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Buying a Point & Shoot Camera

A guide for the perplexed, by Philip Greenspun for

Guide Contents:
2.Is a point and shoot camera the right tool for the job?
3.Digital versus Film
4.Why you might not want that fancy zoom P&S
5.But I want the zoom to take portraits
6.But I want the zoom to take artistic pictures
7.Why you might want that fancy zoom P&S
8.The Yashica T4: a sensible choice
Reader's Comments

If you already own a P&S camera, you probably should read my guide to taking good pictures
with a P&S camera.
Pricing and Member Reviews
View and price all 35mm point and shoot cameras, digital point and shoot cameras and APS point
and shoot cameras in one place with eZshop.

Is a point and shoot camera the right tool for the job?
As I discuss in "Choosing a Camera for a Long Trip", you have to decide whether the purpose of
an outing is primarily photographic. Are you trying to experience Paris or photograph Paris? If
you're going to be spending 80% of your time exposing film or thinking about pictures, then a
larger camera is a better tool. A standard 35mm SLR camera has larger and more convenient
controls than a point and shoot. A medium- or large-format camera will give significantly better
image quality (see "What Camera Should I Buy" for a discussion of these cameras). A tripod will
be a tremendous help. But if you're only carrying the camera on the off chance that something
catches your eye, it is rather unpleasant to lug around 50 lbs. of equipment.
Digital versus Film-based Cameras
There are pocket-sized digital cameras that function quite
nicely as point and shoot cameras, for example, the Canon
S100. The advantage of the digital camera is that the photos
are available for instant sharing via the Internet and you don't
have to spend money on film or processing. The main
disadvantage of digital cameras circa 2001 is that they depend
so heavily on personal computers circa 2001. With a
film-based camera, you press the button 36 times then remove
the film and take it to a lab. For long-term archival storage, a metal file cabinet serves nicely. With
a digital camera, you need to transfer the images to a computer and learn how to use a high-quality
printer or produce Web pages. For long-term storage and retrieval you need to get a big hard
drive, a big tape drive, backup software, and the discipline to make backups regularly.
What if you don't use your camera regularly? Suppose that two years ago you loaded up a
film-based camera with a roll of ISO 400 film and lithium battery. You took two photos of your
dog's birthday party and put the camera on the shelf until the next birthday whereupon you
snapped four more photos. Your dog's birthday is today. You grab the camera off the shelf and
snap a few more photos then take the roll down to the local minilab. Most digital cameras rely on
rechargeable batteries. If you tried the same scenario with a digital camera you'd have missed two
birthday parties.
Why you might not want that fancy zoom P&S
Zoom lenses have more elements (pieces of glass) than fixed focal-length lenses. More elements
means more ways for light to bounce around inside the lens. Stray light (flare) fills in areas of the
picture that are supposed to be black, thus reducing contrast. That's why pictures taken with most
zoom lenses are flat. If your subject is a stand of trees on a foggy day, you might not mind, but
most of the time photographs taken with a zoom lens will lack snap.
You can forget about shooting into the sun with most cheap zoom lenses; all you will get is flare.
The zoom lens adds weight, cost, and size. You might not have the camera with you when you
need it and that's the whole point of getting a P&S instead of an SLR.
But I want the zoom to take portraits A longer focal length makes for better portraits,
but you will generally want a fast aperture (e.g., f/2.8 or f/4) to

throw the background out of focus and concentrate the viewer's

attention on the subject. A Nikon 80-200/2.8 lens ($1000) makes
a beautiful portrait lens, but the zooms on P&S cameras are usually
around f/8 or f/11 when racked out and therefore will render the
Exxon station behind your subject perfectly sharp.
The photo at right was taken on the street in Whitehorse, Yukon
(part of Travels with Samantha) with a 300/2.8 at f/4. Whitehorse,
Yukon is not such an attractive town that you'd want it rendered
perfectly sharp in the background.
But I want the zoom to take artistic pictures
Most artistic pictures are taken in fairly low light (see my technique guide). Even with ISO
400 film, a point and shoot zoom lens is so slow at longer focal lengths that you'll never get
anything without a tripod. And a tripod kind of spoils the whole idea, doesn't it? (Though
not as badly as on-camera flash, which spoils nearly every photo.)
A Yashica T4 with its 35/3.5 lens will let you do creative things with ISO 400 print film and
even ISO 100 slide film, without having to turn on the flash all the time.

Why you might want that fancy zoom P&S

Technology changes fast. Some of the very latest zoom P&S cameras can fit in a shirt pocket and
don't have much flare. How do they do this? With aspherics. Most expensive camera lenses are
still made with only glass elements that are sections of spheres. If you are willing to mold a lens out
of plastic you have much more freedom of shape and can correct more optical problems with a
single element.
Minolta sells a 28-70mm shirt-pocket zoom camera that uses
four elements, two of them aspheric (Freedom Zoom Explorer,
about $145 at Adorama). The exposure system is great with
slide film and the contrast seems just as good as with the T4.
Under a Schneider 4X loupe, the images from mine were sharp
enough for the photo editors at Hearst magazines. The fill flash
doesn't suit me very well on overcast days, however. The
subject is usually brighter than the background and that looks
unnatural. I'm not sure if the T4 was any better or if I just tended to use it more with ISO 50 film
where the flash didn't have much reach.
I carried mine in my front left pants pocket for a few months and the viewfinder filled up with dust
(lint?) then the camera jammed and prematurely rewound its 10th roll of film. This was the same
failure mode as my old T4. I sent it back to Minolta and they cleaned it for me and claimed that it
works perfectly now. It would seem that I've demonstrated the inability of these cameras to
survive the pants pocket environment. [Note: the camera broke again a couple of months later. I
sent it back to Minolta for warranty service. They held it for two months. It came back vaguely
repaired but still not behaving reliably.]

The Yashica T4: a sensible choice

Thousands of pros have Yashica T4 point & shoots. These
have a fixed 35/3.5 lens that is as sharp and contrasty as most
SLR optics, an exposure metering system accurate enough for
slide film, and a true shirt-pocket size. Even Consumer
Reports top-rated this camera. It is about $150 in New York.
The latest "T4 Super" (known as the T5 in Europe and Asia)
has the same optics and film transport but adds a right-angle
"waist-level" finder (good for low-angle and/or sneak shots)
plus weatherproof construction. The latter is very important if you like to carry your camera in a
pants pocket, where the high humidity from, dare I say it, sweat tends to fog the viewfinder.
My T4s have proven to have exposure metering that is sufficiently accurate for slide film though
these days I never use anything other than ISO 400 color negative film in a point and shoot (or
sometimes Kodak TMAX 400 CN black and white film, which is more or less the same idea).
Don't expect miracles from the T4, though. The plastic construction doesn't feel any better than the
other P&S cameras; it is the beautiful Zeiss Tessar 4-element lens (with T* coating) that makes
the T4 special.
Here's something I found in the newsgroups about a German magazine's test of a T4
versus expensive ($600) Contax and absurdly expensive ($900) Nikon P&S cameras (yuppie
"The following is a side by side comparison of Yashica T4 vs Nikon 35Ti and
Contax T2's optical performance according to foto Magazin test charts.

Yashica T4
Nikon 35Ti
Tessar 35mm/3.5 Sonnar 38/2.8 35mm/2.8
(smaller better)
(higher better)
Performance 9.8
T2 slightly better than 35Ti, but very close.
T4's resolution < T2 at center and edge
< 35Ti at center
> 35 Ti at edge

T4 contrast, better than T2 and 35Ti center/edge

by subtantial margin."
Where to Buy: The Yashica T5 (the european edition of the T4 Super carrying the
manufacturer's U.S. warranty) is available in black and silver at Adorama, a retailer that pays a referral fee for each customer, which helps keep this site in operation. For additional
retailer information, see our recommended retailers page and the user recommendations section.
Here are a few other cameras worth considering:
Olympus Stylus Epic (available at Adorama). It has a four-element 35/2.8 lens (2/3rds of
an f-stop faster than the T4), is weatherproof, and can be triggered with an optional infrared
remote control.
Ricoh GR1.

the comment section for this page (contains many reviews) and maybe my Neighbor to
Neighbor service (product/manufacturer section)
the archived point and shoot threads in the Q&A forum
a list of recommended camera shops
once you've got a camera, read our technique guide for P&S photography
if you're interested in going digital, read "Choosing a Digital Camera"

Reader's Comments
I agree strongly with the T-4 assessment. I carry one in my briefcase, my wife carries
one in her purse and each of my children have one for their bookbags or backpacks.
Great little camera, with a definite cult following. Cheap too.
-- Kimball Corson, December 15, 1996
I've got a Pentax IQzoom 38-90 WR, which has been on the market about 4 years
now. I've never been particularly happy with its autofocus, and the poor parallax
compensation on Macro mode; its always cutting off tops and bottoms. Pictures are
acceptably sharp. Last but not least, The rubber shutter release cover fell off,
rendering the Water resi- stance feature useless. Repair cost US110.00, because of
the way it's designed the whole front case needs replacement.
My Dad's got a Ricoh P&S, fits in his pocket and takes great pictures. Check it out.

-- Isaac L. Kaplan, December 27, 1996

Nikon Lite Touch: Made in Indonesia. Delivers excellent sharpness and contrast,
widest lens on a micro p&s (28mm) (ignoring the 24mm panorama option on the
Ricoh R1.) Lowest price, you can pick up a Lite Touch for under $100 in many
camera stores. Shortcomings: limited exposure range, 1/4 sec to 1/250 sec. Poor
flash coverage, can't really expect that tiny flash to cover 28mm indoors in places
with high ceilings and few reflecting surfaces. I never use the flash except for outdoor
fill. Two shot self timer a unique, but to me, a quite pointless feature. I seldom use the
self timer. Panorama feature nice, but better on the Ricoh R1. I don't have to
remember if it's on or off, the viewfinder tells me. I use the Ricoh when I want
panorama, as I can go to either 30mm or 24mm with it.
Konica Big Mini HG. Made in Japan. Beautiful camera with metallic grey finish.
Excellent flash coverage, sharp lens (35mm), exposure compensation +/-1.5EV.
Shutter speeds from 7.5 (!) to 1/360 sec. Variable power flash. Love this camera,
wish it had a 28mm lens. That'd take the Lite Touch off of this list altogether and very
likely cause me to offer the other two for sale on
Shortcomings: no lens cap, smudges and fingerprints inevitable, keep lots of lens
tissue handy. Also keep a paper clip or ball point pen handy, as you may have
trouble, as I do, with control buttons too small for normal fingers.
Ricoh R1: Made in Taiwan. The most feature-laden, the most compact of the lot.
Thinner than the Lite Touch. I have the QD model. They have put the controls for the
QD on the side of the camera: clever! Provides spot metering as well as average
metering, two focal lengths (30mm - normal, panorama; 24mm - panorama only).
Yielded surprisingly sharp indoor group shots on recent trip. Probably the most
versatile of the lot. Shortcoming: Passive autofocus, although I haven't found this to
be a limitation yet. Worked fine inside the Cleveland Metro Parks rain forest, which
is pretty dark in places. [Note: If you like German-designed (or at least labeled)
optics, check out the much pricier Rollei Prego Micron; it is identical to the Ricoh
R1, except for its Schneider AF-Courtagon lens.]
In my opinion, the Konica Big Mini HG and the Ricoh R1 must both be seriously
considered by anyone looking for a truly compact package with an impressive array
of features.
Bottom line: If owning German optics is important to you, buy the Yashica T-4. If
you'd like to be able to occasionally override the normal exposure (backlighting,
snow, dark subjects, etc.) choose the Konica Big Mini HG. For maximum versatility
in a tiny package, go for the Ricoh R1. For a low priced camera capable of overall
good performance in mainly outdoor use for scenics, pick up the Nikon Lite Touch.
-- --, January 2, 1997
A short comment about the features of the Ricoh R1: It does not have a spot meter,
as is stated above. The feature Vasu Ramanujam seems to be referring to is the spot
auto- focus, forcing the camera to use the center autofocus point, instead of the wide

auto- focus (there are three autofocus zones, selected automatically). I tested the
camera as follows: I photographed a greycard with a small white area in the middle,
using slide film, once with spot autofocus, once without. There was no difference.
-- Jan Warnking, January 24, 1997
There is a lot of great information here. The P&S sections are probably among the
most visited. Certainly, this is where the market is.
I thought I would add a few comments on the question of carrying a camera with you
all the time, everywhere.
This seems like a great idea if you are obsessed with photography. My Dad
subscribed to this philosophy. He carried movie camera, poloroid, 35mm, and the
latest Kodak consumer format around all the time. We always joked that he was
missing his life. He never knew what he'd done, until he got home and could look at
the pictures.
It worked for him. When he passed away a few years ago, he had disc cameras,
several polaroids, movie cameras, video cassette recorders, point & shoots, ad
nauseum. He loved taking pictures. For him, the picture was even more important
than the event.
I got my first camera when I was in the second grade. I've still got pictures that I
took with that camera. I even won my first photo contest with a vacation photo taken
at Plymouth Planatation with that camera.
I got that camera, in part, to mimic my Dad, and in part to defend myself against
always being photographed. With my own camera in hand, I could roam around and
take pictures, and use this as an excuse for not posing. I was exposing kodachrome
8mm movie film without a meter by the age of 12.
When my own kids were small, I remembered how I'd thought my Dad had missed a
lot by being so obsessed with taking pictures at every event, and I started to be very
selective about when I would get a camera out. I sure didn't take it everywhere. In
many cases I wanted to enjoy the moment, unencumbered by photo equipment.
I don't regret this decision. The memory of the activity is still valuable, even without a
photo to help set it off. There are some places for pictures, and there are other
places where pictures can intrude. You may have a more enjoyable life if you can
figure out how to properly balance your hobby against the other important issues and
people in your orbit.
-- Glen Johnson, February 12, 1997
I have a Ricoh R1 as my "ski trip" camera. Works great. Can even operate it with
my ski gloves on. Clips nicely to my ski pants. I've got pictures that no one else in
our group has. My only complaint is the lack of even a little zoom lens capability. I'm
considering a Canon ELPH as a small, easy to carry, R1 alturnitive. I am concerned

about the new technology that the ELPH uses.

-- Mike Schermer, March 9, 1997
I've long felt the need for a compact camera that would fit in my pocket, but I've
been put off by the classic point & shoots with their plastic construction, lack of
controls, and primitive meters. I've read the high marks that have been posted for the
Yashica T-4/T-4 Super, and I've been tempted - but I always come back to my
unwillingness to buy a camera for my own use that won't at least allow me to shift the
program and apply some exposure compensation.
I've toyed with the idea of a Hexar, but the Hexar really isn't a pocket camera , so
I've never followed through and bought one.
I know that Foto Magazin says that the Yashica T-4 beats the Contax T2 and the
Nikon 35 Ti in their resolution and contrast tests. I happen to be one of the folks
who believes that this kind of testing presents an over simplification of the complex
issues associated with evaluating camera performance. The T-4 may be very
capable, but it isn't something that I want for my style of use.
Recently I've engaged in extensive correspondence with Barry Pehlman, another
netizen. Barry's positive experiences with the Hexar and with his Nikon 28 Ti,
coupled with the fact that the price of the Nikon 35 Ti has recently dropped to
$649.95 (with US Warranty, leather case, and battery) at both B&H, and a local
store here in Dayton, pushed me to purchase a Nikon 35 Ti.
This is a neat camera. It does not have a true manual capability (like the Hexar), but
it does allow program shift in many lighting situations, and it allows compensation in
1/3 stop increments up to +/- 2 stops in all lighting situations. It has aperture priority
and time exposure, in addition to program and flexible program (the term Nikon uses
for the program shift feature on this camera). Aperture priority allows you to set the
aperture in half stop increments between f/2.8 and f/22.
It has a 6 zone 3D matrix meter, and it uses the meter and the distance information in
its flash algorithm. The manual touts the fact that this technology was brought in from
the high end SLR product line. (Frankly, my tests indicate that it really isn't any
smarter than the on camera flash in an A2E. If you want decent flash pictures, you
have to think about what you're doing - whether you're using a Nikon, a Canon, or a
Yashica T-4. :-))
There are three words to describe my feeling about this camera. I LOVE IT!! It fits
in my pocket. I can take it with me anywhere, even where cameras aren't welcomed.
People aren't intimidated when I bring it up and shoot. I get more smiles. If I'd
known it would be this much fun to have this sort of camera along, I would have
bought one a long time ago.
The meter is extremely accurate. The lens is sharp and the slides that I get with this
camera are beautiful. It is a great compliment to my extensive EOS system. I find
myself sticking the 35 Ti in my pocket and grabbing an SLR with a medium telephoto

lens when I go out for recreational shooting. It is a lot lighter than taking a second
SLR and lens along - even if it is not as flexible.
It is tough. Unbeknownst to me, it fell out of my pocket one morning. When I got out
of the car, I tried to close the car door, and it woudn't close. I tried a couple of times
before looking to see what was blocking the door. It was the 35 Ti in its leather
case. I picked it up and checked it out immediately. No damage. No sign of damage.
Just like nothing had happened. It functioned perfectly too. A plastic pocket camera
would have been in a couple of pieces.
You can override the auto focus and set focus manually if you wish. Or you can set
focus to infinity. Auto focus seems to be very accurate based on the slides that I've
gotten back, even with relatively small subjects. It will focus as close as 1.3 feet.
The viewfinder tends to be forgiving. I would actually prefer a more accurate
viewfinder. The frame in the viewfinder changes with the focus setting to try to offset
Every person who saw this camera up close during some recent social shooting
commented on what a neat antique camera the 35 Ti was. This impression was
conveyed because of the wierd mechanical chronometers that Nikon chose to use
instead of a detailed LCD panel. On the bright side, these chronometers aren't going
to die after 5 years (as will reportedly occur with most LCD panels). I didn't care for
the chronometers at first, but they've grown on me and I like them now. There is one
for distance, one for aperture, one for compensation, and one to indicate the number
of frames you've shot. The mechanical display is also used when you activate the self
timer, and when the film is being rewound.
You can illuminate the viewfinder and the chronometers if you want to. The
viewfinder is automatically illuminated in low light.
The camera has several custom functions that allow you to customize the camera for
your own habits. You can switch from 3D matrix meter to center weighted average
meter, for example. You can turn off the flash permanently if you wish. You can
change the display in the view finder so that aperture is displayed there instead of
shutter speed. There are a few others that I don't remember right now as I write this
in real time on the comment page.
The camera has a frame mask for panorama shots. This seems kind of silly to me,
since you can crop a full frame 35mm negative for panorama if you want to. There is
a tripod mount. There is no provision for off camera flash.
My only gripe about this camera has to do with the control of the on camera flash. If
you are in program mode and the camera decides that flash should be used, but you
disagree, you either have to cancel it with a custom function (which is a pain), or you
have to cancel it by holding a little button down (also a pain). If you want to do slow
synch flash, the manual recommends that you hold the "anytime" flash button down
and that this will allow shutter speeds to extend to as long as 1/4 second. It is stupid
to recommend that someone press a button down on the camera body during a 1/4

second exposure, in my view. It will also slow synch in aperture priority, so this is a
better option if you want to try to balance your flash and ambient light. In the 28 Ti
they fixed this problem by putting in a little sliding three position switch that you don't
have to hold down. Much smarter idea.
This is a great little camera. Very rugged. beautifully manufactured. Sharp lens and
smart meter that can produce very high quality images. The lens is a 35mm f/2.8
Nikkor. Nikon doesn't use the Nikkor name on their lower quality models. This lens
is a gem.
If you want a high quality, metal bodied, pocket sized, point & shoot style camera,
with a very smart meter, sharp lens, and the capability to shift program and
compensate exposure, this camera will be a very satisfying choice, and represents an
excellent value at its present price. My thanks to Barry for pushing me along in this
direction and for his help in comparing the various models.
-- Glen Johnson, March 24, 1997
Yashika T4 glass is great, but the absence of automation overrides makes the
camera hit or miss for anything other that snapshot photography.
Hexar is truly excellent, but hardly a compact.
I'd add a used Rollei 35S to the list of compacts to consider. Singapore models can
be found for $250ish and the results from this fully manual compact are impressive.
-- Eric Goldstein, March 28, 1997
I had been reading about the Yashica T series of cameras for years and finally
decided to buy one to take to the Olympics last June instead of my EOS'. I
purchased a T-4 Super The camera is light and pocketable, shirt pockets included.
My only problem has been with backlighting and side lighting, which both seem to
fool the autoexposure mechanism. I suspect that using fill-flash would solve this, but
in a quick moment cycling through the options would mean losing the shot. The lens
is sharp, but there is a soft side; mine has a soft right side. The T-4 has become my
everyday, take-it-along on a buisness trip camera. The Canon and Rollei 2 1/4
remain hiome.
-- Steven Goldberg, April 5, 1997
The foto-magazin data which seems to imply the Yashica is superior to its far more
expensive counterparts is interesting, but I wouldn't lose too much sleep over it.
There is just no doubt that the Contax T2 is better than the Yashica. I have owned
both in the last six months, having been a little disappointed with the T4 (T5 in the
UK). I finally dug deeper into my pocket and bought a T2. I can't refer to lens
charts, or all the other paraphrenalia of magazine reviews, but simple side by side
comparisons show me, that the T2 is a fantastic camera. I use it alongside a Leica R5
without batting an eyelid, and happily mix slides from both cameras when assemling a
slide-show, with wonderful consistency of results. This seems to me the point for

having a P&S -- as a supplement for bigger/better/heavier SLR's, but able to

replicate, or at least approximate, SLR quality. Glenn mentions the Rollei 35S; I also
have one of these. Although awkward to use, particularly in focusing (which is done
entirely by guesstimating the distance), and the eccentricity of having the flash shoe
on the underside of the body, its Sonnar lens is exceptionally sharp (as it is on the
T2). Another thing about P&S's is that you dont need to restrict yourself to having
just one. I find there are times when I need their compactness, but enjoy having two
of them to allow mixing film types, slides and b/w in my case. Two of them can still
be carried in average pocket space. I have so much faith in the T2, I now use it often
simply as another lens, no longer carrying a 35mm, but instead using its 38mm when
28 is too wide, and 50, too long. All the other P&S virtues remain undiminished.
Flash grabs (baby doing his once in a lifetime things, first steps, tearing up
newspapers, grinning like a clown -- AND, for my partner to take pics with ME in it.
She has NO interest in cameras whatsoever, but likes the pics the P&S takes
without having to give a pico-second's thought to exposure, focus etc. Not to be
sneezed at. (Does this count as a "persistent" point? Why are these comments
"persistent" anyway?
-- Martin Davidson, April 9, 1997
Several years ago I purchased a Rollei Prego Micron to take with me to Mardi
Gras--I didn't want the burden of one one of my SLR's. Factors influencing my
purchase decision included the panoramic lense, which proved to be just the ticket
for photographing the parades, but hasn't proved very useful since, and the small
size. All told, I'm very happy with this camera and the images it produces. I even
sold some photographs taken with the Rollei to an English Land-Rover magazine. I
submitted the transparencies from the Rollei along with the rest to see what would
happen. To my delight, half of the six photos the magazine chose to publish had
come from my P&S. Proof to me that it's not so much the gear as your ability to
capture the image. The Rollei has all but replaced my 35mm Canon A-1,
AE-1program and the accompanying brace of lenses, filters and accessories for most
of my shooting.
That being said, I have one major complaint about the camera, and once caution,
which should probably be added to the "using your P&S" section. The complaint is
that the Rollei, or at least mine, doesn't actually give a low battery warning. (The
manual says it will, but it lies "and we must be merciful to those who lie.") In practice,
you learn that your battery is gone when the film fails to advance completely and the
camera goes "dead" for all practical purposes. Replacing the battery is simple and I
always carry a spare. But once you've replaced the battery you have to rewind the
roll of film that's in the camera and replace it--unless you have the ability to fish the
leader out in the field, this means "wasting" a roll of film. For some reason the camera
employs artificial intelligence that only allows it to go dead three shots into a 36
exposure roll of film. (And I usually forget to mark the roll so I end up sending it off
for processing not "recycling" it.)
My caution seems will probably seem like common sense to most
people--Remember to keep the lense clean! It's arguably more important than with
your SLR (or other fancy) optics because the element is so much smaller. I just got a

