Nikon One-Touch (L35AF), a "Cult" classic

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Eric Rose, Dec 30, 2018.

  1. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber
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    I bought one of these ages ago and have done a fair amount of photography with it. The one thing that always astounded me was it's ability to deliver amazingly sharp images while at the same time nailing the exposure. One cool thing I found I could do was cover the meter sensor which made the flash pop up and then I could use the flash for daylight fill.

    I just ran a roll of Ektar though the camera and it preformed like a champ.

    I've recently read an article where someone bought a "parts" L35AF and took the lens group out of it and using a Jupiter lens (minus lenses) stuck the Nikon lens group in and then attached it to a Sony digi cam. The photos were outstanding. Just goes to show good glass is good glass.

    BTW I have a One-Touch for sale in the classifieds, wink wink, nudge nudge :wink: Even comes with the original Nikon case and strap.

    Here's an article on the development of the L35AF - https://imaging.nikon.com/history/story/0033/index.htm
     
  2. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

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    The Nikon L35AF is a compact 35mm camera. It is motorized and has auto-focus and auto-exposure features. It is great for the times when I want to shoot with a small, simple, inexpensive, easy to operate camera that takes decent quality photos.

    When I taught 35mm film photography, I loaned these inexpensive Nikon compact cameras to students who did not have their own.

    When I shot weddings, I also loaned this camera to a female and asked her to go into a restricted area (like the women’s dressing room) and take candid photos of the bride.

    [​IMG]
    Nikon L35
    by Narsuitus, on Flickr
     
  3. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

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    If I remember correctly, there were two models. In the first model, the light meter settings ranged from ASA 25 to 400. In the second model, the light meter settings ranged from ASA 50 to 1000. The first model was considered to be more collectible.
     
  4. OP
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    Eric Rose

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    The " cult" status is based on it's ability to take freaking awesome pictures rather than collectability.
     
  5. Theo Sulphate

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    The L35AF is Nikon's first autofocus camera.

    Here is mine, a first version, which I bought for a mere $20 a few months ago:

    IMAG10132-1.jpg

    Everything on it works and I've even used the self-timer. There are a few things I've discovered:

    - the battery cover has a tendency to pop loose; I simply put tape over it while I'm using it
    - the shutter release lock swivels a bit too easily; perhaps that's just an issue with my camera
    - the camera feasts on batteries
    - mine didn't rewind fully and, not believing the frame counter, I popped the back open with 10 frames that got exposed; perhaps the batteries didn't have enough power to do a full rewind -- anyway, the only solution is to go into a dark closet, pop the back open a bit, then re-initiate the rewind, perhaps repeating as necessary -- or, maybe this is a fault of my camera
     
  6. Mick Fagan

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    I'm not too sure about that. I bought mine in 1984, still have it and use it sometimes. I also have the dark brown carry case, the lens cover as well as a Nikon L37 46mm filter. I understood that the unit I have is the original model, there was another version, possibly a later version I don't know, which had a date printing feature; known as L35AD. I surmise that AD means, Auto Date, but I don't really know.

    The only issue with it is if you leave the camera in a well lit area with the camera switched on, you will flatten the batteries. I would like to have a dollar for every time I left the camera switched on and flattened the batteries.

    When my mother went legally blind, then later as she really went to only seeing daylight and night light and everything was just blurry blobs. She used this camera to record things very successfully using colour negative film with chemist shop processing for prints. Some unbelievably good portraits of family were recorded by her in that period of that cameras life. It got to a point that young nieces and nephews would tell grandma to move it up, left, right or down. Then everyone shouted out, "Freeze" then grandma knew it was time to click the shutter. With my father always standing alongside her and saying, "that was a good one dear." Until my nieces and nephews heard those words, they didn't move; kids really are quite perceptive.

    Very sharp pictures, great for parties or gatherings and loaded with 400 ASA B&W film.

    Mick.
     
  7. Mick Fagan

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    The camera manual has this as a problem and the solution is to load fresh batteries and instigate the rewind mechanism; which does work as I've had to do this a few times. A dark wardrobe is not necessary.

    Agree, it sucks batteries, but only if you leave it switched on.

