Another vote for the 1970's, though some of my favorites are from the '60's or even from 1959 (1954 - M3!).
I suppose that classic-metal-camera fans and the AF-and-the more-technology-the-better crowd will never really understand each other...
M6, SL, SL2, R5, P6x7, SL3003, SL35-E, F, F2, FM, FE-2, Varex IIa
1970's, the dumbing down began with the Canon's and multi mode cameras wth Program, Av, Tv etc followed by autofocus. This also coincided with a drop in manufacturing quality (except for a very few high end cameras), so most 70's cameras will outlast later models.
Last edited by Ian Grant; 06-07-2011 at 03:04 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Easy question for me to answer, since the question is about 35mm cameras only. If I had to have one 35mm camera system of one decade, it would be the Nikon system of the 1960's, and a Sekonic incident meter. It's all I need in a camera for most of what I love to shoot.
If the question related to all formats, I'd have a very hard time choosing between '50's, '60's, or '70's. But I'd probably choose '70's in the end, as that decade would provide the most versatility in equipment of all formats, but especially medium format.
"Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."
- Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)
I think all decades have some real classics in there, even into the 2000s, with the Leica MP, Fujfilm GF670, and Zeiss Ikon.
If I had to choose, I'd go 80s or 90s though, and have a good range of Leica, Rollei and Hasselblad gear.
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Late '70, early '80.
when proper multicoating and computer-designed lenses were available;
when it was still possible to buy proper mechanical cameras;
when light meters were already SBD or GASP, fast and reliable (knowing how to use them);
when if you needed one you could still buy cameras with an interchangeable viewfinder, and there was also one with interchangeable backs.
when the choice was still quite ample;
before autofocus (more fragile, energy hungry);
before motorised film advance and rewind (possibly fragile, energy hungry, noisy);
before matrix metering (never understood how can one possibly desire to bet on the "right" decision made by the camera in a difficult situation).
before cameras with a plethora of minuscule push-buttons and a thick user manual.
Slowly but surely, autofocus was all over (the change in focusing screens made focusing by hand difficult and AF become the only real way to operate), manual rewind became expensive, lenses become having plastic bayonets and possibly an excess of plastic parts, all the motors everywhere made the cameras more fragile.
When you need AF it is certainly a progress. But for normal operation I greatly prefer a good old manual focusing camera, easier to focus and more reliable (or less unreliable) in evaluating DoF.
It's the 70s for me too, I used to understand cameras and photography in those days before it became a handmaiden of the computer industry.
Last edited by benjiboy; 06-07-2011 at 04:31 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Without a doubt, the 70's. Innovations in design and function, along with durability, made that the "renaissance" decade of camera design.
What is a master but a master student? And if that's true, then there's a responsibility on you to keep getting better and to explore avenues of your profession.
~1910 advent of commercial still camera for 35mm film
I've gotta agree w/the '70's. It seems there were many great technological advances, but the quality of materials and high-standards of manufacturing were still present. I also prefer the more advanced materials of the light meters with the full-analogue match-needle metering such as present on my Minolta SRT102/202 cameras.