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Your ten classic film cameras

Discussion in 'General Equipment Chat & Advice' started by gray1720, Mar 31, 2013.

  1. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Nick,

    You have omitted the only worthwhile candidate -- the Leica M7 -- and even that is stretching the definition of "classic" a bit.


  2. Topconvet

    Topconvet Well-Known Member

    Just a few of the many that I've owned over the past 40-odd years, and that springs to mind.

    (1) Praktica Nova 1B with 50mm Domiplan lens......... The first 'serious' camera that I owned, back in 1970. I bought this from Dixons for £49.99 .... I knew little about cameras and asked the assistant what he recommended. "What's your budget?" he asked; "£50", I replied.

    (2) Topcon Super D and Super DM ........ My 'system' cameras from the 70s -- and which I still have, in a cupboard somewhere.

    (3) Mamiya Press Super 23 and Mamiya Press Universal from the 1980s.

    I appreciated the ability to use interchangesable backs for b/w neg, colour neg, and colour transpareny film -- and image sizes from 6x4.5 up to 6x9cm.

    It could also use 6x9cm cut film -- but I was never too succesfull in processing that.

    I did need the largest Billingham bag ever made to carry one of them around.

    (4) Kodak DC50 from the 1990s.... not a film camera, but my first 'digital' camera (0.4 megapixel: 756x504 pixels ) -- cost the earth, as did the PCMCIA storage cards, but I never looked back. Digital was the future.
  3. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    But I've never had an M7, Roger - I've stuck to the ones I've owned. Not sure I'm all that fond of it anyway, from the times I've used one - seemed rather alien to the M experience. In terms of usability, I prefer the M6 to any other film M, FWIW - but never had an MP.

    The one glaring omission is one I've never even laid hands on - the Contarex Super Electronic. And arguably I should've included the Contax RTS or 139 Quartz.
  4. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    10 alternatives - less obvious choices as opposed to more famous equivalents.

    1. MPP Mk VIII - no Linhof, but usable
    2. MPP Microflex - nicer than most non-Rollei TLRs
    3. Canon IIf - actually as nice as a Leica IIIf
    4. Rollei SL35 - holds up well against a Spotmatic or FTb
    5. Kodak Retina Reflex III - as good as a Contaflex
    6, Ensign Selfix 820 Special - performs as well as any Zeiss Ikon folder
    7. Praktina II - more interesting than a Nikon F
    8. Canon 7 - nearly as nice as a Leica M3, which is high praise indeed
    9. Leica CL - as a compact ILR, a good choice instead of a Werra. (!)
    10. Ricoh 500ME - as usable as a Canonet, but not as nicely made
  5. AlexMonro

    AlexMonro Old Grand Part Deux

    OK, Nick, to get the ball rolling in one of the discussions that Adrian said he was hoping for when he started the thread, why do you say the Retina Reflex III is as good as a Contaflex? I've always felt that the front mounted shutter release of the RR III was awkward compared with the top right button of the Zeiss, but do you feel the greater range of Retina S type lenses made possible by the behind lens Synchro Compur of the RR III outweighs this? And how would you compare the RR III with the Retina Reflex S, which has the same lens mount as the III, but a top mounted shutter release?

    I've used several Contaflexes, going back to my dad's mk IV occasionally from the age of about 10, but I haven't yet used any of the Retina Reflexes, though I'm sort of looking out for an S should one turn up at a good price.

    I must say, whenever I stop to think about what's involved in making it all work, I'm slightly amazed that any leaf shutter SLR ever works at all! :)
  6. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    I think the front mounted shutter release is a superior design, leading to less camera shake - and for a leaf shutter SLR, it's remarkably smooth - you have to squeeze it rather than jab at it. Now of course with the amount of movements going on, the jabbing of the shutter release probably matters less than with a focal plane shutter, but I see the front release as a strength, not a weakness. Lens choice is pretty good, and the ability to use the same lenses on a rangefinder is something that puts the Retina Reflex in a different class. It's just a lovely - if very odd, in this day and age - camera to use.
  7. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Nick,

    1 Ever tried a Mk VII? Even Jack Dell reckoned it was better
    2 But not very reliable
    3 Not in my view
    5 See 3
    7 True, and with a better lens mount. Pity about the lens choice.
    10 Which sort of lets it out of being a classic, the more so as Canonets are mediocre.


  8. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler


    1 - only briefly, not enough to make a comparison.
    2 - very true, sadly.
    3 and 5 - fair enough; I find the rangefinders hard to separate, and my experience with RRs has been good, whereas it hasn't with Contaflexes - never owned a working one.
    7 - yes indeed. What lenses there were were generally pretty good, but nothing like the range available in F mount from day 1 - really the (often) untold strength of the F.
    10 - fair enough, except the QL17 GIII is actually fairly decent, but I was rather struggling with No 10. A bit like most political parties... ;)
  9. AlexMonro

    AlexMonro Old Grand Part Deux

    Thanks for the detailed reply, Nick.

    I think I'll just have to try to get hold of a Retina Reflex III and try for myself.

    Of course, whatever type of shutter or camera you're using, gently squeezing rather than jabbing at the shutter release is always a good idea.

    The Pantar lenses of the Contaflex Alpha, Beta & Prima can also be used on the Contina III, but that's only a scale focus viewfinder camera, not a rangefinder. And there's only 2 additional options - 30mm f/4 & 75mm f/4, as well as the standard 45mm f/2.8.
  10. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    Nope, not the M7. Nick forgot & omitted the R3/Minolta XE1.
  11. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath


    No Sinar?
  12. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Didn't forget it, did omit it - for one reason only; I didn't want too many 35mm SLRs. Would've made No 11 - the R3, simply because of the spotmeter and the slightly better looks.
  13. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Nah. Only the Old Grey Sinar. The others were grossly overpriced and not very good next to Linhof. It'll be interesting to see what happens to Sinar now that Leica owns them.



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