Style over function is what the Olympus LT-1 is. The association that is often made between something wrapped in leather and quality is broken by the plastic Lt-1. All this would be forgiven of course (by me) if it was a good camera but sorrowfully it is not. It has a 35mm f3.5 three element lens that is said to be the same as the Olympus Stylus and to be honest I have to go against the prevailing notions and say it isn’t that great. I know the Stylus (not to be confused with the Stylus Epic) is an important camera that sold in the millions but I find that wide open there is a lot of softness and aberrations in the corners with this lens. Also lacking in the functional department is the on/off switch, whereas the Stylus and the Epic turn on by sliding open their clamshells, here you need to pull the leather lens flap away and fiddle with the switch beside the lens on the side of the camera you are supposed to be pointing at something rather than looking at. And that flap is always threatening to include itself in your pictures doing what flaps do…flapping.
On the positive side of things it is a nice looking and feeling camera and it stands out as different, and sometimes isn’t that what you want? A camera that is a lifestyle choice rather than pure performance. If your using this camera you’ve already chosen to use film so it probably matches your handmade leather belt and satchel.
One thing about one camera: LT stands for leather tech and if you don’t like the notion of your camera being covered in an animal you can relax it is faux leather.
The defining feature of this camera has to be that 38-180mm focal length lens. A lens that I might point out has an aperture of f12.9 at the long end. Doing a little math in the form of a word problem.
Q: On a nice clear day Little Suzy has a Canon Z180 loaded with 400 ASA film and wants to take a picture of her friend Phil who is off in the distance on the edge of the woods looking like a hipster lumberjack. If Suzy zooms to 180mm how much motion blur will the picture have?
A: As Phil is in the shade of the woods and has a dark beard the light is likely to be around EV 11 so the camera would select a shutter speed of around 1/60 of a second or about 2 stops too slow for that focal length on 35mm film resulting in just enough blur to make you say ‘Ugggg where is my digital camera and is that a squirrel attacking Phils face’
I also don’t think that the focusing is quite up to the zoom factor of the lens as it seems to miss focus more than less ambitious zoom models.
One thing about one camera: You can set the flash to always be off through this simple method. With the camera off hold down the timer button then press the flash button, CF 1-0 will show on the LCD (That’s custom function 1 – off) press the zoom in button once to select CF 2-0 now press the flash button to set it to CF 2-1 (Custom function 2 – on) , turn the camera on to finish the setting. Now when you turn the camera off it will remember the shooting and flash mode so you can disable the flash and keep it that way. Super easy, Ugggg where is my digital camera?
My Fuji Dl Mini is quite beat up so I thought I would make a drawing of one instead (see above image) The camera is a terrific blend of style and function. Its simple uncluttered look belies the power it has to produce quality images (perhaps my pictures aren’t to your taste but don’t blame the camera for that). Of all the small cameras that I have tried with a 28mm focal length it is the best. The lens is very sharp and has only a small amount of vignetting. It has some other nice attributes such as manual focus and the ability to suppress the flash. More pictures and information about this camera here 28mm Verticals The Sardine Tin Fuji Dl Super Mini Fuji DL super Mini
Lets be honest the only appealing thing about this camera is the fact that it has a 26mm lens which sets it apart from almost all the other point and shoot cameras in the world (including ones in the landfill).
One of the side effects of Canon’s attempt to produce this wideangle wonder was that the corners of the image are so soft that you could stuff a pillow with them.
But is it bad enough to make it good? Not really, 26mm doesnt provide a distinct advantage over the more available 28mm camera’s that I’ve seen and the results are questionable but not bad enough to make it obvious that you ment to do it. The flash doesn’t cover the frame very well and without it it heavily under exposes in darker situations. The focus is fixed as is the aperture at f6. The viewfinder is nice and big though I will give it that.
What I’ve rambled on about this camera before previously Canon BF-10
It has been awhile since I pulled out the Canon WP-1. It’s not the first camera I think of when it comes to fitting in but that’s not true if your going to the beach there it is right at home. It’s toy like appearance hides the fact that it has a fantastic 32mm f3.5 lens. 32mm as I’ve said before sits nicely between 28 and 35mm really giving the best of both worlds just like the Pentax UC1. The big controls designed to be used with gloves or underwater are great and the viewfinder is big and because it is designed to be used with a snorkel mask allows you to hold it away from your eye when composing which is a nice change from the jam it against your face and try to find the light through the tunnel view of many cameras.
