Classic Camera Reviews

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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  |  Jul 08, 2011  |  First Published: Jun 01, 2011  |  0 comments

When it was launched in 1956, advertisements of the time claimed the Rittreck to be the world’s most versatile Single Lens Reflex (SLR). It’s a statement that would be difficult to argue with. How many other SLRs can you name that offered interchangeable lenses, interchangeable backs, close-up facilities, a choice of four different formats, and the option of shooting on roll film or cut film?

Frances E. Schultz  |  Jan 01, 2006  |  0 comments

If a picture is really brilliant, you don't have to worry about grain or sharpness or anything else: to quote Mike Gristwood, late of Ilford, "How much good would it do you to know the technical details of any one of Henri Cartier-Bresson's pictures?"

By the same token, if a picture is really bad, no amount of technical brilliance is going...

Jason Schneider  |  Apr 01, 2006  |  0 comments

Renowned "camera collector" Jason Schneider is out there scouring camera stores, Internet sites, and camera shows to bring you the best bargains in user collectibles, recent gems, and vintage gear.
--Editor

Presuming you haven't been meditating in a cave in Tibet for the past few years, you know that the prices of medium format...

Jason Schneider  |  May 01, 2006  |  0 comments

While I am hardly a charter member of the anti-digitist (I shoot about 70 percent digital these days, mostly with a Canon EOS 20D, and I'm currently nursing a bad case of 5D lust) I will confess to being a long-time Nikon nut. When I acquired my first Nikon F in the early 1960s, I thought I had died and gone to heaven, and there are at least half a dozen Nikon cameras on my...

Jason Schneider  |  Mar 01, 2006  |  0 comments

This month we begin a new column with renowned "camera collector" Jason Schneider. Jason will be out there scouring camera stores, Internet sites, and camera shows to bring you the best bargains in user collectibles, recent gems, and vintage gear.
--Editor

 

Is there a camera enthusiast on the planet who hasn't pored over the...

Jason Schneider  |  Jul 01, 2006  |  0 comments

Before launching into paeans of praise for the Nikon F, which, in my arrogant opinion, may well be the most important 35mm SLR of the 20th century, I must confess to being a tiny bit biased. When I acquired my first F as a teen-ager back in 1961 (alas after trading in a mint Leica IIIg with a 50mm f/2.8 collapsible Elmar) I knew I had finally arrived. I strutted around lower...

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...

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...

Steve Meltzer  |  Nov 11, 2015  |  0 comments

After 140 years of photography, camera design has reached something of a pinnacle with today’s DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. But along the way to our digital era there were lots of false starts and dead ends. These were unusual cameras that had their brief moment and then simply disappeared.

Jason Schneider  |  Jul 18, 2018  |  2 comments

A score of digital and analog cameras that set standards for their era and pointed to the future.

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.

John Wade  |  Mar 01, 2010  |  0 comments

In 1947, the English Wray Optical Company took out a patent on an amazing and innovative 35mm Single Lens Reflex (SLR). It had an eye-level penta-prism viewfinder, instant return mirror, Through The Lens (TTL) metering, and a built-in clockwork motor drive—four features never before seen on this type of camera.

 

The design was acquired from an...

Roger W. Hicks  |  Nov 08, 2012  |  First Published: Oct 01, 2012  |  0 comments

Limited production, exquisite fit and finish, and usability, too: how much more does it take to qualify a camera as a classic, or a collectible? Maybe a good dash of eccentricity; and the NPC 195 qualifies on all counts.

 

The fortunes of NPC (Newton Plastics Corporation) rose and fell with those of Polaroid. They were probably best known to most photographers for their Polaroid proofing backs using the late Marty Forscher’s patents for optical-fiber transfer of the image, though they also made a superb tripod head of unique design (the Pro-Head), a microscope camera, and more. They did a lot of government work, including for NASA, but a few years ago, after decades of success, they closed their doors.

S. "Fritz" Takeda  |  Sep 01, 2009  |  0 comments

The 31st Used Camera Show 2009 took place for six days earlier this year at the Exhibition Floor of the Matsuya department store, Ginza, Tokyo.

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