Reasonable price/performance in P/S?
Old 04-12-2017   #1
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Reasonable price/performance in P/S?

So I am looking for a compact smaller than a Hexar or Konica Autoreflex T4 (which is not that big). Preferably an f/2.8 fixed lens, but it's not critical.

If I am looking to spend $150-300, is there anything good and super-compact that has not been run up to obscenely high prices? And when I say "obscene," the market is the market (thanks Lomography!), but many of the now-cult cameras were never to my knowledge regarded as high-performing and given the generally light-duty construction and the lack of repair support, all potentially disposable (and not by choice...).

The Contax TVS looks like a good candidate (though a zoom), but I don't have much of a sense of how pocketable it actually is. Same for the Konica BigMini 200 or 300.


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Old 04-12-2017   #2
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Olympus Stylus Infinity mju, or something like that. Excellent lens, AF, AE, etc.
Minox 35GT-E. Excellent lens, manual aperture, manual focus, AE.

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Old 04-12-2017   #3
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^ yes the mju would be just perfect for what you need given your budget
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Old 04-12-2017   #4
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Get yourself a Minox and never look back
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Old 04-12-2017   #5
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Tvs is the same size as a T2 if you've used one of those. I may have one available if you're interested...with filters, hood, box, case, etc.
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Old 04-12-2017   #6
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Dante, I have a few things you could try on for size. Shoot me a PM.
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Old 04-12-2017   #7
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ricoh r series cheaper versions of gr
I have ricoh r1, but there's at least one more version
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Old 04-12-2017   #8
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Infinity Stylus mju for f/2.8

The 3.5 Stylus is good too. Or the Yashica T4 35mm f/3.5.
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Old 04-12-2017   #9
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I quit from quest to find reliable super-compact film P&S (advanced electronics made in eighties-nineties) and using super-compact Panasonic digital P&S (common electronics made around 2008) with CCD sensor and Leica zoom lens with f2.8 on the wide side (28mm).
Results are very pleasing for very small camera and images are with Leica lens hint in them.
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Old 04-12-2017   #10
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I would think the Olympus XA would fit the bill. From some of the reading I have done, you may need to be lucky.

When I got mine off ebay, it didn't fire up. Boo! Thinking there might be a capacitor that needed to be reformed, I left it with the battery in for a couple of hours, then tried again. It has worked ever since. Yea!

I heard about the RF being difficult or impossible to see. Sure enough, mine was the same. Boo!!

As I played around with mine, I figured out that if I moved my eye a little to the left, especially if there was a brighter area there, but even then, eye placement was what solved the problem. Yippi !!

It is very small and pocketable. It is made of some kind of plastic, but it seems fairly durable. It takes a little learning to remember where to put you finger(s) to focus, but that is quickly learned. The aperture is f/2.8 to f/22, so that is one thing you wanted. ASA is 25 to 800, a decent range. Shutter is selected for you (auto AF), and flash, even the larger one, doesn't make the camera too large. Without flash, it is of course even more pocketable.

Another thing I like about it is that the lens is 35mm.

I like mine a lot. YMMV
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Old 04-12-2017   #11
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Olympus XA original 35/2.8
Olympus Stylus Mju-II 35/2.8
Minolta AF-C w/ EF-C flash 35/2.8
Konica Big Mini

I hear you about repairs, Dante. And they aren't that cheap anymore either. A few of these I currently own and I will be disposing of them all, but shipping and customs might kill the deal...
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Old 04-12-2017   #12
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+1 to Off the Herd, and Johann's posts re XA. Repairs seem more easily realized on that camera than some others. I love the design of the camera and used one belonging to a friend years ago making some nice enlargements with it.

I also recommend the Konica Auto S3 (38mm f1.8) although it is a bit larger.
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Old 04-12-2017   #13
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Olympus Mju II, could be found with a reasonable price without sniping on eBay all day long.


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Old 04-12-2017   #14
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I'd say the Contax TVSii / iii are probably the best in that price range for zooms, and Yashica T4 / Ricoh GR1(s) / Olympus Mju II / Fujifilm Klasse / Rollei AFM35 are in the $200-300 range for fixed 35mm primes.

