I don’t understand why sometimes people complain about some missing features on a compact camera. It’s 2019 and digital is yet to give us a small full frame point and shoot the size of a wallet. Those 90s compacts are in today’s digital-world terms, full frame, fixed lens compact cameras; I don’t see any digital full frame compacts that would fit in my pocket. All I want from my compact is to be well built, quiet and have a sharp lens.
So I was on the hunt for a premium compact camera, and the first options I saw were….? You guessed it. The over priced Contax T2 and T3. $1.8k for a point and shoot. No thanks. There were other options as well, like Fuji Klasse and Minolta TC1. But I was hesitant to put that much money on a point and shoot full of electric components that could die at any moment.
A couple of days later I came across Nikons offerings. The 35ti. A 1993 titanium body compact for $350! I decided to go for it and after shooting about 5 rolls with it, I liked it so much that I went out and brought it’s twin, the beautiful Nikon 28ti.
In the hand, both cameras feel very solid and have many nice features. Auto focus, auto exposure, aperture priority and that top plate of analog dials that shows aperture, focus scale, compensation dial, and a film counter.
The cameras will allow you to change aperture, focus distance and exposure compensation. Shutter speed, however, isn’t an option. And you can only shoot a roll at box speed. To get around that you can hack the DX code on your film canister to push a film.
Using these cameras is a joy for me. I mainly use them in full auto mode. But I sometimes find my self switching aperture priority and sometimes pre focusing for zone focus. For a camera thit size, being able to hyper focus so easily is impressive. Of course, you have to know your numbers.
For example: if you are at f11, set you focus on 3.7m and the lens will be in focus from 1.9m to infinity on the 35ti. I find my self doing this a lot when I’m pushing a roll of HP5+. In comparison, the 28ti with its wide 28mm lens would cover more at f11. Set it at 2.4m and the in focus area is from 1.2m to infinity.
Setup & customizations:
Both cameras offer some customizations, such printing the date on each exposure or on the first exposure only. The choice to use spot meter or Nikons famous matrix meter. Switching flash on or off. And choosing frame lines. These customizations can be set through a tiny LCD screen next to the viewfinder. Which is difficult to use without the help of a manual.
The option of matrix or spot meter
No shutter priority
No DX code override
Vignetting (28ti only)
Analog display sometime goes out of alignment and need to be reset in the menus.
These cameras are beautiful to look at and marvellous to use. Keep them in full auto and you’ll never miss a shot. Or take control of aperture and focus and you will be rewarded. However I still find my self wishing that they would have DX Override.
Ahmed Al Shorouqi
Film photography enthusiast
Thank you for reaching this far and don’t stop shooting.