The downward spiral of GAS hit me hard last week, and I fell prey to the pro point and shoot camera craze. There is no logic to this craze. Go on eBay, find a seller with a 1990s or early 2000s professional series point and shoot, and spend a small fortune on it.

Why ? you may ask, would you spend ducats on this ??! Well, because I’ve read so many good things about these cameras, how they’re super sharp, come with amazing lenses, offer manual controls, and are of higher build quality, that I had to see for myself. So let me introduce you to the new toy. The early 2000s sold-only-in-Japan Fujifilm Klasse.

You pay to have Klasse

You pay to have Klasse

The Mechanics

This camera , also released as a Rollei AF35M, has some impressive specs. I know this because the Rollei manual is in English. For starters, it has Aperture Priority, letting you shoot from f/2.6 to f/16, choosing the shutter speed for you. Second, it allows you to shoot in manual mode with a neat little dial on the front reminiscent of the Rollei 35 of yesteryear. Third, it allows you to blow your load on film with reckless abandon in AEB — Auto Exposure Bracketing. Don’t worry about film latitude or whether you’re exposing correctly, just AEB it for +/- 1 and get 12 shots on a 36exposure roll! Oh yeah, it comes with a beautiful Fujinon EBC 38mm f/2.6 lens.

Impressive Bokeh

Impressive Bokeh

Yeah, the lens…

It takes some really decent photos. Caveat, those photos on Flickr where there are beautiful night scenes and digitally-crisp shots of icebergs taken with Fujifilm Klasse … I call BS. The shots aren’t that crisp even from a Fujinon lens. Wide open, this camera is fantastic. It takes photos on par with my Canon 7 or even, dare I say, my M3 (sadly, no longer mine… I sold it…)

Bokeh salsa

Bokeh salsa

Sharpness is Subjective

I say Sharpness is subjective because people will claim something is sharp when it’s just average, and soft when it’s really just out-of-focus. This camera is subjectively sharp-shooting, but when above f/5.6, I am totally unimpressed. I can get the same quality of image out of my Pentax IQ Zoom. However, what I can’t get from the Pentax is the ability to control the way the camera takes a photo. So, keeping this camera at f/5.6 and shooting slower film this camera is pretty tight.

f/8 and be unimpressed

f/8 and be unimpressed

It’s Almost Perfect…for me

I’m not a fan of point-and-shoot cameras, but this camera does tick a lot of boxes for me. It’s compact, has a fantastic lens, allows me to control things, and is auto-focus. It’s like an Olympus XA with a motor! However, the price is stupid expensive, and when it dies it will likely cost me more to repair than it’s worth. That’s a price I suppose I’m willing to pay at the moment.

It's just a tool

It’s just a tool!