back if they do (I've had it for two months, so will be sending it out to Olympus).

Jonathan Peterson , February 10, 1998; 02:46 P.M.

Ok, ok... Has anyone seen a review or used the new minox cd 70?

Jerry Crum , February 16, 1998; 08:47 P.M.

I considered a T4, but wanted a bit more width. Went with the Pentax UC-1. Very nice little camera. It too gets carried around in my left pants pocket, no problems to date except the fake metallized finish gets all sratched up, and after a while is as attractive as the bottom of an ashtray.

My other models are a Canon Z-135, a pair of 1987 vintage Ricoh TF-500's, and a Canon A-1 submersible.

Since the Canon only goes to 38 mm, I wanted the 32 mm in the UC-1 as a companion. They travel together in a fanny pack with a pair of 8x20 binoculars. Both do very nicely indoors and out and both have excellent flash uniformity, something the Minolta Explorer failed in my test. The Z-135 is particularly sharp and contrasty. The Z has an undocumented feature: If you hold down the flash it goes into an available light mode.

The Ricoh's are dual focal length (35 f/2.8 & 70 f/5.6). Very sharp, high contrast, nice flah and +2 stops compensation. Metering good enough for slides. These are my standard of comparison. If it beats or equals the Ricoh it can stay.

Have 2 comments on P & S problems: Many models (OLympus 3500 is one) that have too low a meter coupling range for ISO 400. 3500 was optimistic at EV-16. ISO 200 is the limit. Sunny 16 rule is EV 15 and that assumes 18% reflectance. Second problem is back light compensation by auto flash. Works at the most inopportune times! Olympus 3500 had a fine through the finder (TTF) multi-zone meter with a 6 mm spotmeter. The selective meter plus an overaggressive backlight algorithm called for flash on the sunlight side of a caboose when the meter saw the dark side window as being backlight. Later a shot of a hillside about 1.5 miles away called for flash because a grove of trees was darker than the trees around it. I have a nice collection of "sunballs" reflected off tour bus windows because the stupid thing thought the subject was backlighted. The Z-135 replaced it. The earlier Z-115 has severely flawed logic for anti-redeye and some other things, too.

Neither of these behaviors was reported by the magazines.

You mentioned the Stylus Epic. A friend bought one on my recommendation. Fortunately he loves it. Uses it for slides with excellent results, awesome lens. If my UC-1 succumbs to pocket lint, I,ll probably get an Epic. I amy get one anyway. I tend to covet neat things and I like the weatherproofing.

Nice column.

Michael Mee , February 17, 1998; 03:22 A.M.

After lots of reading here and elsewhere I purchased a Ricoh GR1. Summary: The more I use it the better I like it!

Background: I'm not a serious photographer and my primary criteria for the GR1 was that it had to be small (since I pack light), capable of producing great slides (accurate exposure, sharp images) and good for landscape shots while travelling. I've put 15 rolls of film through it so far (mostly in Nepal - an awesome place).

First impressions:

+ The human engineering is excellent. E.g. The viewfinder tells you when exposure compensation is active, it differentiates 'can't expose correctly' (outside shutter speed/aperture range) vs too slow for hand-holding (1/30s). The controls are well laid out and retain their settings between shots when it makes sense to do so (eg. locked infinity or "snap" focus modes). The manual aperture & exposure compensation can be set by feel while looking through the viewfinder

+ the camera sometimes had trouble focusing on infinity. In bright daylight, outdoors, trying to capture a mountain vista with no objects in the foreground "two heads" would illuminate in the viewfinder indicating a close focus. Sometimes simply releasing the shutter button and then half-pressing again would make it switch to "mountain" but other times I had to aim elsewhere. Mostly I would just put the camera in fixed-infinity mode (aka "mountain" :->) and forget about it. At times when I would expect it to have problems such as through glass or poor light it usually worked perfectly. The good news here is that a) the viewfinder gives a clear indication of the approximate focus point chosen (via symbols), b) it focuses quickly if you release and refocus, c) focus lock is easy (the shutter button is very predictable so I never took a picture by mistake when trying to focus and reframe) and d) you can lock infinity

+ the "square brackets" in the viewfinder effectively show what was focused by showing left, right or both brackets (or flashing to show no focus lock)

+ the 28mm lens is excellent for landscape shots (as you'd expect). However, as a wide-angle neophyte I was surprised by how hard it is to get portrait type shots (including small animals etc). I had to get much closer than usual which tends to upset the subject, although close-ups of plants, carvings etc worked great. Distortion at the edges was quite noticeable on buildings so I know to allow a reasonable width border in future if I think it will matter (the Taj Mahal towers look strange leaning in - especially when they actually lean out!)

+ I was pleasantly surprised that the viewfinder framing seemed very accurate - I didn't have any photos with clipped people, buildings or frames as with previous P&S cameras. This is helped no doubt by the viewfinder framing lines that change depending on the focus distance

+ the max 2 sec automatic exposure covered many situations automatically that other P&S cameras couldn't. I wish it had a shorter self-timer mode (than 10sec) since I primarily used it for tripod exposures where a 2 sec delay would be plenty. You also have to re-apply self-timer after each exposure which doubtless reflects its designed use, but not my typical use. The "T" mode exposure (press to open, press again to close) works as expected

+ between the wide angle lens, its fast 2.8 aperture and the bright days in Nepal, I soon switched from 400asa film (my usual P&S film) to the 100asa I had "just in case". The top 1/500 shutter speed wasn't always enough.

+ occaisionally the camera would turn on in its case and the lens would try to extend and fail against the tight case. Slipping the case off and turning the camera off/on again reset it as expected and it doesn't seemed to have harmed anything (except the case is developing a lens ring stretch mark)

+ the date stamp turned itself on during my first roll of film. I watched it after that and never found it on again, but its something to keep an eye on

+ the flash seems to work ok, but most of the time I left it switched off. I suspect this helps battery life a lot since if you leave it in "A"uto mode each time you turn the camera on a blinking led shows the flash charging. I'm still on the first battery after 15 rolls of 36 with maybe 40 flash photos total (mostly fill-in flash triggered by forcing it on)

+ I consistently got 37 photos on a roll of 36. Because the camera spools the film off on loading and then winds it back into the canister after each photo, the count is always accurate and it shows photos remaining rather than photos taken (which makes it a little confusing when switching between cameras). Auto film loading always worked first time.

+ the camera feels solid and has held up well (so far - its early days yet I realize). I kept it in my pants pocket in its slip case most of the time and despite banging into things and the occaisional fall from a shirt pocket it doesn't show any signs of damage. The slip case is great because it doesn't add to the camera size significantly.

I've purposefully avoided attempting to evaluate lens and exposure quality since I don't feel qualified to do so and don't have any enlargements yet. They look clear to me and usually the default exposure setting produced the best slide in the bracketed sets I did.

In summary, it was expensive compared to other P&S cameras, but I think I'll be using it for a longer time and taking much better photos with it.

Sven Sampson , February 19, 1998; 01:40 P.M.

Comments on the Contax TVS

About 2 years ago I decided to move into MF photography. I sold all my 35mm gear and bought a Pentax 645. I soon realized that I was missed having a light portable 35mm around to take snap shots. After checking through the various options (T4, T2, etc.) I decided on a Contax TVS.

Positives: 1) The lens produces beautiful, saturated, contrasty images. The manual zoom range is just about ideal for most of my needs (continuously variable 28-56mm). 2) Nice, precise autofocus. Until you get the hang of it, you will produce some out-of-focus shots. 3) It takes a full range of filters, hoods and lens caps available from Contax or B+W. 4) The automation is well thought out. Exposure control can be fully program driven or aperture driven. Focusing can also be handled manually with a built-in assist. 5) The body is beautifully finished and quite durable. Mine has been dropped and banged about quite a bit without leaving a mark on the body. 6) Contax has provided excellent service for the camera. A few months ago I was having a problem with infinity focus on the TVS and sent if back for adjustment. Contax CLA'ed the camera but didn't correct the problem. The camera was sent back again and Contax sent a note apologizing for the problem and replaced the lens and internal assembly at no cost to me. Needless to say, the camera works beautifully now.

Negatives: 1) The viewfinder is more dim than I would like. 2) Film speed can't be manually set (recognizes DX coding from 25-5000). If you want to change the film speed, you need to either set exposure compensation (+/-5 in 1/3 stop increments) or order DX labels from Porter's and re-label the film canister with the appropriate speed DX label before loading it into the camera. 3. Although I love the lens, I wish it were a little faster (2.8 vs. 3.5). 4. The TVS is fairly expensive. I bought mine used for about $850. I expect it will last me a lifetime, but you could buy and lose quite a few T4 or T5s for that money.

Thomas Smith , February 26, 1998; 02:57 P.M.

Comments on the Yashica T4 Super....Having read generally good things here, I bought one and tested it using ASA 100 slide film in a side-by-side comparion with my other cameras (Canon Elan IIe w/ 28-80 USM IV, Pentax ME super, and a 15 year old Minolta AF2). While the exposures were very good, within 1/3 stop or less, the sharpness of the slides under a loupe were disappointing. Even at the center of the frame with pictures taken in bright light (small aperture) the results were not as good as the old Minolta.

Maybe it was that particular camera (I'ver read they might not be made in the same place as the older ones), or perhaps the autofocus wasn't up to snuff, but I reluctantly ended up returning it and will look for another. I really thought that Zeiss lens would do wonders, but considering the (inexpensive) cameras I compared it to (except the Canon), I could see no reason to keep it. Too bad, because otherwise I liked the layout, size and simplicity of the camera.

PS: I also noticed the delay in autofocus that others reported as well as the vignetting, even in full sun.

Will Crawford , February 28, 1998; 02:28 P.M.

About eight years ago I bought one of the original Nikon Tele-Touch cameras. It had good film handling, a 35-70 (or so) lens, took nice pictures, and had a pop-up flash that my fingers wouldn't block. It was one of the most usable P&S cameras I've ever used.

Needless to say, it broke at the worst possible time (I had just gotten off the plane in St. Petersburg). That was about four years ago, and I didn't risk a P&S again until last year, when I bought a Fuji Endeavour 100 APS camera, no zoom. I've been very happy with it so far--the pictures, especially closeups, have been very sharp and have excellent contrast. The whole camera is very small, and seems to have good pants-pocket survivability. I've taken to carrying it around along with my bigger Nikon system when traveling, so I can keep slide of T-Max in the SLR and still have some color prints to show everybody at home.

Bob Carpenter , March 06, 1998; 04:56 P.M.

After reading photo.net about six months ago, I bought a T4 (non-super) in Penn Station on a whim. I'm typically using it with Kodak TMY rated at 3200 and Iford Delta 100. The results in both cases are really quite stunning. Side-by-side comparisons with similar handheld shots in ordinary light with a Nikon 20-35 2.8 zoom did not embarass the little Zeiss 35mm on the T4. I used the Nikon and my wife used the T4 at the wedding, and most people can't tell the quality of the photos apart at 8x10 enlargements. I've even enlarged the TMY to 3200 with excellent contrasty results -- it provides an excellent reportage look that I got on about ten rolls on a recent trip to India. The meter is great and the negs are sharp corner to corner under a loupe -- Velvia slides are quite spectacular.

What's not to like? The most annoying things for me are (1) the lag time to rack out the little lens for autofocus -- there's no way to focus ahead of time and use it to capture the moment like a good rangefinder; this alone is going to cause me to replace the camera, (2) no exposure adjustment -- this is somewhat mitigaged by exposure lock, but the problem is that it's coupled to the focus lock, and (3) the flash is totally lame [don't even think about comparing this to the Nikon F5 + SB26 :-)] -- in full and fill modes. That's why I use it in with Delta 100 in the sun and with TMY at 3200 with no flash otherwise.

maclolm lowe , April 22, 1998; 09:09 P.M.

i recently had slides, taken by my yashica t4, transferred to negative film ( 35mm).The shots were of sunsets at the end of our lake, low cloud cover, amazing sharp slides. The negs, when enlarged to 8x10 prints were all crisp and the colour saturation was spot on. very good results from a 35 mm point and shoot camera. My other sytem is all canon eos, with L, usm lenses, the yashica t4 compares favouribly with the canon lenses. This tiny camera is my constant companion,

Andrew Kim , May 01, 1998; 06:31 P.M.

Update on the Epic: returned mine, was given a new one by the shop (nice guys at the local Ritz Camera). Ran through a roll of PRN on a tripod, it seems to be more consistent at focusing, but not too sharp overall compared to the Yashica T4 Super I bought in frustration. Another roll of slides confirmed it wasn't just the printing, my sample of the T4 was noticably sharper than my second sample of the Epic.

Anyways, at $99 now for the Epic, I decided to keep both.

Elaine Dudzinski , May 07, 1998; 10:39 P.M.

I just purchased an Olympus Stylus Epic for $99. I ran a few rolls through it. I haven't received the results yet, but am excited about it. I would also like to purchase the Yashica T4 Super at some later date, but need to save for it. I have an old Olympus XA which I love. Unfortunately, it is stuck in perpetual time release mode, and needs to go into the shop to be fixed. I do believe it is the best little point and shoot, and it is a collector's item. I like the rangefinder focusing.

giom grech , May 09, 1998; 11:00 A.M.

Recently when looking for a P& S camera a dealer showed me a new model from Minox a CD-25. I was impressed by its styling but found it was too limited. I checked out the wonderful MINOX website and found a whole line of 35 and APS cameras with detailed technical information. I decided that the features of the CD-70 was just what I wanted. The best pricing was found at Camera World of Oregon, again by checking their web-site. I was promised delivery in a week or so but found much to my surprise it was delivered a couple of days later. Well let me tell you this is an ergonomically well designed camera and as importantly it takes great pictures. Large illuminated finder, readable lcd readout on the back of the camera and options to control flash and other aspects were important consideration for me. Extended shutter speeds was also essential. I have a stunning night photo of Grand Central Station that is just about magazine quality...I would love Minox to make a metal version with perhaps larger buttons for options. Right now I am very, very pleased with this camera and recommend it highly.

Nils Decker , May 12, 1998; 11:54 A.M.

After reading this article I decided to buy myself the T5. I think it works great. I will give the first roll of film to processing today. There's just one thing I dislike up to now. Every time I turn the camera on. I starts in auto-flash-mode. From my SLR i am used to have the camera where I left it after switching it on again. It is pretty annoying, if you take a picture, assuming the flash is still off, but it's in automatic mode again.

John Shuster , June 17, 1998; 08:47 P.M.

MINI P&S EVALUATION Cameras: Stylus Epic, Stylus Zoom, Pentax 928, Yashica T* Film: Fuji 100 color negative Shots: Same picture of my home in bright sunlight. All cameras tripod mounted for test. Prints: 4 X 6 processed at a high quality 1 hour lab. Evaluation Criteria: Sharpness in the center as well as at the edges of the negative and print. Vignetting. Accurate framing of viewfinder and final negative - centered and 90% or better. Good registration of frames on negative - even spacing. Reliable functioning of camera.

Results:

STYLUS EPIC: 35mm fixed lens is very sharp across the picture. Hard to distinguish between this and other cameras tested. Really good lens. All other criteria met. $99 camera.

STYLUS ZOOM: Pictures at 35, 50, and 75mm were tack sharp across the frame on all pictures. All other criteria met. I was surprised at the consistent performance of this zoom. All other criteria met. $150 camera.

Pentax 928: Excellent performance at 28mm and 90 mm with good framing accuracy. My daily carry camera. All other criteria met. $200 camera.

Yashica T*: First Yashica P&S with Tessar - 1980 something vintage. Standard excellent 35mm 3.5 Tessar performance in this used camera that I got for $27. Tack sharp everywhere. I can see why people really like this lens. This camera is so old that it still uses AA batteries and no DX. All other criteria met.

SUMMARY: In a way, this evaluation is a big nothing - so what, everything seemed to be perfect. That's right! I was looking for standard bottom line picture performance, and these cameras blew me away. I have a couple Nikon bodies and a few Nikkor lenses, so I know what quality looks like. These cameras have what it takes to deliver good pictures. Tripod mounting helped a lot to achieve the quality I saw. Although I did the evaluation with 100 speed film, I carry 400 color negative (Costco/Agfa 400) and Kodak 400CN B&W on a daily basis, and am very happy with the results of these films. Point and shoot cameras deliver!

John Shuster , June 17, 1998; 09:22 P.M.

MINI P&S Evaluation corrections/clarifications

None of the cameras showed any vignetting, especially the Pentax 928 at 28mm.

The Stylus Zoom is a 35 - 70, not 75 at the far end.

P&S cameras have been a delightful discovery and have added a new dimension to my enjoyment of photography.

Eugene PAPERNO , June 22, 1998; 12:33 A.M.

Yashica T4-super in the US ($150-$160), T5 in Europe, Kyocera T-proof in Japan ($200) is a wonderful camera due to its Carl-Zeiss lens.

Be aware, however, that it is not actually a P&S (Point and Shoot) camera. It belongs to a new class of compact cameras developed by Kyocera's engineers: so-called

PS&SP cameras - Point, Shoot and Still Point cameras.

These cameras are so intelligent that, after you press the shutter release button, they will wait and decide themselves when to shoot. As a result, you can also call this type of compact cameras:

S&TP cameras - Space and Time Parallax cameras.

Keep it in mind if you are going to shoot action.

:)

Robert Abiad , July 01, 1998; 08:50 P.M.

A camera no one has mentioned yet is the Rollei Prego Zoom 35-70. After considering the Stylus Epic (mainly for its size) and the Minolta Freedom Zoom Explorer (for the extra fun in zooming), I ended up with the Rollei. My main reason was the fact that my roommate is a photographer who has both the Rollei and the Yashica, but he never uses his Yashica while he often uses his Rollei. I've taken a few rolls with it even testing the lens for sharpness, and it looks great. The lens is a little faster than the Minolta and about the same price - $150 with battery and case at Camera World of Oregon. A nice bonus is the 3 year warranty.

Ed Nicholson , July 14, 1998; 04:35 P.M.

If you can find one, I recommend the Fujifilm DL Super Mini, w/28mm f3.5 lens. I have a Konica T3 w/several lenses and Pentax ZX-5 w/50mm and 28- 105mm f2.8 zoom plus a Canon Elph, Jr (for which I traded the remains of a Minolta XK W/several fungus-eaten lenses). All of these I enjoy & use to shoot @ 50-75 pictures a week (it's a hobby, not my business). I find myself using the Fuji more & more; it is very compact, has an excellent lens, quick focus (and manual focus when needed), a decent flash, all-aluminum body w/sliding cover, shutter speed up to 1/800th, size smaller than any 35mm I've seen other than the Minolta TC- 1, and again, an excellent lens. My only complaint is that it is too automatic. Except for the manual focus and flash variations (on, off, night and +2ev backlight compensation), you can't alter any setting and it's program only, of course. BUT, it fits any pocket, seems lint- resistant, is very quick and easy to use. I recommend it, if you can find one. I found mine in a pawn shop for $35, including tax and I love it.

Isabel Bauer , August 15, 1998; 01:24 A.M.

I went into the store with every intention of buying the Yashica Microtec Zoom 70 (which received excellent reviews in multiple magazines). I would have never thought that being "left-eyed" would make such a difference. The controls are so inconveniently positioned, that my eyeglasses were smeared with fingerprints. It's less of a problem with the Minolta Freedom Explorer, but still inconvenient.

wayne harrison , August 30, 1998; 11:10 A.M.

i have three of the more popular compact cameras often reviewed on this forum in individual fashion; i thought someone might be interested in my experiences. i will be brief. the cameras in my possession are: a yashica t2 with a 35/3.5 zeiss tessar lens; a olympus stylus epic with a 35/2.8 zuiko; and a ricoh gr-1, 28/2.8. quite frankly, i don't think the yashica measures up to the other two cameras. the metering is more easily confused, often delivering underexposed images. furthermore, the sharpness of the lens is not the equal of the others, especially at 5x7. in fairness, i have not had the body serviced since purchase, which was several years ago. the olympus is wonderfully light, well-protected, and sublimely easy to use under most circumstances. it is by far the best choice for hiking, fishing, family photos at the beach; anywhere that quick handling and a need for camera protection converge. however, to match the ricoh in metering accuracy, it is necessary to utilize the "spot" feature, which requires repeated double button activation, and some uncertainty about the actual area covered by the "spot" effect. assuming correct metering, the lens delivers crisp, beautiful exposures. however, the clear winner when the goal is excellent image making, or what i call "serious photography", is the ricoh gr-1. it has terrific ergonomics; a tiny body, but with controls that are sized fine for my larger than average hands. the "program" mode is productive of perfect images in family snapshots, or even lighting conditions. the ability to lock focus and exposure in the "spot" mode places you on equal footing with your friend and his contax aria (well, almost...), and the lens is the equal of any nikkor in my collection. the ability to lock in hyperfocal distance ("snap" mode) is something all cameras should have. i take most of my shots with this feature. of course, the provision for total manual control is the icing on this very fine cake. anyone who ever worked with a manual nikon, pentax, or minolta, will feel right at home. if this camera had the ability to interchange lens, i would do anything necessary to switch to that system. i just don't understand why ricoh, a company that is not exactly burning up the market place with its current slr offerings, doesn't use this body as the starting point for a "leica for the masses". my bet is that it would blow the contax g series in the weeds, from a popularity standpoint.

Randy Beecham , September 02, 1998; 02:11 P.M.

I would like to contribute an "Amen" to Wayne's evaluations of the Yashica "T-2" (T-4?), Olympus Stylus Epic, and the Ricoh GR-1. I have shot film and compared photos with all 3 cameras as well.

