Compact Photographers

35mm Compact Photographer #2 – Dominik Mrzyk – Student Shooter

July 22, 2013

First, a bit of background? As much or as little as you are comfortable sharing… Name, Where you are from, what you do, What else in life do you enjoy? that sort of thing?

Hello everyone! My full name is Dominik Mrzyk, but you can call me Dominik, as “Mrzyk” is near impossible for non-polish speakers 😀 I’m Silesian, live all my life in Upper Silesia, Poland.

I’m 21 years old (oh God, time flies so fast!) male. I love cameras, electronic stuff, photography, american music (rap, r’n’b, country!, good rock), skateboarding (or more *riding* on skateboard, as I can’t even do an ollie), wrist watches, hanging out with friends, tweeting with friends from all of the world (shout-out to all my twitter friends!), scrolling down tumblr… I’m interested in politics, revolutions (take me to Syria), demonstrations, religions, UFO, things like that.

I love my beautiful, helpful, wise, intelligent, loving girlfriend, Ada. (Love you, I know you read this!)

I’m student of French literature (alors je parle francais), specialty: language of business and translation, after that I want to study political science.

How long have you been taking photos?

I started taking photos when I was 16, after buying HP M4-something, my first digital camera. After 2 years I upgraded to Sony H10 (HELL YEAH, 10X OPTICAL CARL ZEISS ZOOM). After one year of shooting with Sony I wanted a DSLR, but parents told me that’s too expensive 🙁

One day I read about these journalists using Hipstamatic to photographing US soldiers in Afghanistan. I read more about Hipstamatic, discovered Instagram, then Lomography, then film, bought Smena Symbol, then I discovered low prices of film SLRs… I wanted EOS 300, but instead it bought EOS 50E (Elan II) with crappy sigma zoom (28-200, ugh), sold the zoom, bought helios 44m-4 and reduction m42-eos and I was happy with this setup for about a year.

And then my parents bought me a Samsung NX5 with 18-55, 2 months later I bought 30/2 for 30$!!! and sold my canon with lens and other cameras (but Smena stayed).

After one year of shooting digital I felt overwhelmed by digital processing (I <3 Lightroom!), taking enormous quantity of pictures and I was missing that feel when you shoot film… So I started buying and selling  film cameras, looking for perfect for me and this is how I get here. :d

What sort of photography do you enjoy or partake in the most (street, landscape, etc)

First: I’m definitely not a street photographer. In fact, I hate street photographs in Eric Kim’s style (and his fans’). Don’t get me wrong, I really like Eric and his reviews of cameras, but I can’t stand with his photography. I DON’T like Bruce Gilden, Gary Winogard, any photographs of person shoot in face with flash, aaaargh. I like Elliot Erwitt though. If you want nice street photography, checkout Tony Gale (, Stefano Mattia (, Khalik Allah ( and Damien Vignol (

Oh, that should be about me.

So, I just like to document my life. You know, photographs of my girlfriend, our friends, parties, things I’d like to remember, good food, moments in my life… That’s what I like. What I LOVE to photograph is social movements, political protests, demonstrations, marches of autonomy… I’d like to photograph entire revolution, like in Syria or in Turkey now.

How big a part of your photography life are 35mm compact cameras?

Big. I bought and sold a lot of them. Mostly with nice profit :d

I study 40 km from home and I travel by bus and tram (yeah, tram, not train). So I need something light as my everyday camera. I’ve tried many cameras, but I find cons in each camera and sell it. (That’s why I have just 6 film cameras now) (still counting down!). Most of my cameras were compacts, because of their weight and dimensions. I like to travel light.

Small 35 mm compact, if it’s good, can give me good, sharp image. It’s like RX1 for 1/1000 of its price. Amazing. 🙂

I’ve shoot with: Smena Symbol (yes, it’s compact!), Olympus Mju II, Olympus Mju II zoom 80, Pentax P35AF-M, Olympus Trip, Olympus AF-10 and now Leica Mini II. So pretty shyly. I have also Ricoh AF-55 on my shelf, but it’s too loud for my preferences (sound like that: SHHHHHTTTTRRRRPSSSSTZZZZZZZ…RRRRRRTZ…EEEE-EE!).

What about the experience of shooting with them appeals to you?

