This is my collection of old and new film cameras

Since a while I have not posted something photography related and its time to write something. During the last two years I had almost no time to take photos. Family and work keep me very busy. This time I thought it could be a good idea to present my collection of film cameras. It is not to brag about my collection. To be honest, it is not a spectacular collection at all. I do not own exotic Leicas or rare Nikons or have a bunch of Hasselblads lying around. But each of the cameras I have, has a little story to tell and perhaps some people might be interested to hear these stories.

Compact Cameras

beirette SL 100 N

beirette SL100N

Probably you have never heard about this camera, except you grew up – like me – in the German Democratic Republic or commonly known as East-Germany. The camera might look like a toy camera, but was not intended to be one. Of course from a modern and western perspective it will be dismissed as real camera. However, it was originally made as an entry-level camera for photography beginners.

Believe it or not, it was made by Zeiss and has a Zeiss lens. It is a very basic camera with three different focus ranges and three fixed exposure settings. Using it is a bit tricky. It was my very first camera. My parents gave it to me when I was ten years old. But I didn’t used it much because at that time I did not have much interest in photography. These days I am not using it because there are no film cartridges available. However, there is a way to DIY them. You can read more about this camera on my blog here.

Minolta Riva Zoom 75W

Minolta Riva Zoom 75W

When my parents-in-law moved to their new house, they found this camera while cleaning up and gave it to me. Surprisingly there was still an old film inside and of course I hoped that there were some super awesome photos on it. Like all these stories you can read on Petapixel. Well…no. First, the film was so old that after development the colors were all off. And second, the images were just ordinary travel photos from my mother-in-law. The camera itself is not really bad, but it is not the type of camera I would use. So it sits in the storage and waits to be used one day. You can read about the old film here.

Olympus 35 DC

Olympus 35DC

This is a lovely little camera. I bought it a few years ago because I wanted a small and simple to use, every-day-carry-around camera. Additionally this camera was from a technical perspective intriguing to me. It is a point-and-shot range finder camera with a leaf-shutter and a fixed, wide open (f/1.7) and super sharp lens.

Really interesting is how the automatic shutter and aperture selection works. There is simply a set of fixed shutter and aperture combinations that accommodate for almost every exposure reading. Even though this camera is really good, I don’t use it much. I prefer SLR cameras where I can set shutter and aperture manually. On my blog I wrote a short article when I got this camera (here) and how I changed the leatherette on it (here).

SLR cameras

Nikon FM

Nikon FM

This camera is special to me. My father-in-law used this camera when he young. Since he knew my interest in film photography, he gave it to me as a special present. But so far I didn’t use it much. I shot only one roll of film to test it. The light meter does not work, which makes it inconvenient using the camera. Perhaps I should get it fixed and use the camera. I never had or used Nikon cameras before. So I was quite impressed about the weight and how solid and massive the camera feels.

Minolta XD and XD-s

Minolta XD and XD-s

I love these cameras so much that I have two of them. Not exactly. I have two, because the XD does not work properly (self timer and winding do not work properly) and it was cheaper to buy a new body rather than fixing it. I came to the Minolta XD from my MD Rokkor lenses which I used on my Olympus EM 5 and I wanted a matching film camera. After some research my decision fell on the Minolta XD.

The Minolta XD is a fantastic camera and in my opinion one of the best SLR cameras for film photography. It combines convenient features such as a built in light meter, aperture priority and shutter priority modes with the look and feel of a classic film camera. It is also very light and compact. And not to forget, you can use all those fantastic MD mount lenses with it. The XD-s is the latest and improved version. The XD-s is from all film cameras I have the camera that I use most.

Minolta Dynax 505si super

Minolta Dynax 505si super
Minolta Maxxum 505si super

Yes, I am a strange guy, I own quite some Minolta cameras. Younger people are wondering what this brand is. But everybody who has a Sony a7, has a piece of Minolta legacy in the hand. Just a quick history lesson: In 2006 Sony bought the camera division from Konica Minolta and evolved it into the present camera system. The first Sony DSLRs and A-mount lenses where basically Minolta cameras and lenses.

