Seeing the whole picture with 28mm focal width lenses.

Interchangeable lenses can lead to exciting discoveries. My first wide lens was a Rokinon 24mm equivalent M4/3 mount on an Olympus OMD Em10mkii digital camera. I had the 24mm Zuiko briefly on an OM1 as well. While 24mm is amazing for super wide shots, the level of distortion is a bit much for my tastes. I sold both 24mm lenses.

A few months later, I discovered a Fujifilm GS645-W at a local shop. The 28mm f5.6 lens was still very wide but without the excessive lens distortion of the 24mm, I could still shoot some close up stuff (3 meters/10ft) but for landscape and scenes, this camera really shines. Mine came without a light meter and I was gifted a roll of Fuji SS that was about 15 years expired (shooting at iso 25). The results were so detailed. This shot of the Long Bien bridge in Hanoi is a bit underexposed as I guessed the time using bulb setting and f16.

The GS645-W is a very light 120mm medium format camera that shoots 6x4.5cm negatives in portrait orientation by default. It's very lightweight but bulky compared to many compact 35mm cameras. Add the tripod and it's not a casual shooter.

I wanted to try some night photography and splurged on some Ektar100 super fine grain film. The 28mm lens, medium format, and long exposure shots were a blast. I only wish I had a 2nd roll.

This set in motion the idea that I wanted to have a 28mm in my pocket, an everyday film compact. I did some research. There were a few options, the Fuji Silvi, Fuji Klasse W, Contax TVS, Fuji Tiara. And there it was...THE MINOLTA TC-1. The size of a Rollei35, my other true love, but with autofocus, aperture priority program, manual focus, titanium body, and a lens that is highly regarded for contrast. It was way out of my budget so I did what any camera fiend does in this situation. I brought 5 other cameras to the shop and bartered, begged, pleaded. And walked away with my dream camera.

I had read about the TC-1 on the 35mmc Blog and love the photos Hamish posted. The cameras slight but noticeable vignette looks great to me and adds character. Also, from my experience, and as shown in the review, the lens is so good that cropping out vignette would still leave a very reasonable print size if quality film was used. Here's a recent shot that I got very lucky with using Cinestill 800. There's a bit of grain, but overall very sharp.

I've drifted away from interchangeable lens cameras for the most part both with film and digital and have yet to find a zoom lens compact film camera that is worth carrying in lieu of a high quality prime compact such as the mentioned Minolta TC-1, Rollei 35, or Fuji Klasse. But I'm early in my photography work and my preferences change as I learn more. If you have the budget and want a pocketable wide angle camera, I can highly recommend the Minolta TC-1. My only complaint is that it has no bulb mode and no cable release port, but the point of the camera is pocketability so it's a fair trade off for me.

What are your thoughts? I would love to hear from zoom lens pocket compact users (Fuji Silvi, Tiara zoom, Contax TVS, etc) or anybody wh0 has tips on shooting wide.

Thanks for reading, I hope you got something out of this post.



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