A good camera travel companion must be light, easy to use and fun! With a lot of cameras out there to choose from, which one should you pick? Why don't you consider getting Konica Big Mini 302 and combine your wanderlust and love of photography at the same time?
One of my personal rules when I travel is that I MUST pack light. This is why that I often bring a smaller camera (be it digital or film) when I travel. A smaller camera definitely allows me to record memories and take photographs without the inconvenience of carrying heavy equipment. This prevents me from missing a moment, to observe my surroundings and allows me to carry my shopping bags for that last-minute purchases and gifts to be brought home.
Konica Big Mini 302 is part of my arsenal. This camera has a f/3.5 AF lens. It also has a very bright built-in flash, an EV compensation, a very straight-forward display panel and utilizes a fairly easy to find CR 123A battery (the rechargeable batteries can be bought online). The display panel does not turn off, as it continuously displays the battery bar and the film counter digitally. I find the BM-302 to be a no-nonsense film compact.
For the past two years I’ve brought it to several of my personal travels. My BM-302 (whom I fondly named Shinji) was my travel companion to Toronto and Minneapolis. It is so convenient and enjoyable to use that it never fails to be part of my luggage when I satisfy my wanderlust.
Ergonomically-speaking, the BM-302 is very light and easy to hold. Because of this I find the camera easier to use than my Yashica T4 when travelling (despite the fact that T4’s lens is just magnificent). It also doesn’t scream “tacky” because it is slim and fashionable (as opposed to the short and stubby designs of most film compacts). One of the best features of this camera however, has to be its viewfinder. It’s big, accurate and clear and I find it a joy to use as it aids me a lot with composing my photos (particularly streets while I’m on the road).
How about its performance? I find that the autofocus is accurate. It focuses slow however, and the camera in general is not your best bet for night photography. However, for snapshots (whether day or night), this is a good camera. Photos are fairly sharp, but can do better.
As for its quirks, aside from the slow focus, I did not like the small rubber buttons that turn off the flash and the date stamp. One should use a pointy item (such as a pen) to turn these off. In addition to this, I always worry about the camera’s lens. As you can see, unlike other point and shoot cameras, the BM-302 does not have a lens cover. Whether this is a design flaw or not, I am not sure.
Sleek, discreet and of course, compact. With the BM-302, travel photography has never been this quick and easy.