5 Point and Shoot Film Cameras Fujifilm Should Bring Back

Fujifilm has a very bad reputation these days from the film photography community. So it’s easy to forget that from the 1980s to the early 2000s, Fujifilm produced some of the best cameras ever made: medium format, point and shoots, the extraordinary Xpan and a bag full of other interesting goodies.

I often wonder what it would look like if Fujifilm restarted its camera production lines. Which would they bring back? Here are five point and shoot cameras I’d love to review.

Fuji DL-200

  • Price at launch: unknown
  • Price in July 2022: 50-100 USD
  • Advantages: cheap, good lens
  • Cons: Get the second version of this camera unless you like soldering

The Fuji DL-200 may not look like much, but it was a revolutionary camera 40 years ago. Released in 1983, it was known as Fuji Cardia in Japan. The DL200 had not one, but two ingenious features that made it foolproof for beginners.

It is believed to be the world’s first charging camera. So what is instant charging? It’s the feature that many movie makers didn’t know they needed. In fact, most of us don’t. The rear door of the camera only opens a little wider than the width of a roll of film, allowing you to drop the cartridge in there. When you close the door, the camera works its magic and loads the film for you.

The second characteristic was even more curious. Like many future Fujifilm cameras to come, the camera featured a pre-roll security system. This is where after loading the film, it was rolled up to the last frame, which was then exposed first. When you shoot, your exposed frames are rolled up in the cartridge. This means that if you accidentally opened the movie door, your precious memories were safe.

As for power, the DL-200 was powered by two CR123A batteries. However, there was a catch: the batteries were soldered in place inside the camera. That’s right, you had to send your camera back to a Fujifilm dealer to have the battery changed. Hopefully that wouldn’t happen too often, as Fuji estimated the battery was good for around 1,000 shots or 5 years, whichever comes first, presumably.

Fujifilm Natura Black F1.9

  • Launch price: $350
  • Price as of July 2022: $400-850 depending on condition
  • Advantages: compact, light, fast lens, NP mode
  • Cons: No aperture priority mode, no way to manually adjust film speed

The Natura S line was launched in 2001, followed soon after by the Natura Black. It quickly became known as the Moonlight Camera because it sports one of the fastest lenses ever on a point and shoot: f/1.9 The camera was so important to Fujifilm that they even renamed their Superia 1600 “Natura” film in Japan to match the name of the camera.

Unlike other premium options, the Natura doesn’t have an aperture priority mode, but it does have a cool trick up its sleeve. If you load the camera with 1600 or faster speed film, it switches to Natural Photo (NP) mode. In this mode it shoots wide aperture at f/1.9 and the camera assesses the brightness of the subject in the scene, adding up to two stops of exposure compensation to give photos that look natural.

Another unusual feature of the camera was its 24mm Super EBC Fujinon wide-angle lens. This, together with the NP mode, makes it ideal for parties, indoor events and nightclubs. The Natura was a domestic-only version, which is why the controls on the back are in Japanese. Luckily, it’s not too hard to figure out.

Fuji Tiara

  • Price at launch: around 300 USD
  • Price in July 2022: 300-400 USD depending on condition
  • Pros: lightweight, great lens
  • Cons: Of all the cameras on this list, this one seems the most prone to bricking

The Fuji Tiara has become a cult classic among many film photographers. The original Fuji Tiara was released in 1994 and was mainly sold in Japan. There was a limited release in Europe, where it was sold as the Fuji DL Super Mini. A few years later, Fuji released the Tiara II, but there’s not much to distinguish between them.

Some claim the Tiaras are just as good as other high end compact shooters such as the Olympus Stylus/MJU line. The comparisons are down to its sharp Fujinon lens, although the focal length is a bit wider at 28mm. Like the MJU I, the Tiara line’s maximum aperture is a respectable f/3.5.

Comparisons with the Stylus range don’t stop at image sharpness. The Tiara is quite small, and some people say that, like the MJU II, it’s a bit slippery.

Like other Fujifilm cameras of its day, it features instant loading and film prewind. It also has an unusual feature for a compact camera: there’s a manual focus mode where you can adjust the distance to your subject.

So far I have not been tempted to buy one, only because I have read reports about the reliability of this camera. Of all the cameras on this list, this is the one I’ve heard people have the most trouble with.

Fujifilm S/W Class

  • Price at launch in 2007: US$725
  • Price as of July 2022: $1,100-$1,600 depending on condition
  • Pros: nice camera with a good range of features, the very latest premium point and shoot you can buy
  • Cons: High price, not as sexy as the Contax T2/T3

Launched in 2007, the Fujifilm Klasse S and W cameras are the latest high-end cameras that money can buy. They were originally on sale for 89,000 yen, or around US$725. Again, the Klasse cameras were a Japanese-only release, but luckily the team at Fujifilm put the menu and controls in English.

Klasse cameras are equipped with a Fujinon Super Super EBC (Electron Beam Coating) lens in two versions: the standard (S) 38mm focal length and the wide (W) 28mm lens. As you’d expect with a premium point and shoot, you can shoot in aperture priority mode and also adjust exposure compensation.

One of the advantages of Klasse cameras over their competitors, like the Contax T3, is the ease with which you can change settings. Exposure compensation is handled by a small lever on the front of the camera, for example, far better than having to dig through menus.

Klasse cameras also have the ability to manually set film speed, bulb mode, tripod socket, cable release and Fujifilm’s natural photo mode.

If you like shooting color transparency film (slides) this is a fantastic camera. Fujifilm specifically developed the Klasse cameras around this capability, as the cameras have excellent metering.

Fuji Silvi F2.8

  • Launch price: $299
  • Price in July 2022: From $150 to $400 depending on the model
  • Advantages: wide-angle zoom, ideal for selfies
  • Cons: Mid-range zooms have a lot of competition

Finally, a forgotten camera from the early 2000s when digital was on the rise. The Fujifilm Silvi F2.8 was a mid-range zoom camera released in 2003.

The Silvi featured a handy Fujinon 24-50mm super EBC zoom lens, which is a bit wider than many other zoom lenses in this type of camera. There was a good reason for that wider zoom, as you’ll soon find out.

What’s cool about this camera is that it has two shutter buttons: one on the left and one on the right. The camera, of course, came out at the dawn of the selfie era, so Fujifilm was trying to make it as easy as possible for you to take pictures of yourself. The camera had a selfie mode with an indicator to help you compose and frame selfies.

Although f/2.8 is on the front of the camera, this might be a little misleading, as f/2.8 was only achievable at the 24mm end of the range. The black version of the camera was only available in Japan, and like the Natura Black it had an added bonus feature: the ability to add exposure compensation up to +/-2EV.

That’s it for my roundup of the five compact cameras Fujifilm should bring back. Which ones did I miss? Tell me in the comments below.

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