Compact 35 And APS Cameras
Introductions of new models of compact 35mm cameras have slow-ed down considerably in the past year, but to make up for this deficit, there have been many interesting second and third generation new models in the 24mm wide APS format which is about three and a half years old now. Evidently the camera manufacturers are devoting much of their R&D expertise for this new film size as a number of new APS models are substantially different from their bigger 35mm brothers, making them distinctive and intriguing. Quite a few models are exceptionally thin, have few, or no protrusions on their smooth covers, so they can be easily slid into a briefcase, pocket, or purse and carried along everywhere to record those elusive images that often present themselves when you don't have a larger and often bulkier 35mm camera nearby. These small and very light APS cameras often include a moderate zoom range and a host of extra features that make them very capable of producing excellent record images that can also be enlarged when something other than album size prints are desired.
Very few models of compact
cameras of either type offer the user much direct control over the programmed
fully automatic settings. That is aperture or shutter priority or manual
focus. They are extremely simplified so anybody can literally pick one
up and start shooting. All models offer some control over flash options
and a few also have preprogrammed shooting modes to expand the automatic
options. The modes are often macro; sports action; portrait; continuous
drive; and night (longer exposure for background recording combined with
a flash fill to light a foreground subject).
Features To Look For On Compact 35mm. In our estimation most desirable features include: focus lock (a marked indication in the viewfinder which is placed over an off-center subject, partially press down on the shutter release to lock this focus, then recompose and take the picture); infinity (for shooting through glass windows in a vehicle, because the AF might read the window and set a close focus for a distant subject); close-focusing capability; a long flash range; and a broad shutter speed range. A few cameras have a exposure compensation switch which can be helpful for severely backlighted subjects. A bright viewfinder with good close-up correction indicators; a broad range of DX sensing film speeds which extends capabilities for low light use without flash. Date time imprinting can be a handy extra feature on 35mm, but it is standard on most APS models. A few 35mm models offer a prewinding of the film to the end of the roll before the first frame is exposed. Then as each picture is made, the film is wound back into the film cassette. At the end of the roll just a few frames must be rewound, so they can be unloaded more rapidly. This feature is advantageous because if the camera back is accidentally opened, only a few frames of exposed film will be fogged, not the bulk of the exposed roll as with normal film winding.
Simplified, well-marked controls that are easy to operate with a fingertip are helpful. A few cameras have been so miniaturized you must use a fingernail or other small object to operate some controls. Many models have a bulge or depression on the right and left side of the body indicating where the camera should be gripped. A few have a protrusion below the flash head as a warning to the user that they should not hold it there as some of the flash output would be blocked. Some have a flash that pops up from the body slightly helping minimize any possible redeye effect.
Desirable APS Camera Features. Most of the features mentioned earlier are also found on APS models and would be a good rule of thumb to follow when purchasing an APS camera, too. The prime attributes of APS cameras are drastically simplified drop-in film loading with no leader to contend with; negatives are returned uncut, rolled back into the original cassette (each having an exclusive six-digit serial number) for storage; a choice of three framing formats ("C," Classic 4x6" print; "H," HDTV 4x7"; and "P," Panorama 4x11"). APS film is actually 24mm wide vs. 35mm and the image size is 16.7x30mm vs. 24x36mm on 35mm. There are just three speeds of color negative film currently available (100, 200, and 400) plus a 400 speed chromogenic black and white film. These films are offered in 15, 25, and 40 exposure rolls. Although APS color slide film was announced several years ago by Kodak and Fuji, it is not yet available in the U.S.A.
The features often include a moderately fast lens combined with a broad shutter speed range, making them capable of recording crisp images in low-light levels without flash if you take care to hold the camera extra steady. Most better models of APS cameras can record any of seven to 40 or 50 different titles, but instead of having to refer to a printed alphanumeric coded list to determine the exact title, several models actually show the title text on the cameras LCD, drastically simplifying using this handy feature. MRC (Mid Roll Change) is a feature which permits you to remove a partially exposed roll, shoot another roll or two of different speed film, then put the original roll back in to complete--all without losing a single frame of film. This feat is practically impossible to do in any 35mm camera. More models at different price levels now include the MRC.
