Nikon Lite Touch Zoom

It is an old, and at the time of introduction it was a relatively inexpensive, no frills point-and-shoot film camera, so why bother reviewing it when the digital photography revolution has long been since one and digital is the entrenched norm?  Well, I believe film still has its place.  It is a useful tool for teaching photography to children, and is becoming something of a living bit of history, much like muzzleloading firearms.  A little point-and-shoot such as this is a great way to introduce film photography for to the youth of today.

My dad gave me this old camera, and I immediately put in in box and forgot about it until my middle son turned eight.  I thought back to my eighth birthday when I got my first working camera, a Keystone 110, and what fun I had with it.  I thought this 35mm point and shoot would be a great way to introduce photography and black and white film developing to my son, and have some fun along the way.

I’ll talk about the specifics of this camera, but what applies this Nikon applies to hundreds of inexpensive cameras made in the late 1980s though the early 2000s, by dozens of manufactures.  Cameras like these can be had at very low prices on eBay and at rummage sales, and often you can get a whole box of assorted cameras for $20, although these are usually in unknown condition.  This model goes for about $25 in good condition.
This Nikon Lite Touch Zoom Point and shoot camera has an autofocus 35-70mm “macro” zoom lens and shoots 35mm film. It has very few settings or features and the buttons to operate these are difficult to use.  It isn’t a great feature for the average photographer, but is excellent for children because they cannot easily change the setting to something that may ruin a roll of film and not be noticed for a long time.  When I have given digital point and shoots to kids and even adults, they often come back in some strange setting I didn’t even know that the camera had.
The settings are:

  • Flash Auto and off
  • Redeye reduction
  • Timer
  • Landscape

The camera has a built-in flash which is the standard for cameras of this era and absolutely necessary for indoor photography.  Because the camera lens and flash are close together redeye can be a problem, and the redeye reduction feature helps some.  How it works is there is a preflash designed to cause the subject’s pupils to dilate and reduce the amount of light reflected back from their retinas.   The problem with the preflash, which is still found on most digital point and shoots, is it seems to increase the chance of the subject(s) blinking or thinking the photo has already been taken, and then move on to something else.

One problem with using these cameras today is some, but not many of them, have odd batteries.  This camera takes a single CR-123A, these are not as common as they used to be, but can still be had.  The lithium battery is not inexpensive like AAs, but last a long time.  Today a few manufacturers like Watson make rechargeable CR-123A’s which makes shooting this and other cameras like N80 less expensive.

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