Sunday, February 07, 2016

Point and Shoot Review: Nikon One Touch Zoom 90s QD

During the transition from film to digital, many different manufacturers produced some very full-featured small point and shoot 35mm cameras.  Nikon's line of One Touch cameras, begun in the early 1980s, continued  with the One Touch Zoom 90s in 2002.  This compact P&S features:

  • 38-90 zoom range (f/4.8 - 10.5)
  • uses 1 CR2 3v battery
  • macro mode (as close as 12 inches) 
  • different flash modes (auto flash, anytime flash, flash cancel, slow sync and red-eye reduction)
  • self-timer
  • QD- quartz date for time/date stamping images
  • Set infinity focus with no flash

The plastic-bodied camera in the same sort of champagne-aluminum finish as the Nikon N60 and some other consumer models, is lightweight, attractive, and has enough features for the snapshot shooter.  From Nikon's press release in 2002:

"Not only does it feature a new slightly thinner, lighter look -- the One•Touch Zoom 90s gives basic zoom picture-taking an extra touch of creativity and flexibility, Nikon style. The 2.4x zoom lens lets users frame subjects with ease within a 38-90mm range. Versatile flash accommodates most shooting conditions. Macro mode allows shooting as close as 30cm (12 in.) from the subject. Fully automatic operation makes it especially easy not to miss a photo opportunity, so everyone can enjoy taking pictures more."
That pretty much summarizes the camera's features and market.    From the Nikon site, here are the specifications:
  • Lens:  38-90mm f/4.8-10.5,  5 elements in 5 groups
  • Shutter speed:  2.6 to 1/250 sec.
  • Viewfinder information Image size frame marks (with parallax compensation marks); Autofocus spot; Green LED indicators -- Lights up: Ready to shoot, Blinks: Flash being charged.
  • Focusing Activated by lightly pressing shutter release button
  • The shutter cannot be released when the subject is closer than 0.7m (2.3 ft.), 0.3 to 0.7m (1.0 to 2.3 ft.) in Macro mode (Macro button blinks);
  • Infinity Focus mode available
  • Flash fires automatically if the available light is low; Daylight Sync Flash can be activated
  • Film speed setting ISO100, 200, 400 and 800 film automatically set.  ISO100 is automatically selected for non-DX-coded films
  • Date imprint function (90s QD only) Printed date include Year, Month, Day, Hour, (24-hour cycle with no AM/PM) and Minute;  Leap year adjustment until 2049; Incremental correction of date;
  • Power source: One 3V CR2025 lithium battery
  • Dimensions (W x H x D) Approx. 117 x 64.5 x 49mm (4.6 x 2.5 x 2.0 in.)
  • Approx. 117 x 64.5 x 53mm (4.6 x 2.5 x 2.1 in.) (90s QD)
  • Weight (without battery) Approx. 215g (7.6 oz.);
  • Approx. 225g (7.9 oz.) (90s QD)
So, the obvious question is, how well does this camera perform?  It does fit comfortably in a jacket pocket, and I found it easiest to set it at the widest setting of 38mm and lock the infinity setting, which makes it more usable as a sort of street camera.  I did not try the macro setting, but when the macro button is depressed, it blinks to let you know, and the flash goes off every time you shoot.

I loaded a roll of Agfa Vista 200 (made by Fuji) and took the camera with me to the Toledo Museum of Art last weekend.  I developed the film in a Unicolor 3-step C-41 kit.  Overall I think the images are pretty good. Not as sharp as I would like, but I have no idea what aperture the camera uses, since it's all auto.

Overall, I could not find too much to find fault with.  It's a medium-range camera that will give good results, and obviously, the more experienced photographer will find ways to make the best use of the various modes.  The downside is the limited ISO range of 100-800, as well as the top shutter speed of 1/250 sec.  However, considering that I paid 50 cents for it, it was money well-spent. Now, imagine if that was a digicam from 2002 - it would have been about 2.1 MP -- and you would be kicking yourself for not using film at the time. 

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