Last week I picked up a nice little Nikon One-Touch (known outside the USA as the L35AF2) at a local shop for $15 - with the box and instructions. Normally, that’s more than I would want to pay for a recent-vintage 35mm P&S camera, but I remember having a similar camera long ago, and thought the results were pretty good then. Of course, back in the 80s I was not doing real photography. Pretty much snapshots at the time. This time around, I thought it might be fun to see what the One-Touch could do. For starters, it has a 35mm f/2.8 lens (four elements in three groups), and is purported to be of good quality. Having a single focal length in such a camera is a key. In my opinion, P&S zooms are too slow and noisy. 35mm is a great overall focal length, as well. The camera has a built-in pop-up flash, which can be over-ridden by pushing it back down after it pops up, allowing for exposures up to 1/8 sec. It operates with 2 AA batteries, easily obtainable, rather than those CR-2 batteries that are so common in many compact cameras. The One-Touch has DX-code sensing, and if any film cassette lacks the code, the camera defaults to ISO 100. ISO ranges are from 50 to 1600. It dates from 1983-85, and I suspect was a popular compact camera when it was sold.
Impressions and Results
I like the overall feel of this camera, and the zone-style AF seems to be accurate. The motor drive means easy shooting, and as such, could be a good “street camera.” With a 35mm field of view, the slightly wider than 50mm is a good choice. The viewfinder is nice and bright, and the final images pretty well matched what I recall framing in the vf. The self-timer is easy to use, and of course, a tripod socket will allow for better low-light photos.
I shot a roll of good old reliable Kodak Gold 100 and had it processed at my local Walgreens (develop only, and scan to a CD). The scans look good, and the camera handled the window light at Marjorie and Stephs’ Marquette apartment quite well.
Lower Harbor, Marquette
Should You Buy One?
A quick check on the great big auction site reveals a good many L35AF2/One-Touch cameras. Many are listed as “buy it now” for about what I paid for mine. It’s certainly a better camera than the pieces of junk that have the letters LC-A on them, and will give consistent results. It would not be a bad camera to carry around with a few rolls of film on a city stroll, and as it’s not a digicam, battery life won’t be a big issue, so it can sit in a bag for a few months and be ready to shoot. I recommend buying one and shooting some Kodak TCN-400 b&w C-41 film and you’ll be happy.