Everyone loves the Nikon L35AF. As far as OG point-and-shoots go, Its one of the most revered for its awesome 35mm F/2.8 lens, and its easily one of the most recognizable point-and-shoots from its era. For whatever reason though, the later L35AF2 and 3, or “One Touch” as they were known on the US market, don’t get as much love. After using it though, I think it really shines for one task – street photography.
I am not a street photographer by any means, but I have tried it out a few times, and to me, this is by far the best point and shoot i have used for it, for 2 main reasons. The first is that, unlike the original L35AF, it takes film up to ASA 1600. While it is DX code only, the codes can easily be modified to adjust exposures, and to me it is vastly superior to the manual ISO adjustment of the original. Many street photographers(myself included) push their film(usually HP5) to 1600, so without this ability the camera would be much less desirable.
The other advantage the focus. I was amazed at how accurately the camera focused. Even Without waiting for the focus confirmation, It nailed it every time, and while I am not sure exactly what kind of focusing system it uses, it focuses very quickly as well, making shutter lag virtually nonexistent.
The lens is amazing as well. Although its not the same one as in the original L35AF, it is still very good and sharp as any compact I have used. I will say that it errs on the side of closing down the aperture though. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, getting a shallow DOF can be somewhat difficult. One more nice detail about it is how accurately it matches the viewfinder. Anyone Who has used a film point-and-shoot knows that it can be frustrating to accurately frame subjects due to inaccurate viewfinders, but here the photos were remarkably similar to what I saw when taking them.
Lastly, the feel of the camera is awesome. Though its made of plastic, et feels very solid and almost rangefinder-like. Although the viewfinder is directly above the lens, When shooting it feels just like an autofocus rangefinder, and interestingly, it focused and wound just as quickly as many I have used.
All images in this review were developed and scanned at The Darkroom. The film used was Ilford HP5 shot at, and pushed to, 1600. I was really happy with the results. The scans were very contrast-ey, even for film that was pushed to 1600, but to me that was a good thing. Although I normally scan at home and I am about to start developing my own film, If I needed developing and scanning I would definitely use them again. They do a lot for the film photography community, and i definitely recommend them.