I’m currently having a little love affair with compact film cameras. Three to be exact. Shooting them is like shooting with an iPhone, except loaded with film. Point and shoot. Definitely not instant gratification like the phone, but much more satisfying when the images come back from the lab.
Compact cameras are a great option if you’re interested in dipping your toes into the film camera waters without having to dive into the deep end of manual 35mm SLR or medium format photography.
For me, the clincher is the convenience of a smaller camera that I can easily carry with me on a daily basis. Especially when I’m on my daily walks in the city and don’t want the extra weight of my bigger cameras. Compacts are perfect for vacations and street photography, if you’re into that.
I have three in my arsenal. There are many reviews for each of the three cameras on the interwebs, so no need for a detailed technical review from me. I’ll link to the reviews for each camera below.
Here are my thoughts about, and images from, each of the cameras.
I happened on this camera at a sidewalk sale, it was only $30 USD — a bargain or should I say a steal. The camera is very plastic-y, OK it’s all plastic and quite bulky for a compact. Not quite a throw-in-your-pocket camera, but it’s light and still small enough to fit in a purse or small bag. Images are sharp and it’s very easy to use.
This is by far my fanciest compact camera and most loved. It’s easy to throw in a coat pocket on your way out the door. It’s not the easiest camera to use and by that I mean, read the manual. Actually, it’s the worst camera manual in the world (literally, I think). But once I figured out that to store a setting permanently, you must hold menu buttons down until the LCD registers a little flash of acknowledgement, everything was smooth. I fell in love. I shoot it on aperture priority and AF. The lens is amazeballs.
Minolta Riva Mini
This cutie is my newest. She’s all plastic and fantastic. You don’t really need to read the manual on this one, everything about the camera is straightforward. I read it though, force of habit.
Definitely give compact cameras a try if you want to go light and move fast. Do your research and find the one that fits your needs.