Fun Foto Facts
"A picture paints a thousand words" - seems especially true when showing picturing-taking boxes. Here are a few fun examples:
1976: Mini Mechanical Marvel
I grew up using the Pentax MX, which (brought into the world two years before I was) shaped my experience of photography. Although smaller than the K1000 it's more feature packed and has a lovely large viewfinder. The tiny tank-like tool was Pentax's flagship pro camera, until the LX came out in 1980. Although their light meter's are often broken these days, it won't stop the camera from working.
1997 - 2017: Digtial Speed
Image quality has rather stagnated in the last ten to fifteen years, but... in the twenty years between these two Sony models; speed has increased dramatically. The A9 writes over 100 thousand times as much data per second, to memory up to 240 million times the density. Each time the FD7 writes one interlaced 0.3mp JPG to a floppy disk, the A9 can take two-hundred (24mp) RAW files.
2015: IR Special
Zeiss made three special "IR" (blue coated) versions of their lenses for near-infrared photography in 2015. The 25mm, 50mm & 85mm lenses were made in Nikon F (ZF), Canon EF (ZE) and M42 (ZS) mounts. This was a very niche product and sold for only a few years so they're pretty rare. Zeiss also ended selling off the prototype versions (low serial number) due to demand, which are hyper rare.
1959 - 1999: Firsts
Showing a plethora of Nikon history in one image. Not only does this show Nikon's first SLR but THE first ever purpose-build DSLR. Shot from a Nikon F5 that was converted by Kodak into an APS-H digital camera, connected to an old pre-AI 55mm Nikkor macro lens. Both lenses shown are the fastest 85mm Nikkor lenses made for each platform of the time. Stunning optics all around.
Back in 1995 purpose built DSLRs were still a dream. Bolting electronics to an existing film SLR were all the rage however. Kodak were the main game in town for this, but they charged a fortune for the privilege, so several manufacturers stepped in to see if they could do it for considerably less and gab some attention. Minolta managed to get the price down but so too was the image quality.
1958: All Black
1958 brought possibly my favourite camera design of all time; The Canon P (Populaire), which was mostly finished in silver (initially over brass). Although it looks spectacular in black, there were only a few officially made in that colour. Unofficial repaints are common, but there are several ways to spot real ones (like the one above). Along with black-paint lenses, these are pretty rare and expensive.
2017: The Year DSLRs Slowly Died
Sony had been making some great full frame mirrorless cameras by 2016, but they were not grabbing the attention from professionals until they launched the A9. They announced the worlds first stacked sensor camera in 2017, Canon and Nikon both had collective heart attacks and five years later both companies have all-but admitted that their DSLR lines are well and truly done.
1935: Barnack III
The Leica IIIa dates back to 1935, this particular one is from 1936. You can easily find older cameras, but the elegancy of these machines stands out even today. Perhaps it's the build quality or maybe the design, but there's just something special about these old Barnack Leica's that makes them feel refined and enjoyable to operate and shoot.
2001 - 2023: My Digital Photography
This Fuji was my first digital camera and the Sony is my current. Apparently I was destined to chase squirrels with a digital camera.
1993 - 2021: Nikon's Retro Design
Nikon have been desperately clinging on to their old designs since 1965. After messing up retro digital badly with the Df Nikon gave it another try with the mirrorless Z-fc. The design is not terrible, but the dial operation thoroughly is and it's not the only disappointment. A cropped sensor, plastic body, no image stabilization and bundled with a slow full frame lens it's not an inspiring camera.
2001: World's First True DSLR
Before this all digital cameras were modified film SLRs. The Nikon D1 broke that mould, giving optical viewfinders a stay of execution for a solid 20 years. Ok, that wasn't only Nikon's doing and I don't hate OVFs, but you get the idea.