New Camera in My Bag: Nikon L35AF

Look, there is a new film camera in my photo bag! I was leisurely browsing a local auction website the other day when I stumbled upon this Nikon L35AF unit. I didn’t actually need a new film camera, but at a measly $25 (that’s the price of a cup of coffee and a sandwich here in Denmark), how could I not buy it? I’m really glad that I succumbed to the temptation, as the camera turned out to be in excellent condition with virtually no signs of use. The package also included the original strap, the equally original lens cap, and a swanky (by 80s standards, at least) CS-L35 leatherette carrying case.

Nikon L35AF (aka Pikaichi)

The model I’ve got is an earlier version of the camera with ISO limited to 400. But it can squeeze 38 exposures from a regular 36-exposure film roll. If my math is right, this basically gives me a free roll of film for every 18 rolls I buy. I can’t really add much to what has already been written about Nikon L35AF elsewhere, so I limit myself to features I personally like and dislike. Despite its plastic exterior which gives the camera a slightly junky look, Nikon L35AF is solidly built and its boxy shape makes it easy to handle. Better still, the rubberized grip gives you a firm hold on the camera.  The lens is Nikon L35AF’s pièce de résistance, and it’s every bit as sharp as everybody says. The camera uses regular AA batteries which are readily available pretty much everywhere. Other highlights include fast focus, reliable exposure metering, manual ISO selection, and an exposure compensation lever for photographing backlit subjects. I also appreciate the lens cap with an integrated blinder that covers the viewfinder. This ensures that you don’t take pictures with the lens cap on. As for dislikes, there is only one fly in the ointment: the flash which pops up automatically in low light situations. Although it’s possible to prevent the flash from popping up by holding it with a finger (and still get properly exposed photos), this is not the most elegant approach. As soon as the camera arrived, I loaded a roll of Kodak Professional CN400BW into it and went shooting. Here are a couple of photos for your viewing pleasure.

VW Beetle

Money burger

Bridge in Aarhus

All in all, Nikon L35AF lives up to its reputation, and I have a feeling that it might become my go-to compact film camera.

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