I have tried a camera very similar to this one, the TW Zoom. That one’s zoom went up to 80mm and this one goes up to 105mm hence the second name in the title. It came out around 1998, though I have read on some sites from 1992. You can read all the fancy specs on this post and you can find the manual here though it is for the non-databack version.
I got my example of this top-of-the-range point-and-shoot from America. I didn’t buy it and have it shipped if that is what you are thinking. It was sent as a surprise by a reader and very grateful I was too. I remembered the other one I had tried in this line and what a good job it did with colour film, so I decided to load a roll of Kodak Gold 200. I splurged. The camera cannot be set automatically and accepts DX-coded film from 50asa to 3200asa. That is very high for a point and shoot, 3200 is quite impressive. For non dx-coded films the camera sets to 100. My favourite function is the skip button. I have a habit of reloading partly used films in other cameras. This one has a skip frame button to allow you to do so more easily.
Seriously though, this has to be one of the biggest point and shoots out there. As you can read in the tech link I gave, it has quite a few settings. Most of the buttons on the back are to set or use the world date function. The lens has a very flimsy retracting cover. Usually, I like those, but this one is so flimsy that part of it came loose a couple of times. I could put the parts back in the tracks, but it would hardly protect the lens if it knocked into something.
I found the camera quite responsive and quick to focus. One issue I did have was the placement of the viewfinder. It is on the very left of the camera and would suit the left eye being used, but I am dominantly right-handed and eyed. So I would always search for the placement of the viewfinder when taking a shot. The viewfinder does have a diopter setting which is always useful to have.
As I said, this camera is big, it is not stealthy. Here is a photo of it next to an SLR body…which is bigger? I found walking around with it was a bit of a pain and it certainly didn’t fit in my pocket.
Other than the size, the placement of the viewfinder, and it forgetting your settings once you turn it off…I thought the camera was awesome, I loved how quick it was to focus and take the shot. I also liked the viewfinder having two lights, a flashing red one and a green one. When the camera cannot find the focus point the green light flashes. The red light lets you know when the flash has cycled and is ready to go again.
So where to test this camera and make the best use of Kodak Gold. Recently, I have been volunteering for the Women’s Euros in Sheffield. That happened to be where the Dutch fans were based. The Dutch team’s colour is orange and the fans are always awash with it, a perfect match for trying this camera and the colour film. Plus it is the summer holidays and I knew I would be going to a couple of seaside towns, lots of colour at those places.
Here are most of my test shots…if you are going to Blackpool you have to have a shot with the tower coming out of your friend’s head. And YES, the Dutch fans and bus were very loud but awesome. They made the tournament for me….apart from us winning it that is 🙂
What a cracking camera, I won’t say little because it is far from it. If you have space for a chunky monkey in your bag I highly recommend this one.