Classic Camera Reviews

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Roger W. Hicks  |  Jan 01, 2006  |  0 comments

In accordance with my predictions that medium format will move increasingly toward the specialist or niche market, there are no fewer than eight new panoramic rollfilm cameras since last year: one of the most active sectors in traditional silver-halide photography. In reverse alphabetical order, they are Walker/Canham, Shenhao (two models), Noblex, Gilde, and Fotoman (three...

Sandy Ritz and Dean Ritz  |  Jan 01, 2006  |  18 comments

The history of the Kardon camera is a story of forgotten American genius. The Kardon camera, manufactured in several variations from 1945-'54 represents an important American contribution to the then-state-of-the-art "miniature" camera. And it represents Peter Kardon's patriotic effort to answer to the US military's need for a high-quality 35mm camera...

Roger W. Hicks  |  Nov 01, 2005  |  0 comments

There's an old saying: If something appears to be too good to be true, it probably is. But sometimes you get lucky.

I couldn't resist the Pentacon sixTL that I saw in FotoSkoda in Prague. I won't say that FotoSkoda is the best camera store in the world, because there are too many other contenders, including many Shutterbug advertisers. It is...

Heiner Henninges Shutterbug European Correspondent  |  Aug 01, 2005  |  0 comments

Germany is a good place for photographic camera enthusiasts to go. This is true for people who are looking for used cameras that they can buy at reasonable prices as well as for classic collectibles. Top models of the most famous brands dominate the market for used and classic cameras, with Leica in highest demand. But other high-value and professional products made by Canon...

Roger W. Hicks  |  Jun 01, 2005  |  0 comments

Here's an accessory from the 1930s which is probably easier to use today, in the digital era, than when it was new. It's quite simply a click-stopped panoramic head (Panoramkopf), Leitz telegraphic code name FARUX, with--this is the good bit--interchangeable rings for different focal lengths. FARUX came with a 5cm ring but you could also buy the accessory...

Roger W. Hicks  |  May 01, 2005  |  0 comments

The Baldessa 1 from Balda in the Schwarzwald is one of those cameras that quickens the heart of a collector simply by its looks: beautiful styling and a superb late-1950s West German finish. Unfortunately upon closer examination it turns out to be a bit of a bimbo (for the ladies, think of it as a himbo or dumb hunk--I don't want to be unduly sexist).

...

S. "Fritz" Takeda  |  Apr 01, 2005  |  0 comments

The question posed above was the first reaction to the news about the new Zeiss Ikon rangefinder 35mm in Japan, and perhaps in the US and the rest of the world, when the new camera was unveiled at photokina 2004. But this was wrong, because it was a completely new camera proposed by Carl Zeiss AG.

 

At photokina 2002 in Cologne, Dr. Scherle, Vice...

Stan Trzoniec  |  Apr 01, 2005  |  0 comments

Photos © 2004, Stan Trzoniec, All Rights Reserved

 

In a world of increasing digital dominance, Nikon has again taken a bold step and introduced a camera that should keep film-based photographers happy for some time to come. Call it a move up for those who never had the privilege of owning a premium camera or a huge upgrade for photographers who now feel they've...

Rick Shimonkevitz  |  Mar 01, 2005  |  0 comments

Imagine a hand holdable single lens reflex camera that has front movements similar to a view camera to allow control of plane of focus. If you think that's a pretty modern concept, you are only about 100 years too late. The Soho Reflex camera, made from 1905 up to the 1940s, was just such an item. Manufactured by Kershaw of Leeds, England, and marketed under several...

Roger W. Hicks  |  Feb 01, 2005  |  0 comments

What determines whether a camera is collectible? Quality? Technical ingenuity? Commercial success (or failure)? All of these things--but some deserve to be saved from the scrap heap just because they are pretty. The Bilora Bella 44 has little else to commend it. The lens is indifferent; the shutter limited; the 127 film needed to feed it is hard to find; film counting is by...

Roger W. Hicks  |  Dec 01, 2004  |  0 comments

All Photos © 2004, Roger W. Hicks, All Rights Reserved

 

The Leica MP is the greatest Leica for years--maybe decades. If you want a classic all-mechanical Leica, and you can afford a new one, this is the one to buy. That's all there is to it.

So much for the short review: how about a longer one? Well, it is best summed up in three words:...

Rick Shimonkevitz  |  Dec 01, 2004  |  0 comments

A "universal" camera intended for both handheld action and tripod-mounted corrective photography, the Linhof Technika 70 is a combination of press and technical designs. Introduced in 1963 by Nikolaus Karpf KG in Munich, Germany, the Technika 70 was similar in concept (combined range/viewfinder focusing, folding-bed bellows camera of alloy metal construction) to the...

Stan Trzoniec  |  Dec 01, 2004  |  0 comments

All Photos © 2004, Stan Trzoniec, All Rights Reserved

 

According to a recent survey, there are still over 140 million film cameras in use within the boundaries of the US. No doubt that digital has taken the world by storm, but is there still a sizable market out there for the dedicated film shooter? Looking at the recent introduction of an improved version of the...

Harry Price  |  Nov 01, 2004  |  0 comments

The first large format monorail cameras appeared on the market in the late 1940s and early '50s from European manufacturers like Linhof and Sinar. Linhof's first monorail, the original Kardan, was released in '52, the same year the German company moved into worldwide distribution.

Monorails were quickly adopted by studio and architectural...

Rick Shimonkevitz  |  Oct 01, 2004  |  0 comments

So you want to try large format photography but don't want to spend a lot of money? Vintage 4x5 press cameras sit forlornly on dealers' shelves everywhere, and if not in collectable shape (e.g., mint, with correct lens plus accessories) they can usually be had at bargain prices. One of the cameras I recommend, the Graflex Super...

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