The T-4 is nice, but has no definite advantage over the cheaper, faster (f3.5 vs f2.8), and smaller Epic. The Epic also has a maximum shutter speed of 1/1000 compared to the 1/700 of the T-4.

In short, the Epic produces stunning photos. I compared pix made with my Nikon 4004 SLR and Nikkor 50mm lens and could detect no perceptible diffence in color, clarity or contrast. I love the waterproofing also, for shooting around the pool, at the beach, at the water park, etc. The camera is rugged and reliable. Good ergonomics, although the GR-1 can't be beat in this department.

Concerning the Ricoh GR-1: Nothing short of amazing in all areas except one, i.e. the flash. It consistently imparted a yellowish discoloration and almost blurriness to subjects photographed with flash at close range. This rendered the photos un-usable. I absolutely love the ergonomics, ease of use, sharpness, and EVERYTHING else about the camera. The 28mm lens is great for small group photos, but is only okay for head and shoulders due to the typical 28mm distortion. I particularly like the "hard switch" for turning off the flash, which allows quick access to flash on/off versus having to toggle through options and miss the shot. The other cool feature is the "memory" function when you turn the power off: it remembers the last mode used when you turn the camera back on.

So, in summary, I can HIGHLY recommend all 3 of the above cameras. I returned the T-4 to Wolf Camera (who is most delightful to deal with, although not the best prices) when I purchased my Epic, for the reasons listed above. I will also be sending back my GR-1 to Camera World of Oregon for a replacement. Since no one else has complained of the yellow tinting on close-up flash, I assume that it is a problem with the particular lens. If my replacement is bogus also, I'll inform the newsgroup. Regarding CCO: an excellent organization to deal with; let's see how they handle exchanges/refunds :-) Thanks to Phil for a GREAT website!!!!!!

Hugh Macaulay , September 08, 1998; 02:02 P.M.

For the casual spelunker (yep, cave wanderer) there is no better travelling companion, aside from a good headlamp, than the Yashica T4. I recently ran three rolls of Tri-X through my brand new T4 and I have to say, the images are marvelous: sharp and contrasty. Lighting?, you ask. Every year or so, I paint a few layers of clear nail varnish on the lens of my headlamp so as to soften the otherwise harsh light the beast emits. I do this because the resulting light is soft (a bit yellow) and can be used imaginatively with the headlamp's beam focussing ring while probing the recesses of dark, misty caves. I bought (and brought) the T4 a) because of various opinions registered here and b) because I wanted something weatherproof without having to shell out for a Nikkonos. I am one happy caveman. The T4/headlamp combination performed as well as anything else I've tried and--as a bonus--the T4 is small enough to fit into the little fannypack I bring along (other occupants: fig newtons, space blanket, whistle). Caving is only one use I put my various (six and counting) cameras to. However, based on this limited trial, I plan to shelve my tough old Rollei 35s and use the T4 for all my P&S needs. Only in cold weather, where the Rollei NEVER dies and where I suspect the T4 will poop out, will the former displace the new kid on the block.

T C Khoo , September 14, 1998; 04:59 A.M.

I own a Fuji DL Mini superzoom, which is my wife's compact camera. We both love it, a great design, good ergonmics, nice spec and takes great photos. My wife uses it to chronicle her version of the development of our baby daughter. Must say that sharpness, colour and contrast of the photos are consistently very good. The only problem now and then is a touch of vignetting on flash photography, but that is too be expected of a P&S compact. The other thing that really bugs me is the noisy zoom mechanism; it really drives me up the wall when u r trying to be subtle about images. There have been quite a few times my baby angel has been woken up by the grinding ratcheting of the Fuji lens extending and retracting.

Just bot an Olympus MjuII/Stylus Epic last week for a trip to HK. It's a pretty amazing design, with a top class spec and good handling. And it was small enuff for me to carry it around in my jeans pocket.

Got my shots back a couple of days ago; I ran 6 rolls of film thru it in 4 days. All but a handful of the shots were pretty much bang on. There was one shot where the backlight fooled the metering, one where the focus point was wrong (more human error than anything), one where image was soft (may be due to camera shake, and a couple where the flash colour compensation for internal lighting caused fluorescent lighting to be overexposed.

Overall, I must say I am quite impressed with the little thing. Even more so than the Fuji. I also use Contax and Minolta for my SLR outfits, and confess that for prints, the differences in quality were not immediately noticeablem even when blown up. Am now beginning to be converted to the school of thought that P&S cameras may really become the best cameras in the world in the next few years; especially for the ones with prime lenses.

Haven't really tried the T4 yet; there is a chance I may be able to get my hands on one this week. If so, will give my feedback on how it performs.

T C Khoo , September 15, 1998; 05:51 A.M.

Just ran some film thru the Yashica T4 (non-super) and got the shots back. Here are my comments:

1. Lens is indeed tack sharp. Detail, contrast and colour is better than Olympus Stylus Epic, even without enlargements and loupe. Comparison is test roll of Olympus; same range of subjects under same conditions.

2. Flash is pretty awful...worse than the Stylus epic. Lots of shadowing, and not as subtle. This auto colour correction feature of the Stylus may have something to it after all.

3. Metering is about the same. Both got fooled by same backlit subject, though the T4 image was slightly less underexposed, with more shadow detail. Could be due to the Tessar lens.

4. Handling and ergonomics...mixed bag. Yashica has easily accesible controls, while Stylus controls are smaller, with a shutter release which does get mistaken for the lens cover when it comes to shooting. However, T4 makes the most awful grinding noises on shutter release and frame advance, with a tangible delay between depressing and release. Stylus is much crisper and more definite in its shutter and film advance mechanism. Having said that, I know the T5/T4 super is quieter and smoother on all fronts than the old T4, but still maybe not up to the Stylus standard.

Overall, in my opinion, there is little to choose. If u do a lot of flash shooting, the little Olympus may be a better bet. If conversely, u do a lot of outdoor picture taking, then the T4 is the one to go for. Handling is split and entirely a personal choice. The T4 Super/T5 is probably a smoother handler and operator than my old T4, but the T5 to me is a better design and handler overall. Then again, I have small hands and have no problems activating the spot function, which, by the way, the T4/T5 does not possess, and which I find quite useful.

So,the bottom line, in my opinion, the Stylus gets my vote, for design, for the spotmetering, and the fact that I do (unfortunately) take a lot of flash photos Of course, if only they could fit that Tessar lens over, I can live with the 1/3/1/2 stop drop in speed.

Any one have experience with a Ricoh R1/Rollei Prego Micron? Have seen a lot about the GR1, but not the lesser brethren. Anyone know of detailed reviews I can access. Once again, I may be able to borrow one soon to try out. Will let u guys/gals know soonest.

T C Khoo , September 15, 1998; 05:58 A.M.

Apologies, in previous comment, in 3rd paragraph from bottom, 4th line should read Stylus rather than T5 as the better handler to me.

T C Khoo , September 17, 1998; 03:46 A.M.

Hv tried the Rollei Prego Micron, the Shneider lens version of the Ricoh R1. Here are my thoughts:

1. Lens - Firstly, just to refresh, the Rollei has 2 lenses, a 30MM/3.5 and a 24MM/8, while the Stylus and T4 have 35MMs,so direct comparisons are a little tricky. With that in mind: Sharpness, better than Olumpus, just behind the CZ Tessar of T4. Colour, contrast, right up there with the Zeiss.

2. Flash - Contrary to popular belief, the Rollei fared best here. Even illumination edge to edge, natural colours, well balanced, little shadowing. Blows the other 2 away.

3. Metering - about the same across the board. No surprises.

4. Handling/Ergonomics - Wow, and I say again, Wow. The R1/Rollei Prego Micron is peerless. The overall design, placement, size and operation of the controls are the best I've seen on a compact P&S.

To close, given the abovementioned, the Rollei Prego Micron gets my vote cos of the flash, design, handling and also the specs. Although the shutter speed range is narrower than the T4 and Stylus, and it lacks a spot mode,it does have the 2 lenses (and very good ones they are too) which allow you to change your perspectiven and have true panorama (24MM). The focal lengths are ideal if u want to have a P&S primarily as a chronicler of your holiday travels, or even ordinary street life. If u want to get even more value for money, stick with the Ricoh R1, which is the original design.

Cheers, TC

Bill Ross , September 23, 1998; 02:49 A.M.

I carry 3 P/S's (coat pockets), all w/ slide film:

- T4/original: 400-speed Elite. Mostly night, no-flash work. Nice as described, but hate that the infinity focus unsets after each shot (frenzied pix thru airplane windows). Focus delay sucks the most, a big reason why I use it as I do now. Love it all the same :-)

- Olympus Stylus Zoom 105: Astia 100 for people photos. HATE the long time it takes to get the lens out/in when turned on/off. HATE that it has no infinity focus. Nice feel in the hand, solid feel too. Was forced to buy it when previous zoom camera was lost en route to Burning Man - do not shop P/S cameras in Reno. Again, now that it has its niche, I'm happy with it overall.

- Ricoh Shotmaster 130: Velvia. This is the workhorse that lets the others off the hook. HATE that it has a single cheap plastic catch that breaks just from dropping from slightly higher than toilet seat (about $100+ to fix), WISH it would focus a lot closer, LOVE the matrix indicator of where the focus has been chosen <-repeat 3 times*, IMPRESSED BUT BAFFLED by the range of programming options. I HAD to get this because my Olympus was in the shop when I left for Moscow, and there it began to get 'hung' like a computer until I rewound the film, and it took 2 trips to the shop when I returned to iron it out. LOVEx3 the fast readiness (thanks to 2 batteries). The aspheric lens may account for a 'deepness' in the pix, too. OH - and LOVE that for such a big zoom, it can still be crammed into a shirt pocket.

- Next, I'd like to get a digital, if the res would only get up to say 5000x3000, but maybe I'll get something current in the meantime just to get my feet wet. Opinions on digitals very welcome.

-- Bill Ross http://www.amber.ucsf.edu/~ross/

Guy Gersbach , September 28, 1998; 08:32 A.M.

I purchased the Olympus Stylus Epic or Mju-2 as it is known here in Oz. Its not the perfect camera and when the Yashica T4/Yashica T4 Super costs almost twice as much in this country the decision was very easy to make.

The optics are great. My friend had the earlier version (mju-1) and I was impressed with it a few years ago. The earlier version cost him more than mine now and the newer optics are much better. Value for money has certainly increased. The faster lens certainly comes in handy for low light snaps indoors and outdoors as well. It's amazing what you can do with a lens that is a little bit faster and sharper than the crowd.

The robustness of the camera is a big plus when travelling. Lens cover fits snugly keeping the lens clean and out of danger. O-ring seals are good and I have had no problems over the 9 months I have had it. I've taken it hiking in hot dusty conditions as well as humid conditions. Ttwo friends that have them are full of praise for the compactness, sharpness and versatility of the camera.

Niggling points are you have no control over the lens aperture unlike some which allow you to stopdown the lens to 'infinity'. The buttons which control the settings (flash, noflash, autoflash, redeye reduction, partial flash, spotmeter and timer) are a little fiddly. Though fiddly these buttons help with the weather proofing I guess. If its an all purpose all weather point and shoot camera that is very affordable you cannot go past it.

I read lots of the Q&A forums before buying the camera. Admittedly there are sharper point and shoot cameras out there but they will cost an arm and a leg. Anyhow, if you are going to spend big dollars and obsessed with sharpness you may as well get a cheap SLR body and a basic 50 mm lens instead. It will certainly give you more bang for your buck than an expensive priced point and shoot. For value for money you can't go past the mju-2.

T C Khoo , October 15, 1998; 05:45 A.M.

As time moves on, my stylus has started to act up on me, exhibiting signs of the "I'll focus where and when I want to " syndrome that some people have raised. When it works, it is wonderful, when it doesn't it drives me crazy. Purely random, no pattern, ok for 6 rolls, then 1 roll where 20% of shots go haywire. Am considering sending it in under warranty.

The T4 is with my in-laws, compared with my Stylus, it has been a model of consistency and reliability. Pictures of my daughter under a wide variety of conditions have come out exceedingly sharp, with high contrast and very rich colours. Many enlargements have been made, bringing us great joy.

Hv also been fooling around with a new Konica Big Mini F with the 35/2.8. Beautifully designed, well constructed, sharp lens, a bit flare prone, not as contrasty as the T4's Zeiss, but still good, tiny (irritating controls), very smooth operation, quiet, fast AF, good metering,little shutter lag, and no lens cover. Also got good specs, with exposure comp, powerful flash and good range of modes.

Recently thought about going a little wider. Considered going for a wide zoom, but am very hesitant cos of quality/speed of lens at the long end. With 28's in my price range, selection is limited. The GR1 is lovely, but a little costly, so the other option is the Fuji DL Mini/Cardia Mini Tiara II. Initial impressions have been nothing short of amazing. Tiny aluminium bodied clamshell design (smaller than Stylus?), a wonderful 28/3.5 Fujinon EBC lens, truly sharp, contrasty and with vivid colours, possibly even sharper than the T4, bang on metering, mixes ambient and artificial light well, and good range of modes, apart from usual flash modes, also has infinity, snap, manual focus, backlight compensation and mid roll panorama. Curious though, there does not seem to be any fill flash function, and it appears that the flash fires almost all the time in the autoflash mode. Need to enquire about the programme. Shutter lag is also quite prominent, rather T4-esque. Apart from that, it is quite a jewel at the price. If u don't need the manual control of the GR1, I daresay the Fuji is quite possibly the best fixed focal compact P&S below USD200 around.

Ken Lee , October 17, 1998; 09:02 P.M.

As an RIT photo student, I've had the pleasure of using some of the best photo equipment on the planet. From the venerable Nikon F5, to the Sinar P2 to the Mamiya RZ 67, it amazes me how people expect SLR or higher results from P&S. The sole reason I buy a P&S is too just take candid shots. If you want SLR results, go buy an SLR. I however do enjoy people's comments on these cameras, which is also important. But at the same time, please try to lighten up and not let the subject flee from you. Good shooting! =)

Al Thompson , October 23, 1998; 01:57 A.M.

About 18 years ago I bought my wife a new $140 "no-think, do-everything," plastic bodied Canon ML Super SureShot with a fixed autofocus f1.9 lens. I, of course, would use a real 35mm with lots of bells and whistles, a fancy interchangeable lens, and controls I could play with. Result: she has consistantly blown me away even though she knows only enough about cameras to find the shutter button. Her trusty Canon P&S has seen heavy use and has been trouble free these 18 years.

While I was taking light meter readings and carefully focusing she was busy firing properly exposed and focused shots like a machinegun.

I now also have a Canon ML Super SureShot and my "serious" 35mm's and Hassy M/L stay in their cases.

Show me another mass market (inexpensive) P&S with a 1.9 lens as good as the Canon and I'll buy it. Until then I can get a sharp picture in light that the f3.5 and f2.8 point-and-shoot Nikons, Rolleis, etc. can't handle. I fail to understand why the f1.9 P&S Canon wasn't more popular.

Michael Fuhrmann , October 30, 1998; 03:08 P.M.

I know lots of people like the Stylus Epic, but my experience with the camera has not been good. Here's what happened: - One month after I bought it earlier this year, the camera developed a light leak. I returned it to the store, which had the light seals replaced. it worked fine for exactly one roll, then started leaking light again. - I returned it again to the store which this time replaced it with a brand new Stylus Epic. First few rolls through the camera were fine, then guess what: it started leaking light. -I took it back to the store which replaced it again with another brand new one. Believe it or not, this one leaked light on the second roll. I returned this camera yesterday, got a credit note from the store and will take my time deciding what camera to buy now.

I guess I was extremely unlucky with this camera. Nevertheless, from my experience, I can hardly recommend it.

Gene J , November 19, 1998; 01:34 P.M.

I used an Olympic Stylis for years. When they came out with the 35-70 zoom model, I bought one and gave the original to my daughter who is still using it. I never liked the pop up flash on the zoom. It seemed that my finger would often be covering it when it needed to come up. No problem now, the retracting system is broken and the flash stays up. Need a piece of Scotch Tape to keep it down for putting in pocket. Love the original, hate the zoom.

Julian Svedosh , November 28, 1998; 12:30 P.M.

P&S cameras are attractive in a variety of applications; for me the important uses are as an affordable, very light weight camera that slips into a pocket as a back-up to my full size SLR, or as a camera to take on summit climbs, where every ounce becomes excruciating. I have tried a number of models, none of which is perfect, but all of which have their good points.

I began with a Pentax 928. On the up side, it has a great zoom range (28-90) and a user friendly design. On the down side, it lacks the sharpness for work which will be blown up to 16x20, it is very susceptible to flare, and I suspect some distortion around the edges (although I've never conducted real tests). It got handed down to my wife, who uses cameras almost exclusively for candid snaps, and she loves it.

I decided to move upmarket, and tried the Nikon 28ti. This is a wonderful piece of engineering which is sharp, rugged, and has excellent electronics supporting autofocus and autoexposure. With a 2.8 aperture it's one of the faster quality P&S lenses on the market. Prices have dropped and these are now available around $700. Ultimately I had two serious problems: I do a great deal of landscape and architecture, and the lack of a polarizing lens capability proved to be a critical flaw. I also confess that I'm basically a "zoom guy", who has never felt comfortable carrying a bunch of primes, and the fixed length lens seemed a little constraining. So the 28ti was sold, and replaced by ...

The Contax TVS, which seemed to solve both problems. It has a screw in filter adapter and a 28-45 zoom range. It also comes blessed with a wonderfully sharp, reasonably fast lens. But the promise proved better than the reality. I always had problems with both focus and exposure. Another reviewer commented that this is part of the learning curve, and that after a few rolls you start to get the hang of it, but I was able to get the camera to perform well only without a filter. The moment I screwed my B&W circular polarizer in, the electronics on the camera got very confused. Perhaps I have a very long learning curve. But after a full year I threw in the towel and sold the Contax as well.

I've stopped trying to find a pocket camera which can be all things to one person. I've settled for high quality optics in a small easy package. I learned my lesson from the senior guide at an Alpine climbing center, who smirked every time I tried to unpack my gear while dangling on a rope. He would reach into his shirt pocket and take a one-handed snap. When we got back to Chamonix I went over to his house, and was astounded by the quality of some of his shots, even in moderately large blow-ups. His camera was a tiny 35mm Minox, which is smaller than most APS cameras, but includes fine German optics and a 35mm format at an affordable price ($200-300, depending on model). I went home and ordered the GT-X, which has full manual controls as well as a P&S mode. No filter capability, not many bells and whistles, but a great 35/2.8 lens and controls which explain themselves. It's not the P&S for everyone, but it you have similiar needs, it may well fill the bill.

Charles Dunlap , December 01, 1998; 12:10 P.M.

Regarding the new Contax TVSII and comments about using the TVS and TVSII:

I have just bought the TVSII, Contax's new version of the TVS.

What changed?

1) the viewfinder is now much brighter--the LCD masks are gone and are replaced by the simpler and more standard cropping marks at the frame edge to indicate parallax at close focus. This is the single most important change, and a welcome one.

2) the panorama mode is gone--I rate this an improvement since the same result can be had by cropping a negative that wasn't masked in the camera and since the panorama switch could be partially engaged, accidentally cropping edges on normal photos

3) the zoom mechanism is simplified--I'm not sure that this either adds or detracts, but the lever on the lens has been removed and zooming is now accomplished by a wider knurled ring around the front of the lens

4) a built in lens cap has been added--this is the standard P+S type (although it's made of metal and not plastic). I feel better with the $12 Contax lens cap in place over the built-in one since a real cap offers much more protection from dust and impact. I do like the fact that the built-in cap is there as back-up, however.

Everything else is the same: truly excellent 28-56 Zeiss T* lens, titanium body, 5 EV +/-1/3 exposure compensation, synthetic saphire windows and shutter release, ceramic film plate, etc.

My impressions after shooting 4 rolls of print film? The lens takes some of the most beautiful photos I've seen in 35mm--not only sharp, contrasty, and saturated but with excellent tonal gradation as well. The photos are comparable with results from my Leica M6 outfit and far better than results from other point and shoots I've used, including my two Yashica T4s. (So why keep the M6? Many reasons including: much faster lenses (f/2 and better), the potential for making much bigger enlargements, and allows a much different approach to photography).

Responses to other TVS comments I've seen here:

1) The dim viewfinder is no longer a drawback to this camera.

2) One post noted exposure errors with filters in place. The camera does not meter through the lens and so the exposure compensation must be used to dial in more exposure according to the filter factor. Once you do this everything works great. The passive autofocus (with low-light IR assist) is also external, so filters do not effect focussing.

3) Someone also suggested a learning curve in getting used to the camera's focussing and exposure. I don't notice that there's a problem here. My first three rolls were fine. For flash work inside, 400 ASA film would be best (as with any small on-camera flash).

4) A final comment on the AF and flash. The behavior of both can be modified. The AF can be set to move the lens into position with a half-press of the shutter release, eliminating the delay in taking a picture. The default flash mode can also be set to any of the flash modes available. I leave it set to flash off usually, since I don't like the flash going off without my permission.

I am very happy with this camera. It is, of course, one of the most expensive point and shoots, but the results are

Jonathan M Rackowe , December 13, 1998; 12:56 P.M.

A brief commment on APS: I recently bought a Canon Z90 for its 22.5-90mm APS zoom range (equivalent to about 28-112mm on 35mm film). Unfortunately, I have to report that I'll be changing this camera, not because of any fault of the camera - I really rather like its styling and features - but because APS just doesn't produce good enough results. I own a Canon A1 SLR based system and a Minox GT which I love, although the first is bulky and the second suffers from having a non-interchangeable fixed focal length 35mm lens. I had hoped that the Canon Z90 would solve these problems, but instead I got the APS film resolution problem. The APS film format offers several advantages with the different picture sizes available from standard processing houses, but the image quality lets it down. I long for the day when a manufacturer like Canon produces a P&S compact as well featured and egineered as the Z90, but designed around the standard 35mm film format.

