1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Welcome to the Amateur Photographer magazine online community.

    Why not create an account and take advantage of this free resource.


Discussion in 'Classic Models & Marques' started by Zou, Nov 19, 2015.

  1. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    Any particular (uncommon) cameras you want to own/use? I've long fancied a Rollei SL66, but have never physically seen one available. I'd also quite like to try one of those press 4x5s made for handhold shooting.
  2. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Came close to buying an SL66 a few months back - lovely bit of kit, but too dear.

    I do have an MPP MK VIII, with rangefinder cams for both the lenses I have for it; never used it as a press camera, but it is one.

    I've always wanted a Contaflex TLR, a beast of rare beauty.
  3. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    See http://www.rogerandfrances.com/sgallery/g sepia 2.html for hand-held 5x4 shots with an MPP Mk. VII (not VI as mis-printed in the piece itself).

    The SL66 is magnificent but heavy and expensive and pretty limited next to a Linhof Technika 70.

    I've handled an awful lot of unusual cameras, and taken pictures with many of them. Examples include Hensoldt, Mecaflex, Corfield (35mm, 66, 67), Contaflex TLR (huge, heavy and horrible), Tessina TLR, Linhof 13x18 Technika, and more. Some of the cameras I still have are pretty unusual. But ultimately... Well, they're all just cameras, and more and more, I judge them by the pictures I get.


    Last edited: Nov 19, 2015
  4. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    I've never needed (as opposed to wanted) to take high quality photos, so I've enjoyed the opportunity to muddle along with strange pieces of kit. It's probably not done a lot for the quality of my photography, but it's been a barrel of fun.

    The strangest I own are probably the three Purma cameras - the Speed, the Special and the Plus - plus a couple of really dodgy Coronet box cameras, the Dynamic 12 and the Popular 12. There's also the Certo Dolly - fairly conventional in itself, but half-frame on 127 with the option of using tiny plates? OK, maybe I do have weirder stuff than I own up to....?

    If you see anything you want to hear about, ask!

    Roger, you must surely be sitting atop the mother lode of weird French Bakelite cameras? I recall your Gallus Derby (I know, it's anything but Bakelite), which I'd definitely file under "curious".


    ETA - I'm fairly certain if you look through either here or the reviews section I reviewed the Purmas a while ago. If you need a snooze it'll save you on cocoa.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2015
  5. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

  6. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Adrian,

    Ah: the Fex. I suspect there's a law saying that there should be at least one for sale at all vide-greniers. It's 620, unfortunately, so I just can't be arsed to faff around with the film. There's a picture of one in http://www.rogerandfrances.com/short/z short schrift archive.html along with lots of other weird old cameras: just scroll down.


  7. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    There is a chap now selling Acros100 on cut down spools(which work very well), but I suspect you probably have better things to do than try the Fex!

    I did (you're not surprised, I hope). It's... competent.
    [​IMG]Some building in Oxford, think it's old. by gray1720, on Flickr

    I've always enjoyed the logic of the French-made Coronet box cameras - you can have a very plain British-made one in metal, or a rather lovely ornately decorated one in cardboard! If you ever see a red-faced one, Roger...

    Here's my black one: [​IMG]Coronet Le Polo 1 by gray1720, on Flickr

    And I've got a nasty case of GAS looking at these.
    http://www.messynessychic.com/2014/03/04/an-online-vault-of-the-most-awesome-cameras-ever-made/ (dreadful title - if you wrote "oddest" you'd be more like it).

  8. Footloose

    Footloose Well-Known Member

    There are 4 cameras which I'd love to own, but doubt if I ever will ... I suppose my interest in mechanical innovation and ingenuity, has a lot to do with my choice of cameras! The odds are that many of these would be on an obsessive collectors hit-list.

    Back in the 70's I remember seeing a new Alpa 10d on display in of all places, Dixons. At some point Chinon took over the name, and since Dixons were the Uk's distributor for Chinon, I'm guessing that's why they were selling them. Very unusual wind-on lever design, probably because many of these were used on microscopes and a normal wind-on lever would have meant removing your eye from the viewfinder to advance the film. Their use on microscopes, also meant that some were built with a 45 degree angled viewfinders.

    Zeiss Contarex Electronic (or SE) due to the extensive review (over 3 issues!) that The BJP magazine printed back in the 70's. They were over engineered, had an eye watering price tag, (The Hasselblad 500 was only marginally more expensive!) and I gather they are also horrendously expensive to get serviced nowadays. Zeiss also produced a cheaper alternative, the Icarex (actually designed by Voigtlander.) and these two cameras, largely due to the Nikon F and Canon's F1 would end up being Zeiss's SLR camera production swan-song.

    My next camera, would be the 5" x 4" Sinar p2 with it's unique asymmetric tilts and swings, rather than the traditional center or base tilts used on other view cameras. This means that rapid and precise movements were possible without ever losing sharpness on the axis.

