5 Frames with a Nikon L35AF

The first and last compact camera you'll ever need... maybe(!)....

a year ago

Latest Post Cross-processing Colour Film with Rodinal by Rob Kent
Nikon L35AF

I really seem to have fallen hard for Nikon cameras (and lenses!) of late... so here's another one!

The L35AF was first introduced in 1983 and was Nikon's first auto-focus compact camera. And, being Nikon, they got it right first time. It has a five-element, 35mm f/2.8 lens, which is so sharp you can cut your thumb on it! It also has a 46mm filter thread and Nikon provided a Skylight filter as standard. Metering is through the filter (yay!), so no complex mathemagics is required if you like to tint your shots (as I do). ISO maxes out at a healthy 1000 on my example, but earlier versions only went to 400.


This is a 'Program' mode camera, i.e. everything is automatic. You point the camera at your chosen subject and half press the shutter release. Several things then happen at once. First, the camera auto-focuses, indicated by a needle moving from left to right at the bottom of the viewfinder that stops at whichever of the familiar zone-focus symbols represents the distance the camera has chosen. Next, the camera picks an aperture and shutter speed appropriate for the available light, film speed and any attached filters. Finally, if it decides there is insufficient light available, it will pop up the built-in flash and start to charge it. The flash is charged when the little orange light on the back extinguishes. If you don't want the flash (us photogs know best after all!) then you can push it back down whilst keeping the shutter half pressed and it won't fire or try to redeploy. On the other hand, if it doesn't deploy the flash but you want it to, simply covering the light meter with your hand and half pressing the shutter will cause it to pop up and charge; as long as its deployed it will fire, whether the camera needs it or not (in it's opinion!).

Once the shot is composed, simply press the shutter release all the way and the leaf shutter will quietly 'snick'. Releasing the shutter release will result in the camera winding on to the next frame. Oh yes, this little thing has a motor wind that also rewinds! Even better, the electronics are powered by standard, cheap (and optionally rechargeable) AA batteries.

This cameras final features are an exposure compensation lever, mounted on the lens barrel, that adjusts exposure by 2EV, intended for those backlit situations and a self-timer.

Shooting Experience

It's simple, it's brilliant, it works.

Film loading is easy; insert the canister and pull the leader across the back of the camera up to the red mark then close the door, turn the camera on, press the shutter release and let the L35AF do the rest.

It really is easy to shoot. I found the AF to be pretty good, only occasionally being tricked by foreground objects I wasn't focusing on and that was easily rectified. It sits nicely in the hand and it even came with a belt holster to carry it around.


So, finally to some shots. I shot most of these with a Hoya K2 yellow filter attached using Fomapan profi line action ISO400 film. The film was then developed and digitised using the same process I've previously described here.

"D&D Transport", Nikon L35AF, Fomapan profi line action, ISO400
"Corridoor", Nikon L35AF, Fomapan profi line action, ISO400
"Many Tyres", Nikon L35AF, Fomapan profi line action, ISO400
"Everything is robots now...", Nikon L35AF, Fomapan profi line action, ISO400
"Sunrise Silhouette", Nikon L35AF, Fomapan profi line action, ISO400

I actually got 18 'keepers' from this roll of film and a gallery of them all can be found here.


Simply, I like it very much. It's very easy and obvious to use and the results are very pleasing. Exposure seems spot on with respect to the lighting conditions, focus is pretty good and the lens is very sharp. I look forward to shooting many more rolls of film on this thing (I've already loaded another!).

Rob Kent

Published a year ago


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