Time to update the official scope of this forum?

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by marc_rochkind, Aug 5, 2009.

  1. I just happened to look at it:

    "For the discussion of "classic" cameras. Cameras that were manufactured until 1970, independent of film format,
    camera type, or manufacturer. Thus, this is the place to discuss folders, box cameras, Twin Lens Reflexes, press
    cameras, rangefinders, and other types of cameras that are no longer prevalent. Older SLR cameras manufactured
    before 1970 are also on-topic in the forum."

    Of course, we talk about post-1970 cameras all the time, such as in the recent post I started on the OM-1. I
    think of my 1976 Canon AE-1 as a classic camera, too.

    Thoughts? What's your definition of classic camera?

  2. For me a classic camera is any film camera !
  3. I think we've talked about this before, and Josh explained it very well. It generally means mechanical film cameras that were manufactured up until about 1970....but obviously, with some major leeway in that. I mean, I've posted topics about 110 cameras here before. Just use common sense. Vintage mechanical film cameras. Probably if you drifted a little bit and got into the later 70's or even early 80's, it wouldn't be a problem. Just as long as you don't start posting topics all the time about plastic cameras from the 90's.
    I don't see why anything needs to be changed. We seem to be doing fine.
  4. For me, any manual camera with no autofocus is classic. Sure that a lot of manual cameras use electronics for some of their features, however I like the fact that i can use the aperture ring to control aperture values, a shutter speed dial to adjust speed and not some jog wheel which electronically adjusts these values.
  5. We've been through this before at least once.
  6. "Classic camera" is somewhat like porn (actually, maybe a lot like porn...) - hard to define, but you know it when you see it. My mechanical OM-1n is classic, but I think my electronic Nikon F3 is also classic. What about my OM-4 of similar vintage? Certainly a classic, but is it "classic"?
    Might it be easier to define what's not classic, and consider everything else classic by default? Characteristics of the non-"classic":
    Cameras still in production - not "classic"
    Autofocus - not "classic"
    Digital - not "classic"
    Here are a few additional non-"classic" characteristics that may or may not pass muster:
    non-metallic body (what what about wood LF cameras? And I'm sure there're some Russian plastic cameras)
    Digital viewfinder readout (this might put my F3 out of the running)
  7. Why "do we have to update this forum?" I like it just as it is, and Chris is right, if someone strays from the real Classic" cameras, who cares? just as long as the focus is on classic cameras as noted by, again Chris.
    This is my favorate forum on PNET.
  8. It only ever really becomes a problem for a few days after some Google wanderer stumbles in asking stupid questions about their vintage 1990s auto everything film camera. Then it dies down and we get back to business.
  9. My list would be quite similar to David's: although you can wonder whether AE should be acceptable if AF is not ;)
    The best thing might be the feel you get when you hold the camera: does it feel classic...but how to make something objective/measurable out of that!
  10. What patrick said! Ditto here.
  11. Maybe every ten years the cutoff date should move up ten years. As for other qualifications I would limit them to cameras weighing less than 600 grams.
  12. As Josh wrote, we did all talk about this sometime back and most folks gave a thumbs up to the idea and I think the forum has been better and more lively because of it. However Marc has a point. Although we regulars know about the less rigid limitation of "cameras that were manufactured before 1970", that wording still exisits and could be a source of confusion for newer members not privy to previous discussions. Perhaps "manual focus film cameras no longer in production" would be a more accurate wording and side step the whole technology/materials issue. Just a thought
  13. David, you're right about porn. I ran a roll of film through my Olympus XA the other day and got to wondering if its porn, uh I mean classic. Maybe it's a pinup or cheesecake. Hard to say. Feels good, and I don't wake up with a guilty look on my face.
    Maybe a good working definition of "classic" is "cameras that don't look like most of the ones they're selling now".
  14. Louis has gotten my meaning... I'm not suggesting any changes to the forum at all. Love it!

    I was only suggesting maybe changing the formal description of the forum.