Jim Gemmill , December 13, 1998; 04:51 P.M.

Just purchased an E+ Ricoh GR1 from KEH in Atlanta for $299. and it is super! Great sharpness, color and contrast with Fuji 400 film. As I've stated before, KEH is my favorite used camera mail order store..never gotten anything that wasn't better than their rating compared to other places. I really love this camera!

Kirk Nelson , December 15, 1998; 03:01 P.M.

Someone else mentioned having problems with light leaks in the Stylus. My mom has a Stylus and it has the same problem. Normally it isn't noticable, but in bright conditions there is a bright spot near the top of the frame. I think this may have started when I yard-saled skiing with the camera in my pocket!

Anyway, otherwise it is a great camera. How many 35mm cameras can you conveniently fit in your pocket? Not many.

Alexey Merz , December 29, 1998; 04:59 P.M.

Teng Cheong Khoo wrote on October 15, 1998: "As an RIT photo student, I've had the pleasure of using some of the best photo equipment on the planet. From the venerable Nikon F5, to the Sinar P2 to the Mamiya RZ 67, it amazes me how people expect SLR or higher results from P&S."

Yes, it is amazing. It is amazing and true that P&S cameras are now in some cases SUPERIOR in image quality to SLR equivalents. The lens on the Ricoh GR-1 is at least equal, and arguably superior, to the equivalent Nikkor prime. The GR-1 vibrates FAR less, due to the absence of a mirror and FP shutter. It is 10x lighter, occupies 1/10 the volume, and costs 1/10 as much as an F5. But in most photographic situations it will perform as well as or better than the F5. And if one wishes to be at all discrete, a GR-1 is immeasurably better.

"The sole reason I buy a P&S is too just take candid shots. If you want SLR results, go buy an SLR."

Whatever 'SLR results' are. I'd guess that you couldn't tell a portrait taken with a Rolleiflex from one taken with a Hasselblad. Or a landscape taken with a Pentax 6x7 from one taken with a Mamiya 7. Unless the SLR pictures were less sharp due to vibration...

The truth is that the SLR is a superbly versatile tool, but in *average* photographic situations, that means that the SLR is carrying many features that are not used. And the first principle of good design is that anything that does not add, detracts.

The REAL question is why so many people use an SLR to do a P&S's job...

Alexey Merz , December 29, 1998; 05:03 P.M.

Whoops. I meant to write "discreet".

Michael Wearne , January 05, 1999; 09:44 A.M.

I confess I haven't tried any of the current generation of (mini) point and shoot cameras that are generally being discussed but apart from SLRs and a MF system that I use for work, I have three old Nikon L35AF's, kept handy here and there. Fixed 35/2.8, very, very sharp, defeatable autoflash, backlight compensation lever, self timer, takes filters (46mm), film rewind leaves a little leader out of cassette, ASA setting is manual 25-400ASA on two of them, 50-1000 on the other -very handy for exposure compensation., runs on two AAs...last but not least...the most recent one, in excellent condition, I picked up in a pawnshop for $A10. The camera that meters to 1000ASA makes a great little infrared (point & shooter) with Kodak HS infrared and a 25A filter (film rating and dev. details if anyone's interested) p.s. No way of knowing but I wouldn't be at all surprised if the 35/2.8 lens on the Nikon 35Ti is none other than what's on my old friend from circa 1983...anyway, enjoy taking pictures, whatever you shoot with.

Karl Katzke , January 19, 1999; 10:38 P.M.

I'm a community college photojournalist for a campus newspaper, and I recently bought an Olympus Stylus Epic... Best camera in the world, it just earned me a prize in a newspaper competition... best 'grab-shot' photo. My Konica HexanonAR and my Canon EOS rigs do NOT have the same results as the excellent f2.8 lens on the Olympus. :) I can also carry it concealed in a pocket, and people won't look at me as strangely as if I was carring my big arsed Domke bag full of lenses around. :) I'm not going to try shooting sports photos with it anytime soon, but for normal shots, the $99 is so worth it. BTW, I also want to thank people for all the nice comments about Ritz Cameras. I am an employee at one of their Kit's Cameras stores in Oregon, and I do appreciate hearing that the company I'm part of is doing a good job. Thank you!

Raymond Ang , January 22, 1999; 11:49 P.M.

I went thru all the comments about Styluses (Styli ?), T4s/T5s, 28/35 Tis, Rivas, UC-1s, etc.....and found them very interesting. I'm surprised no one mentioned the once-popular-but-not-so-much-now Olympus XA and XA4.

I had a couple of XAs, one for print, one for slide, but found that although the camera was very functional and innovative, the lens was so-so until about 8. So I got rid of one and picked up a nice used XA4. The lens on this is a real beauty, rivalling some of my SLR's prime 28s. Maybe I got lucky but I think most reviews of the XA4's lens were very good.

These little beauties are the grand-daddies of the current day Stylus/mju/mju II with the world's first sliding clam-shell cover, and they were a very convenient size for trekking, skiing, mountaineering.

For the uninitiated, here's a brief run-down of their features:

Common features: takes LR44/A76 cells, +1.5 backlight compensation, battery check, 10 sec self-timer.

XA : 35/2.8, range-finder focusing, aperture priority f2.8-22,1/500 to 20 sec (on mine), shutter speeds in finder.

XA4 : 28/3.5, scale focusing with close up to 30cm, strap measures to 30 and 50 cm for accurate closeups, DX coding, fully programmed 1/700 to 2 secs, close-up correction marks in finder.

J C , January 26, 1999; 06:00 P.M.

I stumbled on to some of Phils stuff awhile back and at the time he was rating the Minolta explorer I think. I was in the market so I bought one. Took it with me last fall to Yellowstone and called it my "tourist cam " . cord around my neck and camera in my pocket, I could get it out in a flash. Most of my photos from The Beartooth pass were shot out the window without much composition. The results were great not up to my SLR's (Nikon) but not expected to be. Well I carried it everywhere in my breifcase, which like most of you, isn't far away.Stopped at Barnes and Noble , and while looking through some mags, saw an article on the 25 best cameras in the world. Darned if a Infinity Stylus Epic I had just bought wasn't listed. It was in the car and didn't even have film in it yet. The next day a test roll was shot and results were great. About 10 days ago while reading the RPM NG, a saw a T4 pop up so I shot of a request and darned if I didn't get there first. A week later the T4 got here and off I went to the canal park area here in Duluth, MN. I found lots of subject, but particular were a couple buildings, and a tug frozen in the ice. After the shots were developed I scanned the negative of the tug with my HP Photsmart, and printed it. Not one soul here at the office identified it as a computer shot, and why ? I owe it to the optics on the T4. The original print was really sharp, excellent color and exposure. Now I have shall we say, several P&S cameras. In trying to decide how to cut inventory ( heard that lately ?) I really don't see the need to get rid of any of them ! Worst case scenerio, the wife gets the Minolta zoom. Thanks for reading..

Gregory Josephs , February 03, 1999; 08:16 P.M.

As an engineer concerned with documenting existing conditions, before/after, problems, etc., I am less concerned with "creative expression" than with making a lot of "pretty-good" pictures quickly. I had been using the office's Polaroid Spectra 2 - it is nice to have the result in hand immediately - but the picture is too small, the colors are muddy, and the surface tends to deteriorate from handling. At home, an Olympus Stylus Zoom 35-70mm Weatherproof ($190.) has been O.K. for a couple of years, but with a few problems - flash tends to overexpose people up close, bad red-eye indoors, and I keep bumping the pop-up flash. Recently, the need to document a contractor's paint-overspray problem was simply too much to ask of the Polaroid, so I bought an Olympus Stylus 35mm f/3.5 Quartzdate ($99.) strictly to use at the office. Obviously, price was of the essence, but the $69. alternative was about twice the volume & weight. I have now taken about 20x24 photos with the new camera, using Kodak Gold 100 color print film and getting one 4"x6" print of each from the local 24-hour developer. (Actually, I got a few 5"x7" prints, but they take up more room in the file without giving noticeably more information.) I find the results are as good as I could ask for. Gold 200 would in principal permit faster shutter for more sharpness, but I think the limiting factor at present is camera shake, and I'm not about to start carrying around a tripod. The flash seems to be more trouble than it is worth, so I turn it off except for the dimmest venues - e.g., a boiler room. I haven't missed the zoom feature at all - I simply move in until the zone of interest fills the finder. For my purposes, the date imprint is excellent documentation. Now my boss wants to start documenting before/after with slides, the better to show management how much nicer we are making our employees' work environment. I am thinking of getting another Olympus Stylus 35mm (without Quartzdate) to keep loaded with, say, Kodak Elite Chrome 200 color slide film. Two possible problems threaten - (1) slide film is said to be more sensitive to exposure error than print film, and (2) camera shake may be more of a problem when the results are projected onto a 5'x7' screen. I dread the thought of having to use a tripod! Suggestions are welcome - eMail to gregory.josephs@phila.gov.

Klaus Ziegler , February 05, 1999; 01:52 P.M.

Here are some of my experiences with several P&S cameras:

1) Olympus mju II (= Stylus Epic): Lens flares badly when shooting against the light (exposure can be made correct by using the spot metering, however). Autofocus is not very reliable; in particular it doesn't recognize thin or round objects. The problems with round objects (pillars, sometimes sculptures, gargoyles etc.) seem to be hardly ever mentioned as a serious drawback of the active infrared autofocus system! Further I've made the experience that at full aperture (in low light conditions) the right side of the picture area isn't very sharp. I don't know what the reason is, and I don't know, either, if this is just a problem with my particular mju II or a general problem of the camera. Anyone who can tell me? A further problem with the camera seems to be accurate exposure with slide film. Results were unsatisfactory both with Fuji Velvia and Ektachrome Elite II 50 films; with Elite II 100 a bit better. However, with 400 ASA color or B&W print films nice results can be expected; definite advantages of the camera are its VERY compactness and the weatherproofing; it's also fine that it admits comparatively long exposure times at turned-off flash. So I'll keep the camera, but I won't do much serious photography with it.

2) Minolta RIVA Zoom 140 EX (Freedom Explorer in the USA ???): Very slow lens, of course, but still one of the fastest ones in this class of real telephoto zoom P&S's. Very sharp at any focal length (!), but heavy distortion at the edges at 38 mm. This distortion seems to get better with increasing length of the lens, however. Exposure metering VERY accurate even with slide films (although I haven't used 50 ASA slide film with this camera for obvious reasons) and even in partially backlit situations! I guess this is due to TTF (through the finder) dual-segment metering. The passive autofocus is very reliable in general, but causing problems in low-light and backlight situations.

3) Contax TVS: Bought this camera second-hand a few weeks ago. Shot some rolls of 200 ASA and 100 ASA color print film and one roll of Ilford XP2 black and white film. The results are simply overwhelming. No problems with shooting directly against the light (if you can guess the correct amount of exposure compensation, of course): there is practically no flare at all. A slight distortion is noticeable at 28 mm, but really so slight that it doesn't matter at all. Concerning sharpness, contrast, tonal value etc. I can simply tell that I've never seen results comparing to this except from medium format. I haven't tried slide film in this camera yet, but exposure compensation in 0.3 stops will do anything, I guess. It also runs from -5 to +5 so that deliberate over- and underexposures (for ``hold'' and ``push'' processings, resp.) are included (as a substitute for manual ISO setting). There are only two features the camera definitely lacks: The first one is the absence of spot metering, and the second one is that no cable release or infrared remote control can be used with this camera. O.K., the self timer will do it in most situations (as it replaces the mirror lock up in my SRL!), but when working with a tripod in extremely low light, so low, that the ``B'' feature must be employed, pressing the button all the time during, say, 2 minutes will not only feel and look silly, but will inevitably result in some severe camera shake, I guess!

4) Fuji GA 645: This a medium format camera, but it can be considered a P&S, too, because its features are nearly identical to those of the Contax T2, the ``zoomless sister'' of the aforementioned TVs. The GA, however, owns a hybrid (combined active and passive) autofocus, shows also the distance in the viewfinder (this is a fantastic tool!), can take a cable release and has TTF metering. Optics is simply flawless: no distortion at all, the image remains sharp to the very edges! A fantastic camera, the best one I own, and highly recommended. If there weren't the very high price (around 4.000 DM, some $2.500, I guess), I'd instantly buy another one, the GA 645W (with he wide-angle lens!). Look for good second-hand-offers, as I did.

5) No fifth camera, but some concluding remarks. Someone on this page once wrote that you couldn't expect SLR quality from a point and shoot. Due to my own experience, I wonder if the question shouldn't be asked the other way round: ``Can a SLR provide the same quality as a good P&S?'' Of course it can, but it will be ten times as expensive as the P&S, and you wouldn't be able to carry it with you all the time! So why keep my SLR (a Nikon FG)? Of course, since there is the possiblity of interchanging lenses! You can use extremely short and long lenses and, above all, extremely fast ones. I'm doing a lot of available light photography and I almost wish that flash would have never been invented!

Klaus Ziegler, Munich, Germany (ziegler@rz.mathematik.uni-muenchen.de)

Chris Morgan , February 19, 1999; 11:41 P.M.

I read about the Yashica T4 Super on photo.net and bought one just about a year ago. I've had a year of wonderful results. I am comparing the results to my own photos taken previously with older Olympus OM10 and OM40 models, not to other modern cameras.

Anyway, about 6 months ago I decided to again take the advice offered on the site and picked up $850 worth of Canon EOS equipment (Elan IIE + 28-105 zoom). After six months using both I have to admit, I think the pictures from the T4 are better in terms of raw image quality. Of course the SLR is more complex and I'm still learning, and it's a zoom which is always a compromise, but still, I wouldn't have believed it until I was forced to. The T4 produces lovely pictures! To give the Canon a chance I think I'll buy a non-zoom and see how that works.

gordon forster , March 07, 1999; 10:00 P.M.

I've been looking for a point and shoot camera and have found little information on exposure lock. Even when I have found cameras with AE lock, camera sales people or the liturature on the camera often neglect to mention it. The above article seems to assume that most point and shoots have AE lock with focus lock, but I don't think so. It is critical that I have it to avoid underexposed photographs. All SLR cameras I've used have this feature separately and I use it all the time. I never get underexposed photographs, as I notice a lot of people with P&S cameras do, about 10% of all shots. By simply finding something that you want to be mid contrast, such as green foliage, tree bark, cloths etc. lock this in centre of viewfinder and then recompose. All the P&S cameras I've looked at in the lower price range combine this with focus lock when the shutter is half down. So I guess I'd need to lock at the distance I want to be in focus. It is probably more critical with centre wieghted exposure compared to a matrix system. But I'd prefer the control of centre weighted. A lot of cameras don't even tell you what metering system they use in their specifications.

The only cameras I've found with exposure lock are the T4 super or T5, Leica Z2X, Olympus Stylus Epic, Rollei Prego 115(now seems discontinued and not on new model Z115), and Cannon Sure Shot 105. I assume the expensive Contax, Leica and Nikons have exposure lock.

Tom Green , March 12, 1999; 05:16 P.M.

I just purchased a Ricoh GR1 and have discovered a problem which may be inherent in the design. After examining 2 test rolls of ektachrome that I just shot, I noticed scratching down the length of the film. It is particullarly noticable on images which are even-toned, like the blue sky. The scratching is on the base side of the film. It was processed in our dip and dunk E-6 machine (NOT a roller transport machine), so I didn't think they were processing scratches. I took a fresh roll and put it in the camera, let it reverse wind to the last frame, and then immediately rewound it. I removed the roll, opened the cassette, and examined the film for scratches. Sure enough, the base side was scratched all across the width of the film with lines running down the length of the film.

The only thing that touches the back of the film is the pressure plate, and the GR1 pressure plate has a regular pattern of tiny square indentations. You can feel the "roughness" on the leading and trailing edges of the plate. I think this is where the scratching is coming from.

My Canon EOS has a completely smooth pressure plate, and when I repeated the above test with it, the back of the film was completely untouched/unscratched.

Unfortunately, I'm going to have to return this GR1, as scratched film is no good to me. Has any one else had this problem? Did I just get a defective example? Is it worth my trying another one? I love the camera otherwise.

I also noticed quite a bit of light fall-off from the center out, on evenly lit flat surfaces. (And this is WITHOUT the flash.) Looks like around a 1/2 stop or more from center to edge. That's a lot. I could live with that, but not the scratching. Why didn't they just use a smooth pressure plate?

Gerry Siegel (Honolulu) , March 26, 1999; 08:05 P.M.

I have been using the fixed FL Leica Mini 3 w/ Summar 32mm f 3.2 for over a year and I find this Japanese made plastic camera surprisingly impressive for size and cost. The price at J and R Music World - a reliable outfit by the way-was 180.00 plus shipping, with an alleged 30 day money back trial. I really like the quality of the images, although the 32mm FL lens is not so kind to a prominent nose, but noone else seems to notice ;). Best feature of the Leica is the apparent pre-focus of the lens when you depress shutter, cutting that bugaboo lag time. This is a four element glass lens that is no slouch. Not an aspheric surface in sight, which goes to say something about spherical lens design at its best. Worst feature is the searchlight intensity green focus confirmation LED that blinds my eye, almost covering the top quarter of the visible finder image. Only bad design thing I find. The flash works very nicely for its postage stamp size, and there is a plus 2 EV backlight exposure compensation option. The icons are straightforward and intuitive,and easy to read in dim light. The lens has no clamshell cover,just a piece of optical glass on top, so this is not a camera to toss into a pocket with keys and Rice Krispy treats. Still, a nice touch I noticed is that there is a removable bushing around the plastic tripod threads.( Leica apparently anticipates this is a keeper camera). As a postscript, I hardly ever use slide film and Leica IB says it did not intend this camera for slides. The only other quibble, which you may find to be a plus feature is that the camera is really tiny ( a squeek larger than the Epic) and slick for big fingers. And another thing I discovered is that people I hand it to have to be told to get used to the similar sound of pre-focus motor and the actual shutter release. Lost some shots once because of that.Overall, hard to imagine anyone failing to enjoy using the Leica Mini, especially at its reduced selling price of about $160.00 with date back as of March 1999.

Bryan Che , April 09, 1999; 03:23 A.M.

I just purchased a new Olympus Stylus Epic Limited Edition to complement my EOS system. The Limited Edition seems like the deluxe edition of the Epic: it adds a quartz date back and a panoramic mode to the basic Epic. It is black with gold writing rather than the deluxe edition's champagne color, however. The Limited Ed. also comes with a case, battery, and 2 straps.

I ran some print film through the camera to test its metering and focus in various situations, including:

  • indoors with and w/o flash
  • night city scene
  • daylight city scene
  • outdoors with fill flash, outdoors w/o fill flash
  • indoors with subject off-center and strong backlighting, using flash (testing spot meter)

In all cases, the epic performed quite well. Flash was nicely balanced when I used it, and exposure seemed accurate. The lens is sharp, but not nearly as sharp as my 28-70 f/2.8L lens--I could see a difference even on 4x6 prints. I didn't encounter any auto-focus problems. I did have a bit of red-eye in some pictures where I flashed indoors without the red-eye reduction. Using the red-eye reduction mode, however, eliminated this problem.

A couple quibbles with the epic:

  • The camera's viewfinder is pretty small, and I find myself having to take a couple seconds to put my eye up to it properly.
  • The camera always defaults to auto-flash or red-eye/auto-flash mode once it's turned off. I wish it would just stay on the mode I last used.

Overall, I am quite pleased with this camera. It is extremely easy to carry around--I have already been able to take pictures I would have otherwise missed because I wasn't carrying my SLR with me. One final note: I purchased my Epic Limited Ed. at Ritz Camera for $110. B&H currently sells the same camera for $150.

Lucas Sorbara , April 10, 1999; 07:01 P.M.

Besides thanking the authors and contributors to this page for an exceptionally informative resource on P&S cameras I would like to add some comments about the Rollei Prego Micron the more expensive German cousin of the much lauded Ricoh R1. 1) An earlier post mentions losing battery power and having to rewind the roll resulting in having to fish the leader out "in the field". A recent model I have just acquired does have a low battery indicator, but they have thoughtfully included a function that leaves the leader hanging out if you press the "mid-role rewind button" a second time while the film is rewinding. However, I haven't tried this as yet. 2) Yes the Prego Micron has two Schneider lenses, a 24mm and a 30mm lens. However, while the 30mm setting is fine, shifting to the 24mm lens, referred to as "superwide panorama mode", also results in a cropping of the top and bottom of the frame (similar to what APS does I gather). This occurs courtesy of two panels that slide down between the lens and the film. The assumption is that when the film is processed if they have the facilities you can tell them to enlarge the cropped negative and print it as a "panorama" shot. What you can't get is the full use of your 24mm lens. I have toyed with the idea of somehow removing the cropping blinds but am reluctant to do so. If anyone has any suggestions I would be very grateful to hear them.

Floris Lok Amsterdam , April 17, 1999; 06:40 P.M.

