The Brief, Brilliant Life Of The Compact 35

RetroIt’s been a long time since I was a high school student – 50 years this month. And I am determined to hand in my end of term essay and graduate one day – the university has been pestering me for a sight of my high school diploma for four decades. They had as much chance of seeing it as Telstra has of seeing a payment on the latest phone bill…

During the interval between getting my first 35mm camera and my latest APS-C digital there were any number of picture boxes in any number of sizes and shapes…but one subdivision I never explored was the compact 35mm camera. I think I made a mistake in not doing so, because I suspect I missed some gems.

You may scoff at this, but consider what some of these offered – f:2.8-1.8 lenses – leaf shutters – full synch – 24mm x 36mm sensor size – no sensor dust problem – no battery problems – and compact size. Compared to today’s tech-frantic digital world there are a number of problems these cameras never had to solve.

And they are now valueless. If you see them at flea markets they are $ 25 each. Even if they are in perfect working order they are not old enough to be historic or new enough to be desired. They may be the perfect glove compartment camera for the casual shooter – as long as the casual shooter has a scanner and access to a pro lab. I do.

I think I will wait until the next photo markets have passed to post this column. I don’t want to spook the game. A tiny Canon, Nikon, or Konica – even a Petri or a Ricoh – may be just what the doctor ordered.


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