For the beginner in film photography, there will be a day where you want to upgrade from your first point and shoot camera, perhaps you want something that takes sharper images or just has a few more features. Well, take a gander and you might just find your next camera here. Most of these can be found for anywhere between £50-£150 these days (which is what I’ve arbitrarily decided is mid-range these days).
For the seasoned photographer, well you’re probably in the same trap as me where one camera simply isn’t enough. More. Give me more cameras.
Nikon L35AF Specs:
Lens: 35mm f/2.8
Film Speed: 50-1000 ISO
Exposure: Fully automatic, range EV 6 (f/2.8 at 1/8 sec.) to EV 17 (f/17.5 at 1/430 sec.) with 100 ISO film
Other Features: Built In Flash, Auto Rewind
Batteries: 2 x AA Alkaline Batteries
The L35AF was Nikon’s first go at the autofocus point and shoot, it was originally released 1983 and still remains extremely popular to this day due to the incredibly sharp 2.8 lens. This is another camera that is light enough that you can throw round your shoulder and not be bothered by the weight or the size. This camera was nicknamed by Nikon as Pikaichi which translates to “top notch” and really, it is! I’ve been using one of these for the past 2 years and I couldn’t recommend it enough, the results are always fantastic.
Olympus XA Specs:
Lens: 35mm f/2.8 Zuiko
Film Speed: 25-800 ISO
Okay, so the XA series has 5 cameras ranging from the original XA then came the XA1 and then subsequent models up to the XA4 but I’m specifically referring to the Olympus XA. This camera was originally released back in 1979 and at the time, was one of the smallest compact cameras on the market and trust me, it’s small, coming at just 10.2cm wide. This camera was designed to be carried in a shirt pocket so with this in mind, they say the best camera you have is the one you have on you. With the XA, you have no excuse to not have a camera on you.
Besides the size of this thing, somehow they’ve managed to squeeze a 35mm f/2.8 Zuiko lens in there with rear focusing so no extruding lens on this one. An important factor for those budding street photographers out there is that unlike the AF35M which sounds like a freight train when you press the shutter, this is super quiet so perfect for those stealthy street shots.
Olympus MJU II
Olympus MJU II Specs:
Lens: 35mm f/2.8
Weight: 135 g
Film Speed: 50-3200 ISO
Batteries: 1 X CR123
In recent years, you will see a lot of people either complaining or straight up surprised how expensive these are today. Well the truth is, these cameras have a cult following and a for a good reason! Since its release in 1997, Olympus sold over 3.8 millions units of the MJU II.
This is regarded as the “ultimate point and shoot” camera. Again, this camera is pocket-able, only weighs 135g and is also weatherproof (This pretty much means against of splashes of rain rather than standing in a storm) which makes a good contender for an all year camera. It packs a sharp 35mm 2.8 lens which produces excellent results and can focus down to 38cm. You might read around on some older blog posts that these go for about £20-£50 but don’t be fooled, the resurgence of these cameras has knocked the price up to £200+ mark. Rest assured, you’re getting a lot of camera and quality for the money
Yashica T2 Specs:
Lens: Carl Zeiss T* 35mm f/3.5
Shutter speeds: 1/8–1/500
Weight: 135 g
Film Speed: 50-1600 ISO
Batteries: 1 X 6V 2CR5
The Yashica T2 is part of the legendary T* series and arguably, you could probably stick the T1, T2 or T3 on this list (T4 & T5 probably fall into the premium list since they are much more spenny) but I’ve chosen the T2 because it’s a strong performer and are relatively cheap in comparison to it’s successors.
It was originally released in the late 80’s and boast the Carl Zeiss T* 35mm lens (the same one you’d find the in T4). The metering is accurate reproducing colours and the autofocus is going to be sharper than most point and shoot cameras out there. These cameras are fairly rare these days so if you do see one for ~£150, I’d snap it up and look after it.
Pentax Espio AF Zoom
Pentax Espio AF Zoom Specs:
Lens: 35mm-70mm f/3.8 to 8
Focus: 0.6m to infinity
Film speed: 25 to 3200 ISO
Flash: Yes, Built In
Film Loading: Automatically advances to the first frame when camera back cover is closed
Batteries: 1 x CR123
The Espio is a solid camera that is super lightweight, takes excellent photos and actually, feels great in your hand. It’s probably one of the more ergonomic cameras I’ve used in the past. Something about the simplicity of the body design makes it a sexy looking camera,
Anyway, performance; this thing is packed with lots of settings and modes making it a versatile camera if you’re into different types of shooting. Also, let’s acknowledge something great here…it has BULB mode! This is typically rare in this low-mid level camera range but Pentax did us a solid here. Images are also sharp and metering is accurate too, no brainer really!