Thursday, July 28, 2016

Ghost hunting: Kodak Star 1035Z camera

At $2.99 in the Goodwill thrift store, the Kodak Star 1035Z camera seemed like a great deal. As long as I didn't think too hard.
But I thought twice. In the realm of thrift store camera bargains, I could do better.

The Kodak had a slow, 38-80mm zoom lens. And a choice of two flash options: auto or auto with red-eye reduction. No flash-defeat button. Still, at $3, with a case and owner's booklet, and a clean, scratch-free body and lens, was it worth it?


Kodak already sold a version of this camera in the 1990s. I owned one. Its auto-focus had all the accuracy of a Trump speechwriter. The zoom lens trudged to its maximum focal length at snail speed. The infant you wanted to photograph would've learned to crawl, walk, and drive a Big Wheel to kindergarten by the time the camera was ready to fire.

And the shutter lag -- the moment between pressing the big gray button and getting the shot -- rivaled that of some older digital cameras.

Overall, the Kodak 1035z was more sluggish than the Minolta Freedom model from which it was re-badged. That's right; in the mid-1990s, Kodak had already started jobbing out production of some 35mm point-and-shoot cameras to Minolta.

I've found some intriguing 35mm cameras in thrift stores, in need only of a new battery and a quick wipe-down. I'll be writing about a few in the coming weeks. But this Kodak-Minolta camera wasn't one of them.

If you find one, I recommend leaving it on the shelf.