A magnetic track along the edge of APS film receives and records pertinent data about each frame exposed which can be "read" by printing machines. It is this capability that allows the MRC, titles, and other enhanced features to work on APS. Better model cameras also include a PQI (Print Quality Improvement) feature that records data about scene brightness, where the sky was located, whether flash was used, etc., to assist the automatic printer to produce a better print on the first pass, thereby minimizing the need for time-consuming reprints. A few advanced models even record picture-taking data such as the f/stop, shutter speed, lens focal length, etc., but be aware that not all processing labs have the translation capability to imprint the enhanced data encoded on the film. We have found that many processing labs are now pricing APS processing as a flat rate per roll instead of having a fee for processing the film, making the index print, and then varied prices on the three print formats which made the total bill rather steep when the larger H and P formats were used.
Several models with exceptionally
close-focusing capability have a really nice masking viewfinder capability
that quickly alerts you to compose properly so you don't crop off
part of the subject's head. Compact cameras still are not as accurate
for close-ups as an SLR, TTL viewfinder, but it's a far better system
than the simple crop lines often placed in the top of most viewfinders.
These marks only approximate where you should crop, but don't let
you know when you should actually use the marks as they show all the time.
Argus APS 100 is
a moderately priced camera with a 24mm f/4.5 lens; shutter speeds of 1/4-1/450
sec; autofocusing and auto flash; DXIX 100-800; five title choices; and
The Canon ELPH LT
is one of the tiniest APS compact cameras available. When closed there
are no protrusions on the smooth exterior making it extremely pocketable.
Some of the seldom-used operating controls are quite tiny so they have
to be operated with a fingernail or pen point. It has a 23mm f/4.8 lens;
AF focusing 2' infinity; wide 1/2-1/650 sec shutter speeds; DXIX
25-10,000; flash range 2-10.5'; five optional titles; measures 3.3x2.2x1.4";
weighs only 4.1 oz; and lists for $130. Keeping a similar tiny size body
found on most other ELPH models is the Canon ELPH 2 with a 2x zoom lens,
MRC, print quantity, five titles, automatic exposure compensation for
backlighting, and an exceptionally broad range of shutter speeds. The
lens is a 23-46mm f/4.2-5.6 zoom with autofocusing down to 1.5';
2-1/800 sec shutter speeds; flash range of 9.8'; measures 3.4x 2.2x0.9";
and weighs 6 oz.
Endeavor 3000ix Zoom
MRC has a quite large LCD on the back encircled with mode input
buttons which are exceptionally legible and simple to use compared to
some other cameras. It features a 2.8x, 21-58mm f/4.9-6.8 zoom lens; active
infrared autofocusing to 2'; PQI; MRC; print quantity; 30 titles;
measures 4x2.3x1.3; weighs 5.8 oz; and lists for $400.
a rather simple, fixed focus, bright yellow and blue, 35mm camera that
has the capability of being used underwater down to 30' deep. It's
moderately priced so we included it. Called the Suprema Sport and fully
motorized, it has a 30mm f/9.5 lens; 1/100 sec shutter speed; flash GN
of 10 (with ISO 100 film); measures 4.8x2.8x1.9"; and weighs 5.3
The Konica Zup 120
VP compact 35mm is simple to use, with a clean design and easy
to understand controls. It has a 3.2x power zoom lens and all optional
modes are accessed in sequence by one button. It has 1.5 EV exposure compensation,
and infinity focus. The lens is a 38-120mm f/3.6-10.6, 3.2x power zoom;
autofocusing is down to 2.6'; shutter speed range of 1-1/300 sec;
DX 25-3200; flash range out to 18.4'; measures 7.7x2.7x2.2";
weighs 9.1 oz; and lists for $350. The tiny APS Konica Revio is offered
in a distinctive green version. It's quite small and lightweight
yet it has a moderate 2x zoom, a broad range of shutter speeds, and a
relatively fast lens. Nearly all of the controls are found on the back,
mostly around a small LCD. There is a broad range of optional modes all
accessed in sequence. The lens is a 24-48mm f/4-7.6, 2x power zoom; autofocusing
down to 1.6'; broad shutter speed range 2-1/500 sec; DXIX 100-400;
flash range of 13.5'; measures 3.8x2.3x1.1"; weighs only 5.2
oz; and lists for $390.
