Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2001/12/13

[Author Prev] [Author Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Author Index] [Topic Index] [Home] [Search]

Subject: [Leica] Point and Shoot
From: Mark Langer <>
Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2001 09:04:13 -0500
References: <>

> Date: Wed, 12 Dec 2001 21:03:39 -0500
> From: "Robert W. Clark" <>
> Subject: [Leica] Point and Shoot
> Message-ID: <>
> References:
> A few weeks ago, my wife's Yashica T4 with the Carl Zeiss 3.5 lens stopped
> working and the factory said it would cost more to replace it than to get a
> new one.  We need a point and shoot but not with a zoom lens.  I liked the
> Yashica but was frustrated from time to time that it tended to focus between
> things than on them.  Other than that, it was an excellent camera, small
> enough to take anywhere, and it has a nice fill flash capability.  I may get
> another Yashica ($150 or so)but I'm curious as to what the Leica Nation
> might be using or might prefer....maybe a Minilux?
> Robert Clark
> Lancaster, PA


I am a big fan of compact 35mm cameras and have used many over the years.  Since others are doing it as well, I will suggest some cameras without autofocus in addition to autofocus ones.  In terms of
modern p&s cameras, while I agree that it is wise to be suspicious of the performance of those with zoom lenses, don't discount using zoom lenses altogether, as the one on the Contax TVS is
surprisingly good, and the camera offers far greater control (aperture preferred, programmed exposure, + or - 5 stops compensation, etc) than a T4 Super.  And the autofocus is really fast.  Like all
p&s cameras, the flash on this is primarily for fairly close work.  You aren't going to blister the paint off the walls with any p&s flash.

I regularly use an Olympus XA and XA4.  The former is a nice rangefinder with some exposure control and the latter is a real bargain with its 28mm f3.5 lens.  Both have good glass with a slight
tendency to falloff around the corners wide open with the XA (something you should be used to from your Yashica).  The downside with the Oly XA and XA4 is that you are limited to their dedicated
flash.  The A11 is really feeble and the A16, while marginally better, adds significantly to the size of the camera.

An underrated gem is the Petri Color 35 -- not the large rangefinder but the compact Rollei 35 clone with a 40mm f2.8 Tessar-type lens which is unit focussing, not front cell focussing as on the
Rollei 35 with Tessar.  This design is very much improved over the Rollei, offering match-needle metering visible in the finder, a hot shoe at the extreme left top of the camera, zone focus symbols
in the viewfinder, and all aperture, shutter speed and focus controls on the top plate and operable without taking your eye from the viewfinder.

The very best glass I've encountered in a compact 35mm camera is on the Konica Auto S3, which comes with a 38mm f1.7 of unsurpassed quality.  It also has a hot shoe, and aperture-preferred auto
metering.  It also comes with a terrific flash system where you set the guide number of your flash on the camera, and the camera adjusts the aperture according to the distance the camera is
focussed.  Simple and effective.  It is a bit larger than the Petri, Olympus and Yashica T4, but about the same size as the Contax TVS.

All of these, except the Contax, can be picked up for about $100 or less.  A used TVS (get the first or second models) will set you back about $400.  There are lots of other compact 35 cameras that I
have used with pleasure, like the Minox 35 models and their Kiev clone, the Hanimex 35EE, etc., as well as larger ones that are good performers (Canon QL17 GIII, Minolta 7S, Konica Auto S2, etc.) but
the compacts I suggest are the cream of the crop, in my experience.

Stephen Gandy's CameraQuest website has a section on Japanese rangefinders of the 1960s and 1970s.  While I don't always agree with his evaluation of the cameras, it is a goldmine of basic
information about this type of camera.  Before buying a modern p&s, you really owe it to yourself to become acquainted with the incredible values and high performance offered by these kinds of


- --
To unsubscribe, see