Three years ago I decided to buy a Yashica T4 after I lost my Konica Big Mini . It din't survive an amount of water. Good reports about the Carl Zeiss optic made me do that. Indeed the lens is perfect. Better than any other P&S. I only shoot in B&W so I don't know nothing about colour, but contrast and sharpness is brilliant. But, the rest of the camera isn't. One and a half year ago the trouble started. On a trip to VietNam I decided to leave my good old Canon A1 at home and just packed the T4 in the little backsack I had. Right in the middle of a 36 roll it made a strange noise and the whole roll was transported into the casette. That happened just one time strangely enough, so I forgot it. Back in Amsterdam suddenly the lensprotector didn't opened completely anymore so the lens couldn't come out completely. This error didn't just disapeared and I had to let it repaired for 150 guilders(75 dollar or so). All went fine for a year or so till an old problem started again; the film rewinding after 17 or 18 pictures. No matter what films I used(mostly T-max 400), this time it didn't went over.Handy about the T4 is the size,you can carry it always with you. But not a bag of films. Yesterday I bought a second hand Konica Hexar for 350 dollar. It's much bigger and I haven't seen the results already but the first feel to me is that of a much more relyable camera. I hope, we will see.

Cliff Knight , April 21, 1999; 02:28 A.M.

Just thought I'd thrown in my 7+ year's of experience with the Contax T2. We've got two (my wife and I), hers in silver and mine in black (much more macho!). They were expensive, bit not scary--I bought them both very slightly used at Kenmore Camera in Cambridge, MA for $850.00 for the pair. I was a regular there at the time and could always beat Lenny down to his bottom line.

The experience: wonnerful, Wonnerful, WONNERFUL!!!

This is the best, small take anywhere, camera I've ever owned--any poor images have been traced to something I did wrong; focus and exposure are dead-on. The ability to select aperture permits selective focus techniques, and some of the "fill-flash" photos we've taken are spectacular. Battery life (CR123) is excellent at 20-30 24 exposure rolls, even with the flash always on (wife).

Exposure and focus can be locked in with a 1/2 way press of the shutter release; and with the "electronic rangefinder" mode you can lock the focus independently of exposure.

Problems: My wife sometimes has trouble loading the film--she pulls the leader over too far into the take-up reel cavity. Sometimes the expoosure compensation control will be bumped off the "0" setting, but usually not more than 1/2 stop which with print film does generally mess anything up real bad.

Also, wife (is there a theme here?) dropped hers once, from 30" or so, onto a vinyl flooring over concrete floor. The mode dial got real stiff (camera still worked) and we thought it was due for a trip to Contax. However closer examination revealed that the control knob appeared to canted on its shaft--so, I pried it away from the body, gently, with the blade of a pocket knife until it looked straight again; guess what? Been fine ever since (some 4 years).

Auto lens cap, titanium case, alloy body, Zeiss T* lens, synthetic sapphire viewfinder/rangefinder ports, ceramic pressure plate and even a synthetic ruby shutter release. This sucka' rules...

Paulo Bizarro , April 23, 1999; 09:17 A.M.

This is just to offer some recommendations on a compact camera that I have bought recently. It is the new Leica Minilux zoom. Though expensive, it is a joy to use, and it delivers extremely good results. It features a Vario Elmar 35-70 3.5-6.5 lens, exposure compensation, and both auto and manual focus. It's solidly built, with titanium body (not look-alike titanium finish, but the real stuff), and all the important flash exposure modes. Also has a T setting, with elapsed time countdown in seconds, and also an illuminated LCD (illumination comes up automatically in low light), both very useful for night photography.

All I can say is that I have used the camera for instance in a trip to Paris, where I had a weekend available to tour the city. I was using Kchrome 200, and the slides are just beautiful.

I can only recommend this wonderful camera.

Yu Ming Hung , April 28, 1999; 03:19 A.M.

There are 3 things that I admire most about my new Yashica T5D: its Zeiss lens, its weatherproofing, and the superscope on its top panel. I really think these features are pretty cool and flexible. As far as these factors are concerned, there should be no other P&S more suitable for my outdoor and travel photography hobby. The T5D is indeed a great companion.

Julian -- , April 30, 1999; 03:09 A.M.

I too am looking for a P&S that would take great pictures and not have to think about it. I haven't seen a Canon Sureshot M in a long time but saw one on clearance lately (only one left). These must have been discontinued years ago. It has a 35mm lens with a f3.5 lens, and offers slow sync, and red eye reduction as it's features. Has anybody had experience with this camera?

I've recently gotten a Stylus Epic for it's compact size, and weight. In my recent experience, I didn't have the out of focus problems other people did in some of the photo.net comments. Although, sharpness and contrast can definitely be improved upon. Am I right or wrong? Perhaps, I should return it and get a T4 Super! Anyone with helpful comments can email me at ashqelon@earthlink.net :)

Jim Owens , May 11, 1999; 11:40 A.M.

I agree that a P&S is a great tool if you actually use it. I carry mine in my pocket on lunch breaks, into meetings, the bar and basically everywhere me and my Palm Pilot go. The Olypmus Stylus Epic has served me well as its' compact size makes for ease of carrying around and the little niceties like spot-metering and fill-in flash help with getting the artistic expression, well, expressed. Take the time to compose, focus, and think about available light; the environment provides many things; inspiration, subjects and exposure incidentals. Peace.

Mike K. , May 12, 1999; 01:27 A.M.

I'm in the market for a camera for a long european vacation. From the research I've done I can see that the Olympus Stylus Epic or The Yashica T4 are very highly recommended. I am, however, interested in a zoom camera. No one seems to have mentioned any zoom cameras that these companies make. The Olympus Stylus Epic has some zoom versions, namely Stylus Epic Zoom 80 and The Stylus Epic Zoom 80 CF. Yashica also has the Microtec Series. I was wondering if any of these were as good as the non-zoom ones. If anyone has any experience with these I'd sure appreciate a post or an e-mail. Thanx in advance.

luis villasana , June 02, 1999; 05:29 P.M.

Cambridge Camera Exchange in New York is a jip!!! Not only are the prices false but the staff is incompitent and rude.

David Payumo , June 04, 1999; 10:58 P.M.

I have a Olympus Stylus Epic. I bought it due to the raves from Pop Photo (Yeah they like anything. I wouldn't be surprise if it was owned by manufacters and camera stores). I have to say the camera is great. I've taken a lot of nice pictures with 400 speed negative film. My problem with the camera is it's durability. I've pushed the film cassette window in THREE times. I don't think they glue that part to the camera. The second time I pushed it in, I tried super gluing it back. Instead I damage it. I had to pay $100(Cdn)[Costs $200 for the camera] to replace the whole back. With the brutal service of the Canadian Toronto-based importer the Carsen Group. It only took ONE and HALF months to get it back. Avoid buying Sekonic and Olympus products in Toronto. If you want to avoid the worst customer service in the Camera world. Now for the third time my window has been pushed in. If you don't think that enough problems I have another one. The shutter release button has changed it standard operating method. Instead of feeling resistance while pressing the button half way. I have to skillfully applying just enough pressure to activate the auto exposure and auto focus. That resistance I use to feel is gone. I screw up too many pictures because of that problem. Now I have to practise saying, "Can I take another picture", because my flash probably went off prematurely. Sometimes I take a candid picture and it goes off without have focused. Maybe I clumsy but I like to use cameras not collect them. These are not the type of camera you can pass along to your kids. Thanks Phil, now the world will know my pain.

paul graham , June 16, 1999; 11:50 A.M.

Ricoh R1- I have used it for a year and it gives outstanding results, particularly when using fill flash with daytime exposure, portraits and candids are well lit and perfectly exposed. You have to take care when the light fades as this can result in long exposures and blurring of figures, the night mode is a great function though you need a tripod or a top of a fence to use on self timer! I love the 24mm wideangle perspective, and wonder if I could remove the shutters and have a full frame 24mm point and shoot? If I buy a GR1 I might just attempt it with the R1! I take it with me wherever I go, unlike my Nikon FE + 20/28/50/105mm setup.

paul graham@sunderland.ac.uk

Ken Nguyen , June 17, 1999; 09:08 P.M.

I recently bought the Stylus Epic Limited (celebrates 10 million units sold). It is a beautiful camera, finished in metallic black that almost makes it look like a dark copper, and includes a leather case, battery, and strap in a nice gold box. I ran 2 roles of film thru it to record a Stanford graduation. I am pleased with the results. In addition, I carried a Nikon FM2 with 135mm/f3.5 lens and took 1 role. The pictures from the 35mm/2.8 Epic look just as good as those from the Nikkor!!! Nice, bold colors and sharp image. My photos (all 4x6's) from both the Epic and Nikon were mixed in the same stack. I could not tell which camera took which photo just by looking at image quality (Of course, I could tell by noticing the focal length used in the shot). Anyway, for 4x6 prints, the Epic will match even a Nikkor. I'm sure the Nikkor will win if I enlarged the photos though. Of course, the Epic (like all P&S) has its limitations. The auto focus on the Epic can be unpredictable. I have had some fuzzy photos even when my subject was in the center of the frame. For critical shots, stick with a quality SLR and manually focus. But the Epic is great for parties, or when you don't want to lug around a heavy SLR. The flash is useful, but not perfect. It seems to lack enough power to do a good job at fill-flash. Just my opinion.

Keith Allen willits , July 01, 1999; 12:31 A.M.

Although I love my yashica t-4 camera. I would say that it is hardly weather resistant. In the past two years I have gone through three of these cameras. Yet, the optics on these on this inexpensive camera are excellent.

Hunsperger Jason , July 04, 1999; 03:07 P.M.

I recently purchased a Yashica T-4 Super as a compliment to my SLR. After shooting a couple of rolls through it, a friend who was going to the Phillipines and needed a camera, noticed the image quality and offered to order me a new one (he didn't have time to wait for it to ship) and take mine along to the islands. When he returned, he showed me the photos (from some 10 rolls) that were taken with the camera. Some of the shots were made through scratched and hazy airplane windows but are still magnificent (minus the occassional turbofan)! He said the camera was great to take along, easy to use, and because of the inconvenient, obtrusive bulk of the video camera he had packed in his lugguage, the 35mm photos are virtually the only record he has of the trip. So folks, take those point and shoots everywhere!

james leopold , July 22, 1999; 11:32 P.M.

For the past few years I have been using a Canon Rebel S, Yashica T4 and a Pentax 928. No question that the Yashica has a great lens, but its lack of zoom makes it less than the perfect choice for close up candid shots. The Canon has been a major disappointment--I feel that the results from the Yashica and the Pentax are better. The Pentax is presently my camera of choice (although I am thinking of a new SLR)--the zoom is adequate, the pictures are sharp, the remote is fun and it is extremely versatile.

Dave Kassnoff , July 30, 1999; 12:08 P.M.

Recently added a Rollei Prego 90 to my ensemble of P/S cameras. The Schneider lens is sharp, and I like the EV +/- adjustability. Ran Kodak Gold Select 400 through it fine, then switched to Select b/w 400 "plus" for something different. Results were overall satisfying, especially when using the 28 mm lens length. I was a little disappointed, though, that the dark foregrounds in the B/W images lacked detail (shot them on an overcast day with only a white lighthouse as the subject. Must remember to use that EV adjustment more often.) Also, the panoramic results in zoom mode are not superb. In retrospect, the picture would have been fine without the added crop and enlargement created by the panoramic mode.

The worst part about this camera is its manual. The examples and figures described in its text are all lumped together in the back of the booklet, and they are too small (or badly retouched), making referencing back to the text more of a chore than it ought to be.

If anyone has any insights or tips on using the "snap" mode on this type of P/S camera, I'd welcome your thoughts.

Arnie Tracey , August 01, 1999; 08:35 P.M.

Having read this page, I took the recommendation and plunked down the ducats for a T4 in midtown Manhattan two yrs ago. I used to have a Nikon F2 and 5 lenses--

--sold'em. I've never looked back.

My T4 generates superior slides (that's all I take).

Great advice. T4: like a rock!

Ellard Gann , August 05, 1999; 04:55 P.M.

Before you buy any camera for serious picture taking (the ones you want to save forever because they are so good) try a few rolls of film in a Konica Hexar! All things considered, this is the only logical step up from the excellent T4 Super and very very close to the Leica's 35mm f2.0 Summicron in it's results. I love mine and take it everywhere. It's a street shooters delight!

Ellard Gann

byron medina , August 13, 1999; 03:29 P.M.

Point and Shoot cameras were always taboo in my book, until a recent trip to Mexico City about 2 years ago changed my beliefs. I was sent to Mexico City on a business contract and did not want to go around the big city lugging my camera bag of goodies. I do not know what made me keep my Nikon pro equipment home for this trip, it could have been due to the fact that I was only supposed to be there for a month. Also, I heard horror stories about stolen camera equipment, also I didn't see myself wondering around the big city in my spare time with the extra size and weight. So I decided to invest in a good Point and Shoot ( I wasn't sure that there was such a thing ). After reading many articles and looking over every P&S camera option, I opted for the Rollei Prego 90. I am glad I did and swear by it ever since! It's compact size proved to be one of the most important factors in my trip. Sure, there were times where I kicked myself for not having my Nikons wrapped around me, but then again I would've been kicking myself more times to carry all that equipment around also.

The results were outstanding (I am working on my future website, that features these pics, so that you can see for yourself)! The Prego 90 spots a sharp HFT-coated Schneider 28-90mm lens which proved to be perfect. Since I knew most of my photography would be taken in the sunny days, I was not worried too much about the slow lens. I used mostly Kodak Royal 100 & 400 ASA plus Agfa HDC 400 ASA films. When I got my pictures back from a good lab in Mexico City, I could not believe what this little camera was producing for me.

I ended up staying in Mexico for 8 months and as the time went by, I did not miss my pro equipment at all, in fact I started feeling good about not having it with me. At first I was inspired to challenge my creativity with a limited piece of equipment. To push myself in a situation where expression is not limited by any factor. Roll after roll my confidence level kept going up with this little camera. I was never disappointed and found myself using the exposure compensation, flash cancellation, focus lock options for more versatility and again, ecstatic with the results.

I never thought that I would recommend a P&S to any serious photographers, but this time I will. If you have the slighest interest of having a compact camera for the occasions of not wanting to carry professional equipment around, you can have faith that there are some Point and Shoots that can do the trick.

What really did it for me, a resident co-worker of mine took his Pro Canon A2 equipment with him on some of our trips. When I would take my shots he would look over and wear this wicked smile like taunting the little equipment I was using versus his stuff. But I got the last laugh when we picked up the pictures! My rolls were sharper and the colors more vivid, I made sure I got the last scowl and laugh! The pictures definitly speak for themselves and I can highly recommend this camera for anyone who has doubts about P&S cameras. Again, I don't think I would recommend all of them out there, I can sure speak highly of the Rollei Prego 90 and this little thing is worth every penny!

A pic I took with this camera is on: www.photocritique.net, under Travel/Scenic, title: San Angel, Mexico City

j wagner , September 02, 1999; 08:26 P.M.

The canon ELPH and ELPH 2 generate some of the best photo's I have taken to date with a PnS. Small, and especially durable, they take GREAT pics, especially considering the APS system. I prefer larger formats, but to be able to tuck it in my briefcase, ski jacket, or my wife's purse, it is fantastic. No mentions are made of the Minolta's or most Nikons here. Nikon's newest one does look promising..

j

james lam , September 05, 1999; 11:01 P.M.

I heard of so many but my travel camera is a cheap canon sure shot A1, picture is still OK in 8x10,don,t have to taeke care of it so I can enjoy my day.

Angelo Pastormerlo , September 20, 1999; 04:37 P.M.

I randomly acquired an issue of American Photographer in which I saw an interesting ad for the Goku Macromax 35mm camera. I finally tracked one down at the great price of $95.97. It has three focusing zones: three feet to infinity, one foot to three feet and, strap yerselves in, kids, four inches to one foot! It even has a cool bracket for framing your photographs that swings up from the bottom. It has a 31mm lens and is very small. I bought it especially for its macro capabilities. It even has a databack on it which I will never ever use. I got two rolls of film back and I am very, very pleased. They also make an APS version and a 35mm version w/a zoom lens. You can do much worse that this camera, believe me. Good luck.

Raphael Mitteau , September 24, 1999; 03:26 A.M.

Hello, 18 month ago, after extensive consulting on the web and at my local retailers, I bought a Yashica T5 (T4S in the US). And after more than 50 rolls, I must say I am a little disappointed : 1) the button is too sensible : one shot out of three, the shot is made while I am just setting the AF and the centering of the image isn't correct. 2) The AF is too slow : when you try to size a friend's transient expression, you don't get it. 3) I do a lot of mountaineering, and shots made on the snow are almost always overexposed. 4) the AF system seems tricky to me, my picture are very often blurred. I wonder if I am unable to learn how to use the camera. I even suspect sometimes that the AF spot is not where the viewfinder displays it (manufacturing problem ?). 5) I am perhaps very demanding, but the sharpness is disappointing. I had hoped more for a camera with that price. I have the feeling to have lost since my $100 simple chinon and the sharpness is still far from the one of my Yashica J3, a 25 years old SLR with fixed lenses (a grant aunt's legacy, however weighting 1.2 Kg, not really suited for climbing.) I tested different films, paper, slides, laboratory and my opinion is firm. I had read some hints about this, and I concur. Now I am considering giving it a relative which demands less in quality. I have resumed intensive web research to buy another P&S camera.

Rich Puchalsky , September 24, 1999; 10:49 P.M.

I understand the problems with the cheap zoom lenses, but in certain specialized circumstances they are necessary. My hobby is wandering around Los Angeles taking point-and-shoot pictures of murals, which I put on my Web page. I started with an Olympus Stylus Epic: a great camera for my purposes and nonexistent skill level. But then I noticed that I was risking getting run over. To get the right distance away from the murals, I'd often have to stand in the street -- that is dangerous in L.A.! So now I use a Minolta Explorer most of the time, and its cheap zoom may not take better pictures but does increase my life expectancy.

Sten Lofgren , September 27, 1999; 10:57 P.M.

After extensive reading on this page and others I bought a Yashica T4 Super [=T5] for a backpacking trip in Norway where my SLR just would not make it. I had high hopes but was disappointed to find very serious vignetting under most lighting conditions with a marked drop-off in exposure at the edges. Snow that was white in the center looked like a neutral gray card at the edges, light green grass in the center was dark green at the edge etc. (using Kodak Royal Gold 400). This is a problem I have not seen mentioned in the many comments about the camera on this site. Maybe I just got a bad sample. Sharpness seemed good, however.

Paul Sheffner , September 30, 1999; 12:35 A.M.

It seems that this thread has degenerated into whether people like the Yashica T4(5) or not. I know we are talking about "point and shoots", but people are bound to be disappointed in a camera with no ability to shoot people without being 2 feet near them (limited by the 35 mm fixed focal length). A human subject shot closeup with that lens will appear disorted unless the entire subject is on the same plane. There is also no exposure compensation. A sharp lens is not enough. I have owned a T4 but much prefer my Leica Minilux Zoom. The lens is very sharp and contrasty, and I much prefer having a 35-70 zoom which much better allows people pictures. It also has +/- 2 EV exposure compensation, which I think is indispensable, "point and shoot" designation notwithstanding

Paul Sheffner, September 29, 1999

Dave Kassnoff , September 30, 1999; 12:03 P.M.

Too much time on this page has led me to acquire and try a number of cameras described here. After about 25 rolls' worth of random experimentation, here are my observations:

* Rollei Prego 90: does superbly with all daylight photos, less well with indoor zoom lens photos (it somehow underexposed 800-speed print film). More functions than I'll ever use, but if I get a creative opportunity, I have them at hand.

* Yashica T4: ever dependable, gets me 90 percent of what I expect. Credit the Zeiss lens and 400-speed Royal Gold film. I like the vignetting. Very sensitive shutter button.

* Olympus Stylus Epic: Great camera, but I've lost mine to a light-fingered maintenance worker. I like the extra flash modes, and the spot metering. Faster lens than the T4, with longer and shorter exposure times. I'm hunting for another, because it's so versatile.

* Olympus Stylus LT 105 zoom: The leather-clad, faux retro look dresses up an OK zoom length camera. Gets the job done, feels like a glove. Wish it had a faster lens than f/4.5 at the short end.

* Ricoh GR1: Got good, sharp photos -- then the shutter button failed. It's in the shop for repairs. I'm hopeful for better performance.

Are these an improvement over my 25-year-old Olympus XA rangefinder? In size, I guess. But not in quality.

-DK

Rob Goldstein , October 02, 1999; 02:15 A.M.

I would like to comment on my favorite Point & Shoot, the Contax T2. Yes, it is pricey, and it is less compact than some other good P&Ss. Still, it is a magnificent camera! Photo quality is nothing short of stunning--razor sharp, well exposed images with vibrant colors. Camera operation could hardly be simpler. Aperture control, exposure compensation and manual focus are available. The viewfinder is bigger and brighter than in almost any other P&S, especially the Minilux, to which the T2 is often compared. I also like the fact that the flash does not come on automatically, as in many other P&Ss, requiring the user to be constantly turning it off. Rather, it comes on only when it is actively turned on.

When I originally purchased the T2, I agonized over paying $720 for a compact camera. Now, I consider it money well spent. If you can afford it, buy it and don't look back.

Dennis Anjo , October 05, 1999; 11:25 A.M.

I purchased an Olympus (infinity symbol) stylus QD for my sons graduation. I wanted a camera that responded faster than my old Pentax MX.

I guess I should have practiced with the camera a bit. When my son got to the stage to get his diploma and shake hands, I pressed the shutter. The camera fired about 5 seconds later, after my son had left the stage. I missed him entirely. I also missed him during the march in and the march out ceremony.

Yes I fully charged the flash before he got to the stage. Yes I pressed the auto focus lock before he got to the stage. The delay was some digital thinking after the camera was fully set. In these days of 300 MHz computers, a camera that thinks for 5 seconds must be doing something big.

In any case I'm using cameras that do not delay after the shutter is pressed.

Dennis Anjo , October 05, 1999; 11:32 A.M.

