Nikon L35AF (aka “Pikaichi”)

Nikon L35AF

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My first Nikon camera ever! What at first looked like a junky point-and-shoot quickly revealed itself as a sleeper classic, Nikon’s very first compact automatic camera and a close copy of Canon’s very popular AF35M (aka Sure Shot or Autoboy). Nikon thought enough of this camera to dub it ‘Pikaichi’, or ‘top notch’ in Japanese. Reasonably fast coated 35mm Nikon lens, very quiet motor advance, and accurate autofocus are the standout features of this surprisingly heavy little compact. It wasn’t on my radar till I rescued it from the local Goodwill for $6.99…

I haven’t been able to find out very much about this little keeper, except that its weight is due to it being an all-metal body with a plastic outer shell, and that it’s still highly regarded by the people that own(ed) one. Features I like beyond what I’ve already mentioned: the ability to use filters as on the Canon AF35ML.

The very similar Nikon One Touch, which is a more obvious copy of Canon’s Sure Shot, appears to be the same camera as the L35AF produced for a different market, with a different rubber grip and a few minor differences like a Canon-style closing lens cover, something lacking on this model. There also appear to be model year variations of both cameras, as well as a long line of spawn, both of the One Touch and the L35.


Light surface cleaning.

Tips & Tricks

Loading film is like any modern compact, line up the leader with the red indicator, close the back and press the shutter release, the film will wind on and stop at the first exposure. You can verify film winding by the check window on the back.

On-Off switch on top. Don’t forget to set the ASA, this camera doesn’t read DX coding like more recent cameras. I actually dislike DX coding, I like to be able to uprate or downrate film if I need to, especially when I don’t have any other control over exposure…unfortunately here you can only go from 100 to 400*… BONUS: lever aside lens is a +2 backlight compensation lever, hold it down while exposing.

Oh, yes — get a lens cap (46mm clip-on, 48mm slip-on) or a UV filter to protect that nice little Nikon lens.

*I’m told that like the Canon AF35ML, late model L35AF have an extended ASA range, 64-1000

Truth in Advertising

I’ve since sold this camera. Yes, after calling it a ‘keeper’. Despite it being a Nikon and despite the soft spot many people have in their hearts for it, I didn’t think the image quality was on a par with the other cameras I have in my collection and so had to let it go.

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