About 35mmc

35mmc is a blog dedicated to reviews, thoughts and experiences with 35mm compact cameras, rangefinders and their lenses. 

I love cameras, and I make no excuse for that. I love buying them, playing with them, learning their foibles and working within and around their limitations. I also really enjoy writing about them… which of course gives me a perfectly valid excuse to buy more of them… …

My particular interests lies with 35mm compact cameras. As history has proven, Oskar Barnack was really on to something with his work in the popularisation of the 35mm format. A format that to my mind offers the sweet spot between big enough for quality yet small enough for cameras to remain light weight, and often even pocketable. 

Of course, some of the 35mm cameras manufactured since the early Barnark Leicas could be described as anything but compact. But the ones that interest me most – and are therefore the subject of this blog – are those which have been designed to be compact.  

Hence the name of the blog – 35mm Compact, or 35mmc.

 

Whilst Barnack supposedly had health related reasons for not wanting to carry large cameras and equipment around with him, my personal reasons are due to the feeling a large bag of kit imposes on me. More often than not I either carry a rangefinder with a single lens or a fixed lens compact of some sort. Sometimes I will take both, and on really special occasions I might even take an extra lens. Much more than that, and I find the kit very distracting. And actually, more often than not, I find carrying more kit diminishes my chances of taking a good photo rather than improves upon it. I find a limited amount of options serves to focus and free my mind for the task in hand. 

This minimalist approach with respect to the range of kit I carry also has implications on the type of kit I carry. For example my preference is largely for cameras with fewer options, setting and controls. Whilst on many occasions I appreciate being able to completely control a cameras focus and settings, I also get significant enjoyment from shooting a very basic point & shoot camera. The limitations a very basic compact camera impose on me actually become their very attraction. I find being able free my mind of almost everything but the art of composition a very pleasurable way to take photos.

I suspect this is largely owed to having started my journey taking photos at the age of 9 with a very basic compact camera and, in fact, if memory serves, I didn’t own an SLR until my very late teens, maybe even my early 20’s. I think those early experiences had a long term effect how I approach photography, although it’s fair to say, I perhaps didn’t realise this until late 2012 when I bought a Yashica T5. After a few dark years in my 20’s faffing with SLR’s – both digital and film – with the purchase of this Yashica I completely rediscovered my joy and appreciation for a more simple approach to photography, and I have yet to look back.

My choice to shoot film is also wrapped up in the above preferences. Film cameras are largely speaking less complicated to use than digital cameras. They also don’t allow me to get bogged down in a single shot through providing me with evidence of the photo just after I’ve taken it. Film allows me to take the shot, then move on to the next opportunity with little concern. I rest easy in the knowledge that if I’ve missed the shot, it’s missed, but if I got it then the achievement is greater than if I had laboured it with a digital camera. And anyway, I never worried about missing the shot when I was a kid, so why should the mere existence of digital make me worry now? Additionally, since film itself provides a large portion of the character of the final image, my entire process is further simplified by removal of any need to post process in the way I did when I shoot more digital. All in all, I feel like shooting film is the only way for me.

Since May 2013 this blog has acted as an outlet for my experiences with these cameras. I hope that readers of the content of this website find it useful in their respective paths, and I certainly wish to inform people about the equipment I experience and write about; but I must admit, first and foremost this site is a self indulgence for me. It is primarily an extension of my hobby as a photographer, but has also had the unexpected benefit of becoming a tool for my own learning and development as a photographer. In the time I have been writing this blog, I think I have learned more about photography as a skill, about cameras and lenses, about photography theory and about myself as a photographer than I did in all the years prior. 

Can you contribute?

So that’s me and my part in this website, but with the #travelingyashica project, and the 35mmc fanatic contributions, this site is far from being just about my experiences. If any of the above rings true with you as a photographer, or even if it doesn’t, and you have very different reasons for shooting 35mm compact or rangefinder cameras, then why not get in touch and tell me and the readers of this site all about it. 

Become a Patron of 35mmc


35mmc will always remain free for anyone to read. Patreon simply offers the opportunity for those who’d like to support me in the process of growing the site to chuck me a few quid a month to help out.

Think of it like a magazine subscription that you don’t have to pay, but if you do, the magazine will get bigger and better quicker!

Thanks in advance!

(there are also perks via Patreon for those who do support me)

Become a Patron!

Write for 35mmc: read more here, about how you can help build upon this ever growing resource
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5 Comments

  • Reply
    Neil Lamb
    February 14, 2017 at 7:59 am

    Read your blog for the first time after just buying an Olympus trip off e bay.
    Great inspiration to get shooting on film.
    I resurrected my old slides from 79 to 82 and revelled at the depth of clarity and fun we had looking them. Where has that experience gone?

    Looking forward to getting back to 35 MM. film and the fun of seeing how you prints turn out.
    I feel cheated by digital; loads of shots, but nothing to show!!!!!

    • Reply
      Hamish Gill
      February 18, 2017 at 9:00 am

      Hi Neil! Always good to hear from someone taking the step! Digital has it’s place, but your right, something does often feel lost! Good luck!

  • Reply
    Anuj Agarwal
    September 21, 2017 at 11:20 am

    Hi 35mmc Team,

    My name is Anuj Agarwal. I’m Founder of Feedspot.

    I would like to personally congratulate you as your blog 35mmc has been selected by our panelist as one of the Top 30 Film Photography Blogs on the web.

    http://blog.feedspot.com/film_photography_blogs/

    I personally give you a high-five and want to thank you for your contribution to this world. This is the most comprehensive list of Top 30 Film Photography Blogs on the internet and I’m honored to have you as part of this!

    Also, you have the honor of displaying the badge on your blog.

    best,
    Anuj

  • Reply
    Ken Davis
    December 10, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    Hamish, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog, next time I buy anything from ebay I’ll try to remember to use your link. Thanks for the information about Cameraworks, I’ve some jobs that need doing on my M cameras and lenses so I’ll contact them about this work. While I use digital a lot, usually with an M9 I still carry film M’s and usually have other ‘classics’ with a film in them. The latest I’m using is an Ilford Sportsman from the 1960’s Its shutter seems OK, the meter is spot on and while the rangefinder is a bit dim it works. Once the slide film is processed I’ll add something to the blog assuming there are results! I have no separate website but use flickr and there are albums of photos taken on film cameras in there.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/kdphotos/albums

    • Reply
      Hamish Gill
      December 17, 2017 at 8:47 am

      Hi Ken,

      I’ve had a look around in your flickr and come to the conclusion you should definitely do me a couple of 5 frames posts – if not a review of a camera or two… The 1930 leica, for eg 😉

      Thanks,

      Hamish

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