Don’t feel like shooting with a hefty and heavy film SLR camera these days? Then, it’s got to be a compact camera (or two) that you need to take with you. If you’re not sure which handy dandy analogue companion to slip in your pockets and purses, we have a handful of suggestions that could help you make up your mind.
Lomo LC-A (1984)
Anything that starts a revolution is bound to have “iconic” next to its name, and the historic Lomo LC-A did just that: it’s the camera that started the whole Lomography movement. With its simple controls and legendary Minitar 1 lens, this classic Russian beauty is bound to get you shooting lovely lo-fi snaps dripping with gorgeous vignettes and vibrant colors in no time.
Lomo LC-Wide (2011)
Of course, wherever the Lomo LC-A goes list-wise, one can expect the Lomo LC-Wide to follow suit. The wide-angled sibling of the LC-A has been basking in the limelight since it was launched in 2011, for a reason: it’s the world’s widest 35mm compact camera equipped with a 17mm ultra-wide angle lens!
Olympus Pen (1959)
This handy camera designed by the legendary Maitani Yoshihisa became revolutionary when it popularized half-frame photography during the 1960s, allowing people to snap twice as much photos off a roll of 35mm film. It was affordable, handy as a pen (hence the name), equipped with a 28mm f/3.5 D-Zuiko lens, and had fully manual controls. The original Pen later on expanded into the Olympus Pen Series, all models lauded for the big performance that came in such a compact size.
Olympus Trip 35 (1967)
Called the full frame 35mm version of the Olympus Pen, the Olympus Trip 35 was marketed towards travelers looking for an option that is both handy and functional. It became just that, coming with an auto exposure system, simple zone focusing, and extremely sharp 40mm f/2.8 Zuiko lens. Also, the Trip 35 did not require batteries, a great feature for travelers who may not find access to batteries all the time.
Contax T2 (1990)
The entire T-series of the Contax brand has been pretty much coveted to this day, but many agree that the Contax T2 is one killer compact camera. Aside from its slim and elegant design, this compact shooter has been adored for its multi-coated 38mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss T Sonnar lens — the sort that you would find on high-end SLR cameras back then, says Bellamy Hunt of Japan Camera Hunter.
Olympus mju-II (1997)
Called Olympus Stylus Epic in the United States, the mju-II (pronounced myu-two) bagged awards for its accurate autofocus, sharp 35mm f/2.8 lens, and built-in auto-flash, all in a small, lightweight, and splashproof body. Compared to other Olympus point-and-shoots with zoom lenses, the mju-II has a fixed lens that is faster and of superior quality, attributes that are rare in compact cameras.
Rollei 35 (1966)
When Rollei introduced the original Rollei 35 at Photokina in 1996, it was easily the world’s smallest 35mm film camera, measuring 97 × 32 × 60mm and weighing 370 grams. This precision camera became a favorite of many photographers for its elegant compact design, cutting edge CdS exposure meter by Gossen, and exceptionally sharp, high-quality f/3.5 40mm Tessar lens made by Zeiss.
Fuji Natura S (2004)
One of the most coveted compacts in the photography world, the sleekly designed Fuji Natura S is a rarity in every sense. It’s the smallest full frame 35mm camera equipped with an f/1.9 lens (24mm Fujinon lens) —and according to camera experts, you don’t usually find lenses faster than f/2.8 on most compact cameras. The Natura S was never officially sold outside Japan and was only produced for a while, so if you ever spot and get yourself one, you’d be one lucky photographer!
Fuji Klasse W (2006)
The wide-angled brother of the Fuji Klasse S, the Klasse W is a premium point-and-shoot camera equipped with a high-quality 28mm f/2.8 Super EBC lens. When paired with neat features like manual over-exposure or under exposure controls, full auto or aperture priority mode options, and zone focusing option, you have a powerful handy camera right in your purse or pocket!
Ricoh GR21 (2001)
A high-end 35mm compact offering by Ricoh, the GR21 was the first first 35mm compact camera to be equipped with super-wide 21mm lens. Other useful features such as aperture priority mode, multi-subject focusing, and film speed range of ISO 25 – ISO 3200 earned it the 2001 TIPA Award for Best Prestige Camera, and a place in the hearts and pockets of street snappers around the world.
Again, we know that it’s such a short list, and we may even have missed your favorites! That’s why we’d like to hear from you — which impressive compact cameras would you like to see on Lomopedia, and possibly, a part two for this list? Please do leave a comment below!