As previously mentioned, 35mmc is now 3 years old. Whilst the majority of the content – at least if you judge by word count – is still written by me, I now have fairly sizeable chunk of content contributed by readers. I mention this, as quite often I get contacted by people asking me if they can submit a post about some SLR or medium format camera. In fact just yesterday I was asked if I was interested in buying a Mamiya RZ67 so I could review it for 35mmc. The Mamiya is pretty much the polar opposite of the sort of camera I’m interested in, and indeed the niche of the website to date, so the answer was obviously no… But, the question did make me think…
Firstly, it occurs to me that’s it’s not all that obvious to the casual reader that this website is focused on such a niche topic. Secondly, just because I get my kicks out of small cameras, doesn’t mean everyone else who reads, or indeed wants to contribute to this site does. These thought processes were slightly compounded by the fact that when Ray published his review about the wonderful Makina 670, no one seemed to bat an eyelid – in fact if anything the post gleaned more interest than a good deal of the 35mm cameras posted on here.
What this all has made me wonder is whether or not I should just expand the niche of the site a bit. Perhaps there is space for contributors to the site to write more about other types of cameras, or if I should just stick to the niche. The issue is, I feel far to close to the problem to answer this question myself… So I thought I’d ask you, Mr & Mrs Regular Reader; what do you think?
I must admit, I am inclined toward option 2, and though I don’t want my opinion to sway anyone else’s, since it’s my site I thought I might as well put my gut feeling into black & white.
Let me know any other thoughts in the comments below!
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74 thoughts on “The Future of 35mmc – Stick, or Twist? Your thoughts please!”
Anything that is not 35rangefinder has to be a bit odd, unique, rare, interesting just like the Makina. There are a few photo blogs that take in everything else, so got to be something special. “Win a Leica” has got me looking at all kinds of odd cameras.
Keep up the good work!
Noted. I do find myself slightly more drawn to the unusual.
Ive voted option 1 simply because I feel there are plenty of other blogs and forums devoted to other formats.
But as long as the standard of writing stays as good as it is I don’t really mind the outcome.
Thanks Andy! I’ll be expecting a post from you about your Leica when you get it, I hope you know that! 😉
Ha! I knew that was coming!! I’ll have a go for you, I’m not much of a writer though so you’ll have to bear with me!
as long as it takes … 😉
Hi Hamish, I voted for the second option but I’d add some more ‘artistic’ stuff such as photo projects, featured photogs and well, just photography.
And more good old manual compacts instead of these whirr whizz clack motorized cameras 😉
That’s all a separate “problem” for me – though I agree.
As for the whirr Clacks… Well, I just can’t help myself! 😉
I first came to the site owing to an interest in 35mm point and shoot cameras. My main focus is overlooked and cheap cameras of all types – I own finely made cameras in most formats too, but there’s no shortage of internet information on those. For a thousand pounds I expect a lens to be brilliant, but I’m more intrigued by what a £30 camera or lens can do. Basically, anything quirky piques my interest, plastic SLRs, point and shoots, box cameras, old rangefinders, Frankencameras and home-brewed fixes of all types.
As the owner of more than 50 P&S cameras it’s fair to say that most function pretty much to type optically, whether that be fixed lens or zoom, and they merely have different flaws and all are fun in their own way.
I’ve just written a guest post for Canny Cameras that talks about my love of the cheap… Keep an eye out for it!
I voted for the second option too, but I had to think about it. I assume reasonably compact SLRs such as the Olympus OM series would meet the description, or perhaps all SLRs would? When it comes down to it, I’m interested in all sort sorts of film cameras, but the primary theme of 35mmc on compacts has been a useful focus to the posts and I guess is what has made it popular and attractive. Ultimately it’s up to you Hamish, as it’s your blog.
