Is Buying a $1,000+ Point-and-Shoot Film Camera Worth It?

Is Buying a $1,000+ Point-and-Shoot Film Camera Worth It?

Take a look into the capabilities of the popular point-and-shoot Contax T2 and see if the images it produces are worth the price tag.

This past year, I was introduced to the most ridiculous idea—paying over $1,000 USD for a 35mm point-and-shoot film camera. My first question was why? My second question was why? Well, given the popularity explosion of film photography as of the past few years, accompanying it has been an insane increase in prices on eBay. One of the most gouged cameras available is the Contax T2.

You’ve probably heard of it before because of this moment. This camera came out in 1991 and was popular due to four factors: exposure compensation, manual focus control, aperture priority control, and the lens (a Carl Zeiss T* Sonnar 38mm F/2.8). This is a great lens to have on a small “point-and-shoot” camera, but that doesn’t exactly mean it’s worth almost $2,000 (in some cases) . . . right?

Well, I managed to get my hands on one recently and took it out to the desert to see how the images and shooter experience turned out compared to two Kodak disposable cameras. Here’s what happened:

Comparing Sharpness

Contax T2-4: SharpnessThe sharpness of the Contax T2.

Now, this should come as a surprise to nobody, but the Contax images were objectively much sharper than the disposable. No surprise there. But, there was a light leak on almost every single image! You can tweak these in Photoshop using the Spot Healing Brush or Content Aware Fill. However, for the sake of this little experiment, I decided to leave them in. These are the exact scans I received from the lab.

Contax T2 and Kodak Gold 200Kodak Gold 200 was used for both images.

Most of these shots were focused to infinity given the desert landscape, and the film used in the Contax was Kodak Gold 200. I figured I’d try to get a sharper aperture with the harsh daylight, and Kodak Gold is one of the cheaper options. But, honestly, the images just look like a sharp 35mm camera. There’s nothing inherently better about the Contax images that you can’t get from a $100 Pentax K1000 (in my opinion).

Durability

Contax T2Disposables may be best for outdoor adventures, as opposed to the Contax T2.

The titanium body is a beast. However, the lens hood and overall camera build seems to be a bit fragile. Like I said earlier, there were light leaks in the shots, so at some point, I’d need to take this somewhere (or send it via mail) to somebody who knows how to fix these. This is just what you get with old cameras like this. But, while shooting it in this context, I noticed myself becoming extremely nervous for fear of dropping it or getting sand in the electronics somehow.

The disposables on the other hand? Throw em’ around—they’re plastic and can take it! If you’re going on some type of outdoor adventure, like in this video, why not bring a disposable camera? What’s the worst that can happen to it?

Alternative Options

Affordable Point-and-Shoot OptionsThere are plenty of affordable point-and-shoot camera options available on the market.

Now, would I buy this camera for myself? Absolutely not. Are disposables kind of awesome? Absolutely. Are some of the photos rough? Oh yes.

So, if you’re wanting to get into film or if you’re wanting to get into point-and-shoot film cameras, I suggest going with something a little cheaper. Some options include the Yashica T3 or T4 (which looks like it’s getting more expensive by the day), the Olympus Mju 2, or the Nikon 35Ti, which has a 35mm Nikkor 2.8 lens on it. These are all going to be more expensive than disposables, but they’re not Contax T2s and they’re probably going to get you a similar image to one.

Get the most bang for your buck with insights on affordable gear and more:

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