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Classic cameras

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JJB70

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Photography is like many things, including sports - as enthusiastic as we might be about gear it is not the gear that takes the shot or gives us physical fitness. Most of the worlds truly great images were captured using gear that would be considered pitifully primitive by a modern gearhead.
 

mhardy6647

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Photography is like many things, including sports - as enthusiastic as we might be about gear it is not the gear that takes the shot or gives us physical fitness. Most of the worlds truly great images were captured using gear that would be considered pitifully primitive by a modern gearhead.
True enough. Thus is my son a photographer. I take pictures. ;)
 

JeffS7444

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The job took longer than I anticipated, but one circa 1940 FED-1 is ready for action again! Original rubberized silk shutter curtains had deteriorated to the point where the rubber was crumbly, and salvaging the original was not an option, so I built a new shutter using materials sourced from Aki-Asahi.

Collapsable Industar lens is 4-element Zeiss Tessar / Leitz Elmar type. Mounted to my Sony camera, I thought it looked like a very decent optic.

Pretty much a direct copy of a Leica II, I'd love to see how the original compares. Really like the size and general feel of the camera: Leica III is just a few millimeters longer, but somehow it feels considerably larger.
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Gorgonzola

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View attachment 189320
This lot, together with a few specialist lenses that I hired from time to time bought my first house, put food on the table and enabled me to travel to several countries documenting the work of charitable organisations. I kept meaning to upgrade to an F2 and then an F3, but it just kept working so the upgrade never happened. Only once in 16 years did I have a failure when the meter suddenly quit. It was fixed in less than 24 hours by a camera repair outfit owned by two brothers in LA. Everything still works today and the lenses are still used regularly in a Nikon DSLR. There's a lot of memories in that gear.
I owned a Nikon F in the late '60s and early '70s. I loved it for a while but was glad to see the end of it when I got my Olympus OM-1 -- a much lighter and easier handling camera.

In the poverty of my youth I bought a Nikkor AI f/2 35mm lens. (35mm was my favorite focal length before the advent of good zoom lenses.) This was a massive lens as I recall, and it cost me the equivalent of $1800 in today's dollars ...

images


Far lighter & smaller, (and cheaper), but quite excellent Zuiko 35 f/2 for the Olympus ...

zuiko.jpg


The Nikkor was a still further cry from the relatively tiny Fijinon f/2 23mm (APS-C 35mm equivalent) WR I have today for my Fijifilm X-T10 and X-T2 cameras. The is a decent but not extraordinary lens which lacks image stabilization. I don't use it very often, favoring instead the XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 LM OIS. ...

fujifilm_16523169_fujinon_23mm_f_2_r_1275473.jpg

The
 
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oldmanhifi

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Damn, this could get out of hand.

No list of classics could be complete without including the Rolleiflex. Widely copied by the Japanese, but most successfully by Yashica with the YashicaMat 124. My Rolleiflex is an early 50’s 3.5 MX2 with a Schneider lens. Still works perfectly.

And the Hasselblad—ubiquitous with event pros for decades, and defined the box-SLR concept followed in the pro-camera world since then. Even my Pentax 645z owes its basic shape to the ‘blad.

The ultimate classic press camera of all time was the Speed Graphic—must be included. Yes, I have one—two rangefinders (one for 127mm and one for 8-1/2”), Kalart Focus Spot, windup focal-plane shutter that shouldn’t work but does. Neat camera. The speed graphic was replaced by the Nikon F as the standard press camera, mostly because of Vietnam and Life Magazine.

There were a number of medium-format SLRs in the 35mm tradition of horizontal travel, like the Practisix and the Norita 66. But the Pentax came out with the Pentax 6x7 in 1969 and simply owned that category until the category itself faded away in the early 2000’s. It’s a true classic. I have three and still use them from time to time.

For studio SLRs, the Mamiya RB-67 was a true classic.

The Sinar Norma established the notion of a modular large-format monorail view camera, and became the standard by which others were measured, even brands further upmarket like Linhof and ArcaSwiss. The ownership of the pro view camera category continued with the Sinar P and F models of the 70’s (I have and still use one of each of those). Speaking of Linhof, their Technikardan defined the folding technical camera category basically forever. A true classic. For large format folding-bed cameras, particularly in 8x10, there was Deardorff and then everyone else.

No camera made SLRs safe for casual amateurs like the Canon AE-1. That camera ruled that market and did what the F-1 could never do to make Canon a household name. That said, I still have the F-1 I bought in the 70’s.

Prior to the AE-1, the 35mm SLR for the masses had been the Pentax Spotmatic, surely a classic.

In the digital world, the Canon 10D was the first to really move established film users to digital. And the 5D (the first one) was the first to truly exceed what had been possible with 35mm film. Those are classics in ways the 1D will never be. For casual users, the Rebel was a classic.