roll of film back from the lab--another Land-Rover rally and was real disappointed
with the results. Poor "focus", lousy exposures and a noticeable vignetting on
panoramic shots. I'd never shot such a consistently bad roll of film with this "idiot
proof" camera before. A close examination showed the (most likely) culprit--a dirty
lense, especially a "ring" around the outer edges. I took a lense tissue wrapped Q-tip
to it, and trust the problem is solved, though I haven't shot a test roll yet.
I'd highly recommend the Rollei Prego Micron to anyone looking for a "daily driver"
as long as the above is kept in mind. I confess, I'm probably going to try to borrow a
T4 though--just to see what all the fuss is about.
-- Jeff Berg, April 18, 1997
This review is somewhat of a counterpoint to Glen's review of the 35ti above. I too
decided that I wanted a camera that I could put in a pocket and take with me most
of the time. Everyone says how great the T4's lens is but I've also heard they're not
very reliable and there's no exposure control. The 35ti looked nice but I always
thought the price was too high.
If you want the short version, I think the GR1 is great. If you want more info, read
Ricoh introduced the GR1 at the beginning of the year to compete with the 35ti, T2,
etc. except the price is quite a bit cheaper. The 35ti seems to be selling for about
$600 these days and the GR1 sells at B&H for about $420.
has the GR1 for about $320 but they try to suck you in to a membership(This can be
avoided if you read the site). All the rest of the so-called luxo P&S's cost around
The 28/2.8 lens is excellent, sharp and contrasty. Ricoh has even released the lens
alone in a Leica M mount. The ergonomics are also excellent. The aperture dial is on
the right side. It has an 'A' for auto and has detents for f2.8 to f22 in half stop
increments. There is also an exposure compensation dial on the left that allows +/- 2
stops of compensation in half stop increments.
Other features of the GR1 include time exposures, focus distance lock(which allows
the user to set hyperfocal distance, a nice feature) and wide area and spot passive
AF. The two AF areas are similar to my N90s which facilitates switching between
the two. The one area where it falls a little short AF wise is sensitivity. It is definately
not as good in this area as my N90s which shouldn't be surprising. It has problems
with low contrast subjects and is only sensitive to vertical lines. It does prefocus and
hold focus when the shutter release is pressed halfway though. Other features include
paralax correction and shutter speeds(1sec to 1/500) in the finder. The GR1 will
even leave the leader out on a mid-roll rewind if the rewind button is pressed twice. I
had to have my N90s reprogrammed to do that.
The flash allows the user to set normal flash, fill-flash and no flash. The fill flash seems
to work reasonably well though normal flash shots suffer because the flash can leave
the corners dark. Good flash shots are pretty much impossible when a tiny tube is

place 2 inches from the lens anyway. My only other gripe is that the finder is pretty
small and the rough surface of the magnesium shell seems like it could scratch
As far as build quality goes, I don't think it's quite as good as the 35ti but it is very
good. Much better than a T4 and the like. The GR1 is also one of, if not the smallest
35mm camera available. It's dimensions are very similar to a Canon ELPH but it's
about 3/4" longer.
-- Paul Wilson, June 12, 1997
A childhood marred by hundreds of terrible photos taken with P&S cameras so
scarred me that I didn't bother with cameras for almost ten years, and pursued other
arts and other past-times. I suppose a "real" camera would have satisfied my longing,
but I don't have the time or inclination to learn how to use it. Anyway, after reading
these pages I was inspired to give it another shot, and on these recommendations, I
purchased a Yashica T4 Super from Adorama. Fortunately, they didn't screw me,
and I love the camera. It is light, but exudes quality, and the results are fantastic. I
love the ability to control the flash and lock focus while composing a shot. I
understand these features are not unique to the Yashica, but they are new to me, and
are quite exciting. I've been experimenting with light and composition and have come
to the conclusion that a good lense and skill beats a telephoto most of the time. I paid
around $150US for the camera. Expenses are going up though, as I experiment with
different types of film and different developers. I can easily burn through a roll of 36
in ten minutes. Anyway...go for the Yashica and work on your skills and I think you'll
be happy. Thanks for a great resource, Phil!
-- Justin Loeber, October 8, 1997
I have gravitated away from using my SLR systems except on rare occasion.
Nowadays, compact 35mm cameras are my most used tools. A few comments on
different cameras I've had experience with:
Olympus Infinity Stylus Simple, cheap, good quality. Been bashed around for 6 years
and still working well. A bit too much red-eye. Quite acceptable for prints up to 5x7,
occasional 8x12s. Decent focus, somewhat cruder exposure. Good buy.
Yashica T4 Super Took three rolls of film with a borrowed one. The lens seems
excellent, but the exposure and focus system only seemed so-so. It's a notch above
the Olympus Stylus due to the excellent optic but not much more.
Leica Minizoom Yes, the lens is slow. Other than that, the optics are absolutely top
notch, the exposure and focus are excellent, and there's just enough controllability to
make it really useful. Bulb for time exposures is a great asset. Sleeper, worth every
Nikon 35Ti I used one of these for two years. I ultimately found it a very frustrating
camera to use its extensive features, although the lens and controlability with
overrides are great. The controls are fiddly, the focus is finicky. Exposure is right on

the money nearly 100% of the time. Mine jammed twice and needed a fairly
expensive repair.
Contax TVS Serious bux for a camera with a very slow lens, but the imaging quality
of the Zeiss lens is lovely and this is one point and shoot with all the bells and
whistles, and they are actually usable. It takes filters, a lens hood, has excellent
exposure control, manual focus with focus aids, plenty of exposure override range,
optional databack, etc etc. I've taken some wonderful pictures with it. The manual
zoom is great because you can set *precisely* what you want, as well as the
aperture. The viewfinder is a little dim. A wonderful does everything camera. I had a
jam in the zoom control which Contax fixed on warranty.
Ricoh GR1 Simply superb. Very tiny with an extremely sharp, fast f/2.8 28mm lens.
Controls are exactly what you would want to do real photography: exposure
overrides, focus locking, aperture priority or program automation. Stark and
business like (mine is black), the all magnesium body is light and rigid, very nice to
the touch. Just a hair larger than my wallet, fits (inside its leather slip case) in my
pocket with ease. If you like the wide angle format, this is one of the best cameras in
the genre.
Rollei 35 My old standby favorites. Not a point and shoot but a 100% manual,
mechanical camera with a simple coupled meter, scale focusing. Real shutter speeds
from a real Synchro-Compur shutter. A Zeiss lens (either 40/2.8 Sonnar or 40/3.5
Tessar) which is as good as any I've every seen on anything. Compact, made of
metal, a trifle blocky but very good to the touch. Superb photographs. I end up
carrying one of these (a Rollei 35S or Classic) and the Ricoh GR1 whenever I travel
nowadays, leaving the SLRs at home.
I also carry Minox subminiatures ... nothing beats a Minox for portability ... and
unlike some people, I always keep whatever I'm carrying in a minimal leather slip
case rather than just banging around in my pocket. They last a lot longer that way.
I've got pictures from most of the above cameras on my website at if you care to look in and see what can be done
with a P&S camera. -godfrey
-- Godfrey DiGiorgi, October 27, 1997
A little rant on the Pentax 90WR:
Great little camera, but it has a few quirky problems:
--AFAIK, there is no way to explicitly turn off the flash, & not have an unacceptably
slow shutter speed. Idiot proofing goes both ways, ya know. *Ponders the roll of
film wasted, thinking that the shutter was going at a decent speed*.
-- The remote's a little pathetic. Rather embarassing, standing there taking portrait
shots, having to press the shutter relase 3 times to get it to go once..

-- And finally, the *MOST* annoying thing: Red-Eye reductions flash. This plain,
just does not work. I ran about 3 rolls through the camera (you know, the "gimmie a
buck, I'll give you a 4x6" portrait thing), thinking that the redeye flash would actually
work. Each of the seventy or so proofs I got back had red-eye in each of the
subjects (victim's) eyes. Chalk those up to the trash pile..
Of course, there was *PLENTY* of light, even at 65mm, and prolly an f8 that the
camera didn't need a flash, but to turn it off, I would have been photographing a
bunch of kids at around 1/15 shutter speed. There's something wise to try, even with
a tripod.
*climbs down off of the table*
-- Chris Grantham, November 1, 1997
A couple of years ago I went on a long cycling trip and couldn't take my old 35mm
SLR, so I looked around and bought a Pentax ESPIO Mini point and shoot, with no
zoom. It took better, sharper shots than I ever had with an SLR, and because it was
so tiny it could go everywhere. Unfortunately it moved out with a girlfriend a while
back, so that was that and I'm back to the SLR again... so be warned, good P&S
cameras are partner-friendly in a way that no manual SLR will ever be!
-- Julian Melville, December 18, 1997
Needing another P&S I jumped at B&H's closeout deal on a Leica Mini II at $109.
I ordered it on 12/23, and it showed up the next day- all for the standard $6.96
shipping. Not bad.
It's a great little camera with really sharp, contrasty optics; I love showing large prints
made with this camera to friends sporting expensive autofocus SLRs with cheap
zoom lenses ;-). I bought it as something to always carry with me when I didn't want
to haul an SLR, but it's lately been my favorite camera. Why carry an F3 with a
35mm/f2 (my favorite combo) when I can get similar capability in a pocket sized
package? Neat. Yes, it can't handle difficult exposure and so forth, but shooting
Velvia on a hazy day it produced beautiful results. I think I'll addd a small collapsable
reflector for a studio-in-a-pocket!
I showed the camera and results to a friend who owns a local gallery (and is a
photographer as well), and she showed it to her daughter to immediately
phonedB&H to get one for herself. Sadly, only the date-stamp versions are left, but
she ordered one anyways with the idea of taping over the LEDs.
-- Michael Edelman, January 5, 1998
Two notes on protecting P&S cameras. One, a beer hugger works wonders around
a camera when there is physical activity involved. The beer hugger makes a good
inexpensive case. I used to rock climb with a camera this way. Two, (untried) I bet a
zip-lock baggie would solve the pocket lint problem. Of course, the baggie would
need to be replaced every three weeks. Cheaper than a camera every couple of

months though.
-- albert s boyers, January 6, 1998
I have the Leica Mini and my mother has the T4. I bought the T4 for her since the
price was right for her; however, I would have gotten the Leica Mini otherwise. In
comparing pictures from the two cameras, I have concluded that the Leica is sharper
but the contrast is the same-spectacular! Both cameras have exposed many rolls of
film without a hitch, and the exposures and focus have been right on. The only
criticism of the Leica lense is that with contrasty slide film, I detected obvious, but
not objectionable, vignetting. I suspect that this performance would also be
experienced with the T4 and other P&S cameras which are designed for print film
with which vignetting is not a problem. Just a further note. I have seen the cross
sections of both lenses, and they appear to be the same! Coincidence? I doubt it!
-- Eielrt Anders, January 12, 1998
I bought an Olympus Epic over the competition (Yashica T4 Super, Ricoh R1, etc)
when the sliding cover of my Pentax UC1 broke off (nice looking, but really wimpy
cover). The main selling points were the robust sliding cover (thick plastic) and the
1/2 stop faster hybrid aspheric lens.
Handling on the Epic is fairly good compared to the above mentioned cameras: it's
thicker than the almost uncomfortably thin UC1 and R1 and my fingers don't get in
the way of the lens like with the T4. The shutter release is very wide and large, but
the mode buttons are pretty tiny (aren't they all?). Sliding case works well, protecting
the lens and other optics from scratches and dust, even in my pants pocket. Biggest
complaint is the location of the viewfinder is too close to where your hand ends up, a
little awkward sometimes.
As for operation, it's okay. As any P&S, the flash is tiny and weak and far too close
to the lens. The annoying strobe red-eye feature has never successfully eliminated
red-eye in any of my pictures. The color-balancing feature seems to just result in
overlit subjects, not too useful.
I tested with Kodak PRN 100, Elite II 100, Royal Gold 400, Gold Max (800), and
Fuji Super G 800 (I don't use much fast print film, so I was goofing off). My slides
seemed ~1/2 stop overexposed, but the metering was consistent and not a problem
at all for negatives. Colors seemed colder than what I'm used to with the UC1 or my
Nikon SLR and I found that Royal Gold 400 balances that very well.
There seems to be some truth to the rumors on the net that autofocus isn't very good.
The Epic seems really biased towards wide open exposure and f2.8 at 35mm isn't
great for depth of field, which is part of the problem. Still, even though the Epic has
active AF and lots of focusing steps, focus is often fuzzy (even on some
tripod-mounted shots). Also, my earlier UC1 was much better at catching off-center
subjects. When the Epic is focused properly, sharpness is good across the field,
geometry is fine, and there is little noticable drop-off at the corners despite the fast

Overall, focus seems inconsistent and the metering overexposes slides, but handling
is good, the camera is rugged, and the lens is sharp. I'll be sending this beast back for
adjustment to see if things improve and will report back if they do (I've had it for two
months, so will be sending it out to Olympus).
-- Andrew Kim, January 30, 1998
Ok, ok... Has anyone seen a review or used the new minox cd 70?
-- Jonathan Peterson, February 10, 1998
I considered a T4, but wanted a bit more width. Went with the Pentax UC-1. Very
nice little camera. It too gets carried around in my left pants pocket, no problems to
date except the fake metallized finish gets all sratched up, and after a while is as
attractive as the bottom of an ashtray.
My other models are a Canon Z-135, a pair of 1987 vintage Ricoh TF-500's, and a
Canon A-1 submersible.
Since the Canon only goes to 38 mm, I wanted the 32 mm in the UC-1 as a
companion. They travel together in a fanny pack with a pair of 8x20 binoculars. Both
do very nicely indoors and out and both have excellent flash uniformity, something
the Minolta Explorer failed in my test. The Z-135 is particularly sharp and contrasty.
The Z has an undocumented feature: If you hold down the flash it goes into an
available light mode.
The Ricoh's are dual focal length (35 f/2.8 & 70 f/5.6). Very sharp, high contrast,
nice flah and +2 stops compensation. Metering good enough for slides. These are my
standard of comparison. If it beats or equals the Ricoh it can stay.
Have 2 comments on P & S problems: Many models (OLympus 3500 is one) that
have too low a meter coupling range for ISO 400. 3500 was optimistic at EV-16.
ISO 200 is the limit. Sunny 16 rule is EV 15 and that assumes 18% reflectance.
Second problem is back light compensation by auto flash. Works at the most
inopportune times! Olympus 3500 had a fine through the finder (TTF) multi-zone
meter with a 6 mm spotmeter. The selective meter plus an overaggressive backlight
algorithm called for flash on the sunlight side of a caboose when the meter saw the
dark side window as being backlight. Later a shot of a hillside about 1.5 miles away
called for flash because a grove of trees was darker than the trees around it. I have a
nice collection of "sunballs" reflected off tour bus windows because the stupid thing
thought the subject was backlighted. The Z-135 replaced it. The earlier Z-115 has
severely flawed logic for anti-redeye and some other things, too.
Neither of these behaviors was reported by the magazines.
You mentioned the Stylus Epic. A friend bought one on my recommendation.
Fortunately he loves it. Uses it for slides with excellent results, awesome lens. If my
UC-1 succumbs to pocket lint, I,ll probably get an Epic. I amy get one anyway. I

tend to covet neat things and I like the weatherproofing.

Nice column.
-- Jerry Crum, February 16, 1998
After lots of reading here and elsewhere I purchased a Ricoh GR1. Summary: The
more I use it the better I like it!
Background: I'm not a serious photographer and my primary criteria for the GR1
was that it had to be small (since I pack light), capable of producing great slides
(accurate exposure, sharp images) and good for landscape shots while travelling. I've
put 15 rolls of film through it so far (mostly in Nepal - an awesome place).
First impressions:
+ The human engineering is excellent. E.g. The viewfinder tells you when exposure
compensation is active, it differentiates 'can't expose correctly' (outside shutter
speed/aperture range) vs too slow for hand-holding (1/30s). The controls are well
laid out and retain their settings between shots when it makes sense to do so (eg.
locked infinity or "snap" focus modes). The manual aperture & exposure
compensation can be set by feel while looking through the viewfinder
+ the camera sometimes had trouble focusing on infinity. In bright daylight, outdoors,
trying to capture a mountain vista with no objects in the foreground "two heads"
would illuminate in the viewfinder indicating a close focus. Sometimes simply
releasing the shutter button and then half-pressing again would make it switch to
"mountain" but other times I had to aim elsewhere. Mostly I would just put the
camera in fixed-infinity mode (aka "mountain" :->) and forget about it. At times when
I would expect it to have problems such as through glass or poor light it usually
worked perfectly. The good news here is that a) the viewfinder gives a clear
indication of the approximate focus point chosen (via symbols), b) it focuses quickly
if you release and refocus, c) focus lock is easy (the shutter button is very predictable
so I never took a picture by mistake when trying to focus and reframe) and d) you
can lock infinity
+ the "square brackets" in the viewfinder effectively show what was focused by
showing left, right or both brackets (or flashing to show no focus lock)
+ the 28mm lens is excellent for landscape shots (as you'd expect). However, as a
wide-angle neophyte I was surprised by how hard it is to get portrait type shots
(including small animals etc). I had to get much closer than usual which tends to upset
the subject, although close-ups of plants, carvings etc worked great. Distortion at the
edges was quite noticeable on buildings so I know to allow a reasonable width
border in future if I think it will matter (the Taj Mahal towers look strange leaning in especially when they actually lean out!)
+ I was pleasantly surprised that the viewfinder framing seemed very accurate - I
didn't have any photos with clipped people, buildings or frames as with previous

P&S cameras. This is helped no doubt by the viewfinder framing lines that change
depending on the focus distance
+ the max 2 sec automatic exposure covered many situations automatically that other
P&S cameras couldn't. I wish it had a shorter self-timer mode (than 10sec) since I
primarily used it for tripod exposures where a 2 sec delay would be plenty. You also
have to re-apply self-timer after each exposure which doubtless reflects its designed
use, but not my typical use. The "T" mode exposure (press to open, press again to
close) works as expected
+ between the wide angle lens, its fast 2.8 aperture and the bright days in Nepal, I
soon switched from 400asa film (my usual P&S film) to the 100asa I had "just in
case". The top 1/500 shutter speed wasn't always enough.
+ occaisionally the camera would turn on in its case and the lens would try to extend
and fail against the tight case. Slipping the case off and turning the camera off/on
again reset it as expected and it doesn't seemed to have harmed anything (except the
case is developing a lens ring stretch mark)
+ the date stamp turned itself on during my first roll of film. I watched it after that and
never found it on again, but its something to keep an eye on
+ the flash seems to work ok, but most of the time I left it switched off. I suspect this
helps battery life a lot since if you leave it in "A"uto mode each time you turn the
camera on a blinking led shows the flash charging. I'm still on the first battery after 15
rolls of 36 with maybe 40 flash photos total (mostly fill-in flash triggered by forcing it
+ I consistently got 37 photos on a roll of 36. Because the camera spools the film off
on loading and then winds it back into the canister after each photo, the count is
always accurate and it shows photos remaining rather than photos taken (which
makes it a little confusing when switching between cameras). Auto film loading
always worked first time.
+ the camera feels solid and has held up well (so far - its early days yet I realize). I
kept it in my pants pocket in its slip case most of the time and despite banging into
things and the occaisional fall from a shirt pocket it doesn't show any signs of
damage. The slip case is great because it doesn't add to the camera size significantly.
I've purposefully avoided attempting to evaluate lens and exposure quality since I
don't feel qualified to do so and don't have any enlargements yet. They look clear to
me and usually the default exposure setting produced the best slide in the bracketed
sets I did.
In summary, it was expensive compared to other P&S cameras, but I think I'll be
using it for a longer time and taking much better photos with it.
-- Michael Mee, February 17, 1998

Comments on the Contax TVS

About 2 years ago I decided to move into MF photography. I sold all my 35mm
gear and bought a Pentax 645. I soon realized that I was missed having a light
portable 35mm around to take snap shots. After checking through the various
options (T4, T2, etc.) I decided on a Contax TVS.
Positives: 1) The lens produces beautiful, saturated, contrasty images. The manual
zoom range is just about ideal for most of my needs (continuously variable
28-56mm). 2) Nice, precise autofocus. Until you get the hang of it, you will produce
some out-of-focus shots. 3) It takes a full range of filters, hoods and lens caps
available from Contax or B+W. 4) The automation is well thought out. Exposure
control can be fully program driven or aperture driven. Focusing can also be handled
manually with a built-in assist. 5) The body is beautifully finished and quite durable.
Mine has been dropped and banged about quite a bit without leaving a mark on the
body. 6) Contax has provided excellent service for the camera. A few months ago I
was having a problem with infinity focus on the TVS and sent if back for adjustment.
Contax CLA'ed the camera but didn't correct the problem. The camera was sent
back again and Contax sent a note apologizing for the problem and replaced the lens
and internal assembly at no cost to me. Needless to say, the camera works
beautifully now.
Negatives: 1) The viewfinder is more dim than I would like. 2) Film speed can't be
manually set (recognizes DX coding from 25-5000). If you want to change the film
speed, you need to either set exposure compensation (+/-5 in 1/3 stop increments)
or order DX labels from Porter's and re-label the film canister with the appropriate
speed DX label before loading it into the camera. 3. Although I love the lens, I wish
it were a little faster (2.8 vs. 3.5). 4. The TVS is fairly expensive. I bought mine used
for about $850. I expect it will last me a lifetime, but you could buy and lose quite a
few T4 or T5s for that money.
-- Sven Sampson, February 19, 1998
Comments on the Yashica T4 Super....Having read generally good things here, I
bought one and tested it using ASA 100 slide film in a side-by-side comparion with
my other cameras (Canon Elan IIe w/ 28-80 USM IV, Pentax ME super, and a 15
year old Minolta AF2). While the exposures were very good, within 1/3 stop or less,
the sharpness of the slides under a loupe were disappointing. Even at the center of
the frame with pictures taken in bright light (small aperture) the results were not as
good as the old Minolta.
Maybe it was that particular camera (I'ver read they might not be made in the same
place as the older ones), or perhaps the autofocus wasn't up to snuff, but I reluctantly
ended up returning it and will look for another. I really thought that Zeiss lens would
do wonders, but considering the (inexpensive) cameras I compared it to (except the
Canon), I could see no reason to keep it. Too bad, because otherwise I liked the
layout, size and simplicity of the camera.
PS: I also noticed the delay in autofocus that others reported as well as the

vignetting, even in full sun.

