Unlike more substantial SLRs, the vast majority of point-and-shoot 35mm cameras were pretty ephemeral. Whereas a Canon AE-1 was likely to be put in the attic when it was no longer in use, a Snappy 50 was a lot more likely to go in the trash or get handed to the kids to play with. Combine that with the fact that most of these cameras were both highly automated and yet built to a price point, and it makes functioning survivors from the more affordable end of the market scarcer than their vast production numbers and fairly recent chronology would have you believe. The biggest difference between a "single-use camera" and a $50 blister-pack P&S from the early '90s is that the former made no pretenses as to its disposability.
On the other end of the price curve, there are plenty of high-quality small point-'n'-shoot 35s still around, but be ready to do battle with fanbois on eBay, because you will be fighting with film hipsters over pocket jewelry like the Ricoh GR1 or Minolta TC-1.
|The Precious, yes! We wants it, Gollum, and now we has it!|
|The TVS is bigger than the diminutive Coolpix, but still tiny compared to an average-sized SLR like the Canon A-1.|
Still, I'm looking forward to shooting some film with it, hopefully on warmer days, strolling through the city. (And those looks... I'm not going to even pretend I'm immune to the Contax's pretty face.)