The 35mm Minolta Freedom
Zoom 140 EX features a broad 3.7x zoom range, double exposure,
continuous framing, optional spot metering, macro, and a remote control.
The lens is a 38-140mm f/3.5-9.4 zoom with autofocusing to 31" (also
1/4x life size macro mode at 105mm); 2-1/500 sec speeds; DX 25-3200; flash
range out to 23'; measures 5.3x2.8x2.3"; weighs 11.2 oz; and
lists for $426. A date model is offered. Minolta's Freedom Action
Zoom 90 is lightweight and simplified. It has a 38-90mm f/4.8-10.8 zoom;
autofocusing down to 39"; 1-1/200 sec shutter speeds; DX 100-400;
flash range of 14.6'; measures 4.7x2.8x1.9"; weighs under
8 oz; and lists for $197.
redesigned their distinctive 35mm GT cameras having a fold-down "drawbridge
panel" lens cover. These are not autofocusing cameras but are so
small and distinctive they had to be included. Both have manually operated
functions including aperture priority automatic, manual focusing and film
wind/rewind. There is a hot shoe for an external flash. The new models
are said to be quieter than their predecessors and sport a sleek silver-colored
finish. The lens is a Minoxar 35mm f/2.8; manual focusing to 27.5";
broad shutter speed range 30-1/500 sec; measures 3.9x2.4x1.3"; weighs
6.7 oz; and lists for $359 (GT-E) and $389 (GT-S with DX code ISO setting).
The new Minox CD 70 has a 35-70 Minoctar lens; autofocusing down to 24";
multimode flash; exposure compensation; and lists for $139.
The more interesting new 35mm model from Olympus is the Accura Zoom 130S QD with a wide 3.4x 38-130mm f/4-10.3 zoom lens; passive autofocusing down to 2'; broad shutter speed range of 4-1/400 sec; DX 50-3200; flash range way out to 21'; measures 4.7x2.6 x1.8"; weighs 9 oz; and lists for $395. In APS is the unique Newpic M 10 macro camera with three fixed focus modes. Super macro mode lets you take pictures of small items 0.33-1' from the lens. The flash fires and the lens aperture is f/44 for exceptional depth. An included macro adapter frame both frames the subject and indicates the distance, so you don't have to use the viewfinder. It has a 25mm f/6.7 fixed focus lens; 1/90-1/300 sec speeds; DXIX 200-400; measures 4.3x 2.5x1.8"; weighs 6 oz; and lists for $164. Also new is the Newpic Zoom 600 with a 30-60mm f/4.5-8.5, 2x zoom lens; 1/6-1/320 sec speeds; autofocusing from 2' to infinity; DXIX 50-1600; flash range out to 20'; measures 4.5x2.2 x1.5"; weighs 7 oz; and lists for $181.
Brand new from Pentax
is the IQZoom 105G with some interesting features including a
viewfinder that adjusts the size of the image area as the 2.8x lens zooms
for more accurate framing. It has a 38-105mm f/4.5-11 zoom lens; autofocusing
down to 2.2'; 1-1/360 sec shutter speeds, plus 1/2-5 minutes in
bulb; DX 25-3200; measures 4.7x2.7x2.1"; weighs 8.8 oz; and lists
for $262. The Pentax Efina AF50 is a rather basic APS model with some
nice features at a moderate price. It has a 24mm f/4.5 lens; autofocusing
down to 2.6'; 1/60-1/250 sec speeds; DXIX 100-400; measures 4.3x2.