-- Thomas Smith, February 26, 1998
About eight years ago I bought one of the original Nikon Tele-Touch cameras. It had
good film handling, a 35-70 (or so) lens, took nice pictures, and had a pop-up flash
that my fingers wouldn't block. It was one of the most usable P&S cameras I've ever
Needless to say, it broke at the worst possible time (I had just gotten off the plane in
St. Petersburg). That was about four years ago, and I didn't risk a P&S again until
last year, when I bought a Fuji Endeavour 100 APS camera, no zoom. I've been
very happy with it so far--the pictures, especially closeups, have been very sharp and
have excellent contrast. The whole camera is very small, and seems to have good
pants-pocket survivability. I've taken to carrying it around along with my bigger
Nikon system when traveling, so I can keep slide of T-Max in the SLR and still have
some color prints to show everybody at home.
-- Will Crawford, February 28, 1998
After reading about six months ago, I bought a T4 (non-super) in Penn
Station on a whim. I'm typically using it with Kodak TMY rated at 3200 and Iford
Delta 100. The results in both cases are really quite stunning. Side-by-side
comparisons with similar handheld shots in ordinary light with a Nikon 20-35 2.8
zoom did not embarass the little Zeiss 35mm on the T4. I used the Nikon and my
wife used the T4 at the wedding, and most people can't tell the quality of the photos
apart at 8x10 enlargements. I've even enlarged the TMY to 3200 with excellent
contrasty results -- it provides an excellent reportage look that I got on about ten
rolls on a recent trip to India. The meter is great and the negs are sharp corner to
corner under a loupe -- Velvia slides are quite spectacular.
What's not to like? The most annoying things for me are (1) the lag time to rack out
the little lens for autofocus -- there's no way to focus ahead of time and use it to
capture the moment like a good rangefinder; this alone is going to cause me to
replace the camera, (2) no exposure adjustment -- this is somewhat mitigaged by
exposure lock, but the problem is that it's coupled to the focus lock, and (3) the flash
is totally lame [don't even think about comparing this to the Nikon F5 + SB26 :-)] -in full and fill modes. That's why I use it in with Delta 100 in the sun and with TMY at
3200 with no flash otherwise.
-- Bob Carpenter, March 6, 1998
I have resisted the entire APS scene until two months ago when I purchased Canon's
original Elph. The photographs of outdoor scenery amazed me and compared
favorably with my best 35mm P&S (Ricoh Gr-1, Yashica T-4, Olymp. Stylus Epic)
and SLRs (Canon Elan II & Pentax PZ1p). I have now purchased the Canon IX
APS, and am quite taken with this experience. I am not going to toss my P&S or
SLR cameras, but the APS scene is worth investigating if someone is still dubious. I
would welcome anyone's opinion and/or enlightenment as to where I am going to "hit

the wall" and discover the problems with the APS option.
-- Maurice Weed, March 23, 1998
i recently had slides, taken by my yashica t4, transferred to negative film (
35mm).The shots were of sunsets at the end of our lake, low cloud cover, amazing
sharp slides. The negs, when enlarged to 8x10 prints were all crisp and the colour
saturation was spot on. very good results from a 35 mm point and shoot camera. My
other sytem is all canon eos, with L, usm lenses, the yashica t4 compares favouribly
with the canon lenses. This tiny camera is my constant companion,
-- maclolm lowe, April 22, 1998
Update on the Epic: returned mine, was given a new one by the shop (nice guys at
the local Ritz Camera). Ran through a roll of PRN on a tripod, it seems to be more
consistent at focusing, but not too sharp overall compared to the Yashica T4 Super I
bought in frustration. Another roll of slides confirmed it wasn't just the printing, my
sample of the T4 was noticably sharper than my second sample of the Epic.
Anyways, at $99 now for the Epic, I decided to keep both.
-- Andrew Kim, May 1, 1998
I just purchased an Olympus Stylus Epic for $99. I ran a few rolls through it. I
haven't received the results yet, but am excited about it. I would also like to purchase
the Yashica T4 Super at some later date, but need to save for it. I have an old
Olympus XA which I love. Unfortunately, it is stuck in perpetual time release mode,
and needs to go into the shop to be fixed. I do believe it is the best little point and
shoot, and it is a collector's item. I like the rangefinder focusing.
-- Elaine Dudzinski, May 7, 1998
Recently when looking for a P& S camera a dealer showed me a new model from
Minox a CD-25. I was impressed by its styling but found it was too limited. I
checked out the wonderful MINOX website and found a whole line of 35 and APS
cameras with detailed technical information. I decided that the features of the CD-70
was just what I wanted. The best pricing was found at Camera World of Oregon,
again by checking their web-site. I was promised delivery in a week or so but found
much to my surprise it was delivered a couple of days later. Well let me tell you this
is an ergonomically well designed camera and as importantly it takes great pictures.
Large illuminated finder, readable lcd readout on the back of the camera and options
to control flash and other aspects were important consideration for me. Extended
shutter speeds was also essential. I have a stunning night photo of Grand Central
Station that is just about magazine quality...I would love Minox to make a metal
version with perhaps larger buttons for options. Right now I am very, very pleased
with this camera and recommend it highly.
-- giom grech, May 9, 1998

After reading this article I decided to buy myself the T5. I think it works great. I will
give the first roll of film to processing today. There's just one thing I dislike up to
now. Every time I turn the camera on. I starts in auto-flash-mode. From my SLR i
am used to have the camera where I left it after switching it on again. It is pretty
annoying, if you take a picture, assuming the flash is still off, but it's in automatic
mode again.
-- Nils Decker, May 12, 1998
MINI P&S EVALUATION Cameras: Stylus Epic, Stylus Zoom, Pentax 928,
Yashica T* Film: Fuji 100 color negative Shots: Same picture of my home in bright
sunlight. All cameras tripod mounted for test. Prints: 4 X 6 processed at a high
quality 1 hour lab. Evaluation Criteria: Sharpness in the center as well as at the edges
of the negative and print. Vignetting. Accurate framing of viewfinder and final
negative - centered and 90% or better. Good registration of frames on negative even spacing. Reliable functioning of camera.
STYLUS EPIC: 35mm fixed lens is very sharp across the picture. Hard to
distinguish between this and other cameras tested. Really good lens. All other criteria
met. $99 camera.
STYLUS ZOOM: Pictures at 35, 50, and 75mm were tack sharp across the frame
on all pictures. All other criteria met. I was surprised at the consistent performance of
this zoom. All other criteria met. $150 camera.
Pentax 928: Excellent performance at 28mm and 90 mm with good framing
accuracy. My daily carry camera. All other criteria met. $200 camera.
Yashica T*: First Yashica P&S with Tessar - 1980 something vintage. Standard
excellent 35mm 3.5 Tessar performance in this used camera that I got for $27. Tack
sharp everywhere. I can see why people really like this lens. This camera is so old
that it still uses AA batteries and no DX. All other criteria met.
SUMMARY: In a way, this evaluation is a big nothing - so what, everything seemed
to be perfect. That's right! I was looking for standard bottom line picture
performance, and these cameras blew me away. I have a couple Nikon bodies and a
few Nikkor lenses, so I know what quality looks like. These cameras have what it
takes to deliver good pictures. Tripod mounting helped a lot to achieve the quality I
saw. Although I did the evaluation with 100 speed film, I carry 400 color negative
(Costco/Agfa 400) and Kodak 400CN B&W on a daily basis, and am very happy
with the results of these films. Point and shoot cameras deliver!
-- John Shuster, June 17, 1998
MINI P&S Evaluation corrections/clarifications
None of the cameras showed any vignetting, especially the Pentax 928 at 28mm.

The Stylus Zoom is a 35 - 70, not 75 at the far end.

P&S cameras have been a delightful discovery and have added a new dimension to
my enjoyment of photography.
-- John Shuster, June 17, 1998
Yashica T4-super in the US ($150-$160), T5 in Europe, Kyocera T-proof in Japan
($200) is a wonderful camera due to its Carl-Zeiss lens.
Be aware, however, that it is not actually a P&S (Point and Shoot) camera. It
belongs to a new class of compact cameras developed by Kyocera's engineers:
PS&SP cameras - Point, Shoot and Still Point cameras.
These cameras are so intelligent that, after you press the shutter release button, they
will wait and decide themselves when to shoot. As a result, you can also call this type
of compact cameras:
S&TP cameras - Space and Time Parallax cameras.
Keep it in mind if you are going to shoot action.
-- Eugene PAPERNO, June 22, 1998
A camera no one has mentioned yet is the Rollei Prego Zoom 35-70. After
considering the Stylus Epic (mainly for its size) and the Minolta Freedom Zoom
Explorer (for the extra fun in zooming), I ended up with the Rollei. My main reason
was the fact that my roommate is a photographer who has both the Rollei and the
Yashica, but he never uses his Yashica while he often uses his Rollei. I've taken a
few rolls with it even testing the lens for sharpness, and it looks great. The lens is a
little faster than the Minolta and about the same price - $150 with battery and case at
Camera World of Oregon. A nice bonus is the 3 year warranty.
-- Robert Abiad, July 1, 1998
If you can find one, I recommend the Fujifilm DL Super Mini, w/28mm f3.5 lens. I
have a Konica T3 w/several lenses and Pentax ZX-5 w/50mm and 28- 105mm f2.8
zoom plus a Canon Elph, Jr (for which I traded the remains of a Minolta XK
W/several fungus-eaten lenses). All of these I enjoy & use to shoot @ 50-75
pictures a week (it's a hobby, not my business). I find myself using the Fuji more &
more; it is very compact, has an excellent lens, quick focus (and manual focus when
needed), a decent flash, all-aluminum body w/sliding cover, shutter speed up to
1/800th, size smaller than any 35mm I've seen other than the Minolta TC- 1, and
again, an excellent lens. My only complaint is that it is too automatic. Except for the

manual focus and flash variations (on, off, night and +2ev backlight compensation),
you can't alter any setting and it's program only, of course. BUT, it fits any pocket,
seems lint- resistant, is very quick and easy to use. I recommend it, if you can find
one. I found mine in a pawn shop for $35, including tax and I love it.
-- Ed Nicholson, July 14, 1998
I went into the store with every intention of buying the Yashica Microtec Zoom 70
(which received excellent reviews in multiple magazines). I would have never thought
that being "left-eyed" would make such a difference. The controls are so
inconveniently positioned, that my eyeglasses were smeared with fingerprints. It's less
of a problem with the Minolta Freedom Explorer, but still inconvenient.
-- Isabel Bauer, August 15, 1998
i have three of the more popular compact cameras often reviewed on this forum in
individual fashion; i thought someone might be interested in my experiences. i will be
brief. the cameras in my possession are: a yashica t2 with a 35/3.5 zeiss tessar lens; a
olympus stylus epic with a 35/2.8 zuiko; and a ricoh gr-1, 28/2.8. quite frankly, i
don't think the yashica measures up to the other two cameras. the metering is more
easily confused, often delivering underexposed images. furthermore, the sharpness of
the lens is not the equal of the others, especially at 5x7. in fairness, i have not had the
body serviced since purchase, which was several years ago. the olympus is
wonderfully light, well-protected, and sublimely easy to use under most
circumstances. it is by far the best choice for hiking, fishing, family photos at the
beach; anywhere that quick handling and a need for camera protection converge.
however, to match the ricoh in metering accuracy, it is necessary to utilize the "spot"
feature, which requires repeated double button activation, and some uncertainty
about the actual area covered by the "spot" effect. assuming correct metering, the
lens delivers crisp, beautiful exposures. however, the clear winner when the goal is
excellent image making, or what i call "serious photography", is the ricoh gr-1. it has
terrific ergonomics; a tiny body, but with controls that are sized fine for my larger
than average hands. the "program" mode is productive of perfect images in family
snapshots, or even lighting conditions. the ability to lock focus and exposure in the
"spot" mode places you on equal footing with your friend and his contax aria (well,
almost...), and the lens is the equal of any nikkor in my collection. the ability to lock
in hyperfocal distance ("snap" mode) is something all cameras should have. i take
most of my shots with this feature. of course, the provision for total manual control is
the icing on this very fine cake. anyone who ever worked with a manual nikon,
pentax, or minolta, will feel right at home. if this camera had the ability to interchange
lens, i would do anything necessary to switch to that system. i just don't understand
why ricoh, a company that is not exactly burning up the market place with its current
slr offerings, doesn't use this body as the starting point for a "leica for the masses".
my bet is that it would blow the contax g series in the weeds, from a popularity
-- wayne harrison, August 30, 1998
I would like to contribute an "Amen" to Wayne's evaluations of the Yashica "T-2"

(T-4?), Olympus Stylus Epic, and the Ricoh GR-1. I have shot film and compared
photos with all 3 cameras as well.
The T-4 is nice, but has no definite advantage over the cheaper, faster (f3.5 vs f2.8),
and smaller Epic. The Epic also has a maximum shutter speed of 1/1000 compared
to the 1/700 of the T-4.
In short, the Epic produces stunning photos. I compared pix made with my Nikon
4004 SLR and Nikkor 50mm lens and could detect no perceptible diffence in color,
clarity or contrast. I love the waterproofing also, for shooting around the pool, at the
beach, at the water park, etc. The camera is rugged and reliable. Good ergonomics,
although the GR-1 can't be beat in this department.
Concerning the Ricoh GR-1: Nothing short of amazing in all areas except one, i.e.
the flash. It consistently imparted a yellowish discoloration and almost blurriness to
subjects photographed with flash at close range. This rendered the photos un-usable.
I absolutely love the ergonomics, ease of use, sharpness, and EVERYTHING else
about the camera. The 28mm lens is great for small group photos, but is only okay
for head and shoulders due to the typical 28mm distortion. I particularly like the
"hard switch" for turning off the flash, which allows quick access to flash on/off
versus having to toggle through options and miss the shot. The other cool feature is
the "memory" function when you turn the power off: it remembers the last mode used
when you turn the camera back on.
So, in summary, I can HIGHLY recommend all 3 of the above cameras. I returned
the T-4 to Wolf Camera (who is most delightful to deal with, although not the best
prices) when I purchased my Epic, for the reasons listed above. I will also be
sending back my GR-1 to Camera World of Oregon for a replacement. Since no
one else has complained of the yellow tinting on close-up flash, I assume that it is a
problem with the particular lens. If my replacement is bogus also, I'll inform the
newsgroup. Regarding CCO: an excellent organization to deal with; let's see how
they handle exchanges/refunds :-) Thanks to Phil for a GREAT website!!!!!!
-- Randy Beecham, September 2, 1998
For the casual spelunker (yep, cave wanderer) there is no better travelling
companion, aside from a good headlamp, than the Yashica T4. I recently ran three
rolls of Tri-X through my brand new T4 and I have to say, the images are marvelous:
sharp and contrasty. Lighting?, you ask. Every year or so, I paint a few layers of
clear nail varnish on the lens of my headlamp so as to soften the otherwise harsh light
the beast emits. I do this because the resulting light is soft (a bit yellow) and can be
used imaginatively with the headlamp's beam focussing ring while probing the
recesses of dark, misty caves. I bought (and brought) the T4 a) because of various
opinions registered here and b) because I wanted something weatherproof without
having to shell out for a Nikkonos. I am one happy caveman. The T4/headlamp
combination performed as well as anything else I've tried and--as a bonus--the T4 is
small enough to fit into the little fannypack I bring along (other occupants: fig
newtons, space blanket, whistle). Caving is only one use I put my various (six and
counting) cameras to. However, based on this limited trial, I plan to shelve my tough

old Rollei 35s and use the T4 for all my P&S needs. Only in cold weather, where the
Rollei NEVER dies and where I suspect the T4 will poop out, will the former
displace the new kid on the block.
-- Hugh Macaulay, September 8, 1998
I own a Fuji DL Mini superzoom, which is my wife's compact camera. We both love
it, a great design, good ergonmics, nice spec and takes great photos. My wife uses it
to chronicle her version of the development of our baby daughter. Must say that
sharpness, colour and contrast of the photos are consistently very good. The only
problem now and then is a touch of vignetting on flash photography, but that is too
be expected of a P&S compact. The other thing that really bugs me is the noisy
zoom mechanism; it really drives me up the wall when u r trying to be subtle about
images. There have been quite a few times my baby angel has been woken up by the
grinding ratcheting of the Fuji lens extending and retracting.
Just bot an Olympus MjuII/Stylus Epic last week for a trip to HK. It's a pretty
amazing design, with a top class spec and good handling. And it was small enuff for
me to carry it around in my jeans pocket.
Got my shots back a couple of days ago; I ran 6 rolls of film thru it in 4 days. All but
a handful of the shots were pretty much bang on. There was one shot where the
backlight fooled the metering, one where the focus point was wrong (more human
error than anything), one where image was soft (may be due to camera shake, and a
couple where the flash colour compensation for internal lighting caused fluorescent
lighting to be overexposed.
Overall, I must say I am quite impressed with the little thing. Even more so than the
Fuji. I also use Contax and Minolta for my SLR outfits, and confess that for prints,
the differences in quality were not immediately noticeablem even when blown up. Am
now beginning to be converted to the school of thought that P&S cameras may really
become the best cameras in the world in the next few years; especially for the ones
with prime lenses.
Haven't really tried the T4 yet; there is a chance I may be able to get my hands on
one this week. If so, will give my feedback on how it performs.
-- T C Khoo, September 14, 1998
Just ran some film thru the Yashica T4 (non-super) and got the shots back. Here are
my comments:
1. Lens is indeed tack sharp. Detail, contrast and colour is better than Olympus
Stylus Epic, even without enlargements and loupe. Comparison is test roll of
Olympus; same range of subjects under same conditions.
2. Flash is pretty awful...worse than the Stylus epic. Lots of shadowing, and not as
subtle. This auto colour correction feature of the Stylus may have something to it
after all.

3. Metering is about the same. Both got fooled by same backlit subject, though the
T4 image was slightly less underexposed, with more shadow detail. Could be due to
the Tessar lens.
4. Handling and ergonomics...mixed bag. Yashica has easily accesible controls, while
Stylus controls are smaller, with a shutter release which does get mistaken for the
lens cover when it comes to shooting. However, T4 makes the most awful grinding
noises on shutter release and frame advance, with a tangible delay between
depressing and release. Stylus is much crisper and more definite in its shutter and film
advance mechanism. Having said that, I know the T5/T4 super is quieter and
smoother on all fronts than the old T4, but still maybe not up to the Stylus standard.
Overall, in my opinion, there is little to choose. If u do a lot of flash shooting, the little
Olympus may be a better bet. If conversely, u do a lot of outdoor picture taking,
then the T4 is the one to go for. Handling is split and entirely a personal choice. The
T4 Super/T5 is probably a smoother handler and operator than my old T4, but the
T5 to me is a better design and handler overall. Then again, I have small hands and
have no problems activating the spot function, which, by the way, the T4/T5 does
not possess, and which I find quite useful.
So,the bottom line, in my opinion, the Stylus gets my vote, for design, for the
spotmetering, and the fact that I do (unfortunately) take a lot of flash photos Of
course, if only they could fit that Tessar lens over, I can live with the 1/3/1/2 stop
drop in speed.
Any one have experience with a Ricoh R1/Rollei Prego Micron? Have seen a lot
about the GR1, but not the lesser brethren. Anyone know of detailed reviews I can
access. Once again, I may be able to borrow one soon to try out. Will let u guys/gals
know soonest.
-- T C Khoo, September 15, 1998
Apologies, in previous comment, in 3rd paragraph from bottom, 4th line should read
Stylus rather than T5 as the better handler to me.
-- T C Khoo, September 15, 1998
Hv tried the Rollei Prego Micron, the Shneider lens version of the Ricoh R1. Here
are my thoughts:
1. Lens - Firstly, just to refresh, the Rollei has 2 lenses, a 30MM/3.5 and a
24MM/8, while the Stylus and T4 have 35MMs,so direct comparisons are a little
tricky. With that in mind: Sharpness, better than Olumpus, just behind the CZ Tessar
of T4. Colour, contrast, right up there with the Zeiss.
2. Flash - Contrary to popular belief, the Rollei fared best here. Even illumination
edge to edge, natural colours, well balanced, little shadowing. Blows the other 2

3. Metering - about the same across the board. No surprises.

4. Handling/Ergonomics - Wow, and I say again, Wow. The R1/Rollei Prego
Micron is peerless. The overall design, placement, size and operation of the controls
are the best I've seen on a compact P&S.
To close, given the abovementioned, the Rollei Prego Micron gets my vote cos of
the flash, design, handling and also the specs. Although the shutter speed range is
narrower than the T4 and Stylus, and it lacks a spot mode,it does have the 2 lenses
(and very good ones they are too) which allow you to change your perspectiven and
have true panorama (24MM). The focal lengths are ideal if u want to have a P&S
primarily as a chronicler of your holiday travels, or even ordinary street life. If u want
to get even more value for money, stick with the Ricoh R1, which is the original
Cheers, TC
-- T C Khoo, September 17, 1998
I carry 3 P/S's (coat pockets), all w/ slide film:
- T4/original: 400-speed Elite. Mostly night, no-flash work. Nice as described, but
hate that the infinity focus unsets after each shot (frenzied pix thru airplane windows).
Focus delay sucks the most, a big reason why I use it as I do now. Love it all the
same :-)
- Olympus Stylus Zoom 105: Astia 100 for people photos. HATE the long time it
takes to get the lens out/in when turned on/off. HATE that it has no infinity focus.
Nice feel in the hand, solid feel too. Was forced to buy it when previous zoom
camera was lost en route to Burning Man - do not shop P/S cameras in Reno.
Again, now that it has its niche, I'm happy with it overall.
- Ricoh Shotmaster 130: Velvia. This is the workhorse that lets the others off the
hook. HATE that it has a single cheap plastic catch that breaks just from dropping
from slightly higher than toilet seat (about $100+ to fix), WISH it would focus a lot
closer, LOVE the matrix indicator of where the focus has been chosen <-repeat 3
times*, IMPRESSED BUT BAFFLED by the range of programming options. I
HAD to get this because my Olympus was in the shop when I left for Moscow, and
there it began to get 'hung' like a computer until I rewound the film, and it took 2 trips
to the shop when I returned to iron it out. LOVEx3 the fast readiness (thanks to 2
batteries). The aspheric lens may account for a 'deepness' in the pix, too. OH - and
LOVE that for such a big zoom, it can still be crammed into a shirt pocket.
- Next, I'd like to get a digital, if the res would only get up to say 5000x3000, but
maybe I'll get something current in the meantime just to get my feet wet. Opinions on
digitals very welcome.
-- Bill Ross

-- Bill Ross, September 23, 1998

I purchased the Olympus Stylus Epic or Mju-2 as it is known here in Oz. Its not the
perfect camera and when the Yashica T4/Yashica T4 Super costs almost twice as
much in this country the decision was very easy to make.
The optics are great. My friend had the earlier version (mju-1) and I was impressed
with it a few years ago. The earlier version cost him more than mine now and the
newer optics are much better. Value for money has certainly increased. The faster
lens certainly comes in handy for low light snaps indoors and outdoors as well. It's
amazing what you can do with a lens that is a little bit faster and sharper than the
The robustness of the camera is a big plus when travelling. Lens cover fits snugly
keeping the lens clean and out of danger. O-ring seals are good and I have had no
problems over the 9 months I have had it. I've taken it hiking in hot dusty conditions
as well as humid conditions. Ttwo friends that have them are full of praise for the
compactness, sharpness and versatility of the camera.
Niggling points are you have no control over the lens aperture unlike some which
allow you to stopdown the lens to 'infinity'. The buttons which control the settings
(flash, noflash, autoflash, redeye reduction, partial flash, spotmeter and timer) are a
little fiddly. Though fiddly these buttons help with the weather proofing I guess. If its
an all purpose all weather point and shoot camera that is very affordable you cannot
go past it.
I read lots of the Q&A forums before buying the camera. Admittedly there are
sharper point and shoot cameras out there but they will cost an arm and a leg.
Anyhow, if you are going to spend big dollars and obsessed with sharpness you may
as well get a cheap SLR body and a basic 50 mm lens instead. It will certainly give
you more bang for your buck than an expensive priced point and shoot. For value
for money you can't go past the mju-2.

-- Guy Gersbach, September 28, 1998

As time moves on, my stylus has started to act up on me, exhibiting signs of the "I'll
focus where and when I want to " syndrome that some people have raised. When it
works, it is wonderful, when it doesn't it drives me crazy. Purely random, no pattern,
ok for 6 rolls, then 1 roll where 20% of shots go haywire. Am considering sending it
in under warranty.
The T4 is with my in-laws, compared with my Stylus, it has been a model of
consistency and reliability. Pictures of my daughter under a wide variety of conditions
have come out exceedingly sharp, with high contrast and very rich colours. Many
enlargements have been made, bringing us great joy.

Hv also been fooling around with a new Konica Big Mini F with the 35/2.8.
Beautifully designed, well constructed, sharp lens, a bit flare prone, not as contrasty
as the T4's Zeiss, but still good, tiny (irritating controls), very smooth operation,
quiet, fast AF, good metering,little shutter lag, and no lens cover. Also got good
specs, with exposure comp, powerful flash and good range of modes.
Recently thought about going a little wider. Considered going for a wide zoom, but
am very hesitant cos of quality/speed of lens at the long end. With 28's in my price
range, selection is limited. The GR1 is lovely, but a little costly, so the other option is
the Fuji DL Mini/Cardia Mini Tiara II. Initial impressions have been nothing short of
amazing. Tiny aluminium bodied clamshell design (smaller than Stylus?), a wonderful
28/3.5 Fujinon EBC lens, truly sharp, contrasty and with vivid colours, possibly even
sharper than the T4, bang on metering, mixes ambient and artificial light well, and
good range of modes, apart from usual flash modes, also has infinity, snap, manual
focus, backlight compensation and mid roll panorama. Curious though, there does
not seem to be any fill flash function, and it appears that the flash fires almost all the
time in the autoflash mode. Need to enquire about the programme. Shutter lag is also
quite prominent, rather T4-esque. Apart from that, it is quite a jewel at the price. If u
don't need the manual control of the GR1, I daresay the Fuji is quite possibly the
best fixed focal compact P&S below USD200 around.
-- T C Khoo, October 15, 1998
As an RIT photo student, I've had the pleasure of using some of the best photo
equipment on the planet. From the venerable Nikon F5, to the Sinar P2 to the
Mamiya RZ 67, it amazes me how people expect SLR or higher results from P&S.
The sole reason I buy a P&S is too just take candid shots. If you want SLR results,
go buy an SLR. I however do enjoy people's comments on these cameras, which is
also important. But at the same time, please try to lighten up and not let the subject
flee from you. Good shooting! =)
-- Ken Lee, October 17, 1998
About 18 years ago I bought my wife a new $140 "no-think, do-everything," plastic
bodied Canon ML Super SureShot with a fixed autofocus f1.9 lens. I, of course,
would use a real 35mm with lots of bells and whistles, a fancy interchangeable lens,
and controls I could play with. Result: she has consistantly blown me away even
though she knows only enough about cameras to find the shutter button. Her trusty
Canon P&S has seen heavy use and has been trouble free these 18 years.
While I was taking light meter readings and carefully focusing she was busy firing
properly exposed and focused shots like a machinegun.
I now also have a Canon ML Super SureShot and my "serious" 35mm's and Hassy
M/L stay in their cases.
Show me another mass market (inexpensive) P&S with a 1.9 lens as good as the
Canon and I'll buy it. Until then I can get a sharp picture in light that the f3.5 and f2.8
point-and-shoot Nikons, Rolleis, etc. can't handle. I fail to understand why the f1.9

P&S Canon wasn't more popular.