  15. As Josh defined manual cameras before as no electronics except for early light metering type devices. Many people have strayed from this, but I haven't had a problem with any of it. I agree with Richard B., I love this group and this is the only forum I read. I would actually like to see a pre WWII classic forum. Anything after that becomes mass produced modern marvels, with parts cranked out of punch presses and molds, that lack the hand made fit and finish of the old craftsmen. The only real advances, being in lens technology. But as has been shown here over and over, the old lenses still have their place, especially with the larger format films. Most of my time is spent with cameras made between 1920 and 1940, with some time spent on wood view and box cameras from before that, and into the 19th century processes. Very little time is spent on cameras in the 50's to 70's time frame and I own nothing newer than in the early 80's vintage. At present the only digital camera I own is a crappy web cam hooked to my computer. Bottom line...Classics Rock!
  16. definition of classic cameras: the ones i use everyday
  17. It's fine the way it is.
  18. I don't frequent this forum as much as I used to but it still feels like home when I do drop in. My interest in "Classic Cameras" is mainly limited to Zeiss Ikon stuff, Contax, Nettar/Ikonta folders and Ikoflex TLR's. But I certainly enjoy the discussion of many others with the exception of...
    All the cameras mentioned above fit, somewhat, into other forums (Contax - Rangefinder, Folders/Ikofles - MF) but because of their vintage (I guess??) don't seem to be overly welcome being discussed there...in my experience. I have noticed a simular sentiment with the various brands of SLR's and their namesake forums (with the exception of Pentax, a friendly and welcoming bunch over there). It would be a shame for lovers of pre-digital film cameras of all stripes to not have a spot to discuss, show & tell and sometimes gloat over their prized machines of brushed chrome and leatherette.
    That being said, I think this forum is fine as it is as no-one seems to take notice when a poster slips outside the boundry of the "Mission Statement". All happily accept it as long as the discussion is informative, well mannered and the pictures are "Damn Good!" ;)
    As to new comers, they seem to figure out pretty fast what it takes to fit in...a love for film, friendly discussion and good photos.
    Just my 1/2 cents worth. (Tough times, it's all I can afford)
  19. I actually think of the Canon AE-1 as the first NON-classic 35mm SLR. It was electronic and battery dependent, and it was the first SLR to largely replace structural metal with high impact plastic.
    There already is a Canon FD forum where cameras like the AE-1 are discussed. To me, the cutoff should be, mechanical cameras are classics, electronic dependent cameras are only classics if they were uniquely innovative in features, such as a Minolta XD-11 or Canon A-1. And metal is classic, plastic is not.
  20. I hadn't realized that we had one thing one place and still said "1970" another place. so I changed that to represent the general concept that forum runs under:
    The name of this forum is "Classic Manual Cameras" with the goal that it encompass all cameras up to the electronic/autofocus era. If it's manual, it has a home in this forum. Although, obviously, some camera systems are probably better served in their respective forums (Canon FD, Leica, or Medium Format being good examples). But you get the point.​
  21. Auto Exposure.... the first Polaroid AE cameras were built in 1963. Sturdy die cast aluminum body, pleather bellows and glass lens. Manual focus via rangefinder. Manual shutter cocking. Manually pull the film out of the camera. Manually time the development before manually pulling the film apart, and in early films, manually coat with fixer/hardener. An AE system that is still pretty dependable 46 years later. Classic.
  22. I think camera design has been a continuous spectrum with no sharp distinctions. Many cameras have been made of wood. The Kodak 35's and 35RF's of the 1930's and 40's were plastic cameras as were the Olympus XA's and Styluses. There was an automatic exposure Kodak in the 1930's. Add ons like rangefinders, meters, and motors have been slowly added and in camera processing like Polaroids and digitals also are a continuing evolution.
  23. rdm