    Mick.
     
  8. benjiboy

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    I have one of the first models in one of my draws it's mint and complete with the case I bought it for my youngest son's first trip to America when he was a teenager , I had almost forgotten about it, the camera hasn't been used for about thirty years , I just put two fresh batteries in it and it works fine. I certainly am going to use it in future because my son who it belongs to said he no longer wants it now he uses his smartphone.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2018
  9. OP
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    Eric Rose

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  10. Mick Fagan

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    Blu-Tack eh, synthetic rubber by another name. Who would've thought of that for holding a camera lens in place? :surprised:

    Mick.
     
  11. Peter Schrager

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    How can I join this cult??
     
  12. Jon Buffington

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    If I remember correctly, the lens is a sonnar design. A very sharp lens and I love the fact that I can use a proper filter for shooting B&W (filter threads on a P&S!).
     
  13. OP
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    Eric Rose

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    Buy my One Touch :wink:
     
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  15. Theo Sulphate

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    Although the viewfinder shows icons for the focused distance (rather than a distance scale), the actual focusing of the lens is very precise. After focusing on your subject, it is possible to move just a very short distance and you will see that the indicator is then pointing to a slightly different spot among the icons.

    All of my photos with this camera have been sharp and correctly exposed. I've looked at the negatives (C41 processed) and they show good density.

    For a first-generation point-and-shoot consumer camera, Nikon's engineers did a good job - thereby earning the "pikaichi" ("top notch") nickname it is known by.
     
  16. John Earley

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    I have a dead One Touch somewhere, that is calling to me, "Hack me, Hack me."
     
  17. David Brown

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    Here’s mine. Unsure of the exact model (been “Googleing” for half an hour) . There were many Nikons over the years that were One Touch. The badging on mine looks like the one the OP just sold.

    Integrated lens cover and this one takes 2 AA batteries rather than a lithium. Haven’t used it in years, but may have to load some film and take another trial. :smile:

    IMG_2796.JPG
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2019
  18. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Thanks for pointing out that camera. I have become somewhat of a Nikon nut recently I'll have to keep on the lookout for one. I have a bunch of Yashica stuff, including this f2.8 Yashica Autofocus from about the same time period (1981) with a similar 'two-window' autofocus system. The Nikon looks a little more refined and just a little better a 5-element (vs 4-element) lens and a wider focal length 35mm (vs 38mm).
    [​IMG]
     
  19. Craig75

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    From memories of looking at these myself, there are 3 iterations I think but only 2 of them take screw in filters (which may or may not be important to you).
     
  20. Theo Sulphate

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    Nice to see the Yashica with manual wind and rewind levers - no reason to waste battery power for these simple functions.
     
  21. benjiboy

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    The first L 35 AF was all metal, I can't recall if the other two versions were.
     
  22. Paul Howell

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    I have a Nikon along with a Canon with the 50mm 1.9 and a Vivatar with a 35mm 2.8, what I like about them is that they are not DX coded, you can adjust the ASA to give some control over exposure.
     
  23. Mick Fagan

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    That was one feature that made me swing to this compact camera all those decades ago, which allowed me to run my 400 ASA film at 320 ASA. The other feature which sealed the purchase, was the screw in filter. I run an L37 Nikon filter all the time, but sometimes run an orange and/or a polariser filter. I have often thought of, but never chased up, a lens hood.

    Ben, you are right about the first model, mine is quite heavy with some kind of alloy housing.

    Mick.
     
  24. AgX

    AgX Member

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    "Mr. Wakamiya selected the Sonnar-Type lens configuration to ensure the highest possible sharpness while increasing the apparent depth of field to the allowable maximum extent."

    I do not see why this requirement lead to something like the original Sonnar design, moreover as that was not designed with a wide-angle design in mind.
     
  25. AgX

    AgX Member

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    The interesting thing with such lenses is that they were (I assume...) designed with a posterior aperture in mind. Which should make such lenses apt for experimental constructions.
     
  26. benjiboy

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    I couldn't remember about the second model Mick but the third one was plastic but I could be wrong , because over the over thirty years is a long time.
     
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