Why is there a delay of at least 3 seconds between pressing the button and the shutter with p&s cameras? danjo@csulb.edu

Steve Uchida , October 11, 1999; 02:12 P.M.

I just bought a Rollei Prego Micron from Camera World of Oregon. I'm very satisfied with the design of this camera and Camera World of Oregon was by far the best $ and service. Just a couple of concerns. 1) The Flash and Mode settings are lost when power is turned off. 2) The three zone focus is a bit confusing. As the passive AF takes the closest of the three zones, it's sometimes difficult to pre-focus.

Ian mcc , October 14, 1999; 11:24 P.M.

another person mentioned the following: "Olympus Stylus LT 105 zoom: The leather-clad, faux retro look dresses up an OK zoom length camera. Gets the job done, feels like a glove. Wish it had a faster lens than f/4.5 at the short end." I just bought this camera. Does neg film great, haven't tried tranny in it yet. There is another model that seems to cover teh same range in zoom etc but without the sexy look to it. If you want a stylish camera that stands out a bit then get this one. Everytime I use it , people try their best Austin Powers "Oh Behave!":-)

After following this P&S thread for,what, a year now? I have to say that P&S camera's have come aloooong way from back in the days when I used to sell them, 83-86. They all seem to do the basics well, with most differences being style and operation rather than quality. I have to agree with the person who keeps their expectations in check. If you want to make sure you get high end results and have total control, then shoot with an SLR. You can't automate things and not expect something to go wrong once in awhile. Ian McCausland http://www.ian.mb.ca

Greg Kandra , October 15, 1999; 04:56 P.M.

You can add me to the list of the Olympus LT 105 fans. This little gem hasn't gotten much attention around these parts, but for pure and simple point and shoot pictures, it's very good. (And very good looking, too.)

What I like best: it consistently takes fine flash pix, with the least amount of red eye of any point and shoot I've tried (including the venerable Yashica T4.) Even with its slower lens, I've found that using 400 film and a wall (or table) for support captures good shots with decent available light (i.e., indoors, using just the light from the sunny outdoors.)

Stephen Gingras , October 26, 1999; 11:54 P.M.

I purchased the Super T4 about a year ago based on this site's recomendation. The result: AWESOME. People look at my photographs and are amazed. They all assume I'm using a fancy Nikon and have years of experience...neither being the case. I cannot more heartily recommend this camera. It's unbelievable for daylight photos. Of course, like most P&S, the wimpy flash is good mostly for fill in.

cheers,
Steve

Dick Mach , October 31, 1999; 01:07 P.M.

Bought a Canon Elph APS camera about two years ago. While showing it to a friend, he pushed down on the "pop-up" flash. From then on, the flash would not close down completely. The problem gradually got worse until the flash would not go down at all. Then the flash operation failed.Repair is estimated at $100, a third of the cost of a new camera. Watch out for pop-up flashes on small cameras.

David Dailey , November 09, 1999; 11:21 P.M.

I have used Rollie 35's (T & S), Minox ML, and now a Rollie Prego 90, on Everest, El Capitan, Peru, the Arctic, Mt. McKinley---and so forth. I do not want a camera to be a hindrance, yet because of the exotic locations, and extreme positions, want the finest optics. I now have a Contax T2- and had 7 months of warranty problems getting this fixed- it is now awesome. I also use a Nikon 35Ti. It was awesome from the start- and still is. I am now looking at a Contax TVSII, versus a Leica Minilux zoom. The Leica seems nicer to use, but lacks the control of the Contax, and has the family-man range of 35-70mm The Contax approaches a TRUE wide angle at 28mm-56mm. What to do- what to do. It is clear to me, after 30 years of extreme in-the-field shooting, that P & S cameras are the future. It is easier for me to take 3 tiny cameras on an expedition, with lens ranges of 28 through 90 and select the ONE I will carry on a given day, than carry all that SLR luggage.

It is amazing that the Rollie Prego 90 is as good as it is- and all for under $200 mail-order. It is only one notch below titanium units costing 5x as much. Good work Rollie. Schneider optics along with Kodak Xtra 100 slide film, or Provia 100 provide excellent results in the outdoors.

Dave Dailey

Alain Le Kim , November 12, 1999; 09:06 A.M.

You seem to have forgotten the Minolta TC1 in this forum. This is the smallest PS with flash and AF, even smaller than a Minox 35 GT, considering the Minox is not motorized, has no AF and no flash. Having the Minox, the Contax T2 and the TC1, I can tell they are all expensive but their quality is amazing. The TC1 28 mm lens is exceptionnal though. I have made 12x16 prints from TMY 400 and TMY100 and it is difficult to differentiate from my Leica M lenses. Like most 28 mm lenses, there is vignetting at full aperture, but sharpness and contrast is excellent. The AF is accurate. The flash might be a little too strong at close range. I can't understand why no one mentionned this camera before.

It is expensive but there is no equivalent in term of size. The finish is as good as the Contax T2. Color rendition is crisp. As good as these small PS are, they cannot replace an M6. Silence, prefocus and fast lenses are precious. No small PS has any of these qualities. And an M6 is about the size of a Contax TVS!

When I travel, I always have the TC1 with me. Sometimes, I take the T2 also so I have a 28 and a 38 in my pockets. As for flash with these small cameras, I only use it outdoors for fill in, never indoors. The big drawback of either of these auto PS is the time lag when pressing the button. That's where the M6 is superior.

I take other cameras, M6 or Eos 1, or Nikon F100, according to the type of work I intend to do and the lenses I need to use. But I must say that the TC1 results are totally comparable with all the other 35 cameras I use. One just has to keep in mind the limitations of all PS for truly professionnal work.

joseph n , November 25, 1999; 10:44 A.M.

I have other p&s cameras to recommend. The Russian made "Lomo" is inexpensive and can be put inside the pocket. It is programmed and with scale focusing. I used it to take several rolls of B&W films in Brussels, Brugge and Amsterdam. I am satisified with the result. The Caononet QL17 with 40mm F1.7 and Ricoh 500G with 40mm F2.8, range finder cameras, provide full manul control over shutter and aperature while the user can select to use shutter priority to take picture. Both cameras give sharp image and details, which in my opioion, as goods as Rollei 35S or Contax T series.

A T , December 01, 1999; 05:12 P.M.

How come more people do not make mention of Nikon's first point and shoot cameras. They were made in Japan and have a strong, solid metal frame. Also, a sharp and contrasty f=35mm 1:2.8 lens! User adjustable ISO/ASA. Threads for use with filters. Fill flash. Takes two AA batteries. Good old fashioned early Japanese quality! Very nice indeed!

Kevin McMurtrie , December 15, 1999; 08:33 P.M.

I think a digital camera is the best camera for entering photography. The photographic quality of a 2.1 megapixel camera is far below 35mm film but that's not important when you're starting. Digital cameras provide instant feedback. You can look in the LCD viewfinder and notice that you're shooting a picture of a bright reflection that's washing out the picture. You can review the picture you have just taken and realize that you should have zoomed in to cut out the uninteresting surroundings. My pictures always sucked with a 35mm camera. My digital photos are infinitely better even if the resolution is only 160dpi at 7.5"x10" and a bit noisy. The difference is that I'm learning both composure and the technical aspects. The nearly zero cost per picture means I'm not afraid to take a dozen in a row to learn how to make a particular shot come out right. I'll consider upgrading to a film camera when I know what I'm doing. Or, maybe digitals will catch up by then.

Ken Wightman , December 18, 1999; 08:37 P.M.


A street mime in front of the Louve in Paris.

Took an Olympus Stylus Epic to France in Nov. '99. It performed very, very well and I never regretted not bringing my EOS-1n kit. I highly recommend the Olympus Stylus Epic - just keep your photographic-eye in 35mm wide angle mode. And carry an inexpensive wire-legged pocket tripod ($5 US) - great at night and inside dark buildings.

V G , January 12, 2000; 08:30 A.M.

After reading this page, extensive and helpful no doubt, many thanks to all contributors, I thought I would allow myself one little snide comment. I noticed that in reviewing the properties of different cameras, some people refer to COLORS. Excuse me, but am I missing something here? Since when are colors affected by the camera? Isn't that related to the properties of the lighting and the film exclusively? Of course, if a flash is being used, it affects the lighting, and thus could conceivably have some impact on colors. Admittedly ignorant of flash technology, I would however dare to guess that a flash from any P&S camera will produce a neutral (white?) light. Then again, I may be wrong. If so, by all means please let me know!

Naveen Agnihotri , January 19, 2000; 03:43 P.M.

After reading the comments on this page and talking to Gerry Siegel, I decided to buy the Leica Mini 3 last September. Now I'm writing this to say that I'm very very happy with my purchase. In fact, I wrote an essay on my experiences with this great little camera, which is found at http://www.bhalu.com/naveen/leica/

The results are excellent. I've used only print film, and the pictures are sharp, contrasty, and and the lens is every bit as good as it is reputed to be. The metering is spot on. Even the tripod mounted night scenes that I took came out beautiful. I hardly ever use the B mode, because manually depressing the shutter button (even on a tripod) seems to cause some shake. This may have more to do with my hands than the camera. So whenever it says "B" (which it does in very low light), I just set it up on the tripod, set the timer, and let it take a picture. It does a good job almost all the time.

On the night of January 1st, I decided to take advantage of the full moon, and went out to take some pictures. The windchill was -20 degrees, and my hands froze every time I took them out of my gloves to take a picture. Like always, I used the tripod and the self-timer. And I made several important observations, such as sticking a cold hand back into the glove doesn't warm it up! I was outside for about an hour, and the camera worked fine. (Cameras don't feel windchills, so I should point out for the record that the temperature was about 10 degrees F.) The shutter didn't freeze or get stuck, and the shutter speeds were right on, judging from the results. (The results, by the way, are found at the web site I mentioned above.)

Which brings me to the results: once again, outstanding. Without any filters, the moonlit night scenes have come out quite good. Once picture in particular, came out so well that people who I show it to don't believe that it was taken in moonlight! (There is some Manhattan skyline showing in the background, which is what finally convinces them.) I took some more pictures on a later (and very overcast) night, and got some interesting effects, like a purple sky (which is probably to be expected without any filters).

In fact, I've begun to enjoy photography so much that now I'm thinking of getting an all-manual camera, that gives me much more control over my photos! I'm thinking along the lines of a 70s rangefinder camera. But that's still in the future...

Meanwhile, I continue to enjoy my Mini 3!

mike ryan , March 03, 2000; 02:20 P.M.


TIME LAPSE

IT IS MY OPINON THAT P/S CAMERAS WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO DO WHAT MY SLR CAN.WHILE P/S HAS ITS PLACE THEY DO NOT ALLOW ANY SHUTER CONTROL.ALSO I LIKE TO OVER RIDE THE FLASH IF I SO CHOOSE. THE SLR ALSO ALOWS TIME LAPSE PHOTOGRAPHY THAT P/S DOSENOT.

Larry Purviance , March 06, 2000; 09:44 A.M.

I disagree with the comment that P & S Zoom lenses are vastly inferior to fixed-lens P & S. On a raft trip down Idaho's Salmon River last summer, we took three P & S cameras: An Olympus Stylus Epic, a Samsung 145 QD with the Schneider Lens, and a Yashica T-4. The Samsung with the Schneider Lens was phenomenal. Lots of photos were constantly taken back and forth between the three rafts (At least ten rolls of film were ran through each one). Of course, there was no comparison when the rafts were far apart, the zoom won hands down. When one raft went through first and photographed the other two coming through the big rapids, the Schneider lens made phenomenal shots. On close ups (Many of which had one person shooting the photographer) the photos were virtually indistinguisheable.

The T-4 and the Olympus were the best during the constant water fights, I'll concede. The Samsung went into a Pelican case. The T=4 and Olympus took marvelous photos of In-rapid, in Raft shots, better than a Nikonos V I used for the purpose.

Douglas Johnson , March 07, 2000; 08:30 A.M.

Yashica T-4 v. Nikon 35Ti. I own both cameras. The reviews on the Yashica T-4 speak for themselves, I guess. And the price is untouchable. I will say however that I occasionally had focusing problems with the T-4. And I nearly always had problems with the flash throwing too much light on my subjects. I have seen a huge improvement in this regard with the Nikon. Also, it has a 2.8 lens and has aperature priority, which makes it worlds better than the Yashica for low light shooting. I have started doing side by side comparisons of the sharpness and so far I cannot see any difference between the two cameras. However, even if the T-4 is more sharp, the metering and exposure of the Nikon has resulted in much, much better pictures. If money is a big issue then go with the Yashica. If money is not a big issue on this purchase, then absolutely go with the Nikon. Hey, if nothing else the aesthetics of the Nikon alone make up for at least $100 of the price difference! Also, the Nikon is MUCH sturdier, so weigh that in for another $70. With these two weighed in the Nikon is still about $200 more--chicken feed considering aperature control and the far superior flash performance.

Bryan Hughes , April 04, 2000; 03:27 P.M.

Ok, well there's certainly a lot of different oppinions flying around about high end/good quality point and shoots. I've been shooting both as an amateur and professionally for several years and worked for one of the larger dealers of Leica, Contax, Yashica, Nikon....cameras for several years. I've had multiple opportunities to shoot, print and compare all of these cameras. I've exhaustedly compared the T4, T2, 28Ti, 35Ti, and Epic and here's my findings: Best cheap camera (compact): Olympus Epic-cheap, fast lens, very compact Best cheap camera (weatherproof): Yashica T4-cheap, very sharp lens, good O-ring Best Point and Shoot (overall): hands down it's the Contax T2-strong (the Ti's construction is laughable in comparison), easy to use, extremely sharp lens, intuitive controls, manual over-rides. The Ti's are nice but there are far too many cheesie "bells and whistles" to distract the user from taking pictures. You can't use it with gloves on (I found out the hard way), the flash controls are absurd. The Nikon's saving grace is what I consider their sharpest lens...but who's going to mess with the Germans here?...no one, T2.

Image Attachment: contax.jpg

Brent Ware , April 09, 2000; 07:42 P.M.

Re: The Yashica T4. I'm a total amateur - I bought the T4 because of comments on this page and advice from others. I am a serious climber though, and my T4 has taken hundreds of climbing pictures in all conditions, under all lighting, and taken a beating as well - though never been dropped, always been encased in a Lowe case. Not *that* much of a beating, just been a lot of places.

My only problem with this camera is that after two years, it started with the "shoot half (quarter) the roll, then automatically rewind", which is very annoying when one is trying to do a fast and light ascent and not carrying any extra film. Plus the next roll would just rewind half-way through also, thus doubling the film and processing costs.

I sent it back and Yashica charged me $75 to have it fixed - they refused to believe that this was a persistent problem with these cameras even though I showed them several emails from other users who had the same problem, and in fact, bluntly accused me of forging these documents. It took about three months for the camera to come back.

The camera worked fine for about a year, and now, two weeks before a big trip to Baffin Island, it's started again. I don't have time to get it fixed, don't want to, since this effectively doubles the price of the camera. I just bought an N90s, and good thing too, I guess.

So while the camera was fine while it lasted, and took excellent pictures, I don't think I'll be buying another one.

Steve Yue , April 13, 2000; 07:58 P.M.

Here's a 35mm point & shoot camera that has a Panorama mode (cropping shutters), BUT it can shoot in Normal mode even at 25mm (just shy of 24mm):

Kodak's recently discontinued (over 4? years now) Kodak Cameo 25-50mm Zoom Panoramic, it has: Flash Auto/On, Date, Self-Timer, Multi-Shots, Portrait, InfinityZoom (FarShotsThruGlass), Normal/Panoramic View, Zooms fully from 25 to 50mm in NORMAL MODE!

It's VERY compact, stick it in your pocket without worrying about damaging the lens or lens covers, and inexpensive at C$169, at the time I bought it; about US$120? It winds the film out first, then as photos are taken, the film is pulled back into the cartridge. [Downside: I hate to have to re-number prints for record-keeping just because they are always numbered by photodeveloper's according to the negative numbering sequence, aaghh!]

I've been waiting for it's successor, but NOBODY's making it! Please everyone bug Kodak to make one! The APS cameras simply don't give you true "24mm" super-wide-angle [@84deg-view](in 35mm equivalent). If you can find unsold cameras around from somebody get it.

It has limited exposure control (NONE!), but if you MASTER knowing WHEN to use what ISO film (It's designed for ISO 100/200/400) for what kind of lighting of your settings, you're on your way! I've figured out the dusk/dawn shots are fantastic even with slides using ISO 800 films!! Alas, a lot of disposable cameras can do the trick, but you just get no other features except flash.

I remember when I bought my camera at the outlet store in Kodak Canada's head office, the saleslady quipped that a lot of the Kodak technicians loved this camera as a simple point & shoot. Too, bad they don't make them today; I'm still looking for it's equivalent in other brand name cameras, as of Apr2000, I've found NONE.

I otherwise carry an ancient Canon T90 using a 24-48mm [old Tamron], or lately a 24-70mm [old Vivitar] wide-angle zoom [generic zooms; not brand name ones, which I can't afford costing more than most cameras]. But this Kodak camera successfully serves as a "quick-&-dirty" wide-angle substitute panorama camera when my target photos are not intended to be fine tuned shots but getting the "most-from-the-least" "SNAP"-shots when I'm on the go on short trips; nothing to lug but a pocketful and film.

My personal wide-angle philosophy is to take as much scenery, or tight-quarter large-group portraits [like in small european/asian homes; 28mm can NEVER make these shots, I'd have to be 3 feet behind most walls to take these shots], as possible. If you desperately want a "telephoto" look of something that is miles away and can't access it physically, just crop it, if you want to fake being at a famous place using a real telephoto from a distance, it can't be beat by actually really being there up close! And up close, you can include yourself in a wide panorama pic standing beside that famous thing you're trying to take a picture of! Why travel if you can't really get there, you might as well buy a postcard!

Also, ever try taking a shot of an exotic item [car, sculpture, painting, etc.] on display, but because your 28mm+ lens is just to long and you are forced to stand further back; and people are just walking across or standing in front, not with 24mm! Step right up to the car and take it obstruction free!! If time is limited, it's in and out, voila! While everbody else is still left behind waiting for that elusive clutter-free shot.

(Warning: Attached scanned photo is a 705kb jpg file, and is unretouched/unenhanced.)

David Killick , April 25, 2000; 12:52 A.M.

SLR v P/S:

One thing is clear: point and shoot cameras can and do take excellent pictures! A few old grizzly grinches have said the P/S will never produce "SLR quality pictures", but what does that mean? The lens, shutter, and film produce good pictures, not the viewing system. Someone else says try a SLR with 50mm 1.8 lens. To my mind this is seriously under-utilising an SLR. It is great for close-ups or wildlife or sports photography where you need specialist lenses. An old rangefinder with a fixed 1.8 lens would be better in low light because of the absence of the mirror. I do agree slightly heavier cameras are more stable than lighter ones, but this is more noticeable at low speeds.

Size and weight:

Is there an ideal weight/size for a point and shoot? Any comments? I think its compact size, not its weight, is the main advantage of a point and shoot. By contrast, SLRs have got lighter but also bulkier and plastikier, and just not so easy to carry around.

Price:

Lots of people seem to go on about price, but compare a computer or indeed any computer-related product. Costs thousands and will be completely out of date in a few years. Your camera will still be going strong. Some people sneer about "posh" point and shoots, but you are paying for quality construction and top-class optics. And if you want a quality product, hey, why not, most products nowadays seem to have no x factor, and inspire zero pride in ownership. On the other hand, there's still great satisfaction in coaxing fine results from a cheaper camera.

Some cameras:

My first one, aged 12, was an Olympus 35RC. Great ergonomics and results. I recently bought one secondhand as well as a 35RD with 40mm 1.7 lens for just $20 - the camera shop man could not believe I would want an old camera.

Olympus OM2 with 35 to 70 zoom: good for travel, very versatile, but better people pix with the old rangefinder.

Olympus Superzoom 110 (called something else in the States.) Disappointing. Flat results compared with the old rangefinder. Fixed lenses still seem to produce better results.

Leica CL with M lenses. Superb quality on slide film. Unfortunately the shutter wasn't working properly so I got a Leica minilux. Brilliant results. Best was from a trip to Spain, where I used a picture of a patio for a front page cover of the newspaper section I edit. Size 37.5cm by 42cm (15" by 16.8") - not bad from a tiny slide! Film was good old Ektachrome Elite 100. Tiny details on tiles are clearly visible. Image quality at least as good as our pros produce using massive Nikon F5s and lugging around gear as heavy as my whole travel pack! Most the time of course I do not need to blow up pictures so big, but nice to know I can if I want. On the downside, the minilux is not so good at low-light pix without flash - probably too light. And I'd love a bigger viewfinder. 35-70 zoom would be useful too. How does the minilux zoom compare? Has anyone checked out the intriguing looking C1?

Leica M3 double stroke: Beautifully made, silky precision, great viewfinder, encourages a whole new way of taking pictures. But my wife says it takes me far too long and a small point and shoot like the minilux is better for travel.

Her camera is a Chinon Dual P with 28 and 56mm lenses. Surprisingly good results on transparency film, but image soft when blown up. So I am glad there are so manty positive comments about the Ricoh GR1 and we shall probably invest in one.

Image quality (again): Minilux beats Olympus SLR zoom and fixed 28mm lens. Quality noticeable really only on big prints, but even small ones seem sparklingly clear. As much as like my old rangefinder Olympus, the image comes apart when blown up really big and it is not nearly so good at large apertures. Interesting comments re German v Japanese lenses (older ones certainly) seem to hold true: German lenses have higher resolution but lower contrast. Today's minilux seems to have both. For more, check out CameraQuest site and Erwin Puts' Leica lens reviews.