It might be my blog, but I’m a raving lefty and therefore feel its more about the community than me 😉
The OM series appeals for sure – but actually with SLRs it’s certain lenses that tick my boxes. The tiny OM 100mm 2.8 for eg…
Hi Hamish, I would recommend that you do whatever you enjoy most. 35mmc feels like something you love rather than something you need to monetize. And when you are an “amateur” you are free to pursue whatever it is that you love without fear or favour. So write about things that make you happy and get you motivated… I run http://www.melbournestreetphotography.com.au and just write about whatever stuff pops into my head and runs through my fingers onto the keyboard! I don’t worry about what other people think or want to hear about. I just focus on what I want to say… People can make their own choices whether they follow the blog or not. If you want to monetize the blog – I would go slightly broader to film cameras in general to generate a big enough audience… Good luck with your decisions – this is a wonderful place to visit which I enjoy very much.
Funny you mention monetise and need in the same sentence. I do sort of, at least now it’s starting to cost me real money. I’ve been adding eBay affiliate links just today.
That being said, I don’t do it for money, that’s for sure.
And indeed I do write about what I want to, it wouldn’t be fun otherwise. That being said, I do feel conscious of an audience now there is one, I don’t want to alienate it. If I started just talking about – I dunno – chicken farming, then I would clearly out a few people off… I suppose the point of the question here is just how far away from the niche will the audience as it stands tolerate before losing interest… Does that make sense?
Photography is overwhelming at the best of times. Best to help us stay focused I say.
No pun intended.
No point in necessarily being rigid in restrictions if something interests you. But it’s your website. Clearly people (I certainly do) enjoy reading the articles for a number of reasons. I’d say you could have a focus on what you like with a bit of flexibility if something piques your interest. Post it, they will come?
In my opinion, many of the folding medium format cameras, such as the Makina or the superb Fujis, fit your definition of compact, portable, nimble, and non-intimidating. In fact, even a Rolleiflex TLR fits this category!
Yeah… If you wanna see my sway like a thin tree in a stiff breeze, give me a tlr… Not my bag! I have a lovely folding 6×9 voigtlander though… And can’t think of a camera that fits better than the Zeiss super ikonta cameras I’ve been ogling on eBay for God knows how long… 🙂
I voted Option 2 because it opens the door to some very interesting cameras (Mamiya 6, Bronica RF645, Fuji 645, Minox 110S, Rollei A110, etc) that embrace the spirit of portability . That being said, I would still prefer the vast majority of articles to focus on 35mm compacts and rangefinders (it’s what sets this site apart from the others).
I think that is quite likely – I can’t afford all these other sorts of camera for a start, so unless I get a rush of guest posts, its likley not to drift too much anyway
I dont shoot 35mm, but I still read your site a lot. The plaubel article this week was really great, it is basically how I feel about my fuji rangefinders. They made me not need 35mm, so I would say add some other stuff if you feel, I know I’ll read it. Tis a good site, sir!
I believe that the most important thing in this blog is the sharing of knowledge. That was your first intention. The Makina post on 120 as well as the Fuji digital and digital apps whilst not primarily focused, caught people attention because the guests writers have had their experiences with 35mm compact and rangefinders. I don’t think SLR’s are my main interest, but I would be pleased to be reading different things and allowing people to share their knowledge where it can be relevant to photography as in general. I myself would love to contribute in the future with two or three posts, being one of them about digital edition and film simulation, the other, I am making some savings to develop about 30 rolls of film from my last trip, and then I can write something about it. Anyway, as a “community”, while this is my first comment here, I’ve been reading this blog for at least a year and have learned a lot from all of you. Thanks, and am looking forward for some new content yet relevant to photography that one can learn over here.
I would happily have you contribute those posts – always intrigued by peoples views on digital film simulation
It’s wonderful to read about all these marvellous cameras and the experiences of the contributors that shoot them but for me, the thing that sets sites like 35MMC apart is FILM. That’s where the magic lies. The more the merrier as far as I’m concerned. There’s no reason why you can’t remain true to the core interests that motivated you to start the site in the beginning while simultaneously expanding guest contributions across different formats. You never know, it might inspire your own photography to move in new directions!