There are many others, but each of these shines as the definitive example of their category.

Rick “who owns most of them” Denney
I first dipped my toe into photography with my brother's Pentax Spotmatic. However I was not crazy about the stop down full area averaging meter that always under-exposed the foreground when the sky was part of the picture. My first (owned by me) camera was the ubiquitous Minolta SRT-101, which I bought in 1971 and still have. Took many good photos with that camera. Its CLC (contrast light compensation) full aperture metering system did a great job avoiding the underexposed foregrounds and was a primitive early stab at matrix metering. Used that camera even after I bought a Minolta X700. The SRT-101 went on backpacking trips because it would still work if the battery went dead and a replacement battery for the meter weighed next to nothing. Those two served until digital came along then moved to a Konica Minolta Maxxum 6D before moving to Nikon (D5100->D7100). Now almost exclusively use my Panasonic GX85 because the camera and complete lens set fits into a small bag and I mostly do travel and (my) family event photography which doesn't need 50 megapixel full frame images.
 
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JeffS7444

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Next item on my workbench: Praktisix II. Uh, how did this thing go together? It's been at least a couple of years since I disassembled it and stashed the various bits in film canisters and baggies, and the bits which weren't bagged got awfully dusty! I think I paid less than $50 for the camera, because it was jammed. And the reason it was jammed is because the shutter curtain had not only deteriorated, but it had melted onto the rollers of the camera. So (sigh) another shutter-rebuilding job.

Assuming that I can resurrect it, I might like to pair it with an 80/2.8 Zeiss Biometar or 50/4 Flektogon. Probably would just use it with the waist level finder: It's 6x6 format which is ideally suited for waist level viewing, and by avoiding a prism finder, I can keep the weight of the outfit modest. Often compared to the the Kiev 6/60 which use the same lens mount. But Praktisix is actually a good deal smaller and lighter than it's Ukrainian cousin.

What's kind of neat about the design of this camera is how the heart of the camera is the combined mirror box / shutter module (center of cutting mat) which lifts out of the main body casting.
_DSC1596_PSMS.jpg
 

JeffS7444

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I first dipped my toe into photography with my brother's Pentax Spotmatic. However I was not crazy about the stop down full area averaging meter that always under-exposed the foreground when the sky was part of the picture.
I loved the Spotmatic, because it was my first camera! A secondhand gift from my grandfather. After a brief introduction on operating it (just center the needle) I was on my way. Unfortunately, he hadn't used it much because it had a shutter problem, which the local service center couldn't seem to fix. I didn't really mind the stopped-down metering, because if nothing else, it gave me a good seat of the pants feel for what changing lens apertures did.
 

dlaloum

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A Pentax Spotmatic-F was my first "real" camera - used it for many years - it was a hand me down from my uncle.... I eventually retired it when I got an Olympus OM2n
 

Burning Sounds

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I owned a Nikon F in the late '60s and early '70s. I loved it for a while but was glad to see the end of it when I got my Olympus OM-1 -- a much lighter and easier handling camera.

In the poverty of my youth I bought a Nikkor AI f/2 35mm lens. (35mm was my favorite focal length before the advent of good zoom lenses.) This was a massive lens as I recall, and it cost me the equivalent of $1800 in today's dollars ...

images


Far lighter & smaller, (and cheaper), but quite excellent Zuiko 35 f/2 for the Olympus ...

zuiko.jpg


The Nikkor was a still further cry from the relatively tiny Fijinon f/2 23mm (APS-C 35mm equivalent) WR I have today for my Fijifilm X-T10 and X-T2 cameras. The is a decent but not extraordinary lens which lacks image stabilization. I don't use it very often, favoring instead the XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 LM OIS. ...

fujifilm_16523169_fujinon_23mm_f_2_r_1275473.jpg

The

Indeed, the OM-1 was a fine camera and its small size was a boon to many who found the big SLRs too bulky and heavy.

But if you were making your living from photojournalism you wanted something that was proven in the field and the Nikon F's reputation was well-earned. My own experience with it confirms that. And if you were working in a combat zone, well......just ask Don McCullin what he thinks about the Nikon F.

I never worked in a combat zone, but I did work in some inhospitable places - Haiti, just after Baby Doc was kicked out was one of them. I've had guns pointed at me twice, but luckily in both instances the person on the other end decided not to pull the trigger.

Great thread BTW.
 