Just a rave? Yes of course. But Oskar Barnack, inventor of the Leica, wanted to make a light, easy-to-use camera that would produce the best possible results. So I reckon the search for the ideal point and shoot is perfectly valid. No, it isn't as versatile as the pro's SLR kit, but it's much much lighter and easier to carry. I would be interested to hear of anyone else's experiences with any of the cameras listed above.

Toralf Sandaker , May 07, 2000; 05:33 P.M.

A few months ago I bought a Yashica T5 (aka T4 Super), this page's recommendations being part of the reason for the choice. While I am using a Nikon SLR for most work (and leisure) pictures, the T5 has replaced my old Olympus XA very well after mye eyes were not able to use the XA's double-image manual focusing anymore. I use almost exclusively slides film, the T5 has performed very well (in fact, often better than the photographer) with Velvia as well as 400 ISO films. One thing that really amazes me, is how little flare it shows in strong sun-lit scenes. I have taken pictures directly against the sun, with sunlight inside the frame and no visible flare, and still very high contrast! Though not all frames are absolutely flare-free, this lens is clearly the best I have used under such conditions. The very simple 4-lens construction performs much better than my Nikkor 35 mm f/2.8 in this respect. I would love to be able to use this lens on a camera with more control.

Mike Wilde , May 23, 2000; 05:17 A.M.

What more can I say that hasn't already been said by the many various experienced users of photonet. On their recommendations I purchased a Yashica T5, (T4 Super), why? well my Rollei 35 original passed away, also I'm a great fan of the Tessar Lens and I was in need of a good 'compact' at a good price. Well, all I can say is that I have fallen in love with this beauty, its not perfect, but then which camera is. However, in the right hands and in the right situation it can produce some very impressive results. One things for sure, as a constant companion, it will take far better pictures than any camera, (Leica included), that is left at home. Keep clicking my friends.

Petru Lauric , May 26, 2000; 03:28 P.M.

Folks,
Here's a few resources that I used while shopping around for a P&S:

Point and Shoot Comparison
User reviews at Photographyreview.com
User reviews at epinions.com

I got the Rollei Prego 90. It isn't clear why the older Pregos had a lens named Schneider Variogon vs. Rollei VarioApogon (for the recent ones). Apparently it's the same according to these links here:

Rollei mail list thread 1
Rollei thread 2
Rollei thread 3

Also, you can download the owner's manuals for some cameras. I think they have more information than the usual feature list found on the manufacturer's website. For example:

Rollei manuals
Pentax manuals
Minolta manuals

Good luck!

John Sully , May 30, 2000; 03:02 A.M.

I'm surprised no one has mentioned the P+S I finally decided to get: the Olympus Infinity Stylus Zoom 80 Wide Deluxe. This has turned out to be a great little camera. The lens is a bit slowish at the long end and only moderatly fast at the wide end (about f/4.5 to f/9.3). But the optics are surprisingly good and the zoom range is chosen for what, IMHO, is maximum usability. It does have some problems with snow scenes, but has a spot metering mode which can help in difficult situations. The fill flash is superb. The camera also supports both standard and panoramic modes. It has built in diopter adustment for the viewfinder. It is an "all-weather" model (although I haven't verified this claim). It is also insanely easy to use and gets excellent results in almost all of the conditions I have tried it in.

Point and shoots are great travel cameras and great to have when you don't really feel like carrying that big ol' honking SLR outfit. Don't expect them to supplement your SLR, but you may find that they supplement it nicely in a lot of situations.

Rob Alexander , July 03, 2000; 02:36 P.M.

I've heard of a lot of problems with Stylus Epics not focusing properly. As someone who does not have this problem, maybe this explanation will help someone...

I think the focus problems with the Stylus Epic are really a depth of field issue. You must use focus lock with this camera, you can't just point and fire. The Epic strongly favors wide aperatures, and if you are focused on the wrong subject the shot will be more noticably out of focus than with cameras that prefer more moderate aperatures.

The above may seem obvious, but with a lot of other P&S cameras I've used it doesn't seem to matter as much - I think the aperature/DOF is the culprit more often than the camera not focusing correctly. My Epic rarely focuses incorrectly, like maybe 2 shots in about 30+ roles of film. I actually have a harder time faking it out than other active autofocus cameras I've owned, for example it seems to always focus on glass even when I use the typical tricks like getting right up to the glass or shooting at an angle.

Also, although this camera is supposed to have 3 focusing beams, always lock focus at the center point and recompose, I've blown otherwise good shots by expecting it to pick up an off-center subject.

Don't expect this camera to get the world's sharpest pictures anyway, it is very good for 90 bucks, but compared to my 800si with 50/f1.7 lens I can definitely see a difference in the photos. The exposure system in the Epic is also 2nd rate, clearly this camera was designed with print shooters (or maybe just cost) in mind. Other P&S's do a better job (Minoltas seem to have excellent light metering, IMHO).

Update: I think I have to take back some of the statements I made - I've been using the camera quite a bit lately and the results have been absolutely tack sharp. Maybe it has something to do with my wife dropping it (hard) while at the Grand Canyon (which it survived without a scratch)? Actually it probably has more to do with the processing quality we've gotten lately, but anyway it's really hard to tell the difference from my SLR pics - only the different focal lengths gives it away (with 4x6 prints anyhow). Exposure has been perfect as well. If you want a truly pocketable, light camera with a very fast lens, get this $90 wonder.

Yuriy Vilin , July 03, 2000; 06:10 P.M.

I have to agree with the previous posting regarding Stylus Epic. For $90 (I bought mine for $85) its hard to beat camera. I also own Yashica T4 Super and I love this one too. I would grade T4 higher than Epic, because of better optics and accurate metering system. I shoot slides with Yashica all the time, which is really challenging to do with Epic. But, if you pay $150 for T4 instead of $90 for Epic you would expect better quality, would you? :)

Rajesh Bhola , July 10, 2000; 12:51 P.M.

I am a amatuer. I have read all the recommendations and still am unsure which point and shoot to buy. Please help I am considering the following: Fuji dl super mini - $129 Yashica T4 super- $129 Ricoh R1 - $149 Olympus stylus epic - $79 Olympus Mju 130 zoom - $209 Nikon lite touch - $149

I bought a SLR but ended up returning it because it was to cumbersome to carry. The reason I want to buy a good point and shoot is to take pictures of our 1yr old son and his activities and birthdays. I am also confused about whether to buy a basic point and shoot or one with zoom.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Rob Alexander , July 11, 2000; 02:32 A.M.

Rajesh-

I guess it depends on what you want to do photographically. If you just want snapshots to remember events in your son's life down the road you can get just about any decent P&S. If you want the flexibility to take really neat existing light shots you'll want to go for something with a faster lens, I think on your list that would mean Stylus Epic or Yashica T4 (or maybe Fuji DL if you're talking about the model without zoom). But you'd also have to give up the zoom. For more info on photographing the new baby (if your son still qualifies as "the baby") read http://www.photo.net/photo/what-camera#baby .

You'll want to check out whatever you're considering in person if at all possible, for shooting kids (who never sit still and have an attention span of a second or so) stuff like autofocus speed and how quickly the shutter actually fires when you press the button all the way are important considerations. You'll get quite frustrated if you get too many shots of the side of your son's head as something else catches his eye.

Personally, I don't see anything wrong with getting TWO point and shoots, one fast fixed-lens model and one zoom. I don't know your situation, but if you can afford an SLR you can probably swing a $90 Stylus Epic and a $150-$200 zoom (I've got my eye on a Canon SureShot Classic, but there are plenty of other good choices).

Use the fast/fixed lens camera for low light without flash, and the zoom outside in brighter light. You'll appreciate not having to run around after a small child (who will almost certainly have more energy than you) to get him exactly the right size in the picture, and there may be times when you just plain can't move closer. It might also be nice if one of the cameras was weatherproof.

I hope at least something here is helpful...

Dave Mathis , July 14, 2000; 03:33 P.M.

I purchased a Yashica T4 Super after reading various reviews from this and other web sites concerning light, water resistant, 35mm point and shoot cameras. I do a lot of hiking and backpacking so this camera seemed to be just what I was looking for. I took a roll of film and agree that it takes good photos but with the second roll of film in the camera I was caught in a rain storm. The camera was in my backpack and got wet but was never submerged in water. When I got home an hour later I took it out of my backpack but could see water in the focus window. I opened it up and it was wet inside. I ended up sending it to Yashica for a $75 repair bill. Even though the camera is called "waterproof" and the manual states "the camera can be used on rainy days without worry of water leakage" Yashica wouldn't honor the warranty. So don't buy this camera with the idea that it can get wet because it can't. If I had it to do over again, for my purposes, I would buy something more weatherproof.

Barrett Benton , July 25, 2000; 01:46 A.M.

Good page, and a lively exchange of ideas. My present foray back into P&S-land takes a rather different tack from most of what I've read here. But first a wee bit of background. (Okay, it's longer than that...)

In Fall of 1992, I took a first-time-ever trip to France for a week and a half. At the time, I had *no* camera gear, having sold off my serious SLR iron for a number of reasons (one of which was the now-questionable idea that, if I didn't have anything to take more pictures with, I'd concentrate better on organizing the thousands of negatives and slides I'd already taken over the years). I was desparate - I couldn't possibly head for the City of Lights and beyond with no camera whatsoever?!

I remembered that I had given my mother, as a Christmas present a number of years back, a Nikon 35AF, one of their first 35mm P&S cameras. I asked if I could borrow it for my trip; she said yes. I got together a handful of rolls of color neg, b/w neg and Ektachrome, and took off. The camera had manual film speed setting (a good thing, since there was no other means of "official" exposure compensation when I felt a subject required it), a killer 35mm (or was it 40?) f/2.8 lens, and a pop-up flash I had to remember to keep pressed down with my left finger if I was setting up for an available-light shot. I must say that in that week and a half, I used and tweaked that camera to within an inch of it's little life, falling back on skills long taken for granted while slinging a full-on SLR. The camera's very limitations got me having to sweat a little more than usual to get, say, Notre Dame lit up at night just right from my balcony window (Hotel Esmeralda - don't know if it's still up to standard, but was just wonderful when I stayed there), or the textures of low rolling clouds over Versailles, or the lushness of Monet's garden under rainy overcast. I came back with (for me) the pictures of a lifetime. Moral: sometimes, for various reasons, nothing but a good SLR will do, but I'll never, ever dis point-and-shoots again...the good ones, at least, are as serious as you want them to be.

At the moment, though, I've been in a fog about P&S stuff: once again I have a full-on SLR system (a pair of Minolta 9xi bodies, five lenses and the rest) and a Konica Hexar (original/black) which goes almost everywhere I go...but the "almost" is a problem. Sometimes even the Hex is a bit more of a burden than I'd like when I want to pack ultralight. A killer P&S like a Nikon or Contax was out (smaller than the Hexar but more expensive and less versatile), and the likes of the T4/5 were nice but a bit too big themselves. Won't do APS or digital on a dare. What's left?

A used Konica P&S. The AA-35 to be precise. I've yet to pick it up from the shop, but next week I'll likely do the deed. It has a pull-apart body that reveals lens and AE/AF sensors, and protects them quite well when closed...much better than most P&S cameras I've seen of late. A built-in flash that seems sufficiently far away from the lens to obviate the need for any silly red-eye reduction function (which it doesn't have anyway), and has it's own on/off switch. Only three film speed settings (100/200/400 - manual, not DX), which I can pretty much live with. And, what I'm told is also a killer lens, a 24mm f/4.

That designation confused me for a moment, until I opened the camera back and saw what helped me make the decision to buy it...it's a *half-frame* 35. I'd always fancied the idea of getting a half-frame, but the modern pickings were always slim, and vintage numbers like the Olympus Pens are curious to play with, but they're a bad combination of too big *and* a bit too primitive for my taste. (Then again, the Pen FT *is* an SLR...)

So, on this whim, I've decided that what I want, what I really, really want, is a true shirt-pocket 35 that doesn't try and outdo my Hexar - not a biggie, since, IMO, no other pint-size P&S can, either - but has reasonable quality, has a built-in flash that I can actually use...and gets twice the film mileage as anything else.

I'd be interested to hear if anyone else has used this interesting oddball. Meanwhile, hello, planet point-and-shoot...I'm *back*!

José Manuel Alvarez López , August 01, 2000; 08:07 A.M.

Hello! My experience with the P&S. Atention!!! I shot with print films.

I tried 6 Big Mini cameras (BM 202. The first camera of the Big Mini series) Metallic body.

First camera: Corners and side edges of the photogram (mainly the left one), completely fuzzy.

Second camera: 50% of the completely fuzzy photogram!!!

Third camera: idem!!!

Fourth camera: A little fuzzy side superior and wild corners of the photogram. More fuzzy to f. 3,5

Fifth and sixth camera: Lens: Very good of f.16 to f.5,6. Nevertheless, to f. 3.5 one slight fall of the sharpness from 15 mm of the photogram is appraised. Vignetting: Very slight. Distortion: Very sligth, in cushion. Exposure: Very good, CDS center weighted meter. Features: Very good: Flash Auto, Flash: Fill-in and Slow, (calibrated very well) Exposure compensation +1.5 and -1,5, Speed: 1/500 to 3.6 seconds (Excellent!!!). 25 to 3.600 ASA. I have proven the Kodak Ektar 25 ASA, brutal sharp!!! And also 1.600 Fuji ASA, contrasts very high, but good sharp!!!

Viewfinder: Good and clear. But does show a susceptibily to flare in extreme into-the-ligth... and the AF symbols cannot be watched... With less light the viewfinder is excellent.

I make extensions of my negatives up to 18 cm by 26 cm. The result is excellent. My friends are surprised. The maximum of extension has been 30 cm by 40 cm. The also very good result. With my Big Mini (BM 202) I have made photos in all the possible conditions and results excellents: in the high mountain, in the snow, in the beach, in the grottos and warehouses very little illuminated. Very good nocturnal photos. (Speed 3.6 seconds)

Big Mini (BM 302): Same problem with the optics that my four first Big Mini!!

I have tried 5 Olympus mju II (Stylus Epic) cameras: Apocalypse Now!!! Total disaster!!!!

The first camera (Made in Japan!!!): excellent lens, but to f.2,8 slight but appreciable loss of sharp in the corners. Accurately AF. Accurately exposure. But him lack EV +1.5 and -1.5, The camara spoiled to the 30 days to use it!!!!

Second camera: Horrible lens!!! (Parts Made in Japan, Assembled in Honk Kong!!!!)

Third camera: More horrible lens!!! Defective AF. (Parts Made in Japan, Assembled in Honk Kong!!!)

Fourth camera: When I extracted it of the box and I put the battery to him, it did not work correctly!!! Impossible to prove it!!!! (Made Parts in Japan, Assembled in Honk Kong!!!)

Fifth camera!!!!: (Too Parts Made in Japan, Assembled in Honk Kong) Good optics (Not as good as the first Made in Japan) But AF vague. I to sell my Olympus mju II to a person less demanding than I.

Pentax Mini Espio (UC1). Two proven cameras. No found problems. Viewfinder: Extraordinary, the best one of all the A & P!!! Lens: Very good. To f. 3.5 light loss of clearness in the corners and edges; and also in the central inferior part (!). Versatility: Good, although not as much as the Mini Big (BM 202)

Yashica T4. 20% of the photogram of the straight diffuse side!!!!

Konica A4. (Second-hand, but new) I to buy by 22.5$. Good optical of f.16 to f.8-5,6 but to 3,5 mediocre. It loses enough clearness in all the photogram. Fuzzy nonproblems. Versatility: Normal. The Konica A4 is a "prototype" of the Big Mini(BM 202). The Mini Big, is far better.

Leica Mini III: Impossible to prove it, the AF did not work...

Zeiss Lomo LC1: Three bought cameras. The three spoiled in a year... Made in Est Contry: crap!!!

Olympus, mju -1 (Stylus USA) (first mju series). Serious problems of sharp in the edges of the photogram. 30% to each side of the blurred photogram!!!

Olympus XA with unit of Flash A11. I to buy used to 58$. Excellent, robust, very good features, in many aspects the best one of all. The very good optics in all the diaphragms. But of f.2,8 to f.5,6, very appreciably vignetting. The cause is the design of the objective: invested retrofocus. Of the best thing of years ' 80.

I have been continuing using my old Big Mini (BM 202) for 8 years!!! No problems. And my brother also has a Big Mini (BM 202) and he is amazed.

I to be crazy if I want to obtain the same optical quality with a A&P that with a good optics SLR. (Nikkor, Canon, Zeiss, Leica, etc.) Only good optics SLR, is worth 2 or 3 times more than a Mini Big, or T4, or a Olympus mju II, It is impossible!!! If your you obtain equal quality with P & S that with a SLR (Nikkor, Canon, etc.), you must to bomb the factory of Nikkor, Canon, etc.!!!

The manufacturers of cameras P & S, design very well their cameras of the high range. With good specifications, but when they make the cameras, they forget to maintain the quality of his products!!! We are deceived by the manufacturers!!! The quality level of its products is discontinuous. If you have luck when to buy P & S, you can be very happy, but if you do not have luck when buying your P & S, you are very displeased and you have many frustrations.

I have wanted to be brief. I have more information of other simpler cameras: Super Olympus AF 10 Super, Canon AF 7, Rollei Prego 35-70...

Thank you very much and I wait for your answers. Excuse me, my English is very much deficient.

Jose M. A. L. (Spain) josmail@wanadoo.es

John Lind , August 03, 2000; 03:16 A.M.

I see a fair number of Rollei 35's mentioned! I bought two of them new just over 20 years ago, a 35T and a year later a 35S. Both of them superb. Sold the 35T last year because I wasn't using it, but still have and use the Rollei 35S. I use the 35S as most use a P&S. Yes, it's completely manual, but a serious photographer not only doesn't mind that, he (she) almost welcomes it. It allows the control a serious photographer wants.

The lenses on them are superb, and the 35S or 35SE have a fast f/2.8 Sonnar HFT (Rollei's multi-coating) designed by Carl Zeiss. The 35, 35T and 35TE have the 2/3 stop slower f/3.5 Tessar. You can continue shooting in available light when others are scrambling to flip up the integral flash units which aren't strong enough for anything more than 10-12 feet away.

I wouldn't give my Rollei 35S up for any current P&S. The closest I've seen to them in current P&S's are the Contax T2 and Yashica T4 Super. Maybe there is something else similar on the market with the lens speed, resolution, contrast and build quality that allows manual control, but I haven't seen it yet. My experience with current AF Program Mode P&S's has been frustration with things like inability to control Depth of Field.

For the serious photographer, I recommend a P&S that has a fast superb lens, and at least allows overriding any AE or AF modes to take manual control. It doesn't have to be a Rollei 35[T,TE,S,SE], but if it inhibits creative control of focus and exposure, it is likely to frustrate its owner.

José Manuel Alvarez López , August 03, 2000; 04:20 A.M.

Sorry!!! An error in my commentaries exists on the lenses of the Pentax Mini Espio and the Konica A4. The correct commentaries are:

Pentax Mini Espio (UC1). Two proven cameras. No found problems. Viewfinder: Extraordinary, the best one of all the A & P!!! Lens: Very good. Nevertheless, to f. 3.5 one slight fall of the sharp in the corners and edges; and also in the central inferior part (!). Versatility: Good, although not as much as the Mini Big (BM 202)

Konica A4. (Second-hand, but new) I to buy by 22.5$. Good optical of f.16 to f.8-5,6 but to 3,5 mediocre: one slight fall of the sharp in all the photogram. Fuzzy nonproblems. Versatility: Normal. The Konica A4 is a "prototype" of the Big Mini(BM 202). The Mini Big, is far better

Rajesh Bhola , August 11, 2000; 11:16 A.M.

I am split between two cameras and would appreciate your opinions to help me make a decision. Following are my two choices:

Pentax IQ ZOOM 140 or 140m(Maybe 140 the Older model Pentax said it fits better in your hand than the newer 140m and 145m which are smaller)

Canon Sure Shot Classic 120

Please advice.

Thanks Raj

Yew-Liang Woo , August 31, 2000; 03:09 P.M.

HOW ABOUT THE SAMSUNG VEGA 77i with SHNEIDER LENS?

After 2 years, my Leica Mini 3 was stolen from a rented car in Sevilla, Spain. (Sigh!), the only time I leave a camera (out of view) in a car, and it got stolen. Let that be a lesson to all who visits southern Latin countries.

Anyway, I thought the Leica was not worth the price. You just paid for the name. The metering was awful. I had so many shots ruined by bad metering. I cannot expect it to be as good as the trusty Matrix metering in my Nikon F-801, but I've seen better metering on compacts. The lens was not that great to speak of. The shoddy plastic construction sure don't make you feel you're holding something speacial.

Anyway, now I have to shop around for another good compact. I am encouraged by the Yashica T5. What puts me off it is that there is no bulb, and the max exposure is 1 sec. Not enough for night shots in my opinion. (I usually use ISO 100 ~ 200).

The Samsung Vega series with Shneider lenses sound very attractive both in price and features. But I could not find any reviews for them. Does anyone here have any experience with them to share with me?

How about the Ricohs? It bothers me that www.ricoh.com doesn't even bother to feature 35mm cameras anymore. I am afraid it will hell for support.

Please email me <wooly@earthling.net>.

Cheers,

Yew-Liang

GEORGE LANNING , August 31, 2000; 08:17 P.M.