Yes indeed it might!
I know it is weird, but I voted don’t mind/care. I come to the site because the content is great, not because it specifically aligns to what I like – if that makes sense. Just keep great content going
I can understand that, thanks
I love your site – so I wouldn’t want you to drift too far. I voted 2 because the portability and compactness that excites me … you weren’t specific in the way you worded it, but for me, it’s portable and compact FILM cameras that I’d be most interested in
If of any use, I just wanted to say that while I have enjoyed almost everything on 35mmc, the things that I have been really buzzed about are when you are talking about how you are using the cameras, why they are as they are and how that means you work with them – the Rollei 35 post being a perfect example. I have one of these and it really made me think much more clearly about it, why I like it, how it can be used. Terrific
And thanks for what you are doing – I really appreciate it
Those are my favourites too. Thats sort of the reason I keep buying cameras – I like finding those clues to what the designer was thinking.
It’s actually really good to read such positive feedback about those posts, so thanks for that!
I follow the site mostly because there’s a good friendly feel to the writing and community here. This is no doubt a reflection of your own personality and interests, I’m sure 🙂 – focussing as you are on fairly humble compact cameras – those often overlooked and relatively cheap ones Blinx mentioned above – with the community being people like myself, being interested in what can be done photographically with those small, pocketable, often quirky cameras anyone can afford.
Having said that, I voted for the second option, because there are occasions when it makes perfect sense to review cameras and equipment that perhaps not fall easily into that initial niche. There’s no point in being overly rigid, though for selfish reasons I guess I hope the site will stay roughly as it is 😉
Thats kind of you to say Lars!
At the end of the day, I don’t have the cash to go out and buy a mamiya 6, 7, bronica 645 and 5 645 fujis… so the likelyhood is, whatever happens, the cheap cameras will always remain a feature. 🙂
I think part of the everlasting appeal of your site and articles Hamish is that the cameras you review are more obtainable by the mere mortal. There’s nothing quite like reading about a random cheap camera with a solid lens and then hunting around the charity shops to find something similar! As people have mentioned before, information on SLRs and the like is in abundance on the web, stick to what made your site interesting and unique I say!
Thank’s Dexter, as I’ve replied above – that content will always remain!
My own focus is toward the small and portable, so long as the image quality is retained.
I like this website as it is now, so I would hesitate to change things. And the funny thing is that I am not that interested in the camera’s, as I plan to stick with mine for years to come. So I just like seeing the photos, and the different cameras are mainly a carrier to write/read about the process of photographing, which is what interests me. But I agree with Damian that you should write about what you love, even if it doesn’t fit the exact focus of this site. If you write about what you love it will come across to me, and I suppose to other readers as well.
Thanks Aukje 🙂
I’ve learned much from this site. And I hope to continue to. I enjoyed sharing what I’ve learned on here as well. As long as it continues to be the sort of place that inspires that environment, I’m sure it will last and continue to be an asset for the film community. Thanks for all you do Hamish.
I’m with you on option two. I’m constantly getting places afoot on on a bicycle, and knowing more about all things small and light appeals to me. Plus the occasional bigger negative has an allure as well.
Tis a pleasure! Thanks Andrew!
Just make it on the Contax T2 and Minolta TC1!
sold both of them 😉
I just like reading about cameras so I voted for option four. I think having that unifying perspective, people who enjoy compactness and relative simplicity in their cameras, makes for an ideal starting point in discussions of different types of gear. For example, I’d much prefer a review of a modern digital camera from someone who prefers compact 35mm gear than from someone who uses giant DSLRs with massive lenses while shooting at 11 frames per second. To that point, I found Benn Murhaaya’s review of the X70 very interesting and would be happy to see more pieces like that. Either way, I very much enjoy the site and will be along for the ride no matter what direction you take it.
