Theo from Photo Thinking recently reviewed the Lumix FX07. That’s aa day to day travel digicam. This got me thinking about what film cameras I’ve used as a travel cameras. Handily this came in useful when Stephen Dowling from Kosmo Foto challenged us bloggers to write about 3 cameras.
When the challenge came in, I was a bit stumped. My fellow bloggers all all rose to the challenge (see here). But what should I cover ?
But then I though. Let’s go with what I’ve actually consciously taken on travel for my needs not the blog. Turns out just 3 film cameras came abroad with me this year, a quite different trio.
The Honda Civic of AF SLR bodies – The Nikon F75
The Nikon F75 (aka N75 or U2 depending where you live) is probably my most used SLR. It is not my most expensive bit of kit nor is it arguably the most competent.
But, and this is what matters, it is a reliable lightweight camera that can use almost all Nikon AF lens up to the AF-P revision (and no film camera uses those). Being the last consumer film SLR Nikon ever launched, it also has one of the most up to date spec. Broadly that’s the same as it’s more sought after F80 sibling. It gets VR dibs too (not that my lens was up to that !) but that mean more expensive gear.
Afford to lose ?
It wasn’t until I was sipping my cortado in Balzac’s Market Street in downtown Toronto when Bill Smith pointed out was much more sensible a choice if it got nicked than his mighty F3. That was especially so with its rather dull but effective enough lens companion, the AF Nikkor 28-100mm 1:3.5-5.6G screw drive lens. In hindsight I should have taken Uncle Ken’s favourite budget zoom the 28-80mm 1:3.3-5.6G. I never really gained anything from the extra 20mm but the 28-100mm is still an good cheap lens. My only running gripe with the F75 (and it’s common with late Nikons) is the battery indicator goes from full to Err/Empty in 0-60.
And the size and weight and features i the reason I pick up the F75 again and again over even my F90x or F80. One of the smallest but most competent consumer AF SLR ever made. It’s ideally suited to travelling light with a mid range zoom. Also there’s a near perfect layout for a film AF SLR. Need flash on the move ? Well the built in TTL flash is fine in a pinch. And you can also use many Speedlites in TTL modes.
And, as Bill pointed out, if I dropped the camera or had it nicked, even in today’s climate I could replace the set up for not very much (although the days of buying them for £1.50 are long gone)
Instead of a spare lens I took something else…
The Tiny lo-fi Classic Clone – Jelly Lens UWS
Whilst the second camera has only been in my hands for a few months, I’ve used clones of it for years. The Jelly Lens UWS is one of the current crop of VUWS clones. These have long been a regular in my travel bag. They take up no space and have that incredible 2 element plastic lens with bags of hallmark character.
They are also some of the cheapest non disposable cameras you can buy so whilst the F75 stayed on the bus at the Niagara Falls, the Jelly lens came.
Ironically you can get a used F75 for less than the Jelly lens costs though (my F75 was about £1.50 but a steal even 5 years ago – budget £20-50).
As I type the Jelly lens is winging its way to my Emulsive secret Santa recipient. Not that the camera isn’t good but I just prefer the slightly less slippery and more muted Reto UWS and my actual VUWS.
The Ukraine Trip – FED 50
Copenhagen in October meant going even lighter than my F75. Pocket classic was the order of the day. And it should have been the Oly Trip 35 rising to the occasion. That is until I noted the aperture blades have got sticky. So I dug out its Soviet Era love child the FED 50.
The FED50 is one of the riotous quirky FSU cameras that shouldn’t be. Launched in 1986, it is the strange love child of a Trip 35 and Lomo LC-A. By 1986 Trip like viewfinders had been long over taken. Firstly by the ultracompacts like the XA series, and then by the AF compact. Even Olympus was on its second generation of AF compacts and had retired the Trip 35 two years earlier.
Now oddity aside the FED50 is an excellent vintage shooter. The Industar-81 2.8/38 lens is shared with its rangefinder sibling the FED Mikron-2. It’s a corker of a lens. The camera is nice to handle although the metering is a bit flakey. Given the bulk of the stuff I shot was XP2 a broad latitude film, I rated at 200 ISO but developed normally. That said the golden hour shots I took on Ultramax largely at box speed (unless backlight adjusting as below) were on the ball.
Other Christmas Trio Reviews
Many of my fellow bloggers rose to Stephen Dowling’s challenge but with quite different takes . Here’s a list of what they did
- Jim Grey (down the Road) – Three cameras that delivered for me in 2022
Like me, Jim went with 3 very different previously reviewed cameras on his travels from AF compact to TLR to SLR.
- Alex Lucycxk (alexluyckx.com) – New for 2022
Alex went for 3 cameras he’s shot but yet to review from classic Oldskool Nikon, to Mamiya TLR excellence to Minolta AF know how.
- Mike Eckman (mikeckman.com) – 3 Outstanding Cameras from 2022
Mike went with the 3 best cameras that he’d reviewed in 2022. All 3 classic era models a contax , konica and a more quirky Teroka
- Aly Chiarello ( Aly’s Vintage Camera Alley) – 3 cameras From 2022
Like Alex, Aly went with 3 classic camera that she had yet to publish reviews on from Leica, Fujifilm and Minolta.
- Peggy Marsh (Camera Go Camera) – New for 2022 – My Favourite Film Camera Experiences This Year
Peggy went from 3 very different cameras from beautiful reskinned Zorki, the overlooked OM and a Zenit Stalwart
- Theo Panagopoulos (Photothinking) – Three Cameras of 2022 for 2023
Theo went for 3 quite different but well known cameras from classic Voigtländer, a Killer Mamiya and interestingly a Nikon Digital.
- Eric Jason (Aperture Preview) – Three Other Cameras of 2022
Eric went with a preview of upcoming reviews on 2 SLRs from Nikon and Minolta as well as a famed Pentax compact.
- Johnny Martyr (The Thoughts & Photography of Johnny Martyr) – Trois Caméras de 2022
Johnny goes to France with one Leica, not his day job one that also features. He also stops by with certain little Plastic half frame that arrived in 2022.
- Shawn Granton (Urban Adventure League) – My top three film cameras for 2022, and why
Shawn went for a X series Minolta, a Ricoh TLR and little Camera from Olympus.