But if you're looking for *really* cheap bargains, the XA series, Pentax PC35AF, , Minolta AF-C, Minolta AF-V "Talker", Nikon L35AF / L35AW, Canon AF35ML / AFM "Autoboy" and various variants of the Konica C35 AF / Minolta Hi-Matic AF2 rebranded to so many other cameras of that era that I lost count.
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Old 04-12-2017   #15
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The Ricoh GR1 is superb, one of the few (maybe the only) "luxury" compacts of which the price hasn't bloated and should still be within your range. The lens is, technically, on par with the Leica M-Elmarits (even the ASPH version). The camera itself is a design masterpiece that just goes. Always the No.1 in my list.

The GR10 is less well featured, less intuitive to use but still has the same killer lens. Cheaper, of course.

The R1/ R1s is like the GR10, but with less sophisticated 30/3.5 lens and an extra 24/8 option for fun. Depends on your taste, but I prefer the rocket science in that GR lens...

The Leica Minilux should not be too expensive as well. Awesome lens, but the camera itself is a pig to use. Imagine pressing the mode button six times to turn off the auto flash each time you power it on, then peep through the peeping hole that is supposed to be the viewfinder to shoot. Not THAT bad as it sounds (the distance dial is nice), but definitely not a benchmark in usability. The dreaded E02 problem can be cured now so no need to worry about that though.

The Yashica T4 is nice to have. Not the exalted T4 Super/T5, which has the same Tessar lens but with an extra waist level finder (fun to use, but...), weatherproofing and a much heftier price tag. I bet if made in Titanium these will fetch a price comparable to the Contax T3's.

The Stylus Epic/ Mju II is a good allrounder. Tiny, budget friendly, with an adequate lens, weatherproofing and "spot" meter. Nice to hold as well. The only downside is you have to work with it a lot (took me 50+ rolls) to figure out how its claimed-to-be-intelligent-yet-in-reality-not-so metering and exposure system likes to behave.

The DL Super Mini/ Tiara is interesting to use and good looking. The 28/3.5 EBC Fujinon is a gem. Lots of features as well, if not a bit cryptic in layout. You might find the camera being too small.

Or get one of the Big Minis (anything other than the more expensive F) or the original Olympus Stlyus/ Mju. They are no frills P&S with adequate AF systems, good optics and true freedom - just press the shutter and shoot away!
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Old 04-13-2017   #16
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I will suggest the Pentax UC-1 / Espio Mini. Functionally equivalent to the Olympus Stylus but I prefer the boxier shape of the Espio.
My primary annoyance with it is flash is on by default and I have to remember to turn it off every time I turn the camera on.


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Old 04-14-2017   #17
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I'll second that about the Pentax ESPIO mini and almost all the others with mini in the title. That means Leica, Konica, Minolta, Olympus and Panasonic as well as Pentax.

Most of them are dirt cheap if you keep your eyes open. And that's a good thing as their age and the little respect sellers have for small film cameras means you may need to buy one or two before getting a good one but the good ones are excellent at doing their job.

FWIW, I've had several of the expensive ones and, like the cheap ones, there's no guarantee that they will work and few people in the repair trade will touch them...

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Old 04-14-2017   #18
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contax tix if aps isn't a bridge too far.
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Old 04-14-2017   #19
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I would recommend the Ricoh GR10. Sort of hard to find, but is very good value as long as you stay away from BIN prices... I paid $100US a couple years a go. Reputed to have the same lens as the more expensive siblings; the lens in my GR1 blew me away, my GR10 doesn't have the same wow factor; probably just me though.
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Old 04-14-2017   #20
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Rollei 35S.
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Old 04-14-2017   #21
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I'm not sure why they are not more popular but the Oly PEN S is a great little camera. I shoot a 3cm f2.8 version and really enjoy everything about it. Great finder, excellent controls, small, robust, and what's more, 80 frames a roll!

Other than that I can recommend the mju II, and the excellent Minolta TC-1...
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Old 04-15-2017   #22
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Minolta riva mini... freedom escort.
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