Compact Cameras – Undiscovered Brilliance

Until you discover compact film cameras, you will never know what you are missing! I recently went out with a couple of old favourites, the Nikon 35ti and Ricoh GR1v…

You can read more about these cameras here :

Ricoh GR1v

Nikon 35ti

Compact 35mm Cameras

There are plenty of others I would love to try such as the Contax T3 and the Konica Hexar AF, but am doing my best to avoid gear acquisition syndrome!

GR1v  Image

GR1v Image – Kodak Tmax 400

Out taking some shots over the last month, these little beauties reminded me again of how much fun they are, and the absolute quality of the lenses. You can still buy examples of premium compact 35mm cameras for a good price, but the window will eventually close. Everyone of them seem to have a delicate little film winding motor that is no longer replaceable, I am sure!

You can poke these little babies in any direction without too much notice. And they are light – the GR1v, in particular, is incredibly light and fits easily in a pocket.

Look for one with an aperture of F2.8 to make sure you can get some decent low light images, and check that you are able to manually set the ISO just in case you want to push some film! Quite a few have only auto ISO setting, so unless can ISO hack (yes, it is possible!), check the specs for manual iso capability.

Compact cameras are sensational tools whether digital or film based. When I first got into photography, I just assumed bigger was better – because the best lenses for my DSLR were massive! The smaller the lens, the crappier it seemed to be. It took a while for me to learn otherwise – rangefinders and compacts really opened my eyes up to options for quality.

So, next time you are considering a new purchase for the street, there are some things to think about :

1. Go for something with a prime lens at least F2.8 or lower.

2. If going for a film model, make sure you get a model with manual iso setting capability.

3. 28mm or 35mm prime lenses are the probably best to consider.

4. Personally, I think you will get better value from a fixed prime lens than a zoom. Use your feet to zoom.

5. Don’t be shocked by the price – a top end compact is often more expensive than a consumer DSLR kit if it is any good! The Nikon Coolpix A (a ripping little camera) will set you back over $700!

6. Think small.

Nikon 35ti Image - Kodak Tmax 400

Nikon 35ti Image – Kodak Tmax 400

4 Responses to “Compact Cameras – Undiscovered Brilliance”

  1. There’s also the Olympus XA2 – it looks like a toy so nobody takes you seriously when you’re on the streets. Fantastic for street photography!



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    […] regularly seem to work this out eventually! Cameras like this or maybe like this. Here are some general thoughts on […]


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    […] Compact 35mm Cameras such as the Ricoh GR1V / Konica Hexar / Nikon 35ti […]


  3. Sony RX1R 11 First Impressions | Inconspicuosity - July 19, 2016

    […] Compact cameras have now caught up to DSLRs on quality – both the lenses and sensors. It reminds me of the great film compacts of the 90’s and 2000’s…  A compact camera like the Ricoh GR, Fuji X100, or Sony are well worth considering, along with the massive range of mirrorless four thirds cameras out there. […]


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