1999 Nikon 35Ti

1999 Nikon 35Ti
135 (ISO 25 – 5000)
Nikkor 35mm ƒ/2.8
ƒ/2.8 – ƒ/22
1/500 – 2s , Timed
CR123A or DL123A
$650 (equal to $1,096 in 2021)
7F (received) / 7F (current)

This camera is great. It makes great photos in just about all situations. Low light with the automatic flash overridden? It makes a good photo. Weird uneven lighting? It magically figures out how to expose the scene so that the photo turns out exactly as it is seen. The matrix metering system in this camera is simply outstanding.

The size of the Nikon 35Ti is also just about right. It is shaped like a small brick, but it can still slip into a pocket. It is not as small as the Olympus XA, but it takes better pictures with less effort. Vignetting is not noticeable at large apertures, and manual backlight compensation is not needed.

Nikon 35Ti compared to an Agfa Optima 1535 and an Olympus XA (front)
Nikon 35Ti compared to an Agfa Optima 1535 and an Olympus XA (front) – Canon T3i, EF 28mm f/1.8 USM

Other reviews of this camera invariably mention the small buttons. The infrequently used ones, the mode/set buttons, are small and recessed. The flash buttons are also small, but are probably the right size for their purpose. They can be pressed as needed, but are not so large as to be mistakenly pressed. The 35Ti is not an SLR, the buttons are not there to be pressed frequently, they are designed to stay out of the way most of the time.

The viewfinder can optionally show the aperture, but by default it shows the shutter speed; it can only show one numeric value at a time. Some people complain about this, but it is common for smaller vintage cameras. It’s that way on the Olympus XA, and it’s also how the amazing Minolta CLE is designed. This is a point-and-shoot camera with some optional power-ups.

Nikon 35Ti compared to an Agfa Optima 1535 and an Olympus XA (top)
Nikon 35Ti compared to an Agfa Optima 1535 and an Olympus XA (top) – Canon T3i, EF 28mm f/1.8 USM

The very 90s panorama mode and the matching viewfinder icon is annoying, but it can be ignored. The only real problem with the Nikon 35Ti is the viewfinder framelines. The window for the illumination is on the top of the camera, and it often fails to fully illuminate the framelines. The window has louvers, presumably to direct frontal light into the window, but it doesn’t seem to direct enough light in all situations. In the end, the excellent matrix meter on the Nikon 35Ti more than makes up for the cameras other shortcomings.

According to a contemporary advertisement

The Cockpit.

The Craft.

Superstrong titanium body with classic styling · Unique analog display system · Precise 833-step autofocus system · Exclusive 3D Matrix Metering · Top-quality 35mm f/2.8 Nikkor lens

The thrill of piloting your dream machine. Picture yourself at the controls of Nikon’s most sophisticated compact camera. The latest technology snug in a lightweight body meticulously crafted from titanium. The new Nikon 35Ti Quartz Date. Supersonic photography.


Photos from this 35Ti

More photos from this 35Ti

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