Gear: Canon Epoca 135
Film: Expired Fuji C200
Dev + Scan: Rewind Photo Lab
Hello readers. I am Kevin, a photography enthusiast and occasional writer currently employed in the banking sector. I previously wrote a “First Roll With” about the Nikon F3. In this blog I’ll be covering the Epoca 135.
When you ask people- “Hey what’s a good point and shoot film camera?”- most will sensibly direct you towards the various Olympus, Contax, Yashica, Minolta and Nikons offerings. Almost no one will say- “Canon Epoca 135 with or without the dedicated close up attachment”- except for, well, maybe me. And when I say good, what I really mean to say is. It depends.
The Epoca 135, also known as the Photura in the USA and the Jet in Japan is the analog equivalent of a 35mm point and shoot bridge camera with a 38-135mm f/3.2-8 lens. Designed as a high-end model in the Autoboy Jet series released in 1992 by Canon, it’s a relatively obscure analog camera with a range of useful features found in other automated point and shoots whilst having a few rather uncommon ones including low angle viewfinder and a inbuilt flash inside the lens cover. It weighs slightly less than a Motorola DynaTAC 8000X while sporting the retro futuristic appearance of a video recorder concept piece from the Atomic Age giving it quite a unique look with a solid feel.
In short, it’s a well-built digital yet still analog camera with a lot of features made possible by one 2CR5 battery and a whole array of electronics components. If you are looking for something mechanical or lightweight, this is not the choice for you.
Lens on the camera is adequately sharp. With the bright built-in flash and zoom lens- it’s an all-purpose camera. The flash unit is incredibly good- although non adjustable so it can also be incredibly annoying when it goes off. Closing the lens cover also turns off the camera, which I find ingenious. The autofocus-without the close-up attachment- works from 0.8m to infinity. It does a decent job most of the time. Autoexposure also works well. However, checking that it is focused when using the low angle viewfinder is difficult as the focusing lamps are next to the eye level viewfinder. One last minor criticism of the camera is that low angle viewfinder itself. It’s tiny, but still useable.
My camera was purchased by my parents in the mid-90s overseas. When I found it, the rubber hand strap had deteriorated completely. It was the first film camera I ever used. I remember going to Rewind last year after a job interview for the company I am currently working for and buying my first ever roll. All I knew about film at that point was- don’t shoot frozen rolls. These images are from that roll. If you do ever come across an Epoca 135 and feel interested about it after reading this, I would recommend purchasing one.
While uncommon and arguably not too different than other automated point and shoots, they are relatively inexpensive- for now at least. If you don’t mind the weight, the less than compact nature, or if you are a collector or if you just like odd cameras with a few clever features- it’s a pretty interesting piece of analog history.
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