Recording Life with a 35mm Point and Shoot

Yilong Jiang

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It was not until recently that I got truly interested in film point and shoots. I used to find them gimmicky and there are too many elements I can’t control (focus, shutter speed, aperture, exposure compensation). I was able to get my hands on a Contax T2 but I never truly saw the point of it — yes it is amazing how a camera this little can produce such sharp and amazing images, but I would rather use my Leica rangefinder to make sure that I am in control of everything precisely in order to produce better images than I could with the T2.

But something changed during this pandemic, I became lazier and lazier. My life is the same every day now and nothing is new. I just don’t have the motivation to pick up my cameras and shoot anymore, until I unexpectedly came across another point and shoot at a garage sale. I was just browsing and I saw this little Pentax laying there, so I picked it up and upon opening the front cover, a neat little lens was shown. It was a 35mm f/2.8 prime lens which is a little wider than my usual 50mm focal length, but it was tiny. The guy told me it might not work but I decided that I should give it a shot anyway. I didn’t regret a tiny bit, and here’s why:

  1. The Pentax is tiny, I can literally carry it anywhere in my pocket without it weighing me down whatsoever.
  2. The camera is dirt cheap, I won’t have concerns about breaking it or banging it into doors and walls anymore (even though I am not clumsy and I do value and take care of my gear, my concern is lessened as the value of the camera is rather low).
  3. The lens is great and the camera is fast. I have had so many scenarios where my girlfriend would pose for a picture but got tired and became unnatural while I was setting the camera up and focusing. With this little guy, I can just snap a shot, put it away and keep going, no need to stand in the blistering winter for 10 minutes for a photo.

I guess what I am trying to say is, with the situation nowadays, a point and shoot like this gives me back my motivation to take photos about my daily life, or to record my daily life, which is one of the main purposes of a camera anyways, to record moments of your life like a spectator.

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