I’ve written previously about the camera and those posts can be seen here Canon Wp-1 search
It would have been a lot better story if it had ended as the simple trade of my Canon AE-1 for this Olympus SP35 Rangefinder but things never seem to be that easy. I suppose I should back up and start from the beginning. Back as a teenager I bought my first brand new camera a Minolta X700 (Yes the story goes back that far) Saving you from further boredom I will jump ahead to this year. I acquired a Canon A-1 which made my Canon AE-1 superfluous so I decided to sell it and a few others at the local flea-market. A fellow approached and was looking at the cameras, he too had a camera in a case around his neck. After a brief discussion it turned out it was an Olympus Sp35 a model which I had never seen before. It also turned out the wearer of said camera was a photography student and wasn’t happy with it for several reasons one of them being the rangefinder focusing. He wanted an SLR and I love rangefinders so we did a straight trade, the Canon for the Olympus, and that’s the point at which the story should have had a happy ending but unfortunately didn’t. I think he hardly got through the first roll before the Canon jammed which isn’t conducive to completing photo assignments. He happened to be taking the photography class with a friend of mine so he contacted me and I met with him to exchange cameras back but I also offered the alternative to keep the Canon and also receive a Minolta X700. A camera which may have been that first camera I ever owned but I can’t be sure because I had two. He took the Minolta and that’s the last I heard from him.
Well that’s the story of the camera swap at the swap meet. Fortunately the Olympus SP35 is a fine camera and it’s my new favourite, well until something else comes along.
Having bought one of the original Pentax Q cameras and having a few lenses for it, it seemed like an easy decision to then pick up this camera combination when it was on sale. First let’s get the main caveat of this camera out-of-the-way. Yes it has a tiny little sensor but if that is the only thing you go by your missing out on a fantastic little camera that does an admiral job of creating images. While it isn’t much larger than a point and shoot camera its versatility leaves all others behind. I have a selection of lenses from fish eye to adapted lenses equivalent to 500mm and beyond but for this post I’ve limited the images to those shot with the 5-15mm kit lens (23-69mm equivelent in terms of 35mm film). The combination does have quite a bit of chromatic aberration as seen in the 200% RAW detail at the top left but with a quick one click adjustment in Lightroom it can be somewhat mitigated as seen on the bottom right.
It’s small size means that I am more likely to take the camera along where every I go and the versatility of it means that I rarely feel like I needed a better camera. There is even more to this little beast that I’m not touching on but as a straight forward photography tool it packs a ton into its tiny little package. The pictures that follow are a mix of images straight out of the camera and some edited to be more in line with what I intended. Using the Q7 reminds me to have fun and create images rather than obsess over the technical aspects. (Yes those first two images are meant to look grainy and pictorial)
And finally if you click on the image bellow a full resolution image will open that I think demonstrates how much this camera and lens can resolve. It exceeds what I have been able to achieve with 35mm negative film in resolving power and rivals my older DSLR which is quite a feat.
What happens when you accidentally leave that little switch on the P on that cheap point and shoot film camera?
It wasn’t until I received my developed film that I realized that the little 28mm f3.5 lensed Nikon AF600 I had been using was set to panoramic mode for most of the roll. Through sheer luck or questionable compositions of putting the main subject in the center of the frame some of the images actually looked alright.
When the camera wasn’t set to panoramic mode it actually equated itself well photographically at least in the center of the frame. But like a room that hasn’t been vacuumed in a while it’s probably best not to look in the corners.
Much in the vein of other simple automatic exposure cameras from the late 1970′s the Chinon Gaf Memo 35EE allows a nice level of freedom for the photographer. You really only need to concern yourself with focusing and framing an image. Now it could be said that’s true of nearly every camera since but it really isn’t the same thing. I feel obligated to be engaged with the technical side of my DSLR that is brimming with potential adjustments but with a camera like this there is no point in worrying about what you can’t control. I think that this may be the most fun photography for me even if it doesn’t produce the best possible results. If you look carefully at my camera in the tree you can see that I have sealed the back closed with hockey tape. This is to ensure it doesn’t pop open or leak light as it has a dent in one corner, I think it adds character.
The Fujica 35SE is as beautiful as the pictures it can take. I say ‘can take’ just in case you don’t like my pictures although why I can’t imagine. Doesn’t everyone want pictures of random stuff that catches my eye?
I have had this camera for about 5 years now and it hasn’t disappointed me in any way. I would use it even more often if I didn’t have so many other cameras to play with and post about. Another post about this camera with some images that I am pleased with can be seen here Fujica 35SE Rangefinder Respect. I strongly recommend this camera though it isn’t all that common. When you can find one it does sell pretty inexpensively compared to ’it can take’ results.