Classic Camera Reviews

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Rick Shimonkevitz  |  Aug 01, 2007  |  0 comments

As we journey further into cyberspace, it is inevitable that the oldest of methods for forming an image has found resurgence. Pinhole photography can be both fun and a serious pursuit. Notice the introduction of make-your-own pinhole camera kits as well as manufactured cameras for small and large formats. There is a published journal devoted to the craft and several websites...

Roger W. Hicks  |  Jun 01, 2007  |  0 comments

It's made to use with your classic Leica; it's a long-established accessory, first introduced in 1931; it's in gorgeous black wrinkle paint, exquisitely engraved with the E. LEITZ WETZLAR logo; there's a beautiful red safelight glass built into the back; it's in mint condition; it's boxed, with instructions; when it was new, probably 50 years...

Jason Schneider  |  Jun 01, 2007  |  0 comments

If I have any guiding principle that informs my desultory scribblings it is simply this: "Don't write about things you haven't actually tried yourself." It's a great way to avoid "foot in mouth" disease, and as the sages are wont to say, experience is the greatest teacher. So, before holding forth (as I did in my last column) on the...

Jason Schneider  |  May 01, 2007  |  14 comments

Horseman is a name associated with high-quality, large format Japanese view and press cameras and lenses, but it's also noted for innovative designs. An excellent example is the Horseman 3D, the company's first 35mm stereo rangefinder camera. Basically it's a Hasselblad Xpan II that's been modified by installing a unit containing two 38mm f/2.8 Super...

Rick Shimonkevitz  |  May 01, 2007  |  3 comments

Graphic cameras were made in 21/4x31/4, 31/4x41/4, 4x5, and 5x7" film sizes, either with (Speed) or without a rear focal plane shutter (Century, Crown, and Super). The 4x5 is often recommended as a starter large format camera and many are still in use today. The 3x4s and 5x7s are somewhat rare and collectible, but what about the 2x3s? The 2x3 Crown (leather-covered mahogany)...

Jason Schneider  |  May 01, 2007  |  0 comments

With prices of all film cameras at historic lows, now is as good a time as any to glom onto that classic screwmount Leica you've always wanted!

When it comes to embodying the classic Bauhaus dictum "form follows function," nothing can beat a vintage screwmount Leica. From the late version of the Leica I or C of 1930/31 (the first model with...

Robert E. Mayer  |  Apr 01, 2007  |  0 comments

When the Canon F-1 SLR 35mm camera system was introduced the spring of 1971 it was a full-blown system containing a brand-new, truly professional camera plus every extra accessory that any photographer could need or desire. The entire system was dramatically introduced at the unique Photo Expo '71 held at McCormick Place in Chicago. In the early '70s Canon products...

Roger W. Hicks & Frances E. Schultz  |  Apr 01, 2007  |  4 comments

Pick up the new Bessa R3M (or R2M--only the viewfinders differ) and it takes you back in time. At a solid 430 gm (a fraction over 15 oz) it has the heft and overall feel of a high-quality camera from the 1950s or '60s. Appropriately, it is the best Bessa yet, produced to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the founding of Voigtländer, and is engraved...

Jason Schneider  |  Apr 01, 2007  |  0 comments

The redoubtable Nikon F3 was scorned by traditionalists in 1980, but variants of this modern classic remained in production for over 21 years--longer than any other pro 35mm SLR.

When the sleek, ergonomically contoured, ruggedly reliable Nikon F3 debuted back in '80, it was greeted with cheers and jeers. Some long-time Nikon fans were gratified to have an...

Jon Sienkiewicz  |  Mar 01, 2007  |  0 comments

Sooner or later, you're going to be tempted to buy a product that's labeled "refurbished." It will probably be the lower price that attracts you--after all, there is one and only one reason to even consider "refurb" and that is to save money. Depending on where you shop, you may be led to believe that the refurbished item is as good as...

Roger W. Hicks  |  Mar 01, 2007  |  0 comments

One reason why digital camera users may hesitate to make the switch to film--better quality, proven archival keeping, and lower cost--is that the cameras aren't complicated enough. For example, my Nikon D70 has around 24 buttons, levers, knobs, dials, trap doors, and switches, many of them multifunctional, plus an LCD read-out and a screen on the back. For...

Roger W. Hicks  |  Feb 01, 2007  |  0 comments

The Samoca 35 LE definitely wants to be taken seriously. The box is a classic piece of high 1950s design, and proudly announces "Exposure Meter Built-In" and "Lens - F 2.8." Open it up and there's a really classic leather ever-ready case with metal-rimmed, red velvet-lined removable top, so you can use the camera in the half case. Or you can take it...

Roger W. Hicks  |  Jan 01, 2007  |  0 comments

This would appear to be a new golden age for rangefinder users. There are now three major systems (Leica, Voigtländer, and Zeiss) and two minor (Epson and Rollei). All use the same cross-compatible lens mount, for which an extensive and excellent range of lenses is available, and all compete with one another, albeit at different price points. Who could have imagined this...

Roger W. Hicks & Frances E. Schultz  |  Sep 01, 2006  |  0 comments

Is there still a demand for an entry-level film SLR camera? The folks at Voigtländer seem to think so, evidenced by their new VSL 43. It is very much an entry-level SLR, with a manually set (but completely battery-dependent) shutter from 1/2 sec to 1/2000 sec, flash sync at 1/60 sec, manual focusing, manual diaphragm, and manual film advance. There is a through-lens meter...

Rosalind Smith  |  Sep 01, 2006  |  0 comments

For the past 55 years what has captivated collector Thurman (Jack) Naylor about photography is just about everything. He has amassed a private collection that has extended from the pre-photography days of Chinese mirrors and the earliest daguerreotypes to a miniature digital camera used today as a spy device. It has been a labor of love for Naylor and an unforgettable experience...

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