5x1.5"; weighs 5.5 oz; and lists for just $87.
The Samsung Evoca 140S compact 35 has a broad 3.7x zoom range, plus a quite wide range of optional modes and features considering the small size of the body. Frequently used controls are on the top while the less often used optional creative modes are selected by a dial on the front. A date back function that includes seven captions is standard, as is a panorama mode. It sports a Schneider-Kreuznach 38-140mm f/4.6-12.2 power zoom lens; shutter speed range of 1/3-1/400 sec plus bulb; DX 50-3200; auto flash; flash range 2.2-16.4'; viewfinder diopter adjustment; measures 4.5x2.6x1.7"; weighs 8.1 oz; and lists for $390. Maxima Zoom 105GL one of the smallest 2.8x zoom cameras available has a 38-105mm f/5-12.7 zoom lens; autofocusing to 35"; 1/3-1/300 sec shutter speeds; DX 50-3200; flash range of 11.4'; measures 4.4x2.5x1.7"; weighs 7.4 oz; and lists for $250. Also new from Samsung is the APS model Impax 210i with a 2x zoom lens, gold-finish body and clean styling. Nearly all of the controls are clustered around a small LCD panel in the middle of the back. The viewfinder is bright and clear and it actually masks down so you know for certain which format will be used. It has a 28-56mm f/5.6-10.7 power zoom lens; AF down to 4.6'; shutter speed range 1/3-1/250 sec; DXIX 50-1600; auto flash; flash range 4.6-13'; measures 3.9x2.3x1.4"; weighs 5.3 oz; and lists for $200.
Only preliminary details were available on the brand new Vivitar PZ 3140QD, their first compact 35mm with a wide 3.7x zoom range and lots of features including a data back and panorama mode. It has a 38-140mm f/3.9-f/10 zoom lens; infrared autofocusing; DX 50-3200; and will list for $300. Also new is the Vivitar PZ8000QD which will have a 38-120mm f/4-9 Series 1 zoom lens; autofocusing down to 17.7"; DX 50-3200; measures 5x2.8x2.2"; weighs 10.9 oz; and will list for $270. Other specs were not yet available on either of these interesting new models. Vivitar's APS Z385 has a silver finish with most of the operating controls clustered around a LCD on the back. It has a nice 2.8x range 30-85mm f/3.8-9.5, 2.8x power zoom lens; autofocusing down to 2.6'; electronic programmed shutter 1/75-1/300 sec; DXIX 50-1600; measures 4.7x1.8x2.6"; weighs 7.7 oz; and lists for $250.
The Yashica Zoomate
80 is a compact 35 with a 2x zoom having bronze and black styling
and a BBS (Bright Bulb System) for redeye reduction instead of multiple
weak flashes, which sometimes startle the subject. The lens is 38-80mm
f/4.9-9.4 zoom; autofocusing is down to 39"; shutter speeds 4-1/250
sec; flash range to 12.6'; DX 100-800; measures 4.9x2.8x1.9";
weighs 7.4 oz; and lists for $250. The Yashica Acclaim Z65 is a small
APS compact that's easy to hold. The range of the built-in flash
is 3-13' and it has an instant flash button that will fire the fill-in
flash on demand by simply pressing the button. The 2x, 32.5-65mm f/4.9-9.3
zoom lens has autofocusing from 35" to infinity; 1/4-1/300 sec shutter
speed range; multimode flash; DXIX 50-1600; measures 4.3x2.6x1.6";
weighs 6.9 oz; and lists for $280.
Argus Camera Co.
Canon U.S.A., Inc.
Eastman Kodak Co.
Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc.
Konica U.S.A, Inc.
Leica Camera Inc.
Olympus America Inc.
Samsung Opto-Electronics America,
Yashica Optical Division (Kyocera