I have owned an Olympus Stylus Epic 35mm 2.8 for about 4 months. I love this little beauty. My results are nothing short of amazing. But let me start by saying I have an array of cameras, Konica 35 mm with beautiful Hexanon lenses, Medium format, Pentax 6x7, Koni Omegas and even a 360 degree panoramic camera. But listen to Phil and heed his advice with point and shoots. Never use film speed less than 400. Turn the damn flash off, get a small tripod. Now with the Epic, use the controls. The spot meter can make the difference between a good photo and a terrific photo. Always prefocus on your subject and then recompose. If you get the Epic spend the extra 20 dollars and buy the remote. Now, that can be fun. Set the camera down away from you and as people are wondering if it is lost fire away,the results are great. My Epic goes everywhere with me. Ever tried to carry a 6 pound Pentax 67 up a 15 mile trail? Also, my local one hour photo store just put in a Fuji Frontier 35 film processing machine. Find a place with one. The technician can adjust your photos on his computer and give you wonderful pictures. I have printed a few 8x12 enlargements and the final product is hanging on my wall. For those of you that don't know, 8x12 is the ideal size to blow up an 35mm negative. Enlarging to 8x10 actually causes you to lose about 30% of you photo. If you have ever taken a group shot and wonder why Aunt Mary is missing from the shot now you know. Thanks for reading and I want to thank everyone that has contributed to this site. I really enjoy reading all of your comments and Phil I have told anyone that is thinking of buying any camera to first log on to this site and become informed. Thanks again everyone. Your friend , George

Barrett Benton , September 19, 2000; 01:48 P.M.


Parkside Avenue (w/Konica AA-35)

My fling with half-frame (Konica AA-35) is over. (Yep, it was quick). I knew I was somewhat going up against the laws of physics with this one, but I thought that for a p&s camera, it wouldn't be such an impediment. Silly me.

I've had a few simple, personal rules for choosing photography gear, and I seem to have willfully violated most of them when choosing this camera; I thought I'd share a few of them with readers of this forum for their benefit and/or amusement:

1) Any picture you take might merit an enlargement one day. (Don't choose a camera that can't deliver in this regard)

2) Anything worth exposing on film is worth exposing well. (Having some degree of control over exposure parameters is A Good Thing)

3) Notwithstanding the previous two rules, smaller is always better. (You're more likely to take the thing with you more places as a result...no camera, no pix)

The Konica AA-35 does indeed have a very good lens, and a decent, though non-tweakable, autoexposure system. Only three film speeds are available (100/200/400), and, contrary to my telling myself otherwise, this wasn't enough. Then there's the matter of taking pictures you may actually want to make into 8x10s or larger - things look okay up to about 5x7, but from there on I started noticing things I hadn't seen since my hazy Instamatic days, like gritty grain (not too noticeable with ISO 100 film, but not sparkling either). My bigger 35s have spoiled me rotten, and the medium-format enthusiasts' paraphrasing of the old Detroit aphorism (there's no substitute for square inches) hit me between the eyes.

So, the little Konica went back to the store, which geve me a generous trade-in value toward something considerably smaller, and much nicer, which I had ogled for a while, but passed over because "I just don't want to spend that much for a point-and-shoot", thusly violating rules 1 and 2...

Barrett Benton , September 19, 2000; 02:18 P.M.


Afternoon Chelsea (w/Ricoh GR1)

...which is a Ricoh GR1. Couldn't be happier.

There's been enough said about the GR1 by others, so I won't get too long-winded here, save to say that Ricoh clearly pulled out all the proverbial stops to create what is inarguably the best camera they've ever presented to the public, and arguably one of the best easily pocketable cameras ever made, which makes it all the sadder that Ricoh has bowed out of the camera market in the US, no doubt because of brand perception by those who, when hearing the name Ricoh, might say something like "Nice copiers", but not cameras, in spite of the fact that cameras were how the company got its start (like Minolta, which also happens to make copiers, yet somehow managed to escape such a corporate identity crisis - mainly because their cameras sell a lot better). I have to say I was among those who didn't give the GR1 much of a thought at first, even though I should've known better. I do now, and couldn't be happier.

Craig Norris , September 22, 2000; 04:37 P.M.

My point & shoot cameras are an Olympus XA, and an XA4 Macro, a Stylus Epic, and a recently-bought Yashica T5. They all have their good points and bad points. The XA gives you control over depth of field, and the lens is consistently sharper than the Stylus Epic. But the manual focus makes it hard to photograph restless children.

The XA4 lens is very sharp, and I love the way it resets the manual focus to the hyperfocal 3metre distance when you close the shell.

The Yashica T5 has the best lens and metering. The T5 solves the biggest complaint I had about the Stylus Epic - infinity focus. The Stylus Epic is useless for shooting through a window. But the Stylus Epic has a very good flash system.

So it boils down to "horses for courses". The Yashica T5 is now my preferred P&S, for it's stunning lens quality, but I also carry the XA4 for the occasional 28mm wide angle shot. If I know a portrait opportunity is likely, I also carry my Contax 139Q with 45mm Tessar. The Contax 139Q with 45mm F2.8 Tessar is a very compact SLR package, and gives stunning results, even for a head and shoulders portrait.

The Stylus Epic has now fallen into disuse. It's lens is just not sharp enough or contrasty enough in comparison to the Carl Zeiss Tessars on the Yashica and the Contax. I am now a dedicated Carl Zeiss fan. I can't settle for less.

e werner , September 29, 2000; 05:11 P.M.

Rollei VarioApogen lens

Having recently busted my old Olympus Epic zoom 80, I was in the market for a new P&S. I've always been interested in the Rollei Prego 90 because of the Schneider optics, but suddenly found that the Schneider name was no longer on the camera. I searched the web everywhere and got mounds and mounds of conflicting stories. I finally had it and decided to write Schneider and Rollei directly and ask them. I totally bypassed their US offices and wrote directly to the German headquarters, writing the entire e-mail in German just to make sure they didn't misunderstand the question. Both companies gave me the EXACT same answers which leads me to believe this is the truth. So here it is (translated and paraphrased):

SCHNEIDER was the designer of the Rollei Prego lens. In the begining they were also the ones responsible for manufacturing the lens and providing it to Rollei [this doesn't necessarily mean they MADE it, they were just responsible for providing it... it could have been outsourced. Anyway...] Recently, Schneider sold/transfered the design specs/rights of that lens to Rollei. Rollei is now using that exact same design with the same specs to produce the lense [again, it may be outsourced.] Rollei said the lens is just as good. Schneider said the lens is just as good.

There you have it; the same answers from both sides of the fence (and from two companies that aren't really too happy with each other at the moment). So people can keep speculating all they want about the topic, but until I get official word different from BOTH Schneider and Rollei, the above is what I'm going to count as fact.

Erik Werner San Deigo

GEORGE LANNING , September 29, 2000; 08:28 P.M.

I would like to add a few comments on my acquiring a Yashica Electro 35 GTN rangefinder. I can only express my happiness by saying "WOW." This 28 year old beauty(mint condition) comes with a 45mm, 1.7 Yashinon DX lens. I have shot 2 rolls of film, The first Fuji Superior 400 and the second roll was Kodak 400CN black and white. The photos are wonderful. Very sharp and terrific contrast. I added a yellow filter while shooting the Kodak. The lens accepts 55mm filters but I have to make an adjustment by one stop as the metering is not on the lens barrel. Simple enough. Being a rangefinder the Electro does not qualify as a point and shot by any means but a terific camera to own. Did I mention I paid a humble $49.95 and feel very fortunate to have found it gathering dust on a photo store shelf. If you have read my earlier posting concerning the Olympus Stylus Epic you might be wondering if I am going to get a Yashica T4. YES of course I am. If an old Yashica rangefinder gives me great results I can just imagine what that Zeiss lens has waiting for me. But, if you should run across an Electro 35 give it a try, I think you will be very happy too. Thanks everyone and good picture taking, Regards, George Lanning

Yuriy Vilin , October 04, 2000; 02:32 A.M.

Yashica T4 Super. I have had it for several months, shot about 30 rolls of print film and couple rolls of Fuji Astia 100 (slide film, if you want to know what it is). I have only one word about it; this small camera is GREAT! Most of my pictures taken with T4 were enlarged up to 8x12'. Slides were properly exposed and very sharp. Properly used "spot" meter allows me to cope with pretty tricky light conditions (like sunset in the mountains). Just aim camera at something with intermediate brightness (camera set at "infinity" mode), hold shutter button half pressed, recompose the picture, and shoot. Used with Kodak 400 CN (black & white film for C41 process, you can develop it in any one-hour minilab) camera shines with it's highly detailed contrasty images, even in murky light conditions (cloudy winter day, for instance). I heard that people report inconsistent autofocus with T4 resulting in blurry images. It never happened to me. In fact, my second camera Olympus Stylus, which was purchased last year CONSTANTLY blurs two-three frames in each shot roll. Camera was sent back to Olympus and they returned it with verdict "camera is absolutely functional"... The superscope in T4 is another great feature.

Overall: My hat is off. T4 Super is waterproof, quiet camera with excellent Carl Zeiss optics. Great buy for $150.

Meryl Arbing , November 04, 2000; 01:33 P.M.

I have read on the Contax mailing list from Henry Posner of B&H camera that the T4 Super (T5) will be discontinued.

He said: "I had lunch with a couple of my Yashica/Contax reps today and they confirmed that the T4Super (T5 in Europe) is being discontinued because Kyocera & Zeiss couldn't come to terms on Yashica's continued use of the Zeiss lens for this model." Henry Posner Director of Sales and Training B&H Photo-Video, and Pro-Audio Inc. http://www.bhphotovideo.com

This makes me wonder if it might not be a good idea to grab another one of these soon-to-be "classics"

Steve Hickman , January 26, 2001; 06:45 A.M.

I have tried various point and shoot compacts over the years, and am finally happy with one- the Rollei Prego Micron. To me, a compact needs a good lens, should be genuinely pocketable, and fairly robust. The Rollei produces images of real sharpness, has a useful 2 second maximum exposure (which is rare on affordable compacts) and the panoramic modes seems to work ok (though it seems to be a gimmick when all the camera does is expose a narrow band of film and leave it to ther lab to trim off the top and bottom!!). What I really would like to find one day is a really compact 35mm camera with a manual focus option and >1 second shutter speeds/bulb exposure- somebody suggested a Minox but I somehow think I would break it within a few days, that drawbridge makes me nervous!!

Michael Dembinski , February 19, 2001; 10:38 A.M.

I have been using a Minolta TC-1 since September 1998. As a user of the Leica M system (for 20 years) and a Nikon FM2 with several Nikkors (for 10 years), I can certainly vouch that the TC-1's lens performance is in the same quality category. However, the camera is a touch fragile (a fall of 1 metre onto a wooden floor resulted in $500's worth of damage!)I would like to see a camera of this cost that is rubber-armored, binocular style and weatherproofed. It is a shirt-pocket camera that is always with me, doubling as a picture notebook and as a pro-level tool. A Yashica T2-style right-angle viewfinder and hotshoe would also be nice.

Michal Dembinski, Warsaw, Poland

Mark Dulcey , March 01, 2001; 12:09 A.M.

The picture (sic) with digital cameras has become more favorable than it was when the page was written back in 1997.

First, every current model of digital camera I'm familiar with uses flash memory (not to be confused with the sort of flash that lights up pictures) to save the images. Flash memory doesn't need power to retain its contents, so if you come back to an unused camera two years later, the pictures will still be there. (You might have to install new batteries or recharge the existing ones before you can get them out, though.)

Second, the quality of digital cameras has improved. Digital images still aren't quite as detailed as 35mm film, but they're a lot closer than they were a few years ago.

Third, it's no longer necessary to be a computer expert to get the pictures onto paper. You can now buy printers (Hewlett-Packard and Epson both make them) with memory card slots; you take the memory card out of the camera and insert it in the printer, and you can make prints right then and there.

And finally, the quality of those inkjet printers that you use to make the paper copies has also improved considerably. The best of them can make prints that rival (though don't quite equal) photo prints, and may last as long or longer.

Still, a digital camera probably isn't the ideal solution for taking travel pictures, unless you also travel with a computer. Otherwise, you'll need a very large memory card, or a collection of smaller ones - either way, a lot of money, even now.

David POWERS , March 02, 2001; 03:13 P.M.

My T4 Super is the reason I got back into photography after about 10 years ... I bought it on recommendation from Consumer Reports, took some pictures that turned out great, and suddenly I had a new SLR kit and some serious learning to do. My T4 results may not happen to you....

Recently, at this site's suggestion, I bought an Olympus Stylus Epic, because our household needed another rainy-day camera, and I liked the Epic's f2.8 speed and spot meter, you guys didn't have to tell *me* how bad point-and-shoot flashes make people look.

Still, after shooting a bunch of rolls with the Epic, I'm heading back to the T4. The spot meter is nice and the parallax and focus lag are much better, but the damn Epic combines a hard shutter release with feather weight and I can't take evening photos without a tripod. Even if I support the camera against me or some hard surface, the press for the shutter release adds shake and messes up the shot.

Never had shake problems with the T4, and almost never got red-eye when I did use the flash, so.

Ronald Hogenboom , April 01, 2001; 05:27 A.M.

Hello there,

Here's my 2cents worth of opinion about the Yashica T4 (T5 in Europe).

I began with serious photography after a trip through England. The results of my camera (a focus free 35mm with flash, really the cheapest I could find) were of course abysmal compared to my colleague's Contax. First I bought a cheapish digital camera with 640x480 resolution (even this camera was better than my original one!) and soon bought my first SLR. New lenses, film scanners, more accessories and indeed, new P&S camera's followed. Biased by good reports and recommendations I bought a Yashica T5 to ideally (or so it was thought) complement my SLR. But I've sold it to the aformentioned colleague after a few months. Why? Under good lighting conditions the camera really shows off the Zeiss lens. I've made photographs at rock festivals in sunny weather that are defenitely among the best shots I've ever made. But, far too often my photos were out of focus, especially under difficult lighting conditions. The camera has a focus indicator but no matter how careful I tried to follow the routine (aim at subject, press shutter release halfway, wait for camera to focus), too many shots were out of focus. Furthermore, as I tend to scan a LOT of my negatives, I found out that for some reason, the negatives from the T5 were much more grainy when scanned. As I always use the same lab and film and the negatives from my Minolta SLR almost never show this tendency, I attribute it to incorrect exposure. In all honesty, I am a very demanding photographer and the T5 had to perform in conditions it was never designed for. To be frank I slightly regret selling it. But nonetheless, it is simply too annoying to see undemanding P&S birthday photos out of focus. To replace the T5 I bought a 2 Megapixel digital camera for P&S duties (and a new set of recharable batteries ;-) ) and I now have an old Rollei 35 on loan. It's a cheap 35 LED made in Singapore, probably the worst of all Rollei 35's but it has a fast lens and thankfully no autofocus. Now I can only blame myself if something goes wrong with all these manual controls :-)

T T , April 01, 2001; 10:46 A.M.

Ricoh has announced a Ricoh GR21 coming. A GR1 with a 21mm lens, more at:

<http://www.ricohcamera.com/gr21eng.htm>

That may be too wide for everyday use, but it may suit some people, and is probably worth a look as a speciality camera..

Nick Toletino , April 05, 2001; 08:58 P.M.

Why I like my Kodak KE-30 and other matters By NiCK Tolentino

Comments on Cameras

To start this article, let me say that I've been interested in photography since I was a kid. I remember when I played with the family's Olympus compact/mechanical rangefinder camera. Experimenting with it really taught me the basics of photography. My next camera was an Olympus (what else!) AF 1 camera - I think it was one of the first model my father bought me in college (around 1990, I think). It was nice beginning camera - auto-focus, focus lock, a real point and shoot. What I dislike about it was that after a few years, under good storage condition, it won't work properly. I have the authorized distributor checked and they told me it was working fine. The problems I experience were the following: it will rewind automatically even though it hadn't finished the roll yet, I got very blurry pictures, and I have to replace the batteries very often. Given that I have sent it to the authorized distributor for repairs and still came back damage, it does speak of the kind of after-sales service I will expect in the future. I guess that the electronic components just died a natural death, based from my observations.

So when it was time to buy a new one, I really scouted very well before buying. After checking shops carrying Canon, Minolta, Pentax, Samsung, and Fuji, I settled for a Kodak KE-30 camera. It has the following features: fixed focus, motor driven, a maximum aperture of f/5.6, timer, red-eye reduction, Fill In/Off Flash, 10-second timer, simple operations. AAA battery powered and the unique easy film loading.

What sets this camera different from the others is the easy film loading mechanism - I just insert the film leader (straight from the film box, no need to unwind additional film) into the film guide rails, close the film door and then open the lens cover switch to start the film advance. This no-brainer makes me wonder why Kodak develops the APS standard in the first place.

I choose a fixed focus because I can immediately composed the photo I'm gonna take rather pressing any more buttons. Another advantage of fixed focus cameras is that there is less mechanism and electronics to worry about that may be damage due to accidental drop or bump. The controls are user-friendly, persons with either big or small hands can use it.

For this kind of a camera, I didn't expect to see red-eye reduction and Fill In/Off Flash. The ability to accept AAA batteries was also big plus because I can now use rechargeable batteries rather than throw ordinary ones away. The camera is also simple to operate that any body can use it immediately.

I always have a roll of film in my camera so that I can take pictures whenever there is an occasion or whenever I feel inspired. A film in my camera lasts from a month or two. Pictures were sharp and colors were vivid except for a few. More about that later.

What I don't like about the camera is the plastic body that I must protect with a padded bag. I once lend the camera to somebody and when it was returned, the film door was jammed and the self-timer won't work properly. I brought it to Kodak corporate camera repair center (this is where all the cameras around the Philippines are diagnosed and fixed). It took the repairman only 30 minutes to diagnosed and fixed the problem of the camera. The back of camera was loosening up so it was jamming the film door and self-timer controls. So point-and-shoot camera enthusiasts, I advised you to buy padded bags for your cameras, unless the camera body is made of alloy or titanium.

Another problem is that the picture counter is not that accurate. I like it as it is but please make it more accurate. The only way that I will know that if it reached the end is when the flash indicator won't light up and shutter button won't work anymore - it always alarm if the batteries are dead already or my camera is no longer working.

Some Pointers about Film

My Kodak KE-30 camera is almost a year old. Since then, I always make sure the camera have film so I can use it in any occasion or whenever I feel creative. Because of this, I have bought several brands of films. I have tested several film speeds. The best films I have used are Fuji Superia, Kodak Max/Gold and Konica Centuria. They have cheaper lines of these films (Fuji YKL, Kodak CE) that produced satisfactory results as long as you know the limitations. The films to be avoided are Imation (by 3M), Perutz (cheap line of Agfa), and Solid Gold (cheap line of Mitsubishi). These are wastes of money since they produced unpredictable results.

For film speeds, I think this is where point-and-shoot enthusiasts must really explore. Each film speed has different functions. ASA 100 is good for bright outdoors and flash photography. It is also good for portraits and enlargement. ASA 200 is good choice for all purposes, specifically for the cloudy outdoors. ASA 400 is good for action shots and very low light conditions. Since its summer here in the Philippines, I use ASA 100 films. For occasions such as graduations or sports activities, I use either ASA 200 or 400 films.

I always used and recommend matte/silk paper rather than glossy paper for developing. Matte paper is more color stable, does not leave marks when handling and does not react to moisture and sweat compared to glossy paper.

Tips when using Point and Shoot Cameras

1. Know thy camera. The purpose of the camera manual is to instruct the user (that is you) on how to use it and take care of it. Even though that you've use a camera before, you may be surprised that your current camera have several other features you never knew or never used before. Better yet, always bring the manual with you so that you can refer to it anytime.

2. Buy a padded bag for your camera for extra protection. The bag that comes with your camera is insufficient in protecting it from drops, bumps and improper handling. Remember that today's cameras, even future ones, are almost made up of electronic components that are sensitive to such problems. When storing your camera for a period of time, remove the batteries and place the camera inside a padded bag for safety.

3. Think like a sniper, make every shot count. In other countries, photography is a taken-for-granted hobby since cameras, films and developing costs are very cheap. Living in the Philippines makes you think thrice before wasting a roll of film for just one shot. To minimize waste, make sure that every shot is for some event or something worth taking the shot.

4. Think like a painter, compose before shooting. Like a painter, you must think about the photograph that will develop before actually taking shoot. Make sure all the elements are there.

5. Your best friend is the film developer/processor. In my area (Los Baños, Laguna), there are several developers already existing. I tried them all, checking for prices, quality and staff friendliness. I settled with a particular developer because it offers good prices, always provide good service, good advice and tips, have matte/silk paper not like the others insisting on the available paper, and I trust them for making sure the pictures developed properly and in time. This developer is run by a professional photographer and used by photography club. This is an advantage because the developer also acts as an exchange among photographers, amateurs, semi-professionals and professionals. Because of this, I only used this developer and recommend the lab to friends and colleagues.

6. Think like a mountaineer, buy essential options only. Like a mountaineer, always buy add-ons and options that you will always use and appropriate for the occasion. The first and best option you should buy is a tripod for taking group pictures that will include yourself. It is also a great help in stabilizing the camera. Another option I recommend is the filter holder. I remember that bought a filter holder for my point and shoot camera (yes, there is one for us!) and it worked wonders. It helps me give professional results and fueled my experimentation. Unfortunately, when I moved to a new house, the filter holder along with the filters got lost. I tried to buy one but it was no longer available.

7. Use rechargeable batteries. Not only you will save money but you also will save mother earth from the heavy metals coming from the said batteries. Please use rechargeable alkaline, nickel metal hydride and rechargeable lithium batteries. Forget about nickel cadmium batteries.

