Hi, fellow photography (and camera) nerds! Gaston W. here, reminiscing about a time when ‘zoom’ meant something on a camera, not an awkward work meeting. Today I’ll be recounting tales of my experiences and appreciation for the unpretentious Fuji Zoomdate 1300. It’s like having your own personal time machine to the 2000s, minus the questionable fashion choices and dial-up internet. This little gem is an affordable zoom point and shoot that has accompanied me on numerous street photography adventures. With its focal length starting at 28mm and an unimposing demeanour, this compact camera has managed to capture some good looking images (I hope), despite a few quirks. Let’s delve into what makes this camera truly exceptional (and why it’s a fantastic alternative to the likes of the overpriced Yashica T4).
Fuji Point & Shoot
Here’s a story down memory lane, triggered by a camera acquisition. The Fuji Discovery 875 Zoom Plus is pretty forgotten today, but it relates to a moment in my former life.
It’s hard to fathom now, but there was a time where Kmart was ubiquitous. No matter what part of the United States you went to, there’d be a Kmart somewhere. Founded in 1962, the chain popularized the concept of the discount department store–a well-rounded set of self service departments from clothing to garden supplies to housewares and so on, and everything priced lower than you’d find in a regular department store or mom and pop shop. At its peak Kmart had 2,400 stores. Now? Last I checked, the once mighty retailer (second behind Sears for much of the latter part of the 20th Century) is barely hanging on, having just 17–seventeen!–stores left. What was once part of the cultural fabric of America is barely a shell of its former self.
The first draft of this review was about the Fujifilm Zoom Date 1000 and the 1300. They’re basically the same camera except for their zoom range. Then, I received a Xmas present in the form of the Zoom Date 160S (after I casually dropped the suggestion to my sister) and it made sense to include it too as, again, all three are mostly the same camera except when it comes to the zoom. So, if you like compact cameras and want to hear about a few of the more compact options out there, get comfy and keep reading.
The Fujifilm Klasse (also branded as the Rollei RFM 35) was a premium compact made in 2001, well after the premium compact craze of the early 90’s. With a f/2.6 38mm lens it was originally pitched as an affordable aperture priority premium compact camera aimed at women, travelers and camera enthusiasts. With reversal film being very prevalent at the time, Fujifilm touted the Klasse’s ability to take beautiful color photos of flowers, food, gardening etc. The light compact nature would make portable perfect for snapshots, when traveling or just walking around, while still producing a high quality image for enlarging. And with a classic design and only the necessary functions of a camera, enthusiasts might also enjoy the Fujifilm Klasse.
Like all good stories, this one begins under the cloak of darkness… Having been photographing friends, mostly in nightclubs and gig venues with 35mm compacts (and the odd rangefinder) for the past decade or so I had become increasingly frustrated by the usual annoyances that 35mm compacts are famed for, namely the lack of flash control.