The Nikon AF600 or Lite Touch AF Panoramic: another compact with a 28mm! Does it live up to the expectations? Read all about it in this review.
Let’s start off with the technical facts. The Nikon AF600 sports a 28mm f3.5 lens. It has a panorama setting/switch which masks the photo on top and bottom. There’s a window to check what film is in. It can focus down to 35cm and the viewfinder has parallax compensation marks for shooting things between 35cm and 1m. It automatically sets the ISO for DX-coded films, films that don’t have a DX-label will be set to 100 iso. There is also the AF600 QD version which has a databack. On top it has a couple of buttons: the focus mode/selftimer button, flash mode button, the power button and of course the shutter release button.
In focus/selftimer mode you can select: autofocus, infinity focus, one shot self-timer and two-shot self-timer. The two-shot self-timer is quite unique. Like it says, it takes two pictures and the great thing is that you don’t have to walk back to your camera. The second picture is taken after 10 seconds (like the first picture).
The flash mode button hides a couple of flash modes: auto flash mode, auto flash mode with red-eye reduction, flash-cancel mode, anytime flash mode and slow sync flash mode. Especially the two last ones can come in handy when you want to use the flash for fill-in or when it’s dark. The flash ready button on the back (next to the viewfinder) lights up shortly when your picture is in focus and the flash is charged.
Now, let’s talk about how it performs. It starts up fast and the autofocus and shutter release react in a reasonably fast time. You can pre-focus, which is a good feature. You just point the middle of the viewfinder on the part you want to have in focus and then reframe. When you’ve focused the in-focus/flash ready-led lights up for a second. I think the camera does the job quite well. The results are nice, definitely during the day. The camera has some problems exposing and focusing when it’s (quite) dark, but sometimes I made some mistakes and didn’t point the camera right. But when there’s enough light it delivers nice results. It makes a reasonable amount of noise when winding the film.
The one thing that got me off using this camera is the small viewfinder. Sometimes it’s really hard to find where you have to put your eye and that annoys me. There’s of course the ‘shoot from the hip’-principle and some might say you don’t need the viewfinder, but I’m a fond user of it so I want it easy to use and big. I’ld rather use my Ricoh R1 which has the choice between a 30 and 24mm and has a much better viewfinder.
- close up 35cm
- panorama (something I don’t use or understand, but it’s there)
- several focus and flash modes
- though rare, quite affordable
- very ‘hard to find’ small viewfinder
- f3.5: it should have been f2.8
- alternatives: Ricoh R1 (with modification a 24mm!), ricoh GR1 family, Olympus XA4