The cameras you knew and loved and why you loved them

This is a discussion on The cameras you knew and loved and why you loved them within the Photography Discussion forums, part of the PHOTO FORUM category; Yeah, it's been done before - but lets face it, these threads are FUN! From most favorite to least: Canon Canonet I love this camera ...


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  1. #1
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    The cameras you knew and loved and why you loved them

    Yeah, it's been done before - but lets face it, these threads are FUN!

    From most favorite to least:

    Canon Canonet

    I love this camera because it's small, compact, has a pretty decent lens and is CHEAP. It handles nicely, has a solid luxurious feel and full exposure control. I've taken a couple partially apart - partially because they are really hard to disassemble. They're built really well and have a great viewfinder on them. Just all around a fun, portable camera that lets poor people like myself to imagine what it's like to own a Leica.

    Contax RX

    This was the camera I actually did most of my more serious work with, it was built (and weighed) like a tank - something like 800g of brass, it had a great viewfinder with focus assist. The Zeiss glass for it was plentiful and inexpensive. Ergonomics were awesome, and I believe the body was even designed by Porsche.

    Yashicamat GII

    Great, dreamy lens on this 6x6 TLR. It wasn't so much that it was ultra sharp, it wasn't but it had this amazing, classic quality to it that's hard to explain, a lot of fun to use - and you got to love the crank on the side. Another feature I liked about it was the ability to take both 120 and 220 film

    Nikon FM

    This camera had the best viewfinder IN HISTORY. It was super bright and had a simple yet very accurate needle readout, center-weighted meter. It was a real no-nonsense 35mm SLR that was lightweight, well built and extremely fast to use.

    Bronica S

    This camera was built like a tank and weighed a ton. But the Nikkor lens it had on the front was by far the best lens I've used. Super SUPER sharp with great bokeh that was neither aggressive or sloshy.

    Graflex RB Series B

    It was a 4x5 SLR! How awesome is that? Even cooler, it had a curtain shutter. These cameras are just the BOMB. To set the exposure speed, you look on a little chart, turn some knobs that correspond to curtain travel time and the width of a slit cut into it, press on the trigger (yes, a trigger) and thuuuunk ... fwwwwwep! And the exposure was made. To focus, you look down this leather cavern and onto a huge waist level finder... Did I mention it was a 4x5 SLR?! The mirror slap was like a minor earthquake - so yes, it had mirror lockup

    Wista DX

    I don't know. It's an inexpensive field view camera. Pretty light weight, moderately well built, decent movements. Nothing really special about it. Glad I owned one when I did.

    Mamiya Press and Mamiya Press Super 23

    I really, really wanted to love these cameras. But I just couldn't. The rangefinders are just so dim and easily uncalibrated and oddly difficult to recalibrate - plus it was easy to strip the calibration screw. They are ridiculously heavy, the shift mechanism is fragile, the older backs leak really, really badly. I liked the idea a lot, but they were so SO SO clunky and heavy and the worst ergonomics known to man
    bear with me. i don't have an escape button...


  • #2
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    My first 35mm SLR was an Asahi Pentax Spotmatic that I bought at a PX in Saigon in 1965 0r 1966.

    It came with a 50mm f:1.2 that was incredibly sharp. And fast.

    I didn't realize that it was going to be the best camera I ever had.

    My next favorite was my Minolta SRT 201. The lenses didn't have a great reputation. But I thought they were OK. And the camera was fast and easy to focus and use.

    After that automatic cameras came on the scene and I spent some time cursing the lack of control over the automatic stuff.

    Then, seeking a return to the freedom of a fully manual camera I bought a Nikon FM-10. This was the worst camera I've ever used. Bad physical layout and a dim viewfinder. And it came with a junk zoom lens.

    My greatest complaint with the new cameras is the difficulty to focus manually. Dim viewfinders and lenses with way too little movement of the focus ring to focus accurately.

  • #3
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    ^^ and the dim finder wouldn't be so bad if they just left the microprism in! Who had the idiotic idea to leave out the microprism?
    bear with me. i don't have an escape button...

  • #4
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    Zenith E - Built like a tank, if you had a film that was a little tight on ther spool the metal sprockets would rip it to shreds but tough as old boots, affordable and pretty good image quality in the 1960's. Split focusing which worked great.

    Ricoh XR7 - Great 35mm - expensive for the time but came with a superb standard f/1.7 lens

  • #5
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    Minolta XD 11

    Manual, Aperture and Shutter Priority Automatic which was unique at the time, it would even continue to work with a dead battery. Very user-friendly, you could make adjustments with your eye in the viewfinder reading the on screen info. With a power winder, it was great for journalistic type shooting. When due to much use, I did have a shutter problem, I got it fixed in Mexico, while I waited, much to my surprise.

    Cameron


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