Sorry I have been away for so long. Been a busy month of friends visiting and travelling 🙂 Alas I am finally writing about the Minolta Dual35 Weathermatic camera. It is a cousin or maybe even closer relative of the Minolta Weathermatic-A which I reviewed a few years ago. The main difference between the cameras is that the Dual35 is made to take 35mm film instead of 110. Earlier this year I also reviewed the underwater use of the Canon A1 Sureshot which is the Canon equivalent of this camera. I hope that you have some time to review both of those other cameras.
Minolta Weathermatic Dual35 Waterproof Camera
The Weathermatic Dual35 is a very distinctive bright yellow camera with a watertight body that can be used for all sorts of water activities as it claims to be waterproof to 5m. It was originally manufactured in 1987 and followed suite of the Minolta AF-DL in that it an almost completely all automatic point and shoot 35mm camera. The camera had a wide range of accessories that you can still sometimes find such as the matching case and watertight film canisters. You can see me stylin on Instagram below with the matching yellow accessory case.
I used this camera along with my Canon A1 during my super short holiday in LA. Since it is so bright I feel that it always gets attention from others especially since it is also analog. I felt that people were will to pose for the camera due to its quirky look. It is also easy to find in the water since it floats, so you don’t have to worry about it sinking to the bottom whatever body of water you are in.
I acquired the camera at a local thrift store for about $10 but it can be found on Ebay as well for about $20-25 USD. Although it is tough to know if the camera will still be waterproof without testing it and I also have bought one camera and the shutter blades became stuck 🙁 So as usual it’s always the luck of the draw with purchasing older and often very used equipment. You can sometimes find this camera in my Etsy Shop and I will tell you how later in the post or you can just simply click on my Shop link at the top of my blog.
Luckily this camera has 2 types of batteries it can take. It can take a 6 Volt CR-P2 (DL223A) lithium battery that can easily be found at your local Radio Shack. If you are interested in sourcing it online it can also be found at Amazon at this Link Panasonic Photo Power CR-P2 Lithium Battery. It also takes regular 4 AAA batteries if that is what you prefer, but I would get high end long lasting ones as this camera does seem to suck the life out of them pretty fast. The batteries can be replaced at the bottom of the camera, and can be opened with a coin. The battery door , which similar to the film door, also has an orange gasket that should be kept clean to prevent leaks.
The Minolta Weathermatic Dual35 uses 35mm film and can adjust only from 100 or 400 ISO. You can buy 35mm film at such places as Walmart, Target and CVS. You can also buy film online from specialty camera stores, but I generally go for film from Lomography. You can look into their wide range of 35mm stock here.
The Sure Shot has a small latch on the side that when pulled down allows for the camera to open up and reveal it’s contents. Inside you can see the orange seal that keeps the water from seeping into the camera. Before and after the camera is used it is recommended that you clean the along the seal so that no particles can interfere with it and cause a leak. Film is easily installed with the roll being placed on the right side and you pull the film leader , under the hinged pressure plate, to align at the mark. Once you close the camera back you will hear the camera auto load with the built-in motor.
After your roll is finished the camera will automatically sense it and rewinds the film completely. Leaving you to just take it out and have it developed 🙂 This camera does not have a midroll rewind, so you have to take all of your photos carefully.
The Weathermatic Dual35 has a dual lens and you can switch between a 35mm f/3.5 and 50mm f/5.6. You can choose between the two by pressing the button on top of the camera that says Lens Select. This Dual35 has autofocusing using an infrared beam an has a range of about 1.7ft to infinity depending on which lens you use. The camera also has a flash that will automatically go off if the camera detects that there is not enough light. The flash is fully automatic, and it cannot be turned on or off and has no adjustable settings.
Like other Minolta cameras the Dual35 comes with a “focus hold” feature. If you want to take a picture of an object that is off to the side with a landscape background you will not be able to right right off the back. This is where the focus hold feature comes into play. If you want to focus on your side object you need to press slightly down on the shutter button until the LED focus zone light in the viewfinder turns on. This causes the camera to memorize the distance that you want it to focus on. You then reframe your picture with the shutter button still held down to how you originally wanted it. Press the shutter button all the way down to actually take your picture.
When using the camera underwater the camera will automatically switch from being autofocus to being fixed-focus and the flash will go off on most underwater shots due to lower light levels. The best focus range of the camera underwater is between 4-10ft. The camera also offers a close-up button that can be pressed next to the viewfinder for a closer range. This give a better focus between the 2-4ft range depending on which of the lenses you are using.
So first off my pictures above the water came out great and were very nice and clear. I managed to get nice some nice photos even though I completely forgot about focus hold and all that.
Even my photos is the direct sun came out nice though the of the 3 people does look a little washed out. I think that was mainly due to the fact that the sun was directly above us and there was hardly any clouds.
Once we got into the water the photos did begin to get a little blurry. Mostly because the lens was then starting to have water droplets forming on the front. You can definitely see this happening the the first photo below where there is like a cloud like object in the middle.
Actual underwater use was pretty good. I feel that the photos do not look as clear as other cameras that I have used, but it might have been the ocean that was in. If we had been in a swimming pool the results may have been different.
Overall I love this bright and somewhat bulky camera. It was easy to handle and can take a beating in the process.
If you have any interest in this camera you can sometimes find it in my Etsy Shop. If it’s not in stock you can always drop me a note and I can source it for you for no extra cost and make a reserved listing just for you.
Update: If you are on the look out for spares on this camera such as seals and straps you can look at the new listing in my shop below.
Most times the manual for this camera is no longer with the camera itself, but I was able to link a copy and you can find it at the below link from cameramanuals.org:
- Type: Fully automatic, compact waterproof 35mm AF lens/shutter camera with built-in flash.
- Manufacturer: Minolta
- Year of release: 1987
- Films: ISO 100 to 1000 DX-coded color negative film and ISO 100 or 400 DX-coded color negative film and ISO 100 or 400 DX-coded color reversal film; ISO 100 set when using films without DX coding
- Lens: 35 mm f/3.5 , 350mm f/5.6; built-in micromotor to change lens setting
- Land focusing: infrared active-type autofocus with cancelable focus hold; range: 0.75m to infinity; auto close-up function for pictures as close as 0.52m with 35mm lens, 0.62m with 50mm lens
- Underwater focusing: Focus-free: meniscus lens automatically sets focus for pictures from 1.2 to 3.6 with 35mm lens, from 1.3 to3.2 with 50mm lens; pressing underwater close-up button sets focus for pictures from 0.52 to 1.3m with 35mm lens, from 0.62 to 1m with 50mm lens
- Film transport: Automatic threading, auto advance to first frame, auto winding, auto rewind and auto rewind stop
- Flash system: Automatic charge activation; flash fires automatically in low light, when subject is closer than approx. 0.75m and when underwater close-up button is pressed; shutter locks until flash is charged; red LED next to viewfinder glows if flash is not charged
- Viewfinder: Bright-frame type with auto-focus zone, normal framing and close-framing guides; red LED (flash-wait); magnification changes automatically with lens setting
- Battery: 6V lithium battery pack (Duracell DL223A or Nation BR P2N) or 4 AAA’ size alkaline cells.
- Dimensions (W x H x D): 147.5 x 77.5 x 65mm
- Weight : 400g without batteries
I hope that you have enjoyed this review. Please let me know if you have any questions or if you think I have left anything out.