Judgements about the merit of various eras in camera design are always destined to be subjective. One must recognize that camera design did not sit still for a reason-that constant improvements like lightmeters, through-the-lens metering, instant film, built in flash, and automatic focus came about and in fact prospered because consumer demand indicated that that was what the market wanted. Digital cameras today, however much some (myself included) may resent some aspects of them, represent what the vast majority of the public want-a simple, no-brainer design that can take photos anywhere , under almost any light conditions, and without any particular skills, with an instant review of the image available. Nonetheless, if one consciously restricts oneself to the medium of film instead as Lomographers do, was there a particular ‘golden age’ in terms of film camera design? I’m going to argue that there was, and that that era was the 1950s.
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