Like I said before, they are small, stealthy, lightweight, giving me nice images near every time I press the shutter. I’m feeling invisible with compact camera!

When you use big SLR, like an EOS or Olympus IS-series, everyone knows you’re taking picture and starts to smile or to primp hairs… When you shoot with 35mm compact camera, no one notices you before shutter fires (and even after that!). And they don’t want to see the picture, because they know they can’t. So no doubles, no second shots, no replays… Just shoot and go. I love that.

I’ve started recently working with couples and taking portraits of girls. 🙂 It’s amazing experience to shoot them with compact camera. Firstly, they look at you with face like “are you serious? with that camera? don’t you have a slr? oh God, my uncle has better camera”, but after they feel so natural, because you don’t attack them with big camera and even bigger lens… It’s very intimate. You feel that, and a person you shoot feel that, and a person who looks at these photos see that. (just look at Matteo Palmieri’s diary

Do you feel they have effected your style? become part of it? or are the reason for it…?

Yes, they suit to my lifestyle! You know why? Because I’m a student and I love cheap things. I look at this folks who are complaining “I’m too poor to buy RX1 :(((( Steve Huff send me one! :(((” – BUY A OLYMPUS STYLUS EPIC / MJU II AND SOME EKTAR, guys.

I’ve become more confident when shooting, with Mini I’m able to shoot people on the street, I feel more natural. I don’t think too much about settings (just remember to turn flash off), it’s really liberating. When I shoot with SLR or rangefinder I think too much about exposure and settings, with 35mm compact camera I just pull out it from my pocket and shoot 🙂 Camera does the rest.

Which is/are your favourite cameras? the one/s that go with you the most?

From what I have or from what I want? :d

From my bag – Leica Mini II, but I found her cons – not so good exposure metering – so I think about selling it and shooting only with EOS 50E, my second favourite camera, or even just with this 1$ Olympus IS-100, if I’ll be in need for cash. (remember, I’m a student!). But then I’ll be needing another compact and so on…

From what I want – LEICA M5, I’ll buy it after getting married with Ada. :d But before that I think about buying one of Ricoh GRs, I don’t know which one, but now I don’t have money for it (plus there’s no GRs in Poland, it seems, coz I haven’t seen one, so add cost of shipping 🙁 But let me know if you know somebody who would like to swap one of GRs or R1 to Leica Mini II ! )

What is it specifically about these cameras that appeal to you so much?

Size, weight, reliability, non-thinking process, speed (infrared autofocus is a gift from God). If you get good one, like on of Ricoh GR serie, Contax T2 or T3), Fuji Klasse, Fuji Natura, Olympus mju I or II or AF-10 Super, Konica Big Mini, Pentax P35AF(-M), Yashica T, T2, T3, T4, T5… you also get sharp lens.

Just don’t buy these zoom compacts, they are worthless if you ask me.

Oh, and black-painted Fuji Klasse is the most beautiful camera I’ve ever seen. Shame it’s discontinued.

What was the path to this shooting habit? How did you discover it appealed to you?

I think I’ve answered to this question 🙂

Show us your favourite/best image/s taken with a compact camera?

(Images taken with Leica Mini II & Olympus Trip 35)

What films do you shoot with and why?

THE CHEAPEST! I shoot Solution, it’s re-branded Konica VX200, expired in 2011. I pay 7$ of pack of 10. Its quality is enough for 10x15cm prints.

How, where, why do you process and or print your photos?

In the cheapest way :d I develop at lab (1,5$ for developing) and scan at home (old but gold Canoscan 5000F). I don’t print, that’s my girlfriend part. Ada choose the best photos and makes albums of them 🙂 Watching them after years is really refreshing!

What other cameras/type of camera do you regularly shoot with and why – what situations require something else/more if any?

Leica Mini II is my everyday camera. I really like it, it’s small, lightweight, has many options (flash, flash off, red-eye reduction, infinity focus, +EV, burst shooting mode…), but it annoys me with exposure metering (CDS is not so precise as 50E or even IS-100, I think I like matrix metering).

If I’m shooting in really low light or need burst shooting, I’m using Samsung NX5 + 30mm f2. It’s underrated camera, maybe because it’s Samsung. Good for every situation, better for work than a film camera.

Find me on twitter! I love talk about cameras and photography and life and things! And follow me on tumblr – 90% of photos is shoot on film.

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