Every day we see Insta-Celebs showing their prowess for all their millions of followers. We willingly gobble up everything they tell us to buy and do. This usually is a good idea of course. Who am I to tell you that the new investment opportunities provided by your favorite influencers is, in fact, a pyramid scheme. I have none qualifications needed to make that statement. However, recently a couple of Insta-famous ladies and gentlemen have been posing online with something I am (self) qualified for to give a semi-informed opinion on. The attributes our loved influencers use when posing in pictures are all the new rage, the point and shoot film camera.
Kendall Jenner regularly posts images of herself holding a Contax t2. This is a very esthetically pleasing looking point and shoot film camera. This is one of the reasons point and shoot cameras became increasingly popular. Avid film shooters might have already known that the Contax t series are splendid cameras and produce amazing images. The popularity came from people who had never touched an analog camera before and are now longing for a camera that is way above their budget. Due to the lucky few who did have some spare cash lying around the prices inflated due to the increase in demand. Apparently letting famous people advertise products works, who knew?!
This is only one of many examples regarding analog cameras. However, I was wondering whether point and shoot cameras are worth the hype. I am not one of those lucky people who have money laying around waiting to be spent on camera’s, I wish. So that is why I decided to make a comprehensive list of expensive point and shoot cameras and whether they are worth the cash, or if a cheaper alternative might be the better choice for you.
In this little blog I’ll tell you about the cameras I have used in the past and use on a regular basis alongside of the cameras one could only wish for. Because I work for an analog camera company, I’ve been lucky enough to have shot with some heavy hitters so there is some firsthand experience there. In order to get some information about camera’s I have not used myself the internet provided me with all the necessary information. One thing you might want to know before reading any further; everything you will read in this article is biased. I have a profound love for point and shoot cameras. I love the way they fit in a pocket, I love that they make you shoot intuitively, and I love the weird effects some of the cheaper cameras give your film. All in all, if you want an honest review, this is not the place to be.
To kick things off let’s start by talking about the Contax point and shoots. I’ve touched on this brand in the opening of this blog already. The popularity of the T-series, however, is not only due to Kendall Jenners’ Instagram popularity. The T-series has been renown since its conception. A tiny package and razor-sharp lenses with great autofocus and metering gave them powerhouse rating in the photographic community. The T-series came in two configurations; the T, T2 and T3 came with a fixed 35mm lens whereas the Tvs, Tvs II and Tvs III were fitted with a variable zoom lens. Both these cameras were made for the prosumer and luxury market. Basically, it was made for people who were willing and able to put up the cash. The price did get you Zeiss lens sharpness and good color saturation and a jazzy little camera that could fit in your pocket.
Another point and shoot made by Contax is the MJU variety. This little camera is very popular as well and for good reason. Although the plastic body looks like it could have been a disposable (and feels that way as well to be honest) the lenses on these are beastly. Tack sharp, great color rendition and the classic click and forget point and shoot style of photography makes it a charm to use. Especially the MJU-II is popular with analog photographers today. Mainly because of the forementioned reasons and because the camera is quite small. Although the MJU feels a bit cheap and plasticky the autofocus and metering system is out of this world. Especially for a camera of its size and girth one would not expect this quality. The camera is great to use and a true point and shoot. No dials, no buttons other than the shutter release and a flash overdrive. This little beast of a camera proves that you don’t need more that a keen eye and proper lighting to produce stunning images. Check out the Video our affiliate Niels made about the MJU-II.
Carrying on with another ‘real’, ‘OG’ point and shoot camera, the Yashica T4. Like I mentioned this is a classic point and shoot, no-nonsense camera. It has minimal buttons and functions making is super easy to use. It uses (almost) the same Carl Zeiss 35mm lens as the Contax T-series. Not strange considering it was developed by the same external company Kyocera. Because of the lens and build quality the T4 has reached cult levels of popularity. With the reintroduction of film recently many professional photographers have reached for a film camera. So did Terry Richardson, he reached for the T4 and used the snapshot style it creates for his fashion photography. And let’s be honest, if something is good enough for Vogue, it’s going to be good enough for the rest of us.
There is no way I can write a blog about any type of camera without mentioning Nikon. This company had a hand in everything that had anything remotely to do with photography back in the day. They made everything, and thus, point and shoots. The most renown point and shoots they made are the Ti’s. This camera comes with either a 35mm or 28mm lens respectively calling the camera 35Ti and the 28Ti. I’ve had the pleasure to use the 28Ti and it was a great experience. The camera has some options, I chose not to use any of them and stuck to the shutter release button. Not only does the camera feel like a real nice piece of machinery it looks the part. The dials on the top give off the feeling that the camera is like a finely made watch. Not only does the camera look pretty it produces great images as well. The glass is super sharp and produces images that are up to par with the Nikon SLR lenses. Again, great color rendition and because of the coating zero tot no lens flares and disturbances.
We’ve talked about a couple of cameras now and apart from the fact that they are point and shoot style cameras they have another factor in common, the price. All these cameras are only there for people who cut their bacon thick and eat with golden spoons. However, as a poor student I don’t like spending my rent money on a camera. Therefore, I would like to mention a couple of more budget friendly cameras that will not break the bank. As a poor student, No-Digital employee, photographer and most importantly stingy Dutch guy (I wear so many hats, unbelievable) I like a good deal just as much as the next guy.
There are a couple of point and shoots that do really have a lot of bang for their buck. Starting off with an Olympus yet again; the Olympus XA series. This tiny camera is super inconspicuous and depending on the version of the XA it either has a focus lever or a zone focusing system. There are a couple of variations in the XA system. They are numbered but the main differences are mainly focused on usability. The XA2 is completely automatic with a zone focus lever, where the XA is aperture priority and has a manual focus. Both cameras are the same size and fit the same external flash units produced for the XA system. It is just a matter of preference. I own an XA2 and absolutely love it. My grandmother used to use it all the time and after she passed it was given to me. I use it as a daily carry and have it on me regularly. The images it produces aren’t amazing quality wise, however, because it is so small no-one really seems to notice it. This makes it perfect for those candid shots when I am hanging out with friends or when I see something interesting walking down the street.
It’s time to conclude this already way to long story. What did we learn and what do I want to give you as advice. Point and shoots are awesome if you know how to use them correctly. They produce a certain quality image that is all hip and happening now driving up the price of certain cameras. I see why people would want to have a point and shoot but also understand they would rather spend that money on a really good SLR and a hand full of lenses. My advice would be as follows; if you want the point and shoot effect for serious business applications and if you are able to make money from those images spend the money. Expensive point and shoots are awesome and will give you more control and therefore more continuity in your images. You will know what you are going to get.
If you are not going to use your images professionally and just want to have a simple camera to carry around, don’t buy the most expensive camera in the market. An inexpensive camera will be just as fun to use. There is a likelihood that the camera might miss focus or not nail the exposure on every image but that is also part of the charm. Because of the inexpensive nature of the camera, you won’t expect perfection. The most important thing is that you enjoy using the camera otherwise there is no reason to take it with you. Personally, I don’t think point and shoots are worth the hype, however, neither are they a thirst trap. The expensive cameras might be a little overpriced, but they do produce stunning images and are beautiful pieces of engineering. Cheaper cameras might be a bit silly in the image department sometimes but that makes the exciting to use. So, in conclusion; splurge if you can, don’t worry if you cant.