Classic Camera Reviews

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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).

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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...

S. "Fritz" Takeda  |  Sep 01, 2004  |  0 comments

KATSUMIDO at Ginza is the biggest used camera shop in Tokyo, specializing in rare items in mint condition. KATSUMIDO is known as the most expensive and the most quality-intensive used camera boutique in Tokyo. In the central oblong showcase of the store, the best and the rarest cameras...

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

It's a brute: there's no doubt about that. With a 6x9cm back, 75mm lens, and finder, it's over 8" (200mm) tall and weighs well over 6 lbs or around 3 kg. That's one of the biggest, heaviest combinations, but the others...

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

Collecting cameras is all very well, but we can often learn more about the history of photography--and about the difficulties under which our photographic forebears labored--by looking at accessories. The Practos exposure meter is a prime example. It is one of the last of its kind, and...

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

Reloadable labyrinth-style cassettes are nothing new: they were launched with the original Leica when it became clear that darkroom loading and unloading was not going to be outstandingly convenient. This is why a standard load is 36; the original Leica...

Harry Price  |  May 01, 2004  |  1 comments

Mamiya introduced the Super 23 in 1967 and it would be the next to the last design the company would release as part of their series of "press" cameras. The term "press camera" was already an anachronism when the model was...

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