I found a camera on eBay in the UK that I've never seen before, nor have seen since. Closer inspection revealed it to be something of a poor man's Natura Classica - but an award winning one! Say hello to the Fujifilm Silvi F2.8!
I’ve always been fascinated by the Fujifilm Natura Classica and its ability to perform at low light without flash. From the little I know about the camera, I understand this to be a combination of fast film (ISO1600), wide aperture (f/2.8) and an NP mode that allows up to +2ev steps of exposure compensation whilst disabling the flash.
Unfortunately, the camera is prohibitively expensive and even trawling eBay doesn’t help find them any cheaper. But I did find this little Fujifilm Silvi F2.8 one day.
Closer inspection revealed it to share some of those qualities of the Natura Classica with a f/2.8 maximum aperture (hence the name), and support for DX coded 35mm film from ISO50 all the way up to 3200. It also shares a very similar lens, although this one is slightly wider at 24-50mm. It misses out on the +2ev (unless you buy the black edition) though.
A little more research on this little wonder also revealed it won TIPA 2003 and EISA 2004 awards!
But on the whole, information was hard to come by. It seems this camera was only available in Japan and was sold in Europe under the Zoom Date model family of compact cameras.
At this point, this camera both qualified for being rare and interesting, and thinking it would sell for a substantial amount of money I placed a cheeky bid.
And I won it. For six tiny pounds! That’s £300 RRP in 2007.
I’ve been trying it out recently and found it to be a lovely camera, and a bargain to boot. I certainly won’t be parting with it.