Nikon L35AF. enlarge. I bought this one at Goodwill for $10. This free website's biggest source of support is when you use these links, especially this link directly to them at eBay, (see How to Win at eBay). It helps me keep reviewing these oldies when you get yours through these links, thanks! Ken.
Introduced in 1983, the L35AF was Nikon's very first AF compact. I paid $10 for mine in 1999. I paid more to buy the manual afterwards. They sold for $210 new.
Nikon didn't screw around here: the lens is a FIVE element f/2.8, which is just about as sharp as my 17-35mm f/2.8 AF-S that cost me 150 times as much, without a body!
The only advantage to the 17-35mm AF-S is a lack of corner falloff (darkening) and closer focusing. The L35AF always gets a bit dark at the corners, regardless of aperture. This tradeoff was made in favor of keeping the size small and the sharpness high.
I think the distortion is a little better in the L35AF compared to the zoom at 35mm. AF speed is about the same between the two, although the L35AF only has one sensor and no motion tracking ability.
The L35AF also offers in-viewfinder indication of focused distance, so unlike with other point-and shoots you know if you are in focus or not.
AF is super-accurate; better than some other AF lenses on my F100.
My meter was 1/3 stop off; I set ASA 64 for ISO 50 Velvia. Doing that I get great accuracy for slide film. Heck, the meter seems to be smart enough to compensate for bright whites in daylight.
Metering is through the filter, so filter compensation is automatically applied. I usually leave an 81A in place all the time. Heck, it actually does have a 46mm filter thread so you can use real filters, unlike any of the other posh point-and-shoots like the 35Ti or Contax T3. Feel free to use polarizers or anything, just watch it with grads.
Also unlike the other P/Ss, you can attach a yellow filter for proper B/W shooting.
Flash works and exposes just great.
The little lever on the side of the the lens is a +2 stop backlight compensation.
To get daylight fill flash, pop up the flash by first covering the lens and pressing the shutter button slightly. Unlike the D3, F5, F6 or any Leica, flash sync goes all the way up to top shutter speed I think of 1/500.
Measured flash GN is 20 in feet at EI 100, not much. At f/2.8 I therefore get a whole 5 feet of range at ISO 50. The flash always pops at full output; exposure is by flashmatic system coupled to the focus distance.
I preferred the L35AF to the other $1,000 point-and-shoots back in 1999 because of the ability to use real filters and the in-viewfinder indication of focused distance.
As of 2007 I've been given a Konica Hexar and bought a Nikon 35Ti, which were way too expensive for me back in 1999, but today seem far superior.
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