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The Most Popular Camera of the 20th Century

It's no surprise that the handheld 35mm roll-film camera takes the cake for the most ubiquitous and indispensable camera of the 20th century. Small, easy to use, and convenient, it's the most popular choice among consumers. See highlights in 35mm film photography at this Philadelphia Museum of Art exhibition.

Photo via uncrate

There are so many different models of 35mm cameras but the best ones had several common denominators. First, a camera’s compact design made it attractive for easy lugging and transport. Next, basic yet optimal features such as fast shutter speed enabled shutterbugs to capture moments in a snap. Lastly, the system’s film is widely available for purchase and processing.

The emerging and evolving digital age threatens to make film obsolete (don’t fear, Lomography is working hard to keep it alive!), so the Philadelphia Museum of Art is presenting an exhibit of 66 of the best in film photography. It features street photographs by Andre Kertesz (from 1928, the time when 35mm film cameras became commercially available), Henri Cartier-Bresson, Helen Levitt, Robert Capa, and more.

Mexico City, 1941 by Helen Levitt via Art Daily

The 35mm format has a distinctive aesthetic dictated by its technical parameters. It has a limited depth of field, and the resulting differential focus visible in many of the pictures on view has come to be seen as one of 35mm’s most beautiful qualities. Enlarged, 35mm pictures reveal the grain of the film and lose detail, and the largest photographs on view in the exhibition—approximately 24 × 36”—represent the outer limit of what is possible with the format. The exhibition is on view through May 27, 2012. (Art Daily)

Of course, each film format has its own pros and cons, but the impact of 35mm on modern photography is undeniable. And if you ask me, the future will still be analogue!

Visit Philadelphia Museum of Art for more info.

written by denisesanjose

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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: 中文(简体版).