    Many times, I could be found drooling over this camera at the annual camera shows, because of it's compactness and the quality of it's parts, my next might not be a surprise ... The Alpa 12 in any of it's configurations. The 12 WA version with it's rosewood grips, a 6x9 roll-film back and viewfinder attached to it, would probably be my choice!

    Finally, something I can afford ... Olympus's half-frame Pen F. This camera, is innovative in so many ways; it's the only half-frame system camera backed up with with a comprehensive range of lenses and accessories, (unless you include Alpa's limited production half-frame models) has an unusually/uniquely-positioned SLR viewfinder layout that used a mirror mounted sideways inside the camera's body rather than a pentaprism, atop the body. This camera also has a rotary shutter made of titanium, and because of this, offers flash sync up to 1/500th of a second. I would say this camera inspired Olly's renowned designer Maitani to develop his much-more well known OM1.
  9. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    This thread is looking very bad for my looming redundancy payout... More GAS than a sprout vindaloo!

  10. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Alpa: not exactly. The last few Alpa 35mm cameras were made for Alpa by Chinon, but Chinon did not take over the name. It's a long and complicated story but the current owners of the Alpa name are good friends and make the 12-series. The 45 degree finder was not a special version for the microscope: all early prism models had it. Likewise the backwards wind-on lever. Yes, it was all very convenient for microscopy: no, it wasn't made for that purpose. I've owned one and handled many: they are VERY weird cameras. Google ALPA MOTOR DRIVE and you'll see pictures of the weirdest accessory of all with the "electric finger".

    Contarex SE: Ridiculously heavy and (as you say) when it ceased to behave, very hard to fix. Pick one up and you'll see why they didn't sell (apart from the price).

    Sinar P2: The original grey Sinar is far better made than the later models, and the "asymmetric tilts" are codswallop, no easier to use than centre tilts. It's a marketing device, nothing else. A Linhof Technikardan is a vastly superior camera: smaller, lighter, more versatile, better made. Guess why I have a Technikardan instead of a P2...

    Alpa 12: I have one (and Frances has the shift model, the 12 S/WA). I prefer the 44x66 back with the 38/4.5 Biogon: Frances prefers the 35/5.6 Apo-Grandagon on 6x9cm. We also have 47mm and 58mm lenses. They are indeed gorgeous cameras though the woodwork tends to mark, the rosewood (on mine) worse than the ash (on Frances's).

    Pen F: Aaargh. The ergonomics of a bar of soap. Again, I had one. Not for long. The original (the "Gothic F") model was not very reliable, and the viewfinder on later TTL models was hopelessly dim. The only model worth having was the later non-metered version. There have been other half-frame cameras derived from full-frame models and accepting full-frame lenses: not just Alpa but also Leica and Nikon.


  11. Fishboy

    Fishboy Well-Known Member

    That, sir, is without a doubt one of the strangest things I've seen this week.
  12. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    You are not wrong!

    Do I recall (I'm sure I saw it in an Ivor Matanle column) that Ilford made/marketed a 35mm monorail?

    *A swift Google later*

    Yes - the KI Monobar. That's pretty odd.

  13. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Adrian,

    Yes, I've handled one of those too, though never shot with one. They were apparently popular for medical photography.

    Google "Tessina". It's a motor-drive 35mm TLR taking laterally reversed 14x21mm images but needs special cassettes. I had one of those too, complete with wrist strap... It was more popular with spies than the Tessina. A special non-motor-drive version, with nylon gears, was available if the standard version was too noisy. Look up the Univex Mercury for another weird cameras. Yes, I had one. Google Thornton-Pickard Gun Camera, too. I had one without a magazine...

    One of the few cameras I'd still quite like to try is the Robot Royal 36: I've handled one, but never shot with it.


  14. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Adrian,

    Don't. I can put you off most of them. It would in any case be cheaper to come over and try a few of my weirdies. I think I still have a Pontiac somewhere too, though I gave the Gallus to a friend called Galley. Well, close.


  15. filmlover

    filmlover Well-Known Member

    I've always quite fancied a Leicaflex, I believe the SL2 is the most highly regarded. However concerns over age/servicing/parts (if needed) make me cautious. I know it's a heavy beast, but that can be advantageous, making it a more stable unit when tele lenses are attached.

    Anyone experienced this model?
  16. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    Oh, rereading this brought back some good memories. :)

    A proper medium format camera remains on my 'wanted' list. A Rolleiflex would be lovely but ultimately I'll want a SLR (Hassy especially) or possibly a compact view camera.
  17. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    Goodness, I'd forgotten this thread! Well, I never did get the Welta (far too expensive - though I have now seen one in the flesh), but I did get myself another camera with my redundancy money - a Kodak Beau Brownie! http://camera-wiki.org/wiki/Kodak_Beau_Brownie
    John Farrell likes this.
  18. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    Only Pentax would make a camera that stylish these days. ;)

Share This Page