We’ve been feeding everyone with their regular dose of drool-worthy analogue gear through the Lomopedia Resource Series, and we know many of these cameras are awesome enough to cause GAS — Gear Acquisition Syndrome! See if you’re lucky enough to have some of them already, or if your camera shelf and wallet can accommodate any or all of these cameras!
You may have noticed that the Magazine’s Lomopedia series has been featuring some of the coolest and most iconic film cameras ever made. We’ve put together a list highlighting the most noteworthy of them so far, along with quick descriptions about the historical details and impressive features that earned them the icon status.
VP Exakta (1933)
This unmistakably vintage camera is the first SLR camera that uses 127 roll film from the Exacta line of German camera maker Ihagee. VP actually stands for “Vest Pocket” as it was the so-called German version of Kodak’s Vest Pocket camera, which was supposed to be compact enough to slip into a large vest pocket.
Reflex Korelle (1935)
Another German-made camera, the Reflex-Korelle was among the earliest 120 format SLR cameras that took 6×6 photos. It had a simple build and design but was also held together by small machine screws instead of pins and rivets, making it easy to disassemble for repairs.
Ihagee Kine Exacta (1936)
Another important camera made by Ihagee, the Kine Exacta has been regarded by camera makers and photography historians as the world’s first 35mm SLR camera. It was modeled after the VP Exakta and introduced just three years after the 127 format SLR camera was released. While the SLR principle was still in the works at the time, camera experts also noted that the Kine Exacta possessed several features that eventually became the basis for 35mm SLR cameras.
Nikon F (1959)
While the Kine Exacta scored the title for the world’s first 35mm SLR camera, the beautiful Nikon F was the first SLR system to be widely used and adopted seriously by most professional photographers. An evolution of the Nikon SP rangefinder camera, the Japanese camera maker’s 1959 masterpiece became notable for being one of the most advanced cameras of its time.
Asahi Pentax 6x7 (1969)
A medium format favorite, the Asahi Pentax 6×7 has remained one of the most coveted SLR cameras by amateurs and professionals alike for its beautiful design and the impressive photos that it can take. Hailed as a “Super SLR,” this bigger, bulkier, heavier version of a traditional 35mm SLR camera had two improved versions from 1990 and 1999.
Canon A-1 (1971)
Beautifully designed and exquisite-looking in all-black, the Canon A-1 is an advanced level 35mm SLR camera that combined a stylish look and wow-worthy features. It’s a historically significant camera for being the first to offer fully automatic AE mode, preset aperture-priority AE, and Speedlite AE mode aside from the shutter speed-priority AE and aperture-priority AE modes.
Olympus OM-1 (1972)
Another coveted analogue classic, the all-mechanical Olympus OM-1 remains beloved by collectors and active shooters for being light and compact yet still dependable — features that Olympus retained for all models until 2002.
Pentax K1000 (1975)
A few decades ago, if you were new to photography and needed an affordable yet workhorse of a camera to learn the ropes with, you’re most likely going to cross paths with the Pentax K1000, which was introduced in 1975. Touted as the quintessential “student’s camera,” the fully mechanical 35mm SLR camera had manual controls, a TTL metering system, shutter speeds from 1/1000 to 1 second, and compatibility with all available K-mount lenses. These basic features, paired with a sturdy build, ensured a long career for the Pentax K1000 — from 1976 to 1997.
Minolta 110 Zoom SLR (1976)
The Minolta 110 Zoom SLR made it to this list (and many others around the web) for a couple of reasons. First, it was the first SLR camera made for 110 format. Second, it sported an unusual, flattened shape, most likely to maintain the pocketability of 110 cameras. Its manual focus zoom lens with macro-focusing capabilities of as close as 11 inches also possibly lent this quirky camera a “wow” factor.
Pentax Auto 110 (1978)
Last but not the least is the fascinating Pentax Auto 110, the so-called smallest and lightest SLR camera ever made. It continues to enjoy cult status more than three decades after it was introduced by Japanese camera maker Asahi Pentax. Aside from its size and beautiful design, the Auto 110 was lauded for being the only complete ultra-miniature SLR system for the 110 format, and for being the smallest SLR camera ever to have interchangeable lenses.
We know what you’re thinking: it’s such a short list, and we may even have missed your favorites! That’s why we’d like to hear from you — which iconic film SLR cameras would you like to see on Lomopedia, and possibly, a part two for this list? Please do leave a comment below!