The Weathermatic 35DL was a mixed bag of results. The good news is that the seals proved watertight. My excursion to the water park left it unscathed. The outdoor shots came out nicely. The flash, however, was another matter.
I’m not sure if the problem was in the flash unit or the metering, but all of my indoor exposures were very dark with odd color shifts. They took a lot of post-processing in order to be usable.
The verdict? It’s rugged. It will be one of my go-to cameras for hazardous outdoor shooting such as the beach or hiking in the mountains. I just won’t be using it indoors.
There really were lights at the water park, I swear.
The Minolta Weathermatic 35DL is a big brother to the Weathermatic A reviewed back in week 7. It’s a fully automatic, water- and weatherproof 35mm point and shoot. Everything from advance to flash is fully automated and motorized, with no options available. The DL stands for Dual Lens; a button on top switches between standard and telephoto lenses.
I’ve been carrying it for a few weeks now with a roll of Portra 400 loaded. I did have occasion to take it to an indoor water park, and the seals seemed to hold up. We’ll see what the photos look like soon.
“If you want something to look old, use an old camera.”
In some cases this is true, although much of the 'look' of a photo is influenced by film selection and processing methods. In this case, the Weathermatic A & Lomography Tiger 200 film teleported me back into the 1970s.
It's an easy camera to work with, although I'm personally never completely comfortable with a zone focus system. I always wonder if I've guessed correctly. The control knobs worked smoothly, and the thumb lever film advance is quick and cool. The flash is appropriate for a snapshot camera, but I found it to be underpowered in some of the large spaces where I shot. Many of the shots also seem slightly fogged; I think I need to clean the outer waterproof shell.
I didn't dare attempt immersion, but I did have occasion to shoot a bit at an indoor water park.
Overall, a neat and rugged camera but for regular 110 work I still like my Ektralite 10 better.
The Minolta Weathermatic A is a weatherproof 110-film camera introduced in 1980. A friend of mine had one of these in hight school; I only knew it as a yellow camera. In fact it’s waterproof to 3 meters. It has a zone focus system and three different apertures all selected by the black knobs on top. The aperture knob also controls the built-in flash. A thumb lever on the bottom advances the film.
I didn’t test the integrity of the O-rings, so I didn’t want to try it out underwater. I did load a new roll of Lomography Tiger 200 color and carried it around for the better part of a week. The film leaves for the lab this afternoon.