-- Al Thompson, October 23, 1998
I know lots of people like the Stylus Epic, but my experience with the camera has
not been good. Here's what happened: - One month after I bought it earlier this year,
the camera developed a light leak. I returned it to the store, which had the light seals
replaced. it worked fine for exactly one roll, then started leaking light again. - I
returned it again to the store which this time replaced it with a brand new Stylus Epic.
First few rolls through the camera were fine, then guess what: it started leaking light.
-I took it back to the store which replaced it again with another brand new one.
Believe it or not, this one leaked light on the second roll. I returned this camera
yesterday, got a credit note from the store and will take my time deciding what
camera to buy now.
I guess I was extremely unlucky with this camera. Nevertheless, from my experience,
I can hardly recommend it.
-- Michael Fuhrmann, October 30, 1998
I used an Olympic Stylis for years. When they came out with the 35-70 zoom model,
I bought one and gave the original to my daughter who is still using it. I never liked
the pop up flash on the zoom. It seemed that my finger would often be covering it
when it needed to come up. No problem now, the retracting system is broken and
the flash stays up. Need a piece of Scotch Tape to keep it down for putting in
pocket. Love the original, hate the zoom.
-- Gene Jenkins, November 19, 1998
P&S cameras are attractive in a variety of applications; for me the important uses are
as an affordable, very light weight camera that slips into a pocket as a back-up to my
full size SLR, or as a camera to take on summit climbs, where every ounce becomes
excruciating. I have tried a number of models, none of which is perfect, but all of
which have their good points.
I began with a Pentax 928. On the up side, it has a great zoom range (28-90) and a
user friendly design. On the down side, it lacks the sharpness for work which will be
blown up to 16x20, it is very susceptible to flare, and I suspect some distortion
around the edges (although I've never conducted real tests). It got handed down to
my wife, who uses cameras almost exclusively for candid snaps, and she loves it.
I decided to move upmarket, and tried the Nikon 28ti. This is a wonderful piece of
engineering which is sharp, rugged, and has excellent electronics supporting
autofocus and autoexposure. With a 2.8 aperture it's one of the faster quality P&S
lenses on the market. Prices have dropped and these are now available around
$700. Ultimately I had two serious problems: I do a great deal of landscape and
architecture, and the lack of a polarizing lens capability proved to be a critical flaw. I
also confess that I'm basically a "zoom guy", who has never felt comfortable carrying
a bunch of primes, and the fixed length lens seemed a little constraining. So the 28ti

was sold, and replaced by ...

The Contax TVS, which seemed to solve both problems. It has a screw in filter
adapter and a 28-45 zoom range. It also comes blessed with a wonderfully sharp,
reasonably fast lens. But the promise proved better than the reality. I always had
problems with both focus and exposure. Another reviewer commented that this is
part of the learning curve, and that after a few rolls you start to get the hang of it, but
I was able to get the camera to perform well only without a filter. The moment I
screwed my B&W circular polarizer in, the electronics on the camera got very
confused. Perhaps I have a very long learning curve. But after a full year I threw in
the towel and sold the Contax as well.
I've stopped trying to find a pocket camera which can be all things to one person.
I've settled for high quality optics in a small easy package. I learned my lesson from
the senior guide at an Alpine climbing center, who smirked every time I tried to
unpack my gear while dangling on a rope. He would reach into his shirt pocket and
take a one-handed snap. When we got back to Chamonix I went over to his house,
and was astounded by the quality of some of his shots, even in moderately large
blow-ups. His camera was a tiny 35mm Minox, which is smaller than most APS
cameras, but includes fine German optics and a 35mm format at an affordable price
($200-300, depending on model). I went home and ordered the GT-X, which has
full manual controls as well as a P&S mode. No filter capability, not many bells and
whistles, but a great 35/2.8 lens and controls which explain themselves. It's not the
P&S for everyone, but it you have similiar needs, it may well fill the bill.
-- Julian Svedosh, November 28, 1998
Regarding the new Contax TVSII and comments about using the TVS and TVSII:
I have just bought the TVSII, Contax's new version of the TVS.
What changed?
1) the viewfinder is now much brighter--the LCD masks are gone and are replaced
by the simpler and more standard cropping marks at the frame edge to indicate
parallax at close focus. This is the single most important change, and a welcome one.
2) the panorama mode is gone--I rate this an improvement since the same result can
be had by cropping a negative that wasn't masked in the camera and since the
panorama switch could be partially engaged, accidentally cropping edges on normal
3) the zoom mechanism is simplified--I'm not sure that this either adds or detracts,
but the lever on the lens has been removed and zooming is now accomplished by a
wider knurled ring around the front of the lens
4) a built in lens cap has been added--this is the standard P+S type (although it's
made of metal and not plastic). I feel better with the $12 Contax lens cap in place
over the built-in one since a real cap offers much more protection from dust and

impact. I do like the fact that the built-in cap is there as back-up, however.
Everything else is the same: truly excellent 28-56 Zeiss T* lens, titanium body, 5 EV
+/-1/3 exposure compensation, synthetic saphire windows and shutter release,
ceramic film plate, etc.
My impressions after shooting 4 rolls of print film? The lens takes some of the most
beautiful photos I've seen in 35mm--not only sharp, contrasty, and saturated but with
excellent tonal gradation as well. The photos are comparable with results from my
Leica M6 outfit and far better than results from other point and shoots I've used,
including my two Yashica T4s. (So why keep the M6? Many reasons including:
much faster lenses (f/2 and better), the potential for making much bigger
enlargements, and allows a much different approach to photography).
Responses to other TVS comments I've seen here:
1) The dim viewfinder is no longer a drawback to this camera.
2) One post noted exposure errors with filters in place. The camera does not meter
through the lens and so the exposure compensation must be used to dial in more
exposure according to the filter factor. Once you do this everything works great. The
passive autofocus (with low-light IR assist) is also external, so filters do not effect
3) Someone also suggested a learning curve in getting used to the camera's focussing
and exposure. I don't notice that there's a problem here. My first three rolls were
fine. For flash work inside, 400 ASA film would be best (as with any small
on-camera flash).
4) A final comment on the AF and flash. The behavior of both can be modified. The
AF can be set to move the lens into position with a half-press of the shutter release,
eliminating the delay in taking a picture. The default flash mode can also be set to any
of the flash modes available. I leave it set to flash off usually, since I don't like the
flash going off without my permission.
I am very happy with this camera. It is, of course, one of the most expensive point
and shoots, but the results are
-- Charles Dunlap, December 1, 1998
A brief commment on APS: I recently bought a Canon Z90 for its 22.5-90mm APS
zoom range (equivalent to about 28-112mm on 35mm film). Unfortunately, I have to
report that I'll be changing this camera, not because of any fault of the camera - I
really rather like its styling and features - but because APS just doesn't produce
good enough results. I own a Canon A1 SLR based system and a Minox GT which I
love, although the first is bulky and the second suffers from having a
non-interchangeable fixed focal length 35mm lens. I had hoped that the Canon Z90
would solve these problems, but instead I got the APS film resolution problem. The
APS film format offers several advantages with the different picture sizes available

from standard processing houses, but the image quality lets it down. I long for the
day when a manufacturer like Canon produces a P&S compact as well featured and
egineered as the Z90, but designed around the standard 35mm film format.
-- Jonathan M Rackowe, December 13, 1998
Just purchased an E+ Ricoh GR1 from KEH in Atlanta for $299. and it is super!
Great sharpness, color and contrast with Fuji 400 film. As I've stated before, KEH is
my favorite used camera mail order store..never gotten anything that wasn't better
than their rating compared to other places. I really love this camera!
-- Jim Gemmill, December 13, 1998
Someone else mentioned having problems with light leaks in the Stylus. My mom has
a Stylus and it has the same problem. Normally it isn't noticable, but in bright
conditions there is a bright spot near the top of the frame. I think this may have
started when I yard-saled skiing with the camera in my pocket!
Anyway, otherwise it is a great camera. How many 35mm cameras can you
conveniently fit in your pocket? Not many.
-- Kirk Nelson, December 15, 1998
Teng Cheong Khoo wrote on October 15, 1998: "As an RIT photo student, I've had
the pleasure of using some of the best photo equipment on the planet. From the
venerable Nikon F5, to the Sinar P2 to the Mamiya RZ 67, it amazes me how
people expect SLR or higher results from P&S."
Yes, it is amazing. It is amazing and true that P&S cameras are now in some cases
SUPERIOR in image quality to SLR equivalents. The lens on the Ricoh GR-1 is at
least equal, and arguably superior, to the equivalent Nikkor prime. The GR-1
vibrates FAR less, due to the absence of a mirror and FP shutter. It is 10x lighter,
occupies 1/10 the volume, and costs 1/10 as much as an F5. But in most
photographic situations it will perform as well as or better than the F5. And if one
wishes to be at all discrete, a GR-1 is immeasurably better.
"The sole reason I buy a P&S is too just take candid shots. If you want SLR results,
go buy an SLR."
Whatever 'SLR results' are. I'd guess that you couldn't tell a portrait taken with a
Rolleiflex from one taken with a Hasselblad. Or a landscape taken with a Pentax 6x7
from one taken with a Mamiya 7. Unless the SLR pictures were less sharp due to
The truth is that the SLR is a superbly versatile tool, but in *average* photographic
situations, that means that the SLR is carrying many features that are not used. And
the first principle of good design is that anything that does not add, detracts.
The REAL question is why so many people use an SLR to do a P&S's job...

-- Alexey Merz, December 29, 1998

Whoops. I meant to write "discreet".
-- Alexey Merz, December 29, 1998
I confess I haven't tried any of the current generation of (mini) point and shoot
cameras that are generally being discussed but apart from SLRs and a MF system
that I use for work, I have three old Nikon L35AF's, kept handy here and there.
Fixed 35/2.8, very, very sharp, defeatable autoflash, backlight compensation lever,
self timer, takes filters (46mm), film rewind leaves a little leader out of cassette, ASA
setting is manual 25-400ASA on two of them, 50-1000 on the other -very handy for
exposure compensation., runs on two AAs...last but not least...the most recent one,
in excellent condition, I picked up in a pawnshop for $A10. The camera that meters
to 1000ASA makes a great little infrared (point & shooter) with Kodak HS infrared
and a 25A filter (film rating and dev. details if anyone's interested) p.s. No way of
knowing but I wouldn't be at all surprised if the 35/2.8 lens on the Nikon 35Ti is
none other than what's on my old friend from circa 1983...anyway, enjoy taking
pictures, whatever you shoot with.
-- Michael Wearne, January 5, 1999
I'm a community college photojournalist for a campus newspaper, and I recently
bought an Olympus Stylus Epic... Best camera in the world, it just earned me a prize
in a newspaper competition... best 'grab-shot' photo. My Konica HexanonAR and
my Canon EOS rigs do NOT have the same results as the excellent f2.8 lens on the
Olympus. :) I can also carry it concealed in a pocket, and people won't look at me
as strangely as if I was carring my big arsed Domke bag full of lenses around. :) I'm
not going to try shooting sports photos with it anytime soon, but for normal shots, the
$99 is so worth it. BTW, I also want to thank people for all the nice comments about
Ritz Cameras. I am an employee at one of their Kit's Cameras stores in Oregon, and
I do appreciate hearing that the company I'm part of is doing a good job. Thank you!
-- Karl Katzke, January 19, 1999
I went thru all the comments about Styluses (Styli ?), T4s/T5s, 28/35 Tis, Rivas,
UC-1s, etc.....and found them very interesting. I'm surprised no one mentioned the
once-popular-but-not-so-much-now Olympus XA and XA4.
I had a couple of XAs, one for print, one for slide, but found that although the
camera was very functional and innovative, the lens was so-so until about 8. So I got
rid of one and picked up a nice used XA4. The lens on this is a real beauty, rivalling
some of my SLR's prime 28s. Maybe I got lucky but I think most reviews of the
XA4's lens were very good.
These little beauties are the grand-daddies of the current day Stylus/mju/mju II with
the world's first sliding clam-shell cover, and they were a very convenient size for

trekking, skiing, mountaineering.

For the uninitiated, here's a brief run-down of their features:
Common features: takes LR44/A76 cells, +1.5 backlight compensation, battery
check, 10 sec self-timer.
XA : 35/2.8, range-finder focusing, aperture priority f2.8-22,1/500 to 20 sec (on
mine), shutter speeds in finder.
XA4 : 28/3.5, scale focusing with close up to 30cm, strap measures to 30 and 50
cm for accurate closeups, DX coding, fully programmed 1/700 to 2 secs, close-up
correction marks in finder.

-- Raymond Ang, January 22, 1999

I stumbled on to some of Phils stuff awhile back and at the time he was rating the
Minolta explorer I think. I was in the market so I bought one. Took it with me last
fall to Yellowstone and called it my "tourist cam " . cord around my neck and camera
in my pocket, I could get it out in a flash. Most of my photos from The Beartooth
pass were shot out the window without much composition. The results were great
not up to my SLR's (Nikon) but not expected to be. Well I carried it everywhere in
my breifcase, which like most of you, isn't far away.Stopped at Barnes and Noble ,
and while looking through some mags, saw an article on the 25 best cameras in the
world. Darned if a Infinity Stylus Epic I had just bought wasn't listed. It was in the
car and didn't even have film in it yet. The next day a test roll was shot and results
were great. About 10 days ago while reading the RPM NG, a saw a T4 pop up so I
shot of a request and darned if I didn't get there first. A week later the T4 got here
and off I went to the canal park area here in Duluth, MN. I found lots of subject, but
particular were a couple buildings, and a tug frozen in the ice. After the shots were
developed I scanned the negative of the tug with my HP Photsmart, and printed it.
Not one soul here at the office identified it as a computer shot, and why ? I owe it to
the optics on the T4. The original print was really sharp, excellent color and
exposure. Now I have shall we say, several P&S cameras. In trying to decide how
to cut inventory ( heard that lately ?) I really don't see the need to get rid of any of
them ! Worst case scenerio, the wife gets the Minolta zoom. Thanks for reading..
-- Jim Christensen, January 26, 1999
As an engineer concerned with documenting existing conditions, before/after,
problems, etc., I am less concerned with "creative expression" than with making a lot
of "pretty-good" pictures quickly. I had been using the office's Polaroid Spectra 2 - it
is nice to have the result in hand immediately - but the picture is too small, the colors
are muddy, and the surface tends to deteriorate from handling. At home, an Olympus
Stylus Zoom 35-70mm Weatherproof ($190.) has been O.K. for a couple of years,
but with a few problems - flash tends to overexpose people up close, bad red-eye
indoors, and I keep bumping the pop-up flash. Recently, the need to document a

contractor's paint-overspray problem was simply too much to ask of the Polaroid, so
I bought an Olympus Stylus 35mm f/3.5 Quartzdate ($99.) strictly to use at the
office. Obviously, price was of the essence, but the $69. alternative was about twice
the volume & weight. I have now taken about 20x24 photos with the new camera,
using Kodak Gold 100 color print film and getting one 4"x6" print of each from the
local 24-hour developer. (Actually, I got a few 5"x7" prints, but they take up more
room in the file without giving noticeably more information.) I find the results are as
good as I could ask for. Gold 200 would in principal permit faster shutter for more
sharpness, but I think the limiting factor at present is camera shake, and I'm not
about to start carrying around a tripod. The flash seems to be more trouble than it is
worth, so I turn it off except for the dimmest venues - e.g., a boiler room. I haven't
missed the zoom feature at all - I simply move in until the zone of interest fills the
finder. For my purposes, the date imprint is excellent documentation. Now my boss
wants to start documenting before/after with slides, the better to show management
how much nicer we are making our employees' work environment. I am thinking of
getting another Olympus Stylus 35mm (without Quartzdate) to keep loaded with,
say, Kodak Elite Chrome 200 color slide film. Two possible problems threaten - (1)
slide film is said to be more sensitive to exposure error than print film, and (2)
camera shake may be more of a problem when the results are projected onto a 5'x7'
screen. I dread the thought of having to use a tripod! Suggestions are welcome eMail to
-- Gregory Josephs, February 3, 1999
Here are some of my experiences with several P&S cameras:
1) Olympus mju II (= Stylus Epic): Lens flares badly when shooting against the light
(exposure can be made correct by using the spot metering, however). Autofocus is
not very reliable; in particular it doesn't recognize thin or round objects. The
problems with round objects (pillars, sometimes sculptures, gargoyles etc.) seem to
be hardly ever mentioned as a serious drawback of the active infrared autofocus
system! Further I've made the experience that at full aperture (in low light conditions)
the right side of the picture area isn't very sharp. I don't know what the reason is, and
I don't know, either, if this is just a problem with my particular mju II or a general
problem of the camera. Anyone who can tell me? A further problem with the camera
seems to be accurate exposure with slide film. Results were unsatisfactory both with
Fuji Velvia and Ektachrome Elite II 50 films; with Elite II 100 a bit better. However,
with 400 ASA color or B&W print films nice results can be expected; definite
advantages of the camera are its VERY compactness and the weatherproofing; it's
also fine that it admits comparatively long exposure times at turned-off flash. So I'll
keep the camera, but I won't do much serious photography with it.
2) Minolta RIVA Zoom 140 EX (Freedom Explorer in the USA ???): Very slow
lens, of course, but still one of the fastest ones in this class of real telephoto zoom
P&S's. Very sharp at any focal length (!), but heavy distortion at the edges at 38
mm. This distortion seems to get better with increasing length of the lens, however.
Exposure metering VERY accurate even with slide films (although I haven't used 50
ASA slide film with this camera for obvious reasons) and even in partially backlit
situations! I guess this is due to TTF (through the finder) dual-segment metering. The

passive autofocus is very reliable in general, but causing problems in low-light and
backlight situations.
3) Contax TVS: Bought this camera second-hand a few weeks ago. Shot some rolls
of 200 ASA and 100 ASA color print film and one roll of Ilford XP2 black and
white film. The results are simply overwhelming. No problems with shooting directly
against the light (if you can guess the correct amount of exposure compensation, of
course): there is practically no flare at all. A slight distortion is noticeable at 28 mm,
but really so slight that it doesn't matter at all. Concerning sharpness, contrast, tonal
value etc. I can simply tell that I've never seen results comparing to this except from
medium format. I haven't tried slide film in this camera yet, but exposure
compensation in 0.3 stops will do anything, I guess. It also runs from -5 to +5 so that
deliberate over- and underexposures (for ``hold'' and ``push'' processings, resp.) are
included (as a substitute for manual ISO setting). There are only two features the
camera definitely lacks: The first one is the absence of spot metering, and the second
one is that no cable release or infrared remote control can be used with this camera.
O.K., the self timer will do it in most situations (as it replaces the mirror lock up in
my SRL!), but when working with a tripod in extremely low light, so low, that the
``B'' feature must be employed, pressing the button all the time during, say, 2 minutes
will not only feel and look silly, but will inevitably result in some severe camera
shake, I guess!
4) Fuji GA 645: This a medium format camera, but it can be considered a P&S, too,
because its features are nearly identical to those of the Contax T2, the ``zoomless
sister'' of the aforementioned TVs. The GA, however, owns a hybrid (combined
active and passive) autofocus, shows also the distance in the viewfinder (this is a
fantastic tool!), can take a cable release and has TTF metering. Optics is simply
flawless: no distortion at all, the image remains sharp to the very edges! A fantastic
camera, the best one I own, and highly recommended. If there weren't the very high
price (around 4.000 DM, some $2.500, I guess), I'd instantly buy another one, the
GA 645W (with he wide-angle lens!). Look for good second-hand-offers, as I did.
5) No fifth camera, but some concluding remarks. Someone on this page once wrote
that you couldn't expect SLR quality from a point and shoot. Due to my own
experience, I wonder if the question shouldn't be asked the other way round: ``Can a
SLR provide the same quality as a good P&S?'' Of course it can, but it will be ten
times as expensive as the P&S, and you wouldn't be able to carry it with you all the
time! So why keep my SLR (a Nikon FG)? Of course, since there is the possiblity of
interchanging lenses! You can use extremely short and long lenses and, above all,
extremely fast ones. I'm doing a lot of available light photography and I almost wish
that flash would have never been invented!
Klaus Ziegler, Munich, Germany (
-- Klaus Ziegler, February 5, 1999
I read about the Yashica T4 Super on and bought one just about a year
ago. I've had a year of wonderful results. I am comparing the results to my own
photos taken previously with older Olympus OM10 and OM40 models, not to other

modern cameras.
Anyway, about 6 months ago I decided to again take the advice offered on the site
and picked up $850 worth of Canon EOS equipment (Elan IIE + 28-105 zoom).
After six months using both I have to admit, I think the pictures from the T4 are
better in terms of raw image quality. Of course the SLR is more complex and I'm still
learning, and it's a zoom which is always a compromise, but still, I wouldn't have
believed it until I was forced to. The T4 produces lovely pictures! To give the Canon
a chance I think I'll buy a non-zoom and see how that works.
-- Chris Morgan, February 19, 1999
I've been looking for a point and shoot camera and have found little information on
exposure lock. Even when I have found cameras with AE lock, camera sales people
or the liturature on the camera often neglect to mention it. The above article seems to
assume that most point and shoots have AE lock with focus lock, but I don't think
so. It is critical that I have it to avoid underexposed photographs. All SLR cameras
I've used have this feature separately and I use it all the time. I never get
underexposed photographs, as I notice a lot of people with P&S cameras do, about
10% of all shots. By simply finding something that you want to be mid contrast, such
as green foliage, tree bark, cloths etc. lock this in centre of viewfinder and then
recompose. All the P&S cameras I've looked at in the lower price range combine
this with focus lock when the shutter is half down. So I guess I'd need to lock at the
distance I want to be in focus. It is probably more critical with centre wieghted
exposure compared to a matrix system. But I'd prefer the control of centre weighted.
A lot of cameras don't even tell you what metering system they use in their
The only cameras I've found with exposure lock are the T4 super or T5, Leica Z2X,
Olympus Stylus Epic, Rollei Prego 115(now seems discontinued and not on new
model Z115), and Cannon Sure Shot 105. I assume the expensive Contax, Leica
and Nikons have exposure lock.