    For me, it mean any camera that has an autofocus lens mount for autofocus lenses, that means its not classic, but othere thain that i think all film cameras from the 80s and earlier qualify, except the aformentioned types and autofocus point and shoot of that era..
  24. That question periodically comes out. Classical cameras are cameras which classy people are using. ;)
  25. After some consideration, any camera that makes you go "Man, they sure don't make them like this anymore" can be considered a "classic camera" - and it really doesn't matter what aspect of the camera triggers your admiration - solid metal construction, "heft", knobs that click, some unique or ground-breaking feature, some charming foible, fun and clever mechanical work arounds (anyone who doesn't think that bolt-ons like the F-1's Booster T finder, any of Nikons Photomic heads, any bolt-on motor drive or - my personal favorite - the F-1 Servo EE finder, aren't just too cool for words should surrender their Classic Camera Club badge immediately).
    Of course, you can pick up almost any film camera these days and think "Man, they sure don't make them like this anymore"....however, if you follow this thought with "....Thank God!", them maybe it isn't a classic camera......
  26. My definition of a classic camera is one that is that is fully operational without batteries, and if it uses batteries, they only activate the light meter. So Nikon F2, classic, F3 no. Canon FTb, yes, AE-1, no. Minolta SRTs, yes, XDs and XEs, no.
    I own and treasure Nikon F3s, and beyond, Canon AE-1s and T90s, Minolta XD-11s and XE-7s, but they are not classics cameras.
    Good guides include the two wonderful books by Ivor Matanle.
  27. Kerry, I'm very sad that you found a way to disqualify the Minolta XD-11 (a.k.a. XD-7) which is one of my all time favourite cameras. Can you sneak it back in on the grounds that it still works when you take out the batteries (tho' only at one shutter speed)?
  28. I hadn't realized that we had one thing one place and still said "1970" another place. So I changed that to represent the general concept that forum runs under.​
    Thanks Josh.
  29. Classic anything is hard to define because of people's individual preconceptions. To me, a classic camera would be a pre-1980, non-junky, largely mechanically operated camera intended for use by a pro or reasonably advanced amateur photographer.
  30. In addition to manual focus, mechanical shutter SLR's I would include those autoexposure models (still manual focus) that have manual override and at least one mechanical back-up shutter speed. This way we can include the excellent Minolta XD series as well as many of the automatic Nikons (such as the FE-2). I would waive the mechanical speed requirement for a camera if the manual mode had a classic look such as the manual mode on the Olympus OM-2 or even a Canon AT-1 (with its classic match needle, but battery dependent shutter). I'd also include some late 80's mechanical shutter (match diode) models such as the Yashica FX-3 Super 2000, Ricoh KRII and other similar cameras.
  31. No electronics. I don't think we want to see modern cameras, that are simply "used" in the manual mode, to be included here.
  32. Funny, but I was using my Bessa R today, all plastic, built in the early naughties, still feels like a classic to me.
    I think the rules are made to be stretched a little, after all you don't have to read the post.
  33. Maybe David Carroll has the best answer. If it's out of production but makes you want to pick it up and take pictures it's a classic.
  34. "Kerry, I'm very sad that you found a way to disqualify the Minolta XD-11 (a.k.a. XD-7) which is one of my all time favourite cameras. Can you sneak it back in on the grounds that it still works when you take out the batteries (tho' only at one shutter speed)?"
    I love the Minotal XD11 and I have both chrome and black versions. About the only thing I would change on its design, would be to to have the exposure locked by half depression of the shutter release. I would also like to know why Minolta dropped the "CLC" system from the XD series, despite the fact that they were in the earlier XD series with their CdS sensors.
    I am comfortable with my criterion that a classic camera is fully functional without batteries, with the exception of powering the meter. Many cameras of the classic era did not have light meters, such as the Leica M2 and M3, the Kodak Retina's until the IIIc and IIIC.
    But that is just my quirk. I will never part with my Minolta XDs and XEs, nor my Nikon F3, or Canon T90s and AE-1. I especially treasure those products with a long production life, such as my Browning auto-5 shotgun, in production from 1903-1998. John Browning of Morgan Utah was a genius.
  35. To keep it simple I suggest that the forum include any film camera for discussion. At this point in time film, itself, is "classic" and any camera capable of exposing film should be fair game.
  36. To keep it simple I suggest that the forum include any film camera for discussion. At this point in time film, itself, is "classic" and any camera capable of exposing film should be fair game.
  37. "To keep it simple I suggest that the forum include any film camera for discussion. At this point in time film, itself, is "classic" and any camera capable of exposing film should be fair game."
    I respectfully disagree. My Nikon F100 is NOT a classic camera. Maybe in 50 years.
  38. "Classic camera" is somewhat like porn (actually, maybe a lot like porn...) - hard to define, but you know it when you see it."
    LOL! Good pornography and classic cameras in LN condition are both hard to come by.
  39. I'm with David Carroll here - age is not a major factor just the WOW!! factor (except that IMHO a hand built camera will find it easier to have the wow!! effect, and most older cameras were hand built to a greater or lesser extent)
    I find it easier to identify those cameras that are not classics. Lets give an example of my kind of thinking. A Leica M5 for example is quite rare, but the concept was not continued with, and production reverted to the previous design, so, despite the quality of the camera, and the fact I would dearly love to own one, I don't consider it a true classic. Similar arguments could be made against many other old, and rare cameras, even though they are eminently collectable for other reasons than for being a classic. I might include the B&H Foton (too expensive to be sucessful) and a Kodak Ektra (unreliable shutter apparently, and expensive to produce) Quality and sales sucess are not all of being a classic, but surely they must be a part. I suppose it is the difference between a classic camera and a favorite camera, or a great camera, or a great leap forward. Looking at the other side of the coin, a Speed Graphic is a classic design of press camera, even though it was made for nearly fifty years, and quite easy to find.
    Rarity should not be a factor - what about the Nikkormat FS? (no meter) Its rarer than The FT or its sucessors, but you have accept that this rarest, and arguably most collectable version is not the definitive, or classic Nikkormat.
    Please don't think I'm picking on these individual cameras - I would love to own and enjoy any of them - I just don't seen them as classics.
    Finally I don't feel that manual/automatic/autofocus is an issue as the title of the forum says manual cameras, and I'd expect to stay within those bounds - even though I use an F3 as an everyday shooter - but as we probably all differ as to what is a classic, lets just all try to keep to what we feel is the general area of the forum, and agree to differ graciously if it is not what other posters expect. Perhaps only one thing is certain - a flame war is not about classic manual cameras!

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