Well, the year is 2015 and this article is about the best Point and Shoot Film Cameras‘ camera of the year. Which raises a couple of questions at least.
Firstly, being 2015, there are (as far as I know) no point and click film cameras still in production – so this review can only deal with cameras manufactured and released well before this year. Secondly, this overview is only concerned with point and shoot film cameras which have been reviewed by this website (only another several thousand to go, probably).
It’s also worth noting the criteria which this site uses to review point and shoot film cameras. In particular, the cameras dealt with here tend to be at the cheaper end of the 2nd hand film camera scale and, in some ways, this could be described as the best cheap and low end point and shoot film cameras review. But anyway, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get on with the show.
Top five best point and shoot film cameras, reviewed in 2015
I was hoping to make a top ten list of compact film cameras, but so many of those that I’ve reviewed have tended to blend in to each other. So the five listed below are there because they have stood out for one reason or another. These are cameras that I would consider buying again, if they got lost or broken. In fact, most of the other cameras reviewed this year have already gone back to the local charity shop.
Fujifilm DL Super Mini / Cardia Tiara
The Fuji DL Super Mini or Fujifilm Cardia Tiara is a late addition to my stable of point and clicks and has quickly become very popular. It is small, light, well built and has an amazing 28mm lens, which I’ve found produces gorgeously rendered photos. The ISO DX range of 50 to 1600 is very satisfying. Top marks go to the control buttons, which can often be quite awkward to use on other small point and shoot cameras. View a sample photograph from the Fuji DL Super Mini / Fujifilm Cardia Tiara.
Olympus mju II / Olympus Stylus Epic
The Olympus mju II, or Olympus Stylus Epic (as it was known in the US market), is one of the smallest and sleekest of compact film cameras. It has a tapered end, which helps it fit easily into a pocket and the lens seems pretty decent also. It’s easy to open and close the lens cover door with one hand and with an ISO DX range of 50 to 3200, there isn’t a lot missing. The tiny viewfinder is my biggest gripe and it is this and the somewhat awkward function buttons which puts it a close runner-up on the list. View a sample photograph from the Olympus mju II / Olympus Stylus Epic.
The Ricoh FF-7 / FF-9
The Ricoh FF-7 (or FF-9, depending on where in the world it was sold), is a surprise third place. Surprise, because for one of the cheapest point and shoot film cameras that I regularly see online, it has taken some lovely pictures for me. It can take can take DX coded film from 100-1600 ISO, has an easy to open with one hand lens cover and is very light. It is larger than the two cameras above, but easy to hold and has one of nicest viewfinders of any of the cameras reviewed on this site. The inability to disable the flash is its only annoying feature, in my opinion. View a sample photograph from the Ricoh FF-7 / FF-9.
Minolta Prod 20’s
The Minolta Prod 20’s is a bit of an oddity, but a nice one. A limited edition version of the Minolta Freedom 202, it may not have the highest specifications compared to many other point and shoot film cameras – its DX ISO ratings only cover 100 or 400 and the lens is quite slow – but it certainly looks better than most of them. It is large (certainly not a compact film camera), but that makes it very comfortable to hold. And I found the images produced to be perfectly acceptable.
Canonet QL17 GIII
The Canonet QL17 GIII barely qualifies as a point and shoot film camera. Like its predecessor, the Canonet QL19, it might be more accurately described as a fixed lens rangefinder. But, historical context allowing, I think it’s fair to say that its shutter priority mode and quick film loading also qualify it as a point and shoot camera, albeit 1970s style. Much has been written about the quality of its f1/7 lens and it is certainly an easy camera to walk about taking snapshots with.
It is noticeable that there are no zoom lens film compacts in the top 5 list. This is primarily because I have found the quality of prime lens compact film cameras to be superior to their zoom lens counterparts. The reasons for this are complex and obviously everyone has their own opinions. But, if I had to give an ‘honourable mention’, it would go to the Ricoh RZ-728. It is very small, but usable and, if a compact zoom film camera is needed, I might be tempted to give it another try, if it were cheap enough.
So there we have it. The Point and Shoot Film Cameras Top Five Reviewed Cameras of the year 2015. Here’s to many more.