-- gordon forster, March 7, 1999

I just purchased a Ricoh GR1 and have discovered a problem which may be inherent
in the design. After examining 2 test rolls of ektachrome that I just shot, I noticed
scratching down the length of the film. It is particullarly noticable on images which are
even-toned, like the blue sky. The scratching is on the base side of the film. It was
processed in our dip and dunk E-6 machine (NOT a roller transport machine), so I
didn't think they were processing scratches. I took a fresh roll and put it in the
camera, let it reverse wind to the last frame, and then immediately rewound it. I
removed the roll, opened the cassette, and examined the film for scratches. Sure
enough, the base side was scratched all across the width of the film with lines running
down the length of the film.
The only thing that touches the back of the film is the pressure plate, and the GR1

pressure plate has a regular pattern of tiny square indentations. You can feel the
"roughness" on the leading and trailing edges of the plate. I think this is where the
scratching is coming from.
My Canon EOS has a completely smooth pressure plate, and when I repeated the
above test with it, the back of the film was completely untouched/unscratched.
Unfortunately, I'm going to have to return this GR1, as scratched film is no good to
me. Has any one else had this problem? Did I just get a defective example? Is it
worth my trying another one? I love the camera otherwise.
I also noticed quite a bit of light fall-off from the center out, on evenly lit flat surfaces.
(And this is WITHOUT the flash.) Looks like around a 1/2 stop or more from center
to edge. That's a lot. I could live with that, but not the scratching. Why didn't they
just use a smooth pressure plate?
-- Tom Green, March 12, 1999
I have been using the fixed FL Leica Mini 3 w/ Summar 32mm f 3.2 for over a year
and I find this Japanese made plastic camera surprisingly impressive for size and
cost. The price at J and R Music World - a reliable outfit by the way-was 180.00
plus shipping, with an alleged 30 day money back trial. I really like the quality of the
images, although the 32mm FL lens is not so kind to a prominent nose, but noone
else seems to notice ;). Best feature of the Leica is the apparent pre-focus of the lens
when you depress shutter, cutting that bugaboo lag time. This is a four element glass
lens that is no slouch. Not an aspheric surface in sight, which goes to say something
about spherical lens design at its best. Worst feature is the searchlight intensity green
focus confirmation LED that blinds my eye, almost covering the top quarter of the
visible finder image. Only bad design thing I find. The flash works very nicely for its
postage stamp size, and there is a plus 2 EV backlight exposure compensation
option. The icons are straightforward and intuitive,and easy to read in dim light. The
lens has no clamshell cover,just a piece of optical glass on top, so this is not a
camera to toss into a pocket with keys and Rice Krispy treats. Still, a nice touch I
noticed is that there is a removable bushing around the plastic tripod threads.( Leica
apparently anticipates this is a keeper camera). As a postscript, I hardly ever use
slide film and Leica IB says it did not intend this camera for slides. The only other
quibble, which you may find to be a plus feature is that the camera is really tiny ( a
squeek larger than the Epic) and slick for big fingers. And another thing I discovered
is that people I hand it to have to be told to get used to the similar sound of
pre-focus motor and the actual shutter release. Lost some shots once because of
that.Overall, hard to imagine anyone failing to enjoy using the Leica Mini, especially
at its reduced selling price of about $160.00 with date back as of March 1999.
-- Gerry Siegel, March 26, 1999
I just purchased a new Olympus Stylus Epic Limited Edition to complement my EOS
system. The Limited Edition seems like the deluxe edition of the Epic: it adds a quartz
date back and a panoramic mode to the basic Epic. It is black with gold writing
rather than the deluxe edition's champagne color, however. The Limited Ed. also

comes with a case, battery, and 2 straps.

I ran some print film through the camera to test its metering and focus in various
situations, including:
indoors with and w/o flash
night city scene
daylight city scene
outdoors with fill flash, outdoors w/o fill flash
indoors with subject off-center and strong backlighting, using flash (testing
spot meter)
In all cases, the epic performed quite well. Flash was nicely balanced when I used it,
and exposure seemed accurate. The lens is sharp, but not nearly as sharp as my
28-70 f/2.8L lens--I could see a difference even on 4x6 prints. I didn't encounter
any auto-focus problems. I did have a bit of red-eye in some pictures where I
flashed indoors without the red-eye reduction. Using the red-eye reduction mode,
however, eliminated this problem.
A couple quibbles with the epic:
The camera's viewfinder is pretty small, and I find myself having to take a
couple seconds to put my eye up to it properly.
The camera always defaults to auto-flash or red-eye/auto-flash mode once it's
turned off. I wish it would just stay on the mode I last used.
Overall, I am quite pleased with this camera. It is extremely easy to carry around--I
have already been able to take pictures I would have otherwise missed because I
wasn't carrying my SLR with me. One final note: I purchased my Epic Limited Ed. at
Ritz Camera for $110. B&H currently sells the same camera for $150.
-- Bryan Che, April 9, 1999
Besides thanking the authors and contributors to this page for an exceptionally
informative resource on P&S cameras I would like to add some comments about the
Rollei Prego Micron the more expensive German cousin of the much lauded Ricoh
R1. 1) An earlier post mentions losing battery power and having to rewind the roll
resulting in having to fish the leader out "in the field". A recent model I have just
acquired does have a low battery indicator, but they have thoughtfully included a
function that leaves the leader hanging out if you press the "mid-role rewind button" a
second time while the film is rewinding. However, I haven't tried this as yet. 2) Yes
the Prego Micron has two Schneider lenses, a 24mm and a 30mm lens. However,
while the 30mm setting is fine, shifting to the 24mm lens, referred to as "superwide
panorama mode", also results in a cropping of the top and bottom of the frame
(similar to what APS does I gather). This occurs courtesy of two panels that slide
down between the lens and the film. The assumption is that when the film is
processed if they have the facilities you can tell them to enlarge the cropped negative
and print it as a "panorama" shot. What you can't get is the full use of your 24mm
lens. I have toyed with the idea of somehow removing the cropping blinds but am

reluctant to do so. If anyone has any suggestions I would be very grateful to hear
-- Lucas Sorbara, April 10, 1999
Three years ago I decided to buy a Yashica T4 after I lost my Konica Big Mini . It
din't survive an amount of water. Good reports about the Carl Zeiss optic made me
do that. Indeed the lens is perfect. Better than any other P&S. I only shoot in B&W
so I don't know nothing about colour, but contrast and sharpness is brilliant. But, the
rest of the camera isn't. One and a half year ago the trouble started. On a trip to
VietNam I decided to leave my good old Canon A1 at home and just packed the T4
in the little backsack I had. Right in the middle of a 36 roll it made a strange noise
and the whole roll was transported into the casette. That happened just one time
strangely enough, so I forgot it. Back in Amsterdam suddenly the lensprotector didn't
opened completely anymore so the lens couldn't come out completely. This error
didn't just disapeared and I had to let it repaired for 150 guilders(75 dollar or so).
All went fine for a year or so till an old problem started again; the film rewinding after
17 or 18 pictures. No matter what films I used(mostly T-max 400), this time it didn't
went over.Handy about the T4 is the size,you can carry it always with you. But not a
bag of films. Yesterday I bought a second hand Konica Hexar for 350 dollar. It's
much bigger and I haven't seen the results already but the first feel to me is that of a
much more relyable camera. I hope, we will see.
-- Floris Lok Amsterdam, April 17, 1999
Just thought I'd thrown in my 7+ year's of experience with the Contax T2. We've got
two (my wife and I), hers in silver and mine in black (much more macho!). They
were expensive, bit not scary--I bought them both very slightly used at Kenmore
Camera in Cambridge, MA for $850.00 for the pair. I was a regular there at the time
and could always beat Lenny down to his bottom line.
The experience: wonnerful, Wonnerful, WONNERFUL!!!
This is the best, small take anywhere, camera I've ever owned--any poor images
have been traced to something I did wrong; focus and exposure are dead-on. The
ability to select aperture permits selective focus techniques, and some of the
"fill-flash" photos we've taken are spectacular. Battery life (CR123) is excellent at
20-30 24 exposure rolls, even with the flash always on (wife).
Exposure and focus can be locked in with a 1/2 way press of the shutter release; and
with the "electronic rangefinder" mode you can lock the focus independently of
Problems: My wife sometimes has trouble loading the film--she pulls the leader over
too far into the take-up reel cavity. Sometimes the expoosure compensation control
will be bumped off the "0" setting, but usually not more than 1/2 stop which with print
film does generally mess anything up real bad.
Also, wife (is there a theme here?) dropped hers once, from 30" or so, onto a vinyl

flooring over concrete floor. The mode dial got real stiff (camera still worked) and
we thought it was due for a trip to Contax. However closer examination revealed
that the control knob appeared to canted on its shaft--so, I pried it away from the
body, gently, with the blade of a pocket knife until it looked straight again; guess
what? Been fine ever since (some 4 years).
Auto lens cap, titanium case, alloy body, Zeiss T* lens, synthetic sapphire
viewfinder/rangefinder ports, ceramic pressure plate and even a synthetic ruby
shutter release. This sucka' rules...
-- Cliff Knight, April 21, 1999
This is just to offer some recommendations on a compact camera that I have bought
recently. It is the new Leica Minilux zoom. Though expensive, it is a joy to use, and it
delivers extremely good results. It features a Vario Elmar 35-70 3.5-6.5 lens,
exposure compensation, and both auto and manual focus. It's solidly built, with
titanium body (not look-alike titanium finish, but the real stuff), and all the important
flash exposure modes. Also has a T setting, with elapsed time countdown in seconds,
and also an illuminated LCD (illumination comes up automatically in low light), both
very useful for night photography.
All I can say is that I have used the camera for instance in a trip to Paris, where I had
a weekend available to tour the city. I was using Kchrome 200, and the slides are
just beautiful.
I can only recommend this wonderful camera.
-- Paulo Bizarro, April 23, 1999
There are 3 things that I admire most about my new Yashica T5D: its Zeiss lens, its
weatherproofing, and the superscope on its top panel. I really think these features are
pretty cool and flexible. As far as these factors are concerned, there should be no
other P&S more suitable for my outdoor and travel photography hobby. The T5D is
indeed a great companion.
-- Yu Ming Hung, April 28, 1999
I too am looking for a P&S that would take great pictures and not have to think
about it. I haven't seen a Canon Sureshot M in a long time but saw one on clearance
lately (only one left). These must have been discontinued years ago. It has a 35mm
lens with a f3.5 lens, and offers slow sync, and red eye reduction as it's features. Has
anybody had experience with this camera?
I've recently gotten a Stylus Epic for it's compact size, and weight. In my recent
experience, I didn't have the out of focus problems other people did in some of the comments. Although, sharpness and contrast can definitely be improved
upon. Am I right or wrong? Perhaps, I should return it and get a T4 Super! Anyone
with helpful comments can email me at :)

-- Julian --, April 30, 1999

I agree that a P&S is a great tool if you actually use it. I carry mine in my pocket on
lunch breaks, into meetings, the bar and basically everywhere me and my Palm Pilot
go. The Olypmus Stylus Epic has served me well as its' compact size makes for ease
of carrying around and the little niceties like spot-metering and fill-in flash help with
getting the artistic expression, well, expressed. Take the time to compose, focus, and
think about available light; the environment provides many things; inspiration, subjects
and exposure incidentals. Peace.
-- Jim Owens, May 11, 1999
I'm in the market for a camera for a long european vacation. From the research I've
done I can see that the Olympus Stylus Epic or The Yashica T4 are very highly
recommended. I am, however, interested in a zoom camera. No one seems to have
mentioned any zoom cameras that these companies make. The Olympus Stylus Epic
has some zoom versions, namely Stylus Epic Zoom 80 and The Stylus Epic Zoom
80 CF. Yashica also has the Microtec Series. I was wondering if any of these were
as good as the non-zoom ones. If anyone has any experience with these I'd sure
appreciate a post or an e-mail. Thanx in advance.
-- Mike K., May 12, 1999
Cambridge Camera Exchange in New York is a jip!!! Not only are the prices false
but the staff is incompitent and rude.
-- luis villasana, June 2, 1999
I have a Olympus Stylus Epic. I bought it due to the raves from Pop Photo (Yeah
they like anything. I wouldn't be surprise if it was owned by manufacters and camera
stores). I have to say the camera is great. I've taken a lot of nice pictures with 400
speed negative film. My problem with the camera is it's durability. I've pushed the
film cassette window in THREE times. I don't think they glue that part to the camera.
The second time I pushed it in, I tried super gluing it back. Instead I damage it. I had
to pay $100(Cdn)[Costs $200 for the camera] to replace the whole back. With the
brutal service of the Canadian Toronto-based importer the Carsen Group. It only
took ONE and HALF months to get it back. Avoid buying Sekonic and Olympus
products in Toronto. If you want to avoid the worst customer service in the Camera
world. Now for the third time my window has been pushed in. If you don't think that
enough problems I have another one. The shutter release button has changed it
standard operating method. Instead of feeling resistance while pressing the button
half way. I have to skillfully applying just enough pressure to activate the auto
exposure and auto focus. That resistance I use to feel is gone. I screw up too many
pictures because of that problem. Now I have to practise saying, "Can I take another
picture", because my flash probably went off prematurely. Sometimes I take a candid
picture and it goes off without have focused. Maybe I clumsy but I like to use
cameras not collect them. These are not the type of camera you can pass along to
your kids. Thanks Phil, now the world will know my pain.

-- David Payumo, June 4, 1999

Ricoh R1- I have used it for a year and it gives outstanding results, particularly when
using fill flash with daytime exposure, portraits and candids are well lit and perfectly
exposed. You have to take care when the light fades as this can result in long
exposures and blurring of figures, the night mode is a great function though you need
a tripod or a top of a fence to use on self timer! I love the 24mm wideangle
perspective, and wonder if I could remove the shutters and have a full frame 24mm
point and shoot? If I buy a GR1 I might just attempt it with the R1! I take it with me
wherever I go, unlike my Nikon FE + 20/28/50/105mm setup.
-- paul graham, June 16, 1999
I recently bought the Stylus Epic Limited (celebrates 10 million units sold). It is a
beautiful camera, finished in metallic black that almost makes it look like a dark
copper, and includes a leather case, battery, and strap in a nice gold box. I ran 2
roles of film thru it to record a Stanford graduation. I am pleased with the results. In
addition, I carried a Nikon FM2 with 135mm/f3.5 lens and took 1 role. The pictures
from the 35mm/2.8 Epic look just as good as those from the Nikkor!!! Nice, bold
colors and sharp image. My photos (all 4x6's) from both the Epic and Nikon were
mixed in the same stack. I could not tell which camera took which photo just by
looking at image quality (Of course, I could tell by noticing the focal length used in
the shot). Anyway, for 4x6 prints, the Epic will match even a Nikkor. I'm sure the
Nikkor will win if I enlarged the photos though. Of course, the Epic (like all P&S)
has its limitations. The auto focus on the Epic can be unpredictable. I have had some
fuzzy photos even when my subject was in the center of the frame. For critical shots,
stick with a quality SLR and manually focus. But the Epic is great for parties, or
when you don't want to lug around a heavy SLR. The flash is useful, but not perfect.
It seems to lack enough power to do a good job at fill-flash. Just my opinion.
-- Ken Nguyen, June 17, 1999
Although I love my yashica t-4 camera. I would say that it is hardly weather resistant.
In the past two years I have gone through three of these cameras. Yet, the optics on
these on this inexpensive camera are excellent.
-- Keith Allen willits, July 1, 1999
I recently purchased a Yashica T-4 Super as a compliment to my SLR. After
shooting a couple of rolls through it, a friend who was going to the Phillipines and
needed a camera, noticed the image quality and offered to order me a new one (he
didn't have time to wait for it to ship) and take mine along to the islands. When he
returned, he showed me the photos (from some 10 rolls) that were taken with the
camera. Some of the shots were made through scratched and hazy airplane windows
but are still magnificent (minus the occassional turbofan)! He said the camera was
great to take along, easy to use, and because of the inconvenient, obtrusive bulk of
the video camera he had packed in his lugguage, the 35mm photos are virtually the

only record he has of the trip. So folks, take those point and shoots everywhere!
-- Hunsperger Jason, July 4, 1999
For the past few years I have been using a Canon Rebel S, Yashica T4 and a Pentax
928. No question that the Yashica has a great lens, but its lack of zoom makes it less
than the perfect choice for close up candid shots. The Canon has been a major
disappointment--I feel that the results from the Yashica and the Pentax are better.
The Pentax is presently my camera of choice (although I am thinking of a new
SLR)--the zoom is adequate, the pictures are sharp, the remote is fun and it is
extremely versatile.
-- james leopold, July 22, 1999
Recently added a Rollei Prego 90 to my ensemble of P/S cameras. The Schneider
lens is sharp, and I like the EV +/- adjustability. Ran Kodak Gold Select 400
through it fine, then switched to Select b/w 400 "plus" for something different. Results
were overall satisfying, especially when using the 28 mm lens length. I was a little
disappointed, though, that the dark foregrounds in the B/W images lacked detail
(shot them on an overcast day with only a white lighthouse as the subject. Must
remember to use that EV adjustment more often.) Also, the panoramic results in
zoom mode are not superb. In retrospect, the picture would have been fine without
the added crop and enlargement created by the panoramic mode.
The worst part about this camera is its manual. The examples and figures described
in its text are all lumped together in the back of the booklet, and they are too small
(or badly retouched), making referencing back to the text more of a chore than it
ought to be.
If anyone has any insights or tips on using the "snap" mode on this type of P/S
camera, I'd welcome your thoughts.
-- Dave Kassnoff, July 30, 1999
Having read this page, I took the recommendation and plunked down the ducats for
a T4 in midtown Manhattan two yrs ago. I used to have a Nikon F2 and 5 lenses---sold'em. I've never looked back.
My T4 generates superior slides (that's all I take).
Great advice. T4: like a rock!
-- Arnie Tracey, August 1, 1999
Before you buy any camera for serious picture taking (the ones you want to save
forever because they are so good) try a few rolls of film in a Konica Hexar! All
things considered, this is the only logical step up from the excellent T4 Super and
very very close to the Leica's 35mm f2.0 Summicron in it's results. I love mine and

take it everywhere. It's a street shooters delight!

Ellard Gann
-- Ellard Gann, August 5, 1999
Point and Shoot cameras were always taboo in my book, until a recent trip to
Mexico City about 2 years ago changed my beliefs. I was sent to Mexico City on a
business contract and did not want to go around the big city lugging my camera bag
of goodies. I do not know what made me keep my Nikon pro equipment home for
this trip, it could have been due to the fact that I was only supposed to be there for a
month. Also, I heard horror stories about stolen camera equipment, also I didn't see
myself wondering around the big city in my spare time with the extra size and weight.
So I decided to invest in a good Point and Shoot ( I wasn't sure that there was such
a thing ). After reading many articles and looking over every P&S camera option, I
opted for the Rollei Prego 90. I am glad I did and swear by it ever since! It's
compact size proved to be one of the most important factors in my trip. Sure, there
were times where I kicked myself for not having my Nikons wrapped around me,
but then again I would've been kicking myself more times to carry all that equipment
around also.
The results were outstanding (I am working on my future website, that features these
pics, so that you can see for yourself)! The Prego 90 spots a sharp HFT-coated
Schneider 28-90mm lens which proved to be perfect. Since I knew most of my
photography would be taken in the sunny days, I was not worried too much about
the slow lens. I used mostly Kodak Royal 100 & 400 ASA plus Agfa HDC 400
ASA films. When I got my pictures back from a good lab in Mexico City, I could
not believe what this little camera was producing for me.
I ended up staying in Mexico for 8 months and as the time went by, I did not miss
my pro equipment at all, in fact I started feeling good about not having it with me. At
first I was inspired to challenge my creativity with a limited piece of equipment. To
push myself in a situation where expression is not limited by any factor. Roll after roll
my confidence level kept going up with this little camera. I was never disappointed
and found myself using the exposure compensation, flash cancellation, focus lock
options for more versatility and again, ecstatic with the results.
I never thought that I would recommend a P&S to any serious photographers, but
this time I will. If you have the slighest interest of having a compact camera for the
occasions of not wanting to carry professional equipment around, you can have faith
that there are some Point and Shoots that can do the trick.
What really did it for me, a resident co-worker of mine took his Pro Canon A2
equipment with him on some of our trips. When I would take my shots he would
look over and wear this wicked smile like taunting the little equipment I was using
versus his stuff. But I got the last laugh when we picked up the pictures! My rolls
were sharper and the colors more vivid, I made sure I got the last scowl and laugh!
The pictures definitly speak for themselves and I can highly recommend this camera
for anyone who has doubts about P&S cameras. Again, I don't think I would

recommend all of them out there, I can sure speak highly of the Rollei Prego 90 and
this little thing is worth every penny!
A pic I took with this camera is on:, under Travel/Scenic,
title: San Angel, Mexico City
-- byron medina, August 13, 1999
The canon ELPH and ELPH 2 generate some of the best photo's I have taken to
date with a PnS. Small, and especially durable, they take GREAT pics, especially
considering the APS system. I prefer larger formats, but to be able to tuck it in my
briefcase, ski jacket, or my wife's purse, it is fantastic. No mentions are made of the
Minolta's or most Nikons here. Nikon's newest one does look promising..
-- j wagner, September 2, 1999
I heard of so many but my travel camera is a cheap canon sure shot A1, picture is
still OK in 8x10,don,t have to taeke care of it so I can enjoy my day.
-- james lam, September 5, 1999
I randomly acquired an issue of American Photographer in which I saw an interesting
ad for the Goku Macromax 35mm camera. I finally tracked one down at the great
price of $95.97. It has three focusing zones: three feet to infinity, one foot to three
feet and, strap yerselves in, kids, four inches to one foot! It even has a cool bracket
for framing your photographs that swings up from the bottom. It has a 31mm lens
and is very small. I bought it especially for its macro capabilities. It even has a
databack on it which I will never ever use. I got two rolls of film back and I am very,
very pleased. They also make an APS version and a 35mm version w/a zoom lens.
You can do much worse that this camera, believe me. Good luck.
-- Angelo Pastormerlo, September 20, 1999
Hello, 18 month ago, after extensive consulting on the web and at my local retailers, I
bought a Yashica T5 (T4S in the US). And after more than 50 rolls, I must say I am
a little disappointed : 1) the button is too sensible : one shot out of three, the shot is
made while I am just setting the AF and the centering of the image isn't correct. 2)
The AF is too slow : when you try to size a friend's transient expression, you don't
get it. 3) I do a lot of mountaineering, and shots made on the snow are almost always
overexposed. 4) the AF system seems tricky to me, my picture are very often
blurred. I wonder if I am unable to learn how to use the camera. I even suspect
sometimes that the AF spot is not where the viewfinder displays it (manufacturing
problem ?). 5) I am perhaps very demanding, but the sharpness is disappointing. I
had hoped more for a camera with that price. I have the feeling to have lost since my
$100 simple chinon and the sharpness is still far from the one of my Yashica J3, a 25
years old SLR with fixed lenses (a grant aunt's legacy, however weighting 1.2 Kg,
not really suited for climbing.) I tested different films, paper, slides, laboratory and

my opinion is firm. I had read some hints about this, and I concur. Now I am
considering giving it a relative which demands less in quality. I have resumed intensive
web research to buy another P&S camera.
-- Raphael Mitteau, September 24, 1999
I understand the problems with the cheap zoom lenses, but in certain specialized
circumstances they are necessary. My hobby is wandering around Los Angeles
taking point-and-shoot pictures of murals, which I put on my Web page. I started
with an Olympus Stylus Epic: a great camera for my purposes and nonexistent skill
level. But then I noticed that I was risking getting run over. To get the right distance
away from the murals, I'd often have to stand in the street -- that is dangerous in
L.A.! So now I use a Minolta Explorer most of the time, and its cheap zoom may not
take better pictures but does increase my life expectancy.
-- Rich Puchalsky, September 24, 1999
After extensive reading on this page and others I bought a Yashica T4 Super [=T5]
for a backpacking trip in Norway where my SLR just would not make it. I had high
hopes but was disappointed to find very serious vignetting under most lighting
conditions with a marked drop-off in exposure at the edges. Snow that was white in
the center looked like a neutral gray card at the edges, light green grass in the center
was dark green at the edge etc. (using Kodak Royal Gold 400). This is a problem I
have not seen mentioned in the many comments about the camera on this site.
Maybe I just got a bad sample. Sharpness seemed good, however.
-- Sten Lofgren, September 27, 1999
It seems that this thread has degenerated into whether people like the Yashica T4(5)
or not. I know we are talking about "point and shoots", but people are bound to be
disappointed in a camera with no ability to shoot people without being 2 feet near
them (limited by the 35 mm fixed focal length). A human subject shot closeup with
that lens will appear disorted unless the entire subject is on the same plane. There is
also no exposure compensation. A sharp lens is not enough. I have owned a T4 but
much prefer my Leica Minilux Zoom. The lens is very sharp and contrasty, and I
much prefer having a 35-70 zoom which much better allows people pictures. It also
has +/- 2 EV exposure compensation, which I think is indispensable, "point and
shoot" designation notwithstanding
Paul Sheffner, September 29, 1999
-- Paul Sheffner, September 30, 1999
Too much time on this page has led me to acquire and try a number of cameras
described here. After about 25 rolls' worth of random experimentation, here are my
* Rollei Prego 90: does superbly with all daylight photos, less well with indoor zoom
lens photos (it somehow underexposed 800-speed print film). More functions than

I'll ever use, but if I get a creative opportunity, I have them at hand.
* Yashica T4: ever dependable, gets me 90 percent of what I expect. Credit the
Zeiss lens and 400-speed Royal Gold film. I like the vignetting. Very sensitive shutter
* Olympus Stylus Epic: Great camera, but I've lost mine to a light-fingered
maintenance worker. I like the extra flash modes, and the spot metering. Faster lens
than the T4, with longer and shorter exposure times. I'm hunting for another, because
it's so versatile.
* Olympus Stylus LT 105 zoom: The leather-clad, faux retro look dresses up an OK
zoom length camera. Gets the job done, feels like a glove. Wish it had a faster lens
than f/4.5 at the short end.
* Ricoh GR1: Got good, sharp photos -- then the shutter button failed. It's in the
shop for repairs. I'm hopeful for better performance.
Are these an improvement over my 25-year-old Olympus XA rangefinder? In size, I
guess. But not in quality.
-- Dave Kassnoff, September 30, 1999
I would like to comment on my favorite Point & Shoot, the Contax T2. Yes, it is
pricey, and it is less compact than some other good P&Ss. Still, it is a magnificent
camera! Photo quality is nothing short of stunning--razor sharp, well exposed images
with vibrant colors. Camera operation could hardly be simpler. Aperture control,
exposure compensation and manual focus are available. The viewfinder is bigger and
brighter than in almost any other P&S, especially the Minilux, to which the T2 is
often compared. I also like the fact that the flash does not come on automatically, as
in many other P&Ss, requiring the user to be constantly turning it off. Rather, it
comes on only when it is actively turned on.
When I originally purchased the T2, I agonized over paying $720 for a compact
camera. Now, I consider it money well spent. If you can afford it, buy it and don't
look back.
-- Rob Goldstein, October 2, 1999
I purchased an Olympus (infinity symbol) stylus QD for my sons graduation. I
wanted a camera that responded faster than my old Pentax MX.
I guess I should have practiced with the camera a bit. When my son got to the stage
to get his diploma and shake hands, I pressed the shutter. The camera fired about 5
seconds later, after my son had left the stage. I missed him entirely. I also missed him
during the march in and the march out ceremony.

