I've never had more than a pointandshoot camera to take on my holidays, until I persuaded my brother to buy a "nice" 35mm camera. What I therefore say, will only be in relation to those pointandshoot cameras and nothing snazzier. The Camera ---------- Hmmm, golden body. Nice touch. This, I believe is supposed to be one of the smallest zoom cameras in its class. Now I may be mistaken as this camera has served us (me and my bro) for over a year now. It has a nice feel to hold, not being overly small like some of those new fangled whatchamacallits that all the people from the Far East seem to have. It's not too heavy neither. Sure it felt lighter without the battery and the film in it. It comes with a nice case that can be fitted with a belt clip. You can also fit a string to dangle around your neck, should you so wish, but this was more annoying attached whilst using the belt clip. I found the belt clip a bit difficult to clip on at times and also slipped off very occassionally. Then again this review is on the camera, and not its case. The camera only comes to life once you slide the lens cover over. A few whirs and clicks later, the lens protrudes itself forward and the little flash pops up in a boxlike fashion. What I mean by this is that I've seen one or two cameras just have a little subtle wedge that swivels out. The camera goes back to sleep when you click the lid against the lens first, and then slide it over the lens as it disappears back into the body. Loading Film ------------- Popping open the back to load film is no problem. The little switch on the left hand side of the body is sprung loaded so when you push down the back pops open. Loading film in is a snap. There's a little sticker on the inside making it dead easy. It shows you EXACTLY how much film to have out on one side and then click the back shut. Of course dufus here failed to load the camera on more than one occassi
on as he pulled out too much film, ignoring the sticker and running on previous experience that his previous one would fail to load sometimes. DOH! The Nikon again whirs to life, loading the film into position. There used to be a time that I was sometimes in doubt if the film had loaded or not. No more... if you are successful, the number 1 lights up on the LCD on the top of the camera. If you have failed, the display flashes, asking politely that you load the film properly. Somehow the clever camera manages to wind on the film just enough to start on shot one. This was all a bit new to me as I remember when you never knew how much the camera had wound on and you fired one shot to ensure that it had come to the right position. Lastly, the little window on the back, revealing the speed and number of exposures on the film was very useful. The Viewfinder -------------- Initially a bit confusing. There are two frames in which you can shoot. Now I admit that I didn't actually read the manual, but having shot over 200 photos with conviction that the outer frame was the one you shoot from, I was mighty relieved to find that my 6x4's came out nicely. The viewfinder adjust nicely in accordance with the zoom used. The Zoom --------- Initially a big wow factor. Definitely a nice zoom to have, but don't expect it to pick out the news headlines at 500 yards. The switch for this is easy to access and comes naturally to the right hand when holding the camera. The zoom lens comes out as you request it to and then disappears when clicking the lid shut again. There's no need to retract the zoom and then close the lid. The default for the lens when you reopen the lid was slightly annoying. If you had brought the zoom out all the way because you wanted to be able to see the animals that you were taking a photo of, and then closed the lid for a second and then re-opened it... the normal size lens would come back. Now if you're st
anding at the same distance you were again, you have to reactivate the zoom. Like I said, slightly annoying. Other Features -------------- The anti-red eye feature worked well. I think there was one photo with ONE person in the photo with red-eye. Go figure. Only problem was that there was a delay in taking shots after you pressed the button. Again, annoying in the case of animals. If you had forgotten to switch this mode off, and then snapped an animal. The likelihood was that it would have moved from the position that it was last in. The self timer allowed ample time to get into shot, and was dead easy to set up. Remember, I've never read the manual. There's a function to expose film in accordance to the light (I think). With some slow film I managed to capture more than one low light level shot, but did spoil one or two. If you move when this is on, if only a fraction... bang goes your photo. You get light smears. The flash was never not enough in all the shots that I took on this holiday excursion. Never used the date function. Too tacky. Oh, a word about the battery. Make sure you carry a spare. It takes one of those small expensive lithium ones that you can't get easily if you're in the middle of nowhere. As happened to me. Humbug. Missed out on some shots, but not too many. There's no fear of not being able to close down the camera lens with little battery power. It reserves enough to close the lens, even if it can't take a photo. It does give you a low battery warning, though I think I neglected this for a while, which is why I got caught out. Who said you needed an APS camera to take panoramic shots? All this camera does is to block out a line on the top and bottom of the photo to create the illusion of a panoramic photo. When you get this developed, they blow this up to create a panoramic. So make sure you develop these properly or you might be surp
rised. One of the camera's faults arises here. Well, almost a fault. As a result of dropping the camera a couple of times, one of the black covers to create a panoramic photo jammed. This spoiled a couple of photos that were forced to be taken panoramic style even though the viewfinder said otherwise. I only realise this when I was reloading a film. A finger to force the mechanism free was enough to ensure that the camera was back to normal. ---------- CONCLUSION ---------- Pros ---- - Small camera - Nice zoom - Well built - Nicely weighted - Panoramic photos on 35mm Cons ---- - Battery size - Zoom sometimes not enough - Panoramic jamming. Grrr...