Canon 300D (Digital Rebel) [2003]

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).
Read the full Canon 300D (Digital Rebel) entry


Canon 400D (Digital Rebel XTi) [2006]

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.
Read the full Canon 400D (Digital Rebel XTi) entry


Canon 40D [2007]

40DThe two digit Canon DSLRs have always been a favorite among serious 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 the camera?
Read the full Canon 40D entry


Canon 5D II [2008]

For the first time ever I have a camera that can do everything I could possibly want and more. The 5D mkII still amazes me.
Read the full Canon 5D II entry


Honeywell Pentax H3v [1962]

Pentax H3vThe 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.
Read the full Honeywell Pentax H3v entry


Kiev 60/645 [1984]

camera10tn.jpgThe 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.
Read the full Kiev 60/645 entry


Konica FT-1 motor [1983]

With 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 body.
Read the full Konica FT-1 motor entry


Minolta 7000 [1986]

Minolta 7000One 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.
Read the full Minolta 7000 entry


Minolta Dynax 600si Classic [1995]

Minolta 600si Classic 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.
Read the full Minolta Dynax 600si Classic entry


Minolta Maxxum 500si [1994]

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...
Read the full Minolta Maxxum 500si entry


Miranda Sensomat [1969]

Miranda SensomatLaunched 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.
Read the full Miranda Sensomat entry


Olympus OM-1 [1972]

Olympus OM1nThe 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.
Read the full Olympus OM-1 entry


Olympus OM-10 Quartz [1980]

Olympus OM10 (w/manual adapter) 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.
Read the full Olympus OM-10 Quartz entry


Olympus OM-2 spot/program [1984]

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.
Read the full Olympus OM-2 spot/program entry


Pentax Auto 110 [1979]

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.
Read the full Pentax Auto 110 entry


Pentax K1000 [1978]

Asahi Pentax K1000Look 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.
Read the full Pentax K1000 entry


Praktica MTL5 [1984]

Praktica MTL5At 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 weaknesses.
Read the full Praktica MTL5 entry


Zenit EM [1972]

zenit-emtn.jpgI 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.
Read the full Zenit EM entry