Don’t tell anyone … I started writing a review of the sony A7rii this morning 😉
I don’t think it causes any harm to drift a bit from the 35mm compact rule. Including the occasional outlier adds a little flexibility and spice, I’d say. Stick with what interests you most and I expect it will continue to interest us.
Thanks Jack! 🙂
I think most film users are open to many different camera experiences. That’s why I voted for option 2. I can understand your primary focus, and I’m a big fan of the cheap-but-good camera, but that can cover a wide range. I’ve taken some great shots with everything from an old Argus C3 through to a 90’s Stylus and my phone – I’m up for whatever you want to post, I know I’ll enjoy it.
I enjoy the niche you have inhabited up to now. If you were to enlarge the scope of the blog, I would suggest that you include early 35mm SLR’s rather than other film formats. Larger film formats don’t interest me and digital is exhaustively covered in the popular mags. The 35mmc blog has encouraged me to dig into my bin of old film cameras from the 50’s to the 90’s; from my dad’s Fujica 35-ML, to my own university-era Pentax Spotmatic 2, early 80’s Rollei 35SE, 90’s Fuji DL-100 & Nikon 35Ti, and even a few old disposable cameras from the 90’s to early 2000’s that I’ve been finishing off the rolls of in the hope that I can capture an acceptable image to submit to your Leica Giveaway Contest. Unfortunately, even if I were to win that camera it would be a stretch to buy a suitable lens for it on my retirement-without-a-pension budget! But never mind, it’s been great fun resurrecting the old cameras, and old feelings about film photography. Cheers!
Thanks Stewart – I do have half a hope of finding a lens to send with it … but don’t quote me on that. Good luck if you enter!
I haven’t commented before. I’m a newcomer to your blog, but I thought you might find my journey here interesting — because, I can imagine that I’m not the only one.
I’m a hobbyist and started shooting with a digital mirrorless camera. The photo quality is amazing and I was, generally, satisfied with how my photos turned out. But, I got to a point where I was seeing so many digital photographs (on social media, etc.) and they began to look “sterile.” (I think I read that description from something Benn Murhaaya wrote and I thought it was an apt way to describe my sentiments.) Photos looked over-processed and “too clean.” Certainly, I found the images appealing on some level, but, at the same time, they didn’t seem real.
It got me thinking more about the roots of photography and film photography, in general. So, I went out and got a Pentax K-1000 and started shooting some film. I liked the process. I liked that it forced me to think about my shots. I liked that it forced me to be patient and, more importantly, separate the act of taking a photograph from seeing the image that was created. And, in some ways, those two things are independent of each other and each part is uniquely satisfying in its own way.
So, how did I end up here? Well, the K-1000 is a monster of a camera. I would find myself on the streets and I would be drawing attention to myself. So, I started looking into compact 35mm cameras and found your blog. In particular, I’d like to mention that I’ve enjoyed reading the “35mm Compact Shooter” series. I’ve found it inspiring and I hope that you continue adding to that series. I like the idea of limiting my shooting options with relatively cheap, featureless cameras, because it makes you stop worrying about the equipment and makes you think more about finding interesting shots and working within the bounds of the limitations.
I’ve bought a few compact shooters (a Fujica DL-20, an Olympus AZ-1 Zoom, and a VivitarUWS) and plan on buying any that I find at a decent price just to see what I can do with them. I like that the focus of your blog has been on 35mm compact cameras and rangefinders and I’ve enjoyed reading reviews about other cameras that aren’t necessarily within those categories (especially from compact film shooters — I’ll echo the comment above about Murhaaya’s review of the Fuji X70). I fear if you actively expand the purview of your blog, the content related to 35mm compact cameras and rangefinders will diminish. And, as others before have commented, there are plenty of other websites dedicated to all those other areas.
I hope this comment gives you some insight into the mind of a relatively newcomer to your blog.
Would you like to contribute to the compact shooter series?