Yes I fully charged the flash before he got to the stage. Yes I pressed the auto focus
lock before he got to the stage. The delay was some digital thinking after the camera
was fully set. In these days of 300 MHz computers, a camera that thinks for 5
seconds must be doing something big.
In any case I'm using cameras that do not delay after the shutter is pressed.
-- Dennis Anjo, October 5, 1999
Why is there a delay of at least 3 seconds between pressing the button and the
shutter with p&s cameras?
-- Dennis Anjo, October 5, 1999
I just bought a Rollei Prego Micron from Camera World of Oregon. I'm very
satisfied with the design of this camera and Camera World of Oregon was by far the
best $ and service. Just a couple of concerns. 1) The Flash and Mode settings are
lost when power is turned off. 2) The three zone focus is a bit confusing. As the
passive AF takes the closest of the three zones, it's sometimes difficult to pre-focus.
-- Steve Uchida, October 11, 1999
another person mentioned the following: "Olympus Stylus LT 105 zoom: The
leather-clad, faux retro look dresses up an OK zoom length camera. Gets the job
done, feels like a glove. Wish it had a faster lens than f/4.5 at the short end." I just
bought this camera. Does neg film great, haven't tried tranny in it yet. There is
another model that seems to cover teh same range in zoom etc but without the sexy
look to it. If you want a stylish camera that stands out a bit then get this one.
Everytime I use it , people try their best Austin Powers "Oh Behave!":-)
After following this P&S thread for,what, a year now? I have to say that P&S
camera's have come aloooong way from back in the days when I used to sell them,
83-86. They all seem to do the basics well, with most differences being style and
operation rather than quality. I have to agree with the person who keeps their
expectations in check. If you want to make sure you get high end results and have
total control, then shoot with an SLR. You can't automate things and not expect
something to go wrong once in awhile. Ian McCausland
-- Ian mcc, October 14, 1999
You can add me to the list of the Olympus LT 105 fans. This little gem hasn't gotten
much attention around these parts, but for pure and simple point and shoot pictures,
it's very good. (And very good looking, too.)
What I like best: it consistently takes fine flash pix, with the least amount of red eye
of any point and shoot I've tried (including the venerable Yashica T4.) Even with its
slower lens, I've found that using 400 film and a wall (or table) for support captures
good shots with decent available light (i.e., indoors, using just the light from the sunny

-- Greg Kandra, October 15, 1999

I purchased the Super T4 about a year ago based on this site's recomendation. The
result: AWESOME. People look at my photographs and are amazed. They all
assume I'm using a fancy Nikon and have years of experience...neither being the
case. I cannot more heartily recommend this camera. It's unbelievable for daylight
photos. Of course, like most P&S, the wimpy flash is good mostly for fill in.
-- Stephen Gingras, October 26, 1999
Bought a Canon Elph APS camera about two years ago. While showing it to a
friend, he pushed down on the "pop-up" flash. From then on, the flash would not
close down completely. The problem gradually got worse until the flash would not go
down at all. Then the flash operation failed.Repair is estimated at $100, a third of the
cost of a new camera. Watch out for pop-up flashes on small cameras.
-- Dick Mach, October 31, 1999
I have used Rollie 35's (T & S), Minox ML, and now a Rollie Prego 90, on Everest,
El Capitan, Peru, the Arctic, Mt. McKinley---and so forth. I do not want a camera
to be a hindrance, yet because of the exotic locations, and extreme positions, want
the finest optics. I now have a Contax T2- and had 7 months of warranty problems
getting this fixed- it is now awesome. I also use a Nikon 35Ti. It was awesome from
the start- and still is. I am now looking at a Contax TVSII, versus a Leica Minilux
zoom. The Leica seems nicer to use, but lacks the control of the Contax, and has the
family-man range of 35-70mm The Contax approaches a TRUE wide angle at
28mm-56mm. What to do- what to do. It is clear to me, after 30 years of extreme
in-the-field shooting, that P & S cameras are the future. It is easier for me to take 3
tiny cameras on an expedition, with lens ranges of 28 through 90 and select the ONE
I will carry on a given day, than carry all that SLR luggage.
It is amazing that the Rollie Prego 90 is as good as it is- and all for under $200
mail-order. It is only one notch below titanium units costing 5x as much. Good work
Rollie. Schneider optics along with Kodak Xtra 100 slide film, or Provia 100
provide excellent results in the outdoors.
Dave Dailey
-- David Dailey, November 9, 1999
You seem to have forgotten the Minolta TC1 in this forum. This is the smallest PS
with flash and AF, even smaller than a Minox 35 GT, considering the Minox is not
motorized, has no AF and no flash. Having the Minox, the Contax T2 and the TC1, I
can tell they are all expensive but their quality is amazing. The TC1 28 mm lens is
exceptionnal though. I have made 12x16 prints from TMY 400 and TMY100 and it

is difficult to differentiate from my Leica M lenses. Like most 28 mm lenses, there is

vignetting at full aperture, but sharpness and contrast is excellent. The AF is accurate.
The flash might be a little too strong at close range. I can't understand why no one
mentionned this camera before.
It is expensive but there is no equivalent in term of size. The finish is as good as the
Contax T2. Color rendition is crisp. As good as these small PS are, they cannot
replace an M6. Silence, prefocus and fast lenses are precious. No small PS has any
of these qualities. And an M6 is about the size of a Contax TVS!
When I travel, I always have the TC1 with me. Sometimes, I take the T2 also so I
have a 28 and a 38 in my pockets. As for flash with these small cameras, I only use it
outdoors for fill in, never indoors. The big drawback of either of these auto PS is the
time lag when pressing the button. That's where the M6 is superior.
I take other cameras, M6 or Eos 1, or Nikon F100, according to the type of work I
intend to do and the lenses I need to use. But I must say that the TC1 results are
totally comparable with all the other 35 cameras I use. One just has to keep in mind
the limitations of all PS for truly professionnal work.
-- Alain Le Kim, November 12, 1999
I have other p&s cameras to recommend. The Russian made "Lomo" is inexpensive
and can be put inside the pocket. It is programmed and with scale focusing. I used it
to take several rolls of B&W films in Brussels, Brugge and Amsterdam. I am
satisified with the result. The Caononet QL17 with 40mm F1.7 and Ricoh 500G with
40mm F2.8, range finder cameras, provide full manul control over shutter and
aperature while the user can select to use shutter priority to take picture. Both
cameras give sharp image and details, which in my opioion, as goods as Rollei 35S
or Contax T series.
-- joseph n, November 25, 1999
How come more people do not make
mention of Nikon's first point and
shoot cameras. They were made in
Japan and have a strong, solid metal
frame. Also, a sharp and contrasty
f=35mm 1:2.8 lens! User adjustable
ISO/ASA. Threads for use with
filters. Fill flash. Takes two AA
batteries. Good old fashioned early
Japanese quality! Very nice indeed!

-- A T, December 1, 1999
I think a digital camera is the best camera for entering photography. The

photographic quality of a 2.1 megapixel camera is far below 35mm film but that's not
important when you're starting. Digital cameras provide instant feedback. You can
look in the LCD viewfinder and notice that you're shooting a picture of a bright
reflection that's washing out the picture. You can review the picture you have just
taken and realize that you should have zoomed in to cut out the uninteresting
surroundings. My pictures always sucked with a 35mm camera. My digital photos
are infinitely better even if the resolution is only 160dpi at 7.5"x10" and a bit noisy.
The difference is that I'm learning both composure and the technical aspects. The
nearly zero cost per picture means I'm not afraid to take a dozen in a row to learn
how to make a particular shot come out right. I'll consider upgrading to a film camera
when I know what I'm doing. Or, maybe digitals will catch up by then.
-- Kevin McMurtrie, December 15, 1999

A street mime in front of the Louve in Paris.

Took an Olympus Stylus Epic to France in Nov. '99. It performed very, very well
and I never regretted not bringing my EOS-1n kit. I highly recommend the Olympus
Stylus Epic - just keep your photographic-eye in 35mm wide angle mode. And carry
an inexpensive wire-legged pocket tripod ($5 US) - great at night and inside dark
-- Ken Wightman, December 18, 1999
After reading this page, extensive and helpful no doubt, many thanks to all
contributors, I thought I would allow myself one little snide comment. I noticed that in
reviewing the properties of different cameras, some people refer to COLORS.
Excuse me, but am I missing something here? Since when are colors affected by the
camera? Isn't that related to the properties of the lighting and the film exclusively? Of
course, if a flash is being used, it affects the lighting, and thus could conceivably have
some impact on colors. Admittedly ignorant of flash technology, I would however
dare to guess that a flash from any P&S camera will produce a neutral (white?) light.
Then again, I may be wrong. If so, by all means please let me know!
-- V G, January 12, 2000
After reading the comments on this page and talking to Gerry Siegel, I decided to
buy the Leica Mini 3 last September. Now I'm writing this to say that I'm very very
happy with my purchase. In fact, I wrote an essay on my experiences with this great
little camera, which is found at
The results are excellent. I've used only print film, and the pictures are sharp,
contrasty, and and the lens is every bit as good as it is reputed to be. The metering is
spot on. Even the tripod mounted night scenes that I took came out beautiful. I
hardly ever use the B mode, because manually depressing the shutter button (even on
a tripod) seems to cause some shake. This may have more to do with my hands than
the camera. So whenever it says "B" (which it does in very low light), I just set it up

on the tripod, set the timer, and let it take a picture. It does a good job almost all the
On the night of January 1st, I decided to take advantage of the full moon, and went
out to take some pictures. The windchill was -20 degrees, and my hands froze every
time I took them out of my gloves to take a picture. Like always, I used the tripod
and the self-timer. And I made several important observations, such as sticking a
cold hand back into the glove doesn't warm it up! I was outside for about an hour,
and the camera worked fine. (Cameras don't feel windchills, so I should point out for
the record that the temperature was about 10 degrees F.) The shutter didn't freeze or
get stuck, and the shutter speeds were right on, judging from the results. (The results,
by the way, are found at the web site I mentioned above.)
Which brings me to the results: once again, outstanding. Without any filters, the
moonlit night scenes have come out quite good. Once picture in particular, came out
so well that people who I show it to don't believe that it was taken in moonlight!
(There is some Manhattan skyline showing in the background, which is what finally
convinces them.) I took some more pictures on a later (and very overcast) night, and
got some interesting effects, like a purple sky (which is probably to be expected
without any filters).
In fact, I've begun to enjoy photography so much that now I'm thinking of getting an
all-manual camera, that gives me much more control over my photos! I'm thinking
along the lines of a 70s rangefinder camera. But that's still in the future...
Meanwhile, I continue to enjoy my Mini 3!
-- Naveen Agnihotri, January 19, 2000
Image: mike ryans kc mo.jpg
-- mike ryan, March 3, 2000
I disagree with the comment that P & S Zoom lenses are vastly inferior to fixed-lens
P & S. On a raft trip down Idaho's Salmon River last summer, we took three P & S
cameras: An Olympus Stylus Epic, a Samsung 145 QD with the Schneider Lens, and
a Yashica T-4. The Samsung with the Schneider Lens was phenomenal. Lots of
photos were constantly taken back and forth between the three rafts (At least ten
rolls of film were ran through each one). Of course, there was no comparison when
the rafts were far apart, the zoom won hands down. When one raft went through first
and photographed the other two coming through the big rapids, the Schneider lens
made phenomenal shots. On close ups (Many of which had one person shooting the
photographer) the photos were virtually indistinguisheable.

The T-4 and the Olympus were the best during the constant water fights, I'll
concede. The Samsung went into a Pelican case. The T=4 and Olympus took
marvelous photos of In-rapid, in Raft shots, better than a Nikonos V I used for the
-- Larry Purviance, March 6, 2000
Yashica T-4 v. Nikon 35Ti. I own both cameras. The reviews on the Yashica T-4
speak for themselves, I guess. And the price is untouchable. I will say however that I
occasionally had focusing problems with the T-4. And I nearly always had problems
with the flash throwing too much light on my subjects. I have seen a huge
improvement in this regard with the Nikon. Also, it has a 2.8 lens and has aperature
priority, which makes it worlds better than the Yashica for low light shooting. I have
started doing side by side comparisons of the sharpness and so far I cannot see any
difference between the two cameras. However, even if the T-4 is more sharp, the
metering and exposure of the Nikon has resulted in much, much better pictures. If
money is a big issue then go with the Yashica. If money is not a big issue on this
purchase, then absolutely go with the Nikon. Hey, if nothing else the aesthetics of the
Nikon alone make up for at least $100 of the price difference! Also, the Nikon is
MUCH sturdier, so weigh that in for another $70. With these two weighed in the
Nikon is still about $200 more--chicken feed considering aperature control and the
far superior flash performance.
-- Douglas Johnson, March 7, 2000
Ok, well there's certainly a lot of different oppinions flying around about high
end/good quality point and shoots. I've been shooting both as an amateur and
professionally for several years and worked for one of the larger dealers of Leica,
Contax, Yashica, Nikon....cameras for several years. I've had multiple opportunities
to shoot, print and compare all of these cameras. I've exhaustedly compared the T4,
T2, 28Ti, 35Ti, and Epic and here's my findings: Best cheap camera (compact):
Olympus Epic-cheap, fast lens, very compact Best cheap camera (weatherproof):
Yashica T4-cheap, very sharp lens, good O-ring Best Point and Shoot (overall):
hands down it's the Contax T2-strong (the Ti's construction is laughable in
comparison), easy to use, extremely sharp lens, intuitive controls, manual over-rides.
The Ti's are nice but there are far too many cheesie "bells and whistles" to distract
the user from taking pictures. You can't use it with gloves on (I found out the hard
way), the flash controls are absurd. The Nikon's saving grace is what I consider their
sharpest lens...but who's going to mess with the Germans here? one, T2.
Image: contax.jpg
-- Bryan Hughes, April 4, 2000
Re: The Yashica T4. I'm a total amateur - I bought the T4 because of comments on
this page and advice from others. I am a serious climber though, and my T4 has
taken hundreds of climbing pictures in all conditions, under all lighting, and taken a
beating as well - though never been dropped, always been encased in a Lowe case.
Not *that* much of a beating, just been a lot of places.

My only problem with this camera is that after two years, it started with the "shoot
half (quarter) the roll, then automatically rewind", which is very annoying when one is
trying to do a fast and light ascent and not carrying any extra film. Plus the next roll
would just rewind half-way through also, thus doubling the film and processing costs.
I sent it back and Yashica charged me $75 to have it fixed - they refused to believe
that this was a persistent problem with these cameras even though I showed them
several emails from other users who had the same problem, and in fact, bluntly
accused me of forging these documents. It took about three months for the camera
to come back.
The camera worked fine for about a year, and now, two weeks before a big trip to
Baffin Island, it's started again. I don't have time to get it fixed, don't want to, since
this effectively doubles the price of the camera. I just bought an N90s, and good
thing too, I guess.
So while the camera was fine while it lasted, and took excellent pictures, I don't think
I'll be buying another one.
-- Brent Ware, April 9, 2000
Here's a 35mm point & shoot camera that has a Panorama mode (cropping
shutters), BUT it can shoot in Normal mode even at 25mm (just shy of 24mm):
Kodak's recently discontinued (over 4? years now) Kodak Cameo 25-50mm Zoom
Panoramic, it has: Flash Auto/On, Date, Self-Timer, Multi-Shots, Portrait,
InfinityZoom (FarShotsThruGlass), Normal/Panoramic View, Zooms fully from 25 to
50mm in NORMAL MODE!
It's VERY compact, stick it in your pocket without worrying about damaging the lens
or lens covers, and inexpensive at C$169, at the time I bought it; about US$120? It
winds the film out first, then as photos are taken, the film is pulled back into the
cartridge. [Downside: I hate to have to re-number prints for record-keeping just
because they are always numbered by photodeveloper's according to the negative
numbering sequence, aaghh!]
I've been waiting for it's successor, but NOBODY's making it! Please everyone bug
Kodak to make one! The APS cameras simply don't give you true "24mm"
super-wide-angle [@84deg-view](in 35mm equivalent). If you can find unsold
cameras around from somebody get it.
It has limited exposure control (NONE!), but if you MASTER knowing WHEN to
use what ISO film (It's designed for ISO 100/200/400) for what kind of lighting of
your settings, you're on your way! I've figured out the dusk/dawn shots are fantastic
even with slides using ISO 800 films!! Alas, a lot of disposable cameras can do the
trick, but you just get no other features except flash.
I remember when I bought my camera at the outlet store in Kodak Canada's head
office, the saleslady quipped that a lot of the Kodak technicians loved this camera as

a simple point & shoot. Too, bad they don't make them today; I'm still looking for it's
equivalent in other brand name cameras, as of Apr2000, I've found NONE.
I otherwise carry an ancient Canon T90 using a 24-48mm [old Tamron], or lately a
24-70mm [old Vivitar] wide-angle zoom [generic zooms; not brand name ones,
which I can't afford costing more than most cameras]. But this Kodak camera
successfully serves as a "quick-&-dirty" wide-angle substitute panorama camera
when my target photos are not intended to be fine tuned shots but getting the
"most-from-the-least" "SNAP"-shots when I'm on the go on short trips; nothing to
lug but a pocketful and film.
My personal wide-angle philosophy is to take as much scenery, or tight-quarter
large-group portraits [like in small european/asian homes; 28mm can NEVER make
these shots, I'd have to be 3 feet behind most walls to take these shots], as possible.
If you desperately want a "telephoto" look of something that is miles away and can't
access it physically, just crop it, if you want to fake being at a famous place using a
real telephoto from a distance, it can't be beat by actually really being there up close!
And up close, you can include yourself in a wide panorama pic standing beside that
famous thing you're trying to take a picture of! Why travel if you can't really get
there, you might as well buy a postcard!
Also, ever try taking a shot of an exotic item [car, sculpture, painting, etc.] on
display, but because your 28mm+ lens is just to long and you are forced to stand
further back; and people are just walking across or standing in front, not with 24mm!
Step right up to the car and take it obstruction free!! If time is limited, it's in and out,
voila! While everbody else is still left behind waiting for that elusive clutter-free shot.
(Warning: Attached scanned photo is a 705kb jpg file, and is
Image: Bellagio Hotel Pool LV NV USA - sdy-Sa20000129 - 1770x1188.JPG
-- Steve Yue, April 13, 2000
SLR v P/S:
One thing is clear: point and shoot cameras can and do take excellent pictures! A
few old grizzly grinches have said the P/S will never produce "SLR quality pictures",
but what does that mean? The lens, shutter, and film produce good pictures, not the
viewing system. Someone else says try a SLR with 50mm 1.8 lens. To my mind this
is seriously under-utilising an SLR. It is great for close-ups or wildlife or sports
photography where you need specialist lenses. An old rangefinder with a fixed 1.8
lens would be better in low light because of the absence of the mirror. I do agree
slightly heavier cameras are more stable than lighter ones, but this is more noticeable
at low speeds.
Size and weight:
Is there an ideal weight/size for a point and shoot? Any comments? I think its
compact size, not its weight, is the main advantage of a point and shoot. By contrast,

SLRs have got lighter but also bulkier and plastikier, and just not so easy to carry
Lots of people seem to go on about price, but compare a computer or indeed any
computer-related product. Costs thousands and will be completely out of date in a
few years. Your camera will still be going strong. Some people sneer about "posh"
point and shoots, but you are paying for quality construction and top-class optics.
And if you want a quality product, hey, why not, most products nowadays seem to
have no x factor, and inspire zero pride in ownership. On the other hand, there's still
great satisfaction in coaxing fine results from a cheaper camera.
Some cameras:
My first one, aged 12, was an Olympus 35RC. Great ergonomics and results. I
recently bought one secondhand as well as a 35RD with 40mm 1.7 lens for just $20
- the camera shop man could not believe I would want an old camera.
Olympus OM2 with 35 to 70 zoom: good for travel, very versatile, but better people
pix with the old rangefinder.
Olympus Superzoom 110 (called something else in the States.) Disappointing. Flat
results compared with the old rangefinder. Fixed lenses still seem to produce better
Leica CL with M lenses. Superb quality on slide film. Unfortunately the shutter
wasn't working properly so I got a Leica minilux. Brilliant results. Best was from a
trip to Spain, where I used a picture of a patio for a front page cover of the
newspaper section I edit. Size 37.5cm by 42cm (15" by 16.8") - not bad from a tiny
slide! Film was good old Ektachrome Elite 100. Tiny details on tiles are clearly
visible. Image quality at least as good as our pros produce using massive Nikon F5s
and lugging around gear as heavy as my whole travel pack! Most the time of course I
do not need to blow up pictures so big, but nice to know I can if I want. On the
downside, the minilux is not so good at low-light pix without flash - probably too
light. And I'd love a bigger viewfinder. 35-70 zoom would be useful too. How does
the minilux zoom compare? Has anyone checked out the intriguing looking C1?
Leica M3 double stroke: Beautifully made, silky precision, great viewfinder,
encourages a whole new way of taking pictures. But my wife says it takes me far too
long and a small point and shoot like the minilux is better for travel.
Her camera is a Chinon Dual P with 28 and 56mm lenses. Surprisingly good results
on transparency film, but image soft when blown up. So I am glad there are so manty
positive comments about the Ricoh GR1 and we shall probably invest in one.
Image quality (again): Minilux beats Olympus SLR zoom and fixed 28mm lens.
Quality noticeable really only on big prints, but even small ones seem sparklingly
clear. As much as like my old rangefinder Olympus, the image comes apart when

blown up really big and it is not nearly so good at large apertures. Interesting
comments re German v Japanese lenses (older ones certainly) seem to hold true:
German lenses have higher resolution but lower contrast. Today's minilux seems to
have both. For more, check out CameraQuest site and Erwin Puts' Leica lens
Just a rave? Yes of course. But Oskar Barnack, inventor of the Leica, wanted to
make a light, easy-to-use camera that would produce the best possible results. So I
reckon the search for the ideal point and shoot is perfectly valid. No, it isn't as
versatile as the pro's SLR kit, but it's much much lighter and easier to carry. I would
be interested to hear of anyone else's experiences with any of the cameras listed
-- David Killick, April 25, 2000
A few months ago I bought a Yashica T5 (aka T4 Super), this page's
recommendations being part of the reason for the choice. While I am using a Nikon
SLR for most work (and leisure) pictures, the T5 has replaced my old Olympus XA
very well after mye eyes were not able to use the XA's double-image manual
focusing anymore. I use almost exclusively slides film, the T5 has performed very
well (in fact, often better than the photographer) with Velvia as well as 400 ISO
films. One thing that really amazes me, is how little flare it shows in strong sun-lit
scenes. I have taken pictures directly against the sun, with sunlight inside the frame
and no visible flare, and still very high contrast! Though not all frames are absolutely
flare-free, this lens is clearly the best I have used under such conditions. The very
simple 4-lens construction performs much better than my Nikkor 35 mm f/2.8 in this
respect. I would love to be able to use this lens on a camera with more control.
-- Toralf Sandaker, May 7, 2000
What more can I say that hasn't already been said by the many various experienced
users of photonet. On their recommendations I purchased a Yashica T5, (T4 Super),
why? well my Rollei 35 original passed away, also I'm a great fan of the Tessar Lens
and I was in need of a good 'compact' at a good price. Well, all I can say is that I
have fallen in love with this beauty, its not perfect, but then which camera is.
However, in the right hands and in the right situation it can produce some very
impressive results. One things for sure, as a constant companion, it will take far
better pictures than any camera, (Leica included), that is left at home. Keep clicking
my friends.
-- Mike Wilde, May 23, 2000
Here's a few resources that I used while shopping around for a P&S:
Point and Shoot Comparison
User reviews at
User reviews at