Just a comment

I just noticed that Kodak have spread several characteristics I like in a camera into several ones. I hope they or some camera manufacturers just wake up one day and put the following features in one camera: the easy film loading mechanism (but of course!), landscape mode, mid-roll rewind, a metallic body (alloy or titanium), date feature (that I can turn on and off), zoom capability (not yet among the Kodak line), self-timer, LCD indicator panel (that will last forever!), and a very good aperture (comparable to Leica, the "Mercedes Benz of cameras").

I was planning to buy a digital camera but the prices are still very high. I might just buy another 35 mm camera with zoom lens. That will be the topic of my next comment…

Till next time….

NiCK 8-)

Andrew Grant , April 29, 2001; 11:36 A.M.

Why not just get a EOS Rebel with a 50/1.8 lens, very light and compact and cheap with great optical performance. You could even stick a 35mm or 38mm if you prefer something wider.

Wee Keng_Hor , May 18, 2001; 08:58 P.M.


Yashica T5, Kodak Protra 400

With all the rave about the T5, I just simply can't resist getting one myself to see what it is all about even though I already have the Ricoh GR1s and Leica Minilux Zoom.
What I like is that this lens focus from 30cm onwards, which allows me to take close up. Also the out of focus background is nicely blurred with what the Japs called the bokeh. The superscope is also a unique and nice feature. Focusing and exposure is right on the spot and image is pretty sharp.
The shutter release button is rather sensitive and needs a little getting use to or else it will just fire off accidentally. I also notice lights falling off at the corner.
I thought of selling it since I've already had the 35mm range covered by the Minilux Zoom. But its good points (bokeh, superscope and close focusing) really attracted me. Since it is cheap, and now out of production, I decided to keep it as either a spare or a collector item.

Michael Chin , May 23, 2001; 01:12 A.M.

It is very interesting and informative to learn about the T4/T5, Stylus Epic and the GR1.

I have a cheap Canon Sure Shot Sleek (Prima Mini II) which hasn't even got a LCD screen. 32mm 1:3.5. The lens is only 3 elements but it performs very well. One thing I like about this camera is the 1/250 top shutter speed. (Obviously I don't use this camera for fast action photography.) Bcos of the relatively slow top shutter speed, you get great depth of field especially if you use ISO 200 or 400 film.

I heard the problem with the Epic (Mju II) is always choosing a high speed shutter and wide aperture.

This Canon model has an easy to use dial for flash over-ride and the self timer automatically triggers a slow-sync mode at night.

It has triple beam AF and I think 415 focus steps.

It has consistently given me good results. Worth considering too.

peter strazzabosco , June 21, 2001; 04:35 P.M.

after reading all the positive comments about the t4 i went out and got one. as a 10-year fe2 user, i was very impressed with the quality of the best shots the t4 produced, flash or no flash, however the worst shots were just as bad as you'll find from any point and shoot. i've never owned an autofocus before, so i'm still getting used to it. i've noticed that you have to be very diligent to secure the focus, confirmed by a green light near the viewfinder, before shooting. the secodary viewfinder, on top of the body, is very handy and cool, however it takes even more diligence to center the subject for focusing, and you can't tell if the green light is on. focusing challenges are compounded by a very light shutter release. like any camera, though, it takes getting used to. for $189, i'm very happy, enough so that i went out and bought another after i tragically lost the first one after 10 rolls. i'll probably buy another just to have around.

Ivan Handler , July 21, 2001; 02:54 P.M.


Caunes Minervois, France 6/01

I wanted to mention that I recently bought a Rollei Prego 90 for $150 from B&H in NY. I was lucky to get a demo model with a 5 year service contract, since the camera is not out of production. I got it to use on my vacation in the south of France and Barcelona. I took over 500 pictures and many of them are fantastic. I used ASA 100, 400 & 800 and had great results for all films.

I stayed with the 28 mm the majority of the time and occasionally moved to longer focal lengths. I really like the lens, it is sharp and contrasty and at 28 mm with f 3.6 it is reasonably fast. The 28 mm focal length is one of the best things about this camera. I was able to get in so much more than I would with a 35 to 38 mm lens since I was in a lot of villages and other locations with narrow streets and other obstructions that made a wide angle very handy. Unfortunately in Barcelona, to take good pictures of the Gaudi buildings or the Music Palace (from the outside), you need a far shorter focal length (probably a view camera as well). Since the sun did not set until after 10 pm and we only had one gray day in 17, light was not a problem and even 90 mm shots were exposed well. I had big pockets and was able to keep the camera in my pocket most of the time even though it is larger than the Olympus that one of my friends was using.

I have noticed that I need to be very careful when in macro mode to keep the image within the parallax marks or I will loose parts of my image. Furthermore the rangefinder only shows about 85% of the image. That is not too bad since I can crop the image later (I scan my images into my pc). It is unfortunate since I have to guess how much I am missing if I want to fill the frame intentionally.

All in all, for the price I have nothing to complain about.

Dave Lee , April 08, 2002; 03:55 P.M.

The Yashica T4 is now discontinued in the US, I don't know about other countries. You can still get them new on eBay for around $250 or so. I bought a Nikon 35Ti used (mint condition) and I LOVE it! Despite the funky flash handling (having to hold down the button to cancel the flash when you don't want it) it does take excellent pictures and is more durable than most p&s cameras. Am considering taking only it with me on my next big trip and leaving the big bulky SLR with zoom at home. I shot many rolls of slides on a recent trip to Japan and it does tend to overexpose by about 1/4 of a stop, so setting the compensation to -1/3 may help, but could result in some underexposed images. In any case, I want to get the 28Ti to carry with me as well, but they are *really* expensive!!

Brian O'Connor , June 26, 2002; 06:03 A.M.

Does anybody else pine for a fixed focal length tele point and shoot?

The T4, stylus,Minox,Rollei 35 etc all have a less than usefull 35-40mm lens. In my opinion this is the worst of all posssible focal lengths. Not short enough to be wide and not long enough to image a face without distortion.

The T4/Stylus fixed lenses can be made in high quality at a reasonable price partly because they are single focal lengths. How about a short tele?

The zooms all have the normal zoom problems. Every time I've taken photographs with a zoom I've always wished I'd been more carefull and used a fixed lens.(Even the 80-200ED Nikor made me wish I'd used my 180ED)

A T4/stylus with a 80mm lens hmmm I'd buy that.

Bill Moss , August 03, 2002; 09:12 A.M.

I've been happy with my T4 Super and was feeling worried when it was discontinued, I found its grandfather, the Yashica T2, in good condition - does anyone have info on this model (not the Contax T2).

Is $99.00 a fair price for the Yashica T2?

christ charm , August 21, 2002; 01:21 A.M.

I needed a camera primarily to shoot my 4-year-old. My standards are above average and my budget is below average and this camera fits the bill pretty well. My first few rolls have come back much sharper than with my dorky old Canon. The T-4 auto loads much better than the Canon too which I appreciate when shooting at Christmastime. I also needed a camera that my wife could use without needing a half-day seminar.

I read up on this camera pretty extensively before I bought it so there's really no surprises. I thought I should get one quick before they were all gone. I get it from a guy call james at jamnikon@yahoo.com. he got a few set. shit it is expensive but never mind.

Michael Ho , August 25, 2002; 09:44 A.M.

According to John McCormack on his webpage at:-
http://www.geocities.com/jpmccormac/pscam.html

There are rumours of a new successor to the Yashica T4 Super/T5 being introduced shortly.

Apparently called Yashica T* Zoom, featuring a Carl Zeiss -
Vario-Tessar 28-70mm Zoom lens.

Anyone with more information ? Comments ?

 

nick verenini , August 28, 2002; 04:27 P.M.

Why would anyone want to use one these wide angle P&Ss even as a grab camera is beyond me. Many of them have slowwwwwwwwww lenses at 35mm and lower which is really too wide for landscapes, portraits, scenics, etc. A wide angle lense is not general purpose. See that ant on the frame, it's Granny !! You are not going to sell any shots to your local newspaper with these focal lengths.

I prefer a 70's type rangefinder like a Canonet, Electro 35 or Olympus RD. You get a nice fast lens like a 1.7 at 45-50mm which is perfect for newstuff and people shots. Yes, they are a little bigger and heavier, but you WILL get the shot and you can buy a working one for cheap ! ( $300 for a used Yashica T4, come on now ).

I wish the camera makers would go back to making something decent for this niche....

Just my 2cents. Nick...........

Edgar England , September 03, 2002; 03:39 P.M.

Just to confirm that there is indeed a new Yashica T-Zoom available with a new vario tessar 28-70mm f4.5-8, email me for more details.

ED

Michael Ho , September 04, 2002; 03:05 P.M.

Yes, I can confirm this officially now, its called the T4 Zoom.

"Ultra-Affordable 35mm Zoom Camera: If an easy to use, high quality 35mm camera is the gift of choice, look no further than the new Yashica T4 Zoom. This camera is being brought back by popular demand, and now features a Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* 28-70mm Zoom Lens f/4.5-8, which provides superior image quality. The T4 Zoom offers a multi-auto focus system, 5-mode auto flash with red-eye reduction, a built-in date back, and a built-in diopter adjustment. Sporting a matte graphite finish, this camera offers one-touch mode selectors for exposure compensation, infinity lock, and long time exposures. The T4 Zoom is compact and lightweight, weighing just 6.7 ounces and is remote control capable."

If you go to Yashica's website at: http://www.yashica.com

Specification page: http://www.yashica.com/pointshoot/t4zoom/t4zoom.html

The details and images of the camera are already there, looks quite nice...

Michael Ho , September 06, 2002; 04:55 P.M.

As a matter of interest, it also happens to the 100th anniversary of the Tessar lens this year.

May I be the first to say - Happy 100th Tessar!!!!!!!

I also found this interesting paragraph on the Zeiss website:-

http://www.zeiss.de/C12567A8003B58B9/allBySubject/5E9FC4F425247722C1256C150037D9D2

-------------- Photokina 2002 -------------- A Full Program Awaits You on the Carl Zeiss Booth We will show you... a new member of the Carl Zeiss Tessar® family: the first Vario-Tessar® lens for the Yashica T Zoom Compact Camera

So, maybe the Yashica T4 Zoom was released to celebrate 100 years of the Zeiss Tessar lens!

Mike.

Sigit Mursidi , October 03, 2002; 10:45 P.M.

This summer I bought myself a Rollei AFS 35, an autofocus P&S. Read the simple manual, throw it out, and immediately jump on the plane to the USA for our vacation. I did some research before, and found that this is my best choice. I am familiar with cameras ranging from SLR, folding, and medium size. Results were much better than what I could expect. The four element 38 mm, f 1:2.6 Apogon is a jewel. Pictures were crisp and brilliant. Color came out much better than I expected, and I validated this using different types of film and lab. In sum, one might want to add it on one's choice list. The camera cost me Rp 6,000,000.- or circa US$ 600.- in Jakarta.

Image Attachment: bengkel1.jpg

Sigit Mursidi , October 03, 2002; 10:47 P.M.

Here is another one:

Image Attachment: green tea 2.jpg

Georg Rademacher , October 25, 2002; 07:58 A.M.

I just had the opportunity to have a closer look at the new Yashica T4 Zoom, which - at first glance - seemed to me a very interesting camera. Unfortunately, zooming, focusing and shooting are ridiculously and unbelievably slow - you will never be able to take a proper picture of kids or any other kind of moving thing with this camera.

Jaladhi Pujara , December 31, 2002; 10:55 A.M.

Looks like the choice is limited to three cameras for anybody looking for a good quality point-n-shoot - Yashica T4 zoom 35-70, Rollei Prego 30 and Olympus Stylus Epic 35mm. I have come across few reviews where reviewers have found Rollei to be superior to the other two in terms of picture quality. It would be really great if someone was to come up with a comparision of all three. I would love to know about your impressions.

Fulminis Ictus , March 12, 2003; 07:39 P.M.

Well,

Since you asked for a comparison, you may want to take a look at a table of Point & Shoot Cameras, which I created for my own purposes while looking for something to take with me when schlepping an SLR is not an option. The site is not yet finished, has to be re-edited and re-written, sources must be included and so on, but somebody asked for it so I already put it up as a beta version. It is not a general Best of top list, but it might save a few hours when somebody just wants to get a quick overview before investigating a few models based on his own priorities and criteria.

The shortlists are only examples, so I suggest we refrain from discussions à la »Wrong! Model ABC is much better than camera XYZ, because ...«, as this is something that should be written as a review for a particular model. If you are happy with your camera despite contrary ratings, that's fine with me and the world, have fun, enjoy and be happy with it.

I render an apology to those who are unhappy with the form of presentation of the data or the results themselves, and wish a truckload of fun to those who it helped to find a camera that suits their needs.

Thank you for your attention and have a great day.


Ken Connor , June 04, 2003; 11:02 A.M.

I recently went on an e-Bay camera buying orgy. As a starving graduate student, I don't often come into much spare change. This last financial aid period I had some extra $$$ so I bought the following:

Used Leica MiniZoom w/VarioElmar 35-70mm

New Olympus Stylus Epic DLX 35mm 2.8

New Yashica T4 Zoom w/VarioTessar 28-70mm

Used Voigtlander Vitomatic w/Color-Skopar 50mm 2.8 (BTW, a cap for Fuji film makes an excellent lens cap)

Used Wards Hexar 47mm 1.8 (just for fun...cost more to ship than buy)

Used Yashica Electro 35 45mm 1.7 (again, cost more to ship than buy)

Used Nikon FE-2 w 1.4 Chrome (Mint!) and a Vivitar 3.5 Series 1 Zoom

New Nikon 70-300mm for my N65

New Sony DSC P52 3.2 Megapixel

The great thing is that I got all of this stuff for UNDER $775. I hope to put it all to very good use. These are all cameras that I wanted for quite some time and now finally have them. Slightly manic buying, but I think I'm gonna have a lot of fun with all this stuff. I'll let you know what the photos look like and will post some when I get the chance.

P.S., I also got a line on a perfect Black Nikon FE-2 for $350 with shipping. Had to put that one on layaway though...ran out of mad money. LOL

Charles Clemens , September 19, 2003; 01:15 P.M.

I tested a Nikon 35 Ti for a short period ending this week. I shot a roll of Fuji Astia slide film and a roll of Kodak E100VS slide film. I did indoor and outdoor, close-up and scenic, with and without flash.

I was appalled with the results. All frames were over exposed both with and without flash. The green of fluorescent lights was not overcome by the flash. The camera had a great deal of trouble sharp focusing even at portrait length.

I compared it to slides I’d shot 2 months ago on the same film with a Olympus Stylus Epic, and the Epic blew the Nikon away. The Epic is one hell of a camera at any price; but especially at $79.95 as compared to the $325.00 I paid for the used Nikon 35 Ti.

I also got truly great results from a Ricoh GR1s. A real gem with more controllability in the higher priced bracket.

GEORGE LANNING , October 02, 2003; 01:42 P.M.

I have purchased the Nikon L35AF point and shoot and it is a wonderful camera. This was Nikon's first point and shoot and has a 5 element lens(35mm f2.8) with a backlit compensation button and the ability to use filters and the viewfinder shows where your are focused with icons. This lens is tack sharp and renders great color. I bought mine for $15 and the second one for $69 as it is brand new and never out of the box. There is a very good review at: www.kenrockwell.com. If you decide to visit his site, which has excellent information on many camera subjects, go to his "how to" section and then click on Nikon cameras and find his comments on the Nikon L35AF

GEORGE LANNING , October 08, 2003; 06:26 P.M.

My previous post was about the Nikon L35AF point and shoot camera. Today I recieved a brand new(never out of the box) Nikon L35AF from KEH.COM. The camera cost $69 plus $9.95 for shipping. This is one great camera and for a full review go to kenrockwell.com and the "how to " section. If you become interested in buying from KEH.com look under used cameras and then Nikon autofocus and then point and shoot. George Lanning

Joe Tarrant , December 06, 2003; 04:44 P.M.

Hi. Can't remember if anybody above has said this or not, but it's a tip I saw elsewhere (can't remember where!). If you're tired of heavy SLRs, carry 2 small identical good quality compact cameras instead: put 100ASA film in one and say 400/800ASA film (or black/white) in the other. This gives you a very light flexible system if you're going to be doing dark, cool cathedrals at lunch-time (nice cool places on a hot day, cathedrals) and then on a hot beach at 4pm. For me, having 2 x Olympus Mju-II's (Epics) with radically different film would more fun and molre flexible than having just one heavy SLR. I really should buy a second Mju-II and try this out next time I'm on holiday. This is a great thread. I keep referring to it. Joe.

Ben-Ami Spectorman , January 26, 2004; 08:21 A.M.

The discussion of what is best P&S, as backup or replacement for heavy equipmenthas beensolved for me. I saw a photo of the late outstanding photographer Helmut Newton holding an Olympus Miu II, and I assume that he was using it. Newton’s tragic death is a sad end to one of the best photographers. My suggestion for you Joe Tarrant, use one digital Olympus C50Z and one Oly miu with film. By the way I had my Oly Miu 35-70 calibrated to improve focusing.

Dave Culver , May 23, 2004; 04:10 P.M.

I bought my wife a Yashica T4 Super for her May birthday four years ago. The camera performed very well for about three years. The photos were very sharp and well exposed. However, the camera stopped focusing last year, so I had it repaired. The repair shop said the focusing mechanism would not allow the lens to extend outward in order to focus close. It worked for one or two rolls of film (@ about one roll/month) and then stopped focusing again. So the camera is only useful for landscapes. It is useless for photographing anything closer than about 30 feet away because it cannot focus any closer.

Kit Grundstein , July 20, 2004; 04:27 A.M.

When after more than 15 years of pocket-derb, sand, and other detritus fouled up its system and my Nikon Zoom Touch 500 finally bellied up, I bought a Nikon Lite Touch Zoom 110. Big mistake. Within three months, the piece of the back that covers the battery had fallen off and gotten lost. Ritz Camera tells me it would cost more to fix it than to get a new one. I now use it with a piece of gaffers' tape holding the battery in. It has a great focus lock system that is easy to use, and takes bright, high-contrast pictures with ISO 400 film, although it needs 800 film in low light because the lense isn't that fast, but it's a piece of cheap plastic. I miss my nice, solid, reliable Zoom Touch 500. Oh where are the better cameras of yesteryear? (Please don't anybody sing, "That's on E-Bay.") Nikon's quality in point and shoot cameras really has fallen off, if my Lite Touch 110 is any example... Now the Olympus Mju Zooms that belong to my daughters are another story. They are remarkably hardy cameras, weather resistant as promised, and tolerate considerable rough treatment. The Zoom 70 takes better pictures than the 115, which nearly never gets fully extended because it outreaches the fill-flash, and even in bright daylight tends to flatten out the photograph. Also, the focus lock is not as easy to use as a Nikon. Our other complaint is that the electrics which operate the retracting and extending lense use up batteries at a rapid rate. Much of the work of these cameras, though, has recently been taken over by a Canon digital camera. For snapshots, they just make an awful lot of sense.

Mark M. , March 25, 2006; 06:57 P.M.

I use a pair of Zeiss Ikonta 35 folders (circa 1950) as P&S shooters..... one with a Tessar, & one with a Schneider. Old-time feel, quality, practical no-frills design & operation is esthetically appealing to me.

Alex Hosking , July 07, 2006; 06:01 P.M.

"The main disadvantage of digital cameras circa 2001 is that they depend so heavily on personal computers circa 2001. With a film-based camera, you press the button 36 times then remove the film and take it to a lab." That was even less true when this was written, and now its years later and its still not true.

Even today I can think of a better reason to use a film compact, the better images quality.

Scott Serata , December 16, 2007; 09:20 P.M.

OK, here we are at the end of 2007! (it's been a year and a half since anyone posted anything to this thread so this thread is probably quite dead but anyway) and I'm thinking of buying a used T4 Super with the fixed 35mm f3.5 lens on Ebay since everyone seems to agree that the glass is good. But there are also used T4 Zooms with the vario-tessar 28-70mm on EBay. I think I read thru this whole thread and didn't see anyone compare the optical quality of the fixed T4 against the newer T4 zoom. Does anyone have any idea? Of course the zoom is slower f4.5-8 vs f3.5 for the fixed lens.

The fixed lens T4 goes for around $200 on Ebay and about the same for the zoom..

Anyone still listening? or has everyone else gone home?

Thanks

DC Chhayanat , January 01, 2008; 08:26 A.M.

I cannot comment on the respective merits of the fixed and zoom lens versions of the Yashica T4. However, the f3.5 aperture on the fixed lens should enable easier operation in available light than the zoom, even where both cameras are using fast film.

The longer end of the zoom shows marked deterioration in quality in most P&S cameras.

I have used the Rollei Prego 90 28-90mm for the past 8 years. The best pictures were taken in available light in the range 35mm to 60mm. I too have some questions about the Prego 90, and hope that an interested Photo.net member will be able to respond.

DC Chhayanat , January 12, 2008; 03:22 A.M.

Users will know that exposure compensation on the Rollei Prego 90 is initiated by the flash button and regulated by the up/down buttons. In my camera, the red LED (warning for slow shutter speed and camera shake) starts blinking as soon as exposure compensation is employed. This happens when either overexposure or underexposure mode is used (except in the brightest conditions where the camera decides that no flash is necessary). If underexposure is used, then the red light could well blink to indicate that a smaller aperture and a slower shutter speed is employed. If overexposure is used, the programme should, presumably, employ a wider aperture and a faster shutter speed and the red light ought not to blink.

Is the red LED on my Prego 90 behaving normally in exposure compensation mode or is something wrong. I quite understand that the actual programming of the camera is unknown except to technicians and the camera?s response could well be normal. If someone is still using such an old camera, it would a simple matter to check the exposure compensation function and I would be grateful for their advice. I got no reply to this question on another site, showing how much digital dominates discussion.

Image Attachment: Prego_02_usp .jpg


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