Just to clarify, if I expand the purview, I intend to increase the volume of content too. Not less of one thing, just more of another.
Your site, your decision.
Voted option 2, but the essence of your site is compact 35’s, my suggestion would be that you keep your focus…can’t please everyone.
Voting for option 2 means all kinds of classic and compact folding cameras for 120 film enter the scope, which I like personally. I pick up my agfa Isolette almost more often than my Leica M5, and I now also have a nice Ensign Selfix to play with.
But this is your blog so I would have votes for the missing option 6, “whatever Hamish wants to write about” 🙂
I too voted for the second option. I know it is open to interpretation but I love the creative thinking that would ensue.
Currently I’m trying to get back my Mojo so your site is invaluable for inspiration from your good self as well as your excellent contributors.
as a complete newbie(starting only last summer), with a TRUE interest in cameras, and of course, i went directly to the digital format, since i didn’t know any better, worse, or what 135, 120, 6×6 meant. and being from america…i had to ponder what an mm meant. i am very open to admitting my ignorance because i am very open to learning more of what is out there, and being offered ALL the choices that there can capture a moment in time.
i voted for the 2nd choice, seeing that i would like to know more about others formats (beyond 35mm). i see that some have made comment, that there are other forums already existing towards other formats; however, when one doesn’t know of the other formats existence, how is one to know that they exist? for example, i just learnt jeff bridges often takes photographs when he’s on set of movies he acts in. in addition to taking photographs, he works with a panoramic format called WIDE-LUX? or something along these lines… i haven’t in any way mastered the 35mm format; however, this camera has really piqued my interest and I’m now looking towards the day when i have the funds to acquire one. please note, G.A.S. is the last thing one with no funds is having, if the day comes then cool, i could go this route to acquire one because i have the money. at the moment, i still haven’t paid rent to even wish i had G.A.S. its just an interesting thing that i learnt.
at the moment, i have in my possession a hasselblad 501c, that a buddy leant me while he’s away on a trip. thanks to youtube, i learnt how to load a roll of film. it was great!!! however, i went ahead of myself and thought beyond just a single exposure of the 12, and wondered if i could actually do double exposures…BIG MISTAKE! needless to say, my 1st roll of film only came out of the magazine, with the help from the guys at freestyle photo, who graciously assisted to release the jam that the film was in. i really thought i had damaged my buddies camera.
i know mistakes like this are rather stupid for one to make. but how is an infant to learn how to walk without ever picking themselves up from a fall?
my brain is still learning about photography. i have yet to see the 2nd roll i just shot from the hasselblad. i have gone through many rolls of b/w film, yet there is no way i would even consider myself an intermediate student. i have however, learnt rather quickly to buy film in bulk, and self develop. i still battle with myself about continuous agitation, pushing or pulling of the film, and rather bummed when a whole roll is damaged because of exposure to light(since i don’t have a dark bag). but each process, each line read of interest on a “how to” in film or anything on photography that i am finding new is a great thing learnt.
hamish, and all other (more experienced) photographers, i would like to thank you for sharing with the less knowledgeable of the same interest that brings us somewhat together.
Wow, 524 votes so far! The thing I enjoy most about your site is the quality of writing and the genuine sense of community. I look forward to every new post, even ones pertaining to cameras I have no interest in. Or learning about ones I never knew existed ( Leica M2-R review led straight to a trip to the eBay, want it…..) So I went for option 3; with your great writing and that of your contributors, I’d really look forward to seeing what other cameras you can find!
Thanks Devlin 🙂
(edit: make sure to buy through one of my links to ebay won’t you ;))
First, congratulations on the anniversary! Second, one of the strengths here is the contribution of other writers (I ‘ve been featured here myself)! It relieves you of the chore of having to do all the work and brings in different perspectives, maybe different gear, and different types of photo.
I voted for more than just 35 mm compacts, but only film, please! There are hundreds of sites on the web that tout the latest digital gear.
Hi Anthony, nice to hear from you!
