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I know some folks are still behind the times, but it is without a doubt time that film photography can hold its own with digital photography. There are lots of old film SLRs on the market. And there are even some truly analog film rangefinder cameras too. But nothing beats the simplicity a point-and-shoot camera offers. Some have manual controls, but the purpose is to point and shoot. And with ease, you get beautiful images. They’re almost effortless. And because you spend more time shooting, you don’t have to worry about the technical side of things. With film’s true return and maturity, I think it’s about time for an autofocus film point and shoot camera to return.
But who would make it? Frankly, I’m not really sure I’d trust a company without a history in photography to do it. There have been many Kickstarters in the past years that popped up, took the money, and disappeared. No one has heard from them again. Heck, I’ve even backed a couple of them. That’s not a swing at companies who do things on Kickstarter. But I wouldn’t trust them to do it right.
Instead, I’d trust a company with a photographic heritage and pedigree. Those few companies would be Zeiss, Leica, Nikon, Fujifilm, Olympus, and Pentax/Ricoh. Why these companies?
- Zeiss: Zeiss had the Contax brand. These days they care about the super, incredibly, serious high end. By bringing back the Contax brand, though, they could actually do a solid job here. Take Zeiss ZM optics, add autofocus for the center point, shove it in a point and shoot, weather seal it, and sell it. Overnight, it could probably be a success. It would also probably be cheaper than some of the Zeiss/Contax cameras on the second-hand market right now.
- Leica: Leica, I think, is one of the few big companies that truly cares about the Film photography market. I say this because of my discussions with them. Leica is currently a sponsor of some of the site’s content. And they’ve let us create content targeting the film community. What’s more of a seal of approval than that? Leica has made film point and shoots. And a vintage reissue is something that they tend to do anyway.
- Nikon: Nikon seems to care about retro aesthetics. And they tend to sometimes do bold things. What could be bolder than a reissue of a Nikon film camera? The company likes to really still push a lot of their F-mount stuff. So why not give it a new life?
- Fujifilm: Fujifilm has really stepped up in terms of trying to support the film community in the past few years. Sure, they’ve discontinued film, but sometimes it makes sense to cull the herd rather than let it all sink. If anything, I think consumers really are to blame for not purchasing certain emulsions. The recent PRO 400H announcement was a victim of COVID-19. We can’t blame anyone but the virus for that.
- Olympus: With OMDS under a new brand, they can be more experimental. And I truly hope they use this as a chance to create an Olympus trip camera of some sort.
- Pentax/Ricoh: The Ricoh GR digital cameras have a cult following. So why not save even more money and make a film variant with far fewer electronics? I think this could be a brilliant venture.
We’d love to hear from you. Who could do this?