I usually always shoot with a Rolleiflex or Leica M6. However when I took my wife to a fine dining restaurant the other day, I didn’t think it would be appropriate to bring along a big camera. Also you can’t exactly hand a Rollei to a waitress and say “take our picture”. Sometimes it is not the right tool for the job – enter the Nikon 28ti – this is the right tool for the job. When you hand it to a waitress and say take our picture, she already knows how to use it.
The first thing you notice about the 28ti is the funky analogue dash board, this really adds to the sex appeal of the camera.
The dial on the left shows the focus range, the one on the right is the aperture. Centre top doubles as the frame counter and in Timed Exposure mode as a stop watch. Lastly centre bottom is the exposure correction.
This camera was the pinnacle of Nikons film point and shoots. The body is not made of cheap plastic it is made of aerospace-quality titanium, the lens is a Nikkor 28mm f2.8 7 elements in 5 groups. The optics really rival some SLR’s the 28mm prime is crisp and sharp even to the edges. The only down side is the zoom is bipedal – meaning if you want to zoom in you take a step forward and if you want to zoom out take a step back
The camera isn’t manual, you can shoot it in Aperture priority mode and adjust your aperture but you can’t set both shutter speed and aperture at the same time. Focus can be manually set by holding down the AF button and adjusting the command dial. This is required if you want to shoot through glass – as I found out.
The camera has 6 segment matrix metering which is really quite nice for a P&S, when we arrived at the restaurant it was dusk so I had the chance to test the camera using natural light as well as with the flash. By the end of our 7 course degustation menu the restaurant was quite dimly lit but the flash worked well with out blowing out the highlights, as some P&S flashes tend to do.
The camera has a panorama function, which basically switches a 13x36mm mask over the film. I don’t find this particularly use full as it is really no different from cropping. I don’t know how you would go about getting, prints from a traditional lab for this feature. I’m sure some labs must be able to do it, but I dev and print my own so thats not an issue. When I’m feeling lazy I do sometimes go to a lab for Dev and scan to CD, but I haven’t ever asked for prints.
The camera viewfinder is nice and bright and has frame markings for parallax error that light up based on the range finder measurement. In low light the camera has a built in light which illuminates the frame markings. Of course this viewfinder isn’t the same standard as a Leica, but it holds it’s own against a Bessa R or similar.
Over all it is a fun little camera, for a P&S. But not cheep, when it was new (1994-98) it retailed for $1000, they can be found second hand for around the $600 mark. I guess you pay a premium for the funky analogue dials and Nikkor lens.
If you can justify the price I’d say get one.