This is the second iteration of the Rollei™ Prego series cameras that I’ve tested so far and this one has way more features; and perhaps way more issues than the aforementioned. I was so impressed with the Prego AF that I had to find and acquire another member of the family just to make sure my initial impression wasn’t a fluke. Scrolling through eBay I came across this 100WA that features a super compact design with a generously proportioned LCD display on the back. I was instantly intrigued with everything about this camera aside from the asking price of $170 (which is justifiable now that I’ve used it). Not wanting to break my streak of getting nearly all of my compact point and shoots for under $100USD, I decided to initiate my haggling skills. After a few back and forths with the seller, I finally got him to budge as he accepted my offer of $85 (shipping included).
When I received the camera and looked at it for the first time, my initial thought was “oh, she looks even better in person” which is something that I didn’t find myself saying very often back when I was in the midst of my swiping endeavors. The body has a slick compact design that feels good in hand and the visual aesthetics that meet my eyes lust for design. Now let’s talk about the LCD on the back. This is the only point and shoot film camera that I own that features a big LCD display with a toggle-button that allows you to hop-scotch through settings. I was in-like with the big digital counter but I fell in-love when I realized that the display illuminates as you engage the settings. This is perfect for when you’re out at night or shooting candid party moments. I don’t know why more compact cameras from the 80’s and 90’s didn’t offer this feature since most were used for family orientated events. Aside from a small leakage spot on the screen and a couple of vanity based war-wounds, this camera is basically in mint condition. Okay, time to stop swimming in infatuation and load a roll of film to see what this baby can do.
The first two issues that I immediately noticed while shooting is that the viewfinder is quite small and it makes framing a bit tricky, especially if you have bad eyes like this old bloke. Secondly, the flash is automatically set to on. Even if you set the flash to off, the camera will automatically switch it back to auto once you hit the power button. Admittedly, I felt a bit annoyed by this but I had to remind myself to look for the good in all encounters so I realigned my chakras and got back to shooting. I can honestly say I had so much fun making photos with this camera over the week or so that it took for me to get through the roll. Even with its short comings, I still found it quite enjoyable to use. Not only does it feel and look good, there’s also this weird quality about it that compels you to want to use it. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was or why I liked it so much, and then I got the scans back and it all made sense.
I had high hopes for this camera because of my past experience with its predecessor and let me tell you, I wasn’t disappointed. As you can see from the images, this camera is pretty consistent and when the auto focus and exposure hits, it hits hard and captures all of the things that I adore about film snapshots. The mood, the vibe, the tones, the grain, it’s all there. Now, this also means that you have to take the good with the bad. When this little snapper is in a mood and doesn’t care to perform for you, it produces muddy, out of focus frames that made me question why I even bothered loading her up with Kodak Portra if she was just going to give me expired Fuji Superia results. With this being said, even with the misfires and squinty-eyed viewfinder experiences, I had a lot of fun capturing these images. So, how do you know if this one is good for you? Well, lets get into the pros and cons
- Metal front chasis
- Easy to use
- Cool design
- Sharp Auto Focus (when it hits)
- Adjustable modes
- Strong flash
- Great contrast and tones
- Plastic rear body
- Small viewfinder
- Somewhat slow lens
- Resets to auto when turned off
- Focus range is a hit or miss
- Hard to find and impossible to fix
In closing, even though this camera has its hang-ups and moments of unclarity, I can honestly say that some of my favorite recent snapshots were taken with this little shooter. It was fun to use and once you build up the muscle memory for hitting the settings before you frame your shot, you will discover that this compact will produce some truly beautiful images. If you can find one for under $200, I highly recommend you pull the trigger as these don’t pop up very often.
Film was process and scanned by @DarkRoomFilmLab