I got the Rollei Prego 90. It isn't clear why the older Pregos had a lens named
Schneider Variogon vs. Rollei VarioApogon (for the recent ones). Apparently it's the
same according to these links here:
Rollei mail list thread 1
Rollei thread 2
Rollei thread 3
Also, you can download the owner's manuals for some cameras. I think they have
more information than the usual feature list found on the manufacturer's website. For
Rollei manuals
Pentax manuals
Minolta manuals
Good luck!
-- Petru Lauric, May 26, 2000
I'm surprised no one has mentioned the P+S I finally decided to get: the Olympus
Infinity Stylus Zoom 80 Wide Deluxe. This has turned out to be a great little camera.
The lens is a bit slowish at the long end and only moderatly fast at the wide end
(about f/4.5 to f/9.3). But the optics are surprisingly good and the zoom range is
chosen for what, IMHO, is maximum usability. It does have some problems with
snow scenes, but has a spot metering mode which can help in difficult situations. The
fill flash is superb. The camera also supports both standard and panoramic modes. It
has built in diopter adustment for the viewfinder. It is an "all-weather" model
(although I haven't verified this claim). It is also insanely easy to use and gets
excellent results in almost all of the conditions I have tried it in.
Point and shoots are great travel cameras and great to have when you don't really
feel like carrying that big ol' honking SLR outfit. Don't expect them to supplement
your SLR, but you may find that they supplement it nicely in a lot of situations.
-- John Sully, May 30, 2000
I've heard of a lot of problems with Stylus Epics not focusing properly. As someone
who does not have this problem, maybe this explanation will help someone...
I think the focus problems with the Stylus Epic are really a depth of field issue. You
must use focus lock with this camera, you can't just point and fire. The Epic strongly
favors wide aperatures, and if you are focused on the wrong subject the shot will be
more noticably out of focus than with cameras that prefer more moderate aperatures.
The above may seem obvious, but with a lot of other P&S cameras I've used it
doesn't seem to matter as much - I think the aperature/DOF is the culprit more often
than the camera not focusing correctly. My Epic rarely focuses incorrectly, like
maybe 2 shots in about 30+ roles of film. I actually have a harder time faking it out

than other active autofocus cameras I've owned, for example it seems to always
focus on glass even when I use the typical tricks like getting right up to the glass or
shooting at an angle.
Also, although this camera is supposed to have 3 focusing beams, always lock focus
at the center point and recompose, I've blown otherwise good shots by expecting it
to pick up an off-center subject.
Don't expect this camera to get the world's sharpest pictures anyway, it is very good
for 90 bucks, but compared to my 800si with 50/f1.7 lens I can definitely see a
difference in the photos. The exposure system in the Epic is also 2nd rate, clearly this
camera was designed with print shooters (or maybe just cost) in mind. Other P&S's
do a better job (Minoltas seem to have excellent light metering, IMHO).
Update: I think I have to take back some of the statements I made - I've been using
the camera quite a bit lately and the results have been absolutely tack sharp. Maybe
it has something to do with my wife dropping it (hard) while at the Grand Canyon
(which it survived without a scratch)? Actually it probably has more to do with the
processing quality we've gotten lately, but anyway it's really hard to tell the difference
from my SLR pics - only the different focal lengths gives it away (with 4x6 prints
anyhow). Exposure has been perfect as well. If you want a truly pocketable, light
camera with a very fast lens, get this $90 wonder.
-- Rob Alexander, July 3, 2000
I have to agree with the previous posting regarding Stylus Epic. For $90 (I bought
mine for $85) its hard to beat camera. I also own Yashica T4 Super and I love this
one too. I would grade T4 higher than Epic, because of better optics and accurate
metering system. I shoot slides with Yashica all the time, which is really challenging to
do with Epic. But, if you pay $150 for T4 instead of $90 for Epic you would expect
better quality, would you? :)
-- Yuriy Vilin, July 3, 2000
I am a amatuer. I have read all the recommendations and still am unsure which point
and shoot to buy. Please help I am considering the following: Fuji dl super mini $129 Yashica T4 super- $129 Ricoh R1 - $149 Olympus stylus epic - $79
Olympus Mju 130 zoom - $209 Nikon lite touch - $149
I bought a SLR but ended up returning it because it was to cumbersome to carry.
The reason I want to buy a good point and shoot is to take pictures of our 1yr old
son and his activities and birthdays. I am also confused about whether to buy a basic
point and shoot or one with zoom.
Any suggestions would be appreciated.

-- Rajesh Bhola, July 10, 2000

RajeshI guess it depends on what you want to do photographically. If you just want
snapshots to remember events in your son's life down the road you can get just about
any decent P&S. If you want the flexibility to take really neat existing light shots you'll
want to go for something with a faster lens, I think on your list that would mean
Stylus Epic or Yashica T4 (or maybe Fuji DL if you're talking about the model
without zoom). But you'd also have to give up the zoom. For more info on
photographing the new baby (if your son still qualifies as "the baby") read .
You'll want to check out whatever you're considering in person if at all possible, for
shooting kids (who never sit still and have an attention span of a second or so) stuff
like autofocus speed and how quickly the shutter actually fires when you press the
button all the way are important considerations. You'll get quite frustrated if you get
too many shots of the side of your son's head as something else catches his eye.
Personally, I don't see anything wrong with getting TWO point and shoots, one fast
fixed-lens model and one zoom. I don't know your situation, but if you can afford an
SLR you can probably swing a $90 Stylus Epic and a $150-$200 zoom (I've got my
eye on a Canon SureShot Classic, but there are plenty of other good choices).
Use the fast/fixed lens camera for low light without flash, and the zoom outside in
brighter light. You'll appreciate not having to run around after a small child (who will
almost certainly have more energy than you) to get him exactly the right size in the
picture, and there may be times when you just plain can't move closer. It might also
be nice if one of the cameras was weatherproof.
I hope at least something here is helpful...
-- Rob Alexander, July 11, 2000
I purchased a Yashica T4 Super after reading various reviews from this and other
web sites concerning light, water resistant, 35mm point and shoot cameras. I do a lot
of hiking and backpacking so this camera seemed to be just what I was looking for. I
took a roll of film and agree that it takes good photos but with the second roll of film
in the camera I was caught in a rain storm. The camera was in my backpack and got
wet but was never submerged in water. When I got home an hour later I took it out
of my backpack but could see water in the focus window. I opened it up and it was
wet inside. I ended up sending it to Yashica for a $75 repair bill. Even though the
camera is called "waterproof" and the manual states "the camera can be used on
rainy days without worry of water leakage" Yashica wouldn't honor the warranty. So
don't buy this camera with the idea that it can get wet because it can't. If I had it to
do over again, for my purposes, I would buy something more weatherproof.
-- Dave Mathis, July 14, 2000
Good page, and a lively exchange of ideas. My present foray back into P&S-land

takes a rather different tack from most of what I've read here. But first a wee bit of
background. (Okay, it's longer than that...)
In Fall of 1992, I took a first-time-ever trip to France for a week and a half. At the
time, I had *no* camera gear, having sold off my serious SLR iron for a number of
reasons (one of which was the now-questionable idea that, if I didn't have anything to
take more pictures with, I'd concentrate better on organizing the thousands of
negatives and slides I'd already taken over the years). I was desparate - I couldn't
possibly head for the City of Lights and beyond with no camera whatsoever?!
I remembered that I had given my mother, as a Christmas present a number of years
back, a Nikon 35AF, one of their first 35mm P&S cameras. I asked if I could
borrow it for my trip; she said yes. I got together a handful of rolls of color neg, b/w
neg and Ektachrome, and took off. The camera had manual film speed setting (a
good thing, since there was no other means of "official" exposure compensation when
I felt a subject required it), a killer 35mm (or was it 40?) f/2.8 lens, and a pop-up
flash I had to remember to keep pressed down with my left finger if I was setting up
for an available-light shot. I must say that in that week and a half, I used and
tweaked that camera to within an inch of it's little life, falling back on skills long taken
for granted while slinging a full-on SLR. The camera's very limitations got me having
to sweat a little more than usual to get, say, Notre Dame lit up at night just right from
my balcony window (Hotel Esmeralda - don't know if it's still up to standard, but
was just wonderful when I stayed there), or the textures of low rolling clouds over
Versailles, or the lushness of Monet's garden under rainy overcast. I came back with
(for me) the pictures of a lifetime. Moral: sometimes, for various reasons, nothing but
a good SLR will do, but I'll never, ever dis point-and-shoots again...the good ones,
at least, are as serious as you want them to be.
At the moment, though, I've been in a fog about P&S stuff: once again I have a
full-on SLR system (a pair of Minolta 9xi bodies, five lenses and the rest) and a
Konica Hexar (original/black) which goes almost everywhere I go...but the "almost"
is a problem. Sometimes even the Hex is a bit more of a burden than I'd like when I
want to pack ultralight. A killer P&S like a Nikon or Contax was out (smaller than
the Hexar but more expensive and less versatile), and the likes of the T4/5 were nice
but a bit too big themselves. Won't do APS or digital on a dare. What's left?
A used Konica P&S. The AA-35 to be precise. I've yet to pick it up from the shop,
but next week I'll likely do the deed. It has a pull-apart body that reveals lens and
AE/AF sensors, and protects them quite well when closed...much better than most
P&S cameras I've seen of late. A built-in flash that seems sufficiently far away from
the lens to obviate the need for any silly red-eye reduction function (which it doesn't
have anyway), and has it's own on/off switch. Only three film speed settings
(100/200/400 - manual, not DX), which I can pretty much live with. And, what I'm
told is also a killer lens, a 24mm f/4.
That designation confused me for a moment, until I opened the camera back and saw
what helped me make the decision to buy's a *half-frame* 35. I'd always
fancied the idea of getting a half-frame, but the modern pickings were always slim,
and vintage numbers like the Olympus Pens are curious to play with, but they're a

bad combination of too big *and* a bit too primitive for my taste. (Then again, the
Pen FT *is* an SLR...)
So, on this whim, I've decided that what I want, what I really, really want, is a true
shirt-pocket 35 that doesn't try and outdo my Hexar - not a biggie, since, IMO, no
other pint-size P&S can, either - but has reasonable quality, has a built-in flash that I
can actually use...and gets twice the film mileage as anything else.
I'd be interested to hear if anyone else has used this interesting oddball. Meanwhile,
hello, planet point-and-shoot...I'm *back*!
-- Barrett Benton, July 25, 2000
Hello! My experience with the P&S. Atention!!! I shot with print films.
I tried 6 Big Mini cameras (BM 202. The first camera of the Big Mini series)
Metallic body.
First camera: Corners and side edges of the photogram (mainly the left one),
completely fuzzy.
Second camera: 50% of the completely fuzzy photogram!!!
Third camera: idem!!!
Fourth camera: A little fuzzy side superior and wild corners of the photogram. More
fuzzy to f. 3,5
Fifth and sixth camera: Lens: Very good of f.16 to f.5,6. Nevertheless, to f. 3.5 one
slight fall of the sharpness from 15 mm of the photogram is appraised. Vignetting:
Very slight. Distortion: Very sligth, in cushion. Exposure: Very good, CDS center
weighted meter. Features: Very good: Flash Auto, Flash: Fill-in and Slow,
(calibrated very well) Exposure compensation +1.5 and -1,5, Speed: 1/500 to 3.6
seconds (Excellent!!!). 25 to 3.600 ASA. I have proven the Kodak Ektar 25 ASA,
brutal sharp!!! And also 1.600 Fuji ASA, contrasts very high, but good sharp!!!
Viewfinder: Good and clear. But does show a susceptibily to flare in extreme
into-the-ligth... and the AF symbols cannot be watched... With less light the
viewfinder is excellent.
I make extensions of my negatives up to 18 cm by 26 cm. The result is excellent. My
friends are surprised. The maximum of extension has been 30 cm by 40 cm. The also
very good result. With my Big Mini (BM 202) I have made photos in all the possible
conditions and results excellents: in the high mountain, in the snow, in the beach, in
the grottos and warehouses very little illuminated. Very good nocturnal photos.
(Speed 3.6 seconds)
Big Mini (BM 302): Same problem with the optics that my four first Big Mini!!

I have tried 5 Olympus mju II (Stylus Epic) cameras: Apocalypse Now!!! Total
The first camera (Made in Japan!!!): excellent lens, but to f.2,8 slight but appreciable
loss of sharp in the corners. Accurately AF. Accurately exposure. But him lack EV
+1.5 and -1.5, The camara spoiled to the 30 days to use it!!!!
Second camera: Horrible lens!!! (Parts Made in Japan, Assembled in Honk
Third camera: More horrible lens!!! Defective AF. (Parts Made in Japan, Assembled
in Honk Kong!!!)
Fourth camera: When I extracted it of the box and I put the battery to him, it did not
work correctly!!! Impossible to prove it!!!! (Made Parts in Japan, Assembled in
Honk Kong!!!)
Fifth camera!!!!: (Too Parts Made in Japan, Assembled in Honk Kong) Good optics
(Not as good as the first Made in Japan) But AF vague. I to sell my Olympus mju II
to a person less demanding than I.
Pentax Mini Espio (UC1). Two proven cameras. No found problems. Viewfinder:
Extraordinary, the best one of all the A & P!!! Lens: Very good. To f. 3.5 light loss
of clearness in the corners and edges; and also in the central inferior part (!).
Versatility: Good, although not as much as the Mini Big (BM 202)
Yashica T4. 20% of the photogram of the straight diffuse side!!!!
Konica A4. (Second-hand, but new) I to buy by 22.5$. Good optical of f.16 to
f.8-5,6 but to 3,5 mediocre. It loses enough clearness in all the photogram. Fuzzy
nonproblems. Versatility: Normal. The Konica A4 is a "prototype" of the Big
Mini(BM 202). The Mini Big, is far better.
Leica Mini III: Impossible to prove it, the AF did not work...
Zeiss Lomo LC1: Three bought cameras. The three spoiled in a year... Made in Est
Contry: crap!!!
Olympus, mju -1 (Stylus USA) (first mju series). Serious problems of sharp in the
edges of the photogram. 30% to each side of the blurred photogram!!!
Olympus XA with unit of Flash A11. I to buy used to 58$. Excellent, robust, very
good features, in many aspects the best one of all. The very good optics in all the
diaphragms. But of f.2,8 to f.5,6, very appreciably vignetting. The cause is the design
of the objective: invested retrofocus. Of the best thing of years ' 80.
I have been continuing using my old Big Mini (BM 202) for 8 years!!! No problems.
And my brother also has a Big Mini (BM 202) and he is amazed.

I to be crazy if I want to obtain the same optical quality with a A&P that with a good
optics SLR. (Nikkor, Canon, Zeiss, Leica, etc.) Only good optics SLR, is worth 2
or 3 times more than a Mini Big, or T4, or a Olympus mju II, It is impossible!!! If
your you obtain equal quality with P & S that with a SLR (Nikkor, Canon, etc.), you
must to bomb the factory of Nikkor, Canon, etc.!!!
The manufacturers of cameras P & S, design very well their cameras of the high
range. With good specifications, but when they make the cameras, they forget to
maintain the quality of his products!!! We are deceived by the manufacturers!!! The
quality level of its products is discontinuous. If you have luck when to buy P & S,
you can be very happy, but if you do not have luck when buying your P & S, you are
very displeased and you have many frustrations.
I have wanted to be brief. I have more information of other simpler cameras: Super
Olympus AF 10 Super, Canon AF 7, Rollei Prego 35-70...
Thank you very much and I wait for your answers. Excuse me, my English is very
much deficient.
Jose M. A. L. (Spain)
-- Jos Manuel Alvarez Lpez, August 1, 2000
I see a fair number of Rollei 35's mentioned! I bought two of them new just over 20
years ago, a 35T and a year later a 35S. Both of them superb. Sold the 35T last
year because I wasn't using it, but still have and use the Rollei 35S. I use the 35S as
most use a P&S. Yes, it's completely manual, but a serious photographer not only
doesn't mind that, he (she) almost welcomes it. It allows the control a serious
photographer wants.
The lenses on them are superb, and the 35S or 35SE have a fast f/2.8 Sonnar HFT
(Rollei's multi-coating) designed by Carl Zeiss. The 35, 35T and 35TE have the 2/3
stop slower f/3.5 Tessar. You can continue shooting in available light when others
are scrambling to flip up the integral flash units which aren't strong enough for
anything more than 10-12 feet away.
I wouldn't give my Rollei 35S up for any current P&S. The closest I've seen to them
in current P&S's are the Contax T2 and Yashica T4 Super. Maybe there is
something else similar on the market with the lens speed, resolution, contrast and
build quality that allows manual control, but I haven't seen it yet. My experience with
current AF Program Mode P&S's has been frustration with things like inability to
control Depth of Field.
For the serious photographer, I recommend a P&S that has a fast superb lens, and
at least allows overriding any AE or AF modes to take manual control. It doesn't
have to be a Rollei 35[T,TE,S,SE], but if it inhibits creative control of focus and
exposure, it is likely to frustrate its owner.
-- John Lind, August 3, 2000

Sorry!!! An error in my commentaries exists on the lenses of the Pentax Mini Espio
and the Konica A4. The correct commentaries are:
Pentax Mini Espio (UC1). Two proven cameras. No found problems. Viewfinder:
Extraordinary, the best one of all the A & P!!! Lens: Very good. Nevertheless, to f.
3.5 one slight fall of the sharp in the corners and edges; and also in the central inferior
part (!). Versatility: Good, although not as much as the Mini Big (BM 202)
Konica A4. (Second-hand, but new) I to buy by 22.5$. Good optical of f.16 to
f.8-5,6 but to 3,5 mediocre: one slight fall of the sharp in all the photogram. Fuzzy
nonproblems. Versatility: Normal. The Konica A4 is a "prototype" of the Big
Mini(BM 202). The Mini Big, is far better
-- Jos Manuel Alvarez Lpez, August 3, 2000
I am split between two cameras and would appreciate your opinions to help me
make a decision. Following are my two choices:
Pentax IQ ZOOM 140 or 140m(Maybe 140 the Older model Pentax said it fits
better in your hand than the newer 140m and 145m which are smaller)
Canon Sure Shot Classic 120
Please advice.
Thanks Raj

-- Rajesh Bhola, August 11, 2000

After 2 years, my Leica Mini 3 was stolen from a rented car in Sevilla, Spain.
(Sigh!), the only time I leave a camera (out of view) in a car, and it got stolen. Let
that be a lesson to all who visits southern Latin countries.
Anyway, I thought the Leica was not worth the price. You just paid for the name.
The metering was awful. I had so many shots ruined by bad metering. I cannot
expect it to be as good as the trusty Matrix metering in my Nikon F-801, but I've
seen better metering on compacts. The lens was not that great to speak of. The
shoddy plastic construction sure don't make you feel you're holding something
Anyway, now I have to shop around for another good compact. I am encouraged by
the Yashica T5. What puts me off it is that there is no bulb, and the max exposure is
1 sec. Not enough for night shots in my opinion. (I usually use ISO 100 ~ 200).

The Samsung Vega series with Shneider lenses sound very attractive both in price
and features. But I could not find any reviews for them. Does anyone here have any
experience with them to share with me?
How about the Ricohs? It bothers me that doesn't even bother to
feature 35mm cameras anymore. I am afraid it will hell for support.
Please email me <>.
-- Yew-Liang Woo, August 31, 2000
I have owned an Olympus Stylus Epic 35mm 2.8 for about 4 months. I love this little
beauty. My results are nothing short of amazing. But let me start by saying I have an
array of cameras, Konica 35 mm with beautiful Hexanon lenses, Medium format,
Pentax 6x7, Koni Omegas and even a 360 degree panoramic camera. But listen to
Phil and heed his advice with point and shoots. Never use film speed less than 400.
Turn the damn flash off, get a small tripod. Now with the Epic, use the controls. The
spot meter can make the difference between a good photo and a terrific photo.
Always prefocus on your subject and then recompose. If you get the Epic spend the
extra 20 dollars and buy the remote. Now, that can be fun. Set the camera down
away from you and as people are wondering if it is lost fire away,the results are
great. My Epic goes everywhere with me. Ever tried to carry a 6 pound Pentax 67
up a 15 mile trail? Also, my local one hour photo store just put in a Fuji Frontier 35
film processing machine. Find a place with one. The technician can adjust your
photos on his computer and give you wonderful pictures. I have printed a few 8x12
enlargements and the final product is hanging on my wall. For those of you that don't
know, 8x12 is the ideal size to blow up an 35mm negative. Enlarging to 8x10
actually causes you to lose about 30% of you photo. If you have ever taken a group
shot and wonder why Aunt Mary is missing from the shot now you know. Thanks for
reading and I want to thank everyone that has contributed to this site. I really enjoy
reading all of your comments and Phil I have told anyone that is thinking of buying
any camera to first log on to this site and become informed. Thanks again everyone.
Your friend , George
-- GEORGE LANNING, August 31, 2000

Parkside Avenue (w/Konica AA-35)

My fling with half-frame (Konica AA-35) is over. (Yep, it was quick). I knew I was
somewhat going up against the laws of physics with this one, but I thought that for a
p&s camera, it wouldn't be such an impediment. Silly me.
I've had a few simple, personal rules for choosing photography gear, and I seem to

have willfully violated most of them when choosing this camera; I thought I'd share a
few of them with readers of this forum for their benefit and/or amusement:
1) Any picture you take might merit an enlargement one day. (Don't choose a
camera that can't deliver in this regard)
2) Anything worth exposing on film is worth exposing well. (Having some degree of
control over exposure parameters is A Good Thing)
3) Notwithstanding the previous two rules, smaller is always better. (You're more
likely to take the thing with you more places as a camera, no pix)
The Konica AA-35 does indeed have a very good lens, and a decent, though
non-tweakable, autoexposure system. Only three film speeds are available
(100/200/400), and, contrary to my telling myself otherwise, this wasn't enough.
Then there's the matter of taking pictures you may actually want to make into 8x10s
or larger - things look okay up to about 5x7, but from there on I started noticing
things I hadn't seen since my hazy Instamatic days, like gritty grain (not too
noticeable with ISO 100 film, but not sparkling either). My bigger 35s have spoiled
me rotten, and the medium-format enthusiasts' paraphrasing of the old Detroit
aphorism (there's no substitute for square inches) hit me between the eyes.
So, the little Konica went back to the store, which geve me a generous trade-in value
toward something considerably smaller, and much nicer, which I had ogled for a
while, but passed over because "I just don't want to spend that much for a
point-and-shoot", thusly violating rules 1 and 2...
-- Barrett Benton, September 19, 2000

Afternoon Chelsea (w/Ricoh GR1)

...which is a Ricoh GR1. Couldn't be happier.
There's been enough said about the GR1 by others, so I won't get too long-winded
here, save to say that Ricoh clearly pulled out all the proverbial stops to create what
is inarguably the best camera they've ever presented to the public, and arguably one
of the best easily pocketable cameras ever made, which makes it all the sadder that
Ricoh has bowed out of the camera market in the US, no doubt because of brand
perception by those who, when hearing the name Ricoh, might say something like
"Nice copiers", but not cameras, in spite of the fact that cameras were how the
company got its start (like Minolta, which also happens to make copiers, yet
somehow managed to escape such a corporate identity crisis - mainly because their
cameras sell a lot better). I have to say I was among those who didn't give the GR1
much of a thought at first, even though I should've known better. I do now, and
couldn't be happier.
-- Barrett Benton, September 19, 2000

