Classic Camera Reviews

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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  |  0 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  |  27 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.

John Wade  |  Jan 15, 2013  |  First Published: Dec 01, 2012  |  13 comments

Making panoramic pictures in the digital age is easy. But it’s a lot more fun to use classic panoramic cameras, many of which can still be bought and used today.

 

The first panoramic camera was the Megaskop, made in 1844 to produce daguerreotypes on silver-plated copper plates, 4.7x17.5” wide. Later, there were Cirkut cameras, made first by the Rochester Panoramic Camera Company in 1904 and later by Kodak. These cameras were, and still are, used to produce super-wide school or sports club pictures. As the exposure was made, a clockwork motor rotated the camera on its tripod while inside the film traveled from one spool to another, past a slit at the focal plane.

Fritz Takeda  |  Nov 13, 2012  |  First Published: Oct 01, 2012  |  1 comments

Once upon a time a camera wasn’t just a consumer electronic mediocrity but a gem in a show window reflecting brilliant illumination from its matte chromium skin. Such were the products on display at the 34th annual Tokyo Used Camera Show, which ran in the exhibition hall of Matsuya department store late this winter. Unlike many department stores in the US, Japanese department stores are premium boutiques of selected goods, usually with a big exhibition space as a traffic generator.

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