I do have a review of the latest greatest Sony A7Rii currently in the making – so you might have to skip over that one. That aid, I can assure you it is not cut from the same cloth as most digital camera reviews, and I’m really only writing it as a precursor to me writing about some of Zeiss’s newly lenses. I promise to not drift too far down that road though 🙂
as previously said, your writing is worth applying on more film cameras 🙂
I think 35mmc could keep its center on compact cameras with a distinct separation of these other cameras, kind of an another section to the site, or just colorcoding the pages differently, branching out if you will
Stick and twist. Number 2
I come here for interesting articles about (often quirky) film cameras and lenses, not necessarily just 35mm. It’s a great little community you’ve built up here and I think there would be a lot of value having articles looking at other formats.
Hi! First of all, congratulations on the blog and project. Very good info and sense of community here already.
I voted for option 2 as well, but that doesn’t mean that every other theme and type of camera should be completely ruled out. From time to time there could be an article about a medium format camera, or a large format camera, or a photo project, or a photo-book, etc etc. Even digital cameras. What could be nice would be maintain the “portable” as a general theme, allowing, from time to time, exceptions. Nothing would be lost, in my opinion ’cause I think that what brings us here is good info, a nice designed website, generous and informed people commenting….and that’s it!
Keep up the good work!
Thanks for your thoughts Bernado 🙂
I’m sure whichever you decide will be right for you and I’ll continue to return to the site.
Personally I love 35mmc if your looking to change can I have first dibs on the url? 😉
The reason I found you was due to your reviews of attainable 35mm film cameras. The site is packed with information and indepth reviews that is interesting both to purchasers but also from a photographic history angle too.
All the best.
haha, I won’t be ditching the URL, thats one thing that is certain!
I’d have your cake and eat it Hamish. Your site’s raison d’etre and hook has been the compact 35mm market in all shapes and forms – all of the blogs out there tend to have an angle and this clearly is yours. I’d slightly worry about a loss of focus if you widened to have articles about medium format or SLRs and you’d loose the hook that keep many folk coming back. That said the occasional article out with the usual does no harm particularly if one that provokes discussion and challenges conventions
Thanks Alan – I’ve made my mind up now. The general theme isn’t to change, but just I have a slightly more open feeling towards other cameras. I’m going to write about my Sony A7rii, a lens or two for it, then later my large format camera. But, I cat see for one minute this will mean I’m not also writing about 35mm compacts – as really, they are what I enjoy the most 🙂
Hamish, I frequent your website because my values and believe closely align with yours in terms of compactness & usability vs performance & price. Pocket-able cameras interest me a lot (i’m a mju ii and contax t2 owner), and i don’t think you should limit yourself to 35mm film at all. I’m interested in your thoughts on all types of cameras, but i would love to see more articles on digital cameras which align to your values also.
Thanks Cameron – I shall definitely bear that in mind!
I voted Option 2 with just a little hesitation because while I enjoy the focus on the portable and inexpensive, I’d hate to see you turn down a really interesting submission because it didn’t fit the mold. I like the occasional surprise.
In fact I’m looking forward to your article on the Sony, particularly if it includes a little about how that camera works with non-standard lenses.
I trust that your review of that camera won’t be like DPReview’s.
(And I’m changing my name just a little, cause there are too many Scotts here, which is odd.)
I voted for option 1 despite I use both 35 mm and mid format cameras (in fact, mid format in its most portable way with a New Mamiya 6 rangefinder). But there are other photo blogs such as emulsive.org or Jeremy Hunt’s Japan Camera Hunter site that are open to any format. I think it is good for this site’s profile to keep specialized on 35 mm film topics.
Btw I read and like your site since many years, Mr. Gill! I like your attitude and sometimes provocative thoughts e.g. about those full monty digital dad cam monsters in contrast with the simplicity of straight forward classical cameras. For me it’s always a joy to spend some time here… Have a good day and good light.