My point & shoot cameras are an Olympus XA, and an XA4 Macro, a Stylus Epic,
and a recently-bought Yashica T5. They all have their good points and bad points.
The XA gives you control over depth of field, and the lens is consistently sharper
than the Stylus Epic. But the manual focus makes it hard to photograph restless
The XA4 lens is very sharp, and I love the way it resets the manual focus to the
hyperfocal 3metre distance when you close the shell.
The Yashica T5 has the best lens and metering. The T5 solves the biggest complaint
I had about the Stylus Epic - infinity focus. The Stylus Epic is useless for shooting
through a window. But the Stylus Epic has a very good flash system.
So it boils down to "horses for courses". The Yashica T5 is now my preferred P&S,
for it's stunning lens quality, but I also carry the XA4 for the occasional 28mm wide
angle shot. If I know a portrait opportunity is likely, I also carry my Contax 139Q
with 45mm Tessar. The Contax 139Q with 45mm F2.8 Tessar is a very compact
SLR package, and gives stunning results, even for a head and shoulders portrait.
The Stylus Epic has now fallen into disuse. It's lens is just not sharp enough or
contrasty enough in comparison to the Carl Zeiss Tessars on the Yashica and the
Contax. I am now a dedicated Carl Zeiss fan. I can't settle for less.
-- Craig Norris, September 22, 2000
Rollei VarioApogen lens
Having recently busted my old Olympus Epic zoom 80, I was in the market for a
new P&S. I've always been interested in the Rollei Prego 90 because of the
Schneider optics, but suddenly found that the Schneider name was no longer on the
camera. I searched the web everywhere and got mounds and mounds of conflicting
stories. I finally had it and decided to write Schneider and Rollei directly and ask
them. I totally bypassed their US offices and wrote directly to the German
headquarters, writing the entire e-mail in German just to make sure they didn't
misunderstand the question. Both companies gave me the EXACT same answers
which leads me to believe this is the truth. So here it is (translated and paraphrased):
SCHNEIDER was the designer of the Rollei Prego lens. In the begining they were
also the ones responsible for manufacturing the lens and providing it to Rollei [this
doesn't necessarily mean they MADE it, they were just responsible for providing it...
it could have been outsourced. Anyway...] Recently, Schneider sold/transfered the
design specs/rights of that lens to Rollei. Rollei is now using that exact same design
with the same specs to produce the lense [again, it may be outsourced.] Rollei said
the lens is just as good. Schneider said the lens is just as good.
There you have it; the same answers from both sides of the fence (and from two
companies that aren't really too happy with each other at the moment). So people
can keep speculating all they want about the topic, but until I get official word

different from BOTH Schneider and Rollei, the above is what I'm going to count as
Erik Werner San Deigo
-- erik werner, September 29, 2000
I would like to add a few comments on my acquiring a Yashica Electro 35 GTN
rangefinder. I can only express my happiness by saying "WOW." This 28 year old
beauty(mint condition) comes with a 45mm, 1.7 Yashinon DX lens. I have shot 2
rolls of film, The first Fuji Superior 400 and the second roll was Kodak 400CN
black and white. The photos are wonderful. Very sharp and terrific contrast. I added
a yellow filter while shooting the Kodak. The lens accepts 55mm filters but I have to
make an adjustment by one stop as the metering is not on the lens barrel. Simple
enough. Being a rangefinder the Electro does not qualify as a point and shot by any
means but a terific camera to own. Did I mention I paid a humble $49.95 and feel
very fortunate to have found it gathering dust on a photo store shelf. If you have read
my earlier posting concerning the Olympus Stylus Epic you might be wondering if I
am going to get a Yashica T4. YES of course I am. If an old Yashica rangefinder
gives me great results I can just imagine what that Zeiss lens has waiting for me. But,
if you should run across an Electro 35 give it a try, I think you will be very happy
too. Thanks everyone and good picture taking, Regards, George Lanning
-- GEORGE LANNING, September 29, 2000
Yashica T4 Super. I have had it for several months, shot about 30 rolls of print film
and couple rolls of Fuji Astia 100 (slide film, if you want to know what it is). I have
only one word about it; this small camera is GREAT! Most of my pictures taken with
T4 were enlarged up to 8x12'. Slides were properly exposed and very sharp.
Properly used "spot" meter allows me to cope with pretty tricky light conditions (like
sunset in the mountains). Just aim camera at something with intermediate brightness
(camera set at "infinity" mode), hold shutter button half pressed, recompose the
picture, and shoot. Used with Kodak 400 CN (black & white film for C41 process,
you can develop it in any one-hour minilab) camera shines with it's highly detailed
contrasty images, even in murky light conditions (cloudy winter day, for instance). I
heard that people report inconsistent autofocus with T4 resulting in blurry images. It
never happened to me. In fact, my second camera Olympus Stylus, which was
purchased last year CONSTANTLY blurs two-three frames in each shot roll.
Camera was sent back to Olympus and they returned it with verdict "camera is
absolutely functional"... The superscope in T4 is another great feature.
Overall: My hat is off. T4 Super is waterproof, quiet camera with excellent Carl
Zeiss optics. Great buy for $150.
-- Yuriy Vilin, October 4, 2000
I have read on the Contax mailing list from Henry Posner of B&H camera that the
T4 Super (T5) will be discontinued.

He said: "I had lunch with a couple of my Yashica/Contax reps today and they
confirmed that the T4Super (T5 in Europe) is being discontinued because Kyocera
& Zeiss couldn't come to terms on Yashica's continued use of the Zeiss lens for this
model." Henry Posner Director of Sales and Training B&H Photo-Video, and
Pro-Audio Inc.
This makes me wonder if it might not be a good idea to grab another one of these
soon-to-be "classics"
-- Meryl Arbing, November 4, 2000
I have tried various point and shoot compacts over the years, and am finally happy
with one- the Rollei Prego Micron. To me, a compact needs a good lens, should be
genuinely pocketable, and fairly robust. The Rollei produces images of real
sharpness, has a useful 2 second maximum exposure (which is rare on affordable
compacts) and the panoramic modes seems to work ok (though it seems to be a
gimmick when all the camera does is expose a narrow band of film and leave it to
ther lab to trim off the top and bottom!!). What I really would like to find one day is
a really compact 35mm camera with a manual focus option and >1 second shutter
speeds/bulb exposure- somebody suggested a Minox but I somehow think I would
break it within a few days, that drawbridge makes me nervous!!
-- Steve Hickman, January 26, 2001
You may all be aware that the Contax T2 was discontinued some time ago along
with the Yashica T4(T5 Europe).
It looked for a while as if the Contax T2 would not be replaced and that Contax
were set (like many others) on a course of Zoom lens compacts only.
Well the good news is that Contax have finally announced the T2 replacement, the
T3. It has a 35mm F2.8 single focal length Carl Zeiss Sonnar and a more compact
titanium body than the T2.
All the tech. spec and launch dates etc can be seen on the Kyocera press release (in
English) on:
Also Fuji are to launch a similar model soon called the Klasse with a 38m F2.6 lens.
There is a website but it is in Japanese only (it has a picture of the camera though.)...
Thanks To John McCormack for this Info.
Lets hope Kyocera follow up with a similar replacement for the Yashica T4/T5 as

-- Trevor Hare, February 13, 2001

I have been using a Minolta TC-1 since September 1998. As a user of the Leica M
system (for 20 years) and a Nikon FM2 with several Nikkors (for 10 years), I can
certainly vouch that the TC-1's lens performance is in the same quality category.
However, the camera is a touch fragile (a fall of 1 metre onto a wooden floor
resulted in $500's worth of damage!)I would like to see a camera of this cost that is
rubber-armored, binocular style and weatherproofed. It is a shirt-pocket camera that
is always with me, doubling as a picture notebook and as a pro-level tool. A Yashica
T2-style right-angle viewfinder and hotshoe would also be nice.
Michal Dembinski, Warsaw, Poland

-- Michael Dembinski, February 19, 2001

The picture (sic) with digital cameras has become more favorable than it was when
the page was written back in 1997.
First, every current model of digital camera I'm familiar with uses flash memory (not
to be confused with the sort of flash that lights up pictures) to save the images. Flash
memory doesn't need power to retain its contents, so if you come back to an unused
camera two years later, the pictures will still be there. (You might have to install new
batteries or recharge the existing ones before you can get them out, though.)
Second, the quality of digital cameras has improved. Digital images still aren't quite as
detailed as 35mm film, but they're a lot closer than they were a few years ago.
Third, it's no longer necessary to be a computer expert to get the pictures onto
paper. You can now buy printers (Hewlett-Packard and Epson both make them)
with memory card slots; you take the memory card out of the camera and insert it in
the printer, and you can make prints right then and there.
And finally, the quality of those inkjet printers that you use to make the paper copies
has also improved considerably. The best of them can make prints that rival (though
don't quite equal) photo prints, and may last as long or longer.
Still, a digital camera probably isn't the ideal solution for taking travel pictures, unless
you also travel with a computer. Otherwise, you'll need a very large memory card, or
a collection of smaller ones - either way, a lot of money, even now.
-- Mark Dulcey, March 1, 2001
My T4 Super is the reason I got back into photography after about 10 years ... I
bought it on recommendation from Consumer Reports, took some pictures that
turned out great, and suddenly I had a new SLR kit and some serious learning to do.
My T4 results may not happen to you....

Recently, at this site's suggestion, I bought an Olympus Stylus Epic, because our
household needed another rainy-day camera, and I liked the Epic's f2.8 speed and
spot meter, you guys didn't have to tell *me* how bad point-and-shoot flashes make
people look.
Still, after shooting a bunch of rolls with the Epic, I'm heading back to the T4. The
spot meter is nice and the parallax and focus lag are much better, but the damn Epic
combines a hard shutter release with feather weight and I can't take evening photos
without a tripod. Even if I support the camera against me or some hard surface, the
press for the shutter release adds shake and messes up the shot.
Never had shake problems with the T4, and almost never got red-eye when I did
use the flash, so.
-- David POWERS, March 2, 2001
Hello there,
Here's my 2cents worth of opinion about the Yashica T4 (T5 in Europe).
I began with serious photography after a trip through England. The results of my
camera (a focus free 35mm with flash, really the cheapest I could find) were of
course abysmal compared to my colleague's Contax. First I bought a cheapish digital
camera with 640x480 resolution (even this camera was better than my original one!)
and soon bought my first SLR. New lenses, film scanners, more accessories and
indeed, new P&S camera's followed. Biased by good reports and recommendations
I bought a Yashica T5 to ideally (or so it was thought) complement my SLR. But I've
sold it to the aformentioned colleague after a few months. Why? Under good lighting
conditions the camera really shows off the Zeiss lens. I've made photographs at rock
festivals in sunny weather that are defenitely among the best shots I've ever made.
But, far too often my photos were out of focus, especially under difficult lighting
conditions. The camera has a focus indicator but no matter how careful I tried to
follow the routine (aim at subject, press shutter release halfway, wait for camera to
focus), too many shots were out of focus. Furthermore, as I tend to scan a LOT of
my negatives, I found out that for some reason, the negatives from the T5 were much
more grainy when scanned. As I always use the same lab and film and the negatives
from my Minolta SLR almost never show this tendency, I attribute it to incorrect
exposure. In all honesty, I am a very demanding photographer and the T5 had to
perform in conditions it was never designed for. To be frank I slightly regret selling it.
But nonetheless, it is simply too annoying to see undemanding P&S birthday photos
out of focus. To replace the T5 I bought a 2 Megapixel digital camera for P&S
duties (and a new set of recharable batteries ;-) ) and I now have an old Rollei 35 on
loan. It's a cheap 35 LED made in Singapore, probably the worst of all Rollei 35's
but it has a fast lens and thankfully no autofocus. Now I can only blame myself if
something goes wrong with all these manual controls :-)
-- Ronald Hogenboom, April 1, 2001
Ricoh has announced a Ricoh GR21 coming. A GR1 with a 21mm lens, more at:

That may be too wide for everyday use, but it may suit some people, and is probably
worth a look as a speciality camera..
-- Tristan Tom, April 1, 2001
Why I like my Kodak KE-30 and other matters By NiCK Tolentino
Comments on Cameras
To start this article, let me say that I've been interested in photography since I was a
kid. I remember when I played with the family's Olympus compact/mechanical
rangefinder camera. Experimenting with it really taught me the basics of photography.
My next camera was an Olympus (what else!) AF 1 camera - I think it was one of
the first model my father bought me in college (around 1990, I think). It was nice
beginning camera - auto-focus, focus lock, a real point and shoot. What I dislike
about it was that after a few years, under good storage condition, it won't work
properly. I have the authorized distributor checked and they told me it was working
fine. The problems I experience were the following: it will rewind automatically even
though it hadn't finished the roll yet, I got very blurry pictures, and I have to replace
the batteries very often. Given that I have sent it to the authorized distributor for
repairs and still came back damage, it does speak of the kind of after-sales service I
will expect in the future. I guess that the electronic components just died a natural
death, based from my observations.
So when it was time to buy a new one, I really scouted very well before buying.
After checking shops carrying Canon, Minolta, Pentax, Samsung, and Fuji, I settled
for a Kodak KE-30 camera. It has the following features: fixed focus, motor driven,
a maximum aperture of f/5.6, timer, red-eye reduction, Fill In/Off Flash, 10-second
timer, simple operations. AAA battery powered and the unique easy film loading.
What sets this camera different from the others is the easy film loading mechanism - I
just insert the film leader (straight from the film box, no need to unwind additional
film) into the film guide rails, close the film door and then open the lens cover switch
to start the film advance. This no-brainer makes me wonder why Kodak develops
the APS standard in the first place.
I choose a fixed focus because I can immediately composed the photo I'm gonna
take rather pressing any more buttons. Another advantage of fixed focus cameras is
that there is less mechanism and electronics to worry about that may be damage due
to accidental drop or bump. The controls are user-friendly, persons with either big or
small hands can use it.
For this kind of a camera, I didn't expect to see red-eye reduction and Fill In/Off
Flash. The ability to accept AAA batteries was also big plus because I can now use
rechargeable batteries rather than throw ordinary ones away. The camera is also
simple to operate that any body can use it immediately.

I always have a roll of film in my camera so that I can take pictures whenever there is
an occasion or whenever I feel inspired. A film in my camera lasts from a month or
two. Pictures were sharp and colors were vivid except for a few. More about that
What I don't like about the camera is the plastic body that I must protect with a
padded bag. I once lend the camera to somebody and when it was returned, the film
door was jammed and the self-timer won't work properly. I brought it to Kodak
corporate camera repair center (this is where all the cameras around the Philippines
are diagnosed and fixed). It took the repairman only 30 minutes to diagnosed and
fixed the problem of the camera. The back of camera was loosening up so it was
jamming the film door and self-timer controls. So point-and-shoot camera
enthusiasts, I advised you to buy padded bags for your cameras, unless the camera
body is made of alloy or titanium.
Another problem is that the picture counter is not that accurate. I like it as it is but
please make it more accurate. The only way that I will know that if it reached the end
is when the flash indicator won't light up and shutter button won't work anymore - it
always alarm if the batteries are dead already or my camera is no longer working.
Some Pointers about Film
My Kodak KE-30 camera is almost a year old. Since then, I always make sure the
camera have film so I can use it in any occasion or whenever I feel creative. Because
of this, I have bought several brands of films. I have tested several film speeds. The
best films I have used are Fuji Superia, Kodak Max/Gold and Konica Centuria.
They have cheaper lines of these films (Fuji YKL, Kodak CE) that produced
satisfactory results as long as you know the limitations. The films to be avoided are
Imation (by 3M), Perutz (cheap line of Agfa), and Solid Gold (cheap line of
Mitsubishi). These are wastes of money since they produced unpredictable results.
For film speeds, I think this is where point-and-shoot enthusiasts must really explore.
Each film speed has different functions. ASA 100 is good for bright outdoors and
flash photography. It is also good for portraits and enlargement. ASA 200 is good
choice for all purposes, specifically for the cloudy outdoors. ASA 400 is good for
action shots and very low light conditions. Since its summer here in the Philippines, I
use ASA 100 films. For occasions such as graduations or sports activities, I use
either ASA 200 or 400 films.
I always used and recommend matte/silk paper rather than glossy paper for
developing. Matte paper is more color stable, does not leave marks when handling
and does not react to moisture and sweat compared to glossy paper.
Tips when using Point and Shoot Cameras
1. Know thy camera. The purpose of the camera manual is to instruct the user (that
is you) on how to use it and take care of it. Even though that you've use a camera
before, you may be surprised that your current camera have several other features

you never knew or never used before. Better yet, always bring the manual with you
so that you can refer to it anytime.
2. Buy a padded bag for your camera for extra protection. The bag that comes with
your camera is insufficient in protecting it from drops, bumps and improper handling.
Remember that today's cameras, even future ones, are almost made up of electronic
components that are sensitive to such problems. When storing your camera for a
period of time, remove the batteries and place the camera inside a padded bag for
3. Think like a sniper, make every shot count. In other countries, photography is a
taken-for-granted hobby since cameras, films and developing costs are very cheap.
Living in the Philippines makes you think thrice before wasting a roll of film for just
one shot. To minimize waste, make sure that every shot is for some event or
something worth taking the shot.
4. Think like a painter, compose before shooting. Like a painter, you must think
about the photograph that will develop before actually taking shoot. Make sure all
the elements are there.
5. Your best friend is the film developer/processor. In my area (Los Baos, Laguna),
there are several developers already existing. I tried them all, checking for prices,
quality and staff friendliness. I settled with a particular developer because it offers
good prices, always provide good service, good advice and tips, have matte/silk
paper not like the others insisting on the available paper, and I trust them for making
sure the pictures developed properly and in time. This developer is run by a
professional photographer and used by photography club. This is an advantage
because the developer also acts as an exchange among photographers, amateurs,
semi-professionals and professionals. Because of this, I only used this developer and
recommend the lab to friends and colleagues.
6. Think like a mountaineer, buy essential options only. Like a mountaineer, always
buy add-ons and options that you will always use and appropriate for the occasion.
The first and best option you should buy is a tripod for taking group pictures that will
include yourself. It is also a great help in stabilizing the camera. Another option I
recommend is the filter holder. I remember that bought a filter holder for my point
and shoot camera (yes, there is one for us!) and it worked wonders. It helps me give
professional results and fueled my experimentation. Unfortunately, when I moved to
a new house, the filter holder along with the filters got lost. I tried to buy one but it
was no longer available.
7. Use rechargeable batteries. Not only you will save money but you also will save
mother earth from the heavy metals coming from the said batteries. Please use
rechargeable alkaline, nickel metal hydride and rechargeable lithium batteries. Forget
about nickel cadmium batteries.
Just a comment
I just noticed that Kodak have spread several characteristics I like in a camera into

several ones. I hope they or some camera manufacturers just wake up one day and
put the following features in one camera: the easy film loading mechanism (but of
course!), landscape mode, mid-roll rewind, a metallic body (alloy or titanium), date
feature (that I can turn on and off), zoom capability (not yet among the Kodak line),
self-timer, LCD indicator panel (that will last forever!), and a very good aperture
(comparable to Leica, the "Mercedes Benz of cameras").
I was planning to buy a digital camera but the prices are still very high. I might just
buy another 35 mm camera with zoom lens. That will be the topic of my next
Till next time.
NiCK 8-)
-- Nick Toletino, April 5, 2001
Why not just get a EOS Rebel with a 50/1.8 lens, very light and compact and cheap
with great optical performance. You could even stick a 35mm or 38mm if you prefer
something wider.
-- Andrew Grant, April 29, 2001
Yashica T5, Kodak Protra 400
With all the rave about the T5, I just simply can't resist getting one myself to see what
it is all about even though I already have the Ricoh GR1s and Leica Minilux Zoom.
What I like is that this lens focus from 30cm onwards, which allows me to take close
up. Also the out of focus background is nicely blurred with what the Japs called the
bokeh. The superscope is also a unique and nice feature. Focusing and exposure is
right on the spot and image is pretty sharp.
The shutter release button is rather sensitive and needs a little getting use to or else it
will just fire off accidentally. I also notice lights falling off at the corner.
I thought of selling it since I've already had the 35mm range covered by the Minilux
Zoom. But its good points (bokeh, superscope and close focusing) really attracted
me. Since it is cheap, and now out of production, I decided to keep it as either a
spare or a collector item.
-- Wee Keng Hor, May 18, 2001
It is very interesting and informative to learn about the T4/T5, Stylus Epic and the
I have a cheap Canon Sure Shot Sleek (Prima Mini II) which hasn't even got a LCD
screen. 32mm 1:3.5. The lens is only 3 elements but it performs very well. One thing
I like about this camera is the 1/250 top shutter speed. (Obviously I don't use this
camera for fast action photography.) Bcos of the relatively slow top shutter speed,
you get great depth of field especially if you use ISO 200 or 400 film.

I heard the problem with the Epic (Mju II) is always choosing a high speed shutter
and wide aperture.
This Canon model has an easy to use dial for flash over-ride and the self timer
automatically triggers a slow-sync mode at night.
It has triple beam AF and I think 415 focus steps.
It has consistently given me good results. Worth considering too.
-- Michael Chin, May 23, 2001
after reading all the positive comments about the t4 i went out and got one. as a
10-year fe2 user, i was very impressed with the quality of the best shots the t4
produced, flash or no flash, however the worst shots were just as bad as you'll find
from any point and shoot. i've never owned an autofocus before, so i'm still getting
used to it. i've noticed that you have to be very diligent to secure the focus,
confirmed by a green light near the viewfinder, before shooting. the secodary
viewfinder, on top of the body, is very handy and cool, however it takes even more
diligence to center the subject for focusing, and you can't tell if the green light is on.
focusing challenges are compounded by a very light shutter release. like any camera,
though, it takes getting used to. for $189, i'm very happy, enough so that i went out
and bought another after i tragically lost the first one after 10 rolls. i'll probably buy
another just to have around.
-- peter strazzabosco, June 21, 2001

Caunes Minervois, France 6/01

I wanted to mention that I recently bought a Rollei Prego 90 for $150 from B&H in
NY. I was lucky to get a demo model with a 5 year service contract, since the
camera is not out of production. I got it to use on my vacation in the south of France
and Barcelona. I took over 500 pictures and many of them are fantastic. I used ASA
100, 400 & 800 and had great results for all films.
I stayed with the 28 mm the majority of the time and occasionally moved to longer
focal lengths. I really like the lens, it is sharp and contrasty and at 28 mm with f 3.6 it
is reasonably fast. The 28 mm focal length is one of the best things about this camera.
I was able to get in so much more than I would with a 35 to 38 mm lens since I was
in a lot of villages and other locations with narrow streets and other obstructions that
made a wide angle very handy. Unfortunately in Barcelona, to take good pictures of
the Gaudi buildings or the Music Palace (from the outside), you need a far shorter
focal length (probably a view camera as well). Since the sun did not set until after 10
pm and we only had one gray day in 17, light was not a problem and even 90 mm
shots were exposed well. I had big pockets and was able to keep the camera in my
pocket most of the time even though it is larger than the Olympus that one of my

friends was using.

I have noticed that I need to be very careful when in macro mode to keep the image
within the parallax marks or I will loose parts of my image. Furthermore the
rangefinder only shows about 85% of the image. That is not too bad since I can crop
the image later (I scan my images into my pc). It is unfortunate since I have to guess
how much I am missing if I want to fill the frame intentionally.
All in all, for the price I have nothing to complain about.
-- Ivan Handler, July 21, 2001
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Related Links
T4 Super Homepage- This is the official page for the Yashica T4 Super (known as the T5
in Europe) with technical specs etc. Unfortunately it seems (Nov 2000) that Yashica has
discontinued the model, at least in Europe, deciding to focus on cheap and nasty zooms
instead. Shame. Buy now while stocks last. (contributed by Allan Engelhardt)
Ricoh GR1s Test Report- See pictures taken with Ricoh GR1s. (contributed by Wee Keng
Leica Minilux Zoom- Review of the compact zoom. (contributed by Wee Keng Hor)
Photos taken with Yashica T5- Some photos taken with T5. (contributed by Wee Keng Hor) - Cameras- Product reviews, buying guides, and price comparisons on
cameras and more. (contributed by Brian M)