Just curious. What's the cutoff for "modern film camera" vs "classic manual"

Discussion in 'Modern Film Cameras' started by tomspielman, Oct 2, 2021.

  1. Not sure where a 35mm Fujica AX-3 from the early 80s belongs. It has a full manual mode but but also has some electronics.
  2. Vincent Peri

    Vincent Peri Metairie, LA

    Just my point of view, but classic film cameras are all manual focus. Modern would be those with autofocus.
  3. Agree with Vincent, autofocus, also power wind, power zoom.

    Nikon FM3a is classic, F-801 is modern?
  4. Nikon F-601M = classic
    Nikon F-601 = modern?
  5. It was a forever moving divide, and nowadays all film cameras are 'vintage', 'old'. Which was the pnet definition of 'classic'.
    Mike Gammill and mjferron like this.
  6. We need a new forum category here at PN. Classic modern film cameras.
    Ricochetrider likes this.
  7. It may be of interest to note that modern electronics driven cameras, as their motors, electronics, and plastic ages, will become inoperable long before the older classic cameras. My Leica IIIa (1936), with crystal clear vf and rf, if stored properly, will go on and on.
    While not a modern film camera, my wife’s Nikon digital camera died immediately after warranty expired.
    Not seeing much advantage in auto focusing for my photography, still using cameras I bough in 1960s and 1970s.
    robert_bowring likes this.
  8. I was as much responsible for getting the "Modern Film Camera" as anyone, I think; but I think 'classic manual' and 'modern' could fruitfully be combined these days. The key criteria for modern were
    1-film, and

    In fact, I'd go even farther and just have a "collectors' cameras" and include the early digital cameras.

    If it's no longer being made or sold new, it's "Classic", 'ennt it?:rolleyes:
  9. If the camera functions without a battery, it is "classic" (classics may require a battery for an in-camera meter, but without one, they are otherwise fully functional). "Modern" cameras require a battery to work. Thus, my Spotmatic is a "classic", but my zx-5n is "modern" (even though it can be used manually, it still needs a battery).

    That's what I remember from when the forums were created.
    ] likes this.
  10. m42dave

    m42dave Dave E.

    As far as technology or function goes, there's plenty of overlap. Integrated circuits in cameras go back to the late '60s (Yashica). The Canon A-1 of 1978 was a thoroughly modern electronic camera, though manual focus as was the Konica FS-1 with auto-loading and auto winder.

    The Minolta Maxxum 7000 was a groundbreaking modern camera, but at 35+years old could be considered a classic. Even the boxy '80s styling (which I actually like) is starting to look vintage. :)
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2021
  11. The AX-3 is definitely manual focus. Does need a battery for shutter operation.

    What about cameras that typically need a battery to operate but will shoot at 1/60th without a battery?

    Hopefully you all will have this sorted out before I'm ready to post my thoughts on the camera. Would like to shoot a roll of film and process it first. That will take some time. Still needs light seals. ;)
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2021
  12. don is more right than I.

    The "modern" cameras had control mechanisms that required a battery for automatic exposure, and other automated parts.
  13. It became an issue for me this summer when at a moment I needed a camera, my Hexar AF died; this after four (4) other modern cameras had died during the previous six months. I divided my collection of cameras into two groups, classic and modern and vowed to never not have one classic in the bag as the backup to any electronic camera, digital or film. Of interest is that the cameras that had died were all late models, from the 1990s or the first decade of this century. The older ones from the 1980s, I've owned and used for decades, have not had any failures, which may be due to having less features, just auto exposure and focus.
  14. What about the Hasselblad 2000FC which requires battery to work yet in its basic form it doesn't even have a meter.
  15. "Classic manual" cameras are how eBay sharks list "modern fill cameras" they scrounge at yard sales.
  16. Classic is like porn. We know it when we see it. An XD11 has autoexposure modes and only one shutter speed works without a battery, but it’s obviously classic. An EF-M is manual focus but it’s otherwise part of the EF system and it’s modern. Etc.
  17. There is a Facebook group, "Antique and Classic Cameras", that defines them as over 25 years old.
    It doesn't depend at all on the features.
  18. For those who don't care for defining 'classic' as mechanical or non-eletronic, how would you classify a film camera as "modern"?
  19. The first auto-exposure SLR that I knew about, is the Beseler Topcon Auto 100, that my grandfather had in 1968. One of the few photograpy items of his that I didn't inherit. But that does have a manual mode.

    The Kodak Instamatic 704 and 804 only have auto exposure mode. They use a selenium cell meter, so will meter without batteries.

    It seems that the progression is something like:

    No automation
    Built-in meter, but otherwise manual
    Auto-exposure, with or without manual mode
    Auto-focus, with manual or auto exposure mode
  20. I've got a Ricoh 35 Flex dating from 1963. It's a leaf shutter SLR (which actually works!) with a fully automatic mode controlled by a selenium meter. I mean to do a post about it at some point.

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