135compact.com           35mm ultra compact cameras

This page shows some of the smallest cameras for 35mm film next to each other. It might help you to decide which one to buy. There are others, but here are those that I owned and tested with film.

My first bunch, all of them can open up to F 2.8 and still make decent photos:

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Minox GT, fully manual
Fujifilm ZoomDate F2.8 (Silvi F2.8) 24mm wide
Minox GTE, fully manual, modern battery
Olympus mju-II, fully automatic, waterresistant
Olympus XA, rangefinder

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Width cmparison

When I decided to make a separate page for 135 film cameras, I bought some more. So this is the second bunch:

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Agfa Optima 1535Elikon 535Lomo LC WideLomo LC-A
Konica A4Kiev 35A*(see end of page)Fujifilm Super MiniCosina CX2
Konica Lexio 70Nikon AF600Olympus Mju II for comparison

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seen from above (width comparison)

A later aquisition was the Minolta TC-1, it's price let me hesitate for a while. It went back to the seller as it was defective.

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Fujifilm ZoomDate F2.8Nikon AF600
Olympus mju-IIFujifilm Super Mini
Minolta TC-1

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Width comparison again.

My latest findings:

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Olympus mju III WideOlympus Mju II for comparison
Ricoh GR1Minox 35 GT (again)
Fuji DL 500 Wide MiniContax T

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Width comparison

And last, but not least, my personal favorites:

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Contax TOlympus mju-II
Konica Lexio 70Fujifilm Super Mini
Lomo LC WideFujifilm ZoomDate F2.8

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And again, width comparison

The Minolta TC-1 would have been one of the best for my purposes. I prefer wider angles. But as it had light leaks I gave it back. I will not buy another one. Minolta has ended the service and it seems as if these leaks will be the weak point of the TC-1 in the future. I then tried a Ricoh GR1 with similar features. There again, a weak point: they all die from dead LCD screens. But at least they are half the price of the Minolta. The Ricoh lens is fantastic. In my opinion it has even a bit more contrast than the reknown lenses of the Minolta or the Fuji Mini. I tried them with the same film under similar circumstances. This is my personal impression of course. But again, I was not lucky with the GR1. The top LCD screen made problems after 2 rolls of film only. So these two are only would-be favorites.

For manual control, it's the Contax T. The 38mm lens has an extraordinary contrast, like the Ricoh GR1 lens. For those who are used to manual cameras, handling is fluid and extremely easy. The camera feels more sturdy than all the others.

If you want it simple, just point and shoot, it's the Olympus Mju II with its fantastic 35mm lens. It's very small and just slides into your pocket.

The Fuji (Tiara) Super Mini is best for me, except flash off at start, it has all possible settings I need. The contrasty 28mm lens suits me well. It's very small and light indeed and even in point and shoot mode it gives wonderful results.

Two nice findings: the 24-50mm Fuji (Silvi) ZoomDate and the 28-70mm Konica Lexio 70. On the wide end they are both as good as their fixed focus equivalents and you can zoom in case of. With 200 ISO film and professional scans I could not see any major flaws.

The Lomo LC Wide with its 17mm is unique and quite good, but frail, both of mine had to be repaired. There is no alternative if you want super wide angles.

Some more remarks: The Cosina CX2 original is better than the hyped Lomo LC-A copy.  For manual focus, there is the Olympus XA, one of the two only rangefinders, much cheaper than the Contax T. If you want to learn about the basics of photography, try the Elikon 535, it works astonishingly well, it costs near to nothing. For those who need a big viewfinder, the Agfa Optima is nice, it's not as compact as the others, but you can see from the pictures that it isn't big either.


* The Kiev 35A is a copy of the Minox G Series. It's a full format 135 camera. It was given to me on a flea market for free. There is nearly no interest in this camera, so there is no page for it. It has light leaks, it's unreliable, the lens quality is ways below the Minox ones, it's quirky, handling is rough and it breaks easily. Unless you collect Russian cameras, look for a Minox, they are cheap as well now.
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