Classic Camera Reviews

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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.

Robert E. Mayer  |  Mar 01, 2006  |  1 comments

This look at the history and a few of the better-known early products of Argus Cameras was gleaned primarily from the new book "Argomania: A Look At Argus Cameras And The Company That Made Them" by Henry J. Gambino. As Gambino says, "How many other companies have a museum devoted solely to its history and can also boast of a large, thriving, worldwide collectors...

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).

...

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...

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.

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...

Shutterbug Staff  |  Mar 25, 2019  |  0 comments

If you want a quality compact camera for street photography but don't want to spend an arm and a leg, the Pentax MX-1 from six years ago is still a great buy, according to Mattias Burling, who reviews older cameras on his popular YouTube channel. Selling for only a few hundred dollars online (and even less if you hunt around the used market), the Pentax MX-1 is a legend of a camera, Burling contends.

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...

Roger W. Hicks  |  Jul 01, 2009  |  0 comments

It is very easy for collectors to get hung up on cameras and lenses, and to forget that photography is a lot more than this. Many small and not-so-small accessories are technically fascinating in their own right, and remind us how things used to be in an era less affluent but more diverse than our own. For the collector, or simply for those with an interest in the past, they have the twin...

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  |  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...

Jon Sienkiewicz  |  Jan 01, 2011  |  1 comments

Long before the Mind of Minolta popularized autofocus SLRs with the introduction of the Maxxum 7000 there was the XD.

The year was 1977 and Minolta Camera Company, Ltd. was riding high. Fueled by the success of the SR-T series and the inimitable XE-7, Minolta launched the XD family, beginning with the XD-11 (labeled simply XD in Japan and XD-7 in Europe). The XD-11 was the first...

Jason Schneider  |  Aug 01, 2010  |  0 comments

A while back I had picked my top 20 cameras of all time, a topic that still draws comment on the Shutterbug Forums. While few Shutterbug readers venomously assailed my choices or impugned my historical accuracy, practically everyone posting on The Top 20 Cameras of All Time Forum was rooting for their favorite cameras, or complaining that their gems weren’t included.

This...

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...

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