JeffS7444

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I just stumbled upon this 2018 article on Dora Goodman, and liked how she presents her customized cameras and other wares.
https://www.lomography.com/magazine...d-an-interview-with-camera-maker-dora-goodman

My own custom work has been more modest in scope to date, but in the future, who knows? Have done some experimentation with powdered gold and gold leaf, and could see wanting to incorporate those more into my own work. My first effort in creating something different was my FED-2, in which I deliberately kept the 2-tone finish subtle.
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FED-2 Owners Manual.jpg

Meanwhile, the film bug has bitten me once again, and I've been wandering about with newly-restored FED-1 in hand, now equipped with wrist strap and 3D-printed lens shade. And speaking of lens shades, while I was testing a number of L39 rangefinder lenses, I discovered that the Industar-26M currently mounted on the FED-2 really needs one, as it seems especially flare-prone. I can probably scrounge up something suitable, but would really like to reproduce the look of the 1957 original.
 

paddycrow

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My father introduced me to photography, when I was in 5th or 6th grade he gave me a Canonette with non-interchangeable lens. He had a dark room in the basement with an Omega enlarger. At some point, he fitted it with a color head but I never processed color film or prints, strictly B&W.

By the time I was in high school, I had a Leica M3 with 50mm collapsible Summicron lens. I still have that camera, but I haven't used it in ages. I've also inherited a lot of other gear when my dad passed away, I mostly just keep it in a display case. There's an old Kodak Model B, a Bolex 8mm movie camera, Leica M2R, an old Brownie folding camera, and a Kodak No. 2A Folding Hawkeye to name a few. I've also acquired quite a few Leica lenses of different focal length.

About 5 years ago, I picked up a digital Leica M body so I can shoot digital pictures with the old Leitz lenses.
 

JeffS7444

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It lives! FED-1 as featured in post #245, that is. This 82 year-old is looking pretty spry if I do say so myself. Shot on Lomo 100 color negative film.
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JeffS7444

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FED-5s + 55/2.8 Industar-61/L/D (lanthanum glass) mini-restoration project. More or less working as received but kind of a mess, with peeling and shrunken leatherette body coverings, black paint was flaking off, finder frame lines and rangefinder were badly misaligned, lens controls were balky, etc, etc. Restoration is mostly complete now, and as the black paint cures, I''m trying to decide what to use as new body coverings (basic black or something else?).

As the camera body lacks strap lugs, the case is useful, but while I like the patina around the "snout", the rest of the case simply looks tired IMO. Am tempted to take on the building of a new half-case as a DIY project.

This is a really solidy-built camera! Almost everything you see here is die-cast, lathe-turned, milled or stamped from stout pieces of metal. Still sometimes available as new-old stock, perhaps because some FED-5 variants were built up until the late 1990s! Not bad for a design which has it's roots in the 1950s.
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JeffS7444

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Praktisix project is stalled as I lost a critical part, and need to fabricate a replacement. Meanwhile, I decided to learn FreeCAD by creating FED-5 body covering pattern. It'd be tempting to buy a laser cutter in order to generate the actual parts directly from my data! But I will probably take the more frugal approach of cutting by hand, assisted by 1:1 printed pattern. Still undecided what the replacement coverings shall be, but I've got a really great fitting pattern. Knew that I was getting close when I found myself making 0.05 mm adjustments.
FED-5 Body Covering Illustration.jpg
 

JeffS7444

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And in order to keep myself amused, I brought another camera from my stash back to life. This is an early production (1966, second year of production) Zenit-E with chrome shutter speed dial and 39 mm lens mount. Am debating whether to repaint it, but meanwhile I guess there's no reason why I can't load it with film and use it. Kind of like the peculiar herringbone-pattern leatherette, and would want to keep that.

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JeffS7444

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For grins, I did a count of cameras acquired and cameras sold since the start of 2020, and came up with:

21 sold
11 acquired

I hadn't expected to revisit some of the very same models of camera that I used back in the days of film, but Nikon quality is high, and if one avoids the trendier items (FM2n, FM3a, F2 Titan, etc), prices are sometimes lower than Zenit, so why am I fussing with Zenit? :D

Most expensive item in this photo is the Nikon F with plain prism, which cost me $150, shipped from Japan. Cheapest was the 105/2.5 lens @ $30 from a local dealer. All were sold as "parts / as-is" but I was able to repair them. After taking this photo, the shallow dent on the F3's finder started bugging me, so I gave it my best de-denting which reduced it by maybe 50%. Am currently wrapping up work on a battered Nikkormat FTn which cost me $20 - less than today's popular plastic film cameras.

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mhardy6647

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After taking this photo, the shallow dent on the F3's finder started bugging me, so I gave it my best de-denting which reduced it by maybe 50%.
at least you stopped short of Bondo...
;)


PS That "F" is gorgeous. Unassailable (and timeless) aesthetics.
My son has one with the non-metering prism. I don't think that I do... :rolleyes:
 
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