The Nikon Lite•Touch Zoom 130 ED point and shoot Zoom Film Camera, was released at the beginning of 2002, which makes it one of the later/most recent/last (delete as per your view of camera history) compact film cameras released, before digital took over.
OK, first of all let’s get rid of the ridiculous • in the name of this camera – why do marketing companies do this kind of thing? What are we supposed to call this camera, the Nikon Lite dot Touch Zoom 130 ED? Anyway, when Nikon
announced* the Lite Touch Zoom 130 ED, they described it as “the world’s smallest, lightest 35mm 3.4x zoom compact camera”. This is quite specific, but it does initially feel a bit lighter than some of the other zoom and telephoto lens cameras that I’ve reviewed, such as the Ricoh RZ-728.
Specifications of the Nikon Lite Touch Zoom 130 ED
The Nikon Lite Touch Zoom 130 ED, has a 38mm to 130mm zoom lens – which is a much wider range than any of the zoom point and shoot film cameras reviewed so far, including the Minolta Riva Zoom 115 and the Ricoh RZ-735 and has an aperture range from f5.3 through to f10.5. The lens consists of seven elements, in five groups and a shutter speed range from 2 to 1/500 seconds. The ED in the name stands for the ‘Extra-low Dispersion’ glass in the lens, which Nikon claimed is good and great and stuff…
Like many of the more modern point and shoot zoom film cameras, the Nikon Lite Touch Zoom 130 ED uses a ‘real image‘ viewfinder, which allows the photographer an approximate view of the image area to be captured by the lens. Two buttons on the back of the camera allow the user to zoom in and out of the subject area and this is represented in the viewfinder. It is a process which, on this camera, is very noisy, especially when zooming out (although it is still possibly not the world’s loudest camera).
The focussing uses a multi-area passive focussing system and focus lock is achieved by keeping the shutter button pressed half way down – essentially allowing focus and recompose.
ISO film speed is set automatically, using DX code technology and consists of 25, 50, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600 and 3200 ISO film speeds. If a film is not DX coded, the camera defaults to 25 ISO, which is a nuisance as there is no manual film speed override and 25 ISO is not a very common film speed – most point and shoot film cameras seem to default to 100 ISO in these cases, which is a bit more useful.
Film loading is fully automatic, as is film advance, as you would expect with a camera this modern and an LCD panel shows the frame number and mid-roll rewinding is available, using a small pinhole button next to the shutter button.
The Nikon Lite Touch Zoom 130 ED has a built in flash, which pops up as soon as the camera is switched on. It is possible to cancel the flash, but the camera refuses to shoot, unless it has enough light. As with many of the cheaper point and shoot film cameras, such as the Olympus mju II (Stylus Epic), flash and other LCD settings are reverted when the camera has been switched off.
Other features include red-eye reduction, a self-timer and, according to Nikon, an anti-fog eyepiece. Unfortunately, I don’t think that this lets you see better in misty conditions (which would be a cool feature), but is supposed to prevent fogging of the eyepiece itself. The camera actually came in two variations, one of which includes a quartz date (QD) and also includes a few different features (for example a panorama mode and date imprint function).
Using the Nikon Lite Touch Zoom 130 ED
The Nikon Lite Touch Zoom 130 ED is as easy to use as any of these compact point and shoot film cameras. It is larger than some of the 1990’s Ricoh zoom models that I have reviewed previously and I find this to be an advantage, as it is easier to hold and focus than those cameras. Switching the camera on is simply a question of sliding open the lens door. This door then doubles as a handy grip, allowing for steady holding of the camera.
I have already mentioned the, somewhat noisy, use of the zoom facility. Other than that, the zoom control buttons themselves are very well located and are a good size. The viewfinder is not huge, but has a much better view than any of the previously reviewed zoom point and shoot film cameras and even better than some of the prime lens models that have been reviewed here. There is also a convenient, if slightly clumsy to use (as these invariably are, even on modern digital cameras), dioptre adjustment dial to the left of the viewfinder.
I did find switching the camera off to be a slightly counter intuitive process. This is done by sliding the lens slide cover back over the lens. However, doing so is a somewhat clumsy process, as the shutter comes to a sudden halt, because the lens is still extended and clearly in the way. The lens then slowly retracts, allowing the slide cover closure to be completed. I’m also not especially impressed with the gaudy ‘gold’ coloured function and shutter buttons. But then, nobody buys a modern plastic compact film camera for its appearance… do they? That’s something that’s usually reserved for more vintage compact cameras, or perhaps high-end modern point and click cameras.
However, trifles aside, this appears to be a reasonable, low end, point and shoot zoom film camera.
* Link broken as of 2017 (http://www.nikon.com/news/2002/ltz130ed.htm)