This camera here was my first SLR camera. I bought it in the 1990s. At that time I was looking for an entry level SLR camera and was somewhat between Nikon and Minolta. Nikon had a really good reputation but was quite expensive and Minolta was famous for the fantastic lenses. Minolta had a good deal, so I bought this camera. If Nikon had a good deal on that day, I would probably be a Nikon guy now. But I was young and didn’t have much money. Sorry Nikon.

I used this camera a lot and it travelled with me to many places across Europe. I even invested a lot of money in a good lens and a decent flash system. This is a decent camera that gets the job done and I have learnt a lot about photography with it. Even though it is not a flashy brand and model, I still like it and use it from time to time.

Minolta alpha 7

Minolta alpha 7
Minolta Dynax 7
Minolta Maxxum 7

I bought this camera a few years age for very little money on eBay. The Minolta 7 was my big dream and I had to buy it many years later just to satisfy my old dreams. As mentioned earlier, my first SLR camera was the Minolta Dynax 505si super and I dreamed about upgrading to the Minolta 7. This camera was really awesome at that time. But also very expensive and I couldn’t afford it. Even second hand was almost out of reach. Luckily I didn’t bought one, because when I was seriously considering to get one, the rise of digital cameras started and film photography was about to become obsolete. So this would have been a pretty stupid investment.

Unfortunately, I could not use this camera much because the latch of the camera back broke and rendered the camera unusable. Perhaps I could try to fix it, but it will be cheaper to buy a new body. Also this camera was already too advanced for me. It can do everything what a modern DSLR can do, only with film of course. But it lacks that feel of a classic film camera. I wrote about the Minolta 7 on my blog and you can read it here.

Medium Format

Lomo Lubitel Universal 166

Lomo Lubitel Universal 166

This Lomo is a very special Lomo. It is a real Lomo from the era of the Soviet Union. My father bought it in Moscow in the late 1980s. You can still buy this camera from Lomography, but for a hefty price, and I suggest not to buy it. Better get a Yashica Mat 124 from eBay. They are much cheaper and much better.

The Lomo Lubitel was a real TLR camera but compared to other TLR cameras of that time it feels more like a toy. It does take photos and the quality of the lens is okay, but the usability of the camera is not great. Sometimes I still use it and it is fun and pain at the same time. So you really need to love this camera.

This camera teaches you real film photography, because there is absolutely nothing automated and you can do everything wrong. So you really need to know what you are doing with it. One thing that is really great about this camera is the inset in the film chamber to convert it from 6×6 to 4.5×6 format. But of course you can change it only when you open the camera back. Not during shooting.

Zenza Bronica ETRs

Zenza Bronica ETRS

My entry into the world of medium format. Okay, I already have the Lomo Lubitel, which is a medium format camera too, but I don’t count it as a serious camera. Medium format cameras have always been crazy expensive and even now medium format film cameras are still not cheap. But much more affordable than a new one.

I got the Zenza Bronica a few years ago. And the decision for this camera was based on two things. First I don’t like the square shaped 6×6 format much, and secondly I wanted a relatively compact medium format camera. Medium format cameras are famous for being big and heavy. So my choice fell on the 4.5×6 Zenza Bronica. Mamiyas are too big and pricy, and Hasselblads are too expensive. The ETRSi is a fantastic camera and I love it a lot. It is awesome to use. The quality of the camera is astonishing and you can see why they have been so expensive when new.

Panorama Camera

Horizon S3 Pro

Horizon S3 Pro

This is the most special and unique camera I have, and by now you should have realized that I favor odd things. I bought my version as new old stock from Russia. Because it was way cheaper than the rebranded version sold by Lomography. The parcel looked very interesting because it was full of stamps. Something you don’t see these days anymore. Unpacking the camera was pretty exciting, like opening a time capsule and breathing the smell of the late 1990s and early 2000s.

For me it is also one of the best cameras ever made, because it can do something that hardly any other camera can do. It has a 28 mm wide angle lens that rotates around the curved film plane. This creates an image with a field of view of 110°×44°. The angle of view is so wide, that you need to be careful where to put the fingers when holding the camera, otherwise the fingertips will be on the image. The Horizon Pro is a bit quirky and not perfect, but the whole concept of it opens a completely new level of creativity. Photos that I took with the Horizon S3 Pro can be found here.

Here you go. These are the film cameras I have. There is one camera I would like to add to my collection: the Fujica GW690. The enormous size of a 6×9 medium format negative is very intriguing to me.

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