Classic Camera Reviews

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Steve Meltzer  |  May 06, 2015  |  0 comments

Photographer Josef Sudek is called the Poet of Prague because in tens of thousands of luminous images he captured the timeless soul of this city that is known as “The Jewel of Europe.” Sudek ceaselessly photographed the city’s streets, its forests and its atmosphere. But unlike Eugene Atget’s photgraphs of Paris, Sudek’s images transcend place and time and are meditative visions of light itself.

John Wade  |  Jan 23, 2015  |  0 comments

Mention Minolta to pre-digital photographers and thoughts turn to high quality, often revolutionary, 35mm Single Lens Reflex (SLR) cameras. It was Minolta, for example, that introduced the XD-11 (known as the XD-7 outside the US) in 1977, the first camera to feature both shutter- and aperture-priority modes. And it was Minolta that launched the Maxxum 5000 (Minolta 5000 outside the US) in 1985, the first SLR to feature body-integral autofocus.

 

Jon Sienkiewicz  |  Jan 15, 2015  |  3 comments

Remember Altman Camera? This year marks the 40th anniversary of Altman’s closing. Why was it important? Because when it closed in May of 1975, Altman’s was the largest camera store in the world. And Altman’s stocked everything. Not just a lot of stuff, everything

Dan Havlik  |  Oct 28, 2014  |  0 comments

The website MessyNessy Chic has done an excellent job of choosing some of the best vintage cameras from a sprawling, online treasure trove of classic photo gear called Collection Appareils.

John Wade  |  Sep 05, 2014  |  1 comments

In the days before digital it wasn’t uncommon for photographers to go out shooting with two or more types of film at the same time. For some, it was to give a choice between color or black and white. For others, it was the need for different film speeds. Short of rewinding a film midway through a roll, removing it and reloading, there were two options: carry more than one camera; or, if your camera took interchangeable lenses, carry a single range of lenses with two or more compatible bodies.

Cynthia Boylan  |  Sep 02, 2014  |  0 comments

Canon announced today it is commemorating the 80th anniversary of its very first camera: the Kwanon. Initially produced in prototype form in 1934, the Kwanon was Japan’s first 35mm focal-plane-shutter camera.

Cynthia Boylan  |  Aug 11, 2014  |  0 comments

A new show titled A Heritage of Cameras, which shows off some dazzling classic camera models, is currently on view in the Airport Meeting Place of the Lambert St. Louis International Airport until November 30th.

John Wade  |  Jul 08, 2014  |  First Published: Jun 01, 2014  |  0 comments

In the days before the 35mm Single Lens Reflex (SLR) rose to prominence, the 35mm viewfinder camera reigned supreme. Unlike the reflex viewing system of the SLR, this camera type used a separate optical viewfinder with a slightly different view to that of the lens. Some featured built-in coupled rangefinders to aid accurate focusing, and many stood at the center of versatile systems of lenses and accessories.

John Wade  |  Feb 07, 2014  |  First Published: Jan 01, 2014  |  0 comments

America did not invent photography—that honor must go to the French—but US camera manufacturers can take credit for introducing simple ways of taking pictures and bringing photography to the masses. Along the way, many also came up with often strange and sometimes ugly designs.

Fritz Takeda  |  Jan 28, 2014  |  First Published: Dec 01, 2013  |  0 comments

The 35th Tokyo Used Camera Show was held from February 20-25, 2013, in the Matsuya Department Store in Tokyo. Nearly 100 camera fans began a queue at 6pm the night before the opening at 10am, and it was a chilly evening indeed. Upon opening, these were the first people who ran up the escalators or jammed elevators to the 8th floor, the large exhibition hall where the show was held. Their quest? Perhaps to be the lucky man who would grab a rarity like the Leica KE-7A Civilian with an Elcan 50mm f/2, priced at $12,000.

Spencer Grant and Lou Jacobs Jr.  |  Jan 28, 2014  |  First Published: Dec 01, 2013  |  0 comments

On the shelf in my home office I have a collection of press cameras I’ve never used to take a picture. That’s not what they’re there for. They’re a tribute to a generation of bygone news photographers whose professionalism and skill set a standard to which I’ve aspired for over 40 years.

John Wade  |  Nov 15, 2013  |  First Published: Oct 01, 2013  |  0 comments

Cameras with built-in meters were not rare in the 1960s, but the problem with camera meters before the Topcon RE Super was that the cell took in a different view than that of the lens. Using a standard lens that was mostly okay, but if a wide-angle or telephoto lens were fitted, changing the field of view and the part of the subject needing to be accurately metered, it was a different matter.

John Wade  |  Aug 27, 2013  |  First Published: Jul 01, 2013  |  2 comments

The Twin Lens Reflex (TLR) design involved two lenses, one to record its image on film, the other to reflect its image to a focusing screen. The style dates back to the days of plate cameras, but came to the fore with the launch of the Rolleiflex in 1928.

Jon Sienkiewicz  |  Jun 29, 2013  |  1 comments

The only thing better than owning a high-end compact camera is owning two of the same model. At the risk of sounding extravagant or greedy, let me explain.

John Wade  |  Mar 07, 2013  |  First Published: Feb 01, 2013  |  29 comments

The Voigtländer Prominent was one of the most sophisticated cameras of the 1950s—also among the most complicated, and just a bit eccentric. It was launched in 1951, a time when 35mm rangefinder cameras were at their peak. Yet it anticipated the approaching popularity of single lens reflexes by offering devices that converted it from rangefinder to reflex use and surrounding itself with interchangeable lenses, viewfinders, close-up attachments, filters, and other accessories that made it a true system camera.

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