Its been a few months now since I started using the Mamiya as my main camera, and.. I have some thoughts. Let me first say that I consider the Mamiya RB67 to be the mother of all roll film cameras, and it's understandable that one who enjoys shooting film might gravitate towards this camera, as I did. They're fully mechanical, the negatives are huge, the lenses are sharp as fuck, and the process of working with it is really enjoyable, at least in my opinion. It's an overall …Read More
To the uninformed the Olympus AF-1, Or the "Super" version in my case, looks like a very appealing camera. It is automatic, reasonably well made, and has a fast 35mm F/2.8 lens. How can you go wrong at the price that they go for, right? And to be fair it does have a lot of features I like, but …Read More
When starting out in film photography, a normal lens should be among the first lenses you should buy. They're compact, easy to compose with, and best of all, they can be used for just about anything you'll want to shoot. There are about a million different 50mm lenses available for any given mount, but nikons lineup is even more intimidating because of the confusing labels given to certain lenses …Read More
Everyone loves the Nikon L35AF. As far as OG point-and-shoots go, Its one of the most revered for its awesome 35mm F/2.8 lens, and its easily one of the most recognizable point-and-shoots from its era. For whatever reason though, the later L35AF2 and 3, or "One Touch" as they were known on the US market, don't get as much love. After using it though, I think it really shines for one task - street photography. …Read More
As far as compacts go, Olympus is known for making many of the best, ranging from the XA to the Stylus Epic. And with the Olympus Stylus Epic gaining cult status, people are becoming more and more interested in its zoom counterparts as well. Most agree that the best of these is the Zoom 80 model. While its range isn't quite as big than the others, this actually results in …Read More
Please note that this review isn't just me ripping on the Leica mini. If you find one at a good price, by all means buy it and you should be pretty happy. Here's the thing about the Leica Mini though... its a great compact, but it doesn't hold up when compared to the Mini Zoom(in my opinion). The Camera itself is awesome. Its fun to shoot, and feels surprisingly solid for a plastic point and shoot. It also focuses pretty quickly, and as far as automatic film cameras go, its not that loud. Its also significantly smaller than the zoom, so it has that going for it as well.
To me, the problem is the lens. Its actually a really good lens, especially by point-and-shoot standards. But its NOT as good as the mini zoom. The Mini zoom has a lens that is just as sharp, and while you sacrifice half a stop or so at its widest setting, you get much more versatility in a relatively similar package with the mini zoom. The other problem is its lack of control features. While the mini zoom has a variety of modes to choose from, the Mini only has flash settings, like the majority of consumer point and shoots from the time.
Because of these issues, I consider the Leica Mini to be a dumbed down version of the Leica mini zoom. It does have one feature that I like though, which is that mine tended to slightly overexpose photos by around a stop, making scanning much easier on flatbed scanners like my v600. This could vary from camera to camera though, so take it with a grain of salt.
All images were shot on full auto mode with Kodak Ultramax 400, and were scanned with an epson v600
I've used a lot of compacts in this point. Most of them have been lower end models, but there have been a few exceptions, and this is one of them. A few months ago I won a lot of cameras on Ebay. A few of the cameras in the lot included a Nikon Fun Touch, a Konica Jump, the original Leica Mini, and this gem - the Leica Mini Zoom. Although I was originally much more interested in the fixed lens model, Over the last few weeks I have fallen in love with this little zoom camera, and it is certainly the best zoom lens(or any lens, for that matter) compact I have used to date. All images in this set were shot on auto mode on Kodak Gold 35mm film at box speed, and scanned on my epson v600. Despite these shots being digitized on a flatbed scanner and Gold being a notoriously grainy film stock, I was absolutely blown away by the results.
Overall this compact might seem like many others. It has a 35-70 variable aperture lens, Its manual controls are quite minimal, Its very plastic-ey(especially for a Leica), and its pretty big for a compact camera. However, there is a long list of features that make this camera my favorite compact to date.
The first feature may be a con to some, but to me the size of it is perfect. Its definitely bigger than the average compact(only slightly smaller than my Nikon L35AFII), but it fits spectacularly in my hand, where many cameras are either too small or awkwardly designed. And what (for some) it may lack in compactness, it more than makes up for in style. This thing is a classy camera that puts the new champagne-color craze to shame. While it isn't as sleek as the Minilux series, I love it just the same.
Undoubtably the most important aspect, the lens on the Mini Zoom is absolutely awesome. It is far sharper than any other compact I've used at its wider settings, and even at 70mm its IQ stands up well to other compacts like my Olympus infinity stylus. Its virtually distortion and CA free as well, which is important because of the difficulty correcting such things when shooting film. Surprisingly, I found the optics to be even better than the fixed lens Leica Mini, likely because out of the entire Leica Mini series, the Zoom is the only model with a lens that is actually made by Leica themselves. Even the autofocus system is a dream, and it is among the quietest I have seen so far on a compact. While its not quite as fast to focus as some compacts, the focus system is incredibly accurate, and out of the two rolls I put through, not a single image was out of focus.
The metering system is spot on as well, with only one or two of the images it took coming out underexposed. It even handles backlighting well without any manipulation on the users end. From what I've read It has a phenomenal metering system - possibly even one of the best in a 35mm compact camera. What i like most about the metering is that it tends to err on the side of natural light instead of jumping at every opportunity to fire the flash. Unlike many more consumer-grade cameras, even when it does use the flash it is generally only used as fill, balancing the natural and artificial light beautifully.
I honestly cant say enough good things about this camera, and I would definitely recommend it over some of the earlier fixed lens Leica mini's. If I didn't need the money you could be damn sure this would be my go-to point and shoot, and if you aren't convinced by the test shots, don't worry, my scanner really doesn't do the negatives justice. Even looking at them through a loupe on a light table, the quality is awesome. If you have it in your budget, get one of these beauties. Anything under $150 is a good deal(at the time I'm writing this) and in my opinion its well worth it.
Note: many of the images in this article are extremely grainy. My specific camera's meter was messed up, and most of the images were very underexposed. My scanner had difficulty picking up the detail, hence the grain. This is not typical of the camera, and that should be kept in mind while reading. For examples of properly exposed images, see the end of the article.
There are a lot of great 35mm point and shoots out there. There a lot of terrible ones too. The Canon Sprint is neither. Its pretty unremarkable to be perfectly honest. Its not mediocre, but not a very good camera either. The images it spits out are fine. Certainly good enough for what it is- a snapshot camera, and actually very sharp(more on that later).
My biggest issue with it is that I don't quite get who its for; at least in the context of modern film photography. While it has a variety of features that I like in a film point and shoot, it also has a few key limitations that are almost counterintuitive to the positive aspects of the camera.
The first(and most off-putting) part of the camera is its extremely limited dx code range with only ISO 100-400 being detectable by the electronics within. As a DX code hacker, this is a real issue, but one that I can get past. The second problem is that the lens is good, but not that good. It could probably print a descent 8x10, but past that the results would likely be questionable. This is pretty typical of point and shoots, but whats odd is that this camera seems to be aimed at more savvy photographers who often print much larger images from 35mm film. Aspects like the manual flash deployment, and frame by frame wind-on mechanism would make it seem like this camera is aimed at more serious shooters, but the lens and ISO range make it unlikely that too many of said people would make it their compact of choice.
But regardless, it is a descent camera worthy of using if you get it at a descent price. To see more accurate test shots, see below. 35mmc also has a review of it with many more test images that more accurately represent the quality this camera can provide.