In 2003 there was only one choice for the enthusiast photographer wanting to step-up from a digicam to a DSLR and that was Canon's 300D (the original Digital Rebel). By 2005 the enthusiast had a boat-load more options including the new Rebel (350xt), the Pentax *ist, the Nikon D70 (and the new D70s & D50), the Olympus eVolt, the Canon D20 and many more. Being an Olympus fanboy I really wanted to like the eVolt but two things stopped me from remaining loyal to the Olympus brand; its smaller sensor means more noise than its more mainstream competitors, and the lack of reasonable priced lens options. After much internal debate I made the safe, boring and unspectacular choice of getting the original rebel (300d).
If you have the old 300D and have a few lenses,
like I have, then the 400D is almost a no-brainer. It is
worth the upgrade for the speed and buffer alone - more megapixels,
dust reduction, the larger screen, more focusing points are just
gravy. If you are not already invested in the Canon line then
your choice is a little harder, however, like no one ever get fired for
buying IBM, few photographers ever regret buying Canon.
The two digit Canon DSLRs have always been a favorite among
amateur and semi-professional photogs. As my wife falls into
this category with a few paying gigs under her belt the 40D is perfect
for her. I am still perfectly happy with my digital rebel,
the 400 XTI, but I can see the professional image problem of
turning up to a client with the same camera as they just
bought at Costco. The 40D does set you apart from the
beginner DSLR user. At $1300 for the body alone it takes
considerably more commitment, or at least more disposable income, than
the Rebel. You have to put some thought into this purchase, at least we
did. So, for twice the money of the Rebel, do you get twice
H3v was called the SV outside of the US. It was available in the early
60's and is a descendant of the original Pentax SLR which was the first Japanese
SLR to incorporate a built in prism finder. The H3v shares much of it's ancestor's
elegance but it has a higher top speed (and no separate slow shutter speed knob), a more automatic frame counter and a self-timer. It still does not incorporate a built in light meter; Pentax fans had to wait until the Spotmatic for that.
The Kiev 60 looks like a huge, old, mechanical 35mm SLR that has been hit with an ugly stick ... a lot. Perhaps all this beating accounts for the Kiev 60's deserved reputation for reliability (or lack of it).
If you can get a working example (or an example working) and you don't mind tinkering with cameras the 60 can a cheap introduction to the world on medium format, interchangeable lens, SLR's.
a relatively short production life (1983-87) the FT-1 is not that well known.
Here's a workaday camera that has slipped through the cult-camera drag net.
20 years later you're likely to find an FT-1 for very little money, functioning
as well as the day it left the factory. Here's a camera from that strange
cross-over period in the 80's when the old manual, metal and mechanical cameras
were having more sophisticated electronics added to them. Auto-exposure settings
became common-place as manufacturers attempted to make their cameras easier
to use. Shutters were now governed by electronics and would not function without
batteries. Auto-focus and even film DX-coding were still a couple of years
away but the motor wind had been miniaturized enough to fit inside the camera's
could be unkind and say that their relatively unpopular, manual focus, MD system left them with little to loose but Minolta started the autofocus revolution.
Canon, Nikon and Pentax raced to play catchup over the next couple of years with the first two overtaking Minolta in the technology stakes by the end of the 80's. Olympus remained reluctant to adopt an autofocus system until it was too late and largely made themselves obsolete in the SLR market. Thinking back to that time I remember the debate about auto v manual focus systems raging as strong them as the digital v film debate rages today. The old school (myself among them then) didn't believe that the camera itself could focus better than a good photographer. We saw autofocus in the same way as a petrol-head sees automatic transmissions; OK for anyone who didn't like driving but not for those who loved real cars.
Instead of the more usual push buttons and menus that were the norm for this kind of camera, the 600si was equipped with knobs and dials. It became known as the AF camera for the old-school SLR enthusiast. Its control set became so popular that it set the design precedent for the Minolta 9, 9ti, 7, and even the Minolta Dimage 5, 7, 7i, 7hi, A1 and Konica Minolta Diamge A2 digital cameras.
A lot of cameras have their fans and cults of followers. Some because they are expensive, exotic and beautiful machines. Some because their owners think they are under appreciated bargains. Some because they are industrial work horses. But you'd have to search the far corners of the Internet to find a fan site for the Maxxum 500si. This is not because the 500si is a bad camera, it isn't; it's just you wouldn't expect to find an owner's club for...
in 1969, the Sensomat had TTL CdS stop-down meter built in under mirror; an advanced
feature for its day. The meter is operated by the two buttons next to lens throat.
At the time it was known as the poorman's Nikon F as it sported a removable prism
like the F. The Sensomat sold reasonably well as a budget SLR during the 70's.
OM1 is a no nonsense camera that still has a small a cult following. Finding
a working example is not difficult or expensive. A lot of third party lenses
can also be found for good prices, even the Vivitar series 1 lenses that were
much sought after back in the 80's. Unusual Zuiko lenses still aren't cheap although
the competition to buy them isn't as a fierce as it used to be. Zuiko lenses
still have a devoted following.
The OM-10 was the first consumer OM series body. Launched in 1979 it accepted the full line of OM lenses and most of the OM accessories for a lower price. The lower price was reflected in the construction of this camera and the features available, however, it was still a very competent performer and it reflected the elegant lines established by the compact OM-1 and 2 designs.
It was the mid-80's, I was at College when I decided it was time to upgrade from Eastern block cameras to something more modern and Japanese. At the time Nikons were the choice of photojournalists but they were a little out of my league. Also I had pretensions of being a nature photographer and the two common choices of photographers in that field were Canon and Olympus. Even then I was a sucker for beautiful, compact designs so I bought into the OM system. The main object of my lust was the OM-2 spot/program which in the days before auto-focus and composite materials was state-of-the-art hi-tech.
As the 110 format was dying Pentax inexplicably launched the Auto 110 - the most competent 110 camera ever. The only 110 camera with interchangeable lenses and TTL metering. The only 110 camera that looked like a real SLR. It had one of the most advanced exposure systems available in any 110 camera. It might not be the smallest SLR commercially released (I believe that honor goes to a Russian camera) but it is certainly the smallest true SLR commercially available in the west.
around the web and you're not going to find a whole load of fan and collector's
pages devoted to the K1000. It's just not sexy like that. It doesn't have the
'pro'-cache of an old Nikon-F. It's a camera that was directly aimed at photography
students and enthusiastic amateur photographers. It's a camera that many photography
instructors insisted that their students use for their classes. A camera that
was relegated to the back of the closet shelf after you'd finished photography
101 and you moved on to something better.
the time (mid-80's) the Praktica MTL cameras were to Brits what the Pentax K1000
was to Americans. If you took a high school photography class half your class
would likely be carrying some kind of Praktica MTL. It was popular for much the
same reason as the K1000; simple, tank-like mechanics, with an reliable match-needle
meter and no bells and whistles. This describes both the MTL-5's strengths and
loved the EM in spite of all it's quirks. Perhaps this was because my first real
camera; it looked, felt and smelt like a real camera. The shutter made a slurp
noise as you advanced the frame and primed the fabric shutter. Pressing the shutter
release took some effort and resulted in a loud mechanical slap as the mirror
bounced up and down. The shutter release had a small surface area which you could
easily see embossed in your index finger after giving your digit the work out
required to expose a frame.