Well, maybe I am overstating when I say that this rather ugly and unimportant Carena Mini Zoom 115s is my favorite of all time, but it certainly has a special place in my memory, and in this post, I’m going to tell you why.
The one pictured in this article is the second copy that I’ve owned. I bought it out of nostalgia on eBay for the price of a cup of coffee plus shipping. The first Carena Mini Zoom 115s that I had has a little bit more of an interesting story. I found it with its original soft-case in the trashcan of the neighbors of my parents-in-law in a small town called Wannweil in Germany.
A couple of years later I left the camera in a baseball stadium in Cancun, Mexico and I did not realize it until I was back in the hotel. It went away as easy as it came, and my heart was broken. This was my only compact film camera at that time. It was with my companion through my first years living abroad, my master’s degree, a lot of parties, a few trips and a couple of friends who came and went away.
The Carena Mini Zoom 115s Camera
Technically there is not much good to say about this Carena. It has a 38-115mm zoom lens and a lot of unnecessary modes and functions that I have never used. It works with not one but two expensive CR123 A lithium batteries. For me its most interesting features are the multiple exposures, the Bulb and the “Panorama” (it only puts a mask that covers above and below the frame) modes, and the option to turn off the automatic flash. I also think that the lens is fairly sharp for a point & shoot camera from the nineties.
Other than that, the Carena Mini Zoom 115s is rather average. A little bulky but not too big and also not so light, but not too heavy.
I was not that much into film photography at that time. I had a couple of film SLRs and a couple of rangefinders that I did not use too much. For my travel photography and for parties I almost always used my Canon DSLR but, as you may know, sometimes is not very practical to carry such a camera around for those purposes. That is when the Carena took its place as my all-around camera. I am glad to have had it with me and I think I would regret a lot if all those moments were lost because of me not carrying a camera at all. And, you know, cellphone pictures are just not the same thing.
The following color photos were made with either AGFA Vista Plus 200 (now discontinued) or Kodak Gold 200. And the BW photos with AGFA APX 400.
I can almost say that having lost the Carena Mini Zoom 115s created a void, which was one of the